,8V 91826 CAVEN LIBRARY JHOX COLLEGE FORQNTO The Second Mile HARRY EMERSON FOSDICK Whosoever shall compel thee to go wne mile, go with him two GROSSET & DUNLAP Publishers :: New York By arrangement with Association Press CM LIBRARY BOX TORONTO Copyright, 1908, by The International Committee of Young Men s Christian Associations Printed in the United States of America The Second Mile HEN lago says about Desdemona that " she holds it a vice in her goodness not to do more than is requested," he lays his dis criminating finger on a trait of char acter not ordinarily worked up in the systems of ethics. Nowhere does he better justify his own comment on himself, " I am nothing if not criti cal." And it is precisely this trait of character on which lago with his dev ilish ingenuity lighted for his evil pur pose, that Jesus made the crown of the moral life. The distinctively Christian quality is to hold it a vice in our goodness not to do more than is requested. Indeed, when it comes down to do ing the bare stint of requirement, and The Second Mile nothing more, Jesus calls that " un profitable." When he describes the servants who, after their day s work in the field, wait upon their lord at supper, he takes obvious satisfaction in the paradox that, though they have fulfilled their obligations from plow ing in the morning to serving at night, they deserve no thanks at all. Lest his disciples should doubt the appli cation, he says distinctly and peremp torily, " Even so ye also, when ye shall have done all the things that are com manded you, say, We are unprofit able servants; we have done that which it was our duty to do. " Not until a man s willingness overflows his obligation, so that what he has to do is seen as a segment in the cir cle of what he would be willing to do, does he become what Jesus would call profitable nor even what Shake speare would count worthy a character like Desdemona. Now, when the Sermon on the Mount faces us with those strict and startling injunctions to give coat and The Austere Truth cloak when a coat is wanted, or to take two blows when one is offered, or to travel two miles when but one is compulsory injunctions that are either stark nonsense or supernally divine sense we are manifestly deal ing with a dramatic presentation of this favorite and characteristic truth of Jesus, that only an unstinted will ingness to do more than anyone can ask makes possible a liberal and Chris tian character. To be sure, he stated his truth in an austere and formidable way. His fig ures of speech startle us with their severe requirements, and to those who first heard them they must have been bewildering in their difficulty. When Jesus said, " Whosoever shall compel thee to go one mile, go with him. two," a concrete picture rose before his Jewish audience, a hateful picture of a Roman soldier, under the sanc tion of his military law, compelling a Jew to the defiling business of carry ing his burden for a mile. To hear this new Rabbi say that under such 3 The Second Mile compulsion a Jew should be willing to go two must have clashed with the Jewish temper, as it would with the American. This sounded like gratu itous surrender of a man s just rights. This looked like generosity gone to seed. And any hearer, knowing the history of that Roman word " an- gario," whose Aramaic equivalent Jesus doubtless used when he said "compel," must have found acquies cence in Jesus command even more unreasonable. As though it were the badge of tyranny, that word had been handed down by the Persian Empire to the Greek, and by the Greek to the Roman, and from the beginning it had stood for military power to impress into unwilling service all men or horses whose help the soldiery de sired. The word was saturated with the hatefulness of age-long tyranny. The unrelenting visages of Persian satraps, Greek governors, and Roman generals were conjured up by its ominous sound, and Jesus injunc tion to superabundant willingness was 4 Roman Law Unrepealed made by its use to seem impossibly difficult. Nevertheless, the aptitude of the principle to our experience is obvious at least in this regard, that while the old military empires long since have gone and Roman soldiers no longer draft into grudging service, compul sion, as a permanent factor in human life, remains. Whether we face it Jesus way or not, we must face it somehow. We do have our Roman couriers that light upon us trudging our chosen path and, whether we will or no, take us along with them. The word " must " belongs in our lives as truly as in any Jew s forced into serv ice by an imperial messenger. Young folk, like rollicking colts in a lush meadow, have preeminently the sense of freedom, but no colt ever pranced far without coming to a fence. One of the signs of dawning matur ity appears when this first conscious ness of liberty gives place to per ception of limitations, to insight into the compelling power of necessity* 5 The Second Mile to audience that often hears the mag isterial words " You must ! " The body says " Must " ; the demands of social life say " Must " ; the necessi ties of business say " Must " ; at every other milestone we meet a courier to impress us into service. Like springs, bubbling up in a first ecstasy of un fettered freedom, but soon finding that every brook has its banks, so men out of the youthful sense of unrestricted liberty flow into a life-course, held in on either side by unescapable neces sities. Sooner or later every man finds his boundaries, and while poets may sing their songs of pathos over the fact, practical people have a more serious problem: to find out, that is, how a man ought to face life s com pulsions, in what attitude of mind and spirit he should meet the " Must " of the world. And Jesus said, " Who soever shall compel thee to go one mile, go with him two." At first sight that is about the strangest prescription for the trouble a man could well imagine. It proceeds upon 6 A Plant Parable the homoeopathic principle that "like things cure like," and would drive out the poison of a disease by in jecting more of the same kind. If you are compelled to go one mile, of your own free will go two, it says, and so defeat the malice of the ne cessity by voluntarily going it one better. Indeed, it is clear that if the earth should say to two plants in a garden, " You must grow," and if one plant should accept the bare necessity, and sullenly grow its stint and no more, that would be slavish business with no glory in it. But if its companion should say : " It is my delight to grow! Come on, O Earth, with all your bounty! You say I must grow, but lo! I am twice as willing as you are to make me ! " that would be a free plant, with worth and distinction in its growing. It is found true at even a cursory glance that the sting of compulsion is gone when a man is twice as willing to act as necessity is to make him. 7 The Second Mile Now among all the ways in which we feel the Roman hand upon our shoulder, none is more unescapable than the compulsion of time. This is the most inevitable of all inevitable things. Tie what you will to the tail of the seconds, they are sublimely in different to your hindrances. If you watch the passing days closely, you find a tyrannic oppression in their noiseless and unceasing march. The Valley of Ajalon where the sun stands still and the retreating shadow on Ahaz s dial have long vanished into the limbo of the eternally lost. When in Congress the sergeant moves back the hands of the government clock, making an artifice of time to pass the last bills in, he must do it with a sar donic grin, for he knows what a futile fraud he is perpetrating on the sun, and how the constellations laugh at him. This slow inevitableness of time is a small matter indeed to the youth, but it puts compulsion on a man not easy to be glad about. So Jesus said to Peter, " When thou wast 8 Fretful Man young thou girdedst thyself and wentest whither thou wouldst, but when thou shalt be old another shall gird thee and carry thee where thou wouldst not." How men rebel against this un- evadable fatality ! How they fret over declining powers, and grudgingly sub mit to limitation, like free lakes poured into narrowing canyons and tumbling upon themselves in fury! Because men take it so, because they enter their cramped confines with such ill grace, they make sorry busi ness out of age, with never a touch of Rabbi Ben Ezra s mellow and ra diant spirit: " Grow old along with me, The best is yet to be; The last of life for which the first was made ! " Rabbi Ben Ezra had the spirit of the second mile. His years were no less implacable in their compulsion and his limitations no less carking than is 9 The Second Mile the lot of other men, but he could see in both years and limitations " Machinery just meant To give thy soul its bent; Try thee and turn thee forth Sufficiently impressed." And whenever you seek the secret of this kind of age, you will not fail to find a man who has gone the second mile; who has faced time and said, " O Time, you are a stern fellow, but you have a godlike power of beauty in you. You can make souls deep and rich and fruitful, as you make old violins musical with the stored-up melodies of years; as you make old wine perfect with the ripe ness of long generations. You say that I must go this mile with you, but I am wise enough to look upon my necessities as though they were my luxuries, and I will go with you so willingly that men shall learn from me to say anew, * The hoary head is a crown of glory ! " The more one 10 The Elemental Must considers it, the more it is clear that when a man must go one mile, the only spirit that can save his soul from bitterness is the willingness to go two. There is another Roman also, who levies his draft upon us, and that is the Roman of work. Underneath every other practical necessity, is this elemental " must " of the breadwin ner: and unless a man has been so hapless as to receive a legacy, youth s heaviest handicap, he needs no one to tell him what an inexorable master this necessity is. Now this compul sion, which sooner or later most men are sure to encounter, may be faced in one of two ways. If he will, a man may accept it doggedly and go about the demanded labor like the Sultan s Janizaries under the lash. He may take work as an unfortunately neces sary part of life, and let himself be beaten to it by the cat-o -nine-tails in the hand of Need. He may skimp- ingly perform the bare requirements and, hating his taskmaster as a ran- ii The Second Mile corous old Jew hated a Roman cour ier, may bitterly trudge that one scant mile, as unwilling as Bryant s " quar ry-slave at night scourged to his dun geon." That is one way to face the necessity of work and thousands of men with their eyes on the clock are working that way to-day. Or if he will, a man may rise to the measure of Antonio Stradivari, in George El iot s poem, and say of his humblest daily tasks what Stradivari said about his violins: " If my hand slacked I should rob God, since he is fullest good, Leaving a blank instead of violins. ***** He could not make Antonio Stradivari s violins Without Antonio." Whenever a man glorifies his work in that way he has gone the second mile; he has translated duty into privilege. He has seen that while God supplies quarries he never carves 12 My Work My Friend statues or piles cathedrals save by the hand of a man; he has perceived that the earth was not built like Aladdin s Palace, by magic spells for lazy oc cupancy, but is an unfinished world into which men are ushered in time to bear a part in its completion; and he has reached the dignity of believ ing that every honest piece of work is cooperation with God in building the universe. Such a man can fol low the Master s word and can give glad welcome to the necessity of work, as it accosts him on the road. He can say, and mean it too, " O Work, you are my best friend in dis guise. God sent you to me. You come with a stern face, but your heart is full of strength and courage and good cheer. You demand that I travel with you that one hard mile? Then, my task, doff that scowl, for to the limit of my strength I am twice as willing to work as you are to make me." Work, greeted like that, loses the frown of compulsion and begins to smile. When a man works that way 13 The Second Mile because he thinks it is his Father s business, feels that it is his meat and drink to do the will of him that sent him, wishes there were more hours in the day than twenty-four, and dreams of Heaven as a place where a man can work all the time at his best and never be tired all the slavery of work has vanished for such a man and he and his task, good friends, walk arm in arm, and will be sorry when the second mile is done. It looks as though Jesus were right, after all. The way to avoid the slavishness of necessity is of your own accord to be willing, if possible, to do more than is demanded. The first mile alone is drudgery. The glory comes with the second mile! Another kind of compulsion faces every man in some degree the com pulsion of limiting circumstances and restricted powers that shut him up to narrow and obscure activities. There are more people than perhaps we think, whose aspirations for preemi nence have been snuffed to a smoul- Jail Limits der. Some aspired to be musicians, some authors, others teachers, preach ers, missionaries; they had perhaps to start with talents equal to their dreams; but the thwarting circum stance, the broken health gradually closed them in and shortly they found themselves hedged around, with a stern Roman peremptorily saying, " You must live your lives here ! " We all face this one way or another. If not the external circumstance, it is that unescapable limitation of our own individuality, the most vexatious handicap of all. For a man to accept himself and start with only one talent, if God has not given him ten, is dif ficult business. " Das verdammte Ich," cried Goethe, and we all know what he meant. Some one has compared man to an actor able to play many roles but re stricted to one; and any virile man, facing the fascinating opportunities of the world s work and feeling the latent possibility of many accomplish ments and ministries, knows that the 15 The Second Mile necessity of choosing one role, or hav ing it thrust upon him, of playing that and not another, is no less tyran nic than a Roman courier to a Jew. Other compulsions may be more grievous to a feeble man, but to the nobler character it is the limitation of life s possible investment that presses hardest. He wants the whole farm and is confident that he could farm it, but lo ! this small garden plot with a hedge all around. Now one solution of the problem is both popular and easy. He may raise his little crop of vegetables in that narrow garden plot and sit down in bitterness behind his hedge to eat them. He may look over his meager boundaries at the bigger farms of stronger men and envy their more ex tensive operations. He may take his spite out by a cynical disparagement of the whole business of living any how, or he may wax melodramatic with Henley and talk about his head being " bloody but unbowed." He may even assume the Titanic pose and 16 The Titanic Pose grandiloquently dare high heaven, de claiming like Thompson in his " City of Dreadful Night," " I vow That not for all Thy power, furled or unfurled, For all the temples to Thy glory built, Would I assume the ignominious guilt Of having made such men in such a world ! " In a word, he may incarnate the one- mile spirit and grow surly, rebellious and morose within his narrow hedges. If, however, that does not seem a knightly attitude, there appears no alternative short of Jesus way, who evidently would have us say about this same meager plot, " Well, it is not much to start with, but, O Roman of Necessity, you need not think that I am going to do only what you com mand, merely live here and raise enough to eat. I am going to make this little place so beautiful that pas- 17 The Second Mile sers-by will stop to enjoy it. It is not large, but fair flowers grow in small places. You require me to live here, but I will go twice as far as that. I will not only live here, but I will make it worth while living here; and these very hedges which you say must al ways bind me in, I will husband until they are as fragrant as English haw- thorne or Scotch heather, and people who cried, What cruel limitations ! shall yet say, What a beautiful hedge! " History loves to record the names of men who conquered the malice of their fate by this spirit of the second mile men like the old Greek chosen in a joke to be town scavenger, who filled the office with such high service- ableness that thereafter in all Greece the office was an honor ; men like blind Huber becoming the great scientist, or blind Fawcett becoming Postmas ter-General of England; men like Cervantes using an imprisonment to begin " Don Quixote," or Bunyan glorifying Bedford Jail with the " Pil- 18 The Most of It grim s Progress " ; men of the spirit of those four marines from the Brit ish ship " Wager " of whom Steven son tells us, who, compelled to remain on a desert island because the lifeboat could hold no more, stood on the shore and gave three cheers when the boat pulled off with a " God save the King ! " for a tiger. These men his tory delights to honor, for, in the end, time endorses God s evaluations. And where in humbler expressions this same spirit of the second mile is found, as when the young woman wrote her friend out of her invalid- ism, " At first I thought somehow to make the best of it, but now I am planning how to make the most of it," every man with a heart for chivalry pays homage. These folk of the more abundant willingness travel with us the first hard mile of compulsion, but they make it beautiful with the sec ond mile of consecration. That bare compulsion, taken alone, is grim, but when we rise to say " I will make my narrow boundaries a garden of 19 The Second Mile the Lord where he may walk as he did in Eden in the cool of the day," the cruel necessity glows with a di vine meaning, and a glory appears in the limited life the glory of the sec ond mile. When we carry this principle out from the realm of such inevitable ne cessities as time and work and per sonal limitation, into the sphere of moral obligation, its applicability be comes all the more clear. Some things are sternly demanded of men by the regulations of the social life. The for mal obligations of the marriage cov enant, for example, can be enforced. There is an irreducible minimum of duty which Public Opinion insists on expecting from wives and husbands, parents and children. Like some old Roman, the Social Conscience, some times speaking with the voice of legal enactment, comes to every one of us, and says of the absolutely necessary duties of family relationship, " You must do these things." There are households, moreover, 20 The One-mile Home where this minimum marks the outer boundary within which the whole life of the family moves. They do just as much as they have to do and no more. The household is run in the spirit with which a miser pays taxes. Any over flow of spontaneous love, any volun teering of surplus kindliness is un known. They keep the prohibitions of the law, and look for a home to come of it, like Gasparoni, the Italian bandit who hoped for heaven because he had never committed murder on Friday. They are one-mile folk and they make a one-mile home. But it is the unnecessary courtesies, the unexpected presents brought from the city, the uncalled-for thoughtful- ness of lovers, the surprises of kind liness over and above what can be required this superabundance makes a real home. Here the difference lies between a parent and a father; between progeny and sons; between a housewife and a mother. Let a housewife be never so faithful about her tasks, determined to do them well, 21 The Second Mile with resolution keeping the home neat, the children well provided; yet any man who has had a real mother knows at once that such description leaves the glory out. The real mother did her duties too, but there was something more a radiance that glowed through her simple tasks like a quiet dawn in summer, an ampleness of love as though she moved in realms where rules had been forgotten, that made her human affection liberal like the love of the Eternal God. Her ministries could not be so common place as to let you utterly escape the secret influence of the fact that with unsearchable desire she had prayed for you first. Her spirit was greater than her deeds and suffused them; and as you remember her now, you think not so much of her particular ministries as of that unwearied willingness to overpass all boundaries in loving you. The last thing you can ever forget is that luminous tenderness which, like God s sunshine on the just and the unjust, sought you out in whatsoever 22 Surplus Tenderness merit or demerit you might be, to find you as Christ found the world, not that he might condemn it, but that the world through him might be saved. All true mothers live in the spirit of the second mile. Like the Word of God brooding over chaos and making a world of it, this surplus tenderness creates homes out of households. There are few things more pathetic than a one-mile family, but the crown of all human relationships and the hope of the coun try is the two-mile home, where al ways " the cup runneth over." What this principle of Jesus does, then, when applied to our moral life, is clear. It divides a man s conduct into two parts, the compulsory and the voluntary, the things he must do and the things he chooses to do, the first mile and the second. It says, moreover, that only as the voluntary overspreads and saturates the neces sary can life cease to be slavery and come to its full meaning of dignity and value. There is an essential no- 23 The Second Mile bility that belongs only to the soul who can say with Jesus, " No man taketh my life from me. I lay it down of myself." Until willingness over flows obligation, men fight as con scripts instead of following the flag as patriots. Now, with reference to this spirit of the second mile, men are divided into well-defined classes, of which the lowest are clearly those miserable folk who like Shylock are forever after their rights. Their attitude toward men is that of a collector seeking pay ment on protested bills. They are spe cialists in the exaction of what is due them. They interpret duty as a cus toms officer does to mean not what he owes men, but what men owe him. Such men reveal themselves by their instinctive attitude toward clearly stat ed moral obligations, such as, "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor." Facing this command, some will cry, desiring all their rights, " Is my neighbor, then, bearing false witness against me ? " and some will 24 Privilege First search their souls with the question of duty, "Am I bearing false witness against my neighbor?" Rights or duties, you can interpret any com mandment either way, and it is the relative emphasis a man places here that measures the first stage in his character building. Not till duty looms larger than rights is a man truly mor al. But neither the one nor the other is the test of Christian char acter. Christianity begins when the sense of privilege in service becomes greater than both rights and duties. For us to be Christian is to be more willing to serve a man than he is to demand it; to go the second mile; to forgive seventy times seven; to pray on our Calvaries for the men who put us there; to act, that is, as no one has the right to require of us, and to feel about it all that our meat and drink are to do the will of him that sent us. The essential word of Christianity is love and that means superabundant willingness to help. A man becomes really Christian when the sense of joy 25 The Second Mile in ministry overflows both rights and duties and submerges them. And just here is the real worth of the moral life. So long as Words worth sings Duty, " Stern Daughter of the Voice of God," he is but on the threshold of the matter. It is only when he rises in his climax to say: " Yet thou dost wear The Godhead s most benignant grace; Nor know we anything so fair As is the smile upon thy face: Flowers laugh before thee on their beds And fragrance in thy footing treads," only then has he come to the heart of it. Duty is never worthily done until it is performed by a man who loves it so that he would gladly do more if he could. Some men say of their duties, "I must"; some men say, " I ought " ; some men say, " I want to, let me at it." These are the three tones of life. One man is the slave of his necessities; one, the grim 26 Duty and Duty moralist doing his duty; one, the man of an abounding sense of privilege in life, who feels all blessings large with God s favor, all trials meaningful with purpose, all duty a glorious preroga tive. Though the gross output of moral living may seem in each case to be the same, these lives are not of one spiritual family. A duty done grudgingly and the same duty done willingly are after all not the same. All sense of compulsion and of obli gation is only underground founda tion for the real temple, whose altar- song is forever, " I delight in the law of the Lord." As the real worth of the moral life lies in this attitude of more abundant willingness, so the whole joy of the moral life lies there too. It is because of their unwillingness to go the sec ond mile that men make such desper ate labor out of going the first. When Paul finds himself with his hard road to travel an arduous journey all the way from the midnight escape at Da mascus to the headsman s axe at Rome 27 The Second Mile he does not, like the lesser souls, spoil it by desiring to go half instead. " I must " is alien from his spirit ; " I ought," an occasional but not domi nant tone ; " Thanks be to God who counted me worthy, appointing me to be his minister," that is Paul s over flowing zeal which took the sting from the first mile s obligation. If a friend ask a favor, saying, " I have a right to demand that as a friend," and you reply, " Man, stop talking about rights. I am more willing to make that sacrifice than you are to ask me," by that you have transformed obliga tion from drudgery to privilege. So Paul wrote to Philemon, making re quest of service from him, and said, "Without thy mind I would do noth ing, that thy goodness should not be as of necessity, but of free will " ; and thereby he suggested the only way to find joy in duty. The penurious moralist stingily expending himself no farther than the law requires, is a pitifully sad fellow, who has never learned that it is hard work serving 28 Our Stewardship as a drafted man in a battle you would like to avoid, but that it is glorious business fighting as a volunteer for a cause you love. There are a thousand little ways in which we can put this to the test: If we have money and are pestered by requests for its expenditure, what a cure for impatience to recognize that it is more to our interest to have our stewardship rightly accomplished than it can be to any other man s, so that even if we cannot give to a particular cause we can send the petitioner away with the feeling that we were more willing to give than he was to ask us! If we have talents and are worn threadbare by the continual demands upon us, what a cure for the require ment s malice to know that it is more to our interest to do all the good we can than it can be to any other man s and so to meet each request with a willingness to do even more if we are able. Any child knows the magic of this divine remedy if he has ever dragged his reluctant feet toward the 29 The Second Mile berry patch under orders to pick two quarts, and then has solved the prob lem of his uncomfortable duty by cry ing, "What fun! I ll surprise the family by picking four ! " Drudgery is all redeemed by that. When a man, however, attempts this attitude toward all the duties of his life, tries to make it the solvent for his moral drudgeries, he finds that reasonably to be more than willing to do all he ought to do, so that his vol unteering outruns the demands of men upon him, implies a view of life that taxes the limit of his faith. A man can say, " I must " in atheism ; he can say, " I ought " in bare morality ; but to say " I want to " as though there were a great privilege in living, as though it " means intensely and means good/ as though purpose were there because the world had been thought through and willed through and loved through by a Father, as though des tinies were ahead in which the mean ings of all sacrifice would come to their apocalypse in glory " exceeding 30 Whom I Serve abundant above all we can ask or think" that means a religious view of the world. Only when a man be lieves that there is a Person to receive our consecration, whose service is per fect freedom, and whose love con- straineth to that noblest motive for all duty doing, the gratitude of love to One who loved us first; only then can he reasonably feel the more abundant willingness in sacrificial service. If there is some one able to "keep that which we commit unto him," so that nothing is ever wasted, no serviceable deed, no love, no aspiration, but " All we have willed or hoped or dreamed of good shall exist, Not its semblance, but itself," then we can say, "I want to." Only the man of Christian faith, who sees the Eternal God mirrored in the char acter and purposes of Christ can rea sonably accept the privilege of Chris tian service. A man can stumble the first mile almost anyhow, but no man The Second Mile can travel the second mile without God! Indeed here we enter the very Holy of Holies of religious living. As the spirit of the second mile so inevitably demands the Christian God to make it reasonable, so the same spirit is the best interpreter of the life which such a God inspires. To many people re ligious living is an affair of negative prohibitions, and they walk in the presence of God like an embarrassed courtier at the salon of Louis XIV, conscious chiefly of what they must not do. Their righteousness is exhausted in what they refrain from. " They are just as good as trying not to be bad can make them." Or if a man has graduated from this idea of God as a Sinaitic Lawgiver, who spends his odd moments checking up the accounts of folk who have transgressed his prohi bitions, he may still conceive religious living as a matter of positive rules and regulations, ceremonial and moral, whose observance is the whole of duty. This man is the kind of char- 32 Celestial Credit acter who stereotypes his courtesy into a list of memorized rules, who keeps account of his good deeds and bad deeds by number and charts them at night, who figures his hopes of heaven by the balance of credit on the celestial ledger, and who so punctil iously goes his round of the com mandments that his friends would offer a hecatomb if only the man would do a single impulsive and hearty deed, were it even to be guilty of spontaneous sin. Whichever way he goes at it, negatively or positively, this man is the legalist, living by rule the man of the one-mile spirit living the one-mile life. It was in escaping from this legalism that Paul said he became a Christian. No man is really a Christian until he has escaped it. If a boy, adopted into a strange home, and unruly in his new surroundings, should perforce be given a set of regulations which he must ob serve, he might become more orderly, but he would hardly by that alone become a true son. But if some day 33 The Second Mile the love of the father or mother should be persuasively revealed to him, so that the love that had been there al ways laid masterful hold on him, and his love, newly born, should spring up in answer, flooding his spirit with its loyalty, and if, knowing the new life in him, he should take the rules and tear them up, saying " Because I love you I will do all these and much more beside," then a true son would have been begotten. He would have been " born again." " If ye love me, ye WILL keep my commandments," said Jesus and this statement of inevitable consequence is summed up in Paul s sublime word, " Love is the fulfilling of the law." Apart from love a man cannot keep so many rules or do so many deeds as to make himself a Christian. "If I give all my goods to feed the poor and have not love," said Paul, " it profiteth me nothing ! " This does not mean the destruction of the moral law; it means that the Christian life so far outruns the moral law, so far overflows commandment 34 Law the Molehill with compassionate willingness to serve, that rules of conduct are to its wide domain what the obligations of a civil marriage ceremony would be to the love of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett. They would keep the contract as one would walk over a molehill in climbing a mountain! Love does all that the commandments say, and counts that the mere begin ning. Love is not love until it has forgotten rules. The Christian s " royal law " fulfils all lesser laws like the Atlantic flowing into the Bay of Fundy when the sky calls to the tide. Nor does this mean that conduct is to be left to the unregulated expres sion of a compassionate heart. A man may be in spirit truly courteous and still need instruction in the conven tions of society. Love in the soul does not make inevitable a judicious and intelligent expression. So the old proverb has it that " the chief business of the wise is undoing the mistakes made by the good." It is the prime thing to be courteous and kindly at 35 The Second Mile heart, but important, too, to make the outer symbol truly signify the inner reality. " What is the use of being gold, if you look like brass ? " is only partly true, but that part is of conse quence. The love of God may be shed abroad in our hearts and still through ignorance that love s expres sion may be indiscreet and mischie vous. While the primary matter, therefore, is that the branches abide in the vine, the trellis of command ment is a needful device that the fruit shall have guidance in normal growth. Nevertheless the trellis alone is so fu tile, and the training of a live vine so easy as compared with getting fruit from a dead one, that the necessity of the trellis should not blind us to the main issue which is the vital junction of the branch and vine. Moral instruc tion in details of conduct must never hide the fundamental matter, that there is no Christianity apart from a love which goes the second mile. Christ is witness that there is such a love, God himself underground in a man s life, 36 Second-mile Society rising in artesian wells of living water a love so exhaustless in its willing ness to serve, that he who knows it un derstands the safety of St. Augustine s profound injunction, " Love God and do as you please ! " This love that goes the second mile, however, is more than a solvent for moral drudgeries in the individual life. It is distinctly a force of social revolution. For here is the testing of this principle in its application to so ciety: that in the home it is entirely possible to exercise this superabun dant willingness to serve; in the neigh borhood, even, it is possible for a man to outrun the demands upon him by the volunteering of his own kindli ness; but who by any possibility can live the spirit of the second mile in the industrial world where the funda mental principle is " The good old rule, the simple plan, That he should get who has the power, And he should keep who can." 37 The Second Mile Your business man will tell you frank ly that it is hard enough to run an enterprise successfully and be scrupu lously honest honest, that is, not ac cording to the letter of the statutes, but according to the dictates of a sen sitive and instructed conscience. But when it comes to loving, loving in Jesus sense of being twice as will ing to help men as they are to ask you; as willing to give coat and cloak together as they can be to take your coat alone; willing to take two blows if two there must be, rather than give one; when it comes to overflowing all sense of duty with spontaneous kind liness, who does not see that the prin ciples of Jesus and the principles of a competitive system where men throt tle each other for bread come into ab solute and unavoidable collision? Even yet many Christians are in credulous that Christ ever intended that his principles should control the business world. The idea they work on is: Let love control in home, and school, in church and neighborhood, 38 A World Half-free but let business be governed by the rules of battle. Yet is such a division of the world s life conceivably perma nent? If the nation could not con tinue " half slave and half free," can the world continue so forever? Can a thoughtful man imagine as the ulti mate state of society, the Kingdom of God on earth, a regime where home and neighborhood life shall be Chris tianized by the spirit of love and where the commercial world shall still be mastered by the spirit of " Every man for himself"? Surely it is manifest that Christ will not accept half a world for his demesne any more than he will accept half a man; and this is manifest, too, that before the spirit of the second mile, which now is possible in the home, shall come to its full pos sibility in the realm of business, our industrial system must be something other than it is to-day. To be sure men can go the second mile always with certain individuals whom they know and like in business, but no one can make the spirit of the 39 The Second Mile second mile his commercial principle, the underlying postulate of every business transaction, when the basal idea of the commercial system is ri valry for the necessities of life. To be sure men can always ameliorate the conditions of the competitive fight so as to make its appearance more re spectable; they can always pass laws to limit the degrees of exploitation and abolish its worst indecencies. Just so they smoothed out rough-and- tumble fighting into the respectabili ties of the duel, guarded by regula tions from brutality; but is duelling any less abhorrent in principle than thuggery? And is a system where one man knifes another for food and clothes any less abhorrent because restricting laws tone down its more repugnant features? No one doubts the benefi cent effect of making individual ap plication of the spirit of kindliness in business. But then, that is not the primary idea of business in a competi tive system. Mercy may be shown in war, by one foe to another, and mu- 40 War and Christ tual courtesy between individuals upon the firing line is an occurrence in almost every battle only that is not what war means. And however many instances of kindliness between commercial rivals may relieve the fearful carnage of our industrial strife, the truth remains that men, instead of being in cooperative association to exploit the riches of the world, are rather engaged in exploiting one an other; and that the basal idea of a war between men for life s necessities is violently at variance with Christ s idea of superabundant willingness to help. What first is needed is the Christian spirit of cooperation in the hearts of individuals, but with that must come the gradual reformation of social structure that such a spirit may have freedom of expression. This is what makes the great truth of Christ revolutionary if once it be really be lieved in. Let individuals do their best at it now, yet only in a common wealth founded on cooperation can the second-mile spirit come to its full 41 The Second Mile social utterance. And here is the question the twentieth-century Chris tian must settle whether he really believes more in the principles of Christ, or the principles of the present industrial order. For unless irrecon cilable enemies can live in the same house one or the other must go. Returning now to the individual application of this master truth of Jesus there remains at least this one thing more to say: that not alone do the moral worth and joy of a man s life lie in the second mile, but the in fluence of a man lies there too. Jesus evidently is speaking here especially of some man who dislikes us, criti cizes us, maliciously plans against us and seeks our hurt. What he says is that our love for that man should be so great that we should be more will ing to serve him than he is to make us yes, twice as willing; that no malice of his should ever reduce our souls to the level of hatred, or spoil our invincible love that pushes on through all his wrongs, still willing to 42 The Natural Way serve him more and win him if w& can. There are many ways in which an unfriendly man can be treated, and every one has chances to try them all. " If he hurt me," it is possible to say, " I shall hurt him worse, un til, like Jason sowing dragons teeth and reaping a hostile army, he shall find his evil to me coming back upon him as many fold as I can manage it." That is vindictive vengeance. Or it may be said, " If he hurt me I shall, with level measure, return as much to him, and teach him the mean ing of the law, * Eye for eye, tooth for tooth. " This is retribution. Or it may be said, " If he hurt me I shall ignore him, and scorning to recognize his injury, treat him with the con tempt the moon gives to the dog that bays it." That is the disdain of hot resentfulness. Or it may be said, " If that man hurt me I will serve him still and try with undiscourageable love to do him good. Whatever comes, his hate shall never ruin my 43 The Second Mile good will. I will take his unfriendli ness as my opportunity for unrequited service, and when the first mile of his unkindness has been traveled I will be there to say, Man, my master is Christ and Christ never let any man s unkindness spoil His love. I am try ing to follow Him and I am not going to let your unkindness spoil my love. You may not be my friend, but I am yours, and nothing you can ever do will stop it. " That clearly is the way Jesus lived, and clearly that is what he expects of his disciples. To be sure, there may be limits which love cannot overpass; but then we may be certain that none of us has ever come within reaching distance of them. Even Christ seems never to have discovered limits to love in all his wide horizons. Now this unconquerable compas sion is not alone the most profoundly joyful spirit in which to live. At the very least it is that. The niggardly soul who, when he must give a quart of kindliness measures it out by thim- 44 The Only Hope blefuls to avoid the possibility of sur plus and does that only to the inner circle of his friends, has all the work and none of the joy of love. But this spirit of unwearied goodwill, that with a divine carelessness seeks just and unjust, is the great lifting power of the world, the secret not alone of joy but of spiritual effectiveness. From the standpoint of the giver it seems a severe requirement that he love and serve those who have no personal claim on him, as Living stone served Africa, or Paton the New Hebrides, but from the standpoint of Africa and the New Hebrides, which have no right to claim such devotion, the only hope lies in those souls who, like Livingstone and Paton, love of their own free will away over and above all right of demand. From the standpoint of the giver it is no easy matter to love regardless of the recip ient s moral worth, like Moses praying God for the apostate people holding bacchanalian rout about their golden calf, but from the standpoint of the 45 The Second Mile people who are unworthy, their only hope lies in just such souls, baptized with the spirit of saviorhood, who understand that " they who are sick need a physician," and are willing to help especially the undeserving. And it is a peculiarly hard saying that a man should love regardless of the per sonal attitude of the recipient, whether it be recognition and gratitude or the lack of them; but from the standpoint of the man so far down in spiritual desolation that he does not even know enough to be grateful, there is no hope save in those souls who for the time will forego gratitude and will serve on through ingratitude, misunder standing, persecution even, if thereby they may be saviors of their fellows. The men with lifting power have al ways been men who served regard less of the right of the recipient to demand it, regardless of his moral worth, regardless of his personal in gratitude who served for only one reason, the love of saving. Since the time when the " Lamb was slain be- 46 To Lift Man fore the foundation of the world," and the principle of sacrifice was im bedded in the fabric of the universe, there has been only one force with grip and lift enough in it to hoist the spiritual life of man, and that is the power Jesus used when he suffered, " the righteous for the unrighteous that he might bring us to God." Now, mystical and unpractical as these injunctions may seem, as a mat ter of fact no spiritual achievement ever yet was wrought without this unbought and unpaid for generosity of love. The hope of the world s sal vation lies in this spirit that, forgiv ing seventy times seven, keeps at the main issue which Jesus suggested when he said, " If thy brother hear thee, thou hast won thy brother." Whether in the individual s treatment of his private foe, or in society s treat ment of her public enemy, the crimi nal, any other principle than this is not only wrong, it is entirely inef fective. This mercy may sometimes be stern; it may even t^ke the out- 47 The Second Mile ward form of punishment on the of fender. So Beecher said, " A mother may have all Mount Calvary in her heart and all Mount Sinai in her hand : and the child get both." But what ever may be the outward form that wisdom determines to be best, the inner spirit is always of one quality, the undiscourageable desire to save. This virtue of overflowing love that seeks alone the good of all men, is not too unpractical; it is too prac tical for this world of ours to under stand. This kind of love is the only force that really gets things done. Without it not even an eddy has ever been made in the spiritual history of man. The men who have struck hu manity s life as the shaft of water strikes the turbine at Niagara, saying, " Move," have been men who knew that " God does not always pay wages on a Saturday," and so were willing to serve on through all hostility, to help the very humanity that cursed them while they blessed. The roll- call of the world s spiritual heroes re- 48 All of Saviorhood veals not a single one-mile man. For no man ever saved anybody, or served any great cause, or left any enduring impress who was not willing to forget indignities, bear no grudges, and, like Paul when the Jews had cast him out of their synagogues, had beaten, stoned, and all but killed him, say, "I could wish myself accursed for my brethren s sake, my kinsmen ac cording to the flesh. . . . My heart s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved." The world s saviors have all, in one way or another, loved their enemies and done them good. All of saviorhood lies in the second mile. Clearly it is nothing less than this that Christianity means by love. The man who in his serving holds perpet ual inquisition, suspicious that some how he is being swindled out of love, and who, with the scrutiny of a de tective, searches the character of his fellows for some unworthiness to ex cuse his neglect, never really loves at all, as Christianity counts it, whose 49 The Second Mile God " commended his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us." The man who serves for pay, and like a hireling loves with his eyes on Saturday noon, won dering if he will get his love s worth back again in the appreciation of his fellows, does not love at all, as Christ understood it who said, " Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you." This is the note that Jesus struck when he told his disciples that if they merely loved those who loved them or saluted their brethren only, they were doing what any outcast Publican would do. It is in the " exceeding righteousness " alone that mankind feels the touch of God. It is the spirit of the second mile that makes them seek the cause in the superhuman. To-day in a certain Chi nese village, a strange deity receives incense at the pagan shrine. Long ago there came a Christian mission ary there, who, before he could make 50 There God Is clear the Christian doctrine, died. But it was not before he could make clear the spirit of his Christian love, that brought him unasked and unre warded over seas to carry his good tidings and his ministry of help. And so they made him the village god and burn incense still upon his altar; for human nature is sure of this, that vicarious love is nearest deity. It is the instinct of the heart of man that where sacrificial love is, there God is also. There is one spirit whose divinity no man can deny and that is the unwearied compassion which in- defatigably keeps on loving when love goes unrewarded. Even a Roman centurion cries, " The Son of God ! " when a soul can bear the contumely and the pain of crucifixion and still pray, " Father forgive them." There is but one invincible power on earth and that is the unwearied spirit of the second mile. Only, a man must surely believe in God to have it in the God of Jesus and of immortality. For underneath The Second Mile such sacrificial compassion must lie the eternal love of God; and ahead of it must rise a vision radiant, a tri umphal day, whose songs are even now in hours of struggle quietly audible, " As if some fair city were one voice Around a king returning from his wars." CWEH 1BWW MX COIlEfiE TORONTO KNOX COLLEGE LIBRARY!