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l/f-^A-iAydxtA^yriy 






MEMORIALS 



OF THE 

4 



* 



REV. JOHN HENRY ANDERSON : 



\ 



BEING A SELECTION FROM HIS 



SERMONS, LECTURESy AND SPEECHES) 



WITH A BRIEF 



i^:Hii^<Dx:Eb 



BY HIS BROTHER, THE 



REV. T. D, ANDERSON, B.A. 



. Ml m2 r . 

Ionian: 

PUBLISHED FOR THE AUTHOR, BY 

T. WOOLMER, 2, CASTLE STREET, CITY ROAD, 
AND 66, PATERNOSTER ROW, E.G. 



t882. 



110 . ft. la 



PRINTED Bt JAMES BENNETT, BLACKBUXN. 



PREFACE. 



A week or two before my brother sailed from this 
country, I was one afternoon sitting with him out of doors, 
conversing about the future, when I observed, " Talking 
about an event does not of necessity make it occur. I 
hope, and believe, this voyage will result in the re-estab- 
lishment of your health, but if it should not, and if you 
should not return, will you give me leave to look over your 
sermons and other manuscripts, and publish a selection for 
the benefit of your friends in the circuits in which you have 
travelled. It would indeed be a Memorial Volume." He 
replied, that if any good could thereby be done, he ought 
not to prevent it, and for that reason would consent. 
" Only be sure," he added, " and don't say a great deal 
about me in the way of praise.'' 

With this wish of my brother, I have endeavoured to 
comply, and have presented an outline of his life, which 
those who knew him must fill up for themselves. But I 
have sought to let him speak for himself by extracts from 
his journal, so far as space would allow, and have thus 
given the reader an insight into the workings of his mind, 
through a medium which, originally, was never intended 
for the public eye. 

I have, however, added some extracts from the letters 
of friends, who were not in any way fettered in the 
expression of their opinion, and I trust these may tend to 
relieve the biographical sketch from a onesidedness of 
which the writer is only too conscious. 

Through the kindness of the Editor, an abridgment of 
the Memoir appeared in November, 1881, in the pages of 
the Wesleyan Methodist Magazine. 



Vl PREFACE. 



ri\t^ purpose of the book, and the limits of the space at 
WW ilisnosal. havo prevented me from enlarging on my 
hiothrrslovo of nature, his excursions into the English 
l.ako nistrit^t or Scotland, his love of general literature, 
«iul olIuM* topics. The sermons here printed will, on some 
ol thosr n\alltM's, give sufficient evidence. My wish has 
\\vv\\ to show how complete was his devotion to the work 
to which \\v (H)nsc*crated his life, and how, in spite of a 
\'vv\ seriiUis and unavoidable hindrance, he, by God's 
blessing am! assistance, achieved no mean measure of 
sueeess. 

A few typographical errors have crept into the work, 
which 1 ri^iVain from pointing out, in the hope they may 
not be noticed. 

My heartfelt thanks are due, and are hereby presented, 
to th(* numerous subscribers and friends, who by their 
g(Mierous and timely help, have enabled me to send forth 
this Memorial Volume without any anxiety as to its 
financial success. They are entitled to an apology for the 
delay in issuing it, which has disappointed no one more 
severely than myself, and which must have greatly taxed 
their patience. 

With one exception, the sermons contained in this book 
have been chosen from those preached at Brighton during 
the last year of my brother's ministry. 

From the unused stores, it would be easy to compile 
another volume, which would be no unworthy companion 
to the present, should any general desire be expressed to 
that effect. 

J, Church Parky Mumbles, near Swansea, 
2gth March, 1882. 



CONTENTS. 





MEMOIRS. 




Craftib. 

I. Childhood AND Youth 


Paor. 
I 


II. 


Probation 


7 


III. 


Manchester ... 


II 


IV. 


Rawtenstall and Sunderland 


i8 


V. 


X KJ1\X^ ••■ ■•■ ■•• ••• ••• 


... 26 


VI. 


Halifax ... 


... 30 


vn. 


Brighton and Conclusion 

SERMONS. 


... 38 



I. The Benefits of Waiting upon the Lord . 

II. The Addenda of Faith . 

III. The Death of Moses ... 

IV. A Night on the Sea of Galilee, or Lessons 

FOR Disciples 

V. Highway AND Hedge Work .. . 

VI. Buying the Truth 

VII. Keeping THE Truth ... 



51 
61 

70 

* 

80 

91 
102 

III 



Vlll 


CONTENTS. 




Chaptib 


• 


Paob. 


VIII. 


Lessons from Dothan 


... 120 


IX. 


The Life and Translation of Enoch 


... 130 


X. 


Gehazi 


... 139 


XI. 


The Disciplf^s' Watchword. . . 


... 150 


XII. 


Soul Winning 


.. 160 


XIII. 


The Pearl of Great Price ... 


.. 171 


XIV. 


Advice to Racers 


180 


XV. 


Counting the Cost ... 


.. 189 


XVI. 


The Horrible Pit and Miry Clay ... 


.. 198 


XVII. 


Death a Gain to the Godly... 


207 



LECTURE. 



St. Paul 



• • 



217 



SPEECH. 



Thk Tarrying Vision . 



253 



MEMOIR 

OF THE 

REV, JOHN H. ANDERSON 



CHAPTER I. 

CHILDHOOD AND YOUTH. 1 84 1 — 1 862. 

In common with others, our church has often had to 
mourn the loss in early life of those whose promise of 
efficient service was great. It is sad to have to say fare- 
well to those who have laboured through a long day of 
arduous toil, but regret is lessened by the feeling that they 
have merited their rest, and being- worn out, could be of 
little further use if they continued with us. There is a 
propriety that we recognize, in spite of our sorrow, in their 
being removed to a higher sphere of existence, where 
failing faculties and bodily infirmities are known no more. 
But when a worker is suddenly arrested in the high noon 
of his life and efficiency, and compelled to utter the plain- 
tive lament, " my days are past, my purposes are broken 
oif," how much more melancholy the parting. An all-wise 
and an all-loving God does not and cannot make mistakes, 
but short sighted mortals yearning for the knowledge that 
only eternity will give, frequently have to ponder the 
problem why some of the holiest, most gifted, most devoted 
of His servants, are, humanly speaking, prematurely taken 
from the field which needs their labour so much, while 
others of inferior gifts and graces are left to carry on the 
work from which they would be so little missed. 

The subject of this sketch had the advantage of a godly 

B 



MEMOIR. 



ancestry. His grandfather, the Rev Henry Anderson^ 
entered the ministry in the year in which the Rev. John 
Wesley died, being- sent out by him, and after fifty-two 
years of faithful service departed this life on January 3 1 st, 
1843. His father, the Rev. John Anderson, who com- 
menced to travel in 1836, is still actively engaged in circuit 
work. My brother, John Henry Anderson, was born at 
Oakham, Rutlandshire, on the 4th of July, 1841. 

His early years were spent under the care of his parents^ 
and unmarked by any very noteworthy incident. He like 
most ministers' sons used to say he would be a preacher 
when he g^rew up, and often in winter evenings exercised 
his oratorical gifts, to the amusement of his mother, and 
the admiration of his brother and sisters. Thanks to 
a mother's patient and wise instruction, he was well 
informed in scripture history, and the stories of the Old 
Testament heroes generally formed the themes of his 
juvenile discourses. At the ag^e of nine years, he was sent 
to Kingswood School. Here he distinguished himself by 
attention to his studies, gained several prizes, and when he 
left after six years' residence, had attained the rank of 
third boy in the school. There is no evidence to show that 
he was the subject of special religious impressions while at 
school. He manifested a love for adventure which did not 
always conform to the rig-id limits of school discipline, and 
which was doubtless fed by reading books of fiction, 
accounts of travels, and poetical works. Indeed, he eagerly 
perused all books which appealed to his imagination, and 
sometimes ventured himself on some poetical effusion, the 
precursor of something superior in a future day. He was 
offered the Exhibition to Taunton College, but declined it, 
preferring to enter at once into a business life. He cer- 
tainly had no desire to spend his teens in litera,ry 
occupation, and school life at Kingswood had no such 
charms for him as to make him eager to enter upon a 
similar experience at Taunton. He knew that at the 
longest he would only be there a year, and thought the 
advantage would not be worth the trouble it would give 
him. This decision will not appear so strange when it is 
known that his happiness at Kingswood had been sadly 
marred by an inordinate tendency to bashfulness, a faihng 
which proved more or less the bane of his life. The 



CHAPTER I. 



sligfhtest cause would crimson his face with blushes, a 
circumstance which afforded constant merriment to his 
heedless schoolfellows, and of which they were not slow to 
take advantage. No wonder he was loath to undergo 
the ordeal of facing another set of schoolfellows at 
Taunton. 

He left New Kingswood at Midsummer, 1856. In 
September of the same year, he was apprenticed to Mr. 
Haines, Chemist and Druggist, Bromsgrove, and forthwith 
commenced to learn the art and mystery of that honour- 
able craft. At the Conference of 1857 ^^^ father was 
appointed to Bromsgrove, and thus a very beneficial home 
influence was exerted upon him at a most critical period of 
his life. Fidelity to the truth compels the admission that 
his heart was not in his work. He conscientiously performed 
his allotted duties, but took very little interest in them. 
His shyness seemed to increase, and rendered him very 
abrupt in his manner to the customers, which some of them 
set down to surliness of temper. His friends were greatly 
troubled about it, fearing that unless it were conquered, it 
would seriously hinder his success in life. All this time he 
was under the impression that some day he would be called 
to the work of the ministry, and before the great change 
of regeneration took place, he gave expression to this 
belief. He had much pleasure in hearing eloquent 
sermons, and greatly enjoyed the periodical visits of the 
ministers from Birmingham, who at intervals exchanged 
with the resident minister at Bromsgrove. But the power- 
ful appeals in his father's sermons deeply affected him, 
and he was often on the verge of deciding for God. He 
sometimes almost dreaded Sundays coming, because he 
knew how uncomfortable he would feel in listening to those 
faithful exhortations and warnings. At length in April, 
1859, M^- Barnett, a friend of his father's and a zealous 
and successful local preacher from Marlborough, Wilts, 
paid a visit to Bromsgrove, and preached one Sunday. 
After the evening service a prayer meeting was held, an 
invitation to seekers of mercy to come forward to the 
communion rail was earnestly given, and feeling it to be a 
crisis in his life, my brother stepped out into the aisle, half 
staggered along it to the communion rail, and there in 
company with others who had followed his example, 

B 2 



MEMOIR. 



earnestly wrestled with God for pardon, but did not obtain 
it. To his own deep disappointment and that of others, 
he remained in sorrow, while around him penitents were 
rejoicing- in newly found peace. Still he had so far 
identified himself with the Lord's people that succeeding* 
steps were not so difficult to take. He no long-er resented 
conversation about religion as an impertinence, and con- 
tinued to pray for pardon in private, not without hope. 
For nearly two months he remained unsettled and unhappy. 
At the beginning- of June, the writer of this sketch 
returned from Kingswood for the midsummer holidays, 
with his soul filled with the joy of full salvation. Knowing- 
what had taken place, he at once began to talk about 
religion, and to urge the necessity of personal and imme- 
diate trust in Christ. Each day, for the greater part of a 
week, the conversation was renewed, and much prayer 
offered for the gift of faith. Sunday, June 5th, came. The 
sermons preached by our father were attended with great 
power, and during a lovefeast held after the evening 
service, the elder son was completely broken down. This 
was observed by the younger, who followed his brother, 
and invited him home for prayer. Together they knelt 
and pleaded for mercy, but without the desired result. 
The next evening both were present at the public prayer 
meeting. A young man who the day before had been 
" Deep wounded by the Spirit's sword," and who was a 
backslider, was in great anguish about his soul. When 
the meeting was over, the writer and another friend 
directed the troubled sinner to the Saviour, my brother 
being present attentively watching the proceedings. After 
a time the penitent backslider by faith laid hold of Christ, 
and his joy at recovered peace was as great as his previous 
grief. Even my brother could not forbear to say " Praise 
God." But in a few minutes the now rejoicing backslider 
said to him, " Now it's your turn," and began to urge my 
brother to believe. We walked some little distance along 
the Stourbridge road. It had been a glorious summer 
evening, but now over the Lickey Hills a storm was 
gathering, and the frequent flashes of lightning lit up the 
de<ipening gloom, suggesting to our minds thoughts about 
the terrors of the Day of Judgment, and the folly of daring 
the wrath of an Almighty God. The great obstacle to my 



CHAPTER I. 



brother's faith was his not being" conscious of any change 
within, of his reception of pardon. We laboured to show 
him that his duty was to take Christ as his Saviour, and to 
trust himself, body, soul and spirit, for time and for eternity 
to His keeping, and that peace with God would follow 
faith. We enlarged too on the sin and danger of unbelief, 
until after a few moments' silent thought and prayer, the 
words were uttered " I will trust," and from that resolution 
my brother never retreated. He went home clinging by 
naked faith to Christ, but feeling no joy of pardon. The 
night came and went ; the great Adversary too came and 
endeavoured to hinder him from trusting, but in vain, and 
during the day there stole into his mind the sweet con- 
sciousness of acceptance, but so gradually that the various 
stages of the dawning of the heavenly light could hardly 
be distinguished. But of the fact that he had now 
** passed from death unto life" there was no doubt on his 
mind. He wondered that he felt so little joy. He was 
astonished at the calmness of his feelings, especially when 
contrasting his case with that of the recovered backslider 
whom recently he had seen filled with such exultation. 
But he saw it to be a part of the spiritual discipline through 
which the Divine Spirit was testing his faith, and he never 
wavered. Joy did come after a time ; the fountains of the 
great deep of his soul were indeed broken uji, and with 
streaming eyes, and full heart he could give vent to his 
feelings in those words that have brought " Glory begun 
below" into many a pardoned sinner's soul, 



' *< My Ood is reconciled, 

Hia pardoning voice I hear, 
He owns me for His child, 

I can no longer fear ; 
With confidence I now draw nigh. 
And '* Father, Abba, Father" cry." 

It was at once evident that he had undergone the great 
spiritual change. The former abruptness of manner which 
had given just occasion for complaint passed away. Love 
to God brought love to man also, which found continual 
expression in his daily life. 

My brother at once began to work for God. He spoke 
to his young friends on the importance of religion, and 
had the joy of leading some to Christ. A blessed work 
of grace commenced in the circuit. Within a month of 



MEMOIR. 



his conversion he began to preach ; his first public effort 
being- an address during* a Sunday evening" service at 
Wildmoor chapel, the manly simplicity and earnestness of 
which the writer will never forget. His first sermon was 
preached at Hanbury from the text " I am not ashamed of 
the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salva- 
tion to every one that belie veth." He was soon at work 
nearly every Sabbath, and rapidly attained considerable 
popularity, his sermons, even at this early stage of his 
ministry, being marked by much of that descriptive power 
in which afterwards he so greatly excelled. After he had 
been a local preacher about a year, a young friend of his, 
in comparing his style with that of some others on the 
plan, gave his judgment in this terse sentence, " John 
Henry deals in the vivid ;" a criticism the correctness of 
which the readers of the sermons contained in this volume 
will be ready to admit. 

His apprenticeship ending in the autumn of i860, he 
gladly repaired to his father's house at Evesham, and, in 
preparation for the work to which he had determined to 
devote his life, gave himself up to study and preaching. 
His services were highly appreciated, and in March 1861, 
he was unanimously recommended as a candidate for the 
ministry. In due course he was accepted by the Confe- 
rence, and placed upon the President's List of Reserve. 
His class leader at Evesham writes : 

" I have often thought and spoken of the seasons of 
blessedness which we realized in my class at Evesham, 
when your late dear brother met with us as a member of 
it. His deep unassuming piety was so beautiful ; his 
singleness of eye and aim so apparent." 

One who was also a member of the class thus writes : 
" I very often think and talk of those days in dear old 
Evesham when we were all so happy, the speeches and 
sermons I listened to from his lips, but especially his prayers 
in our class. What meetings we used to have, and how we 
all longed for the class night to come." 

He continued to serve the Evesham circuit, being in 
request for special work of all kinds, until February, 1862, 
when he was called out to supply the place of the Rev. 
James Laycock, the second minister of the Stockport 
(Hillgate) circuit. 



CHAPTER II. 

PROBATION. 1 862 1 866. 

It is a critical time in his life, when a young minister 
first enters upon the duties of his important office, and feels 
the restraints of home influence relaxed. His youth 
bespeaks for him favourable consideration. He is often 
courted and followed by the young", and sometimes in- 
judiciously flattered by those whose lengthened experience 
of life should have taught them more wisdom. If he be 
socially inclined, he is m danger of wasting precious time 
that should be spent in study in unprofitable amusements 
or conversation. If he have any tinge of vanity his head 
may be turned by indiscriminate applause. If he have the 
gift of fluency of speech, he may come to depend upon that 
for success, and form habits of laziness in preparation for 
the pulpit. He may thus degenerate into a clerical drone, 
who when the fervour of youthful vigour has passed away, 
will pall upon his congregations, be a continual difficulty 
in the stationing committee, and a positive hindrance to 
the prosperity of God's work wherever for the time being 
he may be placed. Or he may become a clerical dandy, 
whose greatest anxiety will be about the cut of his super- 
fine black suit, the folds of his white necktie, and that his 
hair shall be properly arranged. Or he may become a 
clerical timeserver, a shepherd caring more for the fleece 
than the flock, who seldom darkens the doors of the poor 
members of his church, but never forgets to cultivate the 
acquaintance of those who keep a good table, live in a fine 
house, and keep themselves aloof from contact with the 
masses. From these dangers my brother was mercifully 



8 MEMOIR. 



preserved. He entered upon his work with a strong* sense 
of its responsibility and importance, and with a firm deter- 
mination to become a workman "not needing to be 
ashamed, rightly dividing* the word of truth." He generally 
wrote his sermons out fully, and committed them to 
memory, but did not confine himself slavishly to the 
manuscript. But he often used outlines for week evening- 
sermons, as well for the practice it gave him in extempo- 
raneous speaking, as for the saving of time for reading* 
which it secured. He adhered to this system more or 
less throughout his ministry, making use of notes to assist 
his memory, save him from embarrassment, and g*ive those 
facilities for extempore utterance, which the fear of losing* 
the thread of his discourse might have restrained. Thus 
he was preserved from being a mere reciter of sermons ; 
feeling free to enlarge on any topic in his discourse 
according to the circumstances of the time. 

After he had been in Stockport a few weeks, and begun 
to feel at home, his conscience was stirred on the subject 
of pastoral visitation. Only those who knew how uncon- 
querable was his innate bashfulness can form any idea of 
what a heavy cross he had to take up in the discharge of 
this duty. To a man of a free social turn, who can make 
himself at home anywhere, the little difficulties arising* 
from visiting strangers often only afford amusement. My 
brother's sensitiveness and repugnance to meeting with 
strang*ers were so great, that he only attempted this duty 
with the utmost reluctance, impelled by a conscientiousness 
which was only strong*er than his aversion from the task. 
While the narrative of his first attempt may be amusing*^ 
it may serve to encourag"e some young ministers, who 
similarly shrink from the work, to persevere in spite of 
failure at the beginning. Furnished with the address of 
some member who needed a little pastoral care, he went 
to the house, knocked at the door, and was called to come 
in. He opened the door, and found a woman busily 
engaged in washing, to whom he announced himself as the 
young minister of Hillgate Chapel, and that he had come 
to see her. " Oh !" was the response, while she went on 
with her work. He made another remark or two of a 
general character to which only the shortest and gruffest 
replies were made, and then followed a dead silence,. 



CHAPTKR n. 



neither apparently knowing* what to say. His confusion 
grew intolerable, and blurting- out some sentence or other 
to the effect that he had better be g^oing as she was busy, 
to which she replied " Varra well," he took his'departure,. 
feeling ashamed and mortified at the miserable exhibition 
he had made of his incapacity for pastoral visitation ; and 
resolved not speedily to attempt it again. Yet conscience 
prevailed over his timidity and bashfulness, and meeting 
elsewhere with a kindlier reception than attended his first 
effort, he was emboldened to fulfil his disagreeable duty. 
While at Stockport he made the acquaintance of the lady 
who afterwards became his wife, and being engaged thus 
early in his probation, he was not the object of such atten- 
tions in other circuits as often seriously interfere with a 
young minister's time and studies. 

At the Conference of 1862, he was appointed toClitheroe. 
The beauty of the scenery of this country circuit charmed 
him, but the long walks occasionally were too much for 
him, and he sometimes complained of what afterwards 
proved his special trouble, attacks of dyspepsia. Yet here 
too he was both popular and successful, though he felt it 
his duty to leave at the end of the year, that he might have 
more time for the reading which he felt so necessary. 

His next appointment was Haslingden where he remained 
for three years. The congregation in the town was very 
much larger than he had been accustomed to, and the 
demand for sermons more frequent. But he nerved himself 
for his work, and after a time was privileged to see a 
goodly measure of success. Writing under date i6th 
February, 1864, he says: — 

" I was down about all sorts of things last week 

On Sunday, however, there was a bit of a brightening 
both times, and at night especially when I had a specially 
good time, the best since I came. Afterwards the com- 
munion rail was filled with seekers, and five professed to 
find peace." 

Again in a letter dated 29th February, 1864, he writes : 
— " Yesterday was a very good day here. I enjoyed both 
services very much, and at night about a dozen persons 
professed to find peace. I feel better satisfied with these 
marks of Divine approval than any praise of men." 

The writer remembers him making the statement that 



10 MEMOIR. 



he could count up 120 persons who had professed to find 
peace with God as the result of his ministry in the 
Haslingden circuit. 

In September 1865 he had his first trip to the English 
Lake district. He was charmed with its rare beauties, and 
returned invig-orated in mind and body. Henceforth it 
became his favourite holiday ground, and though he visited 
Scotland and North Wales, he gave the palm for combina- 
tion of the wild, the beautiful, and the interesting, to the 
scenery of the English Lakes. 

The strain of continual preparation for Haslingden pulpit 
told upon his constitution. The late Rev. Henry Castle 
was his superintendent, and was exceedingly considerate 
in appointing him his work, and helping him to a few days 
of rest when he needed it. 

He was greatly encouraged by testimonies to the good 
which he was made instrumental in accomplishing, and by 
assiduous attention to pastoral visitation found the duty 
become more easy, though it was still performed for con- 
science' sake rather than from inclination. 

Grateful testimonies to his faithfulness in this duty were 
borne at the Quarterly Meeting. 

Fortunately his health held out, and at the ensuing 
Conference he was ordained to the work of the ministry. 
The week of the ordination he spoke of as the most 
weightily solemn one in his life. The Rev. W. Arthur, 
the President that year, put the responsibility of the 
ministry in so strong a light before the young men, that 
my brother felt as if he hardly dared to proceed any 
farther. But the renewed consecration of himself then 
made was sincere and thorough, and from the obliga- 
tions his work imposed, he thenceforward never drew 
back. 



CHAPTER III. 

MANCHESTER. 1 866 TO 1 868. 

At the Conference of 1866 he was appointed to the 
Manchester (Grosvenor Street) circuit, asHome Missionary. 
After Conference he was united in marriage to Miss 
HoUingdrake, of Stockport, went on a trip to the English 
Lake District, and at the usual time entered upon his new 
duties in Manchester. 

Most likely he would have considered himself, at any 
rate at the beginning of his probation, of all men most 
unsuitable for such an appointment as this, but the hand 
of God was visible in it. The discipline of such service 
however repugnant to his natural feelings, prepared him 
.for greater efficiency in the full work of a Christian 
minister than otherwise he would have attained. In after 
years " his profiting appeared unto all." 

His district was a very wide one. He had the schools 
.at Chancery Lane and Bank Meadow as his head-quarters. 
He at once set himself to visit the members of the societies 
under his care, secure rooms for cottage services, and 
make a beginning in purely aggressive work. His journal 
abounds in deeply interesting accounts of cases met with 
in his rounds, and elicited from time to time the marked 
^commendation of the Rev. W. W. Stamp, and the General 
Secretary of the Home Missions, the Rev. Charles Prest. 

A few extracts will suffice to show the spirit in which he 
laboured, and the character of the work he did. 

"October loth, 1866. — Went over to New Islington 
yesterday, and got one of the leaders there to go out with 
me in the evening to call upon the members. We had to 
go into some sadly dirty neighbourhoods to find them, and 



12 MEMOIR. 



managed to see or call upon some sixteen different families, 
who all received us with great respect. I don't much wonder 
at a low state of morality and religious experience gene- 
rally prevailing in such a neighbourhood. The atmosphere 
itself in some of the houses would be sufficient to induce 
spiritual dyspepsia in less than a week. The houses are 
small, the streets small, and where I was last night several 
of them unpaved, with middens and ashpits lying about in 
any waste place for the dogs to play on first, and then the 
children. If public houses and spirit vaults can have any 
ground for expecting custom anywhere, a locality like this 
must be the very place to give it them. 

October i8th. — Came across a man who said he had not 
been anywhere to worship for thirty years. Didn't seem 
to think he was much worse than other people. Cloaked 
himself up in Pharisaism, and said plainly they weren't over 
bad in his house. Like the men in Bunyan, he bore the 
shield called " Hope of doing well at last," and wasn't 
ashamed of it. 

October 20th. — Made thirty visits this week altogether. 
The usual complaints of family cares, drunken husbands,. 
&c. Visited one widow who had been housekeeper in 
noblemen's families. She now is in one of the miserable 
streets near the railway arches, keeping a little shop. I 
thought as I saw her there in that low neighbourhood with 
no more of the blue sky to look at than that narrow street 
and that murky atmosphere will afford, health broken, 
and nothing hardly remaining of prosperity but its 
memories, her career was as strange and sensational as- 
any novel. Found a man too who used to meet with us for 
twenty years, but has gone no where in particular now for 
eight or ten years. I invited that backslider home again. 
One thing I see, it needs the greatest tact to deal with 
these people successfully. 

November 8th. — ^The apathy of the people in some 
neighbourhoods struck me as remarkable last night. Two- 
young men who help in these cottage services told me 
they spent about half an hour the other week in inviting 
the people in, and got nobody after all to the meeting. 
A similar experience this to mine the other night at 
Meadow Street. 

November loth. — Interjected among my visiting of 



CHAPTER in. 13 



members a bit of aggressive work. Happened to be 
crossing a miserable looking open space, behind some 
houses when it occurred to me I might as well give those 
houses a tract each and finish my other work after. I did 
so, and found wretchedness to any extent almost. The 
last house made me most satisfied with turning aside. 
There was a man lying there, as they thought, slowly 
bleeding to death. His wife was almost beside herself, 
and entreated me to go upstairs to see him. Of course, I 
went, and spoke as to one in desperate emergency, but 
these repentances in sight of death gained no credit with 
me from this case. The woman had been years ago a 
singer at Gravel Lane Chapel, a scholar in our schools ; 
the old story, sad enough in all conscience. I was very 
near being sick with one thing or another, and came away 
unhinged for any more visiting that day. Islington visita- 
tions generally remind me of the good old saying that 
" Cleanliness is next to Godliness." 

November IS th. — Found a backslider in the course of 
my visiting. This case showed me plainly what a kind of 
brazen hardness comes over one who once knew and felt 
the truth, if he falls away. The way this woman talked 
about the past and hell was something to stick in one's 
memory. 

2 1 St. — ^In another house was a socialist, or something of 
the kind, whose wife lay ill in bed, a christian. I had an 
interesting conversation with him by the side of the 
wretched sputtering fire, and on proposing prayer he knelt 
down, and clasped me warmly by the hand on leaving. 
What blew up his nothingarian notions, at least for the 
time, I suspect to have been the tale his wife had been 
telling about a manager of some neighbouring works, who 
had died in two hours, exclaiming often, " On, if I could 
but be saved." " 

In my brother's review of the quarter he speaks with 
satisfaction of the tokens of Divine power in the congrega- 
tions, and of several conversions which had gladdened the 
hearts of himself and his coadjutors. The process by 
which the once timid, shrinking, reserved man was being 
changed into the courageous, patient, plodding Home 
Missionetry, had fairly begun, and that the work was done 
for love of Christ and of souls, rather than from delight in 



14 MEMOIR. 



the work itself, only shows what can be accomplished by 
the most unlikely labourers when they yield themselves 
unreservedly to the call of duty, and the constraining* 
influence of the love of God. 

"January 7th, 1867. — I saw yet more clearly how 
sensitive people are on the subject of dress. It seems as if 
decently dressed people must almost be excluded from any 
place of worship that expects to gather in many of the 
poor. If they come once, they huddle into a corner so as 
not to be seen, and often don't come again, very much I 
do believe from the operation of this dress principle in 
their minds. " They Ve nothing on but this shawl," as a 
woman said to me last night, who sat shrinkingly in a 
corner as if half ashamed of herself for being there. 

8th. — Another interesting case was one of the women 
who were in the vestry on Sunday night. She is in great 
poverty through keeping a little shop, and is sorely pressed 
to open her shop on Sundays in order to eke out the rent, 
and get something to eat. A specimen of her mode of life 
is seen in this, that in ten weeks she has had one pound of 
butter, and as for bread, a two-pound loaf she has made 
last a week. So she said, and I couldn't help feeling as 
she said it, that what the Catechism So.ys is true, " that 
some sins are more heinous in the sight of God than 
others." No doubt there are many more who from the 
pressure of deadly want do on the Sabbath things that 
God in his compassion will judge more mercifully than some 
of his servants think. I told her what the right thing was, 
and left her, not unrelieved. 

I ith. — In the course of my journeyings saw some most 
wretched dens of alleys which are a crying shame to 
Manchester. People living where the door opens on a 
midden for the rest of the alley ; within three feet of a 
general ashpit as they sit by the fire ! 

25th. — Visited yesterday the other half of the street I 
began on Monday and Tuesday, and out of thirty-fouf 
houses, I found seven families where the parents professed 
to be pretty generally frequenters of some place of 
worship. All the rest neglected, some making no disguise 
of it. 

26. — Special service at Bank Meadow. One appa- 
rently clear case of conversion. Meeting again to-night. 



CHAPTER III. 15 



Three young- men said they had found peace. Altogether 
fourteen persons profess to have found peace with God 
during" the week. 

31st. — Struck yesterday with the fact that a low state 
of trade in a neig-hbourhood will be sure to cause many 
absentees from class, say what you like in explanation of 
our system of contribution. Several of my members are 
absent now from this reason, and this only. They can't 
dress or do as they used, and so cannot or don't come. 

15th February. — Called yesterday just in time to relieve 
what seemed to be great destitution. There was nothing 
in the house to eat. Fever had beaten down the only son 
who brought his mother anything. She had no money^ 
and did not know where to get any. Of course, I helped 
her, there and then. . . . She was famished, plainly^ 
and a widow. I didn't need to ask if she had been to any 
place of worship lately, for her clothes were none of the 
best, and I expect every available rag had been parted with 
to get something to eat. It looked like " chance " that I 
called just then, but I suspect the chance was of the 
highest and best kind. . . . Baptized the child of two 
poor travelling hawkers afterwards, and came home not 
sorry that in my way I had gone to seek the poor, and the 
maimed, and the halt, and the blind. 

2 1 St. — ^To-day visiting as usual. I learnt that the very 
poor woman mentioned (iS^h) above used to be in society 
with us. What an old sad story this is. Marriage, very 
often leading to carelessness ; then cares, then losses of 
health or wealth ; then poverty of greater or less severity 
with its accompaniments of dirty homes, tattered garments, 
and neglect of the house of God — and — memories — easily 
touched when one calls on them as I do now. A sad and 
very frequently told tale about here ! 

20th March. — ^Visited a little street near the railway. 
Only three or four went anywhere on Sundays, and some 
of them I could not but feel had much to tempt them away 
from the sanctuary. Really men work like brutes in some 
parts of Manchester, at it morning, noon, and night. 
What can you expect when such a machine stops work- 
ing at the week end, but that it will stand still as other 
machines do till you wind it up again on Monday. 

29th. — ^Forcibly reminded yesterday that one bad step 



l6 MjCMOIR. 



leads to another, and you never know where it will end, by 
the story a woman told me of herself. The circumstances 
are simple enough. Used to be a member and also a 
sing"er. Took offence at something* said about the singing", 
left class, left chapel, left everything, and now acknow> 
ledges the error, but finds it very difficult to retrace the 
steps. Things like this are constantly occurring. . . . 
I find I have paid 454 visits during the quarter, 42 of 
which were to sick persons. Most of them, perhaps two- 
thirds of the whole, have been from house to house, and 
generally connected with the giving of tracts, but they do 
not all mean an actual entering into a house, for that, in 
taking a street, I find not always feasible, but they do mean 
with but few exceptions, the dropping of some words about 
religion, and truth, and God." 

During this summer my brother commenced preaching 
in the open air. At first he shrank from this service, but 
after a time he came to enjoy it. Moreover, he saw how 
powerful an engine for good it might be made. Nor did 
he cease to employ it in his subsequent circuits while he 
had health and strength for the task. A few extracts on 
the subject from his journal will suffice. 

"20th June, 1867. — Held an open air service last night 
near one of our cottages which was very satisfactory. 
Plenty of stragglers stood and listened, and I felt that to be 
engaged in such work was no mean service. We made 
but poor show in singing, but didn't mind that when we 
«aw how the people gathered round. There's much of 
Nicodemus' spirit about this quarter, for there are always 
more as it gets duskier. 

1st October. — Every now and then we find in a casual 
way somebody or other who has profited by our open air 
work, and is sorry it is discontinued. It is not so easy to 
tabulate the results of that kind of work, but I am convinced 
our labours in that way this summer have not been in 
vain. 

I ith July, 1868. — Held out of door service at night, and 
had a good number of people to listen, a considerable 
number of working men being amongst them. One or two 
of these tried to annoy us, but could only succeed in show- 
ing their foolishness. They were egged on by some men 
who stood by a neighbouring beerhouse, who were 



CHAPTER III. 17 



evidently daring" them to come and upset us. Instead of 
doing- us harm, it seemed to do us good, and it was pretty 
plain that Satan had overshot himself in it. I had great 
voice given me, and power to declare the truth without 
fear, so what seemed for our hindrance turned out for our 
furtherance. I almost wish the devil would stir up a little 
opposition to us. It would certainly be a benefit to the 
work." 

As the Conference of 1868 approached, my brother 
determined to remove. Constant contact with dirt, disease 
and destitution did not tend to establish his health, and the 
warning" of several slight attacks of sickness induced him 
to leave what in a spiritual sense had been a most profit- 
able sphere of labour. But the experience obtained was 
of the greatest service to him in subsequent years. Hfe 
used to say, that so far as time and opportunity would 
allow, the kind of work done by a Home Missionary, 
should be attempted by every circuit minister, and he 
faithfully endeavoured to carry out this opinion in his own 
practice. 

The Rev. T. M. Albrighton was a colleague of my 
brother in this circuit, and in a recent letter writes : — 

" It was my privilege to be associated with your now 
sainted brother in the Grosvenor Street Circuit, Man- 
chester, and although he laboured there as a Home Mis- 
sionary amid many discouragements, I had a great regard 
for him as an earnest Christian, and a high admiration of 
him as an able minister of our Lord Jesus Christ. There 
was always a beautiful simplicity in his character and 
conversation which charmed me. He tried to cultivate an 
acquaintance with almost every subject, and his knowledge 
was versatile and comprehensive. His sermons often 
displayed great beauty and variety of thought and diction, 
and were frequently attended with much spiritual power. 
I marked his growing popularity and usefulness with great 
joy, and have mourned for him as for a sincere and loving 
friend. If he had been spared, I believe he would have 
been in the foremost rank of attractive and successfifl 
preachers of the gospel." 



CHAPTER IV. 

RAWTENSTALL AND SUNDERLAND. 1 868- 1 873. 

His next appointment was to Rawtenstall. Here he 
dilig-ently devoted himself to preparation for the pulpit, 
while he was most exemplary in his attention to pastoral 
visitation. Here too he entered into the enjoyment of the 
blessinof of entire sanctification. The reading- of Coley's 
" Life of Collins'* was a great stimulus to seeking and help 
in gaining this desirable experience. He thus refers to it 
in a letter to the writer : — 

1 6th June, 1869. — "I think Pve found /the true secret 
of preaching with power, which is to get and keep what 
Collins had, and then to preach having faith not in 
sentences but Christ. After this blessing I have been 
aiming with various success for the last five weeks about, 
and do not doubt but I have it now, and I never had 
more power in preaching or a more satisfactory peace." 

His enjoyment of this high state of grace was not 
without interruption, but though he spoke but little about 
it, he aimed at living in perfect love to God to the end of 
his life. During the summer months he availed himself 
of opportunities of preaching in the open air, sometimes 
as often as three times a week. He did not confine him- 
self to the number of services appointed on the plan, but 
sought to do good whenever and wherever he could. 

He remained in this circuit for two years only, seeking 
a change of his own accord, to the regret of the people 
throughout the circuit. At the Conference of 1870, he 
was appointed to Sunderland (Fawcett Street) and 
entered upon a sphere of labour in every way congenial 



CHAPTER IV. 19 



to his tastes and feelings. The tax upon his powers by 
preparation for the pulpit was considerable, but the claims 
of his congregations, especially that at Fawcett Street, 
were felt to be sufficient to demand his best efforts, and 
the appreciation, ungrudgingly expressed, was a powerful 
stimulus to exertion. Owing to the breakdown in health 
of his superintendent, the Rev. E. Jones, he had the care 
of the circuit during the greater part of his first year in 
it, and gained the admiration of the friends by the tact 
and administrative skill which he displayed in its manage- 
ment. His services in the pulpit and on the platform now 
came more widely into request. As deputation for Home 
Missionary Meetings, he was twice sent forth by the Con- 
ference; he also assisted neighbouring circuits without 
unduly neglecting his own. In January, 1871, a great 
sorrow cast its shadow upon his home. His children were 
attacked by scarlet fever, and he himself was slightly 
affected by it, but a week or two saw him able to take his 
usual work again. His eldest child and only son was 
seized with dropsy after the fever left him, and on the 
1st of February passed away from earth. A marked 
precocity was apparent in the little fellow, and the parents' 
hearts were correspondingly wrung with grief. In this 
trial my brother's christian submission was constantly 
shown, but for a long time afterwards he could scarcely 
bear without tears any reference to the sad event. 

The Rev. Thomas Rippon was associated with my 
brother in this circuit as Mr. Jones' supply, and formed for 
him a strong and enduring friendship. Giving his im- 
pressions of my brother at this period of his ministry he 
thus writes : " His conscientiousness and fidelity were 
remarkable. How carefully he attended to every depart- 
ment of his office, often at the risk of his health, which 
was then but poor, and certainly of comfort and quiet of 
mind. He spared ribt himself. After a morning's severe 
study, which pulled him down physically, immediately 
after dinner he would start on his pastoral rounds, chiefly 
among the poor, dropping in upon some friend or at home 
for tea at 5.30, and then devoting the evening to some 
other work connected with his ministry. A Monday morn- 
ing or Saturday afternoon was the only time I could get 
him out of liamess, and then he would be the boy again — 

c 2 



20 MEMOIR. 



for few men had more juvenile spirit — never however for- 
getting- his calling, or saying or doing anything to bring 
it into contempt. 

It was in Sunderland that he lost his Arthur, a lovely 
boy and one I held very dear. It was very affecting when 
we returned from the burial, and the youngest born was 
presented by J. H. for baptism, Mr. Vasey officiating. He 
was thoroughly broken down, and wept like a child. He 
had a woman's heart. How susceptible he was to 
any affront, a cross look or word, or coarseness. And 
there shone so brightly and clearly his sympathy. As a 
friend he was true as steel, and how often have I said to 
mutual friends of his — ^when living, as now when dead — 
that I could have trusted my life in his hands, and reposed 
it there with a feeling of luxury, and of perfect trust. He 
was a man to send for and speak to, when in trouble. 
Wise men respected him, and good men saw in him a 
high ideal to aim after. 

Many know what he was as a Preacher. To my mind he 
. was always the poet-preacher. His sermons had always 
about them the realness and naturalness which character- 
ize true poetry. There was about them the dash of 
waterfalls, the breezes of sea and mountain top, and rare 
landscapes, which brought his hearers into contact with 
healthy influences, and make them sympathetic with him 
in the great lessons he designed to teach or enforce. 

Two of his lectures, " Luther" and " Paul," I regard as 
gems of composition, which, when he had health to give 
them, went well. How often I have heard him say,. 
" Rippon, I believe I could do a good stroke of business 
for God and Humanity if I had only strength ; but I lack 
strength, and therefore must be content to work quietly, 
doing my best." And his sermons were faithful. Few 
in our ministry in these times address the conscience and 
rebuke hoUowness, cant and shams as he did. His 
standard of morality was the highest, and he was always 
himself working towards it, and calling upon his people to- 
aim at it likewise. 

And did you ever hear a man pray as he did ? I never 
did. How natural and simple he was in addressing the 
Great Supreme! What freshness there was about his 
supplications, and how close he brought men into contact 



^SS 



CHAPTER IV. 21 



with God thereby. And the secret of it all was, he 
enjoyed and had constant communion with heaven. 

Spending" our holidays in Scotland once, I remember we 
passed a nig-ht at a farm-house Inn by the shore of Loch 
Tay. Before retiring- for the nig"ht he left the room saying" 
"I am just g'oing out for a quiet talk with God," and 
following him, awhile after, I saw him in the distance, in 
the midsummer night's gloaming, walking by the dark 
water, and heard him in devout tones pray to God. 
That much impressed me. 

If there was another thing he impressed me with, it 
was his reverence for the scriptures. He believed his 
Bible to be the " Word of God.*' He interested himself 
in everything relating to his church and people, and 
faithfully did his work down to the most minute 
detail." 

A few extracts from his diary will give additional 
interest to this portion of my brother's career. 

"31st July, 1872. — Had a very good time here on 
Sunday night, and two souls seemed caught in the net. 
Both professed to find Christ. 

lOth August. — ^Began meeting classes this week. How 
difficult it is to do that work well. 

9th September. — I felt yesterday the increased physical 
vis that this out has given me, but how far below the 
highest style of preaching I seem to come yet. 

October 14. — Went up to Mr. 's to tea, and 

had just time to hurry away to chapel. Congregation 
materially thinned by Dr. Rigg's being at Sans Street, I 
had a miserable time almost throughout. Voice dulled 
with cold — no liberty in prayer — hardness in preaching — 
bungling among the notes — unimpressive reading of the 
scriptures — a generally evil time. I have not had so poor 
a time at Fawcett Street for a long time, and I will eschew 
going out to tea in future on a Sunday night as much as 
possible." 

It does not always follow that when a preacher has a 
poor time himself that his congregation has one too. This 
service was an instance in point. The next entry records : 
" I heard of one instance of signal good resulting from 
last Sunday night's service, so the time was not quite lost." 

After this date there are many references to the diffi- 



22 MEMOIR. 



culty he found in choosing- subjects for the pulpit, and 
elaborating- them when chosen. The real cause was lack 
of physical streng^th, which during- his last year at Sunder- 
land made itself painfully apparent. Little did his con- 
g-regations, when enjoying- his ministrations know at what 
a cost of loss of vitality they were prepared. The stimu- 
lus of Fawcett Street congregation often made him forget 
his weakness, but at the other places in the circuit he 
frequently had poor and dull services, for which he some- 
times reproached himself unnecessarily. He wished to 
benefit them as much as the larger congregation, but did 
not feel equal pleasure or ability in the attempt to do so. 

" Saturday, 9th November. — It has been hard work this, 
week making a sermon, and has given me a headache. 
If there be some other way of preparing for the pulpit that 
is not so exhausting as mine, 1 should be glad to find it out. 

lOlh November. — Have come from T a little 

while ago, having had a miserable time there from 
beginning to end. A cold morning, a cold chapel, a 
small attendance, a great number of children crowding 
and buzzing round the pulpit, and a wretched coldness 
freezing my own spirit. I don't think I ought to feel like 

that at or any other place. If I had a truer sense 

of the work of a christian teacher, surely I should be able 
to master this feeling that so often attacks me when up 
there. It seems not right that a small company should 
leave me in a state of semi-starvation, and that I should 
need a large congregation in order to be properly awake 
and in earnest. Yet I don't go up there intending to be 
cold. It rather comes over me as a temptation that owing 
to my want of faith I am not able to resist. Not satis- 
f actor V." 

There is nothing however, either surprising or repre- 
hensible in such an experience. The wonder would have 
been, if with such circumstances as are described, and 
the enfeebled health complained of on the Saturday even- 
ing, one so finely sensitive to the influence of his 
surroundings as my brother w^as, could have felt differently. 
Hut it showed how jealously he watched over himself, and 
how faithfully he strove to do his work. He never was 
satisfied with merely getting through a service. Yet often 
when most depressed himself he was made the instrument 



CHAPTER IV. 23 



of g-ood to Others. Inheriting- a tendency to morbid'self 
introspection, he was frequently disposed to find fault with 
himself in his spirit, mode of working- and preaching, and 
lessening physical strength increased his difficulty in over- 
coming- such feelings. 

"Sunday, 15th Dec. — Most of last week I was out of 
order physically somehow, and then I was much disturbed 
and perplexed about my style of preaching. I feared it 
was not right or good. Something of that kind I have 
had before that had a paralyzing effect upon my sermon- 
izing. It had this week. I felt as if fancy or illustration 
were not right, and my writing a superfluous trouble. 

2nd January, 1873. — A prisoner in the house to day 
owing to an affection of the throat and correspondingly in 
difficulties about Sunday night. 

nth. — Did not preach at all last Sunday owing to 
weakness. Went on Tuesday to Northallerton, and 
returned yesterday somewhat improved in consequence. I 
have felt much feebleness this week, making me look with 
some wonder on the question of how to get through this 
year." 

Recovering, he was gladdened by visible proofs of the 
Divine blessing on his preaching in conversions, and there 
are numerous entries in his diary which show how again 
and again he heard of good resulting from his labours 
of which he did not at the time know. With better health 
there came more enjoyment of his work. For example : 

"9th February. — ^This morning I had a remarkable 
facility of utterance, command of voice and gesture, access 
in prayer, and generally a good time. How much of this 
is due. to bodily conditions, I wonder ? The sermon has . 
more illustrations than some. I saw they told. 

1 8th February. — Not without tokens of good lately 
accruing from my ministry. Heard of one or two on 
Sunday. Very good time here in the evening and large 
congregation. Again no visible good in the shape of con- 
versions, but I will not therefore believe that nothing of 
that kind took place. Indeed I only heard casually 
yesterday of a case of special quickening in consequence. 
Made the sermon last week with greater ease than I have 
often experienced. Stuffed it as full o£ " likes" as I could. 
They told. 



24 MEMOIR. 



17th March, 1873. — Here at night a large congregation, 
but I did not get on very well somehow either in prayer, 
reading, or preaching. Someone fainted just as I was 
beginning to preach, which had an unpleasant effect. 
Then it seemed to me the sermon wanted grip. I half 
fancy that a more vigorous health would remedy a great 
many of these seeming and perhaps real weaknesses. 

1st April. — All last week the sermon making dragged. 
The brain seemed worn out nearly. Got it done, never- 
theless. 

1 2th. — Physical weakness has greatly pressed upon me 
lately. I dare say that in comparison with Haslingden 
times, I can do more now than I could then, but I often get 
plain reminders that " we have this treasure in earthen 
vessels." I often think if only that one thing were 
removed how much more good work I should be able to 
do in the world." 

1 2th May. — At night had a wonderfully good time. I 
spent some time beforehand in special prayer, and if ever 
prayer had answer mine had. I shall follow a similar 
course another time. There can be no doubt that power 
with men springs from power with God at first. '^ 

This resolution was faithfully kept, and there are 
numerous references in his journal to the benefit derived 
from it. 

Reference has already been made to my brother's 
natural tendency to inordinate bashfulness. With lessen- 
ing physical strength this discomfort became very frequent. 
It assaulted him in the pulpit, harassed him in prayer, 
annoyed him in the streets, hampered him in pastoral 
visitation, and was verily a thorn in the flesh, the agony of 
which only anyone similarly affected will bo able rightly 
to estimate. He seldom, if ever, made reference to it in 
conversation even with his dearest friends, but it immensly 
added to the burden of anxiety which often weighed upon 
him before his public work began. No one but himself 
and God knew how hard a trial it was for him sometimes 
to stand up before his congregations, or how utterly 
miserable he felt when going through his work. It led in 
some cases to a reserve which people mistook for pride, 
and an abruptness that often was in danger of being set 
down for incivility or discourteousness. However pain- 



CHAPTER IV. 25 



-ful to enlarge on such a topic, it appears only just to his 
memory that the fact should be stated, while it becomes 
the more wonderful that with so serious a drawback he 
attained such eminence as a public speaker. From the 
entries in his diary it is remarkable that whenever his 
health improved his suffering- from this distressing sensa- 
tion nearly or altogether passed away. For instance, after 
a short visit to Scotland, he writes : 

" 23rd June,i873 — ^Yesterday had good times morning and 
evening, but especially in the evening, when strange to say 
I was perfectly or almost perfectly free from the distressing 
feeling which has bothered me lately. I don't know how 
much a week of fresh air may have had to do with this." 

But the respite was very brief, for on the 1 3th July he 
writes : " That most distressing feeling of shyness so 
oppressed me during a good part of the service that I felt 
I could with difficulty look the people in the face. Strange 
that a thing from which I rarely or never suffered in this 
pulpit for two years and a half should mount to suph a 
head during the last six months of my being here, and not 
the least this last Sabbath morning I shall have at Fawcett 
Street. I wonder whether the devil has been let loose 
upon me for a time, and suffered to vex and aggravate a 
weak side of my nature or what. I have lain down this 
afternoon reading over my diary since I came to Sunder- 
land. What a host of poor times in preaching physical 
weakness seems to have caused." 

At length the period of his ministry in Sunderland came 
to an end. At the Quarterly Meeting in June very warm 
and grateful testimonies were borne to the high estimation 
in which he and his work were held. His entry is — 

"June 25th. — ^The vote of thanks they gave me was 
almost more than I could face in replying. It was pleasant 
to hear the terms in which they spoke of my ministry 
among them. I don't think it has been all in vain." 

Amidst universal regret and esteem he closed his official 
<:onnection with the circuit, not without substantial tokens 
of regard from the loving people he had so faithfully and 
efficiently endeavoured to serve. After a brief holiday, 
which was greatly needed, he entered upon his next sphere 
■of labour to which he had been looking forward with 
mingled fear and hope. 



CHAPTER V. 

YORK. 1873 1876. 

By the Conference of 1873 my brother was appointed to- 
York (New Street) to which he had been previously 
invited. He was in hopes that the country air and drives 
would g-reatly help to build up his health, which was 
sensibly impaired by his last half year in Sunderland, but 
for a long" time there was little sign of improvement. 
Moreover his constitutional infirmity continually beset him, 
and the references to the trouble caused by it are distress- 
ingly frequent. On his country Sundays he usually had to 
preach three times, and returned home thoroughly wearied. 
The climate of York he felt to be too relaxing, and the 
flatness of the surrounding country often had a depressing 
effect upon his spirits. Yet he liked the city itself with its 
quaint old streets and buildings, its relics of past centuries, 
and above all its gorgeous Minster. He enjoyed a boatings 
expedition on the river, though it was seldom he allowed 
himself time to indulge in that healthful exercise, and the 
beauties of the country at all seasons of the year did not 
escape his observant notice. But he specially appreciated 
the opportunity, and felt the responsibility of preaching to 
great numbers at one time which his city congregations, 
particularly that at Centenary Chapel, afforded him, and 
whatever strength he had was sure to be called forth by 
the stimulus of the sight of such large assemblies. 

It is, however, the conviction of many of his friends that 
the tax upon his vital powers, which were low to begin 
with, was far too severe, and that had he laboured during 
the three years spent in York in some less arduous sphere. 



CHAPTER V. 27 



his valuable life might have been prolongced. The spirit in 
which he did his work was unchanged, but weakness of 
the body often fettered his zeal, and prevented its public 
manifestation. We quote again from his diary which after 
all gives us the truest insight into his own feelings 
about his work, and the difficulties amid which it was 
conducted. 

" 5th November, 1873. — Yesterday at Huntington where 
again my want of strength made itself painfully felt. Walked 
both ways and was very much exhausted when I got home 
at night. I am afraid I never shall have physical strength 
enough to enable me to do what I would. I feel I have 
something to say, but I often lack force to say it with. 

8th. — Met classes on Thursday night, where had two. 
distinct testimonies to blessings gained in connection with 
my sermons " Pearl of great price," and " Bread of Life,"" 
and was proportionately encouraged. 

9th. — 1 had a very uncomfortable time at New Street 
this morning owing mainly to what has often troubled me 
of late. I almost think I grow in that respect worse and 
worse. Nervous apprehension was carried so far as to 
greatly trouble me, and spoilt the entire service to me. 
Somehow I couldn't get on in prayer, and in reading was 
not master of myself, and never once got free from 
trammels during the sermon. Surely I have a thorn in 
the flesh. 

Friday 14th. — I am compelled to add that the service 
on Sunday morning from several quarters seems to have 
been productive of good. While I was in such miserable 
condition, the people were greatly enjoying themselves. 

1st. November. — Two or three testimonies from various 
quarters to my having been useful to some of them. One 
sick man professed to trust in Jesus this evening while I 
was with him. 

Tuesday, Dec. 23rd. — ^We hear this morning that E — . 
is not coming till to-morrow, owing to her having had a 
cold Icist week. How ready my mind is to imagine all 
manner of evil possibilities. What a curse it would be to 
be left the prey of a morbid imagination. A strong faith 
is evidently the thing to combat this evil. I have been, 
reading Thomas Jackson's autobiography. It makes me 
feel ashamed of the little I have done, but I remember he 



28 MEMOIR. 



had a vigorous constitution, and I have not, and never shall 
have now. I doubt if it be a reasonable thing" to expect 
my health to be much better than it is, at any time. If I 
were twelve years younger, it might be, but I can hardly 
look forward now to any considerable advance in bodily 
vigour, yet that is what I want as regards temporal quali- 
fications for success in the ministry. 

3rd February. — On Sunday I had two first-class times 
here. That sermon on " Gehazi" went strongly at New 
Street in the morning, and "Follow thou Me" went well at 
Centenary. Apprehensions troubled me as usual respecting 
morning service, but they all vanished as the time came, 
and I very much enjoyed the service. The congregation 
was large. The company at night was splendid, and I was 
mightly helped, first in prayer and then in preaching. I 
think these two times may be counted as among the best I 
have had in this circuit. Contrary to my expectation I had 
plenty of voice for the night service, and shouted amain. 
To Him from whom all power comes be the glory ! 

I5lh. — Just come from Centenary where have had an 
evil time from beginning to end, one of the worst I have 
had there from the beginning. I dare say it has been 
largely owing to this abnormal and unreasonable self- 
•cons(^iousness that I can't get away from, nor forget, do 
what I will. What things it prompts me to, to conceal or 
ward off the coming confusion. I had no liberty in prayer, 
no ease of voice, no command of thought or language, and 
seemed powerless. Indeed, after about half an hour some 
of I hem appeared to be weary of the whole affair. Oh I 
what a fall to my ambition to be a powerful speaker. 

Tuesday 17th. — On Sunday night .... it was as 
contrary to the morning's experience as summer is to 
winter. ... I heard that the morning's service had been 
good to some. It is well the bread of life is distributed, 
though the disciples' hands tremble in doing it sometimes. 

Thursday. — I have repeatedly had since Sunday testi- 
mony to the blessing that accompanied last Sunday 
morning's service. It has been the theme of more than 
ordinary mention. Our little child has not been very well. 
It makes a difference I can find when it is so. How the 
bitter hangs by the sweet in human life." 

Thus again and again after times of unusual mental 



CHAPTER V. 29 



depression which caused my brother much suffering", and 
which were doubtless owing- mainly to enfeebled health, 
did God mercifully encourag-e His servant by allowing him 
to hear testimonies to good received even when he thoug"ht 
himself least effective. So in reference to the last noted 
occasion he writes : — 

"2 1st February. — ^To-day I have had two very special 
and gratifying testimonies to the power accompanying last 
Sunday morning's sermon. From henceforth I ought to 
beware how I give place to the Devil in believing that any 
sermon preached with an honest aim to do good has 
failed." 

It is often easier to tell what is wrong with other people,, 
than to discern it in oneself. DomesJ:ic anxieties caused by 
slight attacks of sickness on some of the members of my 
brother's household often sorely chafed his spirit, and made 
him feel literally miserable. Doubtless he would in any 
one else have attributed such nervous irritability to its true 
cause, nervous exhaustion, but though occasionally he 
thought it might spring from this, he often blames his want 
of faith. Really he could no more help nervous apprehen- 
sion and foreboding than a sick man can help having a 
headache sometimes, but his self-condemnation was fre- 
quently excessive, and had it not been so painful to him,, 
one could not help in reading his journal smiling at the 
way small ailments gave rise to really great trouble and 
discomfort. No really healthy man could have felt as he 
did. His youngest child being threatened with hooping 
cough, the following morbid entry occurs : — 

" March 8th, 1874 : — I find it hard to believe that all is- 
well. How easily one might turn cynic over the sorrows 
and sufferings of human life. What a painful, almost 
mocking contrast there is between the fair world under the 
sunshine of this fine spring weather and human life ! Yet I 
don't know that I deserve to have any easier lot than 
anybody else, and some have a much harder time of it 

than I have. Look at Mrs. and her family. 

I preach to others about " Waiting upon the Lord," but I 
do not get the comfort and renewal of strength from that 
communion that I ought. What a mass of contradictions 
is in my nature." 

Such revelations as these are not pleasant, but if any 



30 MEMOIR. 



fair notion is to be entertained of the difficulty under which 
my brother's work was prosecuted, fidelity to truth requires 
them. When the body flags, brain power flags, so after 
an exhausting" week there is the amusing entry. 

" 20th April. — And now I have about three weeks in 
which to make two new sermons for Sunderland, and I 
feel as if I had said all I have to say on any or every text 
in the Bible. 

9th May. — E. came home on Thursday along 

with F. . If faith had only been stronger, all 

anxiety on her account might, as the issue shows, have been 
avoided. I learn these great spiritual lessons very slowly. 
In some things I am spiritually stronger tlian I was, but in 
others, as for instance, this item of * Care,' and leaving it 
all with God, I am wofully deficient." 

One more record of the painful straits in which his con- 
stitutional infirmity sometimes placed him, and the painful 
subject must drop. 

"24th May 1874. — Returned a while ago from New 
Street, where had a very bad time altogether. That 
wretched enemy from which I have suffered so much 
seemed to be let loose upon me to start with, and I actually 
sat down after giving out only two verses of six lines eights 
for the first singing. I think I have scarcely ever been so 
put to it before. I never quite got rid of it all the time. 
The sermon was short, but delivered with a weight that 
makes one almost laugh to think that I have ever imagined 
it possible I might succeed as a preacher. I felt as if an 
appeal were not possible, and closed the sermon hardly 
able to look the people in the face. It seems strange that 
anyone with such infirmities should have been selected for 
public life. Many an abruptness and eccentricity in my 
pulpit and other public work that has been laid to the 
charge of oddity and queerness of disposition has really 
been the result of this infirmity — the painful wriggle of 
the worm upon the hook of the fisher more than anything 
else." 

If any reader, has at any time come into contact with my 
brother, and been struck by any peculiarity of manner, 
this may be the solution of the difficulty how to account for 
it. He prayed often and earnestly for the thorn to be 
removed, but as he laments in his journal without success. 



CHAPTER V. 31 



It was of physical origin, and part of the discipline through 
which he had to pass, ere like the Master he served he 
was "made perfect through suffering." Of course, there 
were every now and then services of great peace and 
power, or he could not have borne up under the load, for 
instance — 

" 3rd January, 1875. — A new experience in New Street. 
I was so moved and melted down as soon as I began to 
pray that I was obliged to stop, and could hardly get on 
anyhow. A capital time in preaching an augury I hope 
for the year. I give thanks and praise to God, and resolve 
to devote myself to Him afresh. 

19th January. — Last night I was at Centenary again, and 
we apparently managed to catch some fish. Nine or ten 
persons came down into the vestry after the service as 
seekers, of whom five, I think, professed to obtain a sense 
of pardon. I need not say I am greatly encouraged and 
stimulated. 

15th February. — Last night I went to New Street under 
great oppression of mind, and some fatigue of body which 
gradually disappeared, and I had a rare good time in the 
sermon, speaking I know " not with word only." 

28th March, 1876. — Sunday was a good day . . Towards 
the close the argument took fire, and I had a powerful 
time, feeling once more * the luxury of preaching.' In the 
evening a splendid company at Centenary. In the after 
meeting six persons came forward as penitents, five of 
whom professed to get good. That was best of all, and a 
good finish to a good day. In the morning before the fray 
began I had audience of the King, and seemed almost 
literally — certainly my spirit heard — to hear the words; 
* Have not I sent thee ?* In that strength I, and yet not 
I, conquered. 

April 23rd. — It has been a good day. I was greatly 
helped in my approach to God before the time, and in that 
comfort have got through the day." 

In the spring appeared the first symptoms of the malady 
which developed at length into the disease which proved 
fatal to my brother. His voice and throat were affected 
so that on one Sunday in March he was unable to take his 
work. The relaxation passed away after a time, .but 
references to his failure in voice power became frequent 



32 MEMOIR. 



in his journal, and on August 5th, 1876, he writes: — "My 
voice is never very clear now for long" tog"ether, wants 
frequent coughing" to remove phlegm." Yet he appre- 
hended no permanent disability from this source when he 
removed from York. 

He left the circuit with sincere reg-ret, though the work 
had been so hard to get through. His last words concern- 
ing it are — 

"25th August, '1876. — I am thankful to meet with so- 
many unmistakeable proofs that my ministry here has not 
been in vain. 

27th August. — This is my last Sunday here as one of 
their ministers. A feeling of sadness comes with the 
thought that I cannot express. It has been no small things 
to minister to such congregations as we have here, for 
three years. I fear I have not always looked at it in the 
right light. Large congregation this morning at Centenary,, 
and I had a good time, on the edge of breaking down 
through press of feeling. I think it will be a long time 
before I come across such a congregation again. Many 
plain testimonies that my work has been greatly appre- 
ciated here, for which I am thankful. And now all is over. 
I cannot realize it. I don't know which of my circuit 
periods has seemed so short. I wonder what will come of 
this next leap. I do not venture to cherish any large hopes. 
I shall carry with me the same great weakness which will 
be a trial wherever I go ; and yet I ought not to forget 
that in spite of it I have been helped through this circuit, 
and not without signs of good. So I will hope where the 
Psalmist did." 

At this period of my brother's ministry a friend writes : 
— "The remembrance of his teaching, tenderness and 
pureness of heart is a fragrant memory in the hearts of 
many never to be lost." 

The Rev. John Hugh Morgan writes : — 

" I followed your beloved and gifted brother in York,, 
where his name is * as ointment poured forth.' " 

The following from the Rev. Thomas Brackenbury may 
here be fitly inserted : — 

" In the year 1866, the lamented John H. Anderson was 
my colleague in the Manchester (Grosvenor Street) circuit,, 
then under the superintendence of the Rev. W. W. Stamp* 



CHAPTER V. 33 



Our acquaintance soon ripened into mutual confidence and 
friendship. Patiently and prayerfully he pursued his work, 
amid some discouragement and with some success. He 
won the high regard of his judicious superintendent, and 
was beloved by the people among whom he laboured. 

In 1873, we were appointed by the Conference to tihe 
York (New Street) Circuit. The Rev. W. M. Milnes and 
the Rev. W. G. Beardmore were also appointed in the 
same year. Although Mr. Anderson had then only 
travelled eleven years, he was the second minister in the 
circuit. All the four ministers were fresh on the ground, 
and were more nearly of an age than often happens. We 
entered at once into a brotherly bond of union, and our 
intercourse was of the happiest character. The preachers* 
weekly meeting was always a genial hour marked by 
cheerfulness and by devotion too. Some of Mr. Anderson's 
prayers on such occasions were unusually edifying, and 
showed that he was reverentlv familiar with the Hearer of 
prayer. He did not dissipate his influence, but gave his 
best energies to the work of God in the circuit. 

His gifts as a preacher had become greatly matured. 
In the city pulpits he was not only acceptable, but popular ; 
and not only popular, but useful. Intelligent Christians of 
many years' standing listened with delight to his edifying 
discourses; and, not unfrequently, awakened sinners, 
smitten under the word, came openly forward as seejcers 
of forgiving mercy. The theme of his pulpit ministrations 
was decidedly evangelical. He was emphatically a minister 
of " the Word." He had enlightened and settled convic- 
tions, and therefore did not awaken religious doubts in the 
minds of his hearers, but confirmed them in the faith. His 
sermons were carefully prepared, and were always the 
fruit of recent thought. He was capable of rapid produc- 
tion, and this enabled him to find time for a somewhat 
extensive course of reading, the results of which enriched 
his ministry. Both in private conversation and public dis- 
course, he indulged, frequently, in a series of interrogations. 
He searched beneath the surface, and brought out hidden 
meanings. To a lively imagination, he added a well 
furnished vocabulary, and hence his discourses abounded 
in freshness and beauty. Owing to physical weakness 
preaching was to him an exhausting toil. He could not.be 



34 MEMOIR. 



bcxsterous, but there was a quiet power which, somehow, 
made deep impression upon his congf relations. 

As a pastor he was conscientious and painstaking". He 
had literary tastes, and a constitutional love of retirement ; 
but he cheerfully practised self-denial, and devoted precious 
hours every week to the work of visiting the neg-lig-ent, 
the suffering and the poor. In this respect he set a worthy 
example to those who would excuse themselves on the 
ground of uncongenial tastes and tendencies. 

His care for the work of Methodism in the villages was 
practically manifested. No place was neglected because 
it was small or distant. " Give me some good long rides," 
he would say, when he knew the circuit plan was being 
cirranged. The hours before the week-day evening 
services were diligently utilized for the purpose of visita- 
tion, and in many a village home he will long be 
remembered. 

During the latter part of his term in York his physical 
debility somewhat increased, but a few days' change ap- 
peared to rally him, and he would return with new 
cheerfulness and vigour to the work he loved. 

Gifts and graces he possessed in more than common 
measure. Pure in purpose, high in aim, gentle in disposi- 
tion, patient under trial, candid almost to abruptness, 
willing always to oblige, richly imbued with the spirit of 
Jesus, he loved, and was beloved. He formed many 
warm friendships, and they will be renewed in a happier 
clime." 



CHAPTER VI. 

HALIFAX. 1876— 1878. 

My brother's next appointment was Halifax, (South 
Parade) circuit, to which he came by invitation. He 
entered upon his work hopefully. The beauty of the 
surrounding- country he greatly appreciated, and felt to be 
a pleasant contrast to the flatness and tameness of York. 
But from the beginning" his vocal organs gave him anxiety, 
and he gives utterance to his fears of a complete break- 
down in that direction. For instance : — 

"7th January, 1877. — ^This unpleasant condition of the 
throat throws a great gloom over me. I see an ultimate 
break down and enforced rest, and I don't know what 
beside. On Tuesday came an invitation from the Mission- 
ary Committee in London to go in May and take part in 
the Anniversary Services. If this affection of the throat 
doesn't get any better, I shall not be able to go. 

2 1 St January. The record of many a Sabbath is little 
more than this — * getting through.' Yet I have whereof 
to be thankful even in this, but it will not be known till 
" the day shall declare it.'" 

His anxiety for visible fruit to his labour did not diminish. 
He records a few conversions, but was depressed by 
apparent want of success at South Parade. 

4th February, 1877. — No visible conversions again I I 
begin to feel that South Parade will more than demand 

D 2 



36 MEMOIR. 



the very best that I can do. That best, however, as long- 
as I stay here, I am resolved to give, and hope for the 
best." That best was rewarded as he desired, though not 
to the extent he wished. The comparative smallness of 
the congregations at Halifax, after those he had left at 
York, acted depressingly, but he was often conscious of 
gracious help. 

At the end of April he went to London, and spoke at the 
Missionary Breakfast at the Cannon Street Hotel. His 
subject was " the Tarrying Vision," and the speech itself 
a complete success. Many tokens of appreciation followed. 
It was felt both in the provinces and London that he had 
made his mark. The sermons on the Missionary Sunday 
were also greatly praised. 

The affection of his throat did not improve. While his 
brief summer holiday improved his general health, his 
throat continued relaxed, in spite of the remedies employed. 
Special help was, however, given when needed. 

" 22nd July, 1877. — I have been specially helped from 
above, both morning and night, and to preach has in con- 
sec^uence been a pleasure. Two persons professed to find 
salvation to-night in the after meeting. 

20th Aug. — Finished sermon on Saturday and launched 
it last night here having good time. One young man 
professed to get salvation after. Considerable spiritual 
help given both times." 

in September he went to Matlock Bridge, and tried the 
hydropathic treatment, but received harm rather than 
good, as a general weakness of the system supervened. 
In addition to his throat trouble he had to contend with 
feeble action of the heart. But in spite of all, he enjoyed 
preaching, and had visible success, while for a few Sundays 
more he continued to work. After the 9th December he 
was compelled to take rest, and did not resume his labours 
until April 1878. He derived considerable benefit from a 
sojourn at Grange-over-Sands. The entries in his journal 
at this time are very touching, but show that in his weak- 
ness he was not forsaken. 

" 14th February, 1878, Grange. — I think I can say that 
I have gathered strength since I came here. The heart is 
decidedly stronger and I seem to have got rid of those 
night sweats. Still these are only comparative statements 



CHAPTER VI. 37 



and how long" it may take before I am fit for work again, 
I cannot tell, and at times fear to think of. I sometimes 
fear the Lord is going" to let me go to pieces, as a vessel 
no long"er fit for sea, and then I think of wife and children, 
and shrink away from it. I should not be surprised if it 
turns out to be June or July before I can resume work. 
Of course, I know I have no claim to live, and my work in 
the Church and world can easily be dispensed with. My 
only plea when begging" the boon of health at the throne 
is — God's unmerited mercy in Christ. Here I am, not 
knowing what all this may end in, and needing sorely to 
be held up by Divine hands. The Bible has been very 
precious to me these quiet days. It has not been often 
that I have read it without getting a blessing lately." 

As the summer approached his health improved, and by 
the advice of his friends, he accepted an invitation to 
become Superintendent of the Brighton Circuit, hoping for 
complete restoration from the change to that mild 
climate. The friends at Halifax, though sorry to part 
with him, felt he had taken a wise step. With mingled 
hope and fear he entered on what proved to be his last 
sphere of labour. 



CHAPTER VII. 

BRIGHTON AND CONCLUSION. 1 878 188O. 

My brother's hopes of reinvig-orated health were not 
realized. The record of the year's work, which somehow 
or other he got through, may be summed up in his own 
words as " a struggle for life." It is easy to be wise after 
the event, but there can be no question that what was. 
needed was, a year's rest in a mild climate, and not a year's 
work. In addition to the responsibility of the superinten- 
dency, which did not sit lightly on him, he felt the claims, 
of his congregations to be very important, and if he ever 
gained any strength during the week, he lost it all in the 
pulpit on the Sunday. Yet hoping against hope and 
encouraged by his medical adviser, who feared the effects 
of despondency, if he gave up work, he struggled on. It 
is painful to trace in the entries in his journal the stages 
of the long conflict between hope and fear through which 
he passed. It is grievous, too, to think that the eyes, 
of his friends were holden that they did not see the 
necessity of immediate and prolonged cessation of labour ; 
but regrets are unavailing, and we can only bow in sub- 
mission to that Providence which permits or appoints all 
that happens to God's children, and which in the day of 
eternity will be found to have done all things welL 
Perhaps it will be well to let my brother speak for himself 
from the pages of his journal. 



CHAPTER vn. 39 



"September 28th, 1878. — ^The climbing of these hills 
and the distance of the chapels, &c., from here have acted 

prejudicially on my heart. I have been to Dr. M. 

about things in general, but privately have had serious 
fears that I shall be compelled to give over here before 
long, and have rest again. 

30th. — At night, Dorset Gardens. When I got down I 
felt for some cause ready almost to faint, and wondered 
much how ever I could get through. But somehow I got 
better and had a good time in the sermon, and held a 
prayer meeting too. Certainly I was greatly helped. 
There were manifest signs of religious quickening about. 
If only health were allowed me, I should enjoy this place 
I think. 

26th October. — A record of little else during the past 
four weeks, but an endeavour to do work against the 
weight of weakness. I have gained just a little strength 
perhaps but nothing to boast of, and I hardly know what 
is to be the end thereof. 

1 6th November. — I think I am gradually gaining a little 
strength. I am certainly a good deal stronger than when 
I came here. 

1 8th November. — ^Yesterday at both services I was con- 
scious of help from above and proportionately enjoyed the 
services. The voice question was in the best condition 
since I have come here, and I really begin to think I may 
get back again the ability to speak without discomfort. 
Tried hard to catch souls at night, but don't know if any 
were caught. 

2 1 St December. — Last Sunday which was very cold, I 
enjoyed on the whole, having more vigour to work with. 
Held a Society Meeting at Norfolk Road, and felt I was 
helped generally during the day. I am beginning to 
positively enjoy preaching at Norfolk Road, which for a 
long time I only managed to get through. I seem to be 
quietly gathering strength through God's great goodneijs, 
which I mean to use for Him if I am allowed.'' Yet after 
the new year set in things took again a graver turn. 

" i8th January, 1869. — I have grave fears as to what 
this weakness is to end in, whether even now I may not be 
in the first stages of consumption. I think if I am allowed 
to regfain health, I shall preach with greater effect than 



40 MEMOIR. 



before. I feel as if that were in me somehow, but whether 
it will ever be wanted, who can tell ?'* 

On the night of the loth February he was alarmed by 
symptoms of blood-spitting, which, however, soon passed 
away, and in March he was considerably stronger. He 
writes : — 

29th March. — Dr. H. says he doesn't see why 

I should not accept their invitation, and stay and face the 
necessary work. This makes me feel that possibly God 
may after all restore me to health, and gives me a feeling 
of greater interest in life generally. 

1 2th April. — This week has been rather more burdened 
with physical weakness and its suggestions. I am partly 
inclined to think that I grow a little less strong, and that 
the malady in the bronchi is really going lower still. I 
don't know how it may terminate, but He who keeps the 
keys of Hades and Death will order all things will. 

26th April. — Weakness as usual all the week. I get no 
better in that respect, and the ever varying difficulties I 
have with voice in attempting to speak are sometimes a 
caution. Still I have some strength, and as the Sundays 
come round, I feel secret influences stirring me up to faith, 
and hope and energy. Still this cannot go on long I should 
think. I must get better or get worse by and bye, and I fear 
the latter, but if I live till to-morrow I will try to use 
what strength I have in another attempt at preaching." 

At the end of May he started on a holiday excursion, 
hoping for improvement in health, but he took cold on the 
very first day in journeying, and returned home in the 
course of three weeks worse rather than better. Yet 
again he rallied and did his work, though beyond all doubt 
he ought to have rested completely. He writes : — 

" 26th July. — All I know is that I keep going on preach- 
ing somehow, and getting through. But oh ! the difficulty 
of locomotion, especially in the afternoon. However, God 
knows all about it, and deals rightly with me beyond all 
question. If He be going by and bye to take me, I hope I 
shall be ready. The majority I know is over there, and 

Arthur and P. and S. and many, many more whom 

I have known. I don't know what to think of it hardly. 
I incline to the thought that the downward progress must 
continue, and I shall presently find that I am too weak to go on. 



CHAPTER Vn. 41 



2 1 St August. — Last Sunday I had perhaps as much 
vigour; if not more than I have had on any Sunday since 
I came here, and was helped from above beyond all 
•question both times. I had a capital time at Dorset Gardens, 
^nd at night although I read the sermon the ' Anointing 
was upon me.' 

A fresh cold was taken just after this, and resulted in 
increased lassitude. One record, however, shall be given. 

" 15th August. On Wednesday at Dorset Gardens I did 
enjoy the service — although very tired — and extemporized 
to some extent with some of the best effects of speaking, 
:and I put down what was, humanly speaking, a successful 
effort entirely to the compassion and aid of God who knew 
how tired I was, and who would show me once more that He 
is near in time of need. It was a rememberable instance 
*of Divine help." 

After this his strength rapidly declined. His doctor, at 
the beginning of September, advised a short sea voyage. 
His friend, Mr. George Lidgett, who was at that time 
living in Brighton, offered him a passage in one of his 
vessels, but advised that first an additional medical opinion 
should be obtained. My brother writes : — 

" 7th September, 1879. — Things physical not good with 
me. Appetite more and more depraved, and strength 
proportionately giving way. Moreover, these night sweats 
have been more and more violent. So I was examined 

^gain yesterday by Dr. H. ^who said he could find no 

increase of mischief from last time, but cordially approved 
of the suggestion of a cruise somewhere or other for a 
month or two. Mr. Lidgett has kindly interested himself 
in my case, and offered me a passage in one of his ships, 
rso what will come of it I hardly know yet, only that this 
seems clear, that if possible I ought to go somewhere or 
other, and attempt to live if I can. I must not say I am 
•overwhelmed in the midst of all this, but I think I never 
was in such need of help of all kinds as now. I can 
indeed look with the interest of sympathy on the heading 
of the Psalm "De Profundis," &c., I am in the depths 
just now. I went down to Norfolk Road this morning, and 
read the sermon ; I couldn't do more. I heard the sermon on 
Thursday night — also read from the same cause — had been 
largely useful to many. I wonder if I shall ever get out of 



42 MEMOIR. 



this, and be strong to labour again, or if I am to go down 
and down into the great silence." 

On this day he preached his last sermons. The voice 
that had so faithfully and eloquently declared the Gospel 
message was henceforward to be heard in public no more. 
His last discourse was from the text, Luke iv., i8and 19th 
verses, " The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he 
hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor ; he 
hath sent me to heal the broken hearted, to proclaim 
deliverance to the captives, and recovery of sight to the 
blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the 
acceptable year of the Lord.'' As a humble follower of 
his Divine Master, that passage expresses the spirit in which 
my brother laboured, and such a theme as " Jesus the 
Messiah," fitly closed his public career. 

He went with Mr. Lidgett to consult Dr. Wilkes, of 
London, who at once ordered absolute rest from preaching 
or labour of any kind, and stated that a voyage would 
afford my brother the best chance of recovering health. 
After this interview follows the last entry in my brother's 
well kept journal : — 

"Tuesday night, September i6th, 1879. — ^ ^^ ^^ be 
counted now as among those afflicted with the awful 
disease of consumption. I went up to London on Thursday, 
and saw Dr. Wilkes on Friday, v\ ho said there was a spot 
in the left 'lung at the top. I knew the rest, and I think he 
is correct, and that Dr. Hughes is not very far from the 
same opinion. Of course, it has been a great trial to go- 
through, but now I feel calmer and more at ease about it. 
I must do no work here now, and get off to New Zealand,, 
or wherever it is, with all convenient speed. I should be 
in an awful fix now without religion, but I think that if I 
am called to die, I shall have grace to do it." 

Mr. Lidgett expected that the vessel in which my brother- 
was to sail would touch at the Cape on the way to New 
Zealand, and in that case it was thought best that my 
brother should land at the Cape, and proceed to Graham's- 
Town, the climate of which was highly recommended to 
him by the Rev. W. H. Tindall, who had been restored to 
health by a visit there, after being similarly affected. 
But Mr. Lidgett was disappointed in being able to procure 
a cargo for the Cape, and could only succeed in obtaining 



CHAPTER VII. 43, 



one partly for Mauritius and partly for Rangoon. It was. 
therefore ultimately decided that my brother, accompanied 
by his wife and children, should sail for Mauritius, and 
if benefited by the voyage, go on to Rangoon. Thence 
he was to return, either by mail steamer or in the vessel 
according to circumstances. 

The necessary arrangements were quickly made. 
Through the abundant and unexpected kindness of friends 
at Brighton and in his old circuits, more especially York 
and Sunderland, all anxiety about financial necessities was 
completely removed. It greatly affected my brother, as. 
post after post, right up to the day of leaving Brighton, 
brought substantial tokens of loving regard from his 
friends, and he said " This is indeed reaping carnal things, 
after sowing spiritual things. The Lord Jesus will account 
it done to him, and it will be found in the record to their 
credit at the last day." As everything had been so- 
prosperously ordered for him, from the time that a voyage 
was suggested, to make it feasible to avail himself of such 
a means of recovery of health, I tried to persuade him to- 
encourage himself with the hope of restoration ; and to- 
look upon wliat had happened as an indication of the will 
of God to grant his desire ; the more so because during 
the last three weeks he was in England there was sensible 
improvement in the absence or mitigation of some of his 
most distressing symptoms. Moreover, the medical 
opinion was most hopeful. He admitted the force of the 
argument, but replied that it would not be unworthy of the 
Great Head of the Church to remove him after all, for the 
kindness shown to him would not be wasted, but be 
recompensed to his friends at last, while he himself felt 
how good God was in removing all cause for anxiety in 
what might prove his last days In England. His thoughts 
turned sometimes to the Lake District, where we had often 
walked together when he came for health and holiday 
from Sunderland, York or Halifax. ' Would he ever see 
it again ? Would he ever climb a mountain again in this 
world ? But who could say what beauties of nature there 
would be in the heavenly world?' He spoke of the 
wonderful help he had had in preaching during the year 
at Brighton ; how graciously God had aided him to speak 
with unction in spite of his bodily weakness; and how 



44 MEMOIR. 



much better he thought he would be able to do his work 
in the future if God only gave him health. He was very 
sorry that Brighton had suffered so much from his inability 
to discharge his ministerial duties with efficiency, but 
possibly God had sent him there, to let the people see how 
a christian minister could die. With regard to his wife 
and children, he said he was sure God who had been so 
good to him, would provide for them, though he could not 
tell how ; but he left all that with Him. Thus we talked, 
•during the three weeks I spent with him helping in pack- 
ing up, &c., before he sailed, but the memory of his devout 
submission to the will of God, of the evident meetness for 
the presence of Jesus which he manifested, and the 
realizing sense he had of the things that are unseen, will 
linger as an inspiration, and an additional inducement to 
be a follower of " those who through faith and patience 
now inherit the promises.'' 

On the 15 th of October we bade good bye to Brighton. 
The night was spent at the hospitable abode of Mr. W. 
Wood, at Blackheath, his wife's uncle, and the next morn- 
ing he embarked on board the " Lorraine " at Blackwall. 
A considerable party including his, and Mrs. Anderson's 
parents, Mr. and Mrs. Wood, Mr. and Mrs. G. Lidgett, 
accompanied the travellers in the vessel as far as Graves- 
end where, in great sorrow, but also mercifully in great 
hope of meeting under more favourable circumstances in 
this world, the final adieus were spoken, and we parted to 
see his face here no more. 

Of the voyage there is little to record. Buffeted in the 
English Channel by contrary winds, forced to return to 
the Downs after getting west of Brighton, with wife and 
children sick, and having rather to nurse others than be 
nursed himself, the commencement of the journey in 
search of health was not auspicious, and it can hardly 
•excite wonder if the invalid thought the remedy was likely 
to prove worse than the disease, and was almost ready ere 
it was too late to return to land. But fairer weather came ; 
and the last letter, sent through the channel pilot, breathed 
a spirit of cheerfulness, and intimated that so far, in spite 
of bad weather, he was rather better than worse. But 
unhappily any amendment was only temporary. When 
the vessel got into warmer latitudes, he was greatly tried 



CHAPTER vn. 4S 



with the heat, and the disease made steady progress. 
Oppressed with weakness, he could do little but lie on 
deck during- the day, and hope for a speedy voyage, and 
the opportunity of returning home. Yet there were some 
days when he felt better, than on others, and then he 
would sit on the deck reading or painting, in which he 
took great pleasure, or sketching for his children. He was 
never able to conduct service on Sundays with the sailors ; 
the utmost he could do. was to have worship with his 
family, at which exercise the mate frequently joined them. 
Long before the vessel was near her destination, the 
resolution had been formed to return by the first mai> 
steamer, but for him God ordered otherwise. The 
Lorraine had rounded the Cape, and was in the Southern 
Indian Ocean, when on the night of the 27th December my 
brother was seized with hemorrhage from the lungs, and 
it soon became evident that the end was not far distant. 
After the first attack was over, he slightly rallied, and 
hoped he might be restored sufficiently to see his wife and 
children home again. When, however, increasing debility 
showed that he could not be here long, he desired to speak 
one more word for Christ before he laid down his com- 
mission, and asked that some of the sailors might be 
summoned, one by one, to receive his dying admonition. 
He was urged to spare his strength, but replied — " No> 
this is such a fine opportunity, and I want to be a preacher 
of Christ to the very end." His wish was granted ; with 
what result the Great Day will declare. When talking 
was difficult, he wrote on a sheet of paper : " I think there 
can be no doubt I am soon going to die. I have peace, 
but no great joy." He also wrote a touching letter to his 
parents, in which he says : — 

" I fear my coming back to see you all is not possible. 
I think Jesus is sending for me very soon, and I must go 
to Heaven instead of England. I shall be glad to go, but 
I want you and Papa to know that I love you very much,, 
and shall joyfully look forward to seeing you soon in the 
presence of Christ." It was subscribed — 

Your affectionate Son for Ever, 

John Henry Anderson." 

Afterwards, the following lines were addressed to me : 
** You and I will climb no more mountains here. I am 



^5 MEMOIR. 

swiftly jiToing' to Jesus, but my best love is yours, and you 
will come after me, and who can tell what Scaw-fells we 
may find in Heaven." 

No doubt he had often revolved in his mind the subject 
of one of our last conversations at Brighton, but 
what was uncertain then became a certainty now, he 
would n(;ver in this world climb a mountain again. The 
most assiduous attention was paid to his wants during 
his last brief illness. The services of the mate, Mr. C. 
Johnson, and of Mr. West, a son of the Rev. T. West, and 
one of the aj)prentices in the vessel, were invaluable, 
whilt; his sorrowing wife bore up bravely to the last in her 
ministry of love. As the end drew near, he continually 
sjH)k<' of his love to Jesus, and his joy at the thought of going 
home to 1h? with Him. He said the fear of dying was 
completely removed. 

At last th(; summons came. He was heard faintly to 
whisper, *• Yes, if you'll help, Pll climb," and in a few 
inottu'tits all was over, and his spirit released from the 
poor frail worn body, had mounted to the presence of the 
Master whom he had so loved, and the happiness of that 
lile where there is no more death. The official record 
was as follows : — 

"Barque Lorraine, Jan. 3rd, 1880. 

At twenty minutes after two this morning died the Rev. 
John Henry Anderson, aged 38 years and 6 months. 
Latitude of ship, 28 dc^. 31 min. S. Longitude of ship, 
i}\ deg. ^() min. 1^^. Apparent time at Greenwich being 
Jaftiiary 2nd 10.13 p.m. At 4 p.m. of the same day read 
the Burial Service of the Church of England, and com- 
mitt(Ml his body to the deep, the crew being all present. 
I'osition of interment, Lat. 27 dcg. 24 min. S. Long. 
•(>i deg. 43 min. K. P. Nowlan." (Captain.) 

Three days afterwards the Lorraine arrived at Mauritius, 
^iiul anchored in the harbour of Port Louis. Mrs. Anderson 
and her children took the first steamer home, touching at 
Cape lown, St. Helena, and Madeira, and on the 19th of 
b'ebruary, arrived at Plymouth. 

The following notice in the "Methodist Recorder" of 
Vvh, 27th, 1880, is from the pen of the late Dr. Punshon, 
-a warm friend of my brother, whose own decease a 
ibercaved church now sadly mourns : 



CHAPTER vn. 47 



" It is with no ordinary regret that we have to announce 
the death of the Rev. John H. Anderson, of Brighton, a 
young minister of more than common promise. Many 
in various parts of the kingdom will mourn his loss. He 
had a winning manner, a graceful elocution, a refined 
taste, and a well furnished and cultivated mind. He had 
also wide sympathies and a generous soul. His address 
at the Missionary Breakfast Meeting a few years ago will 
be long remembered for its fervid and chastened eloquence. 
If he had been favoured with robust health, he might have 
risen to eminence in the Connexion. But he fulfilled a 
useful ministry, and his sacrafice has been early accepted, 
and he has entered into his rest, The sting of Death was 
taken away, and, in the calmness of a resigned and 
thankful spirit, he submitted himself to the will of God — 
not insensible to the prospect of being cut off in the midst 
of his days, but conscious that 

*' The Father's hand prepared the onp, 
And what He willed was best.'* 

From the numerous letters of sympathy received after 
the news of his decease arrived we have only space for 
the following extracts : — 

From the Rev. J. F. Broughton, of York : — " It was with 
profound sorrow that we heard of his death. I can assure 
you that nowhere is this loss to the church more deeply 
lamented than in York, where his fine christian character, 
his conscientious discharge of pastoral duties, and his' 
brilliant gifts as a preacher, were highly appreciated. His 
memory will long remain fragrant here among a people 
who loved and honoured him." 

From the Rev. W. G. Beardmore : — " Pray accept my 
sincerest and deepest sympathy in your great loss. As a 
colleague of your son, I found him ever true, candid and 
sincere ; modest in his estimate of himself, and generous 
in his praise of others. He was an earnest and industrious 
pastor, and a gifted preacher." 

The writer earnestly hopes that the sending forth of this 
memorial volume may serve to rescue from a premature 
oblivion the memory of a faithful minister of the Lord 
Jesus ; give encouragement to young ministers, shrinking 
from the difficulties of their holy but arduous work, to 
persevere ; and revive in those who were members of his 



48 MEMOIR. 



brother's congreg^ations, hallowed recollections of those 
" seasons of grace and sweet delight," when he, whose 
voice is now hushed in death, was privileged to conduct 
their devotions, and minister to them so efficiently the word 
of Life. Most of all does he desire that his brother though 
dead may yet speak here, so that believers may be 
edified, and sinners won to the service of that Saviour wha 
so early called him to his reward. One by one the servants 
of Jesus, however gifted, pass away to receive their reward 
from His own lips and in His own presence, while a 
sorrowing Church, lamenting their loss, and in danger of 
trusting for success too much in the servants, and too little 
in the Master, is taught the lesson which appears as a 
favourite quotation in my brother's journals, that " we have 
this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the 
power may be of God, and not of us." 

To Him who alone can call and qualify men for efficient 
service in His Church, be all the glory for the gift to His 
Church of the subject of this memoir, and for whatever 
good he was enabled to accomplish, during his, to our 
thinking, all too brief earthly career. 



SERMONS. 



SERMON I. 

THE BENEFITS OF WAITING UPON THE LORD. 

" But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength^ 
they shall mount up with wings as eagles: they shall run 
and not be weary ; and they shall walk and not faint,** — 
Isaiah xl, 31. 

WE have here some of the benefits of waiting* upon God 
as they appeared in long* past ages to the fervid soul 
of the prophet Isaiah. True Messenger of the Old Cove- 
nant, he continues to speak under the New, and his 
impassioned utterances challenge our attention equally 
with the arguments of Paul, the righteous invective of 
Jude, the curt simplicity of James, and the divine dogma- 
tism of John. So largely, indeed, has he drunk into the 
Spirit of the latter days, that we might often fancy him 
one of those pastors and teachers whom the All-wise 
Spirit has set in the Church for the edifying of the body 
of Christ ; and though this particular deliverance betrays 
the mountain-loving, danger-courting spirit of an old 
Hebrew Seer, it might not inaptly be the message of the 
gentlest ambassador of the Gospel of Peace. On this 
subject of Communion with God and the blessings which 
spring out of it. Prophets and Apostles are in perfect har- 
mony, and the watchmen on the walls of Jewish Privilege 
and Christian Liberty see eye to eye. 

Let us listen to this old message, which is also new. 
What does the Prophet say? He says : — 

I. — They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. 
This sounds a little as if they had difficult work to do, 
as if this godly life of theirs involved a considerable tax 
upon their spiritual strength ; as if they were in danger of 
becoming " weary and faint in their minds." Is this really 
so ? What do you say. Christian tradesman, who have 

£ 2 



52 WAITING UPON THE LORD. 

been occupying" with the merchandise of earth all the busy 

week, whose brain is hardly yet free from the buzz and 

chaffer of the shop ; or you who live amongst fig-ures all 

the day ; or you who work amid the rattle of many 

hammers, or the dust and heat of glowing- furnaces ; or 

you who delve the soil, or climb the rigging, or hew the 

timber, or square the stone ? Is this really so ? What do 

you say upon whom God hath laid the responsibilities of 

home and family ? Does it ever come to pass that your 

strength needs renewal? Are children always docile? 

Are companions always helpful? Are servants always 

the true helps they might be ? Is the government of the 

household a lesson that can be learnt in a day ? What do 

you say, christian citizen, in these stirring times ? In the 

rub and conflict of opinion, in the haste and heat of 

public meetings, in the excitement of discussion, in 

the hot encounters of the political or civic arena, 

do you find no special call made upon your faith 

and godliness ? What do you often say whom the arrows 

of affliction have wounded ? Is it an easy matter to bear 

up beneath the torment of trembling nerves, and the 

sharper anguish of head and heart ? Do the days when 

you count the hours till sundown, and the nights when you 

lie and long" for the morning" make no demand on patience ? 

Or you who feel the sharper pang because those you love 

are suffering — is that sick chamber where you watch no 

scene of conflict ? Does the mystery of evil never come 

out to meet you ? Does the strange riddle of this mortal 

life never demand solution at your hands. 

What do you say to this — just escaped from the bondage 
of iniquity, and learning for the first time the awful secret 
of the " temptation of the devil ?'' Do you find the meshes 
of his net airy as gossamer, and only needing a breath to 
break them ? Are his suggestions no more to you than 
the ravings of a madman, or the gabble of a fool ? Or 
you who are almost in sight of the city, and " not ignorant 
of his devices" — does it still cost you nothing to say " No" 
to evil ? Does this " wrestling not with flesh and blood" 
seem to you mere child's play ? Is " the hour and power 
of darkness" nothing more to you than a phrase of some 
fertile fancy ? 

What do you say — ^busied this last week in the Church's 



WAITING UPON THE LORD. 5 J 

work ? Do men always receive your message ? Do you 
never cry, " Lord who hath believed our report ?" Sower 
in the Lord's wheat-field — do you always gather in a 
harvest ? Herald of the Lord's coming — do His subjects 
never laugh defiance in your face ? Proclaimer of the 
Lord's mercy — does every guilty sinner receive your 
tidings ? Preacher of the Lord's Gospel — is your word 
always " mixed with faith" in them that hear it? In your 
necessary contact with the dullness, and the obstinacy, and 
the littleness, and the selfishness, and the vanity, and the 
self-conceit of men, do you never feel inclined to say — 
" Lord, send by whom thou wilt send, but not by me ?" 
Worker in the Lord's vineyard — when your motives are 
misjudged and your deeds condemned, when after your 
best endeavours to help men, you are met by aggravated 
insult, and it seems as if the holier your intention, the 
harsher their criticism, do you never feel inclined to throw 
it up altogether, and if they will go wrong, to let them ? 
Ah I brethren, why do I thus speak ? Do we not all know, 
who know anything of the life of faith, our need of a 
power not our own to save us ? Have we not all learnt, 
by painful experience, how easily the firmest resolutions 
become enfeebled in the day of trial, and how certainly, 
if left to our own resources, we faint and fall ? Nay, 
though we have in some sort learnt to gather strength 
from the right source, who of us does not feei the 
necessity of again and again returning to that sacred 
fountain, lest languor deepen into weariness, and weari- 
ness sicken into swooning, and from swooning we sink 
into sin ? To all such the promise of the Scripture will 
be very welcome, " They that wait upon the Lord shall 
renew their strength." 

The least that this can mean is that they shall stand 
their ground. He whom they talk with will give them 
moment by moment grace to "hold fast whereunto 
they have attained," and though they know not how 
exactly, they shall find that from each audience with the 
King, they come away clothed with power. But it must 
mean something inore than " they shall not retreat — these 
soldiers of the Cross," though in a warfare such as ours not 
to have yielded is itself a victory. It must mean " they 
shall advance," they shall make sure and steady progress 



54 WAITING UPON THE LORD. 

against the foe ; and though they may not all at once rejoice 
over his absolute withdrawal from the field, they shall 
know that he is falling back on all hands. But the margin 
speaks of this renewal as a change of strength^ as if it would 
remind us of the manysidedness of the grace of God^ and its 
perfect adaptability to our ever-changing needs. It seems 
to say to us that if we are called to journey, prayer will be 
the staff for our hands to lean on, or the shoes for our feet 
to wear. If heavy weather threaten us, prayer shall be 
a refuge from the tempest, and a covert from the storm. 
If the sun beat hot upon our head, prayer shall be the green 
leaves that shelter, or the great rock that shades. If 
prosperity crown us, prayer shall keep us from forgetting" 
God ; if adversity buffet us, prayer shall save us from 
charging God foolishly. If we have to fight against our 
Master's enemies, prayer shall keep the shield unbroken, 
and the sword-edge sharp. If we have to bear our 
Master's cross, {)rayer will help us to be at ease beneath 
the burden, and to glory in the shame. If the World assault 
us, prayer will help us to detect its purpose, to disbelieve 
its promise's, to despise its honours, to defy its frowns. If 
the Flesh assault us, prayer, like some holy Samuel, shall 
hew the soft-lipped traitor in pieces before the Lord ; and 
if th(; Devil assault us, prayer shall give us power to utter, 
**(iet thee behind me Satan," and then, as in our Master's 
darker trial, it shall be as if we heard the whisperings of 
the Angels' sympathy, and the glorious music of the 
Angels' song. 

**'rhey shall renew their strength." But the prophet 
goes on to say 

II. — They shall mount up with iriugs as eagles. 
This seems to say that the life of communion with God 
is not a long series of vapid and unemotional hours, or a 
dead level of mechanical and spiritless employments, but 
a life that has rare and glorious experiences, holy aspira- 
tions, ennobling thoughts, spirit-stirring hopes, ecstatic 
emotions. ** Wings as eagles" — how shall I explain this ? 
But for the fact that I have stood sometimes after long 
climbing where the eagle makes her nest, and seen for a 
moment or two what she sees always, I should have 
hardly any idea of it, but I see a little of its meaning, 
I think. 



WAITING UPON THE LORD. 55 

I. — Purer air, for one thing". Down there, the dust and 
dirt of cities ; noisome odours, filling street, and court, and 
alley ; choking fogs that hang over the black flood that 
men call the river ; long rows of chimneys vomiting forth 
their defiling breath ; vile abominations breeding fever ; 
numberless evils that pour their sickness-making influences 
on the heavy air ; but up above, grasses waving* in 
perennial greeness ; flowers putting on their own gorgeous 
apparel; fragrant odours of earth that bring back memories 
of Eden ; breezes that bring the colour to the cheek, and 
the spring to the muscle, and the flash to the eye. It shall 
be so, it is so, with those that " wait upon the Lord." 
While they who mind earthly things are down there, and 
always must be down there, and they who desire good- 
ness, but follow it afar off, if they mount with wings at all, 
mount with but feeble flutter, and are soon down again, 
they who wait upon the Lxjrd are high above them ; and 
there is a vigour about their profession, and a spring 
about their Christian activities, and a beauty about their 
goodness, and a perfume about their piety, that the others 
never know. 

2. — Clearer Vision, for another thing. Down there the 
view is often spoiled by creeping mists and gloomy 
shadows, and look how you will, men seem like trees 
walking ; but, up where the eagle hovers, you will see 
things in their proper shape and colour. Is not this true 
of those that wait upon the Lord ? Down below it looked 
like a premeditated insult ; up above it was a piece of mere 
f orgetf ulness, not worth taking any notice of. Down below 
it seemed an irreparable injury ; up above it was a mere 
scratch upon the skin. Down below it was a formidable 
duty , up above a precious privilege. Down below it was 
a knotted cord, wielded by a cruel foe ; up above it looked 
like a Father's chastening, dealt out by a Father's hand. 
Downbelow it was a frowning thundercloud ; up above it 
was seen that there was light upon the other side. Down 
below the trial seemed like a stroke of vengeance ; up 
above it was a touch of tenderest compassion. Down 
below it was a sickness that enfeebled the body ; but up 
above you saw that it had strengthened the soul, and what 
in the gloom down there was a bereavement that covered 
the heart with darkness and filled the eyes with tears, in 



S6 WAITING UPON THE LORD. 

the light above was seen to be a messengfer from the 
Master's presence, that summoned to the Master's home. 

3. — Untroubled quiet y moreover. Has that never struck 
you — you that have climbed at times— the rare stillness 
of the mountain tops ? 

But for the wind that breathes about you, or the hum of 
some wandering" bee, or the cry of some bird that loves 
the hills — nothing ! No roar of city life, no clang of 
hammers, no whirr of machinery ; these are far beneath 
you. Hushed also is the low of cattle, and the tinkle of 
the sheep-bell, the brawl of the brook, and the rattle and 
roar of the cataract — all hushed and still ! Would it be 
so if we listened from the wings of the eagles ? It is so 
when we walk with God. No one knows but he who has 
the secret of this Divine communion, how deep a quiet 
God breathes about the heart that loves to speak to Him. 
Hushed is the din of busy life around him, hushed the roar 
and racket of the godless world, hushed is the vain 
jangling of false philosophies, and the noisy challenge of 
contending creeds ; hushed is the babble of the frivolous, 
and the laughter of the fool ; hushed is the threatening of 
tyranny and the boasting of pride ; hushed is the wailing- 
of sorrow and the shrieking of despair ; hushed often, too, 
the hiss of Satan's vile suggestions ; while in a peace that 
passeth understanding, the praying spirit listens to the still 
small voice of God. 

4. — Rare landscapes^ too, greet his eye who mounts up 
with wings as eagles. You know what it is too look X)n 
Nature from the level. Can you fancy what it must be to 
look from eagles' wings ? Can you fancy what it is to have 
beneath you the beauty of the earth from horizon to 
horizon ? Look ! Brooks lying among the fields like 
threads of silver, rivers like bars of light ; yonder the 
ploughed fields, bare and brown, and there the meadows, 
dressed in living green. Far off the mighty city, covered 
with its smoky pall ; nearer you the little village lying on 
the slopes of the hills, or nestling in their wooded hollows ; 
and, dotted here and there, over hill and valley, solitary 
farmsteads ; while, higher up among the rocks, are huts 
for shepherds, and lonely folds for sheep. And there the 
reedy marsh where the wild fowl nestle, and there the pool 
where the village children play, and there the lake over 



_^ 



WAITING UPON THE LORD. 57 

which the white sails glide. And yonder, pleasant foot- 
paths lying through field and fallow, and yonder, lonesome 
roads creeping over moor and moss. And all around you 
splintered crag and massive boulder, beetling cliff and 
lichen-covered cairn, hill on hill lifting their hoary summits 
to the skies, and far away in the distance the shining glory 
of the silver sea ! It is like that with those that wait upon 
the Lord. Lifted up on faith's strong eagle pinions (wer 
the great World of God's written revelation what prospects 
they rejoice in ! What order and beauty, harmony and 
sublimity they descry ! Here crags of warning, and there 
meadows rich with promise ; here rills that whisper truth, 
and there torrents that roar it ; here moorsides fragrant 
with the wild flowers of a heathen's goodness, and there 
fenced-in gardens, where grow the rarer beauties of a 
Christian's trust; here the straight and narrow way of 
duty, and there the slippery by-path of a selfish ease — 
while all around them rise the untrodden hills of prophecy 
and promise that sink and swell and lose themselves, where 
in the softened radiance of an Eternal Sunshine break and 
ripple the waves of the sea of glass. 

Or if these pinions raise him above the world of human life^ 
it is still the same with him — he sees what none others see. 
He sees order where others see confusion. He sees troubles 
working trust, follies making way for wisdom, wars and 
tumults heralding the reign of peace. He sees the discoveries 
of science, the achievements of art, and the judgments of 
philosophy serving to assist religion. In the downfall of 
old tyrannies, in the spread of commerce, in the broaden- 
ing of the people's liberties, and the better understanding 
of the people's rights, he sees not chaos or chance, but 
God — God " putting down the mighty from their seats, and 
exalting them of low degree," God binding men's furious 
passions, God curbing men's restless souls, God maintain- 
ing His rightful authority, God executing His most holy 
laws, God remembering His most faithful promises, God 
proclaiming His everlasting Gospel, God preparing the 
heathen to be Messiah's inheritance, and the whole con- 
verted world to be Messiah's crown ! Shall I say once 
more that they that wait upon the Lord shall have 

5. — Unclouded Sunshine? Yes, it is gloriously possible. 
This is not poetic rhapsody, but sober truth. What is that 



S8 WAITING UPON THE LORlT. 

"* fulness of joy" that Jesus pressed upon his disciples ? Is 
not that unclouded sunshine ? What is that perfect love 
of which St. John so often speaks ? What is that being 
*' filled with all the fulness of God" for which St. Paul in 
his letter to the Ephesians was instructed to pray ? Have 
we not here as much as may be known on earth of the 
perfect bliss of heaven ? Phrase it how you please, when 
a man walks with God and talks with God — and according 
to that g-reat Scripture, they " have fellowship one with 
another" — if his joy do not mount up to the ecstasy of those 
who see Him as He is, it is at any rate not broken by 
interruption or bedimmed by cloud. With this joy " no 
strang-er intermeddleth," into this holy secret no sinner 
pries, but they " that wait upon the Lord" may know it, 
and though the infirmities of mortality are upon them, it 
is not wrong- to say that they are 

" Like some tall cliff that lifts its awful form, 
Bwt^lls from the vale and midway leaves the storm. 
While round its breast the rolling clouds are spread. 
Eternal Sunshine settles on its head."* 

But that is' not all. The prophet tells us 

III. — They shall run and not he weary, 

I can only mention now one of the many meanings this 
may bear, or rather what seems to me the pith of them 
all — capacity for the most strenuous exertion. They shall 
run. Wherefore ? Because the King's business requires 
haste. Would that the King's servants always felt this I 
We are too ready to imagine that our work is to be 
literally easy, and our christian witness-bearing literally 
light. But if ever the world is to be won to Christ, we 
shall have to endure hardness for Him. We shall have 
to ponder deeply the great questions of the social and 
moral well-being of what are called the masses, the 
ignorance and depravity of our large towns, the semi- 
serfdom of the agricultural population, the great problem 
of the drunkenness that disgraces our national life and 
what can be done to remove it, and many kindred subjects 
that, as yet, we have hardly looked at. We shall have to 
lay hands to the work as well as head, and really act as 
men who vividly realize the profound statement that " God 
so loved the World that He gave His only begotten Son," 
and St. Paul's significant judgment that " if one died for 
all, then were all dead." We want the courage that will 



WAITING UPON THE LORD. SQ 

lead us to brave any danger, and to dare any difficulties 
in CJhrist's name, the whole hearted consecration which 
will set us upon doing- large works for Christ's sake, and on 
the signal of His bidding, will send us with unquestioning 
obedience to publish peace to far off tribes and nations, or 
make us stand, Jonah-like, amongst the crowds of our own 
neighbourhood, and cry—" Yet forty days and Nineveh 
shall be destroyed." That power we shall gain, and only 
gain, by waiting upon the Lord. And yet once more 

IV. — They shall walk, and not faint. Is this the same 
as saying that we shall have the power of steady 
perseverance, of patient endurance under protracted trial? 
Did the prophet put this last in his brief summary, because 
patience is usually one of those Christian graces that has 
its perfect work the latest, because the bearing of the 
Lord's burden is often much more difficult than the doing 
of the Lord's work? And was it because He would 
encourage us by the assurance that even that power, diffi- 
-cult of attainment as it is, shall yet be ours through 
prayer? Thank God for the assurance then, for we 
greatly need it ! " They shall break down under the trial," 
suggests the Devil. " N6," says the prophet, " they shall 
bear up bravely." That is, if in the great warfare it is 
not theirs to be conspicuous in the battle-field, they shall 
receive power to be loyal in the barracks. If on the seas 
of christian activity, it is not theirs to lead the squadrons 
-of exploration, they shall at least be vigilant in the road- 
stead, and alert about the shore. If in God's forest-lands 
they are not called to hew down the choicest timber, they 
shall be laborious among the brushwood, and diligent 
among the thorns. If over the great province of Duty, 
they are not called to tread the highlands of a marvellous 
and magnificent service, " along the cool sequestered vale 
of life," they shall "keep their noiseless, solitary way." 
Thus shall it be with them that wait upon the Lord. 

And now, dear brethren, all this has but one lesson 
which I want to leave with you now — be men of prayer. 
If you covet for yourselves a vigorous and enlightened 
piety, a religion that shall be good for the street as well as 
\ox the sanctuary ; if you want peace in the heart, and purity 
in the conduct ; if you desire the luxury of a conscience 
void of offence, and the sweet satisfaction of a spirit in 



60 WAITING UPON THE LORD. 

which there is no guile ; if you would be somewhere higher 
than the misty levels of doubt and fear, and somewhat 
nobler than a man who has a correct creed, but a power- 
less, passionless Christianity, if you want to live for 
something- more satisfying" than pleasure, to g-ather 
treasures more enduring than gold, and to seek for the 
honour that cometh from God only, if you desire a death- 
bed haunted by no doubt or fear, and if you wish to stand 
before the Saviour at His coming " not having spot, or 
wrinkle, or any such thing," you must partake the spirit, 
and follow the example of those who ** wait upon the Lord." 
Nothing to you is of half so much importance as this. If 
you neglect it, your spiritual life shrivels and pines into a 
miserable faintness. If you forsake it altogether, you are 
dead while you are living, but if you live in its constant 
exercise, it may be said to you, with deep and gladsome 
emphasis, that all is well. For lower service other things 
may be helpful, and other labours in place, but for you, a 
Christian, with the highest of all vocations, the most 
ennobling of all employments, and the brightest of all 
prospects, communion with God is the one thing needful,, 
always and everywhere blessed. 

Oh ! choose this one thing, and practise it. Walk with 
God, though you know no other friend. Wait upon the 
Lord, though you are denied all other companionship, and 
soon it shall be yours to rise on other wings than eagles' 
into those serener heavens where you shall serve Him^ 
and never more grow weary, and see Him without a veil 
between. 



SERMON 11. 



THE "addenda" of FAITH. 



" And beside thisy giving all diligence^ add to your faith 
virtue ; and to virtue knowledge ; and to knowledge tempe- 
rance ; and to temperance patience ; and to patience godliness ; 
and to godliness brotherly kindness ; and to brotherly kindness 
charity^ — 2nd Peter i, S-7. 

ST. PETER is speaking" here to the " Ipuilders together 
with God," and as he marks the tower of a holy life 
arising from the broad basis of a God-given faith, he says to 
them — ^" The storms are coming, and this tower needs 
strengthening to meet them. Build up these seven 
buttresses against it, for if ye do these things ye shall never 
fall." He speaks to those who labour in the Christian 
vineyard, and says to them — " Here are seven clusters of 
delicious fruit that the lord of the vineyard loves. Culti- 
vate them with all care that when He comes to receive of 
the fruits in their season, you may lay them with gladness 
at His feet." He speaks to those who are ambitious of the 
Well done of their Lord's approval, and says — ^" Here are 
seven jewels that must be cut and polished, and set upon 
the shining circlet of your faith in Him ; seek them and set 
them there, that in the day of His coming He may be 
graciously pleased to accept it, and touching it into a yet 
more perfect beauty, may place it upon your brow for 
ever." Let me try to expound His words ; to show you 
these seven buttresses of the christian character, their 
shape and form, the courses of the masonry, the quality of 
the stone ; to hold up before you these seven clusters of the 
christian Eshcol that you may see their bloom and beauty ; 
and to describe these seven gems that shine in the 
christian coronet, that you may be seized with a holy 



6(2 THE ''addenda*' QF FAITH. 

desire to have them as your own, and that in the* 
end an entrance may be ministered unto you abundantly 
into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour- 
Jesus Christ. 

Before I speak of the first of these christian graces, let 
me remind you of the significant words that precede and 
point to them all — ^" giving all diligence." It is not an 
easy work to which our Master calls us in the sense that 
we have nothing to do but to stretch out our hands to- 
grasp the luxuriant treasures of the earth that each season 
will bring of itself. We zire in ImmanueFs ground, in the 
domains of faith, sheltered and blessed by the precious- 
promises, but the ground wants tilling, and the law that 
governs its operations is that which rules in other and 
darker regions — "whatsoever a man soweth that shall he 
also reap.'* If we plough a slovenly furrow, and sow with 
careless indolence, and harrow slothf ully, even God's fields- 
of grace will laugh at us in harvest time, but if we give all 
diligence, if we summon up all our resolution, if we bend 
all (jur energy to the task, plodding on in patient perseve- 
rance to the end, then no fields shall wave with greater 
plenty, and no husbandmen shall garner more golden 
sheaves, or be glad with a merrier joy. Then giving all 
diligence, let us add to our faith 

I . — Virhte. The meaning of this word is a little differ- 
ent fr(^m that which it very generally bears now. This 
virtue is not uncorrupted innocence, the meek harmlessness. 
of an untainted purity, but a holy energy, a bold uncom- 
promising courage. How aptly this is placed at the head 
of the catalogue I Of what use will any christian be, if" 
this Ijc! laf:king? This is the muscle in his spiritual 
system ; without it, he; will be inert and feeble. If he 
journey at his Lord's command, there will be no spring 
in the footstep, no eagerness in the eye. If he bear witness, 
of his Master before men, his testimony will lackpointand 
)ovver. If he has to cultivate a j)art of his Lord's vineyard,, 
e will be languid beneath thi^ sunbeams, and shiver in the 
cold. If he has to light the good fight of faith, you had 
better j)ut him in the; rear among the baggage. The 
snorting charger that he rides will show a greater bravery 
than he. If he has to teach men of the good and right 
way, you will wonder whether he is discussing a probability 



I 



THE "addenda" of FAITH. 63 



or caressing- a doubt. If he has to struggle with tempta- 
tion he will resist the Devil with such irresolution that 
Satan will be emboldened to make another charge upon 
him. If he has to console the troubled and sorrowful, his 
comfort will be commonplace and weak. If duty summon 
him to holy enterprise for Christ, he may march in the 
body of some expedition, but he will never lead the van. 
If he has to be an ambassador for Christ, he will be in 
danger of taking his Sovereign's message with bated 
breath and whispering humbleness, or if necessity compel 
him ever to go out and bid defiance to some Goliath of 
iniquity, it Will be well if in his weakness he do not whimper 
into tears. Now this is not what our Master wants to make 
us. A Christian of this feeble kind could at no time hope 
to do much or be much in the world, and less than ever 
now. There is a forcefulness about the world's hostility 
to truth, so must there be about our friendship to it. We 
can't afford to stammer over the articles of our belief, or 
to stumble over our daily practice of them. We can't 
afford to toy and trifle with the solemn opportunities of 
Being — ^we must use them and use them well. We can't 
afford to go through this earthly battlefield with listless 
foot and dainty hand, perfumed raiment and beflowered 
brows, while Light and Darkness heave and struggle in 
the dread encounter, and men are dying, and men are 
dead. If we would escape the everlasting hiss that will 
one day greet the cowards of the world, if we would do 
aught worthy of our manhood and our Master, if we would 
stop the sneer of the shallow, and the laugh of the profane, 
if we bum to do Satan damage and to make earth any 
more like heaven, if we would hear from Jesus at the last, 
** Well done good and faithful servant," we must have 
this christian courag'e of which St. Peter speaks. Then 
persecution will not lightly fright us, the allurements of a 
pleasure seeking age will find us staunch and true, to the 
challenge of our crafty Adversary' we shall return an ever- 
lasting- refusal, and shall be bom into the fellowship of 
those souls who through faith have conquered Self, 
resisted the Devil, and defied the World ! Add to virtue, 
2. — Knowledge. Mere strength except it be under the 
dominion of knowledge will be of little account to us. 
There are indeed most vigorous characters that are pro- 



64 THE "addenda" of FAITH. 

foundly foolish, and the more so that their folly has strength 
to back it. We must have these two united, vigour and 
knowledge to use it. If you have only the first you will 
be in danger of beating the air, fighting uncertainly ; if 
you have the second, you will strike at the heart. Vigour's 
all very well in a vessel to heave at the windlass, to climb 
the rigging or to hold the wheel, but you want knowledge 
too that will watch the compass and consult the chart. 
Vigour's all very well on the farm, to handle the axe, to 
dig the drain, to sharpen the scythe, to drive the plough, 
but you want knowledge too that will consider the seasons 
and the soil, select the seed, observe the weather, and 
have an eye to the markets, or else there would soon be no 
wheat in the garner and no herd in the stall. And a 
zealous ardour is of great value to a christian character, 
but it needs to be tempered with discretion. We must not 
merely be warm hearted butclear headed, not less zealous 
but more wise, not less earnest but more intelligent. In 
declaring His testimony, we must be not less emphatic but 
more discriminating ; in pleading at His mercy seat we 
must be not less importunate but more unselfish, in prac- 
tising His holy precepts we must be not less prepared to 
give an illustration, but more ready to give a reason of the 
hope that is within us ; in fighting the battles, there must 
be not any less of muscle, but more of mind, not less readi- 
ness to march but more to manoeuvre, not less of that 
undaunted courage that flings itself upon the foe, but more 
of that disciplined bravery which, ever apprized of danger 
nigh, knows when to fight and when to fly ; in doing His 
will upon earth there must be not less of Peter's readiness 
to fling himself into the water to go to Jesus, but more of 
John's love-lighted discernment that catches the familiar 
accent of the stranger, and whispers reverently to his 
impetuous brother " It is the Lord." And to knowledge, 

3. — Temperance^ that is, self control. 

This is not monkish asceticism that wears hair shirts and 
feeds on bread and water. It is equally far removed from 
that Epicurean ease that disports itself in the costliest 
apparel it can gain and gorges itself to gluttony. It is 
simply self control, but it is self control, and mark you how 
wide that reaches. It is temperance in eating, that the 
table may not become a snare ; it is temperance in drink- 



THE " addenda'* of FAITH. 65 



ing*, that what is pleasant may not become a poison, and 
what exhilarates may not enchain. It is temperance as to 
clothing, lest neatness become foppishness, and decency 
extravagance, and ornament an outrage. It is temperance 
as to ease, lest lawful rest become indolence, and the 
sleeper sink into the sluggard. It is temperance as to 
temper, lest allusions become cutting, and answers snappish, 
and looks sullen and sour ; temperance when you are 
wronged, lest feeling become master, and indignation at 
the injustice hatred to the man; temperance in resist- 
ing error, lest faithfulness become offensive, and plain- 
ness meddle with personalities, and you strike the sinner 
when you want to strike the sin; temperance in our 
advocacy of the truth lest our arguments become one- 
sided, our eulogiums fulsome and our judgment strained. 
It is temperance in our business, lest we love the counter 
better than the mercy seat, and the excitement of trading 
better than the peace of God ; temperance in our pleasures, 
lest amusements lead us into danger, and joyfulness 
become sinful jesting, and music tempt us into mischief, 
and company steal our hearts from God ; temperance in 
our sorrows, lest regret become repining and mournful- 
ness murmuring, and tears bitter, and we charge God 
foolishly. Temperance, not in one respect, but in all — 
that self control that like a strong armed charioteer can 
rein in the restive steeds of appetite and passion, and drive 
them along the straight way to Heaven, turning neither to 
the right hand of a dangerous license nor to the left hand 
of an unchristian bondage, listening neither to ascetic 
nonsense nor to the antinomian lie I And to temperance 

4. — Patience, I believe this is very often reckoned 
among the less bright adornments of the christian charac- 
ter. A patient man is frequently laughed at as if he were 
spiritless. You may see a crowd of people gazing at the 
high spirited steed that spurns the rein and paws the 
ground, and snorts remonstrance to his master, or that 
when he pulls in the shafts, pulls as if he were dragging 
at the stars, but the patient animal that works all day at 
the plough, and moves about as fast the last hour as the 
first gains no attention. Yet farmers will know which will 
be of the most service to them. And in our higher sphere, 
patience, if not showy like energy, involves a vast afhount 

F 



66 THE "addenda" of faith. 

of power. Men have little conception when they see a 
jpatient man what it has cost him to become so. The 
discipline of life seems to aim at producing* the growth of 
this in us, and we must encourage its cultivation too. We 
shall want it in varying* circumstances. 

We shall want it in adversity, when plans are thwarted, 
and diligence gathers no sheaves, and labour yields no 
fruit. We shall want it in sickness when 

" This sensnouB fi-aine 
le racked with pangs that conquer trust, 
And Time a maniac scattering dust, 
And Life a fury slinging flame." 

We shall want it in times of injury, when injustice 
burdens us, and in times of perplexity, when darkness 
WTaps us round. We shall want it with dull men who do 
not see, and with obstinate men who don't want to see, and 
degraded men who cannot see the truth. We shall want 
it when the harvest of our spiritual labours seems long* in 
coming, when the meadow grass is stunted, and the 
ploughed lands bear no corn ; when the landscape of our 
life seems long in clearing, and instead of treading the 
highlands of a holy joy we trudge wearily along the valley 
of the shadow. We shall not need it beyond the 
river, but right up to its solemn margin we shall need 
to add to our temperance patience, for while we study 
to labour, we must also learn to wait ! And to patience, 

5. — Godliness. We often use this word now to express 
the entire of the Christian life — the whole sum of its virtues, 
but it can hardly bear that meaning here. Perhaps it is 
that habit of mind that we call spirituality, devoutness, that 
has a perpetual reference to and apprehension of God. 
This is needful lest our patience become the heartless 
endurance of the Stoic, and lest indeed from losing sight of 
its true support, it cease to be patience at all. We are to 
" endure as seeing Him who is invisible. '^ We are to learn 
that bodies never sicken, and banks never break, and ships 
never founder, and slander never hisses, and enmity never 
blasphemes apart from the all controlling Providence of 
God. We are to see Him who is invisible in the accident 
that maims us, and in the slow disease that enfeebles us ; 
in the scarcity that drives us to economy, and the hard 
toiling that consumes our strength ; in the iniquity that has 
robbed us of our heritage, and the folly that has frittered 



THE "addenda" of FAITH. 67 

away our recompense ; in the conspiracy that alienated our 
friend, and the bereavement that snatched away our child. 
We are to see Him who is invisible ; permitting-, direct- 
ing, overruling, governing all things ; our Friend, thinking 
of His humble associates ; our Father, caring for His 
children ; our God, making all things work together for 
good to them that love Him ; and we are to believe that, 
however sharp the rattle of the hail, however rapid the 
sweep of the wind, however hoarse the roll of the 
thunder, however black the bosom of the clouds — ^that 
He ruleth all things for our benefit, rides on the whirl- 
wind and directs the storm I And to godliness, 

6. — Brotherly kindness. Though the spring of our religious 
life is above, the manifestations of it are among men. 
There is the household of faith that the grace of brotherly 
kindness will specially circle about, for we are not to 
cultivate the stranger's stiffness, but the brother's love. A 
sour godliness I What a strange connection of terms ! 
That godUness must be of an imperfect sort that will allow 
of such an epithet being added to it. And yet you know 
the thing. It is distant and reserved, sometimes proper^ 
but generally icy, given to see things sideways, and to set 
actions in a wrong light. It is suspicious and sharp, quick 
to see flaws, and scent errors. Its talk is often spiteful and 
sour, its looks are sour, its deeds are sour. Nobody likes 
it. It is a terror to the children, it is a mischief to the 
church, it is a stumblingblock to the world. We are not 
to be like that. Brotherly kindness is a genial thing that 
you cannot help but love. It is free and open-handed so far 
as it is able. It is generous, taking pleasure in doing good. 
It is confiding and truthful, open eyed and transparent. It 
is forbearing and hopeful, willing to imagine no evil, to 
put the best construction upon things, to make allowances, 
rather to suffer than retaliate, and when it cannot help but 
see the evil, it doesn't whisper it about, but weeps over it 
in secret. It is a tender hearted thing, melted into tears 
by the side of sorrow, and joyful by the side of joy. It is 
a forgiving thing, harbouring no old enmities, cherishing 
no rotten grudges, nursing no wretched spites and 
jealousies, but remembering its own iniquities, and oftean 
pondering that tender sentence of St. Paul — *^ And be y^ 
kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, 

F 2 



68 THE " addenda" of faith. 

even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." And we 
are to add to our brotherly kindness, 

7. — Charity, That is, we are not merely to cherish a 
special love for the brotherhood, but we are to care for 
the world. And perhaps it is especially fitting- at a time 
like this that we should remind ourselves, how vast that 
world is, and how great its claims. Part of it is 
undoubtedly at our doors, and therein our charity must 
begin at home, but part of it is, and always must be, to us 
far, far away. And what claims has this world upon our 
charity ? It is a world in darkness, and it needs enlighten- 
ment. Let our charity light the torch of truth, and carry 
it to the uttermost ends of the earth. It is a foolish world 
and needs heavenly wisdom. Let our charity set itself to 
teach the holy lesson. It is a world that has a false 
standard of value. It calls pebbles jewels, and tinsel gold. 
Let our charity explain the error, and adjust the gauge. 
It is a starving world, feeding upon swinish husks. Let 
our charity carry to it the Divine Bread. It is a world in 
slumber, sleeping when it should be roused, sleeping with 
wild mad dreams, sleeping into a stupor from which it can 
be roused no more. Let our charity clash the alarm bell 
of Christ's holy Gospel, and bid these sleepers rise. It is 
a poisoned world that hath taken of the fruit of the tree of 
evil knowledge, and writhes in its deadly anguish. Let 
our charity give it of the leaves of that tree of better 
knowledge that is for the healing of the nations. It is a 
suicidal world that has bared its breast, and holds the 
dagger ready. Let charity snatch the brand away. The 
world is like a traveller, lost among the mountains, longing- 
for rest and home. Let our charity go and seek the 
wanderer and show the way. The world is like the 
victim of some infernal wizardry, spell-bound into dumb- 
ness, or maddened into raving. Let our charity hold up 
before it the talisman of the everlasting gospel, and break 
the cruel spell. The world is like a vessel, going to pieces 
out yonder, yet in sight of shore. Let our charity man the 
Missionary lifeboat, breast the billows, and save the crew. 
The world is like a soldier wounded to death upon the 
stricken field. Let our charity take her balm of Gilead, 
her bandages of grace, and her cups of living water, and 
the gaping wounds shall close, the glazing eyes shall 



THE "addenda" of FAITH. 69 

brighten, and the quivering lips shall speak. The world 
is not like, but is, in sober sad reality, a world in sin, with 
such stolid ignorance in it, such pitiable pride, such brutal 
cruelties, such untold agonies, such unspeakable pollutions, 
such abominable crimes, that one sometimes wonders that 
Jehovah does not sweep it out of His sight in a moment. 
Here is a field for this wide reaching grace of charity. 
Let us take the tidings to it that has brought life and 
health and happiness to ourselves. Let us publish far 
and wide the good news of salvation through a crucified 
Redeemer to the worst of sinners, and never stop in this 
unselfish toiling 

" Till the whole world again shall rest. 

And see its Paradise restored ; 
Till every soul in Jesus blest, 

Shall bear the image of its Lord; 
In finished holiness renewed. 
Immeasurably filled with Qod." 

And now, dear brethren,, let me ask you if these things 
are at all in you, and if you are resolving that they shall 
abound. To what extent do they adorn your character ? 
In what measure do they mark your daily life ? I might 
speak of the peril of ignoring them, of the grief of the 
Master if we only partially cultivate them, and of the lower 
place in the Eternal Festival that such an enfeebled holi- 
ness will take, but I prefer to show you them, as I have 
tried this day to do, in their native beauty that you may 
be won to a holy desire to possess them, and to an 
unflagging diligence in the exercise of that faith in Jesus 
from which they all spring. And now let my voice cease, 
and the voice that began this sermon speak once more at 
its close, and tell you that " if these things be in you and 
abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor 
unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But 
he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar 
off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old 
sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to 
make your calling and election sure ; for if ye do these 
things, ye shall never fall ; for so an entrance shall be 
ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting king- 
dom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." 



SERMON III. 

THE DEATH OF MOSES. 

" So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of 
Moab, according to the word of the Lord. And he buried him 
in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Beth-peor ; but no 
mem knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day. — Deut. xxxiv, 5-6. 

THE servants of the Lord all die well, but they do not all 
die remarkably. God always comforts them with peace 
in their departing*, but He does not always do great marvels 
as they go. This servant of the Lord went away in peace, 
but he went away also in the midst of wonders tlmt have 
not been often parallelled in the history of the race, and 
that are all the more impressive that they are only dimly 
hinted at. Awhile ago we looked together at a sinner's 
parting, slain in the dark night at Babylon ; let us now go 
to the top of Pisgah, and see how a saint can die, 
unsmitten by sickness or by sword, in the broad light of 
day. 

Yet before we go, standing in the plain of Moab, 
who can help but feel a chastened sadness, as he thinks of 
the Stern Necessity which this day has found another victim. 
Moses about to die I Another voice mighty in the council 
about to be stilled. Another hand strong for all holy 
labour about to lose its cunning. Another foot ready for 
all godly service about to take its last journey, another 
form long familiar amongst the princes of the people about 
to pass from their midst for ever. That eye has not lost 
its youthful brightness ; it is no dimmer now than when a 
hundred years ago it scanned the rolls of Egyptian learn- 
ing, or flashed amongst the brightest in the court of 
Pharaoh. That princely form is not bent with the weight 
of many winters ; his natural force is no more abated than 



THE DEATH OF MOSES. 7 1 

when eig-hty years ago he struck down the Egyptian and 
aveng'ed the Hebrew. That voice is no feebler now than 
when he stood before the amazed monarch forty years 
after, and in the name of a Mightier than he, thundered 
out " Let my people go, that they may serve me,*' — and 
yet he must die I O Stern Necessity that thus robs the earth 
of her noblest and best ! O Relentless Hunter chasing all 
of us, and coming up with the fleetest at the last. O 
inexorable Law that will listen to no excuse from any of 
us, and to the loudest cries for pity, has but one response, 
** It is appointed unto men once to die I" Even so, brethren. 
The " Must" of this decree knows no exceptions, and 
from its dread decision there is no appeal. 

Vet wherefore this ? Does any know the reason ? 
Why must Moses pass away from amongst his fellows ? 
Why must we also die ? The answer is the same in every 
case ; not for our righteousness' sake, but for our sin. 
** By one man sin entered into the world, and death by 
sin, and so death passed upon all men for that all have 
sinned." The connection between sin and death was 
striking in the case before us. It was the wilderness of 
Zin, and there was no water for the people. Straightway 
they gathered themselves together against Moses and 
Aaron. Sharp and hot was the chiding. God heard it 
as well as they, and said, " Take the rod, and speak to the 
rock before their eyes, and it shall give forth water." 
Moses took it, and having summoned the congregation, 
said, " Hear now, ye rebels, must we fetch you water out 
of this rock," and then out of all patience with them, 
quite forgot himself for a time, lifted his hand, and smote 
the rock twice. It was a mistake, as all sin is, and though 
the water gushed out abundantly, Moses had done wrong, 
and from that hour was barred out from the promised 
land. His brother was involved with him in the sin, and 
was the first to pay the penalty. At their next encamp- 
ment, word came that Aaron's time was come. Accord- 
ingly, in the sight of all the congregation, he and his 
brother and his son went up into Mount Hor, they to watch 
with him to the end, and he to die. From that time the 
lawgiver has quietly waited for his own departure, and 
now at the end of the fortieth year from their coming out 
of Egypt, he is told that the hour has come. 



72 THE DEATH OF MOSES. 



Moses IS ready y but before he passes from their midst for 
ever, he must gather his people together, and give them a 
final charge. And so they came, and stood with feelings 
better imagined than described to hear his latest words. 
He reviewed the whole way in which the Lord had led 
them, and pointed out its mercy and its judgment. He 
declared once more to them the law they were to keep 
with its sanctions of reward and punishment, and in 
the most solemn manner possible charged every one 
who heard him to keep the covenant and follow the truth 
of God. 

Then his friend and former servant Joshua must be 
encouraged to take his place and finish the work which^ 
through that one fatal slip at Meribah, he is obliged now 
to leave. And then, all earthly arrangements completed, 
there is nothing for him but to go up into the mountain, 
gaze upon the land of promise, and, as God shall give him 
grace, to die. 

A7id so at last it came, and the servant of the Lord began 
to climb the mountain from which he would come down no 
more. The historian, as if with a soldier's brevity, only 
says that he went up unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top 
of Pisgah, but surely it is not irreverent to let our fancy 
linger on the manner of the going. All the people knew 
that he was going, but did they know the day ? And when 
it came, for they would know it at the last, was it in the 
early morning that they gathered, or in the eventide, to see 
their leader go ? It was in the sight of all the congregation 
that his priestly brother went up that other mountain — 
surely they cannot be fewer who will watch the ascent of 
this. As the hour drew on, the camp must have presented 
an unwonted sight, with its knots, and groups, and com- 
panies who stood at the tent doors, and in excited silence, 
thronged the way to the tabernacle. But who shall paint 
for us the picture, as from out that sacred place there 
came, for the last time, its illustrious builder, and, through 
the thronging multitudes, passed slowly onward and 
upward to his rest ? Who walked by his side on this last 
march, and what were the latest accents of those lips, so 
often touched by hallowed fire. We do not know, but there 
came at length a time when those who followed him the 
farthest must say farewell, and leave him to go forth alone. 



THE DEATH OF MOSES. 75 

And forth he went from their midst, blessing and blessed^ 
alone and yet not alone, to climb the hill — and die I 

And now, alone at last, the sob, and sigh, and wail of the 
great multitude left far behind him, what has he to think 
of ? He has always been one of those who loved the hills. 
A great and fiery and passionate soul such as his would be 
at home amongst their gloomy grandeur. The glory of 
the great mountains must have always moved him. He 
could not have been insensible to their subtle and thrilling 
charm, but I imagine that to-day thoughts like these were 
shut out by greater ones. The broadening landscape, the 
glint of the sunlight upon the granite, the cataract Hashing 
from the heights, the sparkling rivulet, the play of colour 
on the lichen-covered rocks, the wild music of the wind 
among the crags, the awful steeps that seem to slip into 
fathomless abysses, and the great heights piled up one 
behind the other till they seem to kiss the skies — these 
things, however glorious at other times, I imagine had no 
glory now. He was about to pass into Eternity, and these 
are but the footstool of Him in whose presence he is about 
to stand. Yet surely as he slowly mounted the shoulders 
of Nebo, he would think upon that other mountain, where, 
from the midst of the unburning bush, he received the 
commission that now he is laying down, and of that 
flaming summit from which God spake to the listening 
congregation with sound of trumpet ; and then perchance 
of those sacred heights where, with covered face, he stood 
in the cleft of the rock while the glory of the Lord passed 
by ; and then of the mountain by the land of Edom where 
he watched his brother die. And as he slowly climbed 
from point to point did not memory take a still wider 
sweep ? The days of boyhood, did not they come up 
before him, spent by the waters of the brOad Nile, days 
of quiet study in the palace, days of fierce excitement in the 
field? And that day — day of days to him — ^when he 
refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter and 
for the sake of conscience flung away a crown ; could that 
be forgotten then ? And the eighty years between, with 
all their marvels, the long schooling in the wilderness, the 
sudden signal that the time was come ; the grapple with 
the gods of Egypt, those appalling wonders in the land of 
Ham ; and then, the hasty march from out the land ; the 



74 THE DEATH OF MOSES. 

midnight sweeping through the divided sea ; the marvel of 
the food that every morning dropped from heaven ; 
Rephidim with its chidings for want of water, and struggle 
with Amalek; Sinai with its clouds and darkness ; Kibroth 
Hattaavah with its graves of lust ; Kadesh with its miser- 
able cowardice ; Korah's insolent rebellion ; the lifting of 
the serpent in the wilderness ; Sihon's fruitless resistance ; 
Balak's thwarted enchantments on the top of Peor ; the 
snares of Midian and stout-hearted Phineas, and all the 
wonders of the way in which the Lord has led him — ^these 
things surely were with him as he went up the hill to die. 
And would that be all that he would think of, a man 
who before the nightfall will be in the Great Presence ? 
What of his reputation ; would that trouble him ? No. 
What of the authority that this day has fallen into other 
hands ; would the loss of that distress him ? Oh no. 
What of the gold and silver he has left behind him ; does 
he grieve for that ? No. If there were grief at all to 
Moses now, it would come from quite another source. Good 
men do not depart in darkness, but if there be aught of 
gloom about their going, what makes it ? What is the 
thorn to men in dying pillows ; what is it makes that last 
cup so intensely bitter ? Brethren, " the sting of death is 
sin/' Moses knew this, and if there was anything of sad- 
ness about him now, it would be the remembrance of his 
own iniquities. Sin is apt to appear extremely sinful at a 
time like this, and there have been instances not a few of 
good men being so confronted by the great Accuser in 
their dying hours as for a time at least to have well-nigh 
doubted of their being pardoned. It is never a sorrow to 
a dying man that he has done the right ; but if there be 
regret then at all, the burden of it then as always is, " O 
the pity and the shame that I should ever have been so 
foolish, so thankless, so base as to have grieved my God." 
Whether thoughts like these were in the mind of Moses 
now, I cannot tell ; it may be that the exceeding greatness 
of God's mercy quite bore down the remembrance of per- 
sonal unfaithfulness ; but we may be sure of this, that if 
ever a human spirit went to God in chastened humbleness, 
it was when the illustrious leader of the host, pardoned for 
his iniquity, a sinner saved by grace, climbed the rocky 
steep of Abarim to die. 



THE DEATH OF MOSES. 75 

With thoughts like these, Moses reached at last the 
highest summit, and standing* upon the top of Nebo felt 
that his last earthly journey was done. So this was his 
place of dying" — the storm-swept summit of Nebo. Where- 
fore not ? To a good man it matters little where he dies. 
It may be well to lean the head on downy pillows, but it is 
also well to die amid the splintered crags of such a moun- 
tain as this. Such a place as this had no doubt often been 
to him a place of prayer. True, men can pray everywhere, 
but the mountaintop where the chaffer of the markets is 
unknown, and hushed is the strife of tongues, innocent of 
the scoffer's gibing and the miser's greed, too high for the 
idle to attain to, too gloomy for the conscien6e-stricken, 
too useless for the worshippers of wealth, sacred to silence 
-and to solitude and God, has ever been a fitting oratory to 
those who have loved the Lord, and now that the place of 
prayer is to be the place of dying, it is but making the 
outer court into the Holy of Holies, and changing worship 
that was like seeing through a glass darkly into beholding 
face to face I 

Were any there to watch him as he stood ? His race 
was nearly run, and it is often given to good men as they 
near the goal to see what is all concealed from others. 
Did Moses stand alone upon the summit? Were there 
-any come to meet him ? There is often music heard by 
dying ears — and sometimes I believe by the living too — 
•struck from no earthly instruments. Was there aught of 
that mingling with the sighing of the wind around this 
dying man ? We do not know, but we may be sure that 
he felt himself encompassed by the Divine arms : God was 
with His servant, and now that heart and flesh were about 
to fail, was the strength of his heart and his portion for 
ever. 

But before the moment comes he must see the land of 
promise. And God showed it to him. There it lay before 
him, the goal of forty years of wandering. Far to the 
north, stretching away into dimness, Gilead and Dan. To 
the west, the hills of Naphtali ; nearer, the land of Ephraim 
-and Manasseh ; immediately opposite, all the land of Judah, 
-and beyond them the Western Sea. Just below him was 
Jericho with its clustering palm trees, and far away to the 
left, dale and down, reaching to the wilderness of Zoar. 



76 THE DEATH OF MOSES. 



" And the Lord said unto him, this is the land which I 
sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying-, 
I will give it unto thy seed. I have caused thee to see it 
with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither." " Even 
so," would no doubt be the reverent reply, " good is the 
word of the Lord." 

The landscape viewed, he has nothing more to do but 
die. Into the secrets of those last moments it is impossible 
to penetrate. This one thing we know that God was with 
His servant, and that death had no terror. Yet whether it 
was broad daylight when he went away, or the sun had 
gone down, and whether with one sudden pang the silver 
cord was loosed, or sinking into painless slumber, he glided 
through the gates, and found himself in heaven ere he 
knew it, we can only imagine, but we know he died — died 
as became a sinner saved by grace, died as became a 
valiant and faithful soldier of the Lord, and "passed 
through death triumphant Home !" 

Beyond the mountain top we cannot follow him. Into 
what scenes of activity his happy spirit passed, what new 
labours were assigned him, what rarer splendours, what 
richer landscapes greeted his astonished vision, what 
grander revelations fell upon his raptured ear, we do not 
know, but we do know that to him as to all good men to 
die was gain, present, unutterable, everlasting gain, and 
we are quite sure that over this servant of the Old covenant, 
there was pronounced as true and emphatic a benediction 
as that which awaits the disciple of the New — " Blessed are 
the dead which die in the Lord." 

" So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land 
of Moab, according to the word of the Lord. And he 
buried him in a valley in the land of Moab over against 
Beth-peor ; but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this, 
day." One can hardly forbear quoting the noble lines of 
C. F. Alexander — 

By Nebo's lonely mountain, 

On this side Jordan's wave, 
In a vale in the land of Moab, 

There lies a lonely grrave. 
And no man knows that sepulchre, 

And no man saw it e'er. 
For the ang^els of God upturned the sod, 

And laid the dead man there. 

That was the grandest funeral 

That ever passed on earth ; ^ 
But no man neard the trampling, 

Or saw the train go forth— 



THE DEATH OF MOSES. 77 



NoisdeBsly as the daylight 

Comes back when nistht is done, 
And the crimson streak on ocean's cheek 

Grows into the great sun ; 

Noiselessly as the spring time 

Her crown of verrlure weaves. 
And all the trees on all the hills 

Open their thousand leaves; 
80 without sound of music. 

Or voice of them that wept. 
Silently down from the mountain's crown. 

The great procession swept. 

Bat when the warrior dieth. 

His comrades in the war. 
With arms revei-sed and muffled drnm. 

Fellow his funeral car ; 
They show the banners taken* 

They tell his battles won. 
And after him lead his masterless steed. 

While peals the minute gun. 

Amid the noblest of the land 

We lay the sage 10 rest, 
And give the bard an honoured place 

With costly marble drest, 
In the great minster transept, 

Where lights like glories f^U, 
And the organ rings, and the aweet choir sings. 

Along the emblazoned wall. 

This was the truest warrior 

That ever buckled sword ; 
This, the most gifted poet 

That ever breathed a word ; 
And never earth's philosopher 

Traced with his golden pen. 
On tlie deathless page truths half so sage 

As he wrote down for men. 

And had he not high honour,— 

The hill side for a pall. 
To lie in state, while angels wait, 

With stars for tapers tall, 
And the dark rook-pines, like tossing plamee. 

Over his bier to wave. 
And Ood's own hand in that lonely land 

To lay him in the grave t 

So was closed a life of faithful service with a death of 
g-lory. The happy spirit went into the presence of God, 
and in that nameless grave in Moab, the sacred dust awaits 
a joyful resurrection. 

There are few of us here to-day in whom this story will 
not cause some sympathetic thrill. There are few families 
that have not had to weep over someone gone from their 
midst, and it may be some of us are mourning their depar- 
ture still. Thrice blessed are they who can write upon 
the tombstone what is written here of Moses, " Servant of 
the Lord." Concerning these indeed our tears may well 



78 THE DEATH OF MOSES. 



be dried. They are in the Saviour's presence, safe for 
ever in the arms of Jesus. Who could wish them back 
ag'ain? They rest from their mortal toil; who could 
burden them ag'ain ? The cold earth does not cover them 
— it is but the dust that is sleeping there — they are for ever 
with the Lord. Glory to God for their peaceful departure. 
Glory to God for the bright hope that blessed their dying 
moments. Glory to God for the victory that made dying 
glorious ! 

Nor is it less true that they are blessed whom the Captain 
of our salvation called before they were old enough for war. 
They never bore the armour, or endured hardness as good 
soldiers. They never stood at the dividing line of destiny,, 
and chose, as Moses did, to suffer affliction with the people 
of God. They never felt the mystery of good and evil. 
They went away in their helpless infancy, not from Pisgah's 
summit, but from the mother^s knee, from the crib and 
from the cradle, 

" Out of pain and into bliss. 
Out of sad and sinful weakness 

Into perfect holiness. 
Pnowy brows— no care shall shade them ; 

Blight eyes— tears shall never dim j 
Rosy lips— no time shall fade them ; 

Jesus called them unto him 
Little hearts for ever stainless,— 

Little liands as pure as they,— 
Little feet, by angels guided, 

Never a forbidden way ! 
They are going— ever going — 

Leaving many a lonely spot ; 
But 'tis Jesus who has culled them — 

fcuffer, and forbid them not 1" 

And our turn will come, and the place that now knows 
us, will know us no more for ever I It is hard to realize, 
but cibsolutely true, that we are dying men ! One by one 
we shall pass away from this congregation, and others will 
take our place. New voices will speak from the pulpit, new 
faces will be seen in the pew, and ill a few years not one of us 
will be left alive. But where and what will be our condition 
then ? Shall we be missed on earth or forgotten ? Will 
our memory be blessed and fragrant, or will men shun the 
mention of it ? Will those who follow us be able to say 
that we are gone home to Jesus, or will they be obliged to 
leave it, hoping against hope ? And we, the worshippers 
down here to-day, shall we be within that better temple, 
or cast out into the outer darkness ? Dear brethren, I know 



THE DEATH OF MOSES. 79. 

what' each of you will wish concerning- this, but I am bound 
to warn you that there is but one way in which that wish 
can be fulfilled. 

Why was there all this brightness about the death of 
Moses? Because of his genius? No. Because of his 
greatness ? No. Because of his illustrious exploits ? No. 
Because of any wealth he had amassed ? Oh no, but 
because he was a servant of the Lord ; and to share the 
hoLy triumph he experienced, you must be a servant of the 
Lord too. And do not, I beseech you, mistake the meaning* 
of the phrase. Do not mistake correctness of creed for 
conversion, nor good desires for a new heart. To see that 
kingdom into which Moses was so triumphantly ushered^, 
you must be born again. You must take Christ's yoke 
upon you, and bear His burden. You must renounce all 
self sufficiency, and trust in Him alone for salvation. But 
you know all this. It is rather needful that I ask if this be 
done with you. If Christ be not your Saviour, you are in 
peril to this very hour ; if He be, all is well. If He be not, 
no wonder death to you is very awful. O Sinner, sleeping 
in your sins, awake to know your danger. You are out of" 
Christ and unprepared to die. I charge you, ere the 
messenger arrives, that you flee to Him for mercy. Satan 
only mocks you with to-morrow, come to Christ to-day. 

And for you, dear brethren, to whom Christ is precious,, 
doubtless all is well. Follow Him closely and fully, and 
you shall fear no evil. You shall go at the right time, and 
in the right manner ; some of you, perchance, with Pisgah 
triumphings, but all in peace. Sin shall cause no sorrow 
for it shall be all pardoned and put away. Satan shall 
brandish at you but an edgeless weapon ; Death shall be 
a guide to immortality, the grave a robing chamber for the 
morning of the Resurrection, and all the Great Beyond a 
far more exceeding and eternal weight of Glory." Amen.. 



« 



SERMON IV. 

A NIGHT ON THE SEA OF GALILEE ; OR, LESSONS FOR DISCIPLES. 

" And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a 
ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the 
multitude away,^^ d^c. — Matthew xiv., 22-27, 32 and 33. 

IT is spring" time in the land of Israel, and towards the 
close of the second year of our Lord's public ministry. 
He and his disciples now are on the north-eastern shore of 
the Lake of Galilee, and with them a g-reat multitude of 
men, women and children. It seems as if in his own 
country the Prophet of Nazareth is beg'inning to have 
honour, for they have been hanging" on his lips to-day as 
if with a strange hunger for the truth. He had thoug"ht of 
his disciples resting awhile in this comparatively desert 
■country, but it has been impossible. The people no sooner 
knew that he was g'one over the water than they came too, 
and to his tender heart they seemed like sheep without a 
shepherd, so he has blessed them all this day, healng both 
body and soul. And now the sunbeams slant from over 
the western uplands, reminding the disciples that it is time 
to send the multitude away. They come and tell the 
Saviour. He, having his own purposes, says, " They need 
not depart; give ye them to eat." Philip, in amaze, 
replies, — mentioning what seemed a great sum to him — 
that two hundred pennyworth of bread would not afford 
such a multitude even a morsel. Andrew says that there 
is a lad among them who has five barley loaves and two 
small fishes, but says it as if it were preposterous to mention 
such a thing. " Bring them hither to me*' says the Saviour, 
•*'and make the men sit dpwn." And they sat down, by 
hundreds and by fifties, more than five thousand of them, 
^nd in the hands of their Divine Entertainer the fwQ barley 



A NIGHT ON THE SEA OF GALILEE. 8 1 

loaves and two small fishes became a plentiful repast for 
all. Nay, of the fragments that remained, the wondering 
disciples gathered twelve baskets full. And then there 
rose upon the minds of many there the strong conviction 
that this was indeed the Prophet they had so long been 
looking for ; nay more, the all-conquering King that should 
free them from their foes, and they would lead him to his 
coronation. That must never be, the Saviour saw. It 
was not for this he came ; so at once he constrained his 
disciples to embark, and go before him to Capernaum, 
while he dismissed the amazed and grateful, but mistaken, 
multitude. They departed to their homes, pondering the 
strange things they had that day witnessed : Jesus climbed 
the grassy side of some neighbouring mountain to speak 
with His Father alone, and the disciples sailed away toward 
Capernaum, to spend a whole night upon the water, that 
with its new, peculiar, and continued revelations of their 
Master's grace and glory would fitly follow in their 
experience the marvellous teachings of the day. Let us 
go with them, and try to learn the lessons, and catch the 
comfort of which this night on the sea of Galilee^ to them, 
and to all the disciples of Jesus, is eloquent and full. We 
see first that 

I. — Their Master had chosen their way for them. 
It is the mark of discipleship this — tne servant's will lost 
in the Master's. He is the ruler, we are the subjects. 
Supreme Lord of all by natural right. He has by right of 
redemption purchased for Himself a new and yet more 
delightful lordship to which all true disciples willingly bow. 
So He appoints our lot. He chooses our inheritance for us. 
He apportions to us our talents, and assigns us a place of 
labour, and to all who love Him fulfils the promise of the 
earlier scripture, "I will guide thee with mine eye." We 
are well content to have it so ; content that by day or by 
night, on sea or on shore, for time and for eternity. He that 
died for us on Calvary should " constrain us" with the most 
absolute sovereignty, and exercise over us always and 
perfectly full control. But we notice again 

2. — That this chosen way was through the midst of difficulty. 

The next sight we have of the disciples is when they 

have got into the midst of the sea. Indeed, you cannot see 

them well, but if you strain your eyes you will presently 



82 A NIGHT ON THE SEA OF GALILEE. 



catch a glimpse of their small vessel, now up, now down, 
beset with waves that toss and tumble fiercely. There has 
come down upon the sea one of those great winds that 
often sweep from the sides of the surrounding mountains, 
and as in our own lake district, stir up no small commotion. 
The wind is dead against them, and if you listen when it 
lulls sometimes, you may hear the splash of their oars, for 
they have had to take to rowing, but have not got very far 
for all their pulling — twenty-five or thirty furlongs only. 
Thus fares it with the friends of Jesus — " tossed with 
waves,'* and hindered by a strong head-wind and " toiling- 
in rowing.'' Ah, brethren, Gennesaret is not the only sea 
that has such sailors, nor are those Galilean hills the only 
ones adown whose slopes there sweep tempestuous winds. 
I have heard of sailors being at times in difficulty, who 
steer for a larger haven than Capernaum, and navigate a 
wider sea. I have heard them speak of gales of temptation 
blowing with hurricane fury for many a day together, 
dead calms of indolence, broken by sudden squalls of 
Satanic passion. They have told me of the contrary winds 
of strife and calumny, of disappointment and of prejudice, 
of bigotry and persecution. I have listened as they told 
how they have been tossed on the waves of business 
difficulties and worldly anxiety, how they have * been 
drenched by the chilling billows of unkindness and injustice, 
how they have been battered by the surges of bereavement, 
how their timbers have groaned beneath the onset of the 
waves of poverty and sickness, and how they have been 
rocked to an uneasy slumber on the waves of Laodicean 
ease. Did you ever hear such stories ? Did you ever 
meet such mariners, or in all your voyagings come across 
such seas ? " Tossing waves and contrary winds !" Is this 
like an epitome of any history you have known ? Does it 
remind you of any incidents in your own career ? In that 
as yet unwritten history of your own life, would this do as 
the heading of any of the chapters ? " Tossing waves and 
contrary winds !" Is this often an experience of discipleship ? 
Has it been your experience ? Then the same measure 
is meted out to us that was to them. And is it not better 
so after all ? Better thus than one perpetual calm. Per- 
petual calm, indeed ! You have instances of that sometimes 
in autumn, when the great sea lies still, covered with a 



A NIGHT ON THE SEA OF GALILEE. 83 

sickly haze, and breaks in unpleasant monotone along the 
strand, when the very birds do cease their sing'ing, and 
sit as if in reverie, when the trees stand as in a stupor, and 
drop their leaves with mechanical precision, when odours 
of decay and dying* float on the stagnant air, and the sun 
through the damp dull vapour indolently smiles. And you 
have stormy times in winter when the north-easters rouse 
themselves. Storm upon the sea, when •* deep calleth unto 
deep ;" storm in the forest lands, where the aged oaks 
groan like gladiators in an agony of conflict ; storm in the 
upper air, where the broken clouds fly and rush and scatter 
as if a thousand demons chased them 1 But which is the 
better nurse for strength and stature? Which fills the 
churchyards quicker ? Which sends the blood the faster 
through the veins, and knits the muscles into closer unity ? 
Which has made truer heroes, calm or storm ? Each in 
its place is well, but we are not here for ease, but holiness. 
God does not want to pamper us into babyhood, but to 
train 'us into men ; and for sinful souls this purpose is often 
best achieved by the ministry of suffering, for though 

Ood hath marked out oar way, 

yet 

Whf>n the snnbeamB shine 
Too oft oar heedleos feet woald stray, 
Earth's fielding flowers to twine ; 

so 

When to leave the track 

Oar hearts woald wildly roam, 
He sends a storm to drive as back 

To Him.- and heaven, and home. 

3. — We are reminded also how the disciples' difficuUy is often 
protracted. 

It is the fourth watch of the night before any change 
comes to them for the better. All that time they toil in 
rowing. God's providence is a great mystery. That 
particular aspect of it which this narrative points at is a 
painful mystery ; how, while some disciples seem breathed 
on by perpetual blessing, others are made the butt of fierce 
winds from beginning to end. One burden is scarcely 
lightened before another is imposed. The wound made 
by the heavenly Archer is scarcely healed, ere he fits 
another arrow to the string. Sickness follows sickness, 
grief treads upon the heels of grief, disappointment 
marches in the track of disappointment, and the soul of the 
believer is chastened all the way to heaven. Through the 

G 1 



84 A NIGHT ON THE SEA OF GALILEE. 



four watches of this earthly night some believers toil in 
their spiritual rowing, and the winds are contrary to them 
almost until the " day break, and the shadows flee away.'*" 
But we see 

4. — That the Master does not forget His disciples, , 
We saw Him last in some secluded spot, on one of the 
mountains overlooking the lake, kneeling down to pray ; 
nay, just as the shadows of the western hills grew long^ 
and the evening mists rose up, we caught a glimpse of Him 
— alone — in that ineffable communion. But though His. 
whole soul was given to this sacred mystery of petition, He 
had an eye and heart for His poor disciples too. St. Mark 
tells us that " He saw them" toiling. Take the comfort of it, 
sorrowing disciple ! He that then saw, sees still. To that 
all-loving eye there is " nothing covered " of thy grief, 
" nothing" that disturbs thee that is "hid." When thine 
eyes fill with tears over the quiet face of thy departed friend,, 
or when thou gazest mournfully upon the tomb where some 
Lazarus of thine aifection slumbers, other eyes than thine 
are looking too. He sees thee ! When the night of sorrow 
darkens upon thee, when unquiet hours are thy portion,, 
when mortal sickness weighs thee down, and thou art 
almost fainting with the weight of some new calamity,, 
alone as it seems to thee, in this sad winepress — thou art 
not alone. The familiar f^et do not yet walk the waters 
to thy rescue, and the divine " Peace be with thee" has not 
yet, it may be, uttered its holy comfort, but He thou lovest 
is in thy near neighbourhood, and, " touched with the 
feeling of thine infirmities," watches with thee through the 
storm. And then 

5. — Ihe Master came to them. The wind was yet high — 
** a great wind " St. John calls it — and the sea wrought 
tempestuously, not unlike the day when Jonah fled . to. 
Tarshish, when the greater than Jonah came to his dis- 
tressed disciples. It was not merely that He thought about 
them ; He came and joined them. Let us not forget the 
manner of His coming. // was in the storm. Is this a 
prophecy for the after times, an acted parable for the 
instruction of them that should hereafter believe on Him ? 
Verily the prophecy has not wanted fulfilment ! Storms 
have arisen to His friends, as He had told them, but never 
one without the Saviour. That divine companionship. 



A NIGHT ON THE SEA OF GALILEE. 85 

which is the true " glory of our brightest days," is also the 
** comfort of our nights." Nay, as the darkness has grown 
deeper round us, it has ever seemed to bring Him closer to 
us. Faithfullest of friends, Jesus loveth at all times, but, 
as it often seems to us, in the stormiest, most. It is certain 
that some of our most precious remembrances of Him are 
connected with times of struggle. We knew Him before, 
when all seemed favourable and made promise of perpetual 
summer, that is, we saw Him " through a glass, darkly," 
but it was when the sky grew black with clouds, when the 
winds of disaster began to blow, when the hail-stones of 
oppression and of insult, of slander and of mockery rattled 
wildest about our head, when the swelling tide of bereave- 
ment covered us, and when the waves of poverty and 
sickness, of blighted affection and disappointed hope the 
most rudely tossed us — it was in the storm of life that He 
came nighest to us, and then acquaintance ripened into 
oneness, and love rose into rapture, and we saw Him 
** face to face !" 

But mark again how Jesus came to His disciples — on the 
sea. Not in, or through, but on the sea. And mark the 
meaning, brethren. The sea is subject to Him. Without 
His high permission neither winds can blow, nor waves can 
roar. All power is His in heaven and on earth, and all 
things do obey Him. The pestilence that walketh in 
darkness halts when He shall bid it, and the destruction 
that wasteth at noonday stays its ravages at His command. 
Apart from His control, there can be no storm whatever. 
Think of it, disciple. The grief that presses thee to-day 
He knows, and watches, and controls. Lord of the waves 
around thee. He is overruling for thy benefit the tossing of 
the sea, and will presently bring forth from this commotion 
sweetest peace. Look not too closely at the crested 
billows ; gaze not too long upon the scudding clouds. It 
will fright thee if thou lookest there. Oh, look above them, 
look beyond them, and through the mist and spray thou 
shalt see their Lord and thine advancing to thy rescue, 
planting His footsteps in the sea, and riding upon the 
storm. 

And once more mark t/ie time when Jesus came ; in the 

fourth watch of the night. The vision of help often appears 

to tarry. Yet it is well to wait for it, for it will surely 



86 A NIGHT ON THE SEA OF GALILEE. 

come. The tarrying;- has a meaning* in it. Those disciples 
have just been witnessing- a marvellous display of Almig-hty 
power, and it may be a salutary discipline for them to be 
thus broug-ht into contact with the stern realities of actual 
life. They are more likely to appreciate the help of their 
Master's presence when they most feel they need it. By 
this time they are weary with rowing- ; this contrary wind 
has tried them sorely, and perhaps they'll be glad of any 
help now, and so Jesus comes to them. Does He not love 
to make His disciples' extremity His opportunity ? While 
they imagine they have streng-th remaining", He ling-eretb 
at a distance : but when their self-confidence is destroyed^ 
He is there in a moment. And, moreover, where there is 
no self-confidence, other merciful purposes are often served 
by His tarrying-. Faith and patience are tried with intent 
to strengthen them, and a brig-ht example is often g-iven of 
that thrice-honoured trust in God that against hope 
believes in hope. So take courage, thou whose trial has 
been lono^est on thee ; Jesus may be only waiting- for the 
fitting- moment to g-reet thee. It may be His almighty 
footsteps are even now upon the waters, and though the 
night may seem to be blacker than ever about thee^ 
perhaps in this fourth watch of thy trouble He may come 
to thee, in this " darkest hour that is just before the dawn."" 
We notice 

6. — The disciples' trouble when they scnv Him. 

Look with them, and see what they saw. It is a some- 
thing one of them has had a glimpse of. He tells the 
others, and they all look. Is it a boat, a mast, a darker 
mass of water than ordinary, or merely a denser shadow 
on the sea ? No, it is still there, and moves — moves 
towards them. Every eye is strained to see it. It draws 
nearer, and nearer, and still nearer, and then strange 
tremors seize them, and their faces whiten, and not a man 
of them moves his oar. And they gaze, and gaze, and 
gaze, while the strange vision glides majestically by ; and 
then they cry out for fear ; for yon moving figure is not 
flesh and blood they think ; it must be a spirit wandering,, 
perturbed and restless, over this unquiet sea ! Then they 
didn't know their Saviour ? No : and they have not been 
the only ones who have failed to recognize Him. The 
history of discipleship is full of similar instances. In the 



A NIGHT ON THE SEA OF GALILEE. 87 

night of earthly trial, when our experience is imperfect 
and faith is weak, we readily misunderstand the meaning" 
of the things we see. We call that a calamity that is 
really a comfort ; we think we shall be crushed by that 
which is meant to give us vigour ; we call those fetters that 
are truly wing^, and imagine we see disgrace and over- 
throw where God means power and praise. We speak of 
helps as if they were hindrances, of brotherly union as if 
it were conspiracy; we mistake friends for enemies, 
angelic minstrelsy for the clash and clangour of demoniac 
passion, and from the warm embrace of him who " stickeih 
closer than a brother y"* we shrink and tremble as if we had 
touched the dead ! O sailors on stormy Galilee ! we are 
men of like passions with yourselves. We, too, when 
through infirmity of faith our eyes are holden, often fail to 
recognize the Lord. His majestic treading of the waves 
moves us to an unworthy terror. We think Him terrible 
who is altogether lovely, and, instead of bursting into loud 
hosannahs at His coming, we cry out like you for fear I 
But we see again how 

7. — Their fears were banhhed. The strange Being, 
treading so firmly on the unyielding sea, speaks. It is the 
familiar voice of him they left going up the mountain-side 
to pray. " Be of good cheer," it says to them, " it is I ; be 
not afraid." St. Matthew and St. Mark notice how quick 
was His answer of comfort to their cry of fear. " Immedi- 
ately," says the one, and " straightway " says the other, 
Jesus spake unto them. He knew the awful pressure of 
fear like this, when mortals gaze, or think they do, upon 
the unbodied dead, and He would remove it. For fear is 
not the most successful teacher. It may paralyze into 
dumbness and astonishment, but cannot strengthen unto 
prayer. Moses and the prophets know a readier way to 
the conscience, than " one who is risen from the dead," so 
directly Jesus spake unto them. Dear brethren, is He not 
touched with the feeling of our infirmities ? Where others, 
freed, as they suppose, from the taint of this degrading 
terror, would have harshly chided with them, Jesus tenderly 
encourages. He cannot bear that they should shake and 
glower at him. Shaking enough, in this weary world, 
there will be for them without trembling before Him, so 
^immediately He spoke to them. O great Consoler of fearful 



88 A NIGHT ON THE SEA OF GALILEE. 

hearts — this is what Thy people want to hear to-day ! 
Dear brethren, listen amid the noise and din of earth's ten 
thousand voices, and see if you can hear it, this matchless 
lullaby for God's affrighted children. For He often walks 
the water now to say it to His own, and in their ears there 
is no music half so sweet as this. To know that on these 
threatening surges are the feet of my Divine Redeemer — 
to feel that not a trial ever comes to me, and not a sorrow 
ever wounds me, without His permission, that high above 
the waterfloods of grief there watches One who, for my 
sake, emptied Himself of His original glory and submitted 
to shame and spitting, the agony and curse of the cross^ 
and to hear amid the roar of the elements His more than 
majestic " It is I ;" this is my music amidst earth's harshest 
discords ; this is the spell that scares away my flocking 
fears ; this is my talisman against earth's cruellest wizardry 
— this glorious " It is I " of my Redeemer — this comforting 
Apocalypse of Jesus — this everlasting Hush of God, 

In the thirty second verse we read that when he entered 
the ship 

8. — The wind ceased. What was the meaning of this 
sudden lull ? Was it a mere coincidence ? Or does 
it speak to us of another calm that always comes where He 
comes ? Was it a divine allegory which received inter- 
pretation in their own life ? It does in ours. Two stormy 
scenes I see just now. God's own child is in the first, 
tossed on the waves of worldly sorrow. Furious are the 
gales that meet him, high tower the waves of woe, 
sharply through the straining cordage rattles the hail of 
desolation, deeply the vessel plunges in the brine, stag- 
gering is the shock as each wave dashes against her, 
and through the hiss of waters I can hear a distressful 
moaning, "All these things are against me;" "All thy 
waves and thy billows go over me;" "Lover and friend 
hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into 
darkness ;" " Thine arrows stick fast in me, and thine hand 
presseth me sore." So for a while ; but when the Saviour 
comes into the ship, when faith sees the meaning of 
the mystery, and bows in submission at the feet of its 
Divine Lord, the purpose of the storm is achieved, and 
I see the sky is bright once more with laughing cloudlets. 
Gaily the sunbeams glitter on the sea, the tossing waters 



A NIGHT ON THE SEA OF GALILEE. 89 



sink away into gentle ripples, the whirling winds are 
hushed into a holy calm, and as the vessel glides away to 
her desired haven, I hear the sailors singing, " God is 
our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 
Therefore will we not fear, though the earth be removed, 
-and the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea ; 
though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the 
mountains shake with the swelling thereof ;" for " the Lord 
of Hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge." " The 
wind ceased." But there is yet another ceasing. I think 
I see it now. Here, too, there is a storm, but he that is in 
it is not the Lord's. The sky is black with a strange 
darkness, lit up at times by lurid flashes. Sounds of 
wailing and of woe rise awfully upon the air. With faces 
of livid whiteness the affrighted mariners lie prostrate upon 
the deck, or cling in desperation to the slippery bulwarks. 
On comes the watery phalanx, whipped into madness by 
the gale ; clear over the fated vessel sweep the furies of 
the sea, and when she rights a little I hear a groaning " God 
be merciful to me a sinner ;" " Against thee, thee only, have 
I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight ;" " I acknowledge 
my transgression, and my sin is ever before me ;" " Cast 
me not away from thy presence, and take not thy Holy 
Spirit from me." And through that devouring tempest I 
see One coming to the ship whose head is crowned with 
thorns, and ^whose side is rent as if a spear had pierced it. 
I look again directly, and seem to be in another world. 
The faces of those storm-tossed mariners are radiant with 
joy. High in the glowing ether walks the sun, and to the 
glancing waves sends back responsive smiles ; free in the 
quickening breezes float and fly the happy birds, and man 
-and nature make harmonious music. Would you hear the 
singers ? It is good to listen ! For while the sympathizing 
earth is chanting <* Blessed is the man whose iniquity 
is forgiven, and whose sin is covered," the pardoned 
penitent is singing in grateful tears 

** O for a Uioasand tongues to sing 

My great Redeemer's praise ; 
The glories of my God and King, 

Tiie triumphs of His grace. 

He breaks the power of cancelled sin, 

He sets the prisoner free ; 
His blood can make the foulest clean. 

His blood avails for me." 



90 A NIGHT ON THE SEA OF GALILEE. 



"The wind ceased." Sinner, learn the meaning- welL 
" There is therefore now no condemnation to them which 
are in Christ Jesus who walk not after the flesh but after 
the Spirit." The storm of sin always ceases when Jesus 
comes into the ship — the heart. Let Him come into yours 
just now. 

9. — One word more — as to the result of all. Hear those- 
glad disciples as they crowd about their Master, and 
in humble adoration cry, " Thou art the Son of God." Out 
of trouble, peace ; out of warfare, worship ! This is the 
glorious desig-n. Oh that it may be fulfilled in us ! Oh 
let us cling to Jesus ! then trial and trouble shall help us- 
heavenward ; griefs shall be turned to graces, and losses 
shall be gains ; weights shall be wings, and sorrows shall 
be stepping-stones to glory ; the stormf ul sea of human life 
shall help us to relish all the more the everlasting calm 
that's coming, and He that walks its tempestuous tides shall 
presently take us into His own unveiled presence, where the 
communion of Master and disciples shall never be inter- 
rupted, and in the sense of this stormy night on Galilee,. 
" There shall be no more Sea ! 



SERMON V. 



HIGHWAY AND HEDGE WORK. 



" And the Lord said unto the servant, Go out into the- 
htghways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house 
may he filled^ — Luke xiv., 23. 

MANY years ago now, a great feast was made in 
the comfortable home of one of the most respectable 
men of Galilee. It was on a Sabbath day that it was made^ 
but who made it, and the precise name of the place where 
he lived, no one can tell now, yet it was one of the 
most remarkable feasts the world has ever known. A 
g'oodly number were invited, mainly as it seems from the 
families of the gentry in the neighbourhood, and the tables- 
were spread with true oriental hospitality, but of the many 
who accepted the bidding of the host, the name of only one 
is preserved to us, and we are left to guess in vain what 
were the special honours and offices held by those who sat at 
meat with Him, and who evidently thought themselves, and 
were in general estimation held to be the " more honourable 
men." Nor is it of much consequence to have our won- 
dering satisfied when we know who he was they met there, 
for all other names are insignificant by the side of that 
lowly stranger's, and every other incident of that feast is a 
trifle in comparison with this, that He who was both God 
and man sat down amidst the company, and joined in the 
festivities of that Sabbath day. They watched Him, we 
are told, and can well believe it. He presently gave them 
somethiiig to see. A man was before Him that had the 
dropsy, and Jesus " took him, and healed him, and let him 
go." He gave them something to listen to, as the records 
of this chapter abundantly prove. For some of those wise 
words that dropped from His sacred lips, we are indebted 



92 



HIGHWAY AND HEDGE WORK. 



to the unseemly attempts of some of the guests to secure 
the best places in the feast, and for some others to the host 
himself, whose manifest preferences for the great and 
wealthy gave occasion to our Lord to show to him and to 
all of us, in this matter of feast making", " a more excellent 
way.'' But we owe special thanks to another of that 
company — still unnamed — whose remark concerning" the 
blessedness of eating bread in the kingdom of God, led the 
Saviour to answer him in the ever memorable parable of 
the Great Supper. For, under its thin veil of oriental 
imagery, lies, scarcely hidden, truth for all the world. 
We Westerns, scattered in the highways and hedg"es of 
the world, feel special interest in it, and mayhap have 
better understanding of it than they who heard it first. 
We know at least what is meant by its liberality of 
provision — salvation, great beyond all measure ; and by 
the first bidding to its tables, definite but not wide. The 
g"eneral and insulting refusal of the bidden guests to come, 
and the servant's grieved complaint to his lord, are not 
hard to interpret. The swift enlargement of the original 
message, the prompt obedience of the willing messenger, 
his siofnificant report that yet there was room, and then 
the still wider commission to " go out into the highways 
and hedges, and compel them to come in," followed by 
the just decree " None of those men which were bidden 
shall taste of my supper," have found their several 
illustration and fulfilment in the mysterious marches of that 
Providence whose latest and largest commission was, " Go 
ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every 
•creature." 

I dare not say so much for our practice of the duties 
taught in this parable. I fear we have been sadly laggard 
in this respect. The message of mercy has been carried 
by the Christian Church to tlie World, but slowly, feebly, 
and with hesitation, and perhaps we have been specially at 
fault as regards carrying it to the highways and hedges of 
the text. Something has certainly been done of late years 
in fulfilment of the command of the text, but more requires 
to be done, and that we may the better do it, let us spend 
a few moments in enquiry as to the sphere, design, method 
and agency of what the text teaches us to call the Highway 
and Hedge Work of the Church. 



HIGHWAY AND HEDGE WORK. 9} 

I. — We are to enquire who/ t's the sphere of work indicated 
by the terms *• highways and hedges.*' 

No violence would be done to the spirit of the text if we 
took the words literally, and wherever highways and 
hedges were to be found, considered that the designed 
locality, but the words cover much more than this. They 
mean those places where men are farthest from the truths 
those districts in which godliness has least hold, and 
holiness its fewest witnesses ; where Satan has undisturbed 
dominion, and vice and wretchedness sway an unbrokeni 
sceptre ; where ignorance puts on its most stolid stare, and 
superstition practices its darkest rites ; where the earthly 
and sensual parts of our nature are exalted to highest 
dignity, and all that is good and godlike is trampled in the 
mire. They mean those parts where the light of the 
Gospel has never penetrated ; where men still sit in sin,, 
unchallenged by any herald of the cross, unstirred by the 
glad tidings of a Saviour's love ; where the diseases of our 
moral nature have attained their fellest virulence, where 
no Gilead of mercy yields its precious balm, and where no 
Good Physician performs his miracles of grace.* They 
mean those mighty tracts of country across whose desolate 
wastes the healthful breezes of true spiritual life never 
blow, and upon whose sterile plains the showers of revival 
never fall ; the highways and hedges of the world where 
missionary labour has not yet commenced, and all things 
continue as they were from the beginning, cursed with the 
dead monotony of sin. And they have a meaning nearer 
home than that, in the highways and hedges of our own 
country. You know the locality — the rich woodlands 
where amidst the luscious beauty of copse and orchard, 
meadows deep with grass, and hedges all glorious with the 
blossom of the wild flowers, the agricultural labourer lives 
like a beast, a slave to labour and to sin, and dies in the 
dark. Or the bleak moors, dotted over with rough 
farmsteads, where father to son for generations have lived 
and died, thinking of little else than the quarterly rent day, 
and the weekly market in the distant town, knowing little 
more of God and holiness and heaven than the sheep they 
pastured amongst the heather, or the few cattle they kept 
in the stall. You know the locality. Highways and 
hedges are those hamlets and villages where gospel 



•94 HIGHWAY AND HEDGE WORK. 



ordinances have no existence, but idleness, ignorance, dirt 
and devilry have, and flourish. And they are those towns 
and cities where are sometimes long- streets where scarcely 
a family can be found of which the father attends public 
worship on the Lord's day. I say, you know these places ; 
these miserable streets, where whole families are crowded 
into one room — think of it, and all it means ! — where the 
men are generally drunkards, and the women too 
sometimes : where for the most part the women are roug"h, 
-coarse, and slatternly, with their native beauty blasted, 
their modesty slaughtered, and their grace and gentleness 
all gone, or wQrn and wasted with the cares and toils of 
their wretched life, beaten by a brutal husband, grieved by 
wayward children, the sport and scorn of the thriftless, 
shameless crowd outside, dragging out the few days of an 
unhappy life, and sinking unnoticed into the tomb. You 
know these places ; where rags and tatters are the costly 
apparel, the glaring ginshop at the corner the place 
of banqueting, the low priced theatre and music hall, and 
such things as horse-racing, dog-racing, pigeon-flying and 
gambling of all kinds the innocent amusement ; where old 
men mutter and mumble assent to what you say about God 
and truth and heaven, but never stir to seek it, or else 
blaspheme, as only old men can ; where the young men 
learn to drink, and swear, and lie, and steal ; where the 
merest children pour out vilest ribaldry, and the little ones 
of all weep and wail for very wretchedness, and die off by 
scores for the ignorance, and carelessness, and cruelty, and 
neglect they meet with. 

I say, you know these places. I would to God you did 
not, and that such descriptions were only true of times and 
places long forgotten. I would to God that tales like these 
sounded to us all like fragments of old world history, and 
evoked only loud Hallelujahs that such times and such 
people had passed away for ever, but alas ! they are only 
too true of to-day. Nor think, brethren, that such views as 
these are too gloomy. The picture I have drawn for you 
is lightly coloured in comparison with the absolute truth. 
There are deeper depths than these in the world's iniquity. 
There are sadder sights even than these, and yet keener 
sorrows. It is well we do not know them all. Life were 
impossible if we did. If we could see what the All-seeing 



HIGHWAY AND HEDGE WORK. 95 

One beholds for one day, and could watch the working- of 
the curse, if we could see the ignorance and profanity, the 
sloth and pride, the haughtiness and cruelty, the grovelling* 
animalism and shameless impurity, the smiting of the fair 
face of Right, and the yelling honours with which they 
crown the Barabbas of Iniquity; if we could know how 
innocence is corrupted, and kindness hardened, trustfulness 
deceived, and virtue outraged ; if we knew the bitterness 
of sin's poverty, the loathsomeness and pangs and agonies 
of sin's diseases ; and could see how Satan lays his accursed 
hand upon the guileless innocence of childhood, wrings 
many a tear from the eyes of infancy, brings to utter 
wreckage the gladsomeness and buoyancy and hopes of 
youth, makes manhood brutish and the grey hairs of 
reverend age a monument of shame, and could listen to the 
weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth which, from 
many a hell on earth, go up into the ears of the Lord of 
Sabaoth ; if we could know all the sin and sorrow of the 
Highways and Hedges of Humanity, I verily believe that 
we should go mad or die I 

If this be the sphere of operations, 

II. — Who/ ts the design of this Highway and Hedge work ? 

Its general tenor we easily comprehend to be one of 
blessing. Two points stand out in it worthy of notice : the 
first 

I. — Each man saved. Nothing less than this will do, 
and nothing less than this is implied in getting them to 
come in to the supper. To get them to adopt cleaner 
habits, or follow healthier rules of living will be a great 
achievement, but we must aim higher than that. To induce 
them to forsake their godless practices, and become regular 
attendants at the Lord's house will be a great gain, but we 
must compass a loftier end than this. To persuade them 
to take upon themselves a profession of religion and openly 
consort with the godly, would be a worthy enterprise, but 
we hold a yet more blessed commission — ^we must make 
them Christians. Thank God, we have something to invite 
them to. For their want we may offer them plenty, for 
their disappointment satisfaction, for their disquietude 
comfort. For frivolous amusements we have substantial 
joy, for temporary excitement continual happiness, and for 
pleasure peace. For the restlessness of vice we have the 



96 HIGHWAY AND HEDGE WORK. 

calm stability of virtue, for the mocking" sophistries of a 
false philosophy we have the firm foundations of the ever- 
lasting gospel, for the poisonous dainties of an earthly and 
sensual infidelity we have the healthful luxury and abiding* 
comfort of salvation by the remission of sins. So we must 
g-et them to come in, if we can. There is something" to 
come to. 

2. — ^But there is a yet further purpose to be achieved — 
" that my house may be filled." Is not this like saying in 
another way " that He may see of the travail of His soul 
and may be satisfied ?*' The full house, the accomplished 
purpose of Redemption, the world enlightened and saved^ 
are three things, but " these three are one." The thoug^ht 
is great, and beneath its burden we are apt to stagger 
sometimes. 'Tis a vision that tarrieth, and to some of the 
dim-sighted seers of our time, it seems as if it would never 
come, but come it shall at length. The messengers of the 
Lord shall not be ever crying, " Who hath believed our 
report, and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been 
revealed ?" Wide credence shall that message gain, and 
great shall be the company of the faithful. The world 
shall not for ever lie in the arms of the Wicked One ; 
Humanity shall not be ever his lawful captive. Sin shall 
not always lord it over the hills and valleys of this lower 
earth. A better day approaches, a happier time ; a time 
when the cheatery of evil shall be clearly seen, and its 
miserable bondage broken ; when the subtleties of sin 
shall be universally exposed, and its fierce attack resisted ; 
when the way of sinners shall be counted evil, the counsel 
of the ungodly a mischievous device, and the seat of the 
scornful a halting place in the march to death ; when the 
oracles of truth shall supplant the flippant folly of a 
God-forgetting literature ; when the Sabbath shall be no- 
more a weariness, and the service of the Saviour shall be 
no more a drudgery ; when the preaching of the cross 
shall be universally the power of God unto salvation, and 
the lifted Saviour shall draw all men unto Him ; a time 
when business shall not mean trickery, nor leisure laziness, 
nor liberty license, nor thrift greed ; when amusements 
shall be no more frivolous nor labour slavish, nor manners 
insolent, nor customs cruel, but men shall be pure and true,, 
brave with the courage of a good conscience, steadfast 



HIGHWAY AND HEDGK WORK. 97 

with an unwavering faith, full of love to God and love to 
one another, glad with tha joy of pardon and the blessed- 
ness of perpetual peace, filled with the grace of patience, 
and the meekness and gentleness of. Christ, glowing with 
the goodness of a regenerated nature, showing forth the 
fidelity that is approved of God, and that far-reaching 
temperance that is begotten of abiding trust; and thos 
bringing forth these fruits of the Spirit, against which no 
upbraiding conscience testifies, and thunders no violated 
law, " the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the 
glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." 

III. — By what means is this to be brought about ? 

" Go out .... and compel them to come in" is 
the answer. 

I. — They cannot come without an invitation. An invitation 
should not be an insult. Those who haunt the highways 
and hedges of life have some self respect left, and are 
quick to resent anything like disrespect. They are human 
beings, and cannot be driven to church like a lot of cattle. 
They have usually penetration enough to know when any- 
thing of this kind is comtemplated. If they come, they 
will comey and will not be dragged and threatened and 
hectored into it. Whoever goes out to bid them must not 
go with a "stand off" air about him, or a patronizing 
manner, or think to scold them into Christianity, or ima- 
gine that his message gives him the right to pry into their 
family affairs, or advise in their family difficulties, or enter 
into their house at any time whether convenient or not. 
He must go as the bearer of an invitation from Jesus, and 
must take that in the gentlest, wisest and most loving 
manner he can. 

2. — Personal contact with the outcasts is needful. 

Men can vote sometimes by proxy, but cannot visit by 
proxy. Printed appeals are not so telling as personal 
solicitations. Men like to be spoken to. One kind word 
will often go further than a score of tracts. Fifty hand- 
bills will often do not half the execution of one hand-shake^ 
heartily given, and lovingly meant. Of course personal 
contact is riot possible or indeed advisable for everyone of 
the Lord's people, and in such case let hand-bills or tracts 
be scattered rather than nothing, but do not let us forget 
that paper and printing are at best but a poor substitute 

H 



98 HIGHWAY AND HEDGE WORK. 



for that personal pleading" and brotherly sympathy, of 
which the servant in our text is an illustration, and our 
blessed Master himself the highest and best embodiment 
Nor let us forget that the command of the text authorizes 
3. — A holy violence : " Qjmpel them to come in." 
It is almost too late in the day to set about proving" that 
physical violence is not what Jesus means here. We have 
happily got beyond that stage in our study of moral 
philosophy. We hardly need to be taught that conversions 
by physical force are valueless, and no conversions at all. 
Men that take upon themselves a profession of religion, or 
pronounce some ecclesiastical Shibbofeth, because angry 
Ephraimites are standing by with drawn swords to make 
them, are of no service to any church. And those who 
think to make men religious by the compulsion of bribery, 
or the compulsion of fear, who glory over large congre- 
gations gathered by the soft seductions of Christmas 
blankets, or parish charity, or good employment, or by the 
harsher logic of threats of withdrawal of custom from the 
shop, or children from the school, or ejectment from the 
homestead, need to be reminded that what Jesus wants is 
not to get men to learn a catechism, or behave well during- 
the hours of service, but to love God and bring forth fruits 
of righteousness ; not to see so many seats full of decently 
dressed people, but so many souls full of light and life and 
power and holiness ; and you cannot bring this about by 
such coarse contrivances as these. Thumb-screws and red 
hot irons may extort cries of agony, but not the cry of 
penitence. It's a poor morality that is only moral while it 
hears the headsman sharpening his axe I It's a wretched 
righteousness that is only righteous as long as it can g^et 
something for it I No ! It is quite another violence that 
Jesus means. It is such violence as is begotten of pity, 
and nursed by prayer, such as men would put upon their 
fellows if they saw them struggling in the waters, and 
knew that a rope flung out to them was their only means 
of escape. It is as if He said " Ask them to come in. If 
they refuse, ask them again, and yet again, and tell them 
I sent you, and if they still refuse, plead with them to listen. 
Choose the fittest time for urging them, employ the likeliest 
arguments. Think of the husks and beggary of sin, and 
compel them ; think of the bondage and misery in which 



HIGHWAY AND HEDGE WORK. 99 

they are, and compel them ; think of all they might be, may 
be, and perhaps will he, and compel them ; think of eternal 
death, and compel them ; think of everlasting life, and 
-compel them; and then ask, invite, urge, press, plead, 
beseech, entreat, pray over and pray for them, go again 
and again, weep over, them, lay holy hands on them, make 
them see you love them, whisper your message, or thunder 
it, draw them, or drive them, lead them, or carry them, 
bring them by degrees, or bring them at once, bring them 
•sighing, or bring them singing, but bring them to them- 
selves, to the sanctuary, to salvation, to Me, and however 
they may oppose and refuse you, never give up heart or 
hope of them — /ill I do! G)mpel them to come in I" 

IV.. — Who are to do this work ? Shall we say 

I. — Those who are now doing it. Who could call them off 
-from so high an enterprise, or appoint them a nobler work ? 
But how few the workers I Here and there you find them, 
lights in the surrounding darkness ! No one would be 
taxed with counting them, the number is soon told. How 
many are there from this chapel, how many out of this 
<x>ngregation ? Put them together, these harvestmen of 
God, and when you see how great the harvest is, and how 
far and wide the fields stand ready for the reapers, how 
sorrowfully comes that old Scripture home to you, " but the 
labourers are few." 

2. — But who can do it? More indeed than make the 
attempt. 

There is a mine of vast wealth among us, all unworked. 
We have resources available for such toil as this that we 
have hardly dreamt of. There are men of energy among 
us, men of action, men of the ready hand and the eloquent 
tongue, men too of tact and perseverance, men of informa- 
tion and of leisure, who have not yet entered into this field, 
and who could do admirable work for Christ. There are 
godly women with us too, to whom these highways and 
hedges offer a fair field for work. Ability ? Yes, we have 
ability. We manage large businesses, we control great 
■factories, we can gxiide influential associations, we can argue 
with conclusiveness, speak with propriety and force, write 
elegantly and instructively ; we can counsel in perplexity, 
encourage in times of feebleness, we can organize and 
carry out all sorts of things ; we can plan and scheme and 

H 2 



100 HIGHWAY AND HEDGE WORK. 



order and alter ; indeed there are few things that we 
cannot do. Why might not this surplusage of talent be 
put to good account ? Why might not those who are such 
apt workmen in things temporal rise to an equal eminence 
as to the things eternal ? May I ask again, who can do 
it ? And then 

3. — IVho ought to do it ? Let us look at this in the light 
of the Great Day. Will it not be said to some in that day^ 
" I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat ; I was thirsty^ 
and ye gave drink ; I was a stranger, and ye took me in ; 
naked, and ye clothed me ; I was sick, and ye visited me ; 
I was in prison, and ye came unto me:" and to their 
modest disclaimer of so high a ministry, " Inasmuch as ye 
have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye 
have done it unto me ?" But who, brethren, are these ? 
Are they those who kept to themselves the grace of Christ 
Jesus, and never tried to spread it : those who were con« 
tented with a decorous and regular attendance on the 
services of the sanctuary, and a more or less liberal support 
of the cause of God ? What will be said to such — I mean 
the christian men who worked side by side with sinners^ 
and never opened their lips to them about salvation; who 
lived in the midst of a godless population, and never tried 
to turn them from the error of their way ; who had ungodly 
workpeople, and never warned them, ungodly apprentices^ 
wicked neighbours, unconverted relatives, irreligious 
acquaintances, and never breathed a word to them of their 
danger, and tried to save them ? Will Jesus say " Well 
done" to such ! Perhaps some of these would have perished 
in spite of all our efforts, but what if we made no effort ? 
Will it not be asked of us how it was that we let these 
precious souls glide by us to destruction ; how it was that 
we could view all this wreck and ruin, and never try to 
build it up again ; how it was that we could see these poor 
misguided beings hurry past us to the deep darkness of 
perdition, and yet stretch out no hand to save them, and 
lift up no voice to stop them ? And if such sluggishness 
can yet be forgiven, and we are saved ourselves from the 
final doom of the accursed, does it not seem as if our place 
there must be far less honourable, and our crown far less 
brilliant, than theirs to whom our Lord, as He reviews their 
loyal and brotherly efforts to save men from sin, will say. 



HIGHWAY AND HEDGE WORK. 10 1 

■** Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of the least of these my 
brethren, ye did unto me." 

Yes, it shall be even so, for there are degrees in glory. 
We shall not all stand upon one level there ; let no one 
think it ! All who enter Heaven shall be happy, but some 
shall quaff a sweeter cup than others. All shall be 
honourable, but some shall be advanced to higher dignity. 
All will hear the Master's welcome, but there are some to 
whom He will say " Well done" with greater emphasis. 
All shall behold His glory, and shall walk with Him in 
white apparel, but some shall be nearer the throne than 
others, and shall robe themselves in more magnificent 
attire. Brethren, let us try to join this selecter company, 
let us aim to grasp these higher honours. Let us remember 
'that they who were most like to Christ on earth, shall be 
nearest Him in heaven. Let us copy His high example ; 
let us follow His godlike footsteps ; let us aim, like Him, 
to make this dark world lighter, and this sorrowful heart 
of humanity glad ; let us try to lift some poor soul out of 
the pit, to free some slave of Satan from his fetters, to 
snatch some brand out of the everlasting burning, that we 
may have some sheaf to show in that great harvesting, 
some soul blessed by our efforts, some sinner saved through 
our instrumentality ; and in the day of His coming, when 
the noise and bustle of the world are stilled, and its frantic 
labours are over ; when the trophies of battle are forgotten, 
and few and small appear its vaunted triumphs of science 
and of art ; when the garlands of its fame have faded, and 
the honours of its greatness have withered away ; when 
gold is no more riches, and broad acres are no inheritance, 
and royal diadems are no longer crowns ; they that were 
thus " wise, shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, 
and they that turned many to righteousness as the stars for 
ever and ever !" 



« 



SERMON VI. 

BUYING THE TRUTH. 

Buy the truths — Proverbs xxiii, 23. 



TWIS Scripture reminds me that there is a certain 
^ valuable commodity just now in the market, and I am 
to bid you to become the purchasers. Perhaps I shall best 
do so by 

I. — Reminding you what thai commodity is. 

I say reminding" you, because I more than suspect that 
you have heard of it before, and indeed that it has been 
offered for sale in this very place again and again. But a 
good thing does not suffer by having its excellencies spoken 
of even many times over, and this is a very good thing, so 
I have no hesitation in speaking of it even at length. Let 
me say then, to begin with, that no one must be stumbled 
by the sound of its name — the Truth. That may not at 
first hearing seem to be of a very practical and substantial 
nature. To some it may appear not substantial at all, and 
it may be admitted that when on the one side you are 
talking of buying the truth, and on the other of buying 
shops and houses, ships and farms, cattle and estates, it 
does seem as if the former transaction were rather more 
in the region of sentiment and theory than the other. 
Multitudes of men can understand easily enough what it is 
to pay gold or notes, and carry away goods, but truth 
buying sounds shadowy and unreal to them. But that is a 
mistake. The truth I speak of is a most real thing, and 
the purchase I want you to make is one of the most practical 
transactions that you have ever engaged in in your life. 
For surely those are not the only real things in this world 
that you see and touch and taste and handle. What more 
real and practical agent in secular affairs is there than the 
human spirit ? That is as absolutely a fact as clouds and 



BUYING THE TRUTH. IO3 



rocks and rivers and hills and seas are facts, but who of us 

ever saw a human spirit, heard a human spirit, felt a human 

spirit ? And there may be many things a man may dOf 

most deeply practical, most powerfully influential on human 

aifairs, but with no outward appearance whatever. If a 

man g^oes into the market, and, giving a cheque for a 

thousand pounds, takes home with him a thousand pounds' 

worth of cotton or corn, do you say that is something 

practical and real, that the man has done something ? No 

doubt he has, but is that the only class of actions you will 

so speak of ? Look at the thief upon the cross. When he 

lurked in the robber fastnesses of Judea, and, stripping 

travellers of their valuables, alternately feasted like aprince, 

or starved like a beggar, he did what was real and tangible 

enough, but was not that a real thing he did when, naked 

and helpless, bleeding and faint, he turned to the Sufferer 

at his side, and said " Lord remember me when thou comest 

Into thy kingdom?" All his violence and shouting and 

blows had done had been at times to put some money in 

his purse, but those few quiet words had opened the gates 

of Paradise. Saul of Tarsus was engaged in a most 

sorrowfully practical business when he stood by the clothes 

of the witnesses who were stoning Stephen, and anyone 

who had seen the cavalcade he led from Jerusalem to 

Damascus, and the letters he was carrying from the high 

priest, and had heard his fierce and bitter language as he 

urged his companions along the dusty way, would have said 

that that was a very practical business too, but was it not 

equally so when he lay for three days in the house of Judas 

in the street called Straight, and neither did eat nor drink? 

What came of those three days you know : Christ's chiefest 

apostle was born out of that silence, and unnumbered 

millions have had cause to glorify God in Paul. But what 

was there to see and hear while the great question pf 

obedience to the heavenly vision was being settled? 

Children who chaffered in the market place about mint or 

anise would have made far more noise than you could have 

heard in that house of Judas. The quietest fisher on the 

banks of the Abana would have been more apparently 

active than was Saul of Tarsus then. And that which Saul 

gained then, which sent him out into the world a totally 

different man, upon an entirely different course, who saw 



I04 BUYING THE TRUTH. 



k ; who handled it ; who heard it ; who tasted it ? Tried 
by those tests it was nothing^. A yard o£ silk purchased in 
the bazaar of Damascus was a much more real thing". A 
bunch of flowers gathered from the gardens of the city was 
a much more valuable possession. But I should insult your 
understanding if I were to ask whether you really thoug-ht 
so. What Paul then g-ained was this very Truth that I 
have to offer to you now, and you may judge from what it 
did in him and for him, how practical the whole transaction 
was. And indeed, perhaps that is the best way of showing" 
what the thing is, to show you what it does. What can we 
learn of electricity in any other way ? You cannot see it, 
at least ordinarily ; you cannot cut it, or carve it, or weig^h 
k, or hear it, or smell it, but you know its effects. One of 
these electrical machines is a very unpretending" affair. It 
is only made of wood, brass, iron and a little copper and 
silk — to all appearance. Some one turns the handle ; you 
hear the ticking of the contact breaker — that is all. You 
take up one of the metal conductors. What then ? You 
feel nothing. Electricity for anything you know is nothing. 
That handle might as well be made of paper or wood for 
anything it does to you. They call this an electrical 
machine ? Then so far you can pooh, pooh it. But take 
up the other conductor in your other hand. Now let the 
handle be turned. You hear the clicking again, but you 
feel this time — as if every nerve in your body was quivering. 
After that you will no more call electricity an unpractical 
thing. And you hear men speak of Truth, and buying 
Truth, and perhaps it seems to you a shadowy and unreal 
thing altogether, but see what this Truth can do for those 
who have it, and you will no more think so about it. 

Abel bought the Truth, and offered by means of it a 
more excellent sacrifice than Cain. Enoch bought it, and 
lived a life of blameless beauty for three hundred years. 
Noah bought it, and floated in safety on the raging waters 
that drowned the world. Abraham bought it, and walked, 
and talked with angels in broad day. Jacob bought it, and 
chang-ed his name of shameful weakness for a name of 
princely power. Moses bought it, and He who made him 
talked with him as a man talketh with his friend. Joshua 
bought it, and led the hosts of Israel in triumph into 
Canaan. David bought it, and straightway Music became 



BUYING THE TRUTH. lOJ 



handmaid unto Piety, and Holiness walked side by side with 
Songf. Daniel boug"ht it, and found the lions of the den no 
worse than lambs that gambolled in the sheepfold. 
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego bought it, and walked 
in the seventimes heated furnace as if it had been one of 
the glades of Eden in the cool of the day. John the Baptist 
bought it, and woke a slumbering nation into feverish zeal. 
Saul of Tarsus bought it, and preached of the malefactor 
of Calvary before the lord of Rome. The martyrs of the 
early church bought it, and took joyfully the spoiling of 
their goods ; counted the rags of their poverty for Christ's 
sake, as if they had been robes of imperial purple ; sang 
praises in their prisons, and went to their death as if they 
had been going to a bridal. And all through the ages 
since, men and women have bought the Truth, and found 
in it strength for their feebleness, light for their darkness 
comfort for their sorrow, and hope for their despair. 
They buy it still, and find it smooths their difficulties, over- 
comes their enemies, masters their evil passions, gives 
stability for their fickleness, gentleness for their violence, 
kindness for their cruelty, generosity for their selfishness, 
uprightness for their fraud. They buy it still, and find it 
guides them in perplexity, gives them patience under 
suflferings, smooths the pillows on the couch of sickness, 
pours a balm into the wounds of bereavement, presses a 
chalice of immortal gladness to the lips of the dying, lights 
up the gloom of the sepulchre with an unearthly radiance, 
and so completely robs death of its terrors, that it often 
seems as if the chamber where the good man dies was 
almost within the verge of Heaven, and that just a little 
further, and even mortal ears might listen to the music of 
the angels, and mortal eyes might catch through the never 
shutting gates the glory of the streets of gold. 

After thus giving you some idea of what this Truth is, 
I will 

II. — Remind you of what it costs to buy it. 

For this also, if 1 mistake not, has been spoken of in this 
place before. Of course, it will cost you something. That 
may be set down as certain, and also reasonable. Perhaps 
most of those things that to us are the choicest have had 
to be paid for in one way or another. We shall also have 
to pay for the Truth, though it may be not in actual gold 



I06 BUYING THE TRUTH. 



and silver. But I am happy to be able to say that the price^ 
fixed by Him who has the right to do it, is within the reach 
of all. You might possibly have supposed, from the great 
and marvellous excellencies already said to be connected 
with it, that its price would be proportionately great, and 
that when in addition to being good for one side of a 
man's nature, it is said to be good for all sides, and in all 
seasons, good in health and good in sickness, good in 
life and good in death, it could only be obtained for a 
ruinous consideration, but it is not so. Now if I had to 
offer for sale one of Turner's pictures, or one of 
Wedgwood's choicest vases, I should have to ask a sum 
that some of you could not by any means command. A 
real Elzevir would be quite beyond many of you. While 
if you come to more practically useful things, suppose it 
was a steamship for sale, some of you might buy it, but if 
it was an acre of land in the heart of London, any man 
should be well off who could afford to purchase that. But 
this Truth — more valuable than all the pictures that 
Turner, or Landseer, or Reynolds, or Gainsborough ever 
painted ; worth more than all the ware that Staffordshire 
could produce through a cycle of centuries, worth more 
than all the books ever bound in vellum, worth more than 
a whole navy of steamships or all London put together — 
this Truth, I say, can be purchased at a price that will 
not distress the poorest person in this place, and that the 
beggar in the street, shambling along in rags and tatters^ 
could yet afford to pay. For in the market where this is 
sold there is another currency than that that bears the 
image and superscription of Queen Victoria, and men and 
women who can hardly do anything upon the Exchange 
at Bradford, or Liverpool, or Manchester can become great 
merchants here. For everyone of us has a heart to part 
with, and, in the estimation of Him who rules this holier 
trafficking, that heart is more valuable than all the guineas 
that ever jingled upon bankers' tables. That is the gold 
indeed of this diviner bartering, and if a man is content to 
part with it, the Lord who governs all things is more than 
content that he should have the Truth in exchange. That 
is, if we on our part are willing to give our heart, that is 
ourself, into His hands. He on His part will put into ours 
this invaluable commodity which will be our fortune in 



BUYING THE TRUTH. 10/ 



life, our triumph in death, and our incorruptible inheri- 
tance through all eternity. 

One caution I am commanded to interpose here. The 
price demanded is a heart, not a part but the whole of it» 
and if anything less than all the heart is offered, business 
cannot be done. I am commanded moreover to say, that 
we are not to suppose, from the way in which the transfer 
takes place, that our poor guilty restless hearts have this 
value intrinsically and of themselves, but that it so pleases 
Him, of His boundless grace, to regard them, and that the 
whole transaction is of grace and not of debt. Neverthe- 
less I have also to say, when we perform our part of the 
contract. He holds Himself bound in holy faithfulness to 
fulfil His. Now, brethren, the price is before you of this 
inestimable blessing, True Religianj and that there may 
be no possible mistake about it, I am commissioned to say 
to you in the plainest terms, if you will give your heart to 
God, you shall have it. And whatever of self denial now^ 
or of self sacrifice hereafter, may be involved in this, let 
this be remembered, that to refuse to buy will, in the long 
run, cost you infinitely more. It may seem much to give — 
all the heart — ^but it is one of those cases in which giving 
does not impoverish, and witholding does not enrich. And 
it is not to be forgotten that the payment of this price lies 
more easily upon the men of to-day, than on their fathers. 
Christ indeed has never asked less than all the heart, but 
to give that heart when Religion is feted and honoured, is 
a different thing from giving it when Religion is perse- 
cuted. It means self denial still, it means bearing the 
cross after the Master, it means some measure of obloquy 
and contempt, but it does not mean, and cannot mean, what 
it did in the fiery days that are past. Therefore let no 
man be discouraged upon that account. We can pay the 
price, I will not say easily, but by the grace of God, we can 
pay it ; and if the payment meant a living martyrdom, 
even at such a price the Truth were cheaply purchased, 
because the suffering will only be for a little while, but 
the glory that shcdl follow is to be for ever, and for ever, 
and FOR EVER I 
- And now a word or two as to 

in. — Where and how it may he obtained. 

The thing itself you know, the price you know ; where 



108 BUYING THE TRUTH. 



can this question be settled ? If you wanted to buy cotton, 
you would g"o to Liverpool ; if you wanted to buy corn, 
perhaps to Hull or Leeds ; if you "wanted to buy cattle, to 
Wakefield or Newcastle. Where must you go to buy 
Truth ? Why, thank God, there's no special need to go 
anywhere in particular. There is a market established 
for that very near to every man's door. There are cer- 
tainly some places where you wouldn't be very likely to 
get it. For instance ; you would scarcely expect to get it 
in the spirit shops and beer houses of this country. It is 
not absolutely impossible, but a most unlikely thing. The 
ordinary bar-room is not often the scene of a man's con- 
version. Nor is the theatre the place to seek it in. It 
might be found there once in a hundred years perhaps, 
but it is more likely to be lost than found there. Nor is 
the public ball-room the place to find it. Waltz music 
and full dress are not favourable to a man's making his 
peace with God. And some of the places of entertain- 
ment of the time are not likely places to find it in ; 
and you would certainly not advise a seeker to go to the 
race course after it. The fact is, while no place in par- 
ticular can be said to be set apart for its sale, there are some 
places where it is extremely unlikely that you will find it, 
and common sense would say, don't go there if you really 
want it. Now there are others where a man is likely to 
come upon it. Wherever God is worshipped, or Christ 
is honoured, or His word is read, or His gospel is preached, 
or men meet together to further the interests of His king- 
dom, these are likely places to buy the Truth in, but indeed 
it comes to this, that Wherever a man may be who feels his 
need of mercy, and longs to get it, who knows he is a 
sinner, and is in earnest to be saved from his sins, ihai^s 
the place where he may buy the Truth ! And if any of 
you are in that condition just now, this is the place and this 
is the time, when you may strike the bargain, and be rich 
for ever ! For He who sells the Truth is not confined to 
places, but wherever you are who want it, there is He to 
give it. Yes ! there is a personal transaction between you 
and a personal Saviour, and there must be no mistake 
about this. Jesus sells the Truth ; His servants only pub- 
lish the terms of the traffic. Jesus sells it, and if you want 
it, you must go direct to Him. Don't be misled about this. 



BUYING THE TRUTH. 10^ 



No one can put it into your hands but the Lord Himself. 
Churches and chapels and creeds and systems and meetings, 
and ministers at the best are only His agents, channels of 
communication, but they have no power of transferring to 
any man that glorious reality here called the Truth. They 
can speak of it, and point to it, and rejoice in it, but if any 
man wants it, he himself must go right to Jesus, and goings 
thus — though he can only bring a restless burdened guilty 
soul, and though when he asks for Truth, he really pleads 
for pardon — agoing thus with a price which is not gold, to- 
buy what is not purchaseable, he shall in no wise be cast 
out. 

And now, dear brethren, I think the way is surely 
clear for us to do business at once. I appeal to you who 
have ndt purchased this inestimable blessing to buy to-day. 
Whatever else you have in your home or in your heart, if 
you have not this, you are to this moment poor. What- 
ever else you have purchased there remains yet the best 
bargain of your life. Did you never see it ? What are 
all the things that fill your wardrobes, or lie upon your 
shelves, or line your walls, or stand upon your sideboards,. 
or heap your counters, or crowd your warehouses, or are 
kept in your safes ? Property, do you say ? How much 
good do you get from them ? Men that never paid one 
penny towards them, have got more pleasure out of some 
of them, than you who have toiled and moiled for years to 
call them your own. The field is yours ? The little chil- 
dren who lie among its cowslips, and gather its daisies^ 
enjoy that field more than you. The estate yours ? Why 
the lads that clamber on its fences, the artists that come 
and sketch its trees, the stray traveller who catches the 
sunset purples among its woods, and goes home with a 
memory for ever, enjoy that more than you. And what 
if in common talk it is yours to-day, whose would it be to- 
morrow, if you should die before the morning ? Which of 
all these things could you carry with you across the river ? 
Will any of these bank notes rustle, think you, in the other 
world ? Will any of these jewels flash upon your person 
in that society ? Nay, even here, what use will the larger 
part of these things be to you when you come to die ? 
Does some one answer, no one expects them to be of much 
use then ? No, that is just it ; these become valueless and 



no BUYING THE TRUTH. 



Other things are wanted that you will have to supply — ^this 
one thing" above all others that I want you to buy to-day. 
How will you get it then ? There have been those who, in 
that dread hour of the Bridegroom's coming, have awoke 
from their sinful slumber to find amid the darkness that 
there was no oil in the vessel, and, going in fear and 
trembling to them that sell, have come back again to find 
the Bridegroom was gone in to the marriage, and the door 
was shut. What guarantee have you that it shall not be 
so with you? Oh ! buy it now you have the chance, that 
when you want it most, you may find it there to support 
and strengthen, and take it with you to be your joy and 
crown throughout Eternity, " I should like," is not suffi- 
cient in this enterprise ; it must be, " I will." Not " I will 
to-morrow," but by the grace of God, "I will to-day." 
You that seek it thus, shall find it, or rather seeking 
Him who is Himself the Truth and in, and from, and 
of whom all truth is, in knowledge of whom standeth 
our eternal life, you shall find Him ; and having Him 
within your heart — " Christ in you, the hope of glory" — 
you shall have the choicest treasure that this world can 
give you ; you shall be wealthy while you live, although 
the world may call you poor ; you shall be royally attended 
when you die, although the dying couch were nothing 
better than the straw, and you shall walk and talk with 
God's Kings and Princes — nay, with the King Himself — 
in the city that has no need of the Sun for ever, and for 
4very and for ever I 



SERMON VII. 

KEEPING THE 'TRUTH. 



u 



Buy the truthy and sell it not,^^ — ^Proverbs xxiii, 23. 



IT is the latter part of this Scripture that I have now to 
speak of. Some of you may remember that, on a former 
occasion, I exhorted you to buy the Truth. I have now to 
urge you, having bought, not to sell it. There will be no 
need to remind you that the passage was interpreted in 
the spirit of New Testament teaching, and that the Truth 
was taken to be in a general sense what we mean when 
we speak of True Religion. The fact that all truth is 
truth in Jesus, and that everyone that is of the truth 
heareth His voice, not merely permits but makes necessary, 
at least to the men of our time, such an interpretation. 
Of course it will be understood that, as the buying here 
spoken of was only like a purchaser, so this selling is only 
like a sale. This being supposed, then the way is open 
for me to say to all of you who have bought the Truth ; 
Don't ^ell it! 

Does anyone answer, Why ? Because 

I. — ^A very slight knowledge of the subject would say 
that this is not a thing to be parted with. 

A man doesn't need to be a theologian, or indeed a 
disciple of Christ, in order to see this. Catechism know- 
ledge would assure us that true religion is not a thing to 
be bought one day and sold the next. If it is worth any- 
thing, it is worth keeping. Everybody feels that this is 
one of those things a man is bound to go through with, 
and that if there is the slightest modicum of Truth in 
what is said about its excellency, it is not a thing to be 
given up after being once gained. At least every one 



112 KEEPING THE TRUTH. 

will feel that if it is to be parted with, there ought to be 
good and valid reasons for doing so, for we all know that 
whatever else it is, it is no trifling matter, and if a man 
ever acts wisely and thoughtfully about anything, it ought 
to be about this. Of course, a popular impression might 
be a popular fallacy, you must not lay too much stress 
upon it, but there it is with respect to this, and wise men 
will at least pause before they decide to run exactly counter 
to it. But 

II. — Observation of those who sold it says just the same, thai 
it should not be parted with. This is a species of evidence 
particularly painful to sift, but salutary to those who will 
do it. Just as when you see men come back from their 
fortnight's splashing in the sea water, or climbing 
amongst the hills, all brown, and bronzed, and vigorous, 
and healthy, you say to yourself, " now that is what would 
be good for me also, what they have had, where they have 
been," so when you watch the spirit and temper and 
deeds of any who are backsliders from the holy com- 
mandment, you say, "what has damaged them would 
damage me." For they are damaged, and that seriously, 
to all but eyes that do not care to see. It would not be 
difficult to adduce specific and personal testimony to this, 
but general observation of the whole case leads to the 
same conclusion, and perhaps more safely. An individual 
case might deceive us, but inference based upon multitudes 
of cases is likely to be safe. It would scarcely be prudent 
to infer from what you might see or hear in one public 
house, that the tendency of the liquor traffic was rather 
towards harm than good, but when the same consequences 
occur over and over again all over England, your inference 
may be strongly held. You judge of the tendency of 
horse racing in the same way. Anyone who watches the 
crowds that throng the course, and listens to the talk that 
is going on, and takes notice of the condition of the town 
in the evening afterwards, will have a pretty good idea as 
to which way it all points. I suppose most people will feel 
that to speak of a prayer meeting and the Derby day in 
the same breath is altogether incongruous. I imagine 
few people ever think of kneeling down before they go, 
and asking God's blessing on the proceedings of the day. 
Everybody will feel that it would be a solemn mockery. 



KEEPING THE TRUTH. II3 



Yet wherefore, except that the general tendency of 
the thing as now managed in this country is felt to be 
towards evil? Why ought prayer and amusement to 
be incongruous ? Have we any right to do a single thing 
we cannot ask the Divine blessing upon? But we are 
passing from the point in hand, how to judge of the 
g-eneraJ tendency of any action, or class of actions. By the 
same process of induction it may be fearlessly asserted, 
that in the direction of selling the Truth, there is nothing 
to encourage anyone to follow, but everything to discourage, 
and that if generosity, industry, integrity, kindness, unselfish- 
ness, sympathy, gentleness, firmness, patience, meekness, 
cheerfulness, love, are at all to be desired, it is not there 
we shall be likely either to find them, or to have them 
nourished when they are found. But one may speak more 
plainly still, and say that if you want to stifle and strangle 
-everything about a man that is noble and of good report, 
you can hardly do it better than by persuading him to sell 
the Truth. Besides 

III. — // t's such a good thing now, therefore don't sell it. 

About this there is not the slightest doubt. Experience 
-speaks, and speaks loudly, to have the Truth is to have a 
precious treasure. It is so, is it not ? Let us examine for 
a moment. What have we, in having this ? First, peace 
with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, the know- 
ledge of salvation by the remission of sins ; we are no 
more servants, but sons, and because we are sons, God hath 
-sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying 
Abba, Father. We have not received the spirit of bond- 
age again to fear, but the Spirit of Adoption. There is 
therefore now no condemnation to us who are in Christ 
Jesus. Our conscience is at rest, for Christ has hushed its 
trembling. Our fears are banished, for He hath given us 
the spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 
But let Charles Wesley tell us what we have, in having the 
Truth : 

" Thy miffhty name Balvation is. 

And keeps my happy soal above ; 
Comfort it brings, and power, and peaoBi 

And joy, and everlasting love ; 
To me, with Thy dear name, are given 
Pardon, and holiness, and heaven. 



114 KEEPING THE TRUTH. 

Jesu, my all in all Thou art, 

My rest in toil, my ease in pain, 
The medicine of my broken heart, 

In war my peace, in loei my ^ain, 
My smile beneath the tyrant's frown, 

In shame my glory and my crown. 

In want my plentiful supply. 

In weakness my almighty power, 
In bonds my perfect liberty. 

My light in Satan's darkest hour, 
In grief my joy unspeakable. 
My life in death, my heaven in hell." 

Surely, brethren, you are not going- to part with a treasure 
that has all this in it. Some thing-s that men possess are 
not so valuable now, but they are g'oing" to be, by and by, 
if men will only keep them, but this is valuable to-day. 
It has a present comfort in it, a blessing already. There 
is no need to wait for some revelation that will show us 
what a treasure we have gained — that we know now with- 
out waiting. Let us keep it now we have got it ; by the 
grace of God. And moreover 

IV. — // is going to he more valuable presently . Some things 
grow worse instead of better if you keep them. Famili- 
arity breeds a species of contempt for them. And even 
those things that are incontestably valuable come to be 
largely discounted in value as years roll over us. The 
finest picture that was ever painted will grow dim, if you'll 
keep it. Tarnish gathers on the choicest gold. A vapoury 
dullness will come to the most perfect object glass that 
was ever pointed to the stars. The horse that steps so 
majestically now, will tread in another fashion fifteen years, 
from now. The house you take such pride in to-day will 
have brought in many a bill for repairs by the time it is 
fifty years old. The eighty guinea piano will have got 
into the hands of the broker long before that time is out. 
Some things grow worse instead of better. Some of 
you would give a good deal now to have the opportunity 
of a trip to Egypt and Palestine, but wait a few years, and 
you will not care to walk much farther than your own 
garden gate. A visit to the British Museum or the Royal 
Academy means a good deal to some of you now, but there 
will come a time, if you live long enough, when you would 
rather sit in the arm chair in the corner, and watch the 
firelight flickering on the wall. Vou would cheerfully 
pay your half-crown to-day for such a visit ; then you 



KEEPING THE TRUTH. Ilj 



would rather pay your half-crown to be allowed to stop 
at home. 

Some thing's get worse instead of better, but the Truth 
doesn't. On the contrary it gets better and better the 
longer you keep it. Some of you may feel that you would 
not care to part with it now, but the time is coming* 
when all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them 
wouldn't tempt you to give it up, no, not for an hour ; for 
whatever may be the case in time of health and strength, 
true religion is felt to be of rare value in the time of sick- 
ness, while to a man about to die, continents of gold and 
silver would be but the rubbish of the dunghill beside it. 
And then, moreover, 

V. — Fbu can get nothing worth having if you do sell it. I 
say that emphatically without the slightest fear of success- 
ful contradiction. That it will be represented to you in 
quite another light I know, but who are they that will do this, 
and why will they do it ? The answer is, Satan will do 
so, and all they whose eyes and hearts he has been able 
to blind. But you know better in spite of their specious 
words. You know that partly from former experience. 
What may be obtained in the service of sin some of you 
know, and if you leave the Saviour's service for it, you 
have nothing but that to go back to. And in going back 
to it, you will not find it as it was. That is impossible. 
The so-called pleasures of sin can never be again to you 
what they have been. For you have known something 
better, and the remembrance of that something better will 
spoil all. Muddy water is not very pleasant to the taste 
at any time, but if after drinking at the well head a man 
goes back to it again, it is simply disgusting. Coarse 
sackcloth is not very nice to cover yourself with, but to go 
Lack to sackcloth after pure fine linen is simply bad. It 
might be different if a man had never known of anything 
Letter, but when he has known it, it is that that makes it 
evil. Perhaps acorns and beechnuts might afford some 
rude pleasure to us if we knew nothing of bread, but after 
Lread a man is simply a hypocrite who professes to enjoy 
them. And it is not merely that you have known some- 
thing better, but the felt inferiority of what you go to will 
be made all the worse by a guilty conscience. It is a 
profound delusion that this world can give any price for 

I 2 



I 1 6 KEEPING THE TRUTH. 



the Truth that it is worth any man's while to take. Say 
it offers this Pleasure I have been talking- of. How short 
lived it is ! How feverish and inconstant ! How certain 
to leave an aching- void behind it ! Sometimes it offers 
Honour. " If you will not be so scrupulous and stiff," it 
says, " you shall come to hig-h estate. If you will consent 
to fall in with the g-eneral custom and to do as others do, 
the world will love you. These taunts and jeers shall 
cease. These covert reminders of your ignoble orig-in 
shall be no more heard. These barriers against advance- 
ment shall be broken down. These petty persecutions 
shall come to an end. The whip and the pillory and the 
common prison shall be exchanged for the chief seats in 
the synagogues, and g-reetings in the market places." 
Well, suppose these promises are kept, is this honour worth 
the having ? Can any degree of human g-reatness satisfy 
a man who knows he has gained it at the expense of 
principle ? But the promise is not always kept. Satan 
offered the Apostle Peter Honour once in Pilate's hall, if 
he would sell the Truth, and threatened him with shame 
if he wouldn't. In an evil moment, Peter struck the 
bargain, and clutched at the price, but you all know how 
it slipped through his fingers, and how he lost both Truth 
and Honour too. Riches is a very common offer for the 
Truth. " If you will but part with this meddlesome and 
straightlaced superstition," says the Devil, " and just be a 
good fellow like anybody else, you shall get on, you shall 
make money, you shall grow wealthy. Men must live," 
he whispers, " and these sour-faced hypocrites who call it 
cheating, would any of them do the same if they had the 
chance. Only give me the Truth, and you shall have 
money." So he said once to Gehazi when Naaman was 
standing at the door of the house of Elisha, and Gehazi 
thought he saw a chance, and took it and got the money — 
nay, twice as much as he had dared to hope for. Do you 
remember whether he got anything else not in the 
bargain ? How did it come to pass that Gehazi's face 
g-rew white, and Gehazi's flesh corrupt, and the lips that 
had formed that clever lie began to rot away in loathsome 
leprosy ? The Tempter said nothing about that. It was 
only, " You shall have money, if you will sell the Truth." 
And money he had, but he was worse off with it than the 



KEEPING THE TRUTH. II7 



raggedest beggar that sat by the gate of Samaria. Satan 
says it to many a one, besides Gehazi, now-a-days, and 
they sometimes get money, but lose peace. But he does 
not always press for the total transfer of the truth — indeed 
does he ever do that at first ? — but puts it gently as if he 
said, •* Sell me part of the Truth, a little of this treasure. 
Why be so careful about public worship twice on the 
Lord's day ? Isn't once enough after the toils of the 
week ? Why trouble yourself about class or prayer- 
meeting so much ? Wouldn't now and then do instead of 
always ? Why search the Scriptures in this penance- 
doing fashion ? Wouldn't a chapter or so on a Sunday do 
you as much good ? Why stop to the after-meeting always 
on a Sunday night ? Isn't it well to meditate at home 
sometimes, and leave the work to younger men ? Why 
draw such a stiff line for business, just at Saturday night. 
Wouldn't it be well to open yoiir invoices and so on, on 
Sunday morning, just to see whereabouts you are ? Why 
be so particular about absolute truth in your advertise- 
ments ? Doesn't everybody puff and colour things a 
little ? Or if a customer doesn't get quite the same 
quality of goods at the counter that you show in the 
window — well, you cannot afford to send business away. 
In fine," he says, " I'm not so careful about all, but sell me 
a little of the Truth, and you shall get on." And men 
listen to him sometimes, and beginning with what seem 
slight compromises of principle, give way a little here, and 
a little there, and get on so far and fast in the downward 
way that, almost before they know where they are, they 
are doing things with ease -that they would once have 
shrunk from with a mortal dread. 

I said, with ease, but mark you, not with peace. Peace 
only dwells with him who dwells with God. Backsliders 
never know what that is. They knew it once, but just in 
proportion as they depart from Christ, does it depart from 
them, until they become of all men most grossly cheated, 
of all men most profoundly miserable. Then for the 
second time they walk in gloom and restlessness and terror 
of the future, and out of the darkened heavens come 
flashes of prophetic flame, and thunders muttering ever 
and anon, " What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the 
whole world, and lose his own soul ? Or what shall a 



Il8 KEEPING THE TRUTH. 



man g-ive in exchang-e for his soul ?" Then also they 
sometimes feel that they would give all the world if they 
could gfet back again to the simplicity of their first 
obedience, and the gladness of their first love. There is 
nothing worth having if you do sell it, and 

VI. — Beside y you cannot tell that you can get it again. 
It is not often that Satan attempts to persuade a man 
that he can do without it when he comes to die. Probably 
experience has taught him that the easier plan with us is, 
to admit the need of it then, but to put off the day of 
securing it. It is astonishing how successful that strategy 
is. He rarely attempts the fidelity of any Christian, with- 
out the aid of this plausible fiction. " Sell the Truth," is 
his suggestion, " and if you do not like the bargain, you 
can buy the Truth again. Is not God merciful," the 
Tempter whispers. But Satan carefully hides from us 
the fact that this is one of those things that are more 
easily said than done. The Truth is not bought and sold 
like an article of common merchandise. God is not at our 
beck and call whenever we please. Some men have pro- 
voked Him, so that He has laughed at their calamity, and 
mocked at their fear. Some men have so trifled with His 
grace, that their restoration has become a moral impos- 
sibility. " You can buy it again," he says. Yes, but what 
if you don't care to buy it ? Does not sin lead to hardness 
of heart ? Can any man be penitent without the grace of 
the Holy Spirit ? Is not that Spirit sometimes quenched — 
grieved — driven away ? And what if you do want to buy 
the Truth. Have there not been cases where men have 
desired it, desired with a desire that was agony, but never 
got it ? What does that parable of the foolish virgins 
mean ? Did they not want oil, and go to get it, and after all 
were shut out from the marriage feast ? Besides life itself 
might close before the chance came. If this Truth were 
parted with to-day, death might come to-morrow. Surely 
no one will say that that is impossible, but if — if it came — 
what then ? Dear brethren, you do not know that you can 
get it again. It is a foul and fatal lie from the father of 
lies contrived to lure you to your ruin. You do not know 
— no one knows — no one can know that he will be able to 
buy the Truth again if he sells it now. What we know 
is that we are parting with a priceless treasure, and for 



KEEPING THE TRUTH. I 1 9 



aught that we can tell, we may be parting with it for 
ever! 

Then hold it fast, you that have bought the Truth, and 
anew, as in the sight of Him that gave it you, and of those 
blessed spirits who are trusting that you will keep the 
solemn charge, resolve that you will never part with it. 
Set before your eyes again the facts that ought to move 
you. If you let it go, your own common sense of what is 
right and wrong will not hold you guiltless ; if you keep it, 
you will have the testimony of a quiet conscience. If you 
let it go, the probability is that you will sink as low, and 
fare as badly, as some whom you know now, who have 
denied the faith ; if you keep it you shall be saved from their 
restlessness, and be a stranger to their shame. If you let 
it go, you will let go what you have proved to be an 
undoubted blessing ; if you keep it, you will be like a man 
who holds by God's gold and silver, bearing the Hall mark 
of the Eternal Treasury. If you let it go, you part with 
wondrous possibilities of wealth in the after time ; keep it, 
and you may, nay, you shall be amongst the princes of His 
people by and by. If you let it go, what can you get for 
it ? You will be like a man who parts with the Roses of 
Sharon for a bunch of stinging nettles, or gives up 
diamonds and rubies for bits of worthless spar. Keep it, 
and you keep purity, and gladness, and a quiet conscience, 
and a hope of Heaven. Let it go, and you may never get 
it any more, but be a pauper and a slave in God's universe 
through all the ages ; keep it, and you know that you shall 
have a crown of glory that shall never tade away. O 
brethren, keep it as you would your life I Be deaf to all 
entreaties to dispose of it. Robbery you need not fear : 
about that freedom of your will there stands none who can 
snatch it from you ; but take inviolable guard that no one 
whispers, or wheedles, or cajoles, or persuades you to give 
it up, and by and by. He who is the Truth, and the King 
of Truth, and to whom all listen who are of the Truth, 
will say to you, " Good and faithful servant, thou hast been 
faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over 
many things ; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." 



SERMON VIII. 

LESSONS FROM DOTHAN. 

" Then the King of Syria warred against Israel,^" &^c. — 

2 Kings vi, 8-23. 

'THERE are several things in this old record worthy of 
^ more than a passing notice by the men of these modern 
times, lay and cleric, high born and lowly. It is concern- 
ing, chiefly, the fortunes of the prophet Elisha during^ 
one of those difficult times when Israel and Syria were at 
war, and one of the first observable things in it is 

I. — The great service rendered by the prophet to the State. 

The eighth verse gives us a glimpse of Syrian strategy. 
The warlike monarch is taking counsel with his servants 
as to the conduct of the campaign. The question is where 
the camp shall be ? It is settled at last, and the point of 
vantage is reached and secured, and the Syrian lion waits 
for his prey, but that prey comes not, except some weary 
scout who disappeared as quickly as he came. Not an 
Israelitish soldier comes near. It is strange, but they will try 
agam. Another march and another encampment, but still 
without result. A third time they had their enemy they 
imagined in a trap, if he came that way, and a third time 
all their pains were fruitless. This was passing strange,, 
and indeed suspicious, so the King of Syria called together 
his servants, and charged some of them w^ith treachery. 
Which of them was the traitor, he angrily asked. None 
of us, answered one of them, " but Elisha, the prophet that 
is in Israel, telleth the King of Israel the words that thou 
speakest in thy bedchamber." The man was not far 



LESSON'S FROM DOTHAN. 121 



wrong-. The cause of this thrice repeated disappointment 
did certainly lie with Elisha. Whether he knew of the 
Syrian plans by ordinary means, or by special revelation,, 
three times he warned the King of the danger, and three 
times saved his life. I don't know that this is a precedent 
for christian ministers taking an active part in the wars 
of the land they belong to, and riding to battle helmeted 
and mailed to mingle in the bloody work of the stricken 
field — I think the world has seen enough of that — though 
there may be struggles in which it is the bounden duty of 
every man, minister or not, personally to share, but at any 
rate it shows us of what advantage it is to the nation ta 
have good men in their midst, and it sets in a new and 
striking light the fact that the truest patriots are ever those 
who have most of His Spirit about them who " came not 
to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life 
a ransom for many." It may not be within the power of 
all Christians to render such literal service to the state as 
Elisha did, but there is a service that they can and do 
render, not less practical or true. The state itself takes 
little notice of it. Those who are the most deeply 
benefited are often the last to acknowledge it. Nay so 
blinded often are their eyes that tliey have risen up against 
them, and hissed and hounded them out of society 
and out of life, as if they were their deadliest foes, but God 
knows all about it, and the day shall declare how that the 
truest helpers of any nation were not its great men, or its 
clever men, or its rich men, or its learned men, or its 
honourable men, or its mighty men, or its commercial 
men, or its fighting men, or its philosophical men, or its 
working men, but — its good men I I yield to none in 
admiration of those noble qualities of energy, and courage,, 
and perseverance, those rare endowments of head and 
heart that have lifted our own land into the highest place 
amongst the nations, but I am persuaded that their richest 
source and truest nourishment is Faith in God, and I augur 
great things still for our country, not as I see our land 
better farmed, or our universities becoming more popular,, 
or our volunteers fnore efficient, or our ironclads more 
invulnerable, but as I see our Sabbaths better kept, our 
sanctuaries better attended, and the Holy Word of God 
more reverently studied, and more dearly prized. 



122 LESSONS FROM DOTH AN. 

Brethren, if we wish our nation well we should seek not 
so much for better wa^-es as a purer faith , not so much 
larjjfer harvests as happier homes, not so much for a head 
crammed with knowledge as for a heart g^lowing" with 
love, not so much for the discoveries of science, as for the 
inspiration of Pentecost, and we should pray Gpd to send 
among- us not more Benaiahs qualified to lead our armies, 
or more Ahithophels to counsel in our senate, but more 
of such men as Moses, whose mighty pleadings often held 
back vengeance from the stiff-necked Israelities, or such 
men as Abraham whose glorious peradventures could gain 
a respite even for (iomorrah, and give to Sodom another 
chance of life I 

The next thinsf we see in the storv is 
II. — Htnv thii prt-phtt i:ot into great difficulties inconsequence, 
1 hat answer of his servant set the Syrian King on a 
new train of thoughts. It looked extremely likely — this 
explanation. This is not the first time he has heard of 
this Israelitish seer. Where is that grreat captain who 
washed seven times in Jordan, and came back to Syria 
cured of his dreadful leprosy ? Was not that in obedience 
to the word of Elisha ? It is clear that so long as Elisha 
stands against him, this campaign will bring him scanty 
honour. If he cannot he won over, or killed, or bought, 
or silenced somehow, the King of Syria had better have 
stayed at home amongst the shrubberies and gardens of 
fair Damascus. He must be seized at any cost — this 
mysterious prophet — so he said, *' Go and spy where he 
is, that I may send and fetch him." Presently they 
brought the monarch word. They had found him : Elisha 
was in Dothan. It was time for action then, " therefore 
sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great host ; 
and they came by night and compassed the city about." 
Humanly speaking, he was sure of his victim this time. 
Dothan was only a little place, nestling apparently in a 
hollow of the hills, and not at all likely to stand a siege, 
and all round about it are the horses and the chariots of 
Svria. Elisha had somehow foiled him in the matter of 
those encampments, but the king of Syria has stolen a 
march upon him now, and except he be spirited away in 
some supernatural manner, it looks very much as if Elisha 
will see Samaria no more. Can you fancy how they 



LESSONS FROM DOTH AN. 123 

laughed and joked, those Syrian soldiei?s, as in the grey of, 
the early morning they looked down upon the city, and 
saw how cleverly the surprise had been made, how com- 
pletely the place was surrounded? "Trapped," they 
they would say, " if ever anyone was. Shut up completely ; 
hedged in, so that he cannot escape." The thing has 
been so successfully carried out that they may rest a little 
now — men and horses — for the night march through these 
Israelitish uplands has wearied them. They have him at 
their mercy now. Look at the little place. Perfectly 
surrounded ! Not a dog could creep out without being 
seen ! Hurrah for Syrian strategy ! Boxed up, shut in, 
caught, trapped ! Thus I fancy the men of that beleaguer- 
ing host thought and said as they watched the city where 
Elisha lay. 

Turning from those far back days I cannot help but 
wonder whether this old story has ever been told again in 
the experience of good men, or whether it stands there by 
itself not to be repeated. What do you say about this, 
brethren ? Can you help my wonderment ? Did you ever 
from height of espial look down on any Dothan in which 
lay some Elisha of these times, surrounded by watchful 
foes ? Or have any of you from within the city looked 
out upon the Syrian hosts that lay upon the heights ? 
Might " Dothan" be inscribed on any place by which you 
have passed in your journeyings hither ? Does the name 
wake any memories within you of what you yourself have 
known ? Is it possible that in some Dothan of difficulty 
any of you are besieged to-day ? Do Christian men ever 
get surrounded by their troubles now ? They have been 
formerly, but are they ever so to-day ? Sometimes, de^r 
brethren, are they not ? When slander slinks about the 
byw^ays of society doing its dastardly tricks, and uttering 
its cowardly whispers in the dark against them, when the 
hopes of years are broken in a day, aijd purposes that 
seemed as firm as granite shivfer and crumble into form- 
less sand ; when friends prove faithless, and eyes that once 
smiled a welcome at our coming, put on the scorner's 
staring, and practise the cynic's sneer ; when children wax 
rebellious and unkind, and repay our care with ridicule, 
and our love with bitterness ; when partners take advan- 
tage and betray their trust ; when our ventures prove 



124 LESSONS FROM DOTHAK. 

unsuccessful, the cargo we have shipped nigh valueless,, 
the goods we have purchased a drug upon the market ; 
when the vessel that we owned founders uninsured, or the 
bank that we had shares in, breaks, or the water floods, 
the mine, or the corn rots upon the sodden fields, or the 
cattle die upon the plague smitten farm ; when the bill is 
due to-morrow, and we don't know how to meet it ; when 
the rent will be demanded next week, and they say they 
won't wait any longer for it ; when sharpers seize upon 
our hard won earnings, and conspiracy has dulled the ear 
of Justice and perverted the cause of the poor; when 
oppression keeps back the wages of the hireling, and 
pleads not the cause of the widow ; when the fatherless 
find no mercy from men, and the cry of the orphan is for- 
gotten ; when ruthless Death is stalking through the house- 
hold, and lifting his hand to lay our fairest and dearest 
low ; when sickness smites them into helplessness, and lays 
them a burden upon others' care ; when weak and weary 
with some sore affliction we totter down and down until, 
through the chilly mists, it seems as if we heard the plash 
and murmur of the last cold river, and could almost see 
the silvery glint upon its breaking waves — then we may 
be said to be in Dothan, with the Syrians encompassing 
the city. 

Our case is like Elisha's too in that these crowding evils 
often come i?i consequence of our doing right. If we had been 
willing to compromise principle, to be a little less truthful, 
not quite so upright, not quite so transparent and honest,, 
these complications might never have arisen, but we have 
tried to do our duty, and so have had to suffer for it. 
Frequently also they come about us almost as suddenly as did 
these Syrians. When the sun went down at Dothan the 
day before, all was well. The listener on the walls heard 
no tramp of hostile soldiers ; no warlike pennon fluttered 
in the evening wind; no spear head glittered in ''the 
reddened rays ; no prancing chargers spurned the gfround 
beneath them ; quietly the flocks lay down to rest, quietly 
the stars came out upon the city that presently sunk 
unapprehensive into sleep. With the morning light all is 
changed. Those grassy knolls around the city are covered 
with the hosts of Syria, and Dothan that dwelt peacefully 
yesterday must now know all the horrors of war. So with 



LESSONS FROM DOTHAN. 125 



US. Yesterday, strong and well ; to-day, feeble and 
maimed and wounded. Yesterday in comfortable circum- 
stances ; to-day, on the verge of bankruptcy. Last month, 
a happy bride ; this month, wearing* the weeds of widow- 
hood. A week or two ago, a house that rang with merry 
voices, a table round which gathered smiling faces ; to- 
day, silence and sadness, empty chairs at the table, fewer 
faces round the fire. Yesterday, like mountain climbers, 
with the free air round them and the unclouded blue above 
them, and clear in the golden glory of the day the wished- 
for summit ; to-day, like those same climbers wrapped in 
drenching mists, the rough way slippery with the damp- 
ness ; to go back, dangerous ; to go forward, doubtful ; 
and all the beauty of the landscape gone like a dream 
when oneawaketh. Yesterday, free as the eagle flying in 
the firmament of heaven ; to-day, like that same eagle, 
snared and taken and caged I 

And very often they seem to be as completely round us as 
were these Syrians around Dothan. There doesn't 
appear to be any way of escape. You don't know what 
to do, where to go, whom to speak to. In other troubles 
there did seem a way of deliverance, but in these 
Dothan difficulties you are shut up altogether. Like Israel 
on their march from Egypt, everything seems against 
you ; before you roll the waters of the Red Sea, on either 
side rise the rocky hills of Etham, behind you come on 
the chosen chariots of Egypt, and Pharaoh, as he lashes 
his foaming horses, laughs hoarsely as he cries, " they are 
entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in !" 
This is being hedged up, shut in, encompassed about with 
difficulty. The next thing the story tells us is. 
Ill — How the prophet bore himself under these troubles. 
You would not have been much astonished if he had 
been quite confounded, at least for a time, but he dis- 
played no feeling ^of that kind either first or last. His 
servant did, and to some extent. Getting up early in the 
morning and going forth, the sight of those bristling spears 
quite staggered him, and he seems to have come running 
back to his master almost unmanned. " Alas, my master I 
how shall we do?" he cried. "Do very well," the 
prophet answered in effect, " for they that be with us are 
more than they that be with them," and didn't seemed 



126 LESSONS FROM DOTHAN. 



moved at all. But he talked in riddles to his servant, for 
he couldn't see a tenth part as many helpers, put all 
Dothan together, let alone more. What can Elisha mean ? 
He saw his follower couldn't understand it, so he prayed 
and said, " Lord open his eyes that he may see. And 
the Lord opened the eyes of the young man ; and he saw : 
and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of 
fire round about Elisha." I should like to have seen that 
sight, but I am content to read about it, and believe it, 
and to learn the comfortable lesson that it taught. I don't 
wonder now that the prophet was so calm. If Heaven 
condescend to set a guard thus around its children, we 
can easily afford to be at rest in the presence of our 
foes. How many of them were there ? Who were the 
leaders of that celestial host ? Who marked out the lines 
of that encampment ? Who ordered their sublime march, 
and marshalled them in their going ? How did they rein 
in those fiery steeds ? In what forge did they fashion 
those glowing axletrees, or round those flashing wheels ? 
How came the angels to put on such guise of earthly war- 
fare ? I don't know, dear brethren ; I don't very much 
want to know just now. It is enough for me to know 
that these were God's angels sent out to care for 
and protect God's servant. These were some of those 
" ministering spirits" who are " sent forth to minister 
for them that are heirs of salvation." I don't know 
how far that ministry extends, what are the special 
duties of that high commission which these angels 
bear, but I know there is such a ministry, and while it 
extends to the saintly spirit who by long communion with 
his Lord has been changed into the same image, it reaches 
down to the very least of these little ones that believe in 
Jesus. Ay, to the humblest and least I To the little child 
that prattles and plays in the nursery, and learns its a, b, 
c, in the school. To the begrimed and ragged urchin 
that knows no nursery but the pavement, and no school 
but the street, for these in their irresponsible infancy are 
heirs of glory, vile though their surroundings be. To the 
poor seamstress who, in some ill lighted garret, plies the 
busy needle, as well as to the high born lady who follows 
Jesus in stately mansion or baronial hall. To the godly 
widow who stands all day long at the wash tub to get 



LESSONS FROM DOTH AN. 127 



bread for her little ones, as well as to her happier sister 
who has need of nothing". To him who grooms the horses, 
or digs the drain, or swings the scythe, as well as to the 
heir of a great inheritance, or the leader of a mighty 
people. To the sailor before the mast, as well as to the 
martyr before his judges. To him who breaks stones on 
the road, as well as to him who breaks hearts in the 
pulpit. To the humblest soldiers in the Lord's army, as 
well as to their fiery captain that can command the moon to 
linger over Ajalon, and bid the sun stand still. To the 
weakest believer who in his closet can just say with tears, 
" Lord I believe, help my unbelief," as well as to the 
princeliest Apostle before whose mighty message men 
tremble and fall like corn that is smitten by the hurricanes 
of God ! 

Then take comfort, brethren, about whom these earthly 
cares are gathered. If you are Christ's disciples, your 
true interests are secured. What though the manner of 
your deliverance be as yet unknown, dare you not trust 
Him for His grace ? What though you see no way out of 
your difficulties, is His Wisdom baffled ? What though 
the vision tarrieth a little, can you not wait a while ? 
What though a thousand hosts lie camped around you, 
are they nearer you than He is ? What though they have 
seized on every road, and entrenched themselves on every 
hill, cannot He that brought Peter from his thrice barred 
prison, or passed Himself through the hooting rabble of 
Nazareth, bring you also into a place of safety ? You say 
your guards are not seen, what of it ? Is there, then, 
nothing round you but what you can see ? Are you sure 
there are no other listeners in this house but yourselves ? 
Are these all that are present before God now, these that 
came in through yon doors ? Are there none among us 
who have just come from the chanting of the seraphim, 
whose feet a while ago rested on the sea of glass, and 
whose faces shine, if we could see them, from beholding 
" the King in his beauty ?" " Sent forth to minister for 
them who shall be heirs of salvation I" Perhaps they are 
come on this commission now. Perhaps they hold the clue 
to extricate you from your labyrinth. Perhaps, when 
your faith is tried a little longer, they are ordered to set 
you free. Anyhow they are with you, and He that sends 



128 LESSONS FROM DOTHAN. 



them is with you. Thoug-h you have many foes, you have 
many friends, and one Friend better than all the others, 
^nd you can well afford to say to Him 

** O Lord of Hosts, Almiehty King ! 
While we so near thy presence dwell. 
Oar faith shall rest s<>care. and sin^. 
Defiance to the gates of hell." 

IV. — Bu/ Elisha was delivered from his difficulties at last. 
In answer to his prayer a sort of blindness settled on 
these Syrians. Then Elisha went out, and led them like 
men that dreamed, until they came to Samaria. Praying- 
again, the mysterious holding* of their eyes was g'one, and 
they in their turn were taken in a snare, for they were in 
the midst of Samaria. Greatly excited at the strang'e 
opportunity, the King of Israel wants to slay them there 
and then. But the prophet will not allow him. Early 
though those times were, Elisha had caught something of 
the spirit of the better days that were coming, and gave 
his master a practical illustration of the christian law, 
*^ Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him ; if he thirst, 
give him drink : for in so doing, thou shalt heap coals of 
fire on his head." A great feast was made for these 
unwilling guests, and when they had eaten and drunk, 
he sent them away, and they went to their master ; and 
such was the impression produced by the whole thing, 
that the army struck its tents, and marched home 
again, and it was a long time before any Israelitish 
shepherd heard again a Syrian trumpet, or was startled 
at the flashing of a Syrian sword. Thus was that Scripture 
fulfilled ; " Because he hath set his love upon me, there- 
fore will I deliver him ; I will set him on high, because he 
hath known my name.'* 

And will it be fulfilled to us in similar fashion ? We 
■cannot tell. God sometimes now 

" Moves in a mysterious way. 
His wonders to perform." 

His gracious interpositions are beyond the grasp of any 
human philosophy. Help often comes from a quarter 
from which we least expected it. Just when we thought 
our troubles were about to crush us, the way opens through 
the very midst of them, and we go out into a large and 
wealthy place. One thing is certain, that, " God is faith- 
ful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye 



LESSONS FROM DOTH AN. 1 29 



are able ; but will with the temptation also make a way 
to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." In what direc- 
tion that way shall lie is of little moment. We are in the 
hands of God. If he see fit to bring* us forth into the 
broad field of the world's activities, well and good : that 
shall be a deliverance. If he see fit to allow the trouble to 
continue, and give us grace to bear it, that also shall be 
well. And if He see fit to take us out of our difficulties by 
taking us to Himself, that shall be everlasting deliverance. 
That will come to us sometime, if we be faithful, and will 
crown the long list of merciful deliverances, and will show 
to us in the highest sense, what this story of Dothan has 
to-day been teaching us in a lower one, how truly " Blessed 
are all they that put their trust in Him." 



SERMON IX. 

THE LIFE AND TRANSLATION OF ENOCH. 

And Enoch walked with God ; and he was not, for God took 

hini^ — Gen. v, 24. 

IT is difficult to realize how long ago this was. A 
hundred years ago seems a long step back into the past 
to those who think — a hundred years ago, when the father 
of the aged man whose white locks remind you of the 
driven snow, was learning his letters ; when the quaint 
carvings on the family mansion that are now greened over, 
and broken and chipped, looked new and beautiful ; when 
the grimy streets that are all speaking of repair and 
rottenness now, were only in some builder's fancy, and 
sheep bleated and oxen browsed where now boys stand 
and count the broken railings, and play at marbles in 
the hollows of the stones. Two hundred years are 
longer still ; five hundred years longer still ; till when 
you come to a thousand years ago, it is but as a 
dream to you. You count the centuries but no more. 
But to get back to Enoch's time, you must take a journey 
five times as great. Beginning now, you go back 8cx> 
years past the wars of the Roses to the Norman conquest, 
then back i ,000 years, past the age of Alfred and Bede 
and Augustine, of Allaric and Attila, of Constantine, and 
Irena?us, and Polycarp, and you get to the day of the 
Pentecost, and the day of the Crucifixion. And on again 
back through the ringing avenues of change, past 400 years 



THE LIFE AND TRANSLATION OF ENOCH. I3I 

of the silence of the prophetic Spirit up to Malachi, and 
Nehemiah, and Esther, and Daniel, and back again more 
than 500 years past the long line of kings of Israel and 
Judah to David and Saul and Samuel: and on again 
through four centuries by Samson and Gideon to Joshua ; 
and then through the long years of Egyptian bondage, to 
the days when the waggons of Pharaoh stood at Jacob's 
door in Canaan ; and then by peaceful Isaac and faithful 
Abraham back, back through six more centuries to the 
time when the Ark floated over the grave of a world ; and 
back, still back through a thousand years, and you stand 
amongst the first fathers of the race, and by the cradle of 
the man who walked with God. To know anything, 
almost, about men who lived then would be welcome ; how 
much more when the knowledge shapes itself intcy the 
significant form in which we have it here, " Enoch walked 
with God, and was not, for God took him." 

With just one stroke of the pen the inspired historian 
tells us how Enoch lived, and with another how he passed 
away, 

A word or two about both these statements. And 

I. — How Enoch lived: He walked with God. 

You will observe that the life of this eminent patriarch 
is looked at from a religious standpoint rather than a 
secular. It is the aspect of his life towards God that is 
preserved for the thought of the world, and it is not to be 
forgotten that this record was made at the direct instance 
of the Infinite Mind. He that searcheth all things, yea the 
deep things of God, chose rather that Enoch should be 
known to the ages following by this characteristic than by 
any secular or temporal distinction. And wherefore by 
this ? Because it is of all others the noblest ; worthiest the 
high powers with which God has endowed us ; the source 
and secret of all those lesser departments of activity that 
are profitable merely to the earthly existence. This 
relationship is the relationship to us all, the keystone of the 
arch of character, the one thing in which if we fail, it 
matters little in what else we succeed ; the one thing in 
which if we succeed, it matters little in what else we fail. 
To the world in its foolish wisdom this is but a distasteful 
subject. If you could have said about him that he walked 
with Nature, and was a student of her hidden mysteries, 

K 2 



132 THE LIFE AND TRANSLATION OF ENOCH. 



that he was a master of the sciences, or skilled in the arts, 
a great explorer, a successful merchant, a brilliant speaker, 
a daring- warrior, or even a mighty hunter, it would be 
better pleased. Then you would really have said some- 
thing, according to its philosophy ; but to say only that he 
walked with God is to have said next to nothing, and that 
of a dreamy and unpractical kind. Ah, no I This " only" 
is everything, and so far from being unpractical, is the 
most profoundly energetic of all the influences that mould 
human action, and shape human destiny. Nay more, the 
truest and most lasting Fame has its roots just here, and 
the time is coming, not only in the next world but in this, 
when not the witty, or beautiful, or eloquent, or wealthy, 
or brilliant, or powerful, nay, not' even the royal, but '^ the 
righteous shall be in everlasting- remembrance," while 
" the name of the wicked shall rot." 

But this emphatic statement presupposes and rests upon 
things temporal, and many of these must have been of the 
most interesting kind. As the abode of man, the world 
was but in its infancy when Enoch was born, and had 
barely seen six centuries. Human life in those days was 
a marvel and a sign. Men would live nearly a thousand 
years before they yielded to the last enemy. Where now 
the skin is wrinkled, and the eyes dim, and the aged 
grandsire sits by the hearth, chilled and feeble, the man 
in those days had barely come to maturity. The locks 
were raven, and the limbs supple, and the eyes bright 
then, after ten such lives as these that we see now had 
been extinguished. A Patriarch would have been mute 
with astonishment to see a man as we do g-etting g'rey at 
fifty, and worn out at seventy years of age. By the ordi- 
nary course of nature there could not have been very many 
deaths in the world when Enoch was born. Adam was 
living, Seth was living, Enos was living, Cainan was 
living, Mahalaleel was living, Jared was living; and all but 
one of these were destined to live after he was gone. 
Adam was in the prime of life when Enoch was born — 
just 622 years old — and for aught we know may have 
often looked with an eye that was prophetic on the cradle 
of his eminent descendant. Certainly the boy Enoch 
would have many opportunities of looking on the face of 
him who had seen God in Eden, and who shall say how 



THE LIFE AND TRANSLATION OF ENOCH. IJJ 

often, when the sun was sinking- in the west, he listened 
with a wistful eagerness to the first father of the race £is 
he recounted the fatal story of the Fall. Adam must have 
been to him a book in which men read strange matters, 
and I can fancy the ardent youth gazing on him with an 
interest that was almost awe, and coming to his dwelling 
again and again to hear about the glory of that wonderful 
garden, about the serpent, and about the flaming sword- 
Nothing is said about what he did for a livelihood. 
Something he must have done, and it seems as likely as 
not that this was in the direction in which the energies of 
the first human family were turned. Nor is anything said 
as to the great change that threw a glory over all the life. 
Whether he grew up a bold and fearless boy, headstrong 
and sinful, and was smitten into penitence and prayer by 
some sudden stroke of God's providential mercy ; or 
always thoughtful and quiet, grew up into a godly youth 
and a godly manhood as the twilight grows into the day, 
we cannot tell ; but we know that born of the first Adam as 
he was, he needed to be born again by faith in the pro- 
mised Second, before he could enter into the Kingdom of 
God. And born again, born from above, he unquestion- 
ably was, and knew the blessedness of that man to whom 
the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there 
is no guile. It is stated concerning him that he walked 
with God from the birth of his first child — 300 years. It 
is not certain whether this means that the holy life that 
had begun before continued after, and in spite of the 
varied trials of family life ; or that from that time his 
character blossomed into a completer beauty ; but at any 
rate there is the statement — the first of its kind since the 
fatal day in Eden — that for 300 years this man walked 
with God. With two more glimpses of him, the Scripture 
notices of his life close. Once in the Epistle to the 
Hebrews we see him hung up in the great portrait gallery 
of the eleventh chapter, second in the list of men of faith, 
and with this emphatic addition that before his translation 
he had this testimony that he pleased God. And once in 
the Epistle of St. Jude he is represented as a prophet, and 
one of his prophecies is recorded for us: "Behold the 
Lord Cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute 
judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly 



134 'I^^ L^^ ^^^^^ TRANSLATION OF ENOCH. 

among- them of all their ungodly deeds which they have 
ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which 
ungodly sinners have spoken against him." The main 
features of such a character we know. It was eminently 
holy, happy, useful and beautiful. Enoch was not an 
angel, but a thoroughly good man who learnt by the grace 
of God to do His will on earth as it was done in Heaven. 
We need not suppose that he learnt the lesson all at once, 
or learnt it without a struggle, or practised it when it was 
learnt without many a hard fight, and perhaps many a 
fall, but he did learn it, and he did practise it, so that He 
who judges of human actions with unerring wisdom could 
say about him during 300 years of his life that he walked 
with God. Now this does not mean that he went through 
his daily life in a kind of spiritual rapture, a half abstracted 
condition of mind, a dreamy look about his eyes that made 
you feel that, while you were talking to him, he wasn't 
listening to you, but thinking about something else far, far 
away. I dare say he was like that sometimes, but that 
was not the habit of his life ; men would not know him by 
that. Nor does it mean that he affected a peculiar strict- 
ness in food or clothes, or cultivated a preternaturally 
solemn look, or thought it a sin if he were surprised into 
a hearty laugh, or acted as if he were always applying 
a kind of moral measuring line to himself, and saying, 
"Now is this quite right, and is that quite right ?" Nor 
does it mean that he was always talking about religious 
matters, or singing hymns, or acting as if the romping of 
children, or the frolic of a kitten, were things he took no 
interest in. Least of all does it mean that he had about 
him that detestable spirit that says, " Stand by, for I am 
holier than thou." No, he was a man who loved God, 
and loved Him perfectly, and loved all His works for His 
sake, and could honestly say, " I think nothing that relates 
to man foreign to me ;" and in this love fulfilled the law, 
divine and human. I take it that the general tenor of 
those 300 years was just this, that he loved God with all 
his heart, and mind, and soul, and strength, and his 
neighbour as himself. Put into this world to work, he did 
his work on this principle, being diligent in business, and 
fervent in spirit. He did not merely talk about goodness, 
he practised it — goodness in the house, as well as at the 



THE LIFE AND TRANSLATION OP ENOCH. 1 35 

altar ; goodness in the family, and in the market ; among 
the cattle drivers, and the little children ; at the table, and 
in the harvest field ; when you were watching him, and 
when none saw him but God. Such a man, if he were living 
now, would be a man that you could trust. If he were an 
apprentice, he would be as attentive to your customers as 
if the business were his own. If he were a servant, you 
would have no need to be always after him to see that he 
was doing his work. If he were a tradesman, you would 
be quite certain that his goods were what he said they 
were. If he owed you money, he would pay you twenty 
shillings in the pound, or part with every luxury he had 
imtil he could. If you paid him for silk, it would be silk 
you would buy, and not silk and cotton. If he contracted 
to build you a house of cedar, he would not fill it with 
deal. If he sold you a horse, he would tell you honestly 
what its value was. Bulk would be according to sample 
with such a man; materials according to specification; 
goods across the counter the same as those in the window ; 
performance as good as promise. He was a thoroughly 
good man doing everything — ploughing, preaching, 
shepherding, woodcutting, praying, visiting, eating, drink- 
ing — ^whatsoever he did, in the spirit of the New 
Testament law, " in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving 
thanks unto God and unto the Father by him." He was 
also a very happy man. Those who love God with all their 
heart always are. It cannot be otherwise. Do you not 
notice how in human friendships the more powerful mind 
stamps its own impress upon the weaker one ? How much 
more in that diviner friendship where a mortal walks with 
God. And it was " the very God of peace" with whom 
Enoch held communion. It would have been a marvel 
had he not dwelt in the peace that passeth understanding. 
Besides what source of sorrow is like sin ? Take that 
away, remove its guilt by pardon, and its in-being by the 
complete sanctification of the nature, and you come at peace 
as naturally as men come to warmth in summer time, when 
some gale of grace has blown the clouds from off the 
sun. 

His was also a very useful life. That comes by conse- 
quence too. Men cannot live like Enoch did without 
powerfully influencing those around them for good. They 



136 THE LIFE AND TRANSLATION OF ENOCH. 

were the salt of the earth then as now, and preached by- 
lip and life of truth, and goodness, and God. 

His was a very beautiful life too. All but the very, very dull 
will see this directly, Good men sometimes have their 
eccentricities and sharp angles, and Enoch may have had 
his too, at the beginning, but they would soon wear away 
beneath this communion with God, and then the life would 
be rounded off into a beautiful completeness and 
symmetry that would challenge admiration from all. I 
think Enoch had got beyond that stage when you say, " he 
is well meaning, but very queer ; good, but odd ; right at 
heart, but difficult to deal with; zealous but narrow- 
minded ;" and had come to the higher plane of life 
described in the thirteenth of Corinthians, being gentle,, 
and tender, and sympathetic, suffering long and kind, 
hoping all things, believing all things, enduring all things. 
Scoffing sensualists and shallow worldlings would very 
likely sneer at such a life — they do so still — and say they 
saw no beauty in it, but angels would rejoice as they beheld 
how fair a jewel was ready for the Redeemer's coronet,, 
and that Redeemer Himself, as He beheld in Enoch all the 
steadfastness and strength of a holy manhood united with 
the simplicity and trustfulness of a holy child, would say,. 
" Of such is the Kingdom of Heaven." So Enoch lived,. 
We come now to the question of 

II. — How he passed away, " He was not," says Moses, 
" for God took him." " He was translated," says the 
writer of the epistle to the Hebrews, " that he should not 
see death." So perhaps it would scarcely be right to 
speak of how he died, for he never did die as we do. 
What was this translation, this not-being ? The record 
gives no particulars. Perhaps Moses did not know any ; 
perhaps no one knew. " God took him" — that is all. 
And for our comfort that is all we need, but our curious 
hearts would fain know more. Did he know it was 
coming — this marvellous transference ? In thctt hallowed 
communion with his heavenly Father, had there been some 
evening of the secret ? Had he caught some whisper that 
all was ready, and he was wanted up above ? Was it 
given to any of the ministering spirits to whisper to him 
that the banquet of the skies was ready, and the King was . 
waiting- ? Did he come back from some hour of secret 



THE LIFE AND TRANSLATION OF ENOCH. 1 37 

converse with his Maker with the token that this sitting on 
the lowest seat was finished, and he must come up higher ? 
Or was it that all of a sudden there was a rushing of wings 
through the air, and a sparkle of wheels, and there stood 
a chariot before him, and he that reined in the fiery steeds 
motioned to him to enter, and then with a flash of glory 
and a burst of music — he was gone ? Was that it ? And 
how did men know ? Were there any Elishas round this 
Elijah, waiting in rapt suspense the fateful moment, who 
caught the falling mantle of the ascending prophet ? Or 
did some of the shining ones bear tidings to the bereaved 
family that their father was not dead but risen, and that 
thus it must be done to the man whom the King delighteth 
to honour ? Anyhow they knew it, and for many a year 
as the day came round again, men would sit and tell to one 
another how for the first time since the fatal day in Eden, 
Death had been swallowed up in Victory. Enoch never 
saw it. That Jordan that sometimes overfloweth all his 
banks was as dry as on the day when Israel marched in 
triumph into Canaan. That last enemy that sometimes 
maketh sore battle for God's soldiers never came in sight 
or hearing all that day, and Satan stood confounded as he 
saw how faith in the promised Saviour had brought a 
sinner pardon, then robed him round about with purity, 
and then from the joys of a perfect holiness had translated 
him — more than Conqueror — to Heaven I 

So Enoch lived, and so from this world he passed away, 
and from that high place to which he has ascended, he 
says to us to-day, "Be followers of me." Brethren, let 
us hear his voice. Let us hold it firmly that to live as he 
did is possible to us all. He was a man of like passions 
with ourselves, who had the same infirmity of nature, the 
same temptations to master, the same need of grace and 
mercy, and not the same advantages. For our day is 
brighter than his, our privileges are greater. Therefore 
if he in those days could so live as to walk with Gfbd, we 
can in these days the rather. Something of this grace 
many of you already have. You do already by faith in 
Jesus rejoice in God as your reconciled Father. You know 
as Enoch did that your sins are forgiven. Holiness unto 
the Lord is the watchword of your life ; and heaven is 
your home. But it may be there yet remains some root 



138 THE LIFE AND TRANSLATION OF ENOCH. 

of bitterness ; the communion with God though real is not 
always clear ; joy in the Holy Ghost is sometimes absent ; 
the peace of God is not abiding ; the victory over sin is 
not always constant. That is, you have life, but you want 
the more abundant life. You have love, but you want it 
making perfect. You do serve God, but you want to serve 
Him without fear. You have a measure of the Spirit, but 
you want to be filled with the Spirit. You are saved from 
sin's dominion, but you need to be cleansed from all 
unrighteousness. You are sanctified to God, but you need 
to be entirely sanctified. Your state is good, but it may 
be better. As it was with Enoch, so it may be with you, 
and if in this day of your necessity you will trust the 
Saviour who has pardoned to be the Saviour who can 
purify, the faith that trusts for all will be the faith that 
gains all, and then from that new starting point you shall 
go on towards Heaven, in the old pathway, but with a 
kindlier light upon it, God's strength made perfect in 
your weakness, until there shall come a day when, if 
you see death, it shall be only with smiles, for the sting 
shall be taken. 

'* Angels, jojful to attend. 

Will 

Hovering round your pillows bend 
Wait to catch the signal given, 
And escort you quick to Heaven." 

Then you shall 

" Burst the shackles, drop the day, 
Sweetly breathe yoursdf away : 
Singing to your crown remove 
Mounting high on wings of love." 



SERMON X. 



GEHAZI. 



"*' But Gehazty the servant of Eltsha the man of God,^ 6r»c, — 

II Kings V, 20-27. 

'* nPHERE is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken 
^ at the flood, leads on to fortune." So sang- a 
•certain great poet whom the world has delighted to 
honour, and so thought a great sinner whom the world 
has gibbeted for his crime. That poet sang not quite 
three hundred years ago, and that sinner imagined his 
iniquity, when, in the days of Jehoram the king, a party of 
Syrian soldiers began to ride away through the streets of 
Samaria towards the city of Damascus from the door of 
the house of Elisha. The name of that poet you will easily 
guess. The name of that sinner was Gehazi. How he 
•came to think so, what that thought gave rise to, how he 
seized the opportunity that looked to him so golden, how 
he ventured on the flood that seemed so full of promise, 
what fortune that was to which his venture led him, 
^nd what was the final issue of it all, these verses teach 
us, and declare with awful eloquence how in the 
mysterious marchings of God's providence. Trouble treads 
-evenly with Transgression, and Sorrow goes hand in hand 
with Sin I 

Let us listen to their teachings now. And 

I. — What was the occasion of Gehazfs sin ? 

Do you see that noble looking man in the chariot who, 
by his majestic bearing and the splendour of his accoutre- 
ments, is evidently leader of the party ? Mark him well. 



I40 GEHAZI. 

He is a man whom it will be a privilege to know. He 
has noble qualities, this Sjrrian soldier. He is impetuous- 
in disposition, nay, a little hot in temper, and yet withal 
graced by a rare gentleness. His attendants love him : 
you can see that in their looks. His soldiers follow him 
with confidence. His servants over there in Damascus 
think of him with kindness. His Sovereign honours him 
most highly. He has good things in him, this Naaman^ 
captain of the Syrian armies. He goes away just now 
from Samaria cured of a dreadful disease. He came here 
from his master white with leprosy, but after washing 
seven times in Jordan according to the order of Elisha,. 
his flesh came again like the flesh of a little child, and he 
was clean. You may imagine after this how gleefully they 
all rode back from the rushing river up to high Samaria. 
In the heart of Naaman dwelt a noble thankfulness. 
* What should he do for the prophet,' he asked, when 
again he stood before him ? * Nothing,' replies the high- 
minded Israelite, better pleased to give than take. But 
he must take something, urges the grateful Syrian, and 
with a generosity that would not have shamed a far truer 
faith than he knew, he pressed him ; but Elisha would 
not, and Naaman rode away towards home, taking back 
gold and silver as he brought them, and in this unpur- 
chased cleansing reminding us not a little of another and 
yet greater blessing, which, in the fulness of time, in those 
very streets of Samaria, would be proclaimed to Jew and 
Gentile alike, " without money and without price," Such 
thoughts, however, were not in Gehazi's mind. He thought 
this a sparing of the Syrian, and as he watched him ride 
away evil imaginings rose in him. He looked at a sinful thing. 
Here is money. Naaman wants to give it. Elisha won't 
have it. Gehazi could get it if he tried. Money! It 
grew as he thought of it. Oh how much it meant T 
Gorgeous apparel rose before him, gay with all the 
colours of the rainbow; rich enclosures full of fruitful 
olive trees, and hillsides where the vines shall cluster ; 
flocks and herds feeding in the valleys, tended by 
obsequious slaves : and, as he thought of it, he took another 
step. He desired what he looked at, for he could get it if 
he tried was the temptation, and though he knew that 
trying could only be in one way, and that was wrong,. 



6EHAZI. 141 

looking^ soon led to liking, and liking put on boldness, and 
became resolve. The trial should be made, he said to him- 
self : " As the Lord liveth, I will run after him, and take 
somewhat of him." No doubt all this took place in much 
less time than I have taken to tell it, but these were the 
isteps down which Gehazi ran to sin. Ay ran, dear 
brethren, for the road to ruin is no climb to a depraved 
nature, but is often swiftly traversed. The proverb of 
your school days, " facilis descensus Averni," is sadly 
true. These well worn steps in the dark desert are only 
too familiar to us all, as are the circumstances under which 
Gehazi fell, for he was face to face with one of those oppor- 
iunities to sin which, in the providence of God, are 
permitted through the whole of our probationary life, and 
he fell as we do. Who doesn't know these opportunities ? 
Times when one false act seems as if it would make us 
wealthy ; when to equivocate would save us from exposure ; 
when to be knave for an hour promises to make us gentle- 
men for a year. Opportunities ! when brute passion 
clamours, and the moment is favourable, and darkness 
covers us, and Pleasure solicits, and Satan whispers, " No 
one will know." Opportunities ! When poverty buffets, 
and friendship fails us ; when cherished plans are broken 
in a moment, and through the fair flowers of the house- 
hold the stern Mower hath swept his remorseless scythe ; 
and old habits whisper, Take it, and false friends fill the 
cup and, press you to take it, and the Devil hisses, Take it, 
and you know that for a while at least it will lift this 
burden from your heart, and stop the smart of this great 
sorrow. Opportunities ! when a trick will procure ad- 
vancement ; when one sudden blow would rid you of your 
enemy for ever ; when a paltry bribe would make you 
certain of election ;. when one act of thievery engages to 
lift you into competence, and one liitle lie promises to cover 
you with gold. Who doesn't know them ? But I said, 
Gehazi fell as we do. Is it so ? Are these the steps the 
sinner takes, looking, liking, resolving, acting ? Let us 
beware of the first step I Let us beware of looking at the 
forbidden thing, of cherishing even the mental image of 
iniquity. With the first fatal cherishing, cherishing I say, 
of the evil thought comes the real peril of the soul. Nay, 
is not that the sin ? 



142 6EHAZI. 

Standing on the breezy top of Helvell)ni this last 
summer, and looking down into the fearful hollow where 
nestles the Red Tarn, I noticed three distinct ideas 
expressed in the mute eloquence of nature. Just here, and 
for a distance behind me, level ground and safety. For 
a foot or two beyond, soft, crumbling shale, and danger ; 
and another foot beyond that — death I Whether to step 
on that foot of shaly ground would infallibly precipitate 
me into the abyss, I don't know, but I saw danger there 
growing greater with every inch of distance. Perhaps a 
vigorous and determined effort might even there bring 
you back to safety, but it might not. I shouldn't like to 
try it, and any of you who have ever set foot on shale, 
damp, slippery, deceitful, wouldn't like it either. Standing 
to-day where Gehazi stood, where sinners stand when 
temptation comes to them, I see the same three things. 
Looking to Jesus, clinging to Jesus, resisting the Devil, 
that is safety. Looking at sin, cherishing the thought of 
sin, dallying with the temptation to sin, that is on the 
shale ! Oh, beware of it, sinner ! If thou art on it to-day, 
it may be through Infinite Mercy that an instant struggle 
for right may bring thee back from utter ruin, though not 
unscathed ; but to look longer at the thing with which the 
Infernal Plotter tempts thee may be as much as thy soul 
is worth. Cry out for mercy instantly, for the shale is 
slipping, slipping away from under thee, and what is 
danger to-day may be death to-morrow. Let thy prayer 
be, " Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity," if yet 
it may be listened to, lest like Gehazi looking, the slip 
become a slide, and over the rocks of resolution thou drop 
into the dark waters of iniquity ! 

II. — For such an evil as he now yielded io, I fear Gehazi was 
rather prepared than not. Of course, it is impossible to 
speak with absolute certainty of his moral condition pre- 
viously, but as a straw will show how the current runs, a 
certain phrase he uttered, as he conceived the iniquitous 
device, looks to me of evil import. What needs Gehazi 
with the solemn invocation of the name of God, now of all 
times ? " As the Lord liveth," saith he, " I will do this." 
Is this the reckless profanity that reckons language feeble 
except buttressed with blasphemy? Or is it that old 
habits reassert their sway, and demand of the vassal 



6EHAZI. 143 



tongue the ancient drudgery ? Or is it, saddest of all, 
perhaps a half unconscious use of holy words to which in 
happier days his service had accustomed him, and whose 
sacred meaning he has lost, like the forced fervour of a 
fallen disciple got up to suit a purpose; or, like the 
muttering of an old experience by the unhappy backslider,, 
who dares not leave the old communion, but has nothing 
of the old life, or like the mechanical repetition of old 
sermons by the minister who retains the old sanctuary, and 
hasn't forgotten the old theological diction, but has lost 
the unction and life that made the one like the gatfe of 
Heaven, and the other sound like the harping of the harps 
of God ! 

To hear him say this, too, reminds us of the danger under 
which they lie who are obliged from their office to be 
familiar with the forms of holy service. The temptation 
to be content with a merely formal godliness presses upon 
them with peculiar |X)wer. Ministers know what this 
means, and ministers' families, and so do the stewards of 
the church, and so do such officers as vergers, apparitors, 
chapel-keepers, and so do organists and choirs ; these who 
from necessity are busied with the mechanical and. visible 
things of religion ; these, if they do miss the meaning of 
these familiar facts, miss it very much indeed. A prophet's 
servant ought to be a good man, but if he isn't, his badness 
is of no common dye. So much for the beginnings of 
Gehazi's iniquity. 

III. — Let us now see hcnu the conceived purpose bodied itself 
in form, " So Gehazi followed Naaman ;" a despicable 
hunter tracking noble prey. " And when Naaman saw 
him running after him, he lighted down from the chariot to 
meet him, and said, "Is all well?" And the ready 
schemer answered " All is well. My master hath sent 
me, saying : Behold, even now there be come to me from 
Mount Ephraim, two young men of the sons of the 
prophets : give them, I pray thee, a talent of silver, and 
two changes of garments." And this Syrian gentleman — 
ay, mark it, gentleman — not stopping to consider whether 
all this was likely or not, glad to have any opportunity of 
showing how grateful he was to his benefactor, burdened 
with an obligation that he knew not how to discharge,, 
said, "Be content, take two talents." Gehazi resisted 



144 GEHAZI. 



with a resistance that was not intended to continue, and 
•so, when this piece of hypocrisy was done with, marched 
home agcain with two of Naaman's servants before him 
bearing the treasure. When he came to the tower, or 
secret place, he relieved the men of their precious burden, 
and hid it safely away, and apparently took good care to 
see them off the ground before he went in and stood 
before his Master. We can imagine the sincere readiness 
with which he dismissed them, and watched them dis- 
appear over some rising in the road, and we can almost 
see the smirk of satisfaction with which this successful 
sinner entered into the presence of Elisha. For has he 
not been successful ? There has not occurred a single 
hitch in the carrying out of the whole design. No one 
has suspected him ; no one has seen the evil, and he has 
actually gained without any trouble twice as much as he 
had dared to hope for. Is not this success ? Well perhaps 
it is, but perhaps it is not ? We will wait awhile before 
we decide, and in the mean time only say how like it is to 
what we often see around us now. Sin seems to succeed. 
The tradesman whose conscience is elastic gets on in the 
world. The merchant who has no conscience at all drives 
his carriage. The unscrupulous workman is advanced to 
favour. The bold Atheist buys large estates. A lottery 
ticket sometimes brings a fortune ; a throw of the dice 
sometimes gives a man a thousand pounds. The forger 
fattens on the spoils of his rascality. The oppressor of 
the poor adds field to field, and lives in luxury all the day. 
Grasping ambition seizes the object of its toil. Revenge 
attains its purpose. Murder goes unmolested through the 
land, and evil doing lifts its head as proudly, and grows 
fat and flourishing, as if the Providence of God were a 
mere fig^ment of an excited fancy, and Eternal Justice only 
.a poetic dream I 

And let us clearly understand 

IV. — What sort of evil doing it was that seemed to succeed 
in this case, and let us give it its proper name. " Sharp 
practice this," says, with a Byronic smile, some smart 
youth just learning the slang of sin, and who likes to talk 
about " seeing life :" "Sharp practice, Sir,'' he drawls, 
between the puffs of his cigar. Well let us call this sharp 
practice by its proper name. Short sighted knavery, call 



GEHAZI I4S 

it, the taking* what is not your own, and if you want a 
shorter title yet, don't forg^et the the word thief. Nor let 
us style Gehazi's fabrication mere story-telling. The word 
is not strong enough to express the rascality of the thing. 
Call it lying at once. Don't dress a scoundrel up in fair 
apparel ; don't let falsehood lurk and hide itself behind 
the shelter of the fair word story. Don't let your children 
use it for the purpose : keep it for noble employment. 
Tell them of the story of creation, of the story of redemp- 
tion, of the story of the cross, but when there's black 
falsehood there to talk of, teach them to call it a lie, and 
teach them to think of lying as one of the meanest, basest, 
blackest things beneath the Sun. 

V. — So this successful sinner went in and stood before 
his Master, and a change came aoer the spirit of his dream. 
For Elisha said, " Whence comest thou, Gehazi ?" There 
was no time to fence with the question. The truth he dared 
not tell, so with a brazen face he answered ; " Thy servant 
went no whither." Ah, these awkwzird questions ! And 
such a simple one, too, to bring such embarrassment with 
it ! Yes, dear brethren, this is God's order in the world , 
that human life shall not go on in comfort while it is a sin- 
ful life : that Difficulty, and Awkwardness, and Embarrass- 
ment shall, like three furies, scourge it with their knotted 
thong's. Nay, other evils wait upon it as well whose lashes 
cut deeper still, but I think of these just now. What a 
pitiful spectacle I An intelligent creature made for 
enjoyment of God and all delightful service degraded into 
a crouching slave, that slinks and hides away from the 
light, who cannot meet plain questions without wincing, to 
whom every rap at the door sounds like an officer of 
Justice, who trembles when you touch him as if he 
expected every minute to hear you stop in your ordinary 
conversation, and, like the faithful prophet of an elder 
time, to tell him, " Thou art the man." But this is what 
comes of doing wrong. Ay, and wrong is apt to pull 
wrong after it. One false step necessitates another. Gehazi 
allows himself in one sin, and has to commit another to 
make that good. It's a sorry business, this of sin. When 
you once enter it, you can never tell when you will get 
clear of it. It's like being a shareholder in a banking- 
company of unlimited liability that has broken. You have 

L 



146 6EHAZI. 

no idea when you'll have finished with the liquidators* 
They are always making calls upon you. They may leave 
you a little to live on, and they mayn't leave you a penny. 
Do you see that company of soldiers hovering on the edge 
of that great stretch of marshland, and watching intently 
for something moving among those distant rushes ? Do 
you know what they are after? A rebel against the 
Government is in hiding somewhere thereabouts, having 
fled from justice, and has got up to his neck in the mire 
and water of the morass. * There he goes,' says one, and 
flash goes the rifle, and down goes his head among the 
sedge again. * I see him,' cries another, and he must dive 
again to escape the balls. He comes up again in another 
place, and hopes he is safe, but some quick-eyed watcher 
has seen him rise, and splash goes the poor wretch's head 
again, while the bullets whistle and crash around him. 
Do you think he'll ever come out alive ? He may, and he 
may not ; but do you know the man ? That is the sinner 
trying to escape the assaults of truth by lying. It's a bad 
business, this of sin. If you once go into the morass of 
Falsehood to hide you from the consequences of former 
sin, no one can tell when you will come out again. Many 
a man has been smothered in its filthy slime, trying to 
avoid the exposure of his sin (this is specially true about 
falsehood), and how many more will follow you cannot 
tell. It is folly to say, * I will do this^ but not thai wrong.' 
You cannot ensure this at all. This sin is a wild horse of 
the desert. Men are apt to think they know how to 
manage him. He shall serve their purpose. They will 
guide him with the snaffle of resolution, or hold him fast 
with the curb of self-control. They'll spur him with the 
sharp spurs of cleverness and coolness, and they'll whip 
him, if he's restive, with a patent lash of their own 
contrivance. He shall carry them where they like, they 
say. They can stop him where they please. Can they ? 
Can they ? Let the bones that lie scattered over the 
desert of iniquity bleaching in the sunlight answer ! Let 
the maimed and bleeding victims of wrong-doing that 
limp and groan about the world to-day answer I Let the 
ragged loungers about the spirit bars answer, who began 
with what they called a merry evening, and are like to 
finish up in a dark night. Let the poor creature answer 



GEHAZI. 147 



who began with " just one dance," and danced, and danced 
until she danced her virtue all away, and is like to dance 
her soul to the Devil now I Let the felon in yon prison 
answer, who began with altering- one small account in the 
ledger, and didn't stop until he was seized for forgery 1 
Or let this worn out gambler answer, who began with 
playing only for a sixpence, and who has played himself 
and his family into pauperism. Or let the lost spirits of 
the pit answer, everyone of whom did once shudder at the 
thought of evil, everyone of whom did once prattle in the 
guilelessness of childhood, and lie a happy infant smiling 
in its mother's face ! 

VI. — ** And he said unto him, Went not mine heart with 
thee, when the man turned again from his chariot to meet 
thee ?" Then Gehaziwas detected, was he ? Why, brethren, 
who is noty that sins? Elisha's power of preternatural 
sight may have begun and ended with this one instance 
in which, as he put it, his heart had companied his sinning 
servant ; but there is One greater than Elisha, whose far- 
seeing eye is ever upon us. The mystery that baffles our 
enquiry is no mystery to Him. He knows the clue to 
earth's most cunning labyrinth. The tangled skein of our 
transgression lies before Him in unravelled plainness. 
The darting thought of vileness is by Him instantly 
detected. The subtlest conspirators have a Witness with 
them who has not been bidden to the plotting, and the 
most secret sin is to Him as open as the day. Yes, if there 
was none else to watch us ; if the clothes we wore were 
stainless ; if the grass we trod on took no notice ; if the 
clouds that covered us sighed no sad reproaches ; if the 
encircling air made no remonstrance, and the sympathetic 
winds sounded no loud alarm ; if success had crowned our 
labours, and like Gehazi, we had harvested a richer 
pleasure than we had dared to hope for ; our Maker saw 
us, and in the dread book of His Remembrance has noted 
down the minutest jot and tittle of our crime I 

Oh, brethren, when the thought of evil haunts you; 
when unholy passion struggles with your better feeling 
•for the mastery ; when the fascination of some pleasurable 
sin is on you, and you feel yourself almost yielding to the 
strong enchantment ; think Who watches you I Think of 
those eyes, so often dimmed with tears ; think of that face, 

L 2 



148 GEHAZI. 



that for your transgressions was so marred more than any 
man's. Think of Him who for your redemption bore your 
sins in His own body on the tree, and let the thought of 
that unseen but watching Saviour make you say with 
Joseph, "How can I do this great wickedness, and sin 
against God/' 

I cannot now deal with all the lessons that this history 
teaches ; yet I must pause a moment to ask you to look at 
Gehazi, as he stands detected in the presence of his 
master, and to hear the words which fell from the 
prophet's lips : " Is it a time to receive money, and to 
receive garments, and olive yards, and vineyards, and 
sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants? 
The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, 
and unto thy seed for ever." Ponder too the suddenness of 
the punishment, as expressed in those significant words that 
close this sad but admonitory history. " And he went out 
from his presence a leper as white as snow." Think how 
hurtful sin is to others beside the sinner, how far and wide 
its baneful influence extends, and see in the ghastly white- 
ness that will cling to Gehazi till he dies, an emblem and 
prophecy of that more lasting punishment which Almighty 
God will inflict upon all rebellious sinners, who reject His 
great salvation obstinately to the last. 

VII. — But from this fearful topic, I would fain turn to 
another and brighter one, of which Gehazi saw only the 
miserable caricature. There is a fortune in the world,, 
though he mistook it ; there is a tide that leads to it, and 
men may venture on it and be blest. But that true for- 
tune is not in money ; it is not in beauty ; it is not in 
greatness ; it is not in pleasure : it is not in fame ; but it is 
in truth, and goodness, and uprightness, and mercy, and 
gentleness, and kindness, and meekness, and temperance,, 
and, in one word, in Christ. There's a fortune here for 
any man, and whoso will venture on the tides of grace 
to-day shall gain it. There is blessing here for 
any man, and whoso will seek it rightly shall find it. 
There is salvation here for any man, and whoso will trust 
in Jesus shall enjoy it. Only take it at the flood, seize it 
when it's offered, lay hold of Jesus in that best of all 
opportunities — now, and in the glory of that great treasure 
all earthly advantages then will look cold and dim. With 



GEHAZI. 149 



Jesus in you the siren song of earth's seducing music shall 
seem harsh discord ; its costliest gifts shall excite no 
desire ; its fatal pleasures shall environ you in vain. Over 
all the temptations of the Devil you shall have perfect 
victory, and on and on the tides of Grace shall bear you, 
growing more and more like Jesus, happier and holier 
every day, until the last wave lifts you into your desired 
haven, and breaking into gentle ripples, leaves you, 
crowned with an exceeding weight of Glory, standing in 
the Saviour's presence on the Eternal Shore 1 



SERMON XL 

THE disciple's WATCHWORD. 

" FoUmv thou me^ — ^John xxi, 22. 

[First preached January 7th, 1872.] 

IXTE are like travellers to-day who stand tog^ether on the 
^ ^ borders of a country that we are about to explore, and 
we want Directions for the journey. We are like mariners 
who are venturing- to cross untravelled seas, and we want 
our Sailing" Orders for the voyage. We are like soldiers 
who are g-athering- for another campaign, and we want 
the Watchword of the march. In these words of Christ 
to Peter our necessities are met. As travellers to the 
Better Land, " Follow thou Me" shall hew a way for us 
through every tangled thicket we may meet with, and 
light us over every pathless moor. As sailors over life's 
unquiet waters, " Follow thou Me" shall bring" us safely 
out of every treacherous mist, and help us to weather 
every storm. As soldiers of the Cross, " Follow thou Me'* 
shall be the drum-beat that shall encourag"e us to confi- 
dence, or the blood stained banner under which we shall 
march to Victory ! " Follow thou Me," said our Lord to 
Peter, and, yet again, seeing how apt that as yet unsteady 
disciple was to forget it. He said to him, " Follow thou Me." 
What did our Master mean ? What was the manner of 
this " following," that was to be to Peter and to us the 
Watchword of Discipleship. Let me try to answer that 
question, and leave with you, if by God's help I may, 
something that shall be a stimulus and a memory for 
the year. 



THE DISOFLE's WATCHWORD. I S I 

I think that Jesus wants us to follow Him 

I. — Exclusively, He has taught us in other places that 
divided allegiance is not possible. He wants to impress 
upon us that it is not right. The grounds on which He 
claims this undivided allegiance, are so many, so distinct, 
so well known, and to those who are willing to weigh 
them so conclusive as to duty, that I have more need to ask 
you to reconsider old lessons now, than to attempt to 
interest you in new ones. But as a foil to His otherwise 
dazzling brightness, I think I would hardly mention that 
other one who has ventured to oppose Him in this direc- 
tion. It should seem preposterous to ask a man whether 
Satan shall be his master, when Jesus claims his service. 
Yet it can do no harm to ask you to reaffirm the old 
choice, and to say that you will follow exclusively not the 
Serpent, fanged and venomous, but the Lion of the Tribe 
of Judah, lordly and majestic ; not the Murderer from the 
beginning, but Him that gives Life, and gives it more 
abundantly ; not the Arch-liar, father of all the frauds and 
falsehoods that have disgraced the world, but the Incarnate 
Truth, bright Reflection of His Father's glory ; not the 
base Usurper, who holds over the hearts of the foolish, by 
shallow or subtle stratagem, a temporary sway, but the 
Rightful Sovereign for whom the Crown of the world is 
weaving, and before whose throne of Judgment, either 
in the constraint of terror, or in the rapture of loving 
obedience, every one of us shall bow the knee I " Follow 
thou Me I" I think it means, too, that we are to follow 
Christ 

II. — Intelligently. Jesus does not want a senseless ser- 
vice. He doesn't want the homage of a discipleship that 
is only emotional. He doesn't want you to salute Him 
with hosannahs of which a bright day, acting on a 
sensitive and poetic temperament, is the real imspiration ; 
nor does he desire to be called Lord, Lord, if the only 
reason for it is that you have been taught to say it. Why 
should the noblest faculty of our redeemed humanity, when 
the others gather round their Lord with gifts, bear the 
scantiest offering of all ? Why should we study lesser 
things, and ignore the largest ? Why should we know 
about methods of agriculture, or systems of botany, or the 
laws of light, or the master pieces of the old painters, or 



152 THE disciple's WATCHWORD. 

the genius of departed poets, or the fascinating* philosophy 
of the rocks, or the thousand and one subjects into which 
the busy brain is always prying, and yet on this greatest 
of subjects, scarcely be able, when one cisks a question, to 
do more than stand and gape for answer ? Perhaps this, 
you will say, is a little beyond the mark, and so I hope it 
is, but have you not met with professed disciples of Christ, 
whose behaviour seemed to show that while they were 
willing to render Him a service which should be vigorous 
enough, that is, if voice means vigour, anything like 
Paul's reasonable service, a godliness that should gather 
and enlist all the faculties of the soul, was scarcely or never 
thought of. 

This does not mean that with the secrets of this highest 
of all philosophies we are to be familiar, for that is simply 
impossible, but that if we have any power of intellect at 
all, its chiefest and most eager exercise must be given to 
our relationship with God. We shall find work in this 
more than sufficient to tax the power of the greatest mind, 
and though many a question will rise in connection with 
it that will baffle our acutest insight, yet on such topics as, 
' Why I am a christian,' * What hope this is that is within 
me,' * Why I adopt this creed,' or * am enrolled amongst 
the adherents of this form of church government,' * why I 
am busily engaged in this direction, and in that have 
neither place nor part,' we shall be neither foolishly 
vociferous nor dumb, and we shall follow Jesus not like 
the fickle crowd, whose hosannahs of to-day will be cries 
of Crucify Him to-morrow, but like the true disciple, who 
can tell Him, " we believe and are sure that thou art that 
Christ, the son of the living God !" 

III. — Resolutely too, our Master desires that we should 
follow Him. This should be the legitimate result of an 
intelligent enquiry into the whole subject, that our purpose 
of obedience is not only wisely made, but firmly fixed ; but 
there is need to press it, nevertheless, for it is one thing to 
see the right, and quite another thing to resolve to do it. 
If there were no special difficulties in the way, our natural 
enmity to God would make the following of Christ not 
easy, but there are special difficulties that discipleship 
presents for the overcoming of which a holy resolve is the 
one thing needful. What would the martyrs and confes- 



I 



\ 



THE disciple's WATCHWORD. 153 

sors of the early church have been without this ? Where 
would have been those spiritual victories of the first 
preachers of Christianity, those bold battle strokes upon 
iniquity that Christ's heroes struck, those pitiless rendings 
of the vestments of imposture, those challenges to submit 
to Jesus that His undaunted heralds sounded before Sin's 
gloomy prison, those mighty shakings of the Gates of 
Hell ? How could the religion that hardly knows its own 
mind do this ? What triumphs can vacillation boast of ? 
What laurels crown the brow of Half-heartedness ? Dear 
brethren, what we want is Purpose, holy Purpose, God- 
inspired, God-directed Purpose, that, born of Calvary, and 
baptized at Pentecost, shall answer, when the Saviour puts 
the question, " Wilt thou follow Me," not with the stammer 
of half formed purpose, " Lord I think so," but with the 
clear ring of an inflexible Resolution, " Lord I will I" 

rV. — Humbly y too we ought to follow Him. 

Yet this is not the crouching servility of the slave. 
Though He be a master, and we His servants, He does 
not call us bondmen. Our service is a free service, freely 
rendered, and graciously received, and the spiritless and 
mechanical obedience of slavery is at the very antipodes 
of ours. A humble, but not a cowed, a lowly, but not a 
lifeless service we ought to render, such as is consistent 
with such words as 

"Othou Almighty Lord 

Mj Conqueror and my Eing, 
Thy Boeptre and thy sword, 

Thy reign of grace I sinfc. 
Thine is the power ; behold I sit 
In willing bonds before Thy feet." 

We are to follow Him, remembering how it has come 
to pass that we follow Him at all, from what depth of 
degradation we were lifted, out of what mire of trans- 
gression we were raised, how we can never say anything 
more than Paul, " But I received mercy," how since that 
unspeakable gift we have been full of failings, and negli- 
gences, and ignorances, and how, except by our taking this 
way that He has trodden before us, there is no hope of our 
ever being bettered at all. Thus, not with the fearsome 
glance and trembling footstep of Bondage, but with the 
open eye and elastic tread of Liberty, are we to follow 
Jesus, humbly remembering as we tread in His footsteps 



1 54 THE disciple's watchword. 

that He is the Vine, and we are the branches, that He 
must be ever the Master, and we the servants, that it is 
His to order, and ours to obey, and not forgetting- that but 
for His sovereign mercy we had still been reckoned among 
the despisers of His goodness, or it may be, in that yet 
more miserable company whose day of privilege has ended 
in dark, trembling, hopeless, everlasting Night ! 

Again He wants us to follow Him 

V. — Confidently, What a blessed thing it is to have a 
guide that you can trust ! Blessed enough for that belated 
wanderer. Tired and faint he longs to reach his home, 
but has missed the way, and the dark night covers him 
alone on this pathless moor. The wet wind moans dole- 
fully about him, and chills him as he stands and peers into 
the gloom for a light. O how glad he is when some 
friendly voice, to his cry for help, answers, " Turn to the 
right here, and then follow me, Fm going your way. I 
know the path you want : follow me I" Blessed enough 
to this hardy climber who, searching for mountain flowers,, 
has wandered far up amongst the rocks until the mist has 
caught him. White and silent it creeps about him as if it 
listened to his heart beat. Is he so high ? He hardly 
knew it. A yard that side, and then sheer down! A 
yard or two on the other, and just the same. To go- 
higher is to make bad worse. To go lower seems imp)os- 
sible just now, when lo, from round a jutting crag appears,, 
the well-known form of a mountain shepherd seeking stray 
sheep among the heights. " Follow me," he says, and 
first up and then down ; now on a narrow ledge, and then 
round a projecting buttress ; now slipping round a grassy 
slope, and then plunging through the wet moss, he leads 
him into safety. More blessed still to this believer, upon 
whom mists of uncertainty have descended, and whom mani- 
fold perplexities surround. The way he treads has led him 
into difficulties. The sunny sky of yesterday is covered 
with heavily rolling clouds. The winds that whispered 
then, now come in gusts, and rage and roar about him. 
The path that was across the daisied meadow now leads 
him by the side of quaking mosses, and now through 
desolate ravines. The brook that laughed and smiled 
about his footsteps, is now the torrent leaping from the 
heights with sound of thunder, and the flowers that blushed 



THE disciple's WATCHWORD. l^$. 



a welcome to him are exchang-ed for the unfriendly thistle 
and the leafless thorn. O how blessed then, when every 
step seems perilous, and every hour reveals some new 
perplexity, when Jacob's murmur rises to his lips " All 
these things are against me," and Satan's vile suggestion 
is hissed into his ear, " Back again for safety and for rest," 
to detect the footprint of the Saviour, and to see Him oa 
before him beckoning to follow. Straightway his courage 
comes again. " My Saviour leads me," cries the inspirited 
disciple; "I ask no more. Away, ye flocking fears f 
Jesus, with me, I can take no harm! Courage my 
faltering heart, if Christ goes on before thee, thou need'st 
not fear to follow I Thou hast the Lord of all things 
leading thee ; bravely after Him ! The way's the right one,, 
though it be rough and thorny. Onward to its ending, and 
bethink thee that 

" B7 thine mMtrinir Saviour led, 

Thoa ehalt not in the desert stray ; 
Thon Bhalt not fall direction need, 

Nor miaa thy providential way, 
. Ae tax from danger ae from fear 
White Love, almighty Love is near t" 

I think Jesus wants us again 

VI. — Closely to follow Him. Our great danger is the 
following Him afar off. To bring us to consent to this,. 
Satan will ply us with the utmost force of his temptations, 
for he knows that it may not take much to change a fol- 
lowing at a distance into a not following at all, but let us 
look at this dark device, and see its meaning. * Afar off^ 
means feebleness ; but * closely' means power. * Afar off' 
means uncertainty ; but * closely' means clear vision. * Afar 
off' means doubt; but 'closely' means full assurance. 

* Afar off' means peace that is unsettled, and joy that is. 
fugitive ; * closely' means peace that passeth understand- 
ing, and joy that is full. * Afar off' means sympathy that 
is incomplete, fellowship that is partial; but 'closely* 
means walking in the light as He is in the light, and 
fellowship one with another. ' Afar off' means exposure 
on the battlefield ; ' closely' means hiding in the pavilion. 

* Afar off' means watching him among the multitude ;. 
' closely' 'leaning on his breast at supper. * Afar off' 
'means Peter stammering out " I do not know the man ;'* 
' closely' means Peter rejoicing that he is counted worthy 



J 56 THE disciple's watchword. 



to suffer shame for His name. * Afar off * is Demas loving- 
this present world ; * closely' is Paul counting" what things 
were gain to him loss for Christ. * Afar off ' means " O 
wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this 
body of death ;" ' closely ' means " Thanks be to God 
which giveth us the victory;" and if *afar off ' is Balaam 
putting up holy petition, and yet dying in the dark, 
* closely ' is Stephen crying with transfigured countenance, 
** Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man 
standing on the right hand of God !" Which shall yours 
be, on this day of choice for the year ? 

VII. — Patiently y too, I think the Saviour desires us to 
follow Him. For the way besides being rough is some- 
times long and tedious, and we " have need of patience." 
This is one of those good things whose goodness is only 
partially acknowledged. It is a grace that wears homely 
garments, that disguise its royalty. It goes hand in hand 
with Faith, and with it is heir to the exceeding great and 
precious promises. There are not many things that can 
be done without it. Faith may strike the spade in deep 
into the soil ; but patience keeps on digging till the whole 
is done. Faith sets us running the race that is set before 
us ; Patience keeps us running till we reach the goal. 
Faith makes us seek another country, that is a heavenly ; 
Patience keeps us looking out for home. Faith enables us 
to utter the bold challenge of David, " I come to thee in 
the name of the Lord of Hosts ;" but Faith and Patience 
are needed before we can say with Paul, " Nay in all these 
things we are more than conquerors." Faith enables us 
to build on the one foundation ; but Faith and Patience are 
required before the topstone is brought on with shouting. 
Faith starts us on our heavenward voyage ; but Faith and 
Patience are called for before He bringeth us to our 
desired haven. You have need of Faith to enable you to 
submit to the divine requirement, and to see its eternal 
recompense; but you have need of Patience also that 
^* after you have done the will of God, you might receive 
the promise." This last word, promise, reminds us that 
Jesus would have us 

VII. — Hopefully follow Him. Discipleship hath a rare 
expectation, and the Master would have us cherish it. It 
is true that the immediate future is not a cloudless one. 



THE disciple's WATCHWORD. 1 57 



The way we g-o will not be all sunny. The world will 
not love us any better because we follow Jesus. The 
lurking lion of the pit will often roar upon us, as we pass 
along-. In the fight of faith we shall have to endure hard- 
ness. A living Christ-like soul will not save us from the 
pain and weakness of a frail and dying body, nor can we 
expect to be freed from the sorrow of bereavement, or 
from the manifold burdens under which "the whole 
creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together." But 
beyond all this, for probation is not for ever, what is it we 
see ? What is it we hope for ? For safety, brethren, for 
the perils of probation will be past. For sinlessness, the 
white apparel that the precious blood shall cleanse. For 
Rest, after the toilsome journey, undisturbed and endless. 
For Day, after the long darkness, in which our " Sun shall 
no more go down, neither shall our moon withdraw 
itself ; and after the storm and tempest, for a peaceful 
calm. For clear vision, that doubt shall no longer torture,, 
nor mists of perplexity bedim ; and for perfect life when 
" this corruptible shall put on incorruption, and this mortal 
put on immortality." What do we see, dear brethren ? 
No more the First Adam's likeness, "of the earth,, 
earthy," but the stamp and image of the Second, spotless 
and* divine. No more " the husks that the swine did eat," 
or the poisonous dainties of the World's providing, but a 
celestial banquet at which the glory and honour of the 
nations are gathered, and He that sitteth on the Throne 
provides the cheer. No more the desolate wastes over 
which God's exiles wandered, but the Father's house 



'* That one. that only Mansion, 

That Paradise of Joy, 
Where tears are ever banished 

And smiles have no alloT. 
Where with Jasper glow the bulwai ks. 

Where the streets with emeralds blaze, 
Where the sardius and the topaz 

Unite in it their rays ; 
Where the ageless walla are bonded 

With ametnyst unprioed 
Where the saintu build up the fabric, 

And the oomer atone is Christ \" 

What do we see before us ? No more a blinded world 
pouring its vile reproaches on the good, whom, with insane 
effrontery, it counts among the filth and offscouring of all 
things, but an enlightened heaven, where the royalty of 



1 58 THE DISOFLK's WATCHWORD. 

goodness is acknowledged, and the righteous shine forth 
like the sun. No more the toilwom sower going forth 
with tears, but the smiling i-eaper come again with 
rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. No more the 
field of warfare, where the Goliath of Iniquity marches, 
and principalities and powers are arrayed, but the Paradise 
of love, where 

*< Tbey who with their Leader 

Have oonqnered in the fight. 
For ever and for ever 

Are dad in robes of white. 
Brief life is here onr portion, 

Briet sorrow, short uved care ; 
The life that knows no ending, 

The tearless life, i« there. 
O happj retribntion ! 

Short toil, eternal rest ! 
For mortals and for sinners 

A mansion with the blest I 
And now we ffght the battle, 

Bnt then shflOl wear the crown 
Of fall and eyerlasting 

And passionless renown : 
And now we watch and xtroggle 

And now we live in hope, 
And Hion in her angni«h 

With Babylon mnst cope. 
Bnt He whom now we trnst in 

Shall then be seen and known ; 
And they that know and see Him 

Shall have Him for their own. 
The morning shall awaken. 

The shadows shall decay ; 
And each trae hearted servant 

Shall shine as doth the day. 
Then Christ, our King and Portion, 

In fulness of His grace. 
Shall we behold for ever 

And worship face to foce!'* 

And now, dear brethren, let me ask you what your 
answer shall be to this command of Jesus ? What shall 
yours be, little child, just learning the difference between 
right and wrong ? What shall yours be, youth or maiden, 
to whom life is opening its mystery, and whom tempta- 
tions are beginning to surround ? What shall yours be, 
man of the ready footstep and the busy brain, whom 
Business is claiming as its vassal, and for whom the love 
-of money sings its bewitching song ? What shall yours 
be, feeble traveller over life's thorny way, whom sickness 
weakens, and manifold infirmities impede ? What shall 
yours be, who have passed the limit of maturity, and over 
whose wrinkled forehead rise the blossoms of the grave ? 
Let me put the question clearly. If you do not follow 



THE disciple's WATCHWORD. 1 59 

Jesus, you follow Satan, for " he that is not with me is 
against me." Which shall it be ? " Choose ye this day 
whom ye will serve." Shall it be the tyrant that enchains, 
or the master that cherishes ? Shall it be the mocking 
liar, or the True and Faithful Witness ? Shall it be the 
base assassin, or the Lord of Life ? Shall it be the skulk- 
ing thief that will rob you of all your treasures, or the 
Princely benefactor who will make you rich for ever? 
Shall it be the Branded Enemy of your race, whose 
promises deceive, and whose kisses kill, or the Friend of 
Sinners, who would have all men to be saved ? Shall it 
be the Devil, whose work is drudgery, and whose wages 
is death, or Jesus Christ whose service is perfect liberty, 
and whose reward is Heaven ? Now make your choice ; 
make it in the presence of God ; make it as one who may 
have no other chance of making it, and make it now I 
And be sure it is the right one I O make that right choice 
now, and while you hear the Saviour saying, " Follow thou 
Me," in the strength of God bid sin and Satan an 
everlasting defiance, and let the resolution of to-day be 
the purpose and practice of the year. I need not say 
it will be to you then a very happy one, and when the 
years all finish as they soon must, the fellowship of 
this following shall become Communion for ever and ever I 



SERMON XII. 

SOUL WINNING. 

" He that winneth souls is wiseP — Proverbs xi, 30. 

THIS emphatic Scripture suggests four questions which 
I shall try to answer to-day : First — ^Is there any 
necessity for winning souls ? Secondly — What is the 
precise object of winning souls ? Thirdly — ^What method 
of winning souls should be adopted ? and Fourthly — Are 
there any special encouragements to undertake this work 
of winning souls ? And now — 

I. — Is there any necessity for winning souls ? Not if souls 
are as they ought to be ? Apart from any scriptural 
teaching on this subject, what is the impression made upon, 
you by a survey of the actual state of things as they exist 
around you now ? 

I. — What of the merely physical conditions in which 
souls are found to-day ? Some live in comfort it is true. 
Large and airy dwellings shelter them. Pure air blows 
about them, and green leaves often dance before the 
windows. Taste and order, and elegance, and cleanli- 
ness, rule within ; and without anxiety or struggle there 
comes day by day the daily bread. But what of others ? 
What of the long rows of houses that straggle near the 
coal pit, or lie beneath the factory chimney, or start up 
with suspicious quickness in the city suburbs, or stretch 
their weary length in what are called the low parts of the 
town ? I mean those places where the bricks have given 
way, and the beams have yielded ; where a room holds a 
family, and a house a tribe ; where the air is foul and 
rank and poisonous ; where white faces go in and out of 
rooms; where misery hides, and sickness groans and 



SOUL WINNING. l6l 



shivers upon its bed of straw. What of these places 
filthy with neglect and ag^e, and reeking with pestilential 
odours, whose landscape is the stuffed window and the 
broken rain spout, or the irregular outline of the opposite 
wall ; whose glittering stars are the twinkling gaslamps at 
the corners, where the sunshine filters slowly through the 
dun vapour, and over which the heavy smoke spreads its 
funeral pall. What of the^e places ? Are things as they 
should be there ? 

2. — ^What of the intellectual condition of men? The 
greatest differences prevail here too. Some few men 
think as well as eat. Well chosen books stand upon their 
library shelves. Some high class journal or magazine lies 
upon their table. They hold converse with the mighty 
dead ; or perhaps their intellectual fare is varied by the 
trenchant logic of the controversial essay, or the sugges- 
tive facts of the scientific review. But what of the others, 
many in comparison ? Do they think ? Have you ever 
looked at this question, especially as it regards the lower 
orders of society ? Have you marked the dull eye, the 
animal countenance, the vacant look, the brutal expression 
of many of these. Have you noticed what sort of litera- 
ture they prefer, what pictures please them, what reasoning 
stirs them, what sort of oratory they applaud ? 

3. — ^And what of the religious condition of our country- 
men ? Better than it used to be certainly ; better than 
it was when men adjourned from the church on Sundays 
to play at football on the village green ; better than it was 
when gentlemen were hardly thought to be gentlemen if 
they went sober home to bed ; but a long way from what 
it ought to be yet. Who attend your places of worship ? 
Where do they live ? What proportion do they bear to the 
rest of the population ? Where are all the rest ? Do they 
never come to the house of God ? How is it in London, 
Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Glasgow, or your own 
town ? How many in the street where you live are regular 
worshippers? Did you ever try to count them? How 
many ragged skirted women sit and gossip at the door- 
step, instead of praying in the church ? How many youths, 
loud voiced and insolent, wander away into the fields to 
gamble ? How many idle and unwashed workmen stand 
and smoke at street corners, or trace out the playbills in 

M 



l62 SOUL WINNING. 



the spirit shops, or drink and quarrel inside, as soon as 
that legalized abomination can begin ? Or how many of 
all sorts make the Sabbath an opportunity for frivolity and 
sin of every kind, and outrage the sweet sanctities of the 
day that God gave for the solacement and blessing* of the 
world ? Are things as they ought to be ? 

4. — ^And what of the family Ufe around us ? What can 
it be, what must it be in many cases? Decency is 
frequently impK)ssible from the places where they live, or 
rather herd together. And what of truth, fidelity to 
principle, admiration of what is excellent, abhorrence of 
what is mean and false ? What of obedience to parents, 
of love of neighbours ? What of meekness and gentle- 
ness, of patience and forbearance, of tenderness and 
charity ? How can such flowers grow in such a soil ? 
How can such graces flourish in such an atmosphere I 
Alas I they cannot, they do not as many a wretched family 

in to-day can bear witness, where prayer is never 

mentioned, where God is never worshipped, where coaxing- 
and cursing are the frail props of the only government 
there is, and where parental authority is a question of 
which can utter the vilest blasphemy, or strike the 
heaviest blow ! 

5. — And what of the social life that is connected with all 
this? What of the bickerings and heartburnings, the 
smouldering Etna fires of anger, the murderous belching 
forth of evil passion : what of the low cunning, the long- 
continued cruelty, the selfish meanness, the drivelling 
folly ; what of those amusements that never refresh, those 
excitements that never elevate, those friendships that 
never refine, those companionships that never strengthen, 
those pleasures that never satisfy ? Are things as they 
ought to be ? Is there any necessity for this work of 
winning souls ? 

6. — Then look a little further and think of the gaol 
statistics of the country, of the disclosures of the law courts, 
of the army of paupers that surround us, of the vagrancy 
and violence and vice that like three vultures prey upon 
the vitals of the nation, of the shocking records of prosti- 
tution, of the vast number of men and women whose daily 
calling is theft and roguery, of the hordes of children 
growing up around us in ignorance and sin, and of the 



SOUL WINNING. 1 63 



miserable host of both sexes, and of all classes who wear 
the drunkard's shameful and bedraggled livery, and 
doubly dying, fall at last into the drunkard's grave. 
Think of all this — of the dimness in which they are now, 
and then of the darkness in which they will be. Think 
of the misery in which they now are, and the despair 
in which they shortly will be : think of the slavery 
of to-day, and the damnation of to-morrow ; and then say 
whether there be not a necessity for some scheme of 
mercy that shall try to enlighten them, some crusade of 
godliness that shall be organized to comfort them, some 
ministry and apostleship that shall proclaim " liberty to 
the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that 
are bound." Perhaps that rather anticipates the answer 
to our second question : 

n. — Whai is the precise object of the work called winning 
souls ? What they are to be won from, we know. What 
are they to be won to ? 

I. — To thinking, first. To deep, serious, religious think- 
ing. "I thought," says one whose experience is worth 
remembering, " on my ways, and turned my feet unto Thy 
testimonies." That is the invariable order : thinking 
first ; obedience afterwards. Do you remember any con- 
versation like this when you were amongst the mountains? 
You said to your friend in the morning, " Let us climb 
Helvellyn or Scawfell to-day." " Not I," said he ; " what 
do I want with such breakneck excursions ? Isn't it fine 
enough down here in the valley ? You may go if you like, 
but I like level ground and safety." " Well, so do I," you 
replied, " but just come to this window and look up. The 
mountain top glows in the morning sunlight. See the rare 
colours of those rocks! Watch that little stream that 
dances down from that majestic shoulder, all in a tiny 
rainbow where the spray catches the sunbeams ! See how 
those jagged edges stand out against the blue ; and look, 
a wreath of vapour curling round the cairn, as if loath to 
leave it ! There will be a splendid prospect : will you go ?" 
" Well, yes," said he, " it looks well up there : I think I'll 
go." Is it not like that with sinners? Who doesn't 
remember when he said, " I think I'll go," in another and 
blessed sense? Down in the low grounds of carnal 
security he had never looked about him much, never 

M 2 



164 SOUL WINNING. 



looked above him, never thought. But Divine Mercy 
came to him, and g^ot him to think. He thought of life 
and its purpose ; of death, and its mystery ; of duty and 
truth, and wisdom, and folly ; of sin and sorrow, and time 
and eternity; of the grave and the Judgment seat; of 
holiness and happiness ; of Christ, and Heaven, and God ; 
and as he thought of his iniquity, and remembered his 
danger, he said, " I will arise, and go to my Father." 
Thinking first. 

2. — Perhaps hearing next, God has appointed the hear- 
ing of His word to be a means of grace to men, and 
sincere enquirers after Him will easily be led to use it. 
We may be thankful that in comparison with our fathers 
the lines are fallen unto us, in this respect, in pleasant 
places. The word of the Lord is preached now not by 
few but many, and comes " not in word only, but in power, 
and with the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance." A 
great step has been taken when a formerly careless sinner 
has learnt to present himself in the sanctuary, and with 
reverent thoughtfulness to enquire at the oracle of God, 
but more remain to be taken. 

3. — Striving after God is a step further on still. It is 
almost sure to come to this, if a man will take those other 
steps. Nay, is it not certain that it will come to this, 
according to that Scripture, " then shall we know if we 
follow on to know the Lord ;" or according to the familiar 
adage of the gospel, " to him that hath shall be given." 
Then prayer will rise from those once proud lips, the tear 
of penitence will bedim those haughty eyes, the sword of 
godly purpose will begin to hew in pieces the Agag of 
besetment, the standard of rebellion will be lowered, 
sighs of contrition will take the place of songs of sinful- 
ness, and erelong you will see him standing in the temple, 
smiting in holy sorrow on his breast, and groaning 

" The dinner's only plea, 
Ood be merciful to me." 

If you ever rejoiced in hope, you may then, when the 
penitent sinner is knocking at the door of mercy. Well 
you know that that door cannot long withstand such blows. 
He may not be actually out of the Devil's clutches, but 
Satan is losing his hold of him every moment. The storm 
of sin may not be over quite, but the clouds are visibly 



SOUL WINNING. l6S 



Ufting-, and fair weather lies close beyond. He may not 
be quite within his father's house, but he can see the light 
of the household fires playing* red on the windows, and 
another step or two will see him across the threshold, the 
Eternal God his refuge, and underneath the Everlasting 
Arms I 

4. — And now what is that other step which, if you can 
persuade him to take it, will place him in safety ? What 
remains to be done before it can be said that another soul 
is won ? He thinks, he hears, he prays, he struggles ; 
what more must he do ? Already the light of hope fit- 
fully brightens in his eye. Foretastes of the coming 
blessedness give him a momentary comfort. Strange 
thrills go through him as of a deliverance near. Yet he 
is not at peace : yet he feels the fretting of his fetters : 
yet he groans beneath his burden. Ay, and he must do, 
until you bring him face to face with the Atonement, and 
he learns to say, renouncing every other trust but one, 

" In my hands no price I brinv, 
Simply to thy crosa I cling." 

When you have brought him to the cross, you may 
safely leave him in the hands of his Redeemer. For 
thought has led to hearing, and hearing to praying, and 
praying has become a struggling, and struggling has issued 
in trusting; and now, instead of storm, it's sunshine; 
instead of bgndage, liberty ; the lost sheep lies upon the 
shoulders of the sheplierd, and the lost Son is safe and 
sound at Home I We have now to consider 

III. — What methods of winning souls should he adopted. 
The weapons of this warfare are not carnal, therefore 
certain means of influencing men that have been used in 
the ruder ages of the world only need to be looked at, to 
be rejected with abhorrence. Lying will never help us in 
this work, though it have the authority of councils and 
popes without number. If we cannot speak the plain truth 
. to men, better never to speak at all, for Satan cannot cast 
out Satan. Nor will flattery help us. It is only a weak 
device this for any purpose. A man who has any com- 
mon sense about him can tell when he is flattered, and can 
estimate the honeyed compliments at their true value. 
Bribery will not be much better. It is quite true that we 
are to do good to the bodies as well as the souls of men to 



YT, icnill 'JK'JfOiBlk. 



'iDt t::n.«Tt :r :iir iitiiirr^ 'bu: •»* 5aa»e aified 13> re me m ber 
tTTHr :rar"nL.:ii* tHUKnaniiais bjex fasihr tocDEmc positively 
Cinii£;rr:^ i: ~teir *-*inniHrn3*, hdc Qc^i^sieralie into a mere 
ZT'tniiiini •:a.«i i: iiniimr r'umi:;-':^ resr^ilar aaad looked 
iur -vitT'^ in 'Ui inr:'*aL TT'irtiisirm dc rfc£|poiii. If wjb 
ian* iiiMts :f iiarj*** 131 5i,ni* n distrfiEC^:, let 32s remem- 
btr. T»-r:Jt v* z^^^ iti-kil. fh?nr, riDa|:ii ih^bukefs and 
diirirtej- iT r<rr-ismaa> fnt- isej 51 oar sauctiaries with 
•K»nri^:n:c»*r^- "irir Tsfrr iirii iBr^rtatsi n: TdiDcaa li>ese are the 
rs^n irriniirr'a^ f :r rrir'jr rriiipnr: "K'-Z z>erer be better tban 
T*:^zy.\j5t fiizrziiirs^irji "±3:: sfbii "jr^ -wain s to win them 
DX i.: nijir: i: rtr-Tif in aa^ it "Jiris: : arid kl xs order ora* 
aImri'7-*-_':^'2i:::::rLr;r-T- As f :r r±ie frrLfhrr side of this 
c^eriie- r^ior :c iirr-i^^ ±^15- zDen — 1 iDeacu tiireatening' — 
I riieeri i&T nichi-^ =i:r^ "^-r -^'^^f a ^Dodraess which can 
cr-Iy be lo'-^r^ei rv -ah-TC-r::::^ s <ct Irnrje irorth, that the 
fol'f ^ -ah:::: :t ^a::: be is.rii 2s *-iH."tr> '^^g r namower and 
narroA'er e-* -er*- iav. ar:d ihai rbe rfiae is fast comino^ when 
wrr.TA^ rr.ir.Lster. :>:«- Tr^gisrrare, r^x" sqpire, nor landlord, 
nor en:i,>^yer, tj-jt zr.y c^e else wEZ be able to use it at 
alL Berries n:en :hai are wi>rth aaythinof won't be 
dra^^e^ into a reI:^o*:s life either by cajolery or threats. 
Thev i^A that thev are neither schoolbovs nor cattle, 
and refuse to be charmed by such measures, charm you 
never so wisely. 

Rising above this we come to the emtiienjl nature of 
man. If we cannot hope to convert a sinner throug-h his 
stomach or his skin, may we throug^h these higher facul- 
ties ? I should think a wise worker for God would never 
allow this side of human nature to be forgotten in his 
plans of attack. Scripture truth is evidently desig-ned to 
influence men through their psissions. Without the 
judgment be convinced, indeed, any moral work that is 
based on the mere excitement of the emotions will almost 
certainly come to nothing, but our appeal must be made 
to the whole man, and our chances of succeeding with the 
regal judgment will be much greater if the lesser autho- 
rities in this human kingdom are challenged and attacked 
at the same time. But let us never forget that, whatever 
else is attempted, the Judgment must be won. Whatever 
plan of attack is proposed as regards the heart, the 
understanding must have special attention. Men are 



SOUL WINNING. 167 



intelligent as well as emotional beings, and God asks from 
them a reasonable service, and we who try to perstiade 
them to it must never lessen or lower the original demand. 
An important auxiliary in this work is the distribution of 
religious tracts ; not anything that is printed that has a 
smack of piety about it, but well selected, vigorous, evan- 
gelical, and, in these days, shapely and neat tracts ; for 
many a working man would think you had a poor opinion 
of his judgment, if you were to give him the coarsely 
printed, badly illustrated, childish productions of a much 
earlier age. Even in this, great delicacy is often required, 
for the giving of a tract may be wrongly construed. For 
men sometimes won't think of your motive, but they will 
recollect your manner, and it is quite possible for a good 
thing to be awkwardly done. I need hardly remind you 
that you have it in your power to influence others by your, 
letters. You can write to some with whom you have no 
opportunity of speaking. Of course, if you write, you will 
sign your name. As a rule anonymous letters, even about 
religious topics, are best put into the fire at once. It is 
open to many more of you to use the living voice for ChrisVs 
^ake. Nay, where is the man who is debarred from using 
it ? It is impossible to discuss now all the ways in which 
christian men can speak for God. It is clear that in this 
direction all cannot take the same stand. There are those 
who cannot enter the pulpit, and to whom platform speak- 
ing is denied ; to whom also it is not given to speak in the 
yet more homely and private services of the church, but 
there isn't a man among you who may not make his 
ordinary conversation a means of good to others. And, 
dear brethren, I want to say to you that in whatever other 
respects we prosper and advance, the true ideal of church 
activity will never be realized until every one among us, 
according to his opportunity, becomes a witness unto 
Christ, and to the extent of his ability becomes a winner 
of immortal souls, and waiting not for other orders than 
those of brotherhood, or higher commission than that of 
charity, goes out to preach of Jesus, his ordinary speech 
charged with the electricity of goodness, and seasoned with 
the salt of God, 

If this idea of the absolute necessity of every true 
christian doing all he can to save men from sin be fixed 



1 68 SOUL WINNING. 



in your minds, I have little fear as to the right manifesta- 
tion of it. Your first attempts will be at home, for you 
will see it to be a folly and a wrong" to till other fields 
when your own lies barren round you, but you will not^ 
cannot confine your activities there. Some of you will 
watch in daily business for an opportunity of speaking of 
the holier trafficking-, and some of you in forg-e, or factory^ 
or farm, will talk of the enduring- treasure, and the fade> 
less glory. Some of you will try by wise measures of 
prevention to make straight the ways of the Lord, and 
some of you will march in upon the territory of evil, and 
with the gospel trumpet of entreaty and appeal will sound 
an alarm, either in the homely cottage, or the plain mission 
room, or mayhap beneath the canopy of Heaven, where 
your only pulpit will be a rude chair, your choir the gruff 
voices of the street, and your organ accompaniment the 
blusterous winds. And some more of you who;n grace 
and gifts shall qualify, will enter the ranks of the separated 
ministry, and, leaving all of earthly business behind you,, 
will study to declare continually the gospel of the grace of 
God. This only being settled and resolved upon, that 
you must be and will be witnesses for Jesus, the manner and 
the measure of the witness may be safely left to the 
charity that fulfilleth the law ; for whether it be by 
pecuniary contribution, or by bodily or mental labour ; 
whether it be intercession in the sick chamber, or remon- 
strance in the street : whether you gather the lambs in the 
Sabbath school, or feed the sheep in the sanctuary ; 
whether you blow the ram's horn of vigorous exhortation^ 
or the silver trumpet of eloquent appeal ; whether you 
argue with philosophers at Athens, or fight with beasts at 
Ephesus ; whether with the scholarly Apostle you reason 
of righteousness, temperance and judgment to come, or 
with the untutored Evangelist declare that the chaff shall 
be burnt up with unquenchable fire ; whether in the Gospel 
feast you marshal and supply the coming guests, or fired 
with a Christlier chivalry, rush out into the highways and 
hedges of humanity to cry, " Yet there is room ;'^ if only 
the love of Christ constrain you, your very feeblest 
offering shall be accepted, upon your humblest endeavour 
Christ will smile, and the all glorious Spirit shall utter 
in your heart that sweet evangel of all willing workers,. 



SOUL WINNING. l6^ 



" Forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in 
the Lord 1" 

IV. — The encouragements to undertake such a work cannot 
now be more than hinted at. 

I. — ^Asregfards yourselves what work can afford you purer 
pleasures ? The charm of social intercourse, the delights, 
of home and family, the joys of literature, the sense of 
power over your fellows, the keen excitement of the law- 
ful chase for wealth, the incense odours of applause, the 
thrill of music and of oratory, or the unearthly rapture of 
the mountain landscape — what are these by the side of 
the joy that comes of soul-winning-, that divine luxury of 
' doing good ? 

2. — ^And yet again, there is about such work as this aa 
admirable bracing for the moral health. For those who are 
afflicted with spiritual dyspepsia there is hardly such a 
tonic anywhere as this. Oh I if those christians who are 
troubled with chronic feebleness, with occasional fits of 
grumbling and fretting, and general languor and sickli- 
ness, would but take a course of the medicine of trying to- 
make others better, or have a spell at the work of soul- 
winning, they would hardly know themselves again in six 
weeks. There isn't a drug in all the range of christian 
pharmacy that so quickly charms away the starting fears 
of religious weakness as this — of trying to save sinners. 
There isn't a cordial anywhere half so potent as this for 
bringing back the elasticity of health to your spiritual 
system, and knitting your flaccid muscles into power. Try 
it, brethren. Not the sea bathing of an entire summer 
will set your body up more certainly, than a few plunges 
into the sea of iniquity that seethes around you, to try 
to bring up drowning sinners, will invigorate and brace 
the soul. 

3. — ^And think of the glorious possibilities of the work. 
The soul you rescue may have within it the makings of a 
noble life. Feeble by reason of its bondage now, the 
touch of liberty will awake it into power. Unsightly in 
its rags to-day, to-morrow may see it clothed in bright 
apparel, and radiant in the beauty of holiness. O think 
of it, and try to save them, these who only want salvation 
to make them men — men who mayhap will sing like Isaac 
Watts or Charles Wesley, or write like holy Rutherford 



170 SOUL WINNING. 



or Richard Baxter ; men who will pray like Bramwell, or 
preach like Samuel. Bradburn or Robert Hall; men of 
untiring benevolence like John Howard, or of consummate 
tact like Jabez Bunting; men of regal fancy like John 
Bunyan, or of seraphic saintliness like John Fletcher ; 
hewers in God's forests like Francis Asbury, or tillers of the 
home field like William Carvosso ; missionaries like Judson, 
or martyrs like Latimer ; senators like Wilberforce, or 
soldiers like Havelock ; statesmen like William, Prince of 
Orange ; evangelists like George Whitefield — ^flowers these, 
not unfit for angel hands to gather ; jewels that the Lord 
of angels shall set in His many crowns ! 

4. — And then it lastSy does this work. For when the 
wealth you have amassed is squandered, and the estate 
you had acquired is vanished away ; when the mansion 
that you lived in is in ruins, and the laurel leaf that crowned 
you is withered; when goodness is the one enduring 
treasure, heirship unto God the worthiest position, and 
likeness unto Christ the only acknowledged royalty ; when 
the graves open at the Resurrection, and the trumpet of 
doom sounding through the startled universe proclaims the 
end of all things earthly, and that even Death shall die ; 
when the hay and stubble of merely temporal works blaze, 
the gold and silver of your spiritual labours shall abide 
the test of the fire ; the happy souls that you had helped 
to rescue shall gather round you with a gratitude no words 
•can measure ; in your crown of life shall flash the bright 
inscription, ** Winner of Immortal Souls," chiefest of 
honours in the heraldry of heaven, and from that seed 
you sowed on earth shall spring a harvest of Glory that 
you shall reap for Ever, and for Ever, and for Ever ! 



SERMON XIII. 

THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE. 

** Again the kingdom of Heaven is like unto a merchant man, 
seeking goodly pearls y who, when he had found one pearl of great 
price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it, — ^Matthew 
xiii, 4S-46. 

MY message to you to-day, is of buying and selling. I 
come from One who cannot be here in person, to say 
that He hcis a commodity of inestimable value to dispose 
•of, and He will be glad if you will buy it. I am to say 
likewise in His name that He considers this an opportunity 
not to be lightly set aside, that it will be to your undying 
advantage to come to terms with Him immediately, and 
that he is very willing to consider the case of even the very 
poorest, so as to bring this great blessing within the reach 
-of you all. At the same time. He does not expect you to 
become purchasers, without having the fullest opportunity 
of examining what it is He wants to sell you, and per- 
fectly understanding what price you will have to pay. So 
I may say at once that He is a seller of jewels, rich and 
rare, and knowing- that many of you have long been on 
the look out for goodly pearls, He has sent me to say 
that He has the very thing you have been seeking, 
^nd would like to let you have it upon easy condi- 
tions. It is a pearl, one pearl — ^*'one pearl of great 
price." What do you say to becoming His customers? 
Would you like to look at this pearl a little longer 
before you decide ? Then you shall, and I will do my best 
to show it to you. 



172 THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE. 



I. — The great value 0/ this jewel. 

But stop — do you know my Master, the owner of this 
pearl ? It is He whose are the gfold, and the silver, and 
the cattle upon a thousand hills. It is the Lord of the 
winds and the waters, who g'iveth sunshine and rain, wha 
speaks the worlds into being, who appoints the sun his 
place of going- down, and studs the canopy of night with 
stars. It is He, who in the fulness of time came down and 
tabernacled amongst men, who was made a little lower 
than the angels for the suffering of death, and crowned 
with gflory and honour because, by the grace of God, He 
tasted death for every man. It is He who from His throne 
at the Father's right hand is from henceforth expecting^ 
till His enemies be made His footstool. It is He who is 
ever crying by His Spirit in sinners' hearts, " Come unto- 
me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give 
you rest." Jesus has this pearl to sell you, and wamts 
to treat with you to-day. But the jewel, you say. Well, 
I hardly know where or how to begin to describe it. For 
one thing, it needs a particular condition of mind to- 
thoroughly appreciate it, and perhaps some of you may 
lack that. Fancy anyone all aglow with the healthy 
excitement of a clamber among the hills, coming down to 
tell his friends in the valley what he has seen up there. 
He says : — " I saw like another world around me. The 
earth grew bigger as I ascended, and bigger still. The 
hills you see, first grew low, then level, and then sank 
down and were forgotten. And I saw gorges, dark and 
deep, damp with perpetual torrent spray ; and bare ridges, 
fretted into peak, and rift, and chasm by endless storms ; 
and lonely tarns, lying like mirrors to the blue ; and 
mighty crags, torn and shaken and caverned, and thrown 
into such fantastic form as if a race of giants had begun 
to build, but were not able to finish, and left their mason 
work behind them rough hewn and awful. And I saw 
peak on peak around me rising steeply to the sky, and I 
saw the clouds rushing and retreating round them like roes 
the hounds of God were chasing, or standing with ordered 
front, as if they were ministering spirits watching holy 
ground, or clinging, huge and pall like, about the summit, 
as if the hill I climbed were another Sinai, and within those 
dread pavilions, like another Moses, I was about to talk 
with God I" 



THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE. 1 73 

I say, fancy his telling them all this, and then to his 
surprise hearing* them mutter of excitement and delusion 
and rhapsody, and asking whether it were not better that 
he kept to the plains in future. Little more of the rare 
visions of that mountain could he say to such an unsym- 
pathetic audience. And yet all that he said was true, 
though they couldn't receive it. So I have much to say 
about this precious jewel of True Religion, but perhaps 
those I want to say it to the most, will with difficulty 
understand it. And yet you care for right and truth, do 
you not ? You are not indifferent to the great question of 
Duty, are you ? It is of some importance to you to know 
what your relations are with the Great Being who gave 
you life, and who will one day call you to judgment, is it 
not ? And yet, say what I may about this jewel, I cannot 
worthily describe it. But let me tell you something about 
it now. If you get this pearl, you will have pardon too. 
Haven't you much to be forgiven for ? Is not the record 
of wrong doing a very long one I When you try yourself 
by the standard of the Word, don't you feel how far short 
you are of what you ought to be ? If you begin to reckon 
the times wherein you have failed in duty, don't you pre- 
sently grow sick with the awful computation ? Wouldn't 
some of you be glad to go anywhere to get a pardon, if 
going would get it ; to undertake the longest pilgrimages, 
to Suffer the severest hardships, if that were the way to 
find it ? Well, if you will buy this pearl of great price, 
you shall have pardon, a conscious pardon, a most free 
pardon, an abundant pardon, a pardon for sins of omis- 
sion and sins of commission, a pardon for sins of thought, 
and sins of word, and sins of deed, a pardon for great 
sins, and vile sins, and inexcusable sins, and long-continued 
ued sins ; that you shall have, and 

" Pardoned for all that you have done, 
Yoar mouth as in the dast you'll hide, 
And grlory give to Ood alone. 
Your God in Jesus padfled." 

Those who get this pearl get freedom too. Along with 
this burden goes the bond of iniquity. Surely there are 
no fetters so heavy as those sin forges for a man. How 
tight they hold him I How inexorably they keep him 
down 1 How vainly he struggles to escape I How awfully 



174 THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE. 

real is this slavery I How many groan beneath it, slaves 
of passion, slaves of pride, slaves of intemperance, slaves of 
lust, slaves of unholy ambition, slaves of avarice, slaves of 
lying, slaves of blasphemy, slaves of a vile timorousness, 
slaves of blinding unbelief, slaves of a maddening irritation 
never soothed, slaves of foolish desires that gnaw, and gnaw,, 
and gnaw, like harpies, never satisfied I Wouldn't liberty 
be glorious to such as these ? Would it not be a boon to 
you, if you, unhappily, are so enslaved ? It shall be yours 
if you will buy this pearl. Sin shall not have dominion 
over you. Its miserable tyranny shall be finished, and its 
intolerable shackles shall be broken, and the Angel of the 
Covenant shall bring you forth from your doleful prison 
house, and breathe into your opened ear the law of your 
new-found liberty, — " Go, and sin no more." 

Then you shall have new and holy desires and aspirations. It 
will be to you an awakening and stimulus of all the n^ental 
powers such as you hardly dream of now. Your present con- 
dition is like that garden in the depth of winter. Here and 
there mayhap some venturous plant just peeps above the 
ground. Some hardy evergreen defies the frost, but the 
grass is low and thin and brown, and the shrubs shake 
their thin arms like skeletons, and the little pool is ice- 
bound. But come again in summer. What a change ! 
The same garden, but not the same ! All the beds are 
bright with flowers, the lawn is like a piece of velvet, the 
trees and shrubs are dressed in living green, and toss their 
branches as if in glee, the water there lies and smiles as 
if in deep contentment, or ripples as if the wind had told 
it secrets, and it must laugh for joy, and the air is full of 
Nature's incense I Is that like a certain familiar scripture,*" 
" If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature : old things 
are passed away ; behold all things are become new ?" 
Oh, but it shall be like your life when God drives away 
the winter of iniquity from you, and breathes His eternal 
summer into the soul. You may think from this that you 
will know Him then, and so you will. Conscious friendship 
with (jod shall be your portion. You will understand Him 
then as you cannot now. Instead of some mysterious 
shadow, dreadful, resistless, eternal. He will be to you a 
Person, near and dear and trusted, and best seen in His 
Son. Instead of a tyrant, he will be a father. Instead of 



THE PEARL 07 GREAT PRICE. 1 75 



some awful Deity, seated on a throne of Judgment, and 
flingfing" His thunderbolts of vengeance far and wide around 
Him, you will think Him an indulgent Friend, communing 
with you from above the mercy seat, who guides you in 
perplexity, who comforts you in time of trouble, who 

*' Keep* with most diatJngaiBhed oare 
The man who on His love depends, 
Watches every numbered hair 
And all his steps attends." 

Moreover you shall have freedom from the unrest and 
dissatisfaction of sin, — I don't mean that you will always 
find ever3rthing exactly as you would wish it. That is 
impossible in a state of trial such as ours. The machinery 
of life will certainly move much more easily with you, but 
you will never be able to forget that it is but machinery, 
yet you will be delivered from that perpetual jar, and jolt,, 
and grating that you knew before. The restlessness of a 
life without God, the uneasy apprehension, the spasmodic 
clutching at passing pleasure, the never ceasing question 
that is muttered by the aching heart, " who will show me 
any good," the weary tossing and turning of an existence 
without a purpose and an aim, the ever recurring pang of 
disappointment as some fresh bubble of pleasure or amuse- 
ment bursts, and the long, long waiting for a vision of joy 
that is ever tarrying — all this you will lose, and discover 
that the same hands that have brought you into liberty 
can also lead you into rest. 

And yet again, you will have power to bless men, Christ- 
less to-day, it becomes a serious question of what use you 
are in His great universe. Bringing forth no fruit of holi- 
ness, how far is it right to say that you are cumbering the 
ground ? Not heartily for Christ, are you not against Him,, 
and if against Him, can you be really for His people, and 
for the world for which he died ? If you do not seek to 
hinder men from holiness, can you be said to help them ta 
it ? If you do not seek to put out the lamps of the other 
virgins, can you be said to help to keep them lighted ? But 
if you buy this pearl, there will be no doubt as to which 
way your influence shall tell. You will be able then, and 
yet not you, but Christ that liveth in you, to do veritable 
work for God. I may not promise that it shall be great or 
marvellous, sung by bard, or praised by wondering watchers,. 



t76 THS PEARL OF GREAT PRICE. 

but it shall be true and blessed, and it shall be no slight 
joy to you, on that day when all work is re-examined and 
rewarded, to hear the Lord of all the labourers say of 
your unnoticed toiling" — " Ineismuch as ye have done it unto 
one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it un- 
to me." And then you will have a good hope beside. At 
present you are without hope in the world, because you 
^re without God, and to the extent you are so. For what 
is the hope of the man who persistently, and with his eyes 
open, rejects the Saviour ? What part has such a man 
^mong the holy ? What place among" the blessed ? For 
such a man to hope for a happy immortality is presump- 
tion. It is a baseless hope. And yet how many have no 
better hope than this ! They hold to their sins, and yet 
hope for Heaven ! They flout the Saviour, and yet hope 
to be with Him for ever I They count the blood of the 
covenant a common thing, and yet hope to stand amongst 
those who are washed in it ! But such shall not be your 
hope if you buy this jewel. It shall be a bright hope, a 
good hope, a sure and certain hope, a glorious hope that, 
like some sun that never sets, shall span all the storms of 
life with its celestial rainbow, and breaking forth at last 
from all mist and shadow, shall pour upon you the light of 
full fruition in a broad, perfect, everlasting Day. 

This is a faint showing forth of the pearl of great price. 
What do you say now to buying it ? Are you not ravish- 
ed with desire to obtain it ? Do you want to know the 
terms on which the Owner will part with it ? Then let me 
tell you 

II. — What you must do to obtain it. 

The parable says, " a merchant man when he had found 
one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and 
bought it." "The kingom of heaven is like unto a 
merchant man" &c., says the Saviour, so we must 
take care how we interpret here. We may set it down as 
beyond any question that the gift of God cannot be pur- 
chased with money. We can bring no equivalent for it 
to Him, that would make the transaction a real buying and 
selling. Pardon can never be purchased. Nevertheless 
there is something in the action of this merchant that 
resembles what takes place when a sinner obtains salva- 
tion. What is that something ? You see it in his going 



THS PEARL OF GREAT PRICE. IfJ 

and selling- all that he had in order to buy it ; giving all 
diligence, straining every nerve, making every sacrifice to 
become possessor of this pearl. It is just putting into 
another form that old scripture — ^** Ye shall seek me and 
find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart." 
This is absolutely indispensable, nor can we stir a step 
towards this heavenly business, except in this sense we are 
willing to sell all. But still more particularly : we must 
pari with all our evil habits. Some of them we shall perhaps 
be willing to sacrifice at once, but our corrupt hearts will 
make a strong light to retain at least one or two. It is 
useless discussing this with ourselves. God has settled it 
for us long ago, that, if we cherish only one sin, we cannot 
be saved, inasmuch as he who* keeps the whole law, and 
offends in one point, is guilty of all. If there is one thing 
that we know to be wrong that we will not forsake, it is 
useless asking forgiveness. In such a condition we may 
pray till we die, but God will never hear us. How can 
He ? Such a prayer is a mockery of Him ! Satan him- 
self would say Amen to such a petition ! A gospel that 
would offer pardon to a sinner who would not give up 
sinning, why all the fiends around him would delight to 
preach it I Over such a repentance Hell itself would hiss 
an infernal Hallelujah, and all the demons shout with 
horrible joy ! No, we must sell all, part with all, 

'* Turn at onoe from every cdn 
And to oar Sanour turn.'* 

Many sinners have a large stock of self-righteousness 
which must be got rid of somehow. They are not so bad 
they think as they are made out to be ; indeed they hardly 
know at times whether they are bad at all. They can 
tell a good many very good things they have done, and 
though many of them often say " Lord have mercy upon 
us, miserable sinners," they don't half believe it about 
themselves. Mentally they may be said to make great 
capital out of their excellencies. One says. Well, I may 
be a sinner, but Pm not a thief." Another, " I may be a 
sinner, but I'm not a liar," or " I'm not a glutton," or " I'm 
not a swindler," or " I'm not an hypocrite," I'm not close 
fisted," " I'm not living on other people's money," " I'm 
not a drunkard or tippler," " I'm not a swearer," " I'm not 
a Sabbath breaker." It is like a strong castle into which 

N 



178 THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE. 



they retreat from the assault of the truth. It is very hard 
to get them out, but out they must come if they want to be 
saved. They think it valuable property. It is mere 
rubbish that must be all parted with, all sold, for Jesus 
Christ will never save a man while he thinks he can save 
himself ; but when he is willing to confess he cannot, and 
that Jesus must save him, or he will be utterly and irre- 
coverably lost, then does the Lord Jesus show him that he 
shall be gloriously and everlastingly saved. E)uty some- 
times calls to give up friends and companions for Christ's 
sake. It must be done, if they hinder us from God. We 
are sometimes also called to leave certain situations, and 
give up certain employments, and surrender certain gains, 
because they cannot be kept or continued or enjoyed with 
a clear conscience, and a man who is honest with his 
Maker will never be long in doubt as to what he ought to 
do. To sum up : we are to part with nothing that is 
really worth the keeping, but with our indifference, our 
prejudice, our sins, our self-righteousness, and ever)rthing 
else that cannot be kept without violating conscience, 
opposing the plain declarations of Scripture, and hinder- 
ing us in the way to heaven. When we come to this 
point — all for Christ — then the pearl is ours. Humbled 
into nothingness that trusts Jesus only, we are straightway 
lifted into power. Being willing to " count all things but 
loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus 
our Lord," we discover that everything is gain. Finding 
out at last that in ourselves we are " wretched and miser- 
able and poor and blind and naked," we discover that in 
Jesus we are prosperous and happy and rich and clear- 
visioned and royally apparelled. The pearl we have been 
seeking for is ours for nothing, and so is fulfilled the 
promise of that ancient prophecy, "Ho, every one that 
thirsteth ! Come ye to the waters ! And he that hath no 
money I Come ye, buy, and eat I Yea, come, buy wine 
and milk — without money and without price." 

A word to those of you who have this treasure. Keep 
it. Beware that you do not lose it by sinking into spiritual 
drowsiness. See that you do not fall into the error of 
Bunyan's pilgrim, who slept in the arbour, and lost, for a 
time, the roll which should have been his pass into the 
celestial city. Sell it not. If you part with it for any con- 



THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE. 1 79 

sideration, you must be the loser by the bargain. The 
highest possible price that anyone could offer you would 
be no better than pebbles offered for gold nuggets, or 
broken shells for bracelets of diamonds. Let no one 
filch it from you. Many an attempt will be made to rob 
you, and not in play either, except such play as the eagle 
has with the hare, or the wolf with the lamb. Therefore 
do as the goodman of the house, who knows not at what 
hour the thief may come, and watch. A word to those 
who hccue scoffed at it hitherto. Make trial of it before you 
laugh at it as worthless. The sneers of ignorance are of 
little worth. Your condition now is not so happy that you 
can afford to throw away any scorn on anything, and this 
you don't know yet. Try, before you condemn. 

A word to those who had it once. It is of no use wasting 
time by saying you have made a bad bargain. You know 
that only too well. The best thing for you to do is to 
make enquiries as to whether the pearl can be regained. 
I am glad to be able to say that it can, but you have no ^ 
time to lose in going to " them that sell.'' 

A word to intending purchasers. The sooner this 
heavenly bargain is struck the better. If the terms suit 
you — ^you know them now — close the business at one. You 
have a rare chance in your hand now. Don't throw it 
away. It will be the making of you, if you use it well. 
Of some it is true that their opportunity is gone. Yours 
remains to-day. Use it. Use it now I He in whose charge 
the pearl is waits to receive you. The place of this 
Divine Business is the Throne of Grace. Go to meet Him 
there, and let this be the language of your heart, 

** Conld my tears for ever flow, « 
Could my zeal no langraor know, 
These for sin could not atone : 
Thou must save, and Thou alone : 
In my hand no price I bring. 
Simply to Thy cross I ding." 

To this Spirit that has nothing but Jesus to cling to, none 
but Jesus to trust in, all shall be given, and your experi- 
ence shall be, 

*< 'Tis done, the great transaction's done, 
I am my Lord's, and He is mine ; 
He drew me. and I followed on, 
Charmed to confess the yoice divine. 

Now rest, my long divided heart ; 

Fixed on this blissful centre, rest .* 
Nor ever from thy Lord depart. 

With Him, of every good possest f " 

N 2 



u 



SERMON XIV. 

ADVICE TO RACERS. 

So rufiy thai ye may ohtcdn^^ — ist Corinthians ix, 24. 



THE Christian life, says the Apostle is like a race course, 
and every christian is a man running for a prize. In 
such a race many start, but only one can win, and he that 
vt^ins, wins only by dint of certain rare and excellent quali- 
ties that mark him off as superior to all competitors. 
Study that successful running-, he seems to say ; there are 
wholesome lessons in it, and aim to make yours of such a 
sort that, in your holier contest, you likewise may be 
crowned. " So run, that ye may obtain." Let us give 
ourselves to that study : let us try to learn those lessons 
to-day. I think there can be no doubt that we must 

I. — Run heartily. An undecided, hesitating, half-hearted 
state of mind will certainly not help us to gain the prize. 
It seems strange that such a state of things should be 
possible, but it is so. Not in the beginning, indeed, of the 
christian course. To be half-hearted then is an insuperable 
barrier to a man's ever entering it. He that is not willing 
to give all his heart' to Christ, so far as he then understancS 
it, can never be saved at all. And doubtless, whensoever a 
man consciously withdraws from that holy compact, his 
salvation is put in peril, nay, forfeited ; but apart from that 
conscious resumption of the gift that was upon the altar 
there is apt to creep upon us by almost insensible degrees, 
a spirit of slumberous and self-pleasing indifference. We, 
are apt to lose the old fervour and zeal, and sink into a 
listless and lifeless performance of outward duties. From 
that, at times, we are roused into temporary excitement and 
activity, but it becomes sadly evident we are not the men 



ADVICE TO RACERS. t8I 



we used to be. We may still hold by the familiar formulas 
of belief, and maintain some kind of conformity with 
church order and practice, but spiritual comfort is 
very fleeting- and intermittent, and we sometimes feel 
that it is more than doubtful whether we have 
any joy and peace in religion at all. Of course this state 
of spiritual feebleness will issue in spiritual death, if it goes 
on. It may be that in some cases death has actually come 
before we knew it. But in all, there is the gravest reason 
for anxiety, and a loud call to the racer, who is being 
robbed of his spiritual eagerness and spring, to bestir 
himself, and start afresh for heaven. It is impossible to 
say at what time in the enfeebling process the irresolute 
racer actually stands still, but it is very clear that, except 
some vigorous stop be put to it, his giving up will be only 
a question of time. It is clear that in that direction we 
have absolutely no chance of the crown. Success to us 
lies at the opposite point of the spiritual compass, that is, 
in running with all our heart. It is wonderful how our 
comfort in the running — let alone our chance of succeeding 
— is enhanced by this heartiness of consecration. A man 
who has made his mind up to a thing can endure hardship 
with comparative ease. Look at your mountain climbers. 
Your traveller that doesn't mind about it very much, but 
goes for company's sake, is weary in a mile or two ; grassy 
slopes turn him giddy ; stony tracks twist his ancles ; the 
height beyond height knocks the heart out of him, and he 
gives up at the first shower ; but your true lover of th^ 
hills, who has made his mind up to stand upon the summit, 
counts these things trifles. It is so with christians. Half- 
hearted disciples have but a poor time of it on the whole. 
Temptation has a powerful hold on them. Their No to 
the Devil's whispers is apt to be so faint, that it is no won- 
der at all that Satan tries them again and again. Their 
standing among the servants has such an uneasy look about 
it, as almost of necessity to make someone say " Surely 
thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth," and then there 
sometimes follows the miserable story that did in that case. 
What they want is more heart. You have sometimes seen 
a vessel coming into harbour stick fast upon the bar, and 
you've heard the sailors say she hadn't any way upon her, 
and you remember how slowly she seemed to be moving* 



1 82 ADVICE TO RACERS. 



If she had had some of this " way," it would have carried 
her right over the bar, but having- none, she grounded. 
Now that's the thing we want to get us over our spiritual 
difficulties ; spiritual " way" — godly zest and zeal and 
enthusiasm — and then these harbour bars wouldn't trouble 
us so much. Why they tell us the same thing about 
horses. " If you want to save them from stumbling," they 
say, " keep them going at a good pace. They always trip 
when they're sleepy." We also trip when we're sleepy. 
A little thing can often upset us then. We never slay 
lions and bears, like David did once, when we're in this 
miserable state. The mere suspicion that there is a lion 
in the road is almost enough to make us run away. O 
wretched weakness ! Talk of fighting the good fight I 
Why we have only to see the spears glittering in 
the distance, and we feel inclined to throw down the 
weapons and fly. Our brother, who has given all his 
heart to the work, can stand his ground, confronts the foe, 
finds they are not half so bad as they looked, defies them 
like David did Goliath, and presently tramples them, spears 
and all, under his feet, and marches on singing : 

" For the Lion of Jndah shall break every chain, 
And give me the victory again and again.'* 

But we — ^we have a hard time of it, and if we get through 
at all, it is barely through. Our sword is broken and our 
shield is pierced, our helmet is hacked and our colours are 
torn, and we hardly know whether we are the conquerors 
or they are. O brethren, we want heart in this service ; 
heart in this fighting ; heart in this running ; heart in this 
life ! Let us try and get it. Let us act like men who have 
given all to the Lord Jesus, and are going with Him, come 
storm or sunshine, wherever He goes. Don't let us act 
like men who have two strings to their bow, who have 
provided for contingencies, and who may possibly find it 
to be necessary to reconsider their plans. Don't let us 
consider what we shall do in case of failure. Poison lurks 
in the very mention of it. There is no need to fail. The 
discussion of it brings on a kind of mental paralysis. Let 
us take the word, and erase it from our vocabulary. Not 
failure but, by the grace of God, success I Don't let us 
be like yon hesitating voyager who says, " Now if this 
thing shouldn't succeed, you'll see me again by and by. 



ADVICE TO RACERS. 1 83 



Let US be like this man who has sold his goods, and dis- 
posed of his business, and packed up his baggage, and 
gathered his family, and got on board the vessel, and 
shouts to the watchers on the shore — ^**Good bye for 
ever I" 

Let us also 

II. —Run cautiously. It may not be needful to dwell on 
this long, but it would be wrong to forget it. The dangers 
and difficulties of the way are so great, and the issues of 
the struggle so tremendous, that it would be the height of 
folly to attempt to run without it. It is certainly possible 
to exaggerate the principle until it becomes morbid, but if 
there be heart first and foremost, caution may be cultivated 
with positive profit. Indeed heart without caution will 
itself be dangerous just* in proportion to its development, 
as vigour, without wisdom to guide it, sometimes makes 
disaster all the more glaring. The incautious woodsman 
who only chips with his axe may cut the skin if he miss his 
aim, but he will probably sever a limb, if he is in good 
earnest. The careless skater who is only gliding quietly 
here and there, when he hears the ominous crack, crack, 
that says the ice has broken, may save himself, but if he is 
going at full speed in that direction, he will very likely be 
in the water before he can stop. Heart, Vigour, Resolu- 
tion, are admirable companions on a mountain excursion 
when allied with Caution, but if Caution be left out, they 
may lead you into desperate danger. And Heart is good, 
-emphatically good, in this higher business of ours, but we 
must know what we are doing, as well as be vigorous in 
the doing of it, if we are to succeed. Otherwise Vigour 
will turn to Rashness, and we shall do things at haphazard 
instead of wisely. The haphazard style may do very well 
for a man escaping from a prairie fire, whose only chance 
is to ride for his life, but it will not do for those who are 
fleeing from the wrath to come. They must know where 
they are going and how and why, or they may never reach 
the place of Refuge at alL And surely if the fact that a 
man has embarked a few thousands of gold and silver in 
some secular undertaking is held to require and justify the 
most careful consideration, how much more should they 
take heed unto their ways who have risked their all in 
this holier venture, and whom success will lift so high, that 



1 84 ADVICE TO RACERS. 



a nation's treasure will be but as the dust on which theyr 
trample, and failure will so degrade and beggar, that 
Lazarus at the gate of Dives will seem a crowned prince 
beside them I 

Let us moreover 

III. — Run Prayerfully, This is an indispensable element 
in all successful running. A man might as well expect to- 
paint without colours, or build without materials, or fly 
without wings, as to get to Heaven without prayer. 
Nothing will make up for the want of it. It is like the 
principle of Itfe within us. With that principle, we are 
men and women, thinking, acting, hoping, fearing, rejoic- 
ing, suffering, making character, shaping destiny; 
without it, we are lumps of clay, having form, and weight,, 
and colour, but of no more weight and influence in this, 
world than the rotten trunks that have fallen in the 
forest, or the wave-washed boulders that lie tumbling on 
the shore. Prayer is like the bread of our souls. With it 
we grow strong and broad-chested and supple-sinewed and 
quick-visioned. Without it, we pine, and wither, and pant,, 
and tremble. Prayer is like the meat Elijah found, when 
the angel touched him in the wilderness of Judah. Forty 
days and forty nights strode the prophet in the strength 
of it, until he came to Horeb ; and there have been times, 
when, in the strength that came to them from the touch of 
another Angel, for thrice forty days and more, believers 
in Jesus have travelled to the mount of God. Nothing can 
make up for the want of this secret communing of the 
heart with God. Meetings cannot, reading cannot, preach-^ 
ing cannot, giving cannot ; even spiritual labour cannot. 
All these become unspiritual, if they be prayerless. 
Communion with God is the very lifeblood of the system. 
Impoverish that, and straightway languor comes, disease 
comes, and by and by, death. But strengthen it ; enrich 
it by holy habit, by the " praying always " of apostolic 
prescription, and in the best sense, health is the result. 
Men are strong to labour. Trifling burdens don't fret 
them. Care somehow looks more and more like comfort. 
Duty loses its sense of drag and drudgery, and is more 
than half delight. Difficulty becomes the stimulus that 
adds a zest to triumph. Even trouble brings them such 
immediate help that they learn to say with the Apostle,. 



ADVICE TO RACERS. 18$ 



** we gflory in tribulations also," and Death, dark and 
dismal, death is so robbed of its terrors, that they talk of 
it as a departure, or the quiet falling of the traveller, 
journey-worn and weary, amid the sunset shadows into a 
dreamless sleep. 

It is important likewise that we 

IV. — Run Trustfully, It is something like an axiom on 
the earthly racecourse that you must have confidence in 
yourself, if you are to succeed. The very reverse of that 
must be the practice of those who run towards Heaven* 
One of the boldest of the lines in their directions for the 
course runs thus, " He that trusts in his own heart is a 
fool ;" and there is another a little way below it, " Trust 
in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not to thine own 
understanding ;" and there is another, short but deeply 
underscored, " Without me ye can do nothing." Let no 
one imagine this means a weak and insipid character. 
The truth is, though the wise men of the world will be 
slow to see it, that this profound reliance on another is 
the very basis and nourishment of the noblest lives that 
have been ever lived. Trust in Jesus is not only the 
destruction of shame, it is the death of feebleness, and 
strange as it may seem, the men who have most felt their 
own weakness have been the most signally clothed upon 
with power. Nor let anyone think that the faith here 
spoken of is no more than the acceptance of a catechism,, 
or the profession of a creed. Catechisms and creeds are 
useful enough, but you only assent to them ; you never 
trust them. It is a personal trust in a living Christ, as 
real and living and near to us as when Peter cried to "him 
on the surges of Galilee, " Lord, save me, or I perish," or 
when the mothers of Judea brought their children to Him, 
and " He took them up in His arms, put His hands upon 
them, and blessed them." Trust in such a Christ means 
Triumph. Instead of extinguishing exertion, it inflames 
it. Instead of putting the stammer in the speech, and the 
dimness in the eye, it makes even the dullard eloquent, and 
gives the blind to see. Unbelief is paralysis, but Faith is 
energy. Unbelief drags the wheels from off the chariot^ 
And makes it drive heavily, but Faith can give wings to 
the laggard, and make the feeble strong. To Unbelief,, 
every Philistine that shows himself is a Goliath, great and 



1 86 ADVICE TO RACERS. 




terrible, but Faith can watch a thousand of them march- 
ing shoulder to shoulder, and defy them all. Every 
shadow has an ambush in it to the eye of Unbelief ; the 
rushes by the pools are lances, the sound of a shaken leaf 
has danger in it, but Faith sees danger only in transgres- 
sion, hears danger only in iniquity, and goes on securely 
though the heavens fall. All difficulties give way before 
it, all obstacles vanish. To use the imagery of the 
wondrous Dreamer, while Unbelief waits at the wicket 
gate musing on the perils of the pilgrimage. Faith has 
passed the portal, and is striding up the hill Difficulty. 
While Unbelief is turning back because there are lions in 
the way. Faith goes up and finds them chained; and 
while Unbelief stands upon the brink of the river shiver- 
ing with fear, or gets ferried across to find destruction. 
Faith has met the shining ones upon the other side, and 
gone in through the gates into the City, to be for ever 
with the Lord ! 

Let us endeavour also to 

V. — Run Patiently, On this point you will remember 
the exhortation of the Apostle, " Let us run with patience 
the race which is set before us," and you will be able to 
enter into the meaning of that other scripture, " Ye have 
need of patience." It is even so. The race will not be 
run without it. It is not the pastime of an hour, or the 
occupation of a day, but the arduous labour of a life. 
The difficulties that Faith has vanquished to-day will 
present themselves again to-morrow ; the cross that has 
been somewhat lightened by communion with God will be 
laid upon our shoulders again. The dangers from which 
we have been delivered will beset us again and again, and 
we shall have need of patient continuance in well doing 
before we can have the final victory. Let the greatness 
of the issues involved stimulate us to the cultivation of this 
grace. Let the example of the toilers round us, who, for 
objects that in comparison with ours are but as molehills 
unto mountains, patiently strive, move us to patience. Let 
the memory of the blessed dead — nay the blessed living ! 
— ^who through faith and patience inherit the promises 
encourage us to its exercise. Let the thought of the 
encompassing cloud of witnesses, who, from some high 
place in glory, watch us as we near the goal, who them- 



ADVICE TO RACERS. 1 87 



selves were patient ere they grasped the prize, incite us 
to follow in their footsteps ; and by and by the vision that 
had seemed to tarry will surely come, and the Faith that 
had watched and waited for its coming shall in no wise 
lose its reward. 

And also 

VI. — Run Hopefully, Hope is a most important factor 
in the great result of our salvation. We are saved by it, 
says the Apostle in that great chapter in which he 
describes the privileges of the royal priesthood : " we are 
saved by hope." Who doesn't see the force of it? 
Salvation by hope is taking place around us every day. 
What keeps the fingers stitching yonder in the garret, and 
the feeble frame alive from day to day, but hope of recom- 
pense when labour is done? What keeps the mother 
watching over her sick child from week to week from 
absolute exhaustion, but hope of rosy cheeks and sparkling 
eyes once more? What sends the farmer out into his 
fields before the dawn, and keeps him working long after 
sunset, but hope of smiling harvests presently? What 
gives new vigour to the weary foot of mountain climber, 
but hope of standing on the sunlit summit, and viewing the 
landscape o'er. What keeps the slow dull tread of the 
caravan across the dust-swept and torrid desert from 
becoming the halt that means destruction, what — ^but hope 
of the bubbling watersprings when day is done ? What 
saves the sailor, caught in the fierce grasp of the storm, 
from leaving rope and rudder, and lying down upon the 
deck to die, what — but hope that the wind will cease, and 
he may make the harbour ? We also in the fierce storm 
of trials and temptations eire saved by hope that by and 
by, through infinite mercy, we shall get beyond the 
sweep of the hurricane, and out of the swell of the billows, 
and anchor in quiet waters by the Eternal shore. Let us 
try to keep it I Let us count Despair a foe, a traitor to 
our truest interests, never to be allowed a moment's rest- 
ing place in our heart. Let us cherish Hope as a kindly 
friend and stalwart helper who may abide with us for 
ever. I charge you that you put away Despair. It will 
do for you in your higher undertaking, what it does for 
the children of this world in theirs, sap the strength, 
benumb the resolution, paralyze the activity, poison the 



1 88 ADVICE TO RACERS. 



pleasure, relax the harpstrings, and smite the very soul 
into a deadly sickness. O put it away, if you care at all to 
win the prize. Hope on, and hope ever, leaning- upon 
Jesus only, and you shall presently obtain. Wherefore 
not, dear brethren ? Is the struggle difficult ? It is not 
impossible. Is this holy living hard ? But it would be 
harder to perish in your sins. Have you many foes? 
But you have more friends than enemies. Do you only 
see, like the prophet's servant, the Syrians encompassing 
the city ? O look again, and 

" To pith's enlightened si^lit 
All the mountain flames with light ! 
Hell is nigh, but God is nigher, 
Circling you with hosts of fire." 

But you doubt yourself, your own ability to stand. You 
have need to do, but never doubt your Saviour. But I 
may leave Him. So you may, and so might harvests 
wave in winter, or the perpetual hills sink down into the 
plain, but neither is likely, and He can keep you from 
leaving Him. Is he not " able to keep you from falling, 
and to present you faultless before the presence of His 
glory with exceeding joy ?" Hold fast your hope ; it will 
never make you ashamed. Don't think you honour God 
by a spirit of despondency. You will please Him far 
more by the rejoicing of the hope. Your life then, instead 
of being feeble and nerveless, shall be bright and beauti- 
ful, and leaving your dearest hope fixed in that eternal 
morrow, you shall be the better able to endure the tempo- 
rary hardships of to-day. 

And now think all of you — you that are struggling in 
this racecourse, and you that only watch — of what this 
race must end in. Thing of the misery of being beaten 
in it ; think of the joy of triumph. Think of the bonds on 
that side, and the binding of the brows with garlands on 
this. Think of the fiends that crowd about that goal, and 
the shining ones that wait with welcomes here. Think of 
the cursing, and the crowning ; of the gnashing teeth, and 
waving palms ; of the everlasting punishment, and the life 
eternal, and resolve to run for Heaven. You that have 
hitherto aimed only at the rewards of earth, begin to-day 
to live for the nobler recompense. And you that have 
sometime started, run on. You that have halted, start 
again ; and all of you, looking only unto Jesus, heartily, 
cautiously, prayerfully, trustfully, patiently, hopefully, run 
so that ye may obtain. 



SERMON XV. 

COUNTING THE COST. 

" For which of yauy intending to build a tower ^ sitteth not 
down fir sty and counteth the costy whether he have sufficient to 
finish it," — Luke xiv, 28. 

IT was a sunny time just then with the Prophet of 
Galilee, and the shadow of the Cross had hardly fallen 
upon Him. The people were flocking- about Him in great 
multitudes, and to human eyes it seemed as if the world 
were running after Him. But to those Divine eyes that 
could see both the evil and the good, it was not altogether 
so. Much of this apparent popularity was unreal. Many 
of those who went after Him from day to day were led 
by unworthy motives. Many more followed with only 
heedless steps. They had hardly thought of what disciple- 
ship would involve, or had only too easily fallen in with 
the general notion of their countrymen, that the Messiah 
was to be a temporal Deliverer, and that to follow Him 
was to march to victory. But that would never do. 
Discipleship that had no firmer foothold could never tread 
the rough path that He must go on. To follow Him thus 
unintelligently could only lead to disgust and desertion 
when the bitter truth of the cross was known, and those 
who saw it would only mock these shallow-hearted disciples 
for their foolish start. They must know the truth, so He 
turned and told them it, saying " If any man come to me, 
and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and 
children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life 
also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not 
bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple." 
And then as men who had a tower to build, or an enemy 



I go COUNTING THE COST. 



to encounter, he bade them, before they laid the founda- 
tions of the building, or unfurled the flag of battle, to sit 
down and solemnly and deliberately count the cost. That 
commandment He repeats to all intending- disciples to-day, 
and as it would be a strange thing if, in such a company 
as this, there were none who meant to follow Him, it may 
not be unprofitable for us if, for their sake in particular, we 
once more consider 

What it costs a man to be a christian, 

I. — Let us begin with the lowest ground — Money. 

It may safely be affirmed that it will cost him some- 
thing. Towers cannot be built without expense, and 
christian discipleship will involve it too. A man cannot 
easily become a christian without an open and practical 
connection with some part of Christ's church, and this will 
involve bearing his part in the financial burdens of that 
church. That there must be such burdens is manifest to 
everyone who thinks, and it is right and just that the 
members of that church should bear those burdens, each 
man according to his several ability. And many schemes 
of blessing, philanthropic and charitable, will appeal to 
him for aid, begging earnestly from the christian, where 
they would have let the worldling go. And distress wil 
cry to him then as it cannot now, and poverty will bid 
him be willing to distribute, and sickness will lay its 
trembling hand upon the purse strings. It will cost him 
something surely. But it will never tax him. If the old 
heart went with him into the new life, it might be a tax, 
but God gives a man a new heart when he becomes a 
christian, and part of the law written on that heart is — 
" It is more blessed to give than to receive." That is no 
tax that is willingly given. It is not even reckoned cost by 
souls that live in the sunshine of God's love. And tax or 
no tax, what are the demands of godliness by the side of 
those of sin ? Religion requires no man to spend three- 
fourths of his wages at the public house. It is not a 
demand of discipleship that he shall have his children gfo 
barefoot and his wife starve. Christ bids no man leave a 
clean and comfortable dwelling, to go to live in some 
frowsy cellar, or some freezing attic. It is not a demand 
of holiness that he shall fling away the wages of a month 
in an hour or two of debauchery. God commands no one 



COUNTING THB COST. I9I 



to waste on one night's fashionable gathering* what would 
have kept him in comfort for half a year. No one is com-' 
pelled for Christ's sake to keep up appearances in the 
streets, though he has dry crusts in the cupboard, and duns 
knocking at the door. No one is called for the truth's 
sake to launch out boldly on the sea of speculation in the 
bark of other people's money, and by and by pay so many 
pennies in the pound. 

God doesn't make such demands as these, but sin does, 
folly does, sensuality does, making haste to be rich does^ 
friendship with the world does, ay, and more than these. 
Many a family could be found that would have a good 
long sum to reckon up, if they had to say what it had cost 
them to serve sin. Talk of the cost of religion I There 
might have been, there was, some force in this, when to 
confess Christ was to be cast out of society, and to have 
all your property confiscated, but there is none at all now. 
Say that it makes some new demands upon a man ; are 
there no old ones it destroys? If it asks us to give 
where we have never given before, are there no extor- 
tionate voices that it silences ? If it digs new channels in 
which the streams of our bounty may flow, are there no 
old courses that it dams up entirely ? If it does bring its 
pitcher to the fountain, are there no marauders that it 
' drives away ? Brethren, believe it, on the lowest ground 
it is profitable for a man to be a christian. Judged by the 
money test, it is better to serve Christ than Satan. It is 
often so as regards the mere number of the coins a man 
possesses ; it is always so as regards the comfort of them ; 
and even if the old days of fire and faggot came again, it 
would still be profitable ; for if we were homeless for 
Christ's sake to-day, to-morrow He would bring us to a 
mansion ; and if we were beggars for a moment. He would 
crown us Kings for evermore. 

The mention of those old days makes us think of 
another item in the reckoning that it might be well for us 
to look at. 

II. — Pains and Penalties. In former times this was a very 
considerable item in the calculation. There was before 
every disciple of Jesus an almost certain prospect of 
suffering for His sake. So soon as it became known that 
he had espoused the cause of the Crucified, that instant the 



iga amaraim thb cost. 



irorid counted him hs foe, and pcnnted all its artillery of 
persec u tion gainst him. If be were only scouted and 
despised, he migfat consider himsdf fortunate. That 
heritage rarely failed him. But he might look forward to 
ibe spoiling of his goods, the breaking up of his home, and 
sometimes, when the diildren of the EvU One waxed 
unusually wrathful, to standing before rulers and councils, 
and sealing his testimony with his blood. Nor was the 
cost the lighter when you remember that to die for Christ's 
-sake did not merely mean to die, but often to die by 
torture, slow torture, ingenious torture, fiendish torture. 
It was so in the earlier history of the church ; it has been 
so since ; but how is it now ? Gready changed, indeed. 
Died out so far as this country is concerned, let us hope 
never to rise again. Your sum is a short one, you who 
^are asking how much it will cost you in this respect to be 
-a, christian. This is like one of those streams that the 
traveller near mountain ranges knows, - that only runs in 
stormy weather. If he must journey in December, it 
becomes an important question how he must cross it, but 
he can walk over it dry-shod in June. It is so with us, 
brethren. Those of us who look can see the place where 
our fathers in the gospel passed in the winter, but it has 
been summer weather now for many a day. We need 
think nothing of it now, only pray God the boisterous 
weather may not come back again. Things have looked 
somewhat threatening of late years. Clouds have gathered 
•about the hill tops, and there have come, from one place and 
another, portentous whisperings of storms. Yet let us hope 
the sky will never again be covered with Popish thunder- 
clouds, for if they break amongst our English hills, depend 
upon it this stream of Pains and Penalties will be full once 
more. 

Let us count the cost again as to our 

III. — Pleasures. It is probable there are some of these 
that we shall Ijave to give up. " You will indeed," says 
the world, " and very many of them too. This religion is 
^ melancholy thing, a grievous thing, always ready with a 
caution, or a prohibition, or a commandment. It is full of 
restraints and scruples, bristling with thou-shalt-nots, and 
laying its ban on every piece of harmless fun that it can 
see. It may be good enough to die with," says the world. 



COUNTING THE COST. I93 

with a semi-sceptical leer on its shameless face, "but 
you'll have a sad time of it, if you take it now. It will cut 
you off from society, and banish you to vestries, and 
enquiry rooms, and penitent benches, and chapels, and 
churches, and instead of innocent diversions, you'll have 
a round of meetings, and singings, and readings, and 
preachings, and prayers. If there is to be a pleasant 
party, you mustn't join it. If some jovial spirits want to 
spend a pleasant evening at the public house, you cannot 
sit with them. You mustn't go to this entertainment or 
that dancing room. You mustn't watch the horses r^ice, 
or the clowns practise, or see the actors on the stage, or 
hear the music in the singing saloon, or tread a measure in 
the ball room, or read the last exciting novel, or join the 
merry fellows who toss the dice or cut the cards ; but 
you'll have to be sober and grave faced, attend solemn 
meetings, read good books, go and talk to people about 
their souls, and generally make yourself as miserable as the 
day is long." Here the world, like the Devil, sometimes 
quotes Scripture, and often says when it sees someone not 
far from the kingdom of God, " Count the cost I" It may 
be saying so to some of you just now. There's no objec- 
tion to our counting the cost even at such instance, but we 
must have the right figures, and these are not right. They 
are not unlike Popery : that is, there is some truth in them 
mixed with a good deal of error. What does the world 
say ? That religion is a melancholy thing ? Alas for its 
dullness then, if it imagines that to be thoughtful is to be 
in trouble, and that if a man is happy, he will have a per- 
petual giggle on his face. I suppose if christian men 
slapped each other on the back whenever they met, or 
burst into a loud laugh every few minutes, that then they 
might be considered happy. Away with such rubbish ! 
If the world knows no better than this, we mustn't listen 
to it for a moment. The world is like a painter that has 
an unfortunate twist in his eye that spoils everything he 
does. "Paint a portrait of Religion for us," say the 
young. " Here it is," says the world, holding up a miser- 
able thing full of frowns and wrinkles. " No ; there it 
isn't," says Experience. " That distorted thing is not the 
religion of Jesus Christ." There is no likeness at all, 
except in the sense in which a palm tree is like a syca- 

o 



194 COUNTING THE COST. 



more, or an elephant is like a horse. Both are trees, and 
both are animals, but there is no likeness beyond this. 
And the world says that Christ's service is a thing" of 
Thou-shalt-nots. Even if it were, is it any the worse 
because it says, * Thou shalt do thyself no harm ?' Is that 
family any the worse where the children are told they 
must not play with razor edg-es, or take poison, or thrust 
their hands into the fire ? Is it unkind to visitors when the 
lord of the manor builds a wall on the edge of a precipice 
in his estate to keep them from losing their lives ? Is it 
unduly strict to say to the merchant, ' Thou shalt not store 
gunpowder near the furnace fires V Or to cry to the 
oarsman just setting off for a row, * Thou shalt not launch 
thy boat above the cataract ?' And what if Religion does 
condemn certain diversions that the World makes much 
of ? It condemns nothing that is really good. That men 
enjoy these things is no proof that they ought to be 
encouraged. A certain class in society greatly enjoys 
Seeing what it calls a good stand up fight between two 
men, but ought the brutalities of the prize ring to be there- 
fore established among us ? Some men gain a feverish 
enjoyment from the gaming tables of the continent, but 
ought we therefore to set up similar establishments in 
London, or Liverpool, or York ? Besides, what are the 
consequences of these things that Religion prohibits — the 
consequences now? Nothing noble, nothing inspiring, 
nothing elevating, nothing happy ; but heartache, disap- 
pointment, fretfulness, lassitude and bitterness of spirit. 
Who can pretend that that is unwise or unkind that pro- 
hibits these? And what hereafter? Why what, but 
everlasting banishment from the Saviour's presence? 
And will men talk still of Puritanical strictness and 
scrupulosity, in face of such a tremendous consequence as 
this ? Will they clamour to be let alone in their pleasure, 
if this is what comes of it by and by ? If those pleasures 
are truly innocent, they are not condemned. Christ is no 
cynical misanthrope that likes to see His people live in 
sadness. It is not His aim to make His service as unplea- 
sant as He can to them. If the pleasure be a healthy 
pleasure, a pure pleasure, a worthy pleasure, let them 
have it, and rejoice in it — that's the Divine law — but if not, 
let them forsake it. There it is : if it be really good, keep 



COUNTING THE COST. IQj 



it; if it be bad, forsake it. If it be compatible with health, 
and happiness, and holiness, and heaven, then let that be 
yours ; rejoice in it, and hold it fast ; but if not, even though 
it thrilled every fibre of your being with ecstasy, abhor 
and renounce it for ever ! 

As regards 

IV. — Friendships also, it will be well to count the cost. 
The Saviour warned us long ago that His coming upon 
earth would often produce division and not peace. House- 
holds would be divided, and so would friends because of 
Him, He said, and so they are. And this must needs be, 
for when in any company or household Christ comes to 
be acknowledged as Lord, and trusted in as Saviour, by 
one, but rejected by the rest, what can follow but dis- 
union ? Men cannot walk together except they are agreed, 
and divergence of thought and feeling here overshadows 
all minor agreements. If one man is for Christ, and 
another is against Him, there is an end to all true friend- 
ship between them. If to this He is unspeakably precious, 
and to that of no more importance than a name on paper, 
how can they be agreed ? If this one loves and trusts 
Him, and that cares nothing at all about Him, what com- 
munion can there be between them ? The courtesies of life 
there may be, there ought to be ; the kindly attentions that 
are born of christian charity there mu$t be ; but beyond this, 
there is a great gulf fixed between them, that every true 
christian feels it would be dangerous and disloyal to pass. 
But these also, like our pleasures, are not to be cast adrift 
on light and frivolous cause. It is only where the old 
communion is manifestly inconsistent with devotion to the 
new Master, that it must be forsaken. Even then, the 
parting will be in sorrow more than in anger ; in a deep 
and passionate regret that they will not come to Jesus, but 
it will and must be a parting. As regards the great land- 
marks of morality, the application of this law is easy. 
Honest men cannot consort with thieves and gamblers. 
Lovers of truth cannot make friends of men to whom truth 
or falsehood is a mere question of convenience. Men to 
whom temperance is a Divine commandment, cannot sit 
and booze with drunkards. Those to whom chastity is 
not so much a thing of expediency as of right, cannot walk 
and talk with the lecherous crew that call uncleanness 

2 



196 COUNTING THE COST. 



gfaiety, and seduction an achievement instead of a crime* 
And as regards those who live with outward show of 
virtue, it is still not difficult to apply it. The trifling-, and 
careless, and worldly can hardly be the chosen companions 
of the servants of God, and he holds his Master's honour 
lightly, and his own safety cheaply, who will ever consent 
to have them so. These live on a lower level than the 
Christian, and to walk and talk with them means, either 
you raise them to your level, or they pull you down to 
theirs. For his disciples to company with such for Christ's 
sake is one thing, blessed and honourable, but companion- 
ship for any other reason, for their wit, or cleverness, or 
fluency, or accomplishments, or any family and temporal 
advantages is another thing, dangerous to our own well- 
being and disloyal to our Saviour's crown. 

Once more let us count the cost with regard to 
V. — Reputation. If the world may speak once more, it 
will have bitter things to say, when it knows a man has 
become a christian. In one place it will call him canting-, 
in another stupid. In one house he will be dubbed a knave, 
in another a fool. Here they'll call him superstitious, 
there priest-ridden. To-day they'll vote him a nuisance, 
to-morrow a bore. One time he'll get the name of hypo- 
crite, another the name of madman. And I don't think 
we can pretend that it is altogether pleasant to be so 
belied, but I'm sure we can afford it. For who are they 
that will so speak about us ? They are those who do not 
really understand us, and whose opinion we need take very 
little notice of. If some stickler for the old stage coaches, 
who had never been a dozen miles from home in his life, 
called railways a delusion, would it make them so ? If 
some one, whose earthly soul never rose higher than the 
wages table, averred that Tennyson's poetry was mis- 
chievous trifling, would it make it so? If some deaf man 
were to say that Mendelssohn or Handel knew nothing 
about music, would anybody who had ever heard their 
magnificent choruses care one straw about it ? If some 
blind inhabitant of Patterdale or Grasmere were to swear 
there was nothing to be seen from the summit of 
Helvellyn, who that has gazed from that dark brow upon 
the hills and valleys round would listen to him for a 
moment ? Or if some poor drunkard there, whose taste 



COUNTING THE COST. 1 97 

for God's pure water has been all destroyed, were to laugh 
at us for drinking of the rivulets that flash and foam 
adown its riven sides, who that knows the taste and sparkle 
of mountain streams would drink one drop the less ? And 
when men to whom the cross is still a scandal, and con- 
scious pardon but an empty dogma, and the privileges of 
sonship an unsealed book, presume to cast their ridicule 
upon the heirs of heaven, who that knows the bitterness 
of sin and the bliss of God's abundant pardon, should care 
one moment for it ? It may not be pleasant to bear it, but 
it would be pitiful to yield to it, and worse than pitiful, if, 
to avoid it, we denied our discipleship, and to gain the 
smiles of a crooked and perverse generation, were content 
to part with the treasure of a quiet conscience, the hope of the 
angels' greeting, and the promised Well done of the Lord I 
And now I think you have something like an idea of 
what it will cost you to become a christian. Does it seem 
excessive ? You have an idea of the burden of disciple- 
ship ; does it seem too heavy to bear ? Surely not 1 Look 
at it once more. You give up nothing but sin ; you gain 
salvation. You part with nothing that is worth the keep- 
ing ; you receive an everlasting treasure. It will cost you 
something in money, nothing scarcely in pains and penal- 
ties, something in pleasures, something perhaps in 
friendships, a little also in reputation; and for that 
comparatively trifling cost, you will purchase to yourself 
the joys of salvation on earth, and the glories of heaven 
by and by. That is, if you on your part will give up 
all for Christ, He on His part will give Himself all to you. 
Now what say you to entering at once on this holy work, 
to embarking in this business, to purchasing with a price 
that is not money, that which after all is not sold. Is not 
the blessing worth the venture ? See, you give up a flint ; 
you get a pearl for it. You throw away shreds of wretched 
rags; and you dress in gorgeous apparel. You root up 
an ear or two of blighted wheat ; you reap leagues of 
golden harvest flelds. You won't hear the hoarse chant- 
ing of some strolling ballad singer, and you listen to the 
hymns of the seraphim. You part with a paltry village 
farm ; and you become lord of a province. You give up 
the rubbish of the streets, and have royal dainties. You 
fling away a diadem of tinsel, and receive a crown of glory 
that f adeth not away I 



SERMON XVI. 

THE HORRIBLE PIT AND MIRY CLAY.' 

" / waited patiently for the Lord ; and he inclined unto me^ 
and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, 
out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established 
my goings And he hath put a new song in my mouthy even 
praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall 
trust in the Lord^ — Psalm xl, 1-3. 

IF these words had not made you still, I would say, Hush \ 
at once, for they are words of no common order. It is 
not a fool who utters them, prating about something he 
does not understand. It is not a dreamer telling of the 
fancies that tossed and rolled about him in the night visions. 
It is not a poet taking wild license with a truth that stirred 
him somewhat, and setting it out before us in distorted 
outline, and fantastic colours. It is not some lazy ecclesi- 
astic droning out a round of weary platitudes about 
morality that he only half believes. It is not some pious 
enthusiast whose zeal has got the better of his knowledge^ 
and has led him to call a trifling thing tremendous, or 
describe a molehill as if it were a mountain ; but a wise 
and large-experienced thinker dealing with a truth of 
truths ; a richly gifted prophet speaking soberly about the 
things of God ; one of the foremost men of his age 
describing the turning point and crisis of his life, the 
most important incident in his history. Therefore let 
us listen while King David tells us in his own way his 
wonderful tale. 

"I waited patiently for the Lord," he says, "and he 
inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up 
also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay." 



THE HORRIBLE HT AND MIRY CLAY. I99 



I.— Y^hat pit is this he speaks of? 

I see the more correct rendering is " pit of noises.*' 
Where or what was this miry clay ? Was it some pit that 
he had known when Saul chased him all day long among 
the hills, at Hachilah, or Ziph ; some cavern like Adullam ; 
some convenient hiding place like Engedi? There 
were noises enough in some of them no doubt, specially 
when the wind was high outside, and the plash and roar 
of hidden torrents, and the surly growl of wild beasts, that 
made their lair inside, made fitting answer and accompani- 
ment to the wild shriekingof the storm. Is it some deliver- 
ance in such fearsome place not chronicled heretofore that 
he is talking of ? And miry clay too ? Ah I he was stumbling 
about in such wretched lodging to get better foothold for 
his slipping feet, or to escape the drip, drip, drip, from the 
creviced roof above him, and from the treacherous stone 
he plunged into more treacherous clay, soft and heavy and 
clinging and cold — ^was that it ? Some incident of his life 
at Ziklag, or those wild days spent in the wilderness of 
Maon ? No : it was quite another kind of pit, and quite 
another sort of clay. The noises that he heard were not 
of beast or stream or storm, but angry passions raging 
in miserable human souls; Satanic suggestion and 
impulse rousing the echoes of the God deserted heart ; 
the vain follies and fancies of a world lying in wickedness. 
The noise of anger, for instance, and of passion, threat, 
and scream, and curse. The shrill laughter of the scoffer, 
who imagines he has a case against religion. The 
grievous howl of envy and jealousy; the moans and 
murmurs of hope deferred ; the shrieks of remorse ; the 
gnashings of teeth over thwarted plans and poisoned 
pleasures and embittered plenty. The coarse and brutal 
shoutings of intemperance ; the empty rattle of vanity ; the 
ribaldry and rant of licentiousness. The noise of promises 
loudly made and quickly broken. Vain janglings of false 
philosophy; the perverse disputings of men of torrupt 
minds. The startled cry of fear and causeless terror ; the 
brag and bluster of impious bravado ; the songs of empty 
mirth and joyless jollity, and all the jar and wrangle, the 
discord and distraction, the sighing and groaning that 
confuse the senses of the sinner while he lies in the deep, 
dark, deadly pit of unrepented, unforsaken, unforgiven sin. 



200 THE HORRIBLE PIT AND MIRY CLAY. 

And the clay, my brethren, what of that ? Ah, sin is not 
merely restlessness, but pollution. It not only makes the 
sinner unhappy, but it degrades him. It defiles him 
foully, staining- his spiritual garments through and through, 
so that there is only one way known of cleansing them. 
Miry clay ; clay that leaves its mark wherever it touches ; 
day that is soft and deep ; not clay on which you might 
build a house, but clay that will hardly hold a man ; clay 
that clogs men ; clay that holds men tight ; clay into which 
they sink deeper and deeper ; clay in which they some- 
times die. But do they ever die in such a place ? Why 
don't they try to get out ? They do try, but they cannot 
do it. In all the long list of those who have been in this 
horrible pit, there is not one name opposite to which you 
could write — ^got out by himself. The sides cannot be 
climbed. They are more treacherous than the loosest 
shale that ever hung on mountain's brow, steeper than the 
icy slope of the Matterhorn. If it ever seems practicable, 
it is but seeming. The rock you grasp is loose, the root 
you seize is rotten, the crag that promised you good hold 
slips away within your fingers, the projecting shelf that 
looked firm as granite crumbles beneath your feet, and 
you sink down again with a cry upon your lips that sounds 
strangely like one that Paul often heard in his day, " O 
wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this 
body of death !" But the King doesn't tell us all about 
this horrible pit. Did you ever by the feeble light of 
torch or candle grope your way through the intricate 
passages of some cavern in the limestone hills ? Do you 
remember how you stepped back startled by the deep 
black something that your feeble lights showed lying right 
before you, and how a steadier gaze showed you the thin 
crust of the cavern floor worn through just there, and 
water rolled hollowly beneath, and sent up a sound as from 
unfathomed depths ? What if you had slipped through ? 
Ah ! you don't like to think of it, but there was the chasm 
nevertheless ; and there is beneath this pit of noises another 
pit, deeper and darker still; and there are who slip 
through into it at last, and once there, there is no return. 
If this were horrible, that is more horrible still ; for the 
noises there are gnashings of remorseful teeth, its miry 
clay is hot with undying fire, and the name of this deepest. 



THE HORRIBLE PIT ilND MIRY CLAY. 201 

darkest, direst horror of the universe is — Hell. That pit 
you do not know. Grod forbid you should eyer know it, 
but this other pit — do any of you know what that is ? 
David says he knew it once only too well. He was in it, 
and in doleful plight. Is it possible that any of you are 
held in its miserable darkness to-day ? But let the King* 
go on with his story. 

II. — " I waited patiently for the Lordy^ he says, " and he 
inclined unto me, and heard my cry?"* Then if David could not 
climb out of the pit himself, he could at any rate ask 
someone else to help him out. Yes, and he did ask, and 
made his petition in the right quarter, for he cried out to 
the Lord. Perhaps the Hebrew form of this expression 
may help us to see what he did. " In waiting I waited for 
the Lord." This was as far removed from that fatalistic 
waiting which is very like inaction, and which attempts to 
justify itself by saying that it cannot move till God moves 
it ; that if it is to be saved, it will be, and so it will wait for 
the effectual call ; as could be. There was the greatest 
earnestness about this waiting. He waited upon God in 
every way that was open to him. He sought Him with all 
his heart. He cried out to Him mightily. He roared in 
the bitterness of his spirit, and the patience of this waiting 
was shown in that humble spirit that left the how and when 
of his salvation entirely to God, which said — " Lord, here 
I am in the mire of this fearful place, helpless, undone. I 
perish if Thou should'st refuse Thy help. Lord, help me, 
anyway, in Thine own way, at Thy own time, in Thy own 
wisdom, but help me." It is just the same patience of 
waiting that breathes through the familiar lines 

" Could my team for ever flow, 
Could my seal no lanfnxor know* 
These for em oonld not atone ; 
ThoQ muat save, and Thoa alone : 
In mv hand no price I bring. 
Simply to Thy orosa I ding." 

III. — " And He inclined unto me, and heard my cry,"*^ What 
a story all this opens ! It is a son, wayward and restless, 
who has left home long ago to get what the world can 
^ve him ; lost indeed for many a year. At length tidings 
comes to the old house that the son is found — but where ? 
They know that pit out in the waste there : they think 
he's there : for they have heard cries and moans, and it 



202 THE HORRIBLE PIT AND MIRY CLAY. 

sounds very like his voice. That's enough for the father. 
Away directly to the yawning" chasm, hoping, fearing-, 
trembling to find it true. How he bends over the brink to 
listen. Hush I a low murmur ! Hush again I He inclines 
his ear still lower. There it is — " I have sinned against 
Heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be 
called thy son." That sounds like his voice. Hark again 
— " I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sins are 
ever before me. Against thee> thee only, have I sinned, 
and done this evil in thy sight." He knows it now ; it is 
his son's voice, for '' he has inclined his ear unto him, and 
heard his cry." So does the Great Father yonder, bend 
and listen to the feeble sighings of a contrite heart. But 
what next. 

IV. — " He brought me up also out of the horrible pity out of 
the miry clay,^^ Did ever love stay content with listening 
in such a case ? Something must be done for him that 
prays down there. And something is done. Always 
hanging in the semi-darkness of this pit, if men could but 
see it, is a rope of marvellous construction. Its fibres are 
of truth, twisted into strands of comfortable doctrine, and 
the rope is knotted into promises here and there along it, 
so that it is good to climb and hold by. Swaying and 
swinging in the gloom, it is a rare thing to see, and yet 
few see it, or seeing, care to trust themselves to it. Yet 
there it hangs, long enough to reach down to the most 
degraded sinner, strong enough to hold a clinging world. 
Not good at climbing ? I tell you the first grip of this 
gospel rope will put a new life into you. Try that first 
and lowest knot swinging near you now, " He that cometh 
unto God must believe that He is, and that He is a 
rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." Grasp that 
firmly, and then for the next, "Come now, and let us 
reason together, saith the Lord ; though your sins be as 
scarlet, they shall be as white as snow ; though they be red 
like crimson, they shall be as wool." " As I live, saith the 
Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked ; 
but that the wicked turn from his way and live." And then, 
" God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the 
world, but that the world through him might be saved." 
And then, " It is a faithful saying, and worthy of all 
acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save 



THB HORRIBLE PIT AND MIRY CLAY. 20^ 

sinners." And then, " The promise is unto you, and to-' 
your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many 
as the Lord our God shall call." And then, " Through 
this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins, and 
by him all that believe are justified from all things from 
which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. "' 
And then, " God so loved the world, that he gave his only 
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not 
perish, but have everlasting life." And then, "Come unto^ 
me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give 
you rest." And so from knot to knot of Gospel promise, 
from step to step of faith, and hope, and knowledge,, 
cheered in the holy struggle by the secret consolation of 
the Spirit, and upheld by hands that are all Divine, the 
penitent rises, and climbing ever higher, comes at last to 
Him that holds the promises, and with one great venture 
lays hold upon the Saviour. Leaving the rope, he clings 
to the Redeemer : letting go the letter of the promiise, he 
leans upon the Living, Loving Lord I 

And what then ? 

V. — And set my feet upon a rocky continues the King. How 
glorious a contrast to the wretchedness of the pit I Rock 
after mire, a firm foothold after perpetual slipping I Can- 
not you recall the feeling ? Don't you remember how, 
after long plodding through the deep sand upon your own 
shore, you came at last upon a piece of rock the wind had 
blown bare, and stood at rest awhile, every muscle in your 
body glad for the relief ? Or when on some shivery day 
in winter, you had trudged through the slippery snow for 
miles making weary way, and suddenly a piece of hard 
earth, or ancient pavement, why it was like sunshine after 
storm, like a strain of music breaking out of long and gra- 
ting discords. Or you were through fresh ploughed fields 
on what the farmers call heavy clay land, after October 
showers. Do you remember the heavy pull through that 
worse than mire, and the sense of more than pleasure 
that came over you when, aching and sweating and bemired 
all over, you stood to take breath on the hard gravel at 
the other side ? It is like that, but infinitely better, when 
after the miserable plunging and sinking of a Christless life^ 
God sets the feet upon the broad Rock of the Atonement^ 
and lifts up the light of His countenance upon head and 



204 THE HORRIBLE PIT AND MIRY CLAY. 

heart. I need hardly say the sinner whose feet are there 
is safe, or remind you that he that continues to rest there 
shall never perish, but have everlasting life. What further 
from this far-travelled Monarch ? 

VI. — And established my goings. This is an anticipation 
of what in later days he would take the form of, " If any man 
be in Christ, he is a new creature : old things are passed 
away ; behold, all things are become new." What were 
his goings before ? Anything but established. Veering 
about to every point of the spiritual compass in succession. 
He ran hither and thither after pleasure that always 
mocked him. His feelings grew hot and cold in a breath 
almost. One day he would be a Christian, the next he 
wouldn't. Now he resolved to begin to pray, and then he 
thought he'd let it be. On the Sabbath touched with the 
beauty of holiness, on the week-day admiring the charms 
of gold. This week making up his mind to reform, the 
next thinking it was no use. Now full of good desires, 
then as cold as ice and hard as iron. Now vowing and 
promising to give his heart to God, then cursing all good 
men as hypocrites, and calling the whole thing a sham. 
F'ull of uncertainty : now praying, now careless ; now 
desiring, now fearing ; now thanking God for all the mer- 
cies of this life, and now wishing he had never been born. 
That was in the former days, but his goings are established 
now. He has a purpose and a plan in life. He knows 
what life was given for, and he is using it for the glory of 
God. " This one thing I do " is the fixed determination 
of his soul, and casting away every weight, and the sin 
that doth so easily beset him, like some celestial racer 
who beholds the goal of glory, he runs with patience in the 
way to Heaven, looking unto Jesus 

" Humble, truBtfal, glad, secure, 
For God hath made his footsteps sure." 

But that is not all ; 

VII. — ^^And he hath put a new song in my mouthy even praise 
unto our GoV^ That is. He hath made me gloriously hap- 
py. The unforgiven man knows how to sing at times, 
but he cannot sing the new spng. It is a rare piece of 
melody, this. The old song was boisterous enough at times, 
especially when Folly led the measure, and Drunkenness 
roared out the chorus. The old singing came by fits and 



THE HORRIBLE PIT AND MIRY CLAY. 205 



Starts : a good bargain would start it, a bad debt would 
stop it ; a sunny morning would inspire it, a sloppy, sleety 
afternoon choke it altogether. A rise in wages, a success* 
ful speculation, an unexpected dividend, these would unseal 
the fountains of the old singing, and we should have such 
music; but how when work grew scarce, and creditors 
were pressing, and business dragged heavily ? But the 
new song doesn't mind the weather or the markets. It can 
rise just as well in solitude as in a crowd. Money cannot 
buy it, and poverty cannot stop it. It can sound out as 
easily in the cottage of the peasant, as in the saloon of the 
prince : in the mine or in the workshop, as well as in the 
mansion or the drawing room. Rough voices can sing it,, 
and unmusical ears can catch its rhythm and its roll. It is 
not too difficult for the broken voice of age, and not too 
hard for the lisping lips of childhood. It can rise up be»> 
neath the hissing of slander, and the laughing of contempt. 
The lordly presence of kings and governors cannot shame 
it into silence. Men have sung it beneath the bitter scour- 
ging of the Roman rods: they have looked on ruined 
house, and confiscated property, and helpless family, and 
sung it still. Marched down the streets of heathen city to 
be slain, they have sung it still. Fettered and gyved and 
bleeding, they have sung it still. Before the faggot or the 
axe, they have sung it still ; and when the gag was in 
their mouth, and the fire flamed about them, and the drums 
beat furiously that none might hear them, how often 

" Joy throtjgh their Bwimming eyes did break. 
And mean the thanks they oonld not speak." 

But only God can teach it. There are no books of rules 
to instruct you in it. It is set high enough for the holiest 
angels, and low enough for the feeblest men. It has all 
movements in it, from "the sacred awe that dares not 
more," to the rapturous Hallelujah that startles all the 
neighbourhood. Its range of subject is infinite. All tones 
are in it, from the sobbing: gratitude that adores and 
wonders, to the ecstatic gladness that shouts aloud for joy. 
It is a sweet song, and a powerful song, and an inspiring 
song, and a divine song, but it is an unfinished song. No 
man ever heard it altogether as it should be ; no man ever 
heard the whole of it down here. Sing it how we will^ 
we only catch the first notes now, but if we sing on, we 



206 THE HORRIBLE PIT AND MIRY CLAY. 



«han be able to join in it when saints and ang-els sing 
the Hallelujah Chorus of the Universe before the throne of 
God. 

And yet once more. 

VIII. — Many shall see it and fear, and shall trust in the 
LordP Of how much service to the church is one sound 
conversion I Tracts, and books, and letters, and meetings, 
and addresses, and sermons, sinners somehow manage to 
evade and forget, but a life bright with the light and love 
of God is not so easily put by. A sermon may be power- 
ful and pointed, but a sinner converted from the error of 
his way, truthful, gentle, unselfish, chaste, honest, and 
kind, where before he was deceitful, rough, selfish, impure, 
dishonest, and unkind, is an unanswerable argument. 
Would that we had more of such witnesses to the truth. 
No doubt the King's hope was fulfilled, and many did see, 
and fear, and trust in the Lord. 

So ends King David's story. Is it not a striking one ? 
Is it like a chapter out of your own life ? 

If any of us are still in the pit, can we be brought up ? 

Is this an exceptional experience, or what all may know ? 

How long need we continue in the pit ? 

Is it possible for us to enter into the whole of his 
-experience ? 

May we look for any such deliverance soon ? 

Could we learn the new song to-day ? 



(( 



SERMON XVII. 

DEATH A GAIN TO THE GODLY. 

To die ts gain,^^ — Philippians i, 21. 



YES, Paul says so about himself, but is it true about 
others ? He had not many things to hold him to life 
as the world thinks. He had amassed no property ; he 
had no settled home. No children frolicked about his 
footsteps, or climbed upon his knee ; no lucrative business 
demanded his continual attention ; no civic honours were 
wreathed about his brow. Perhaps to such a one dying* 
might be a gain, but can it be so to everyone. Then he 
was fervid, sensitive and imaginative, and natures so 
delicately strung, specially if life has been stern, might 
court any change, even dying, and count it an advantage ; 
but what of other natures, not sensitive, to which the world 
has given favours more than frowns ? Can they ever get 
to think this statement true ? Then he was such a one as 
Paul the Aged, and when the eye is dim and the natural 
force abated, it perhaps is not strange if the old man 
learns to look at death with something of a longing. To 
leave a world with which he hsts but little now in common, 
and which sometimes looks askance at him as if he were 
already a burden to it, may not seem very dreadful to him, 
nay, may possibly appear desirable, but can the young 
and vigorous feel this, believe this, that to die is gain? 
No, not all natures, not all men can or ought to believe this 
about themselves, for it is not true of all, but of some it is 
true. Do you know who these are, dear brethren ? Do 
you know who they are who have the right to listen to 
this sweet Evangel? Do you know who can skill to 



208 DEATH A GAIN TO THE GODLY. 

gather meat out of this eater, to suck honey out of this 
lion ? Do you know who have the divine license thus to 
defy the King* of Terrors ? This is one of the mysteries 
of the Kingdom, made known to those only who are its 
loyal subjects. To them Christ's true disciples, it is the 
most sober as well as most magnificent of revelations. To 
such a life as theirs, of which Christ is the one all- 
controlling motive and Lord, it is the natural, inevitable, 
and all glorious sequence — " to die is gain.'* 

I want to suggest to-day some of those particulsirs in 
which it is our privilege to believe it true. I suppose there 
cannot be much difficulty in believing this. 

I. — Concerning the body. 

The only ones who will be disposed to look twice at this 
will be the young, who have scarcely discovered yet that 
they have a body. But some of you will know that no 
very great change would be wanted in this respect to 
make it a gain to you. Merely to be rid of the body 
would to you be a vast advantage. What pain it has 
caused you I What a weight of lead it has hung about 
your spirit ! How much time you have been obliged to 
use simply in attending to its interests I How it has 
hampered you in thinking, in working, in praying I Some 
of you have done little else than mend it ever since you 
had it, poor cranky machine I Mend how you will, it is 
evidently coming to pieces soon. Like some pilgrim's tent 
pitched on the desert plain, it shows sore signs of wear. 
There are great rents in the canvas, the tent pins are 
often breaking, ominously in the dreary night flaps the 
loosened covering, the cords that keep it in its place are 
thin, and frayed and rotten — it will soon come down. 
Well, let it come. We shall have a better one when we 
want it, *' a house not made with hands, eternal in the 
heavens." 

And then we may think to die is gain as regards 

II. — The Intellect. We don't know a great deal of the 
details of the happier state, but there are some things we 
may safely put down as banished from it. We shall never 
meet with an idiot there. Insanity will be unknown there. 
I do not expect to find all minds of equal calibre and 
strength by any means, but the feeblest will not be dull, 
the humblest understanding there will not be shallow. I 



DEATH A GAIN TO TH£ GODLY. 2O9 



•don't know whether we shall come at truth by intuition, 
but certainly we shall be delivered from the laborious 
processes by which we acquire it now. And when we gfet 
it, we shall get it not distorted, or hinted at, or in g^uesses, 
but so far as our capacity will allow, pure and certain Ad 
full. We shall still see Truth with our own mind and not 
with another's, but the medium of perception will be per- 
fect. Some will have a much finer mind than others, just 
■as one telescope may be larg^er and better than another 
where both are good, but there will be no broken lenses, 
no crack in the object glass, no deficiency in the eye piece, 
no twist in the tube, and to speak in the language of the 
•optician, the focussing will be precise, the spherical 
aberration perfectly corrected, and the achromatism 
-absolute. 
Then as to 

III. — Language, and the means of conveying thought to 
•one another. It is often a clumsy expedient now, never a 
perfect one. You sometimes need a dozen words to tell a 
thought in, and even then only half do it, and to com- 
municate with your friend at a distance you either write, or 
•send a messenger, or telegraph, and even then he doesn't 
■always know exactly what you intend, for the mind often 
has shades of meaning, that words are not able accurately 
to convey. I don't know at all in what manner the 
immortals converse with one another, but I can see 
many things in our present mode of communication in 
regard to which it is not hard to believe that to die is 
gain. 

IV. — ^Then take the country where the good man dwells. 
I don't know what the Switzers might say to this, for 
theirs is a grand land, or the Italians, or the inhabitants 
of Jamaica, or Ceylon, or indeed the men of our own 
shores, for there are rare landscapes within the bounds of 
this streak of silver sea. There are spots which look at 
times as if they might vie with Eden, and carry off the 
palm. But there are other places where this would not be 
at all difficult to believe. Interminable plains of sand and 
pebbles, growing nothing, feeding nothing, yielding 
nothing, except heat and desolation : volcanic wastes such 
as in Iceland : vile marshes as on the west coast of Africa, 
fetid, feverous, fatal : icebound shores as those of Green- 



2IO DEATH A GAIN TO THE GODLY. 

land and Spitzbergen : but I needn't particularize further. 
The finest country is not perfect here, but that is a fair 
land we are gfoing* to. Mayhap we shall miss the sunsets 
there, for they tell me that there the Sun goes no more 
down, neither does the moon withdraw itself, but we shall 
gain what as yet we have no conception of. There will 
be as great a difference between this and that, as between 
your neighbourhood * when the rain comes down dree and 
steadily through a November afternoon, and all the air is 
foul with smoke and sulphur, and everything drips, drips, 
drips monotonously, and when on some June morning the 
south wind blows softly, and fringy cloudlets dot the 
azure sky, and the sweet scent of flowers breathes in the 
balmy air, and the sea lies like an infant smiling as he 
sleeps. 

Ay, and more than that, far more. Take again 

V. — The Home he lives in here. Will not death be gain ? 
You would think so, if you saw the wretched habitations 
in which in this very town some of God's children live. 
You ought still to think so, if you saw them in the finest 
palace that the skill of man has ever reared. A better 
house yonder ? Of course. The Builder's better I Who 
builds down here ? At the best a bungler, a clumsy con- 
triver with coarse materials, but he that builds up there is 
God. The finest architecture of earth will be, by the side of 
the many mansions, like the mud huts of Killarney by the 
side of Chatsworth, like a gipsy's tent by the side of the 
towers of Windsor, or like the sod-covered, pebble-built 
hovel of a Highland shepherd by the magnificent cathe- 
drals of Lincoln or of York. What He can do, you see a 
little of now. Look at the bloom upon the peach, the 
down on the butterfly's wing, the green velvet of the 
mosses, the rugged majesty of the oak, the strange 
crystallizing in the snow flakes, the solemn grandeur of 
the mountains, the blazing cressets of the stars. Look at 
these, and think what that house will be whose builder and 
maker is God. 

Then think of 

VI. — The work he is doing. Here affrighted nature is 
inclined to say, in sight of the coffin and the grave — " it 
is all over ; his work is done : his purposes are broken off. 

* Composed ac bunderland. 



DEATH A GAIN TO THE GODLY. 211 

his tale is told." And here too Faith, amid the sorrows 
of bereavement, beholding the unfinished plans, the sud- 
denly stopped machinery, the place that must now be for 
ever vacant, the post of honourable labour that no one 
else can fill, and remembering how heartily he had 
entered into it, how fully he had mastered its difficulties, 
and how steadily he was proceeding to its fulfilment and 
victory, sometimes only dimly sees the higher bliss of the 
departed one, and is disposed to say that his death was 
but a doubtful gain. Ay, to us the living, may be, but not 
to him the dead. The dead, do I say ; no, the doubly 
living. To him the departure is indeed a gain. Do you 
say his work is done ? Nay, verily, only just begun. He 
has tools now to work with. Down here he had but the 
rudiments and patterns of them. He has a plan now to go 
by. Down here he often worked at random, and struck 
in the dark. He has noble purposes to execute : here he 
had glimpses of something better before him, but often 
when the spirit was willing, the flesh was weak. Down 
here he was like the child putting its syllables painfully 
together, and prattling meanwhile ; but there he is like the 
man who moves a multitude with burning words. Down 
here he was like the student, tracking the road to learning 
with dull steps and slow ; but there he is like the Master, 
standing on the crowning steep of Knowledge, and view- 
ing with raptured vision all the landscape o'er. Down 
here he was like the labourer who squares the stone, or 
breaks the clod, or tends the cattle clumsily and heavily 
from day to day, but up there he is like a lord of large 
experience who, with subtle brain and lissome fingers, has 
learnt to charm the canvas into beauty, or smite the marble 
into life! 

VII. — ^Then as to his usefulness, death is gain. What — 
here, and to us who lose nim ? Perhaps so. There have 
been men who in life were only feeble witnesses for Christ, 
but who in death gave wondrous testimony. Samson like, 
the manner of their departure was of more effect for good 
than the whole time of their remaining, and being dead, 
they still and strongly speak to us. But if not, their power 
of usefulness where it can be exercised can suffer no detri- 
ment by death. I know not what ministries of blessing 
shall be assigned to the departed, or in what regions of 

P 2 



212 DEATH A GAIN TO THE GODLY. 



their King-'s dominions they shall be called to labour, but 
I can well believe that when love is entirely without dissimu^ 
lation, and judg-ment purged from foolishness, and action 
uncramped by feebleness, and intention untarnished by sin 
and unfettered by fear, that in any sphere in which they 
shall be called to move, death as regards their power of 
usefulness will have been a manifest and endless gain. 

Then take the question of 

VIII. — Enjoyments. Treading quietly about the sick 
chamber lest the jar and noise should vex the sufferer, 
watching the struggle with disease, and seeing how com- 
pletely the pleasant sounds and sights of earth are shut 
out from him who lies there faint and fevered, and then 
gazing on the countenance settled at last into the awful 
stillness never more to be broken here, hearing nothing, 
too, but the sob and sigh of the survivors, or the monoto- 
nous tick, tick of the old clock that seems to say " Ever ; 
for ever — Ever ; for ever," as it never did before, it seems 
sometimes difficult to believe this scripture true. For there 
lies what we were used to call our friend, and moves not, 
speaks not, and there comes no sound upon the air as of 
angels' welcome, no faintest strain as if harp strings had 
been struck far, far away, no chime as of silver bells rung 
in the celestial city because another pilgrim hath reached 
the gates. Faith sometimes hears all that, but to mortal 
ears there is nothing but the subdued whisper of those who 
watch and wait below, and the melancholy plash of the 
raindrops on the casement. But is he happy then? He 
hardly knew what happiness was till now. Before he was 
like the traveller in Arabian deserts who scoops a little 
water from the sand, and drinks it carefully and slowly ; 
now he stands by an opened fountain, springing, sparkling, 
gushing, and is satisfied. Is he happy ? Before he was 
like a beggar, eating the shreds and crumbs of the rich 
man's table ; now he is like a prince seated at a royal 
banquet. Happy ? Why he was like a man who feeds 
on the scantiest and coarsest food ; now he is as one to 
whom they bring the grapes of Eshcol, and the wines of 
Lebanon, and the garnered grain of Gilead, and fountains 
plash beside him odorous with Carmel spices, and ever 
and anon sweet singers strike the harps of God. Happy ? 
Why he was like the wayfarer trudging through the dirt 



DEATH A GAIN TO THE GODLY. 213 

and darkness towards his home, and catching sight some- 
times of the household fires playing red upon the windows ; 
but now he has crossed the threshold, he is clothed in 
white apparel, kind hands are pressing his in welcome, 
gentle voices greet him, the Father's smile is on him, the 
Father's grace hath crowned him, and he who was once a 
wanderer is safe and sound at home. 

Then to die is gain to the christian as regards 
IX. — Friendship, What ? Gain to die, when tenderest 
glances from those who stand about him awake no bright 
response there ; when the loudest and most agonizing cry 
evokes no answer ? Is it gain to the little child to leave 
the folding arms of its mother ? Is it gain to the father to 
pass out alone where voice of child, or wife can no longer ^ 
reach him ? Does there lurk some secret blessing behind 
the last farewell ? Is he not going into 

" A land of deepest shade, 

Unpieroed oy human thought, 
The dreary regions of the dead, 
Where all things are forgot ?" 

Not at all ! That's mere poetic license — not truth. The 
regions of some of the dead are dreary enough, not with 
forgetf ulness, but remembrance ; but he is not going there. 
He is going where everybody he meets will be his friend, 
trusty and well beloved. He talks here of some who are 
his associates ; there they are all brothers. Here he has 
acquaintances ; there he will have friends. What if they 
have never seen him before? Do you think they will 
stand up)on the senseless ceremonies we do here on earth, 
and refuse to notice him because they have never been 
introduced ? Do you think they will be stiff and cold to 
him, because they had a large estate on earth, and he had 
only weekly wages ; because they died worth half a million 
of money, and he not worth half a sovereign ? Why those 
to them will be like the babyish traditions of the nursery, 
long cast off and heartily repented of> and wheresoever 
through those golden streets he walks, he will not meet 
with one whose brow will lower at his coming, whose hand 
will touch his coldly, or whose voice will sound a doubtful 
welcome to him there. Did I say he goes where no one 
knows him ? Is it so ? Will the companions of his youth 
have forgotten their comrade when he comes ? Won't the 



214 DEATH A GAIN TO THE GODLY. 



mother know her child that day ? Will the little one the 
Saviour took awhile ago look with unconcern upon those 
eyes that filled with bitter tears, as they watched him sink 
into that last long sleep ? Wouldn't Jonathan know David 
when he came ? Wouldn't Paul know Timothy when the 
angels led him through the gates ? People sometimes ask 
" Shall we know each other there?" How could death be 
gain if we did not ? Wouldn't Latimer and Ridley know 
each other when they met in heaven, after burning at the 
stake on Oxford Green ? Would Charles Wesley need to 
be told who it was, when his brother John went in triumph 
into the presence of his Lord ? Of course we shall know 
each other there, far better than we can here to-day, and 
in that friendship there shall be no reserve, no misgiving, 
no flaw. To say who will be the friends of the good man 
then is simply to name the best and worthiest of the world, 
and to compare our state to-day with our state then, is to 
say that now we are like poor men, who walk in tattered 
garments through a waste wilderness with one or two 
besides, but then we shall be like princes, standing in our 
Father's Palace, hailed as brother by the true nobility of 
all the ages, counted Friend by all, from the Keeper of the 
gates up to the highest courtier who waits in the Presence 
chamber, and bows before the Throne ! 

Then take 

X. — Experience. If I name this last, it is not because 
it is least. You say it is good to-day, but it will be better 
then. Is it peace now? Then it shall be unbroken calm. 
Is it joy to-day ? Then it shall be rapture. Is it the 
excitement of struggle now ? Then it shall be the bliss of 
perfect victory. Is it the following after Christ now? 
Then it shall be being with Christ which is far better. 
Better to die? Yes I just as perfect holiness is better than 
partial holiness. Just as the mirror absolutely clear is 
better than the mirror dull and dim. Just as perfect vision 
is better than seeing through a glass darkly. Just as man- 
hood is better than youth, or the day better than the 
dawning, or the harvest better than the spring time, or the 
finished picture better than the outline, or speech better 
than stammering, or safety better than danger, or to 
anchor in the harbour better than tossing in the roadstead 
or grounding on the bar. 



LECTURE. 



LECTURE. 



ST. PAUL. 

Very many years ago, God lighted a candle in the 
neighbourhood of Palestine, and set it on a candlestick. 
It was seen from far and near. The watchers in Zion saw 
it, and the dwellers in Samaria. It was seen from Tyre 
and Sidon, and from sea-born Salamis. Regal Antioch 
beheld it, and philosophic Athens, and effeminate Corinth. 
It shone upon the scholars of Tarsus, and the traders of 
Ephesus. The hills of Phrygia saw it, and it glittered on the 
rivers of Damascus. It shone amidst the wilds of Mace- 
donia, and the green pastures of Italy, in the market place 
at Philippi, and in the prison at Rome. And there are 
who tell us that the swarthy Spaniard saw it, and that it 
even startled the benighted worshippers of Woden and of 
Thor. After a while God removed it to a better Canaan 
than this, and set it somewhere in His great Temple, but 
it left a lingering radiance behind it that has touched and 
glanced on every generation since, and though the light of 
our times is yet dim, and the perfect day a vision that 
tarrieth, we had set in denser darkness, and with far 
feebler expectation, but for the setting in the candlestick 
of the Apostolic office of that last and brightest of all the 
lights that graced it, 

THE APOSTLE PAUL. 

It is of him I wish to speak to-night, but I am met at 
once by a difficulty. I cannot comprehend him ; and they 
tell me that whoso would judge of statuary should himself 
be a sculptor ; that Mozart or Handel will tell you best of 



2lS ST. PAUL. 



the merit of a chorus ; and that no mind narrower than 
Shakespeare's can really grasp the author of King" Lear 
or Othello. But if the picture must be greatly wanting", as 
it will be. will you let me sketch an outline for you ? If in 
the playing of this piece some of the chords must be 
imperfect, will you allow a rough musician to strike a note 
or two that may give you some idea of the original ? Or 
if he cannot carry all the grapes of this Apostolic Eshcol, 
will you let one who has passed that way offer you a single 
■cluster ? Or if the fruitage of this field be too vast for my 
hand to garner, will you let me show you an ear or two 
that I have gleaned ? 

Perhaps it may not be out of place if here, just at the 
beginning of our talk concerning him, we ask about his 
beginning, the where and when. I don't know that birth- 
place determines destiny very certainly, except it may be 
in the slums and garrets of London. Many that begin 
life in those courts will probably die in them, and the exis- 
tence that commences in the alley will close in the gutter ; 
but we are curious, nevertheless, as to the place where the 
■eyes first open to the light. In this case we have little diffi- 
•culty in finding it. Between the mountain ranges of Taurus 
and Amanus, and down to the sea, there lies a tract of 
country which in the time of the Roman Emperors was 
•called Cilicia ; the western part rough and mountainous, 
but the eastern chiefly " a rich and extensive plain." 
Near to the western edge of this plain, and a few miles 
from the sea, there lay on the banks of the Cydnus the city 
of Tarsus, the capital of the province, and a free city of 
the empire. Ancient historians fully justify its scriptural 
designation, " no mean city." Learning appears to have 
been in high repute there, for Strabo tells us that, in all 
that relates to philosophy and general education, it was 
■even more illustrious than Alexandria or Athens. Some- 
where within its walls, there was born to a family of the 
tribe of Benjamin that son of whom we speak to-day. 

We have greater difficulty in determining the exact 
time of his birth. There is no authentic information con- 
cerning this, but we know that when Stephen was 
martyred, he was called a young man, so we may have 
pretty firm foothold for it, if we place his birth about A.D. 
^ or 3. "He must have been born in the later years of 



ST. PAUL. 219 



Herod, or the earlier of his son Archelaus." The motley 
^oup of provinces that made up the Roman Empire lay 
at rest. The civilized world was at peace, arid the sceptre 
of Aug"ustus was swayed in undisturbed triumph. Horace 
and his patron, Maecenas, had recently died. It was a 
little before Caligfula was born, a little after Livy's history 
ends, and just about the time when He, who had spoken 
to the fathers by the prophets, was preparing to speak to 
the world by His Son. 

Of St. Paul's family connexions we have not much 
knowledge. His mother is never mentioned in any of his 
writings, and of his father we only know that he was a 
Pharisee, and a citizen of Rome. We hear once of his 
sister's son, and once of some kinsmen then living at the 
metropolis, and here our information stops. But we have 
no misgiving as to what kind of a family it was into which 
he was born. Though belonging to the Jews of the 
Dispersion, his father was never so far from his own 
country as to forget his Judaism. A Pharisee and a strict 
one he was in that Cilician city, and though he benefited 
by the favour of Augustus, he never forgot his higher 
obligations to Moses. A Hebrew of the Hebrews, his son 
was able to call himself afterwards, and we know that he 
was brought up "after the most straitest sect" of that 
religion. Hence it is not difficult to imagine under what 
religious influences his early life was passed, and what 
stories those would be with which his childish curiosity 
was appeased. They could not fail to tell him of the peace 
of Eden, the subtilty of the serpent, and the sword that 
flamed every way ; how Cain killed Abel, and Noah built 
the ark, and his descendants tried to build Babel. He 
would hear of the great Covenant, thrice repeated ; of 
Abraham's faith, of Isaac's well-digging, and Jacob's 
wrestling ; of the death by the road to Ephrath, and 
Benoni's birth ; of Joseph in Egypt, and how Benjamin was 
honoured there ; how his royal namesake was chosen from 
the little tribe ; how when the tribes revolted Benjamin 
remained faithful ; and how in after years the Benjamite 
Mordecai was the means of saving the nation from the hand 
of Haman. All this, and more, he would learn out of that 
marvellous book to which the world still listens. 

I hope they were gentle to the boy, for I fear me greatly 



220 ST. PAUL. 

that straitest sects of that or any religion are not good for 
children. The childish mind doesn^t take easily to prayers 
that must be measured out by the yard, and rites and 
ceremonies that must be attended to every two hours. 
Inhere is a buoyancy about it that is hard to press down to 
the dead level of sectarian propemess, a happy freedom 
that rel^els against the harsh religionism that discovers 
lH*auty in strictness, power in peculiarities, and can see no 
jiTix^dness in any but those who speak its Shibboleth, and 
travel in its own wxetched rut Mark you, when sectari- 
anism means dissent from sin, and the straitness thereof a 
sejvaration from iniquity, I have nothing to say but God 
spt^ed such splits and breaches, but when it means selfish- 
ness, and scrupulousness, and narrowness, and contempt 
of others, when its favourite work is to tithe mint and 
anise and cummin, and its most distinguished achievement 
to strain out a gnat, and swallow a camel, I cannot help 
hui hope that some day either gnat or camel will succeed 

in t hokinir it- 

The Jews were strict as to the teaching of their children,, 
si^ I he little Saul would presently be sent to school, but 
whether that was entirely Jewish or Greek, and what were- 
xhv incidents of his stay there, we can only conjecture. 
IVn hvx>d will Ih» pretty much the same all the world over,, 
anii perhaps the birch was an institution at Tarsus, as at 
Kton or Ru^hy ; so if Saul was idle, he w^ould probably be 
thrashed tor it, and as probably blubber in consequence : 
if anvone hit him, he would hit back, and if they couldn't 
settle which was stronger, cleverer, richer, taller,, 
handsomer, — it doesn't matter what, for boys will fight 
alnnu anything, from a hard chesnut to moral philosophy 

they would probably adjourn the meeting to the banks- 
of the Cydnus, and have it out there in the most approved 
stylt\ ancient and modern. Was he dull or clever at this 
I'ilician sclu>ol ? Great men are not always great when 
in short petticoats. Some genuises were thought dullards 
\\ hen they learnt to read, and some were always great. 
How with Saul ? We don't know. " All's well that ends 
^ell," says the poet, and this ended well, so we'll be con- 
lent to say so. and skip his school days, at least in Tarsus ; 
yet not without mentioning what in all probability occurred 
in^fore he left there for a larger place : — he was taught a 



ST. PAUL. 221 



trade. That was a Jewish custom, too, to let every boy 
have the opportunity of learnings some trade. I need not 
say it was a g^ood one. It were well, if it ,were English 
also. It would tend to save men from the curse of well- 
bred idleness, and it might not be ill, if, taking gentle hold 
on the weaker members of the family, it saved women too. 
How much of shame and suffering might have been 
avoided, if children had been early taught the dignity of 
honest labour, and that the true dishonour of manhood 
was, not want of gold, but want of godliness ! Want of 
means is with many worse than want of morality, and to 
be a tradesman more shameful than to be a thief. Some 
would rather take to swindling than to shopkeeping, and 
would sooner hear it said of them that they had been in 
the Divorce Court, than behind the counter. Verily great 
is the Diana of these Ephesians I Before her shrine 
thousands of perfumed exquisites bow. Young men who 
know the correct thing in trousers, and the right angle for 
the eyeglass, the likeliest winner of the Derby, and the 
airiest dancer on the boards. Young women who know 
the last thing out in tartans, can work at such a pattern, 
are great at the piano, graceful with the fan, industrious 
at shopping, and intelligent upon the last new novel, 
laborious with the croquet hammer, and elegant on the 
Promenade, but so far as the true work of life is concerned, 
about as ignorant and useless as the poodle that one of 
them pets, and the cigar that the other smokes. Verily, 
in some cases, one might the rather choose the poodle, for 
he could possibly be taught to guard the house at night, 
and thus do some service, and the best Havannah might 
be used to keep away the grubs, but what are many of 
their owners good for, except to be advertisements for the 
tailors, to part their hair in the middle, and to twiddle 
their thumbs I Well, if that be the great end of man, I'll 
have no end I If this be the summum bonum of social life, 
ril be content with the malum I Pd rather stir the tan 
pits, or scrape sheepskins, or shoe horses, or scrub floors, 
than be so genteelly useless I There's tenfold more 
honour about the grimy face and smutty clothes of some 
village blacksmith, who knows his work and does it, than 
in the soft white hands and gorgeous apparel of titled 
indolence ; tenfold more honour about the wrinkled skin 



222 ST. PAUL. 



and coarse garments of the poor woman, who stands all 
day to wash, than in the begloved and bejewelled hands 
of the fine ladyism, whose greatest grief is that it has 
nothing to wear : tenfold more happiness beside ; and if 
in that glorious company where gold is not riches, and 
broad acres are no inheritance, and ducal coronets are no 
longer crowns, some of these find their place the lowest, it 
will be but the woeful harvest that comes of a wicked 
seedtime, for if a man be too great to labour, he will not 
unusually be too proud to pray ! 

We are not able to say precisely how long it was before 
Saul left his father's house for his first great journey. In 
his speech before Agrippa, he intimates that it was at an 
early age that he left Tarsus for Jerusalem. Conybeare 
and Howson set it down for between ten and thirteen. 
However that may be, it was a great step in the life of the 
young Jew, and was to lay the foundation of the eminence 
to which, in general, as well as Jewish literature, he after- 
wards attained, for he sat at the feet of Gamaliel, one of 
the greatest doctors of the Jewish law in that or any age. 
Belonging to the famous Rabbinical school of Hillel, 
Gamaliel was its most honoured teacher. "His learning 
was so eminent, and his character so revered, that he is 
one of the seven who alone among Jewish Doctors have 
been honoured with the title of Rabban, and it is a saying 
of the Talmud that since Rabban Gamaliel died, the glory of 
the Law has ceased.^' This was the Gamaliel who stood^up 
in the Sanhedrim when Peter told them all that, as for 
himself and his brother apostles, they were resolved to put 
God's authority first, and the Council's second. While 
they were meditating their death, this great Rabban stood 
up, and recommended them to let these men alone. If 
this work were only human, he had the sense to see it 
couldn't last, while if it were after all of God, it was use- 
less as well as impious to resist it. Candour and honesty 
at least were his, but though they may have led him to 
examine these things for himself, he doesn't seem ever to 
have yielded to their force. He lived and died a Jew. 
I have rather lingered upon Gamaliel's character because 
of its influence upon his new pupil from Cilicia. A strong 
and generous mind like this could not but favourably 
influence others, and if, through ignorance of Jesus, he 



ST. PAUL. ' 223 



failed to impart to his pupils that knowledg-e in which is 
true life, yet the mental drill through which he passed 
them, if through God's grace they found the Messiah 
through another medium, must have tended not a little ta 
make their consequent discipleship as intelligent and use- 
ful, as it would be zealous and strong. 

Nor are we able to say distinctly how many years he 
sat at the feet of Gamaliel. Whether they were few or 
many, we are sure, they were not idly spent ; and we caa 
fancy how the earnest student, gradually mastering the 
subtleties of Rabbinical teaching, became an apt logician, 
a skilful debater, but beyond all, grew to be more 
exceedingly zealous of the traditions of his fathers, so as 
to be regarded as the hope of his people, and the champion 
of those ecclesiastical privileges to which, now that their 
national glory had so grievously departed, they fondly 
clung. But we know that while those years were passing, 
there were things occurring in his near neighbourhood, in 
which he was afterwards to have the deepest interest. 
While he was listening to the sage utterances of the great 
Rabbi, there was growing up in the hill country of Judea,. 
one who should presently speak such fiery words by 
Jordan, as would shake all Israel from Dan to Beersheba. 
While he was painfully diving into the mysteries of Moses,, 
some rough lads were donning the fisher's coat, and 
learning fisher habits by the Lake of Galilee, who should 
after a while study the holier science of catching men ; and 
while the punctilious Jew was busied with the innumerable 
rites and ceremonies, with which a mischievous tradition 
had overlaid the original enactments of Moses, there 
walked in the fields of humble Nazareth the Bringer in of 
a better righteousness, and the Founder of a more glorious 
economy; the Christ, for whose blessed name, he and 
myriads more would count every natural or acquired 
advantage, whether of birth, ancestry, person, property, 
or reputation, but dung and dross ! 

These years of his student life, as those of his earlier 
schooling, came at last to an end, and we may think of 
him as returning to his home on the banks of the Cydnus 
an accomplished scholar in the Law, and already taken 
notice of by the authorities and elders of the people. 
Meanwhile, the Voice cried in the Wilderness, and the 



^24 ST. PAUL* 



Pharisees and Scribes learnt their true character and 
name from the roug^h but honest Baptist. He for whom it 
cried appeared as the Messiah, and walked through the 
■cities and villages preaching the glad tidings of the 
Kingdom. For three years the land was filled with 
miracle, while Incarnate Mercy trod it, and for three 
hours with darkness, when Incarnate Deity died. Mean- 
while took place the Resurrection, and the ascent from 
Olivet : the day of Pentecost, and the tongues of fire ; but 
not until the first enlistment is to be made into the noble 
army of Martyrs; do we hear anything more of him 
who had learnt, after the most straitest sect of his 
religion, to live a Pharisee. What we hear then has so 
important a bearing on his whole after history, that we 
shall be justified in trying even at length to scrutinize it, 
and, if possible, understand. 

In spite of the rich effusion of holy power which blessed 
the church at Pentecost, worldly men would still have 
•called the majority of its members poor. Many were poor 
to begin with, and made the poorer by their joining the 
church, but in those days, he who gave up houses or lands 
for Christ's sake, found them again in the generous 
liberality of his brethren, and for a time they had all things 
common. The distribution of this general fund was at 
first in the hands of the natural leaders of the Church, but 
becoming too heavy a tax upon their time and energy, the 
Apostles desired the brethren to choose some seven honest 
men, upon whose shoulders these secularities of the church 
might the better fall. So seven — there was happily no 
need to search with candles then — were inducted into that 
office, and the Twelve betook themselves to their higher 
ministry. The chief of these christian almoners was 
Stephen, whose highest praise was, that he was full of 
faith, and of the Holy Ghost. He was, moreover, no mean 
divine, and a speaker of more than common excellence. 
This latter qualification brought him into collision with a 
number of foreign Jews, upon the subject of the new Faith. 
Vehement and keen they were, but Stephen could hold his 
own against them all. The spirit and wisdom of the upper 
room were too much for the subtlety and skill of the 
synagogue. This roused their baser passions, and they 
fell back upon the good old plan of balancing force of 



ST. PAUL. 225 



logic by force of fists, or 

** Proving their dodaine orthodox. 
By Ai)08tolic blows and knocks." 

So they raked up some scandalous fellows belonging* to 
the breed that will swear to anything for a pot of beer, 
and dragged Stephen off to the Sanhedrim along with 
them, and charged him with blasphemy. I think I see 
them crowding into the Council Chamber, one upon 
another, in hot haste to get a verdict. There sit the 
venerable Seventy in a semicircle, with the President in 
the midst, and here stands the christian deacon, where a 
few months ago, there stood before the same Judges, his 
greater Master. There sits the lordly Annas, and near 
him his kinsman Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander. Is 
that Gamaliel, broad-browed and calm ? But where sit 
the Arimathaen,and the timid Nicodemus ? Are their seats 
vacant in these troublous times ? 

But what makes Annas gaze so earnestly upon his 
prisoner ? Why do the aged judges start and look, and 
some of them tremble. What makes such a deadly white- 
ness come over the face of that false witness near him, and 
why does the rough hand that held him suddenly drop as 
if smitten with a palsy ? Whom have they brought, did 
they say ? A blasphemer ? A common reprobate ? A 
traitor and a heretic ? Nay verily : traitors' pulses never 
beat so quietly as Stephen's : those are not blasphemers' 
eyes, and look upon the face — it is the face of an angel I 
Now begins the trial, and the disciple is put on his defence. 
His Master gloriously help's him. He begins calmly with 
the well known story of the call from Chaldea, and passes 
in swift review the great events of their national history, 
but suddenly breaks off to deliver a rebuke full of holy 
passion, and virtuous indignation at their sin. Now look 
around. That last stroke has roused them. See how the 
tiger champs his jaws. Look how they gnash their teeth 
against him. But stay : they talked of blasphemy, and 
Stephen has one more word to say. Will they hear it ? 
His face is upward turned, the hands are clasped and lifted 
to the skies. What sees the Christian that he gazes so 
earnestly above him ? Do the spirits of the just address 
him ? More ! Does he catch the distant flashing of the 
chariot of fire ? More ! Does he view the march of 



226 ST. PAUL. 



watching angels? More than that! " Behold, I see the 
heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing- on, the right 
hand of God !" That was enough ; it was the rankest 
heresy ! the most unblushing blasphemy I What ? Jesus,, 
the deceiver of the people, the teacher of sedition, the 
enemy of the nation, the friend of Beelzebub, the crucified 
malefactor, on the right hand of God ? Oh I it was past 
bearing, and, with a loud cry of mingled rage and horror, 
they rushed upon him as he stood there, and hustled, and 
pushed, and dragged him out of the hall, and then, in a 
wild rout of frenzy, rushed down one of the narrow streets. 
to the Damascus gate, and once outside, speedily formed 
a ring round the poor hunted christian, who has now but a 
few minutes to live. The ghastly preparations are soon 
made. The hired wretches, who are to cast the first stones,, 
speedily divest themselves of their outer garments ; — there 
is a hurry and a press amongst the crowd ; a buzz, and 
then a dead stillness ; and then, a loud voice invoking 
mercy on his murderers : and then, a sudden whirl of stronof 
arms in the air ; and then, a band of shining ones lead 
through the streets of the New Jerusalem, the first in the 
Nolle Army of Martyrs I 

But who is this that gives these Jewish rowdies their 
clothes again, when they have completed the slaughter; 
that looked with more than ordinary earnestness upon the 
lustrous countenance of the man they have just hounded 
to the death : that bears in his face the aspect of a strict 
Pharisee, and in his accent betrays the polish of the 
schools ; rather insignificant than not to look at, but with- 
something about him that makes you look again and again, 
as if the unpretending body shrined a noble soul ? It is. 
the Jewish lad that came here from the Cilician Athens, 
years ago, to hear Gamaliel lecture, and to learn the law ; 
quick and zealous then, and quick and zealous now, but 
grown a man. The High Priest knows him, and indeed 
he is generally known and looked up to, as a strong and 
ready defender of their ancient faith. There is that about 
him that makes you think he will make his mark in the 
world, before he leaves it. He will have another name 
after a while, but at present they call him after the ill- 
fated prince that perished on Gilboa — simply Saul, Saul^ 
of Tarsus. It is not improbable that he was one of the- 



ST. PAUL. 227 



foremost opponents of Stephen, while they were disputing* 
in the synagogue: it is certain he watched him die, 
and though we would fain hope that he did it with a 
pang, we cannot forget the significant intimation of 
Scripture, "and Saul was consenting unto his death.'* 

Now began to be fulfilled the middle term of the 
Saviour's promise to his church. The gladness of its 
beginning had been experienced, and now came the 
unpleasing addition ; " with persecutions." Having tasted 
blood, these Jewish wolves were eager to taste it again, 
and flung themselves with savage violence upon the flock 
of Christ. A great persecution arose against the church 
at Jerusalem, and its members were scattered abroad 
throughout Judaea and Samaria. In this the most promi- 
nent part appears to have been taken by Saul, who plainly 
showed that he was no believer in the principles of tolera- 
tion. His logic was simple, if stern. All vermin ought to 
be destroyed ; but these christians are vermin ; therefore 
these christians ought to be destroyed. Nor did he hold 
this creed, without acting upon it. In the words of St. 
Luke, " he made havoc of the church, entering into every 
house, and haling men and wonien, committed them to 
prison." He was studying hard for a degree in the 
College of Cruelty, and presently gained it, for if anyone 
wanted afterwards, or wants to-day, a model of Inquisito- 
rial harshness, he points to Saul the Persecutor. He 
richly deserved the name. Imprisonment, Scourging, 
Death — the horrible alphabet of persecution — ^were at his 
fingers' ends, and many an iniquitous sentence he worked 
out with them. The wretch, he went hither and thither 
like a fury, and, not content with laying hands on the men, 
seized women too. We all know they are not inapt at talk- 
ing, but the temper of modern warfare is to let them pretty 
much alone. But it wasn't Saul's temper. Some cynics 
tell us that you may as well let them talk on, it will make 
little difference ; but Saul didn't think so. And some 
brutes of men insinuate, that even if a woman was infected 
with heresy, just threaten to sit on her best bonnet, and it 
would soon bring her back to orthodoxy ; but Saul didn't 
believe it would. He'd beat them well. Sticks and stones 
were his specifics for heterodoxy, and it is only fair to say 
that he applied them with a rare persistency. It is satis- 

Q 2 



228 ST. PAUL. 



factory to learn that in after life he looked back upon this 
portion of his career with especial shame, and evidently 
couldn't forget that his bigoted zeal had so iar unmanned 
him, as to make him commit women unto prison. 
Pleasantry apart, there can be no question that this 
Cilician Pharisee was about one of the most unamiable 
characters in Jerusalem. Self conceited, headstrong, bitter, 
bigoted, every day hatching new plots of persecution, blind 
to the calm dignity of christian men, unmoved by the 
tears of christian women, and the pitiful moaning of the 
orphaned little ones, Saul of Tarsus went about his 
wretched errand more like a devil than a man, and to 
have said that he would ever fill the holy office of a 
christian Apostle, would have seemed to any of the 
brethren like saying, that a lion from Lebanon would 
presently gambol with the lambs of Gilead, or that the 
cloudless sky of their Judaean summer was about to drop 
with snow. 

But such an apparent impossibility was about to become 
a fact. The champion of Judaism was anxious to extend 
the area of his labours. The field of battle in Jerusalem 
had become too straitened for his chivalrous spirit : he 
wanted a broader basis of operations. The goats of 
Christianity had fled from the holy city, but this valorous 
keeper of the ancient fold would seek them out in their 
distant hiding places : so he applied to the High Priest for 
a commission to Damascus, that if he found any of that 
way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound 
to Jerusalem. This the High Priest very readily assented 
to, and supplied him with every requisite for making his 
journey a success. Saul would lose no time after his letters 
of introduction were sealed. The hateful heresy of the 
Galilean was to him a foul disease that had broken 
out within the fair domains of ancient Israel, and it must 
be sought out, found out, driven out, stamped out, 
cursed out; anything so that it be crushed, and every 
day that he lingered would fret him with the thought 
of its existence. So he set out in hot haste to ply his 
function as Inquisitor General in the oldest city in the 
world. . 

Curiosity would fain know something of the companions 
of his journey, and of the road they took ; whether that by 



ST. PAUL. 229 



which the caravans from Egypt usually travelled, which 
was joined by a road from Jerusalem at the entrance of 
Galilee, or one of the Roman roads, which were in the 
course of construction at that period throughout the empire, 
and which would turn off for Damascus somewhat more to 
the south than the other did. Concerning this, and the 
exact time of the year, we can only conjecture. But we 
know they journeyed, and had come nigh the city. On 
their left rose the heights of Antilibanus, and, conspicuous, 
amongst them, the snowy Hermon : on their right stretched 
away for many a league the sands of the Syrian desert : 
behind them the high grounds, bare and sterile, over which 
rises and falls the road from Judaea ; and before them, in 
the midst of gardens and shrubberies and watercourses, 
gleamed the white buildings of beautiful Damascus. 
Perhaps they halted — most travellers do — ^as from some 
elevation in the road they caught the first sight of this 
Queen of the Desert. Some might think of Eliezer and 
Gehazi ; of the little maid and lordly Naaman, and travel- 
soiled and hot with their midday march, sigh for a plunge 
beneath the waters of Abana and Pharpar ; but one there 
was amongst them whose thoughts are still more easily 
imagined. There was the object of his toil, would think 
their impetuous leader, and amongst those trees and 
flowers grew the rank weeds of a hateful heresy, the 
poisonous fruit of a pestilent superstition. His was the 
work of cleansing it away, and his should be the praise of 
having restored to its primitive loveliness the much dis- 
figured garden of the Lord. He was impatient to begin. 
While they lingfered there, precious time was wasted. Let 
them on ; he has God's battles to fight, they shall rest 
presently, but let them do their duty first. It may be 
beautiful, and all that, but there's heresy hiding and 
skulking within those walls, and he must seek it out : there 
are obstinate sinners against God and His law defiling this 
earthly Paradise, and he has a message for them which he 
burns to deliver : let them on ! So they went on, and drew 
nigh to Damascus. The sun was high in the heavens — it 
was midday — and all Nature was still in the hush of noon, 
when suddenly there shone round about them a light from 
heaven, aboye the brightness of the sun. In a moment 
they were all fallen to the earth. Trembling with terror. 



230 ST. PAUL. 



they all heard a voice, but to one of them only was it 
intelligible. He not only heard a voice, but saw the One 
who uttered it — the rest saw nothing- but the lig^ht — and 
heard Him say, " Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me ?" 
Hardly daring to look at the glorious Being who addressed 
him, he faltered out, *' Who art thou. Lord ?" And then 
came the astounding reply, " I am Jesus of Nazareth, 
whom thou persecutest." Trembling and astonished, the 
prostrate persecutor said, " What shall I do, Lord ?" And 
once more came there a voice from this excellent glory, 
" Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what 
thou must do.'* The awful dialogue ended, the vision 
passed away. One by one the companions of his travel 
ventured to stand upon their feet : Saul rose too. They 
looked around them ; everything was as usual. Over- 
head burnt and blazed the Syrian sun; short fell the 
shadows on the dusty road; there was the city in her 
gardens, and the sheen of her flowing waters, but Saul 
opened his eyes in vain. His sight was gone, and some 
of them took him by the hand, and led him into Damascus. 
What became of his companions those two or three days 
that followed, we cannot tell, but we can imagine how 
soon the wonderful light that they had seen had been 
heard of by all the Jews resident in the city, and what 
regrets were expressed that the righteous zeal of their 
leader had received so complete a check. Of himself, two 
or three words contain all our information, but they are 
full of meaning : " he was three days without sight, and 
neither did eat nor drink." Any great shock to the mind 
can make fasting a necessity for a time, but this was a 
shock that came near causing him never to eat again. Its 
force we can only feebly estimate. The surprise, the con- 
flict, the stun to the mind, are beyond us. What he 
thought, and felt, and said, during those memorable days, 
are only known to God, but we may be sure that, if ever 
spirit was in an agony of shame and sorrow, it was his ; if 
ever fearfulness and trembling caught hold on a man, it 
was now ; if ever conscience lashed, and memory stung, if 
ever sin was exceeding sinful, and the law exceeding holy, 
and the fires of Gehenna exceeding dreadful, it was to 
him. He had been a proud Pharisee, a vain merit- 
monger ; set stiffly against conviction, deaf to the voice of 



ST. PAUL. 231 



prophecy, and the unparallelled events of the past few 
years, dark, and haug-hty, and stern, and cold : he had 
harried the sheep of the Lord, sold them into the hands of 
the slaughterer, and desolated their quiet folds. Wretched 
sinner that he was, he had thoug-ht he was doing God 
service, while he was serving Satan. Raging hither and 
thither like a roaring lion, he sought in his madness whom 
he might devour ; for God's sake, he said. Vain 
delusion : it was for sin's sake, and the devil's sake I And 
worse than all, he has been smiting Jesus, mocking and 
insulting the holy Jesus, blaspheming the glorified Jesus ! 
Whither shall he turn ? His fondest dreams are broken, 
his most cherished convictions are a lie, his fairest 
memories are a blot and stain, his chiefest exploits are a 
foul dishonour, his lordliest castles are built upon the 
sand ! " Why persecutest thou me ?" Oh, that glorious 
face ! Then this way was not heresy, and Stephen was 
not beside himself, and the Apostles were not madmen. 
Then John was really a prophet, and these christians are 
not fools, and this Jesus was not a deceiver of the people, 
a sower of sedition, in league with Beelzebub, gluttonous 
and a winebibber, an enemy of the nation, and blasphemer 
against God ! So surged and rolled through three weary 
days the tide of thought in the mind of Saul. Blinded to 
all outward things, the eye of his soul was fixed on eternal 
realities. With no choice whatever as to his conviction of 
the truth as it is in Jesus, and his consequent sin, the great 
question of obedience or disobedience is now left to his 
calm and deliberate volition. He sees the way, was forced 
to see it, but will not be compelled to walk therein. He 
has seen Jesus, seen Him in glory, and knows what that 
sight implies, and God has given him three days of 
enJForced seclusion from all outward concerns, that he 
may carefully ponder the all important question of that 
heavenly vision, and then freely and deliberately decide. 

Gently led by Him who comforts the mourners, Saul of 
Tarsus prayed. These were the sighings of a contrite 
heart. Again he saw a vision. A man named Ananias 
seemed to come into his solitary lodging, and put his hands 
upon him-, and he saw. The prophetic vision was speedily 
accomplished. A man of that very name presently stood 
in the street called Straight, at the door of the house of 



232 ST. PAUL. 



Judas, and enquired for Saul of Tarsus. They admitted 
him to the chamber where their blind visitor was. 
Ananias scanned the countenance of him who had done so 
much harm at Jerusalem, but saw nothing* to alarm him 
now. Pale and wan from his long abstinence though he 
was, there was a quiet composure about his face that told 
of a great change having passed over him. Jesus may 
command him now : he will take His yoke upon him, and 
bear his burden. Subdued and humble, he waits a peni- 
tent at the door of Mercy. Contrite and teachable, he 
seeks admission into that society that before he persecuted. 
Before him stands the Divinely commissioned porter of 
the gate. With kind and gentle touch, Ananias laid his 
hands upon him. " Brother Saul,'^ said he, " receive thy 
sight,^' and forthwith there dropped from his eyes as it 
had been scales. Looking up upon the face of Ananias^ 
he heard him say, ** The God of our fathers hath chosen 
thee, that thou shouldest know His will, and see that Just 
One, and shouldest hear the voice of His mouth. For thou 
shalt be His witness unto all men of what thou hast seen 
and heard. And now why tarriest thou ? arise and be 
baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of 
the Lord." The rite of baptism was at once and cheer- 
fully submitted to, and the once proud scholar of Gamaliel, 
the Pharisee of the Pharisees, became a disciple of Him 
who was crucified between the thieves. There was no need 
to say to Ananias he was happy ; his face would show it. 
And if for some time he could find nought more voiceful 
than a heaving bosom, and smiled only in his tears, all 
who know the bliss of pardon will understand him. He 
would learn to speak presently, I think — we know of 
whom — and if we know not in what words his new-born 
soul found utterance for its joys, or what was the melody 
of his first song of salvation, we do know the key note of 
the music, and whose was the name round which all his 
happiness clung. Time and place make no difference 
in this. All the world over, and all the ages through, 
the joys of pardon are alike, and wheresoever that 
man is to whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, 
JESUS is 

'* The name that charms our fears. 
That bids our son-ows cease, 
*Ti8 music in the sinner's ears 
'Tifl life, and health, and peace." 



ST. PAUL. 233. 



It was so here, and so now, when, in the bliss of his 
first espousals, Saul of Tarsus cast himself at the feet of 
Christ ! 

A very short time elapsed before the new disciple beg'an 
to confess his Master before men. Straightway, says St. 
Luke, he preached Christ in the synag'ogues, and very 
powerfully too. His was a proving sort of preaching, the 
sort that has an end in view, and gets to it. There is much 
that goes by the name of preaching, that, for all the good 
it does, might almost as well be delivered to a lot of pav- 
ing stones. Airy, unsubstantial stuff it is, arrayed in divers- 
garments, it is true, but agreeing beautifully in this, that it 
seems to aim at hitting men anywhere but in the heart,, 
and arousing anything except the conscience, and saving 
anything about a man except his soul. Some of it is 
poetical, and some historical, and some archaeological, and 
some metaphysical, and some of it is humdrum, and some 
of it is clever, and some of it is sprightly, and some of it is 
stilted, and some of it goes off like clockwork, warranted to 
run for a certain time, and some of it can hardly go off at 
all, but it's like a man who is going nowhere in particular,, 
and doesn't mind much how he gets there : which errand 
some of the preaching of to-day very faithfully performs. 
Saul's preaching was not like that, either then or after- 
wards. It was a convincing preaching ; a preaching that 
made sinners feel uneasy, and comforted saints ; that 
made Pharisees look daggers at him, and hypocrites want 
to get out of the place ; that aroused the sleepers, alarmed 
the easy, confounded the scoffers, and stirred up evil men 
and the devil against him, everywhere. Something of this, 
it accomplished Yter^t at Damascus. The first impression 
of the Jews^ was amazement that the persecutor had 
become the champion. It was unaccountable to them that 
he should have come all the way from Jerusalem to put 
down this way, and now turn round, and do his best to set 
it up. The second impression was one of mingled morti- 
fication and wonder that they had no means of replying to- 
him. But they had not : not a man of them could stand 
before him. Their choicest arguments weren't worth a 
straw ; their cleverest disputants stood like dunces before 
him. He took them on their own ground, the Scriptures, 
and proved, plainly, repeatedly, incontestably proved^ 



234 ^'^* PAUL. 



concerning" Jesus of Nazareth that he is very Christ. 
Their third impression was that such a fellow was not fit 
to live, so they took measures to carry it into effect, and 
watched the g-ates day and nig"ht to kill him. The plot 
was known, however, and the disciples frustrated it, by 
letting down their new comrade by the wall one dark 
nig-ht in a basket, and thus he escaped for a time from 
this first of those * perils by his own countrymen,' of which 
he was afterwards to have so larg-e a share. But between 
his first preaching at Damascus, and this hurried flig-ht to 
Jerusalem, many days had elapsed, which we learn from 
one of his letters extended over three years, and included 
a journey into Arabia. As to the incidents of that journey, 
history is silent. Perhaps before he entered upon his 
great work, it was needful that he should be instructed 
in the way of the Lord more perfectly, and there may 
have been an analogy, in more senses than one, between 
this retirement into Arabia, and that other retirement 
of one greater than Saul, of whom we are told, that He 
was ** led up of the Spirit into the wilderness, to be 
tempted of the devil." 

This visit to Jerusalem, though full of interesting inci- 
dent, lasted only about a fortnight when the place became 
too hot for him, and under express orders from his 
Master, he left it for Tarsus, g-rieved and cistonished that 
such a testimony as his should be, could be, so strang"ely 
ignored. 

Not long after this, tidings came to the church at 
Jerusalem that there was a great religious movement 
taking place ii\ Antioch. Some of the disciples, who had 
been scattered in the persecution that arose about Stephen, 
had travelled up there, and though it is not very clear that 
they were ordained, had been preaching Christ to the 
Gentiles. But the preaching was of the right sort, whether 
they were in orders or not, for a great number were con- 
verted to Christ in consequence. It was thought advisable 
to send Barnabas up there to see how things were g'oing* 
on, and to exercise a godly discipline. So Barnabas came, 
and reconnoitred the field of action, and was g'lad to see 
that the battle was the Lord's. He entered into the 
work heartily, and so successfully that, as in the case 
of the Wesleyan Missionary Society, his very success 



ST. PAUL. 23s 



became burdensome. The work grew too heavy for his 
single shoulders to bear, so he bethought him of a friend 
and brother, not very far off, who was just the man to help 
him, and departed to Tarsus to seek Saul. The two friends 
journeyed back to Antioch with all speed, and during a 
whole year cast the net on the right side of the ship. Vast 
numbers joined the ranks of the believers, and what had 
been faintly hinted at as possible, was now proclaimed as 
a glorious reality, that God had granted unto the Gentiles 
repentance unto life. 

Antioch is memorable for many things. Its situation 
was all that could be desired for the purposes of trade and 
-commerce. The various monarchs, who had had rule 
•over that district, had enriched it with many and magni- 
ficent buildings, and art and science contributed to make 
this Syrian city one of the most famous in all the East. 
But like most of the oriental cities under the Roman 
Empire, the morale of its society was exceedingly low. 
Frivolous and immoral, coarse and licentious to the highest 
degree were the habits of its population, so that it was not 
merely the greatest city of the East, but the worst. It is 
specially memorable to us, because there the Gospel 
won, in the domains of heathendom, some of its first 
and choicest victories, because it was so long the centre 
<yi Paul's missionary labours, and last, but not least, 
because the sect everywhere spoken against found there 
that honourable and glorious name which it bears 
to-day, for " the disciples were called Christians first at 
Antioch." 

One of the best tests of a man's christian character is 
what and how he does with his money. So it comes to 
pass that a collection is a revealer of secrets. Some of 
the disciples don't take kindly to it, and you may see they 
don't. They are slow of heart to discern its necessity, and 
cannot easily perceive any privilege in it. The luxury of 
:giving is not among their pleasures, and its superior 
blessedness is scarcely an article of their creed, I am 
glad to say that it is not always so. There are and have 
been very many honourable exceptions, and Antioch ranks 
among the earliest. A great famine swept over the 
-empire, in the days of Claudius, which severely pressed 
upon the christians at Jerusalem. The brethren at 



236 ST. PAUL. 



Antioch felt that, having been so largely indebted to them 
for the imperishable Bread, it wets their high privilege,, 
not to say their duty, to minister to them in carnal things,, 
so they made a collection with right good will, and sent it 
to their poorer brethren by the hands of Barnabas and 
Saul. So the second time since his conversion, Saul of 
Tarsus stood within the walls of Jerusalem, and, in the 
seasonable offering which he presented to the elders,, 
liore significant witness that his Gentile brethren 
belonged, in very deed, to that school that adds to its 
godliness, brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness 
charity. 

They returned to Antioch, and when that year was over^ 
a yet wider work lay before them. As the church at 
Antioch were holding a solemn convocation, and praying 
with fasting, the Great Spirit who takes of the things of 
Christ said, " Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the 
work whereunto I have called them." With unquestion- 
ing faith and instant obedience, the two chiefest men in 
that church were given up to this Divinely appointed 
service, and sent away, with the imposition of hands, ta 
go whithersoever the Lord might lead them. They went 
by Seleucia to Cyprus : through the island to Paphos, 
where Sergius Paulus crowned allegiance to the Emperor 
by discipleship to Christ. There Elymas withstood them, 
and was blinded for his pains ; there, too, the Apostle is. 
first called by his Roman name of Paul. From Paphos 
they took ship to Perga, where John Mark rather 
strangely left them. Thence they went to the Pisidian 
Antioch, and through Iconium and Lystra to Derbe ; and 
so back again on their own footsteps to Syrian Antioch^ 
This first missionary journey was a rough one, but not 
without success. Through hidden and open dangers, toils- 
and snares, had the Captain of their salvation gently led 
their way, and all that they had seen, and heard, and felt 
only deepened the impression that the old distinctions were 
for ever done away, and that in Jesus Christ, there was 
neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision,. 
Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free. 

Such an impression as this they greatly needed to enable 
them to meet a new danger, the seeds of which had been 
long sown amongst them, and were soon to be ripened 



ST. PAUL. 237 



into noxious fruit It was the Judaizing difficulty. How 
the first Council of the Christian Church dealt with it, you 
all remember. Freedom became more free, and there 
Avas great joy at Antioch. 

It has always been a christian duty not to suffer sin 
upon a brother, but in anywise to rebuke him, yet it has 
not often been easy to perform it. It requires great 
delicacy of feeling, and soundness of judgment ; and 
■singleness of eye ; otherwise there is considerable danger 
of the remedy proving worse than the disease. There 
now occurred a necessity for Paul to undertake it, for a 
brother had sinned at Antioch, and that brother was an 
apostle. What brought Peter there now, we don't know, 
but he was guilty of gross inconsistency with regard ta this 
very question that had just been agitated. At first he 
associated with Gentiles freely and openly, but when some 
came from James, he shunned his former friends, and 
acted as if he still believed what he told Cornelius he did 
once, that it was an unlawful thing for a Jew to keep com- 
pany with, or come unto, one of another nation. His 
example so infected others, that even Barnabas was carried 
away with it for a time, and things looked so serious, that 
Paul felt he jiiust speak for the honour of his Lord and 
Master, which accordingly he did, and withstood Peter to 
"his face ; a painful exercise, we may be sure, but another 
proof of how deeply he had entered into the meaning of 
his Lord's seemingly harsh words ; — ^** If any man come to 
me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and 
children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life 
also, he cannot be my disciple." 

After this trouble with St. Peter, another painful thing 
occurred at Antioch. Paul proposed to Barnabas to 
revisit the scenes of their former toil. This his friend was 
nothing loth to do, but wished to take with him his kins- 
man John Mark, nay, was set upon it. Paul thought that 
one who had proved himself unworthy in the day of battle 
before, shouldn't be taken into the field a second time, and 
opposed his going with them. The contention was sharp 
between them. * Ah then,' some one says, * even good 
men can fall out a little it seems.' Stop a bit : perhaps 
they can, but before any Mr. Snarling deduces from this 
a license to indulge in his favourite pursuit, let him remem- 



23^ ST. PAUL. 

ber what this contentioo was about, and how noble the 
motives on either side. Barnabas erred perhaps on the 
side oi natural aif ection for his nephew, and perhaps Paul 
may have dwelt a little too strong-ly upon the solemn words 
of jesus : — ^" No man» having" put his hand to the plough, 
and looking- back is fit for the kingdom of Grod." I am not 
here to say that neither was faulty in this, but I cannot help 
remembering that some men's faults are better than other 
men's virtues, and I had rather bear the blame of Paul's 
contention, than wear the honours of Mr. Snarling's or 
Miss Ouarrelsome's peace. 

This eniled in their separation, and both departed tc> 
serve Christ in different spheres, Barnabas to his native 
isle of C>prus, and Paul, accompanied by Silas, through 
Syria an<l Cilicia, to the scenes of his former toil. At 
Lystra, Timothy became their travelling companion, 
hijjfhly recommended by all the brethren, and at Alexandria 
Troas, a small town on the north western coast of Asia 
Minor, the beloved physician Luke. Thence they sailed 
to Neapolis, and then through the country northward to 
Philippi, where they met with no small difficulty, but found 
great grace to meet it. Thence they went through 
Amphipolis and Ap)ollonia to Thessalonica, where they 
encountered another storm, and were charged with an 
offence so remarkable that I don't want to forget it. At 
least their friend Jason bore the brunt of it for them. The 
mob dra<rged him and some others before the magistrates, 
cr\'ing : — ** These that have turned the world upside down 
are come hither also, and these all do contrary to the 
decrees of Civsar saying that there is another King, one 
Jesus." I am glad these irate theologians were willing to 
admit, what certain polished scribes of eighteen centuries 
later have questioned, that the faith of these christian 
heretics was not nerveless and impotent. It could at least 
do something, and if their wrath did not mislead them, 
that something was a good deal. Tm glad, too, that they 
put it rightly. To tickle it, to tease it, to trifle with it, to 
threaten it, to talk with it, to terrify it, to taunt it, to teach 
it, to test it, were more than a little, but Christianity can 
do more than that : it can turn the world inside out, if you 
like ; wrong-side right ; but certainly, upside down. 
Towards this glorious consummation, it has already done 



ST. PAUL. 239 



more than any faith that the world has known before it, 
and it will presently do it altogether. Without doubt the 
world needs such a handling". The wrong things have 
got to the upside in the world's constitution, and need to 
be put down. Pride needs putting down ; bigotry needs 
putting down ; ignorance needs putting down ; laziness and 
dawdling and dirt need putting down ; swindling, whether 
big or little, needs putting down ; the drinking habits of 
society need putting down ; sectarian bitterness and 
sabbath desecration need putting down; social extrava- 
gance, theatrical impurity, literary chaff-cutting, sceptical 
sophistry, political time-serving, ecclesiastical simony> 
religious toys and quackeries of all sorts, need putting 
down, and every sin and folly that has cursed the world 
since the first in Eden needs putting down, and will be put 
down, and kept down, in the days that are coming ; for 
what these Thessalonians said was true, there was, there 
is, another king, one Jesus ; and when He takes to Himself 
His mighty power, not only will wrong things be put 
down, but right things will be put uppermost. Then truth 
shall be up, and honesty shall be up, and virtue and 
gentleness shall be up, and peace, and order, and equity^ 
and honour, shall be up, and brotherly kindness shall be 
up, and charity shall be up, and wisdom, and grace, and 
holiness, shall be up ; and in that day 

** When all good thinf^ are uppermost , 
And all bad things are down. 
When sin and !<atan lick the dust. 
And Jesus takes the crown." 

The world shall make gladsome Jubilee, high Hallelu- 
jahs shall ring through the courts of Heaven, and He that 
sitteth on the throne shall say : — " It was meet that we 
should make merry and be glad, for this my son was dead, 
and is alive again, he was lost, and is found I" 

The rough clamour of this mob resulted in no rougher 
usage to the Apostle or Jason, thai^ taking security of the 
latter, I suppose that the peace of the city should not be 
disturbed, and the dismissal of the case. Without any 
delay the brethren sent Paul and Silas away by night unto 
Beroea. Here they found a people of a nobler sort ; a 
people who did not believe that rotten eggs and brickbats 
were the proper defences of orthodoxy, but searched the 



.240 ST. PAUL. 



Scriptures daily whether those things were so. Searching 
in this spirit, they found a blessing, and Paul made many 
•converts, but when those pugilists of Thessalonica got to 
hear of it, they despatched a gang of their religious 
•" lambs " to Beroea, who succeeded in getting up a row 
egainst the Apostle, so that flight became necessary, at 
least for Paul, but Silas and Timothy remained there still. 
We find him next in the centre of Greek civilisation, the 
-city of Aristotle and Plato, Cimon and Themistocles, 
Phidias and Solon, Socrates and Zeno, beautiful but 
blinded Athens. There was much there to charm the 
cultivated taste, and to please one who merely travelled 
for pleasure. The city was full of beautiful things. Nature 
and Art had twined for it their choicest garlands. 
Temples, statues and altars, colonnades and porticoes, 
baths and picture galleries, joined with imposing proces- 
sions, gorgeous ceremonials, and all the bustle and glitter 
of gay city life, to make Athens a fit haunt for the pleasure 
seeker, while the assemblies in the Agora and the 
Areopagus, and the schools of the Lyceum and Academy, 
would be no mean attraction to the student. But the 
christian Apostle had other business to attend to. Alone 
in the midst of a godless city, he burned to deliver his 
message of salvation. His spirit was stirred within him, 
when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. So he 
spoke first in the Jewish synagogues, and in the market 
daily, concerning Christ. Some of the wise men 
encountered him, and called him a babbler. Others 
asked respectfully for further information, for he preached 
to them what seemed like two new gods in Jesus and the 
Resurrection, and they wished to know the truth about 
it, so they brought him to the hill of Mars that overlooked 
the Agora. Opposite were the lofty crags of the Acropolis, 
crowned by the bronze Colossus of Minerva ; close by, the 
temple of the god of war ; and shrines and temples were 
around him on every side. With christian prudence he 
made their excessive care about religion, which these 
multitudinous altars so clearly showed, the starting point 
of his speech, and whom they ignorantly worshipped, in 
impassioned and eloquent language, he declared to them. 
I need not say that before he finished he had found a way 
to Christ. Then, when they heard about His resurrection. 



ST. PAUL. 241 



some beg-an to mock, and others said they would hear 
him again some day, and so the assembly dispersed, too 
little affected it would seem to resort to either sticks or 
stones. Some few, however, believed, but it does not 
appear that, among these cultivated tittle-tattlers and 
well-bred news-hunters, any very considerable success 
was attained. 

' Corinth was the next place on his line of march. Here 
he stayed in the house of Aquila, and after manufacturing 
tents all the week, used to preach on the Sabbath in the 
synagogue. When Silas and Timothy came from Mace- 
donia, he pressed on his spiritual work all the more 
earnestly, which provoked such opposition from the Jews, 
that he solemnly told them that from thenceforth he would 
go unto the Gentiles. A year and six months he stayed 
there, writing during that time the two letters to the 
Thessalonians. During that time, too, the Jews managed 
to drag Paul to the judgment seat of Gallio, but the biter 
was bit, for Gallio wouldn't have such rascals about him, 
and drove them away in high dudgeon, and then Sosthenes 
got a sound beating from the Greeks, which he richly 
deserved, but never reckoned upon. Some time after Paul 
left the Achaian capital, for a wonder without being 
hounded out, and passing through Cenchreae, Ephesus, 
Caesarea and Jerusalem, came to Antioch, having now 
completed his Second Missionary journey. 

After a while, how long is not said, he began his third 
and last recorded tour. The route lay through Galatia, 
and Phrygia to Ephesus, where he stayed three years. 
Then through Macedonia and Greece for some nine or ten 
months. Then from Philippi across the sea to Troas, and 
so by Miletus, Tyre, Ptolemais to Caesarea and Jerusalem. 
A great weight was on his mind all the way through. In 
almost every city some intimation was given him that 
bonds and afflictions were waiting for him. His own 
companions wept, and besought him not to go up to 
the Holy City. But he had heard a higher voice than 
all commanding him to go, and he said he was ready 
not only to be bound at Jerusalem for Christ's sake, but 
to die. 

The day after the arrival of the Missionary party, there 
was a kind of reception meeting held. All the elders were 

R 



242 ST. PAUL. 



there, and James the Just was at their head. The 
Missionaries told their story. All rejoiced to hear it But 
there was a difficulty just then. Thousands of the Jews 
believed, but had a wrong impression about Paul and his 
doctrine. To remove that, would he consent to go through 
a simple ceremony with some Nazarites they had with 
them ? He would and did. For some days all things 
went on well, but some Jews from the neighbourhood of 
Ephesus saw him in the Temple, pointed him out, then 
stirred up the people, and the usual result followed, a 
tremendous outcry, and a running together from all parts 
of the city. Some strong fellows had got hold of him, and 
were beating him with all their might, and it would very 
' soon have been all over with the Apostle, but Lysias 
rushed down just in the nick of time with a band of soldiers, 
and rescued him. It was easy to do that,, for the 
Tower of Antonia was close by the Temple, and at 
that disturbed time some of the Roman legionaries 
were always kept under arms, and could be 
in the Temple court directly, if occasion required. Lysias 
wanted to know what he had done. Some cried one thing, 
and some another, but they made such a noise over it, no 
one could make out what they meant, so Lysias said. Take 
him into the castle. The soldiers closed around him, and 
began to move, but the mob became more excited than 
ever. Paul then asked if he might speak to them, and, 
receiving permission, stood on the castle stairs, and told 
them his wonderful story. There was a dead stillness till 
he had got as far as his commission to the Gentiles, but all 
of a sudden there was such a roar into the air and shout- 
ing, such throwing up of dust and clothes, that Lysias had 
him into the castle at once, that he might find out the 
reason for this strange commotion. They were going to 
scourge him, but his Roman citizenship saved him that. 
That night he lay in prison. On the morrow he stood where, 
some thirty years before ; Stephen had stood before the 
Sanhedrin. That led to nothing but another great row, 
this time amongst themselves, and Lysias had to interfere 
a second time to save the Apostle's life. That night he 
saw his Master, very glorious, very loving, and very near 
him, who told him to be of good cheer. In the morning, 
forty Jewish miscreants swore a great oath that they would 



ST. PAUL. ' 243 



have his blood, and laid their plot to do it. It came to the 
ears of Lysias, and a third time he interposed on his behalf, 
and sent him under strong* escort to his superior officer 
Felix at Csesarea. Five days after his arrival he was 
confronted with his accusers before the Governor. 
Tertullus led the van of the attack, and Paul defended 
himself. Felix didn't understand the case, and said he 
would wait till Lysias came down, and hear him again. 
He did hear him again, but one time in special, when 
before the godly reasoning of his prisoner, the proud 
Roman trembled with a sense of sin and guilt. For two 
years Paul was kept in confinement until Festus came into 
the province. The Jews were quick to inform the new 
Governor about his notorious prisoner, and he appointed a 
day to hear the case. Down came a host of Jews from 
Jerusalem again, and once more laid many and grievous 
complaints against the Apostle, which they could not prove. 
Festus' duty now was plain, but not wishing to anger his 
new acquaintances, he shirked it, and suggested another 
trial at Jerusalem. No, said Paul, " I stand at Caesar's 
judgment seat, where I ought to be judged: — no man 
may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar." This 
gave a new aspect to the affair. The case was taken out 
of Festus' hands, and he only kept him until opportunity 
offered of sending him to Rome. But before his departure 
thither, he had a very important audience with Herod 
Agrippa, king of Chalcis, in which the wisdom and 
gentleness of the Christianity he professed were seen in 
beautiful unity. 

It has long been a favourite charge of irreligious men 
against the godly that, if they know how to pray, they do 
not know how to behave themselves, and I fear that, like 
the story books, it has sometimes been founded on fact 
Who hasn't met with the man who speaks his mind, ana 
doesn't seem to care whom he hurts by it. Or the man 
who tells you he is plain but honest, but whose plainness is 
simply incivility. Or the man who says he hates your 
bowing and scraping and fine gentleman work, and proves 
it in his boorish habits to a demonstration. Rough and 
ready, some of them say they are, and one cannot easily 
refuse them their right to such a title. It seems as if the'" 
had never read the command, " Be courteous," or ^ 

R 2 



244 S*^- PAUL. 



confounded it with the shorter word •' Be curt ;" or that it 
was our duty in honour to prefer one another, for some 
are snappy and short, and some are overbearing" and 
selfish, and some are sour and sullen, so that one almost 
wonders whether they have confounded politeness with 
hypocrisy, and have thought a g'entleman the same sort of 
thing" as a sneak. To me, this is one of the most 
honourable words in the language, * the grand old name 
of gentleman.' To be a gentleman is not to dress in 
broadcloth, and wear patent leather boots, to twirl gilt- 
headed canes, and smoke cigars. It is not to have a 
footman bow to you, or to keep a brougham. Large 
gardens don't make a gentleman* nor large gifts. Grand 
pianos and great entertainments don't make one ; nor is a 
man a gentleman because he can always travel first-class, 
or because silver plate is on his side-board, and gems 
from Italian masters hang in his drawing-room. But if 
courtesy without fawning, care without fussiness, refine- 
ment without affectation, simplicity without simpleness,. 
and gentleness without effeminacy ; if respect for others' 
feelings, a willingness to listen to others' opinions, and a 
readiness to defer to others' wishes ; if honesty, frankness,, 
transparency and moderation, and above all a large heart 
to do good to others ; if all these go to make a gentleman, 
then are there many gentlemen whose clothes are rough, 
and whose hands are horny; then of this science is 
Christianity the best preceptress, the Gospel the most 
advanced text-book, and the tent maker of Tarsus one of 
its most illustrious embodiments; to whom above his 
brethren must be accorded praise, not merely for his faith- 
fully holding, but for his singular proficiency in adorning,, 
the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. 

St. Paul did not merely return a gentlemanly answer 
when Festus called him mad, but a true one. He said,. 
" Not mad, most noble Festus," and all the centuries since 
have never been able to disprove that answer. Poor 
Festus ! perhaps he said what he thought, but some 
thoughts are not worth much. The men that have them 
couldn't see the things they talked of. Very likely to this 
Roman Judge, from his standpoint among the shrines of 
Cybele and Venus, of Jupiter and Bacchus, of Mercury 
and Mars, Paul's life would look mad enough, but this 



ST. PAUL. 



245 



citizen of Tarsus has seen Calvary and Jesus, and things 
look different when a man has seen them. No, not mad, 
most noble Festus, or if mad, the right sort of insanity. 
More of this kind of madness the world could well do with 
to-day. A little more of Paul's madness would do no harm 
to many churches now, and some ministers might not be 
ciny the worse for it either. Some of us are as correct as 
a dictionary, and as straight as a ruler, and as orderly as 
a chess-board, and as proper as complete systems of 
theology can make us, and as harmless to the DeviPs 
kingdom as so many poplar trees. Well, if that be compos 
mentis, I'd rather be non-compos with Paul. Better be a 
little* mad in his way, and save many souls from death, 
than be sane in Festus' way, and preach so many sermons, 
and hold so many meetings, and give out so many hymns, 
and do nothing- much, except crumpling the pulpit cushion 
a little more, and burning so much gas. Mad indeed I I 
would we were all as mad as Paul over this great ques- 
tion. I dare say some wouldn't like it. Lukewarm 
Laodiceans wouldn't like it, proud Pharisees wouldn't like 
it, religious slow-coaches wouldn't like it, beershop keepers 
and lessees of theatres wouldn't like it, misers and 
swindlers, and gamesters, and backbiters wouldn't like it, 
neither the world nor the Devil would like it, but all good 
Tnen would like it, all holy angels would like it, God would 
like it ; and in the great reckoning, tell me whether those 
who. were thus beside themselves would like it or not, when 
those who were wise shall shine as the brightness of the 
firmament, and those who turned many to righteousness as 
the stars for ever and ever. 

It was probably high summer, or a little later, before 
Julius put his distinguished prisoner on board a ship of 
Adramyttium, and it was certainly not before the spring 
of the next year, that they disembarked in the bay of 
iNaples at Puteoli. The incidents of that journey are so 
well known that I may be allowed to pass on quickly to 
^Lcc ^^^ lived in the city, and 

C^l.u ^P^s«e to remain with them a few days, 
thev tro ,, ^^"rtesy of Julius this was allowed, and then 
pari 7f "'^ '^^^^ds the imperial city. On the way a 
ffibonl?'"^' from Rome met them at Appn Forum 
^ ^t)out ten miles further on, at a place called the Three 



246 ST. PAUL. 



Taverns, another company was waiting* for them, whom 
when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courag"e. 
Seventeen miles further brouofht them to Aricia, a town 
amon«fst the Alban hills, and just beyond it, they g'ot their 
first view of Rome. The sixteen miles that still divided 
them from it would be soon travelled, and then the christian 
Apostle, who had been in many and great cities, stood in 
the larg^est and greatest, if not the vilest of them all, the 
mistress and metropolis of the world. 

It is not easy to describe the city as it was when Paul 
saw it. A g'reat number of the ruins that make modern 
Rome so interesting to the traveller were not even new- 
then. The great wall of Aurelian and Belisarius was yet 
to be built. The wall that then surrounded the city was 
the one built by Servius. The Basilica of Constantine ; 
th(» baths of Titus, Diocletian, and Caracalla ; the arches 
of Hadrian, Septimus Severus, Dolabella; many of the 
obelisks and columns that graced the city in a later age 
were yet to be. Outside the wall, multitudes of houses 
stretched for miles into the country. The people, inside 
especially, were crowded together. Within a circuit of 
little more than twelve miles, more than two millions of 
pe^ople lived. The streets were for the most part very 
narrow, and many of the houses very high. Like the 
great cities of to-day, it was full of contrasts. Palatial 
mao-nificence and grovelling wretchedness ; marble colon- 
nades and dark slums inches deep in mud ; golden roofed 
temples and rows of the shabbiest lodging houses ; art and 
wealth and beauty not a stone's throw from ugliness and 
dirt, and the peak and pine of miserablest poverty. The 
morals of the city were not good. There was nothing in 
heatherkism to make them good. If example had anything* 
to do with it, the people were in evil case, for the pattern 
set them by the Emperor and his family was as bad as it 
well could be. Weak and vain, vicious, consummately so,, 
a blood-thirsty rake and robber, Nero was more like a 
monster than a man. Many of them copied it only too 
faithfully. A great part of the population lived on public 
charity, and cared for little else than their daily allowance 
of corn from the public treasuries, the games of the circus,, 
and the brutal excitement of the g-ladiatorial shows. 
There were about a million of slaves in the city. It was 



ST. PAUL. 247 



a vile place, this city of Rome, a veritable stables of 
Augeus that sorely needed the coming" of some christian 
Hercules to cleanse it. It found the right man in Paul. 

For some reason not plainly told us, the hearing" of his 
case was long delayed, and during that time he was per- 
mitted every indulgence consistent with military surveillance. 
The law compelled him to be chained to a soldier by one 
arm night and day, but the Praetorian Prefect Burrus 
permitted him to reside in his .own hired house, and 
allowed him everything except actual freedom that he could 
have desired, so that for two years he preached boldly, to 
all who came to visit him, the things which concern the 
Lord Jesus, no man forbidding him. The effect of those 
appeals, both upon his own countrymen and the Gentiles, 
we know to have been very great. Converts to Christianity 
became numerous, and some of them were found even in 
Caesar's palace. Nor must we forgfet that, during this 
captivity, he wrote that most beautiful letter that we call 
the Epistle to Philemon, and also the Epistles to Ephesus 
and Colosse. During that period Epaphroditus visited 
him, bearing a most grateful present from the church at 
Philippi, and took back with him the epistle that contains 
less of censure, and more of praise, than all his other 
writings. And during that period, who shall say how 
many of the rough soldiers, who were chained to him, 
were melted down by the christliness of his demeanour, 
and persuaded to become both almost and altogether such 
as he was. At the close of two years, the clear light of 
the inspired narrative fades, and for the Apostle's subse- 
quent history, we are left to the dimmer radiance of 
tradition. All the evidence that can be collected goes to 
establish the fact, that the imprisonment in which St. 
Luke leaves him was not final, and was followed by a 
period of liberty, in which his apostolic message was pro- 
claimed even unto farthest Spain. The charge against 
him broke down before the imperial tribunal, as it must 
have done, if anything like justice dwelt at Rome, and he 
was set free. We have no means of knowing exactly how 
that liberty was employed, except that we are sure that he 
spared no pains, that such a one as Paul the aged could 
put forth, to extend the knowledge of his Lord and Master. 
Probably not more than five years elapsed before he was 



248 ST. PAUL. 



again arrested, at whose suit, or on what charge, we cem 
only conjecture. His second letter to Timothy was written 
some time after that, and we can see from it that his 
imprisonment is much worse than before. It is dangerous 
for any one to side with him. None of his companions are 
with him now but Luke ; some are away, some have 
forsaken him. The first hearing of the case is already 
over. It would seem that a large concourse listened to his 
defence, but he has no hope of ultimate release ; he is 
merely remanded. It is clear to him now that his days 
are numbered. He is not afraid of the issue, but he clings 
to human friendship still, and in this second letter to his 
son Timothy, we see how anxious he was to look once 
more upon the face of a friend. The confinement is close 
and harsh, and the wind blows chill and cold about his 
prison walls ; will Timothy do his utmost to bring that 
cloak from Troas before the winter ? . We are sure he 
would, if he were able, and we would fain hope that he 
arrived in time to see his Master, and to soothe with some 
kindly offices of affection his latest hours. 

The end came at last, the final hearing of his case 
resulting in sentence of death. He was well prepared for 
it. From the hideous tortures to which many of his 
brethren had been lately subjected his Roman citizenship 
saved him. His must be death by decapitation. We 
know not at what hour of the day the Roman lictors 
came to summon their prisoner for his last earthly 
journey, whether in the grey dawn, or at the sultry noon- 
tide, or when the soft winds of evening blew coolly over 
the wide Campagna. We know not what curious eyes 
were turned on the small troop of soldiers that marched 
slowly out of the city, on the road to Ostia, with a grey 
haired man in the midst, nor on how many faces there 
gathered consternation, as devout men saw that it was the 
great Apostle ; and when some little distance from the 
city the Roman captain called a halt, and bade the 
executioner do his office, we know not who stood by, and 
prayed God give the dying saint an easy quittance, nor can 
we tell whose were the friendly hands that slowly raised 
the body of the martyr, and gently and reverently laid it 
in the tomb. But we do know something of the holy 
triumph that swelled the bosom of this faithful disciple. 



ST. PAUL. 249 



called at last to follow his Lord without the gate ; we do 
know something" of the calm courage with which he gazed 
upon the glittering steel ; we do know something of the 
blessed hope that gave new vigour to that feeble form, 
■and lent a strange glory to that worn and pallid face ; we 
do know something of that companionship that never fails 
believers, and is always sweetest when they need it most, 
and we can faintly imagine what songs of triumph would 
burst from the ranks of watching seraphim, as the happy 
spirit of this Apostle, Prophet, and Martyr, freed from the 
trammels of mortality, took its " last triumphant flight, 
from Calvary's to Sion's height." 

We call that a noble army that he entered. It was a 
noble army then, but many a brave heart has joined it 
•since. The name of Stephen was already on its roll book, 
and that of James, but there was a vacant space for Peter's. 
Phocas had not joined it, nor Ignatius, nor Polycarp ; it 
wanted Germanicus and Justin, Irenaeus and Cyril, John 
Huss and Jerome of Prague, Thomas Bilney and John 
Lambert, Anthony Pearson and George Wishart, Anne 
Askew and Jane Grey : it wanted Cranmer and Ridley, 
Latimer and Hooper, John Rogers, John Bradford and 
John Leaf : it wanted Philpot and Bradbridge, Hudson 
and Kempe, Eagles and Allerton : it wanted William 
Threlfall, and John Williams, and Thomas Baker, and a 
host of others, of whom the world was not worthy, who 
counted not their lives dear unto them so that they might 
win Christ, and are found in Him to-day, exalted above 
their fellows, decked with a diadem of more than ordinary 
splendour, and bearing on their serene and lofty forehead 
a name of more magnificent renown. 

Thus lived and laboured, and thus died, the last, but 
not the least, in the glorious company of the Apostles. In 
many things he is of necessity very far above us. Those 
miraculous gifts of the Spirit, which were at once a marvel 
and a glory to the early church, and in which he so greatly 
excelled, we can never know ; the restless energy, keen 
insight, varied and extensive learning, the scholarly pre- 
cision, classical taste, and logical acuteness that so 
distinguished him, may be gifts that we shall never share ; 
but the humility, the patience, the gentleness, the truth, the 
whole-heartedness, the unswerving fidelity to principle, the 



Jni' ST. PAUL. 

th*--: i.wt o* al! tha: was Tiobit- and ^Tood in God's word, 
ar.. :r»: a: r.-k'-^rnr^ o: al! that was mean and false; the 
rr^-i^i.nt-sv :n;i* U'>i v-nnl al! with its own £rlor\% and made 
P.:r. .'. rr.i .it , m-istiar. ant! a modd man, are surelv not 
i»-v. ". iiir iTr/ratjt^r. Le: us try to copy them, and let it 
hva"!' T u^ IT tni^ nal.owt'tl exercist- to remember that the 
TTv. r."\ . u* wn:.-^? ht wa,- si' impressive a monument, is ours 
i.r r:^: a^kir.::. ar.i. th( ir'art- ht* so richly experienced is 
t**»v. :':c *.k; ;. "ivt^'-. anil thouirh 

•' Slillion^ then h-ivf >>^en fmpplied, 
>J4. r H-'Ws a*- ti^si. af- eve' . 
I^f.i. till ?\.ivirtU'V wounded si<lf%'* 

-*• ::•»: TTi.'irv u-^i:::ic> that hear his name, 1 have neither 
::::>: T),r :*:.:..*\ i. s: >; -a k «'i> rht'y deserve. Anything- from 
>*:.^! :. T^uiT w.iuk tu.v( lunT. t-ai^erly welcomed, but when 
T. ::v K"\^: an.. r:'-t o: <rrt^a: natural iri^ts is added the 
n\N...-^.:^^T .r ttv. :-i.»«v ^^nc, wt- art- not surprised that men 
n:k«*. . :-: ,:>^r-: u: :!ii rtvsul: with a resr»ect that becomes 
\ :»:>:*"..: . T. .»::!:•:• m:T hr.vt- sp:>kon and written concern- 
nc "••- k::i::\L*n^ inn: r.)mt'rh nv>: with ohser^'ation, but I 
s:l»..-. .::.:;k i: ru. v in \'f:'\ ii^irly qut^stioned if the^\Titino;s 
.r „.: V ..:>: T!i:.r !!:.*•: w"i.>nt morr, nav, as much, towards its- 
t^>;..:»..s:'r.i:T :. ::s tn.^M wr.irh Inar ihf sii:*nature and seal 

.>: * : ^ \..t:':. t. Ik IlT. apastie, separated unto the 

i: .»st»: .' -^-»:. " 

1:,^: K.-^.^-;..T. >:': wc.'.rs ::)r its perfect o-lory. Evil of 
'".'ij:.-^* K.'-..> :> s:..i r:irr.: .zi-nt in the earth, A bold 
K.-.: .-... .v-r. ::-.-■'.> ::^i tMri-ip^rs with revealed truth. 
iv^;n'\. .-: :->r t^- ,: .»r fj. x\tr. is in many places in the 
a.>.Y-^..^-^: A *::.i.-: S.>yr!r:sm still sets its battle in 
o.:"iv, o---/. t'^'. -"c ::'c wh.^ Star jt^r-n their face the show 
a-'i sT^'x r V ! t^-^a-t -: Irr .It l.:y. Yet are there many places^ 
cd'k c.t viai^k \\.:h :ht^ n::>ts of Ta^r^nism, and filled with 
h2l-.:j.:.v -".> o: v^r^t .ty. a-^i on nr.any a height of espial and 
o.'iiTn of vantaiTe, the eye of the watchman almost wearies 
f.^r the cav. Vrt is that liav a'oproachin<r, and we are 
nearer this nii:ht To its cawninij than when we first 
l>elievevi : nearer to its hallowed peace, and glorious 
brotherhoo«.l : nearer its defeat of falsehood, and the 
\ictory of truth : nearer its brandingf of meanness, and the 
crowninof of honour: nearer its beating- of swords inta 
ploughshares, and spears into pruning hooks ; nearer its 



ST. PAUL. 251 



songs of deliverance, and anthems of joy; nearer its 
untroubled friendship, and world-wide liberty, and undis- 
sembled love ; nearer the day when every house shall be 
a Bethel, and the world shall be called " the city of the 
Lord, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel,'* and when shall 
be accomplished the ancient prophecy of Isaiah, " Violence 
shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruc- 
tion within thy borders ; but thou shalt call thy walls 
Salvation, and thy gates Praise. Thy Sun shall no more 
go down ; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself ; for the 
Lord shall be thy everlasting light, and the days of thy 
mourning shall be ended." 



SPEECH 

Delivered at the Annual Missionary Breakfast Meeting y held on 
Saturday, April 28th, iS^^y at the City Terminus Hotely 
Cannon Street , London, 

THE TARRYING VISION. 

It would be a comfort to me now if I could use the time- 
honoured formula with which practised speakers are 
accustomed to glide along" the slippery levels of opening 
sentences, and say, with a good conscience, " I am delighted 
to be present in this meeting." Perhaps, Sir, you will 
allow me to use it with a difference, and simply to say, 
before plunging in medias res, that, by all I see and hear at 
this Missionary Anniversary, I am considerably interested 
and not a little impressed. So much for the personal 
feeling of one who was never at one of your May meetings 
or on a London platform before, and whose pleasure of 
listening is taken a little grievously through the prospect 
of having himself to speak. The summons from your 
accomplished Secretary to come over from the Troas of 
my northern Circuit to this monstrous Macedonia, as you 
may imagine, set me thinking, and the upshot of it has 
been that I have had a vision, and I should like, if this 
much may be allowed me, to tell this audience what it was 
I saw. Yet it was not in the night when deep sleep falFeth 
upon man, but in the broad day, bright with flashing 
sunbeams ; nor in some lonely glen amongst the hills, but 
in the midst of our busy town, smoky and noisef ul ; nor 
was it under the spell of some poetic wizard, but with the 
book before me that speaks of Calvary and Christ, that 

** I looked into the fnture far as haman eye oonld see, 
And saw the vision of the woild and all the wond^ that would be." 



254 THE TARRYING VISION. 



It was, indeed, the world ; this world, our world, but 
■chang'ed. Not, indeed, its outward features. The wooded 
plains, the boundingf lines of wold and fell and mountain, 
the rivers broadening to the sea, the streams that run 
among^ the hills, were all there, little changfed, if changed 
at all ; but the men were changed that lived there. 
Saxon, Celt, and Cymri — those were terms still used, but 
there was a bond of brotherhood among them not known 
to-day. Business was there as of yore, not slothful ; but 
the greed was gone, and the keenness was no longer cruel ; 
and the folly, and the trickery, and the fraud were gone 
like a dream when one awaketh. And so was pleasure 
there, but frivolity had passed, and the sensual had become 
the spiritual, and the idle and the selfish and the base had 
vanished too. And towns were large, and cities great, 
and villages many as before, but with happier souls there 
had been born to men a better sense, and they no longer 
herded families in what was little better than a pigstye, 
or courted fevers by living just above the cesspool and the 
drain. And men were in different rank and station, but it 
seemed as if the age of gold had come again when 

"—None were for a party, 

But all were for the State ; 
And the rich man helped the poor man, 
And the poor man loved the great." 

F'or the ancient spite and party feud were gone, and 
they had learnt in honour to prefer one another. And 
they were set in families, but the children were obedient 
to their parents, and the fathers provoked not their 
children unto wrath, but brought them up in the nurture 
and admonition of the Lord. And the old idea of 
uniformity was an idea still — for the Church went forth 
bearing many banners — but I heard no quarrelling in the 
camp : — Judah did not vex Ephraim, and Ephraim did not 
envy Judah. Men sat in Parliament and Synod, but strove 
for truth not triumph, and Government was not in the 
subtlety of Macchiavelli, but in the simplicity of Christ. 
And there were no longer spent Kings' ransoms in 
wondrous ironclads that when you touched them in a fog 
went incontinently to the bottom and lay there, or the 
revenues of a province in the doubtful blessing of a 
5tandfng army ; for the swords were beaten into plough- 



THE TARRYING VISION. 255 

shares and the spears into pruning hooks. And I noticed 
that there were no mothers giving babies gin to drink at 
the doors of gorgeous saloons ; no fair young maidens, no 
ingenuous youths flinging away health and happiness and 
honour at the shrine of the drunkard's Moloch ; no little 
children pulling with tiny hand the ragged coat of a grace- 
less father, and begging him with sobs to come home. 
They had somehow solved the problem of the workman 
and his Sabbath worship, for he came and sat among his 
wealthier brethren, and the Lord was the Maker of them 
all. And looking across this streak of silver sea I saw 
that careless France had become beautiful in holiness, and 
Spain was ennobled with the dignity of goodness, and 
they of Italy — sunny Italy — once more were sending 
greetings to the saints at Corinth, and boasting of the 
faith of old Achaia ; and the Eastern Question was dead 
and buried, and our Western question too — of the Syllabus 
and the Index, and the teaching ex cathedrd, and the 
Christ-dishonouring superstition that has its seat in Rome 
— ^that was buried too. And I saw that ancient people, 
through whose casting away there came about the 
reconciling of the world, received again, and that receiving 
of them was like life from the dead. And I saw all Africa 
was civilized and one in Christ Jesus, and in that holy 
unity there was neither black nor white, nor bond nor free. 
And in Him Arabia at last was truly "Felix :" and India 
had cast aside her multitudinous idolatries ; and China, 
standing on the broad foundation of prophets and 
apostles, bade all the world a most brotherly welcome in 
Christ Jesus ; and along the steppes of Central Asia I 
watched them feeding their countless flocks and singing of 
that Good Shepherd who laid down His life for the sheep. 
And towards the Western sun I saw that men were free 
and yet His bond slaves, enlightened, yet not so much by 
the flickering lights of science, as by the teaching of the 
Holy One, and happy, happier far in their willing service 
than ever in their careless license ; and the islands of the 
sea had heard of Him, and sang to one another across 
their sunlit sweeps of water of His boundless grace, and 
there was one story every child could lisp, one memory 
that every nation cherished, one name that was above 
every name, for the earth was full of the knowledge of 



2^6 THE TARRYING VISION. 



the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. I said 
I have seen a vision, and yet not I alone. I may not put 
you, Sir, through your catechism, but I infer from the tone 
of your opening address that if you were asked whether 
you had ever had a similar experience you could give an 
answer. I feel pretty certain tliat there are not a few in 
this audience who could do the same. I fancied as I heard 
your Secretary give his statement that some such dream 
of blessedness had come to him before he set his statisti- 
cal battle in array. And who shall question that the 
gentlemen who are to follow, to whose linked sweetness 
not long drawn out you will be delighted to listen, have 
each of them in his own way seen a similar vision, and 
dreamt a similar dream? But if they have not, others 
have who will stand here no more. Did not Charles Prest 
and Luke H. Wiseman see it ? and Thomas Vasey and 
Samuel R. Hall ? Did nothing of this kind move William 
Shaw, and William L. Thornton, and Samuel D. Waddy ? 
What of William Dawson, and Robert Newton, and James 
Dixon, and Jabez Bunting ? What of John Hannah, and 
Thomas Jackson, and Daniel J. Gogerly, and Thomas 
Squance? Were their pulses never stirred by such 
imaginincrs? O, Sir, we are in high and holy company 
to-day. Dream how we will about the glory that shall 
follow, the fathers of our Israel saw it all before us. If 
there Idc any disgrace about such dreaming, they shared 
it before we did ; and if it is this that makes us visionary 
and fanatical, they also bore the brand, and bore it 
proudly, who in von fair city see no longer " through a 
glass darkly, but face to face !'' And yet the vision tarries. 
I will not say a word to take away from the effect of that 
hopeful and encouragement statement by the Secretary, 
but it seems to me the world is a long way off yet from 
being converted to God. The vision tarries. It tarries 
like the dawn sometimes seems to tarry to the weary 
watcher, who through the dull, slow hours of the night 
waits and tosses, and tosses and waits in pain. The vision 
tarries like the shore to many a home-sick voyager, who, 
after long sailing over the sea, looks every morning for the 
streak of*^ white on the horizon, and only sees the same 
unbroken line of sea and sky. The vision seems to tarry. 
But we have done something. I believe the last fifty years 



THE TARRYING VISION. 25/ 



have seen a marvellous advance made towards the con- 
summation of the Saviour's kingdom ; but still it tarries. 
Now what have we done with regard to India ? If I were 
to say we have done nothing there, there are brethren 
behind who would fall foul of me. We have done some- 
thing. Yet, after all, looking at India and other places as 
well, what is the work that we, all Christian Churches put 
together, have been doing in the world for Christ Jesus ? 
It seems to me it is something like this : We have lighted 
a lamp here and there, and held it out in the thick gloom, 
making darkness visible ; we have dug a well or two of 
living water here at some Beersheba, and yonder at some 
far-off Dan ; but only those close by can come and drink, 
while at Gibeah and Ajalon and Gilgal they are dying 
daily. Here and there we have sent into the high places 
of the field some Elijah, to be very zealous for the Lord of 
Hosts, but who shall presume to count the prophets of 
Baal that surround him ? Only look at this question of 
numbers. I think I remember when we talked about eight 
hundred millions as the population of the world ; but now 
it is accounted thirteen hundred millions. That simple 
question of numbers is almost enough — ^I was going to say, 
but God forbid — to frighten us. It shall not do that ; but 
it will make us feel that it is no trifle to which we have 
given our heart and hand. They say, Sir, that in some 
countries, where everything is on a very large scale, the 
air is sometimes so clear that, after you have been pricking 
across the plain from dawn to sunset, the mountain that 
you want to gain will seem scarcely any nearer. It is 
something like that with us to-day. From the morning 
that began in May, 1876, till now, the friends and agents 
of this Society have been aiming to reach the far-off 
summit of completed victory. Across the plains of duty 
we have galloped hard and fast, and now as we rein in 
the steeds, and drive the tent pegs, and light the camp 
fires, there it is, still far away in the lessening daylight, 
rising rosy and radiant above the shadowy levels ; and we 
know without a prophet that we shall have many a gallop 
yet before we reach it. The vision tarries I Well, what 
then ? Why, we must wait for it. Sir, and we are here 
to-day to encourage one another to try. Yet there is 
waiting and waiting. There is the waiting that is born of 



2S8 THE TARRYING VISION. 




doubt, palsied and disconsolate. Must that be ours? 
God forbid ! There is the waiting" of luxurious ease. Is 
it that ? God forbid ! There is the waiting of careless 
indifference — is it that? What sort then? Surely that 
which shows the vigfour of its hope by the energy of its 
toil, the waiting that means working*, and that so much 
the more as it sees the day approaching ; like the waiting 
of the farmer, who does not suffer the hope of sheaves in 
September to make him careless in the winds of March ; 
like the waiting of the sailor, who knows that by and by 
he will see the harbour lights, but who does not therefore 
forget to consult the chart, to watch the compass, and hold 
the wheel. We want the spirit that holds by the assured 
issue, but reminds itself of the intermediate conditions, 
that clings to the promise of the Saviour, but remembers 
the process of its fulfilment. So we must labour while we 
wait, and labour that we may rightly wait. We must 
have the spirit that, while it rejoices over accomplished 
purposes, will not be impatient of the detail, that while it 
shouts at the bringing of the topstone, will not disdain to 
sing in the laying of the courses, that while it will do its 
best for the annual meeting and the great congregation, 
will not do less than that where candles gutter in the 
farmer's kitchen, or the village chapel, and a score or two 
of rustics make the gathering of the year. But though I 
say the vision of victory tarries, it only tarries, and the 
work of waiting must be done in hope. But not of a 
possible triumph ! Possible is not the word to use. Of 
course, some things are possible. It is possible that France 
may once more conquer Germany ; possible that Turkey 
may become hale and solvent instead of sick and bank- 
rupt ; possible that Spain may once more count for 
something when the crowned heads muster, and Portugal 
be something more than a dot of colour on the map of 
Europe; possible that Greece may once more cherish 
statesmen like Aristides or poets like Homer ; possible that 
England may become corrupt through her prosperity; 
possible that in the ages yet to be that irrepressible native 
of the isles, you know where from, may come and sit — 
you know where — ^and gaze upon that classic picture of St. 
Paul's in ruins to his heart's content. It is right to say that 
this is pMDSsible, but it is not right to say that it is possible 

\ 



THE TARRYING VISION. 259 



that one day Jesus Christ may have the kingdom. What 
then ? It is certain ! You do not find it written, " Ask of 
Me, and I may give Thee the heathen for thine inheri- 
tance," &c., but, " I shally &c. You do not find St. Paul 
saying, " He may,^^ but, " He must reign, till He hath put 
all enemies under His feet." And what if it does not come 
in our time ? It will in somebody's. And what if we 
cannot explain the manner of its coming ? Does any of 
us know the secret of the rosy fringe that rounds the daisy, 
or of the crystallizing of the falling snow-flakes, where the 
gorse gets the gold for its blooming, or how the rose 
distils its rich perfume ? What if the marshalled forces 
of iniquity seem to our feeble sense a phalanx never to be 
broken ? Cannot He that broke the might of Pharaoh 
find a way through their serried ranks? What if our 
zeal should flag, and our heart should be discouraged ? Is 
there change and weakness with the Most High ? What 
if in comparison of the hosts around us we are very few in 
number ? Does He count for nothing who hath bidden us 
go upon this hallowed warfare ? But for this, indeed, that 
God hath bidden us, that the cause we advocate to-day is 
far more His than ours, there would be no ground for hope. 
The project we are cherishing would be a weak and 
wildering dream ; all our talking and working, and 
preaching and praying, but a beating of the air. But God 
is upon our side, and therefore will not we fear to-day. 
Let the vision tarry, we will wait for it, — for it will surely 
come, it will not tarry, — and herein shall be our confi- 
dence, that He who holds the winds in His fists and the 
waters in the hollow of His hand ; who looks upon the hills 
and they tremble, who toucheth the mountains and they 
smoke ; to whom the tempest that wrecks a navy, or the 
pestilence that destroys a nation, or the earthquake that 
engulfs a continent, or the fire that consumes a star is but 
as the hiding of His power ; to whom the countless myriads 
of men are but as a drop of a bucket, and counted as the 
small dust of the balance ; to whom in the awful NOW of 
whole eternity the past, the present, and the future are to 
the uttermost jot and tittle of the mighty record absolutely 
known ; who for us men and for our salvation stooped to 
the unutterable sacrifice of Bethlehem and Calvary ; that 
He — whatever we may do — that He will not fail nor be 



o 



260 THK TARRYING VISION. 



discouraged until He have set judgement in the midst of 
the earth, and the crowding 4sles of this babbling" world are 
waiting in submission for His law. 



THE END. 



PRINTED BY JAMKS liENNBTT, BABTON 8TRKET, BLACKfiUAN.