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LIBRARY OF THE THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY

PRINCETON.
N. J

PRESENTED BY
Dr.

Henry

E.

Hale

BV 4501 .M572 1880 Miller, J. R. 1840-1912

Week-day religion

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WEEK-DAY

EELIGIOiN.

^n

CF

PR;^
/;

FEP 16

1938

'-'UilJKLbU''''

BY THE
Rev.
J.

R. Duller.

PHILADELPHIA:

PRESBYTERIAN BOARD OF PUBLICATION,


No.
1334

Chestnut Street.

COPYRIGHT, 1880, BY
Till-:
I

IIUSTKES OF

THE

PKESHYTERTAN HoAPvD OK PUBLICATION

Wkstcott

Sc

Thomson,

Stereotypers inul Elcctrotypers, Philuda.

CONTENTS.
PAGE
T.

What

is

your Life?

II.

Getting Help from the Bible


Practical Consecration

17

III.

27

IV.

Help for Worried Week-Da ys

35

V.
VI.
VII.
VIII.
IX.

The Cure for Care


Glimpses at Life's Windows

46 54
66
77
87

The Marriage Altar, and After


Religion in the

Home

The Ministry of Sorrow


As Unto the Lord
Humility and Responsibility

X.

98
107
117

XL
XII.
XIII.

Not to be Ministered LTnto


Weariness in Well-Doing

125 135 144


3

XIV.

Wayside Ministries

XV. The Beauty of Quiet Lives

CONTENTS.
XVT.
XVII.
Kindness that Comes too Late
PAGE 154

The Duty of Encouragement


Loving Others

163 173
183 193

XVIIL On
XIX.

Thoughtfulness and Tact

XX. Mutual Forbearance

XXL Manly Men


XXIL Books and
Reading

203
214 224

XXIII. Personal Beauty

XXIV. Taking Cheerful Views


XXV. Something about Amusements

234
245

XX VL On
XXVII.
XXVIII.

the Choice of Friends

258 2G5
275 282 290

The Ethics of Home Decoration


Pictures in the

Heart

XXIX. Losses
XXX. The
XXXI.
Service of Consecration

Beautiful Old Age


Unconscious Farewells

300
308

XXXn.

DEDICATORY.
It may be that

this little

book

will be accepted

of the Master and sent by


helpfulness to
laid
Its

him on a mission of
lives.

some struggling
at
his
feet

It

is

now

humbly
aim
is

with this simple hope.


especially to

to help

young Christians

take the religion of Christ out of closet and sanctuary and creed, and get
it

into their daily lives

of

toil,

temptation and care.

Perhaps none of us
get from our relation

get the best that


to Christ.

we might
of us,
if

Few
The

any, live as well as

we

believe.

moralities that

we know, we do not

follow.

The

helps that are put into our hands

we do

not use

when we

are climbing the

stiff,

steep paths or
life.

staggering under the

burdens of

The comforts
sorrow.

that religion gives do not

com-

fort us in

Many
life.

of us think of Chris-

tianity as a

system of doctrine and worship only,


as a

and too
to

little

The aim of

this

book

is

show how doctrine should become

life,

how

DEDICATORY.
staff In
tlie

promises should be rod and

climber's

hand, and

how

the Sabbath-life should pour itself

through

all

the

week-days, making every hour


It
is

bright with the radiance of heaven.


cated
to

dediall

those

who

sincerely
realize

want
in

to follow

the

precepts

and to

their

own expe-

rience all
religion,

the joys,

inspirations

and comforts of

and

to fulfill in this

world the meaning


possibility.

of

life

in all its splendor

and

Week-Day Religion.
I.

WHAT
"A
sacred burden

IS
is

YOUR LIFE?
the
life

ye bear.

Look on it, lift it, bear it solemnly; Stand up and walk beneath it steadfastly
Fail not for sorrow, falter not for
sin.

But onward, upward,

till

the goal ye win."

W
ence
or

T^HAT

one thinks about

life,

what conception

he has of that strange thing called existhis

particularly what he thinks of own noble matter. Life vidual a most


indilife
is

vital

is

ignoble, glorious or

groveling, just as a right


is

or wrong, a high or a low, conception


in the heart.

cherished

his plans.

No man Xo artist

builds higher or better than


surpasses in
in
mai'l)le

or on

canvas the beautv


one's
life

iniaired

his soul,

and

no

can rise in grandeur above the thoughts


live in his heart.
is

of

life

which

No

conception

true or worthy which does not

8
consider
limited

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
life iu its

perspective, not as cut off and

by the bounds of earthly existence^ but

as stretching

away

into immortality

and

vital at

every point with important relations and solemn


responsibilities.

We
itself

are

more than animals.

Our

lives are not little separate

atoms of existence each


all

one complete in
atoms.

and independent of

other

He

plans very shortsightedly


his hut in his

who

has no

outlook from

narrow island-home
sees

in the great wide sea,


for

and who

no existence

himself beyond the stoppage

of his hearths
call

pulses
death.

that

strange

experience

which men

We
that

can only learn to live worthily Avhcn we


all

take into our view and plan


lie

the unending years

beyond the grave.

AYe want a vivid and

masterful consciousness of our personal immortality.

man who

sees but a

few

bits

of rock chipped

from El Capitan, and a few dried leaves and faded


flowers plucked from the trees that

grow

in

that

wondrous

valley,

has no true conception

of the

grandeur of the Yosemite; and no more just conception of

human
who

existence in

its

fullness

and vast-

ness has he

sees only the little

fragment of

broken, marred and shattered years which are fulfilled

on

this

earth.

We

must try

to see life as

WHAT

IS

YOUB LIFE?
if

9
w^oulcl
its

sweeping away into eternity


its

we

grasp

meaning and have a true sense of


its

grandeur

or realize

solemn responsibility.
w^hich,

There are streams among the mountains


after flowing a little

way on

the surface in a cur-

rent broken, vexed and tossing,


cascades, through

amid

rocks, over

dark chasms, sink away out of

sight

and seem

to be lost.

You
far

see

their flash-

ing crystal no more.

But

down

the mountain,

amid the sweet valley


these
tossed

scenes, they

emerge again,
lono-er

same

streams,
restless,

and flow awav, no

and

but quiet and peaceful as they

move on
lives

tow^ard the sea.


in

So our

restless,
little

perplexed
the

roll

rocky channels a

way on
it

earth and then pass out of sight and

seems the

end.

But

it

is

not the end.

Leaping through the


will reappear, fuller,

dark cavern of the grave, they

deeper, grander, on the other side, vexed and broken

no longer, but realizing

all

the peace, joy and beauty

of Christ; and thus they will flow on for ever.

This

is

no

poet's fancy,

no Utopian dream of a
Life

golden age, no mere picture of imagination.

and immortality are brought

to light in the gospel.


is

Since Christ has risen again death


to every

abolished,
is

and

one

who

believes in

him

there

the cer-

tainty of an endless life of blessedness in his pres-

10

WKEK-DA Y RELIGION.
AVe only begin to live when the
liearts.

encc and service.

consciousness of immortality breaks upon our

Then
hangs

there
life

is

another element in every true conis

ception of

which

equally essential.

No

life

in mid-air,

without relations, connections or

attachments, without dependences and responsibilities.

man may

not tear himself out of


pass
all

tlie

web of humanity and

his years on
tie,

some

solitary island in the sea, cutting every


off all

casting
to

responsibility, living without


fulfill

reference
in

God

or man, law or duty, and


life.

any sense

the true meaning of

In every direction there are cords of attachment

which reach out and bind every fragment of humanity fast in

one great web

and these attachments

are inextricable.

AVe may ignore them, but we


AYe may be disloyal
cut one thread

cannot break one of them.


to every one of them, but

we cannot

of obligation.

little

reflection will

show us what

these con-

nections are.

Whence

are

we?

AVhat

is

the origin are our


sjirang

of this

life

we bear about with us?

relations to

God

the Creator?

What Our life


it

from

his hand.

Not only

so,

but

is

dependent

upon him.

No more

does the trembling leaf hang


it

upon the bough and depend upon

for support

WHAT
and very
life

IS

YOUR LIFE?
human
for stay
life

11

than does every

hang

upon God, depending upon him


port and for
its

and sup-

momentary

existence.

Then, as we think of ourselves as Christians,


this

thought

is

infinitely

deepened.

What
More

is

a
it

Christian life?
is a' life

We

are accustomed to say that

redeemed by Christ's death.


it is

closely

defined,

life

that

is

taken up out of the ruin


life

of sin and attached to the

of Christ.

Apart

from him men are but dead and withering branches


having no
life,

but when attached to him they

become living branches covered with leaves and


fruit.

As we

think

of

it

we

see

Christ as the

one great central Life of the world and ourselves


living only in him, our
utterly dependent
little

fragment of being

upon him

for every beauty, bless-

ing and hope.

We

live only in him.

our sins and gives us his righteousness.


our weakness and unites
it,

He He

takes takes

like a

branch grafted

upon a

tree, to his

own

glorious fullness of strength.

Our
ness.

emptiness he attaches to his divine complete-

Our

lives feed

upon him, and are

in every

sense dependent
AVe are

upon him.

We

have nothing and

nothing which we do not receive from him.


this relation
obliterations

Out of

come the most


to

bindins:

and
of

farreachini);

God

obliuations

12
grali tilde,
life
is

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
praise,
trust,

obedience,

service.

Our

not in any sense our own.


it

Its purpose is

not fulfilled unless

is

lived

to

accomplish the

end for which

it

was created and redeemed.

We
is

begin to study the Scriptures and to ask what


tlie

chief end of

life,

and we have not

to read be-

tween the

lines to find the answer.

Everything

has been made with some design.


of sand has
tain, or it
its uses.

Even a

grain

It helps build

up the moun-

forms part of the great wall that holds


its

the sea in

place, or

it

helps by

its

infinitesimal

weight to balance the system of worlds.


of water has
the bosom of
to its roots,
it

drop

its

purposes and uses.

Creeping into

tlie

drooping flower or sinking


it.

down

revives

It

the thirst of a dying soldier.

may help to quench It may paint a rainlielp

bow on
ships or

the clouds.

It

may

to float great

add

its little

plash to the chorus of ocean^s

majestic music.

"Each drop unconiited llath its own mission


Tlie very

in a storm of rain

shadow of an insect's wing For which the violet cared not while it stayed, Yet felt the lighter for it vanishing Proves that the sun was shining by its shade."

A.ik1 if

such minute things have their purpose,

how

WHAT
was made

IS

YOUR LIFEf

13
life

grand must be the end for which each human

We

think further, and we find a wondrous netbindino; our little frag-ments

work of attachments
of being to the great

web of

life

around

us.

There

are a thousand relationships which link us to our

fellow-men, to home, to church, to country, to society,

to truth, to

humanity, to duty; and every


implies
all

one of

these

connections

responsibility.
sides.

Obligations touch our lives on

Duties
rela-

come

to us
is

from every
solemn with

point.
its

Ev^ery

human
we

tionship

weight of responsibility.
are in a

We
world

think again, and we find that


in

winch our minutest

acts start results that

go on

for ever.

The

little

ripple caused

by the

plash of the boy's oar in the quiet bay goes roll-

ing on and on until


of the ocean;
the

it

breaks on every distant shore


in the air causes

word spoken

reverberations which go quivering on for ever in

space

and these

scientific facts are

but feeble

illus-

trations of

the influences of

human

actions

and

words in

this world.

"Our many They go

deeds, the thoughts that

we have

thought,

out from us, thronging every hour,


all is folded

And

up a power That on the earth doth move them to and


in

them

fro;

14 And mighty
In
liearts

WEEK-BAY llELWION.
are (he marvels tliey have wrought
not,

we know

and may never know."

This
tense

fact charges

every

moment with most


air

in-

interest.

The very

abont

us

is

vital,

and

carries the secret pulsations

and the most un;

conscious influences of our lives far abroad

and

not only
eternity.

so,

but these influences sweep away into


is

There

not a

moment of our

life

which

does not exert a power that shall be felt millions

of

ages hence.

There

is

something about the

vitality

and the immortality of human influence


fearful to contemplate
live,

that

is

and that makes


especially

it

grandly solemn thing to

when we

remember

that these qualities belong to the evil as

well as the good of our lives.


" Tlie deeds

words we say, Into thin air they seem to fleet;


do, the

we

We

count them ever past.


shall last

But they

In the dread judgment they

And we

shall meet."

We

think once more, and we find that

life

has

another attachment

forward

to the bar of
all

God.

We

must render account for


body.

the deeds done

in the

We

read more deeply into the divine


this accountability extends

revelation,

and learn that

to all the minutest acts

and words and thoughts

WHAT
that

IS

YOUR LIFE?
lip

15
as

drop from hand and

and heart

we move

along.

It even reaches to the unconscious influ-

ences that breathe out from us like the frai>:rance

of a flower.

We

must meet our whole

life

again

before God's throne, and give account not only for

what we have done,


all

evil

and good, but

also for

that

we ought

to

have done

for the

unde-

veloped possibilities of our lives and their unim-

proved opportunities.
It
is

in the lioht of such facts as these that


life

we
us.

must regard the


It
is

that

is

given to each of
It
is

indeed a sacred burden.


fill ill 1

no WAxi and

easy thing so to live as to

the end for which

we were made and redeemed.


play.

Life

is

no mere

Every moment of
eternal

it

is

intensely real
It
is

and

charged with

responsibility.

when
need
fail-

we look

at life in

tiiis

way

that

we

see our

of Christ.

Apart from him there can be only

ure and ruin.


takes

But

if

we give

ourselves to him, he
being,

up our poor perishing fragment of


it,

cleanses
it

puts his

own

life

into

it,

and nurtures

for a glorious immortality.

Under

a plain marble

monument

sleeps the dust

of one of God's dearest children,"^


*

who

o-ave

her
She
nu)Uo

Mary Lyon,

founder of .Mount Holyoke Seminary.


tin's

used to give to the girls in her graduating olnsss

IC

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
cause in unwearying service
till

life to Ills

its

last

power was exhausted.


her last resting-place

Cut
is

in the stone that

marks

tliis

memorable sentence

from her o^vn


consecration:

lips,

wliich tells the secret of her


is

"There

nothing in
I

the universe

that I fear except tliat

may

not

know

all

my

duty, or

may

fail

to

do

it."

With such a

sense

of personal responsibility pressing upon the heart


at every

moment,

life

cannot

fail

to be beautiful

and well rounded

here,

and

to pass to a corona-

tion of glory hereafter.


also:

"My

dear

girls,

when yon choose your

fields of labor,

go

where nobody

else is willing to go."

II.

GETTING HELP FROM THE BIBLE.

i^FTENTIMES
^-^

young Christians

say,

"I

can-

not find the beautiful things in the Bible, nor


it.

can I acquire a taste or relish for


love
it

I want to
it,

and

to use

it

so as to receive help from


riches to me.

but it does not open

its

I appreciate
it

the wealth and beauties which otiiers find in

and

point out to me, but

when I look

for

them they do

not discover themselves to me.

After I have read

a chapter and found nothing beautiful or helpful,


another will read
it

and point out the sweetest

bits

of beauty and the rarest words and suggestions of

comfort and helpfulness, not one of which I had


seen.

They seem

to

have hidden from me, like

coy birds amid the branches, but ^vhen another

came they flew


sat

out,

and in their

sliining

plumage

on the boughs or perched on his shoulder and


I read the book,

sang snatches of heavenly song.


but I confess that
it

yields

me no

honey, no food,

no wine of
2

life."
17

18
It
is

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
qiiitc possible tluit this

experience

is

more

common
enongh

thiui

we think or than manv


There are few,
if

are honest

to

confess.

any,

who
the

find in tlie Bible all


lie

the beauty and blessing that


gets

in its pages.

Not one of ns
hcl]).

from

it

utmost possible of

and no doubt most of

us in our reading pass by things which

many

rare

and precious

we

fail

to see at all.

Yet
one.

it

surely need not be a sealed book to

any

It does not

aim

to hide its

good things away


It
is

so that

men cannot

easily find them.

not in-

tended to be a book that great scholars only can


understand.

No

doubt a knowlcdo-e of the Ianthe Bible was originally written

guages

in

wliich

ex})lains

many an

obscure
it

passage
is

and resolves

many

difficulty, yet

not a book for the


little

learned alone, but for the unlettered and the


children as well.
to

In proof of

this

we have only
find the

remember that oftentimes those who


and the sweetest joys

richest treasures

in the Scrip-

tures are not the greatest scholars


intellects,

and the grandest


to the

but God's

little

ones, strangers
its

world's lore and ignorant of

wisdom.

Very much depends upon

the spirit with which

we come

to

the Bible. there


is

In the minds of many

Protestants

almost as

much

superstition

GETTING HELP FROM THE BIBLE.


regarding this sacred book as there
is

19

among RoSoldiers

manists regarding the crucifix or rosary.


entering a battle fling

away

their cards
feel

and put

Bibles in their pockets.


safer

They
if

that they are

then.

Many

think

they read a certain

portion every day, though they give no thought


to the

meaning, that they have done a holy service


safe for the day.

and are
of so

But the mere reading


It

many

chapters does no one any good.

would be

as well to say Latin prayers

and fumble

over a string of beads for ten minutes.


blessing from the Bible
fully with inquiry
it

To
It

receive

must be read thoughtmust be


life.

and meditation.

allowed to read

itself into

our heart and

As
may

to the

method of
It
is

readino;, several suir&'estions

be made.

important to have a good copy


clear, plain

of the Bible, well bound, with

type
is

and with

references.

On many

passages there

no commentary so helpful as the reading of the


references.

Scripture interprets Scripture.


is

Hence,
of
its

a copy without references


value.

shorn of

much

We
years.

want a copy,

too, that will


;

last
it

for

many
and

A
it

book

is

like a friend

grows
shy

familiar and confidential with use.


distant,
lets

At

first

us into
pages.

its

heart after

we have

long pored over

its

It opens of itself to

30
the
choicest

WEEK-DA y

llELIGION.
it

chu[)ters, autl

seems

to

carry

its

sweetest secrets on the surface for us.


tliat

Bible

we have long used seems

to say things to us

we

never hear from a strange or new book.


it is

Besides,
it.

good

to

mark our Bible

as

we

read

Any

})recious passage that

we

find

may

be indicated on

the margin by some sign or by drawing a line about


it

or under the sacred words.


spiritual history

Thus we
j)ages
also,

write our

own

on the

of our Bible.

These marks are memorials,

showing where

we once found
read,

bk^ssing

stones set

up

to

mark our
book thus

Bethels and Peniels and Ebenezers.

and holding on
in a

its

pages such treasures, be-

comes
cious.

few years inestimably sacred and preat almost

Hence the importance of having

any

cost the v^ery best

copy of the Bible that can

be obtained

one
is

that can be used for a lifetime.

No
ioned
tively.

one can afford to dispense with the old-fash-

way of reading
It

the Bible through consecu-

well

to

do

this every year.

Some

open

at

random and read whatever comes under


method or plan.
Others read

their eye, without

over and over a few favorite passages.


cases large portions remain neglected

In both

and are never


in course,

read at

all.

Heading the whole volume

in regular daily portions,

we become

familiar with

GETTING HELP FROM THE BIBLE.

21

every part, and discover the very richest things in


places where

we
-

least

expected to find any beauty

or blessing.

But
special

in addition to this

it is w^ell

to

pursue other
is

methods.

Topical reading

excellent.

We

select a subject

and by the aid of concordance,


find out all the passages
it

reference
in the

and text-book

whole Scripture w^iich speak of


it.

or

throw

any light upon

Thus we
In

learn

what are the

doctrines of the Bible.


all

this

way we may bring


God's truth;

the teachings of

men

to the bar of

w'e

may

verify the doctrines of the

Church

w^e

may
thus

refer all questions that arise in our

own minds
and
on the

as to belief or as to

duty to the

infallible test;

we

shall build our personal creeds, not

formulated statements of theologians, but on the


simple words of inspiration.

In the daily
liar questions

life

of each one there arise pecu-

and experiences on which we want

light or in

which we need counsel and guidance.


to the divine
life

These should be taken at once

word.

Thus we bring
history.

the book
it

of

into

our daily

AVe make

our counselor, our lamp,


another

our

guide.

This leads to
is

method of

reading and study which

very profitable and

which yields great help.

22

WEEK-DA Y RELIGION.
The
luibit

of liaving a verse for the day has

also been adopted

hy

inniiy

and has been a source


out
oj^

of great comfort.
chapter or selected

Eitlier in

the morning's
let

some other way,

one
all

verse be taken, fixed in the mind, and carried

through the busy day in thought and meditation.


It will often prove a fountain of water, a bright

lamp or a rod and


a close. of
It
is

staff before the

day comes to

impossible to estimate the influence

a simple passage
It keeps

thus

held
sin.

all

day in the
is

thoughts.

us from
It
is

It

a living

impulse to duty.
sorrow.

an angel of comfort in
it

Then
all

its

influence, as
life

pours

its

soft,

pure light
is

through the

hour

after hour,

full

of inspiration, and purifies, cleauses

and

sanctifies.

So much
the spirit
to
it

for methods.
in

Still

more important
AVe must
infallible

is

which we
the
oracles

read.

come
and

as

to

of God,

authoritative.

AVe must hear the voice of God

in

its

words.

Then we must come

in the spirit

of docility, ready to be taught.


to learn

Some

read

it,

not

what they ought

to

believe, but to find


to

in

it

what they themselves do believe already,

have their opinions


justified.

confirmed or their conduct

Only

those

who come

as

little

chil-

GETTING HELP FROM THE BIBLE.


dren, with
will say,
teachable,
spirits,

23

to
it

hear what

and ready

to accept

however

it

God may
to

clash

with their own opinions


find
its

and

preferences,

can

the

Bible an open

book disclosing

them
It

most pre(dous things.


also be read thoughtfully, slowly

must

and

patiently.

Many

of

its

richest
is

gems

lie

deep and
a flower-

must be digged

for.

It

not so
is

much

garden as a mine.
ried, superficial
face,

There

a great deal of hur-

reading which skims over the surto

which pauses

weigh no word, take

in

no

thought, apply no lesson, and which leaves no impression, not even a


ers

memory, behind.
will

Such read-

must use a marker, or they

read the same


it.

chapter over and over without knowing

Then
to

it

is

necessary to read the Bible not alone

know
it is

the will of God, but that

we may do
is

it.

If
us.

not the guide of our


truths are
to

life, it

nothing to
If we read

Its

be applied.

the beatitudes,
their

we

are to compare ourselves with

divine requirements and


to

seek

to

be con-

formed

them.

If

we come upon a word we


are

that rebukes any habit or spirit of ours,

straightway to
are to accept

make

the needed amendment.

We

its

promises, believe them, and act as

believing them.

We

are to allow

its

comforts to

24
enter our
is

WEEK-DA V RELiafON.
lioart.s

and

su})port ns in sorrow.

Tliore

nothing written in the Bible merely for orna-

ment or beanty.
is

Every word
that has not

is

practical.

There

no truth

in

it

some
to
it

bearins; uj)on

actual living.

When we come
and ready
to

eager to

know
we

how

to

live
it

obey
its

its

precepts,

shall find

opening to us

inmost meaning.

We

are told that the Bible

must be

spiritually
finds
brinir

discerned.

Only a si>iritual]y-minded reader


thiuij-s in
it.

the truest and best


to
it

We

must
is

a certain kind of knowledge.

This

true

in all

departments of

life.

Many

persons never
will

see anything

lovely in nature.

They

stand

amid the most picturesque landscapes, walk amid


the rarest flowers and witness the most gorgeous
sunset splendor without a thrill of pleasure or an
expression

of admiration.
na'iire.

They have no sympa-

thy with

There are many who will pass


paintings

through a grand art-gallery rich with

and statuarv, and see nothino^


tion,

to seize their atten-

while others will spend days in enthusiastic

study of the works of art that are stored there.

Some knowledge of
necessary to

art

and an

interest

in

it

are

the

appreciation

and enjoyment of
manner, he that

paintings and statues.

In

like

would

find the beautiful things in the Scriptures

GETTING HELP FROM THE BIBLE.


must have a mind and
heart

25
it.

prepared for

Hence

the

more of the divine

life

we have

in our

souls, the

more

will the sacred pages reveal to us.


intellectual

It

is

not so

much

acumen and

fine

scholarship that
for Christ

we need

as spiritual culture, love

and the warmth of devotion.

young lady purchased a book and read a few


was not interested
in
it.

pages, but

Some months

afterward she met the author, and a tender friendship sprang up, ripening into love and betrothal.

Then

the book was dull no longer.

Every

sen-

tence had a
interpreter.

charm
So

for her heart.

Love was

the

to those

who do not know

Christ

personally the Bible seems dry and uninteresting.

But when they him


all
is

learn to

know him and

to

love
for

changed; and the deeper their love

him becomes,

the more do the sacred j^^ges glow

with beauty and light.


It
is

good

to store

away

in

our hearts,

all

along

the bright years of youth, the precious truths of

God's word.

In visiting the INIammoth Cave they

placed lamps in our hands before

we

entered.

It

seemed a very useless and needless thing


these pale lights wliile

to carry

we walked

in the full

blaze

of noonday.

But we moved down the bank and


Quickly the splendor

entered the cavern's mouth.

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
out,

of dayliglit faded

and then

tlic

lamp-flames

began

to

shine

briglitly.

We
lost in

soon

found liow
A\"ithout

valuable they were, and

how

necessary.

them we should have been


and
in

the thick gloom

the

inextricable mazes of the cave.

So

God\s promises and comforts


ful
to us

may

not seem need-

in

the brightness of youth and in the

days of

health

and gladness.

They may then


light.

seem to shine with but a pale

But

as

we

move on we

shall pass into


trial,

shadows

the shadows

of sickness, of

of disappointment, of sorrow

and
souls.

then their beauty and splendor will shine

out and prove the very joy and strength of our

III.

PRACTICAL CONSECRATION.
" I used to chafe and fret
suits,

when

interrupted in favorite pur-

but I have learned that


it

my
It is

time

all

belongs to God, and


it

I just leave

in his hands.

very sweet to use

for

him

when he has anything for me to do, and pleasant myself when he has not." Mrs. Prentiss.

to use it for

^^
that

GREAT
is

deal of our talk about consecration

very vague and visionary.

We
it.

are told

we should make an unreserved


and we want
to

transfer of our-

selves to Christ,
to keep nothing

do

We

wish

back from him.

We

adopt the
our-

formula of
selves

consecration

when we connect

with the church.


continually

We
in

use the

liturgy of

consecration

our

prayers,

saying

over and over again

sincerely
to

enough, too
Christ.

that
sing

we

give ourselves wholly

We

with glowing heart and flowing tears the rapturous


liymns of consecration, and yet, somehow, we are
not wholly consecrated to Christ.

Saying
27

it,

pray-

28
ing
it,

WEKK-DAY RELIGION.
pinging
it,

ever so honestly and witli ever

so endless repetition,

we

are

still

painfully conscious

of failure in

fact,

and we become

discouraged,
reality of

sometimes even doubting altogether the


our
conversion

because

we cannot

consciouslv

keep ourselves on the

altar.

One
is
is

trouble

is

that the consecration

we aim

at

emotional rather than practical.


that

Then another

we

try to accomi)lish

too

much
life,

at once.

We

attempt to
varied

make over

all

our
all

in its

end-

lessly

relations,

and

our present and

future, once for all in a single offering,


it

and then
that
that

seems

to

our

limited
spirit
is

experience

should be

final.

The

and intention are right


life

enough, but the fact


consecration
it is is

that in actual

such

quite impracticable.
it

Theoretically
will always be

correct,

but in experience

found vague and unsatisfactory.


practical consecration
is

The only

truly

that which seeks to cover


fully

the actual present.

However

we may have
it

given
avail

ourselves

to

Christ at conversion,
it

will

nothing unless ^ve renew

with each sep-

arate act

and duty

as

it

presents itself to us.

Consecration

may

be greatly simplified and


if

may

be made intensely practical


to

we bring
to cover

it

down

a daily matter, attempting

no moie

PRACTICAL CONSECRATION.
than the one day, and
if

29

we each morning formally

give the day to the Lord, to be occupied as he

may

wish, surrendering all our plans to him, to be set


aside or affirmed

by him

as he in
tlie

may

choose.
to
^'

For example, I seek


myself to

morning

give

my

Master for that day, saying,

Take
I lay

me, Lord, and use


all

me

to-day as thou wilt.


feet.
it

my

plans at thy

Whatever work thou

hast for

me

to do, give

into

my
me
to

hands.

If there

are those thou wouldst have

help in any way,

send them to
time and use
farther on

me
it

or send

me
I

them.

Take my
I think no
to

just as thou wilt."

than to-day.

make no attempt

give months and years to Christ.


before they are mine ?
onlv,

Why

sliould I,

I have this one brief clay

and how can I consecrate that which I have

not yet received?

This formula of consecration


one's plans
It is a

is

transfer of
Christ.

and ambitions into the hands of

solemn pledge,

too, to accept the plans

of

the Master for the occupation of the day, no matter

how much

they

may
cut

interfere

with arrange-

ments we have already made, or how many pleasant things they

may

out of

the day's procall.

gramme.

We

will

answer every

patiently submit to every interruption.

We We

will

will

30

WKEK-J)A y llKLTdTOyr.

accept every tluty.

We
if

will

go on

^^ Itli

the

work

wliich seems best to us if the Master has nothiiis:


else for us to

do; but

he has, we will cheerfully

drop our own and take up that which he clearly


gives instead.
So, sometimes, the very
first

one to come to

me

in the golden hours of the

morning, which are so


is

precious to

every student,
fountain-pens

a book-agent, or a

man

with

or stove-polish, or per-

chance only a pious idler


to pass

who

has no errand but

an hour, or

it

may

be one of those social

news venders wdio


the freshest gossip.

like to be the first to retail all

Interrupted thus in the midst

of some interesting and important work,

my

first

impulse

is

to chafe

and

fret,

and perhaps

to give

my

visitor a cold

welcome, not hiding

my

annoy-

ance.
cration.

But then I remember my morning conse-

Did

I not put

out of

my own
and
to

hands

my plans and my time into my Master's? Did I


he had for

not ask him to send


to do,

me any work make use of me in

me

ministering to

others as he

would?

If I was sincere and would

be loyal to

my
it
is

words, must I not accept this

early caller as sent to

me

for

some
to

helj) or

some
?

good which

in

my power

impart to him

If I would carry out the

spirit of

my

consecra-

PRACTICAL CONSECRATION.
tloii,

31

I must neither chafe,


at the

nor

fret,

nor manifest

any annoyance

interruption, nor do auglit

to give needless pain to

my

visitor.

I have an errand to thee,

man my
is

brother
a heavy

What

it is

know

not.

Perliaps here

heart that I can cheer by a few kindly Avords.

cannot buy anything.


to hear

I cannot give

up an hour

my

friend recount, for the hundredth time,

the story of his past exploits.

I cannot listen to

the wretched gossip which

my
It

mischievous visitor

wants to empty into

my

ear; and yet

may

I not

have an errand
send

to

each?

may

be that I can
little

my
this

literary friend

away with a

bit of

song in his heart.

home

morning.

He came from a very dreary He is poor. He has gone from


have door after door rudely
is

Jiouse to house, onlv to

shut in his face.


despair.

He

heavy-hearted, almost in

He

greatly needs money, which perhaps

I cannot give to him, but he needs far more.

Just

now

a brother's

sympathy

which I can giveand


to

a kind, cordial reception, a few minutes' patient


interest

shown

in

listenlno^

his

storv,

a few

encouraging words, any suggestion or help I


be able to give, will do him more good than

may
If

I
in

were to buy a book


such cases.

in the usual unchristian

way

Or may

I not be able to drop some

32
useful

wji:k-day religion.

word

into

tlie

ear of

tlio

idler or of the gos-

sipmonger wliich may be

reiiiL'iuburcd ?

I must,

at least, roiiarcl inv visitor as sent to

me

with some

need

tliat I

can supply, or wanting some comfort or

blessing which I can impart.

Or
duty

the errand

may be
to

the other way.

He may
All
well.

have been sent


is

me

with a benediction.
to

not giving;
to

we need

receive as

AYe ought
meet.

get

some good from every one we

God

can oftentimes teach us more by interall

rupting our quiet hours and by setting


plans aside

our pet

than

if

he had

left

us to spend the

time over our book or in our work.

Let us

at least

beware that we do not bow out of

our door with fretted frown one

whom God

has sent

to us either with a message or a benediction for us,

"which
reject

must be carried on
it.

to

some

other, since

we

For even

in these prosaic days

Heaven

sends angels, though they

may come

unawares, not

wearing their
tractive garb.

celestial robes,

but disguised in unat-

Such a simple consecration and becomes very


life.

is

easily understood,

practical

as

we carry

it

out in
in

It deals with living in

its details,

and not

the mass
abstract.

in

the concrete,
is

and not merely

in the

It

not theory alone, but

})ractice also.

PRACTICAL CONSECRATION.

33

And

it

seems easier to give just one short day at a

time than to try to span far-stretching years in our


consecration.

day

is

a short reach.

We
to

can

bear ahnost any burden or interruption for so brief

a period.

Then

it

gives a holy

meaning

the

common week-dav
work
ing

routine of

work and contact

with other lives to live in this simple way.


is

AH
It im-

divinely allotted, and the voice of our lovis

Lord

heard calling
all

us" at

every turn.

parts a sacredness to

our meetings
others.

even
is

our

most casual meetings with


chance that the eternal

There

no

God

does not guide.

You
your
be

have an errand

to every

one

who comes
for

in

path, or he has an errand to you.

You may

very weary, but

if

there

is
it.

a call

Christlike

ministry you must obey

You may

have your

wrapper and slippers on

after a

hard day's work,

and outside
matter
;

it

may

be dark and stormy.

But no

either

you must withdraw your morning's

consecration,
calls

or

you must follow the voice that


mercy and
it

you

to deeds of

love.

If

we

learn well this lesson,

takes the drudg-

ery out of all duties.


intercourse of
feet.
life

It

lifts

up the commonest

into blessed service at Christ's

It

makes us

patient

and gentle when dealing


It imparts a

with the most disagreeable people.

'^^

^VEEk'-DAY RELIGION.
a
(liviiio,

liiul),

motive

tx)

all

iVii-iulsliip

and coinin-

pan ioiisliip.

It tcaclics

us

])atience

amid the

terruptions and disarrangements of our plans.


disciplines our

It

wayward

wills in little things

and

l)rings tliem into subjection to Christ.


I'rivolity

It takes the
It

out of our conversation.

makes us

ever watchful of our influence over others and of

our treatment of them.

It

makes us ever ready


impart help and
to Christ not

and eager both


blessing.

to
it

receive and

Then

makes consecration

a dim, far-away, merely theoretical thing, but a living, practical experience

which charges

all life

with

meaning, and which takes hold of the most com-

monplace things

in

our prosaic week-day routine,

transforming them into beautiful ministries around


the feet of God.

IV.
HELPS FOR WORRIED WEEK-DAYS.
" If only

we

strive to be pure

To each

of us all

and true, there will come an hour


life

When
And

the tree of

shall burst into flower,

rain at our feet the glorious dower

Of something grander than ever we knew."

TTTE
'

have only successfully acquired the art of


Christian
life

livino; a

when we have

learned
its

to apply the principles of religion

and enjoy
It
is

help and comfort in our daily

life.

easy to

join in devotional exercises, to quote promises, to


extol the beauty

of the Scriptures

but there are

many who do
fails

these things whose religion utterly

them
it

in the very places

and
staff

at the very times

when

ought to prove their

and

stay.

All of us must go out from the sweet services of


the Sabbath into a
saic life.

week of very

real

and very pro-

not
that

We must mingle angels. We must pass


will

with people that are

through experiences
-

naturally

worry and vex

us.

Those

about

us, either wittingly or unwittingly,

annoy and
36

36
try us.

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
Many
a

young Christian must mingle with

those

who do
anxieties

not love Christ.

Every one meets


ordinary week-day

many
life.

and worries

in

There are continual

irritations

and annoy-

ances.

The problem

is

to live a beautiful Christian life

in the face of all these hindrances.

How

can w'e

get through the tangled briers which

grow along
feet torn

our path without having our hands and

by them

How

can

we

live

sweetly

amid the

vexing and
little

irritating things

and the multitude of

worries and frets which infest our way, and

which we cannot evade?


It
is

not enough merely to get along in any sort

of way, to drag to the close of each long, weari-

some day, happy when night comes


strife.

to

end

tlie

Life should be a joy, and not a burden.

We

should live victoriously, ever master of our ex-

periences,

and not

tossed

by them

like a leaf

on

the dashing waves.

Every

earnest Christian wants

to live a truly beautiful

life,

whatever the circum-

stances

may

be.

A
live

little

child,

when asked what


For me
live

it

was

to be a
is

Christian, replied, "


as
Jesiis

to be a Christian

to

\vould
if

and
little

behave as Jesus
girl

would behave

he were a

and lived

at

HELPS FOB WORRIED WEEK-DAYS.


our house/'

37

No

better definition of practical re-

ligion could be given.

Each one of us
if
its

is

to bear

himself just as Jesus would

he were living out


actual environment,

our

little life

in the midst of

standing

all

day just where we stand, mingling

with the same people with

whom we must
are exposed.

mingle,

and exposed

to

the

very annoyances,

trials

and

provocations to which
to live a life

we

AYe want

that will please God, and that will


its

bear witness on
piety.

face to the genuineness of our

How

can

we do

this ?

We

must

first

recognize

the fact that our


circumstances.

life

must be lived just

in its

own

We

cannot at present change our


to

surroundings.
lives

Whatever we are

make of our

must be made

in the midst of our actual exeither

periences.

Here we must

win our

victories
lot

or suffer our defeats.

We

may

think our

hard
life

and may wish

it

were otherwise, that we had a

of ease and luxury, amid softer scen^^, with no


briers or thorns,

no worries or provocations.

Then
have

we should be always
happy.

gentle, patient, serene, trustful,


it

How delightful

would be never

to

a care, an irritation, a cross, a single vexing thing

But meanwhile

this fact

remains

that

our aspilife

ration cannot be realized, and that whatever our

38
is
it

WEEK-DAY llELKUON.
to be

made, beautiful or marred, we must make

just

where we
lot.

are.

No
it.

restless discontent

can

change our

AVe cannot get into any elysium


for

merely by longing

Other persons may have


than
settle

other circumstances, possibly more pleasant


ours, but here are ours.
this point at once

AVe may as well

and accept the

battle of life

on

this field, else, while

we

are vainly wishing for a


for

better

chance, the

opportunity

victory shall

have passed.

The next thought


find ourselves
sires
is

is

that the place in which

we

the place in which the Master delife.

us to live our

"Thou

cam'st not to thy place by accident:

It is the

very place

God meant

for thee."

There

is

no haphazard

in this world.

God

leads

every one of his children by the right way.

He

knows where and under what


ticular life, will ripen best.
in

influences each partree

One

grows best

the sheltered

valley,

another by the water's

edge, another on the bleak mountain-top swept

by

storms.

There

is

always adaptation

in

nature.

Every

tree or plant is
its

found

in the locality
exist,

where

the conditions of

growth

and does God

give more thought to trees and plants than to his

HELPS FOR WORRIED WEEK-DAYS.


own
children?

39

He

places us

amid the circumlife

stances

and experiences in which our


best.

will

grow and ripen the


to

The

peculiar discipline
is

which we are each subjected

the discipline

we

severally need to bring out in us the beauties


spiritual character.

and graces of true


the right school.

We

are in

We may

think that we would

ripen more quickly in a more easy and luxurious


life,

but

God knows what


is

is

best

he makes no

mistakes.

There
rose

little

fable
in

which says that a prima shady corner of the


it

growing by

itself

garden became discontented as


flowers
in

saw the other

their

gay beds

in

the sunshine, and

begged
place.

to
Its

be

removed

to

more conspicuous

prayer
it

was granted.

The gardener
s])ot.

transplanted
It

to a

more showy and sunny

was greatly
it

pleased, but there

came a change

over

immediately.

Its blossoms lost


sickly.

much
The
it

of
hot

their beauty

and became pale and

sun caused them to faint and wither.


again to be taken back to
its

So

prayed

old place in the shade.

The

wise gardener

knows

best

where to plant each

flower,

and so God, the divine Husbandman, knows


his people will best
to be.

where

grow

into

what he would

have them

Some

recpiire the fierce storms,

40
sonic
\\\\\

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
only tijrive spiritually
in

the

shadow of

worldly adversity, and some come to ripeness more


sweetly under
the soft

and gentle influences of


experiences would

prosperity whose beauty rough

mar.

He knows
life

what
is

is

best for each one.


it

The next thought


beautiful
tiiis

that

is

possible to live a
is

anywhere.
in

There

no position

in

world
it

the

allotment

of

Providence in
Christian

which

is

not
all

possible to be

a true

exemplifying

the virtues of Christianity.


it

The

grace of Christ has in

potency enough to enable

us to live well wherever

we

are called to dwell.


for us, he
fits

When God
its

chooses a
trials.

home

us for

peculiar

There

is

a beautiful
all

law of

compensation that runs through


dence.

God's provi-

Animals made

to

dwell amid Arctic snows


furs.

are covered with


is

warm

The cameFs home


is

the desert, and a wondrous provision


it

made

by which

can endure long journeys across the

hot sands without drink.


flights in

Birds are

fitted for their

the air.

Animals made

to live

among

the mountain-crags have feet prepared for climbing

over the steep rocks.


special

In

all

nature this law of


for
allotted

equij)ment and

preparation

places prevails.

And

the

same

is

true

in

spiritual

life.

God

HELPS FOB WOMRIED WEEK-DAYS.

41

adapts his grace to the peculiarities of each one's


necessity.

For rongh,

flinty

paths

he provides

shoes of iron.

He

never sends any one to climb

sharp, rugged mountain-sides wearing silken slippers.

He

gives always

grace sufficient.

As

the

burdens grow heavier the strength increases.


the difficulties thicken the angel draws closer.
the
trials

As

As

become sorer the trusting heart grows

calmer.

Jesus always sees his disciples

when they

are toiling in the waves,

and

at the right
it

moment

comes

to deliver

them.

Thus

becomes possible
in

to live a true stances.

and victorious
as

life

any circumJoseph
as
to

Christ can

easily

enable

remain pure and true in heathen Egypt

Ben-

jamin

in

the shelter of

his

father's

love.

The

sharper the temptations, the more of divine grace


is

granted.
trial

There

is,

therefore,

no environment
in

of

or

difficulty

or

hardship

which we
fidelity

cannot live beautiful

lives

of Christian

and approved conduct.


Instead,
then,

of

yielding to
it

discouragement
to live

when

trials

multiply and

becomes hard
a broken

right, or of being satisfied with

peace

and a very faulty

life, it

should be the settled pur-

pose of each one to live, through the grace of God,


a patient, gentle and unspotted
life

in the place

42

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
allotted.

and amid the circumstances


victory
is

The

true

not found in

es('a])inij!:

or evading trials,

but

in rightly

meeting and enduring them.

The

questions should not be, "


these worries?

How

can I get out of

How
my
is

cui I get into a place where

there shall

be no

irritations,

nothing to try

my

temper or put
I avoid
the

patience to the test? that

How can
living.

distractions

continually harass
in

me?"
The
tlie

There

nothing
flies

noble

such

soldier
battle
is

who

to the rear
is

when he

smells

no hero; he

a coward.
^^

The

questions should rather be,

How

can T
fail

pass through these trying experiences and not


as a Christian? gles
tliese

How

can I endure these strug-

and not

suffer defeat?

How

can I live amid

provocations, these reproaches

and

testings

of

my

temper, and yet live sweetly, not* speaking


bearing
injuries

unadvisedly,

meekly,

returning
is

gentle answers to insulting words ?"


true problem of Christian living.

This

the

We
nary.

are at school

here.

This

life
:

is
it

discipliis

Processes are not important

results

we
it

want.

If a tree grow into majesty and strength,


it

matters not whether

be in the deep vale or on


it.

the cold peak, whether calm or storm nurture

If

character

develop)

into

Christlike

symmetry,

HELPS FOB WORRIED WEEK-DAYS.


what does
it

43

matter whether

it

be in ease and luxury


is

or through hardship?

The important matter

not

the process, but the result

not

the means, but the

end

and the end of

all Christian

nurture

is spirit-

ual loveliness.

To

be made truly noble and godlike

we should
Every

be willing to submit to any discipline.

obstacle to true living should, then, only

nerve us with fresh determination to succeed.

We

should use each difficulty and hardship as a leverage to gain some new^ advantage.

We
all

should com-

pel our temptations to minister to us instead of

hindering us.
cations,

We

should regard
trials,

our provo-

annoyances and

of whatever sort,

as practice-lessons in the application of the theories

of Christian

life.

It will be seen in the end that

the hardships and difficulties are by no

means the

smallest blessings of our lives.

Some one com-

pares

them

to

the

weights of a clock, without


life.

which there could be no steady, orderly

The

tree

that

grows where
its

tempests

toss

its

boughs and bend


ing, is

trunk, often almost to breaktree

more firmly rooted than the

which

grows in the sequestered valley where no storm


ever brings stress or strain.
life.

The same
is

is

true in

The grandest

character

grown

in

hard-

ship.

Effeminacy springs out of

luxury.

The

44
best

WEEK-BAY RELIGION.
men
in

the world ever reared liave been brought

up

the scliool of adversity and hardsliip.


it is

Besides,

no heroism

to live

patiently

where
is

there

is

no provocation, bravely where there


calmly where there
is

no

danger,
turb.

nothing to per-

Not

the hermit's cave, but the heart of busy

life, tests

as well as

makes

character.

If

we can
all

live

patiently, lovingly
frets

and cheerfully amid


day

our

and
is

irritations

after day, year after

year, that

grander heroism than the farthestexploits, for he that ruleth his

famed military
spirit
is

own
It

better than he that taketli a city.


is

This

our allotted task.

It

is

no easy one.

can be accomplished only by the most resolute decision,

with

unwavering purpose

and

incessant

watchfulness.

Nor

can

it

be accomplished without the contin-

ual help of Christ.


personal one.

Each

one's battle

must be a
it

We

may

decline the struggle, but

will be declining also the joy of victory.

No

one

can reach the summit without climbing the steep


mountain-path.
strong shoulder. us up.

We
No

cannot be borne up on any


one, not even

God, can carry

Heaven does not put

features of beauty

into our lives as the jeweler sets


in

gems

in clusters

a coronet.

The unlovely elements

are not re-

HELPS FOB WORRIED WEEK-DAYS.


moved and
replaced

45

by lovely ones
his

like slides in

the stereopticon.

Each must win

way through

struggles and efforts to all noble attainments.

The
in

help of

God

is

given only in co-operation with hu-

man
us,

aspiration

and energy.

While God works


salvation.

we

are to

work out our own

He

that

overcometh shall be a

pillar in the

temple of God.

We should
shall fail
tire to

accept the task with quiet joy.


times.

We

many

Many

a night

we

shall re-

weep

at Christ's feet

over the day's defeat.

In our

efforts to

follow the copy set for us by our

Lord, we shall write

many

a crooked line and leave

many

a blotted page blistered with tears of regret.


all

Yet we must keep through


in God.

a brave heart, an

unfaltering purpose and a calm, joyful confidence

Temporary
more

defeat should only cause us to


fully.

lean on Christ

Heaven

is

on the side

of every one

who

is

loyally struggling to do the

divine will and to grow into Christlikeness.


that

And

means assured victory


fails not.

to

every one whose

heart

"If only we strive to be pure and true, The foam of the sea will lower its crest, And the weary waves that we used to breast Will sob and turn, and sink slowly to rest With a tender calm all over and through."

V.
THE CURE FOR CARE.
"God
writes straight on crooked lines."

Spanish Proverb.

rXlHERE
-'-

is

no

life

into wliich

do not come many

things calculated to cause anxiety and distrac-

tion of mind.

There are great sorrows

there are

perplexities as to duty; there are disappointments

and

losses

there are annoyances and hindrances

there are chafings

and

irritations in ordinary life;


frets.

and there are countless petty cares and

All of
to

these tend to break the heart's peace

and

disis

turb

its

quiet,

yet

there

is

no

lesson

that

urged more continuously or more earnestly in the


Scriptures

than that

Christian

should never

worry or

let care

oppress his heart.

He

is

to live

without distraction and with peace unbroken even


in the
If,

midst of the most trying experiences.


then,

we

are never to be anxious, never to

take distracting thouglit, what are

we

to

do with

the thousand things calculated to perplex us and


46

THE CUBE FOB CABE.


produce anxiety ?

47

If we are not to take thought

about these matters,


is

who

will do
is

it

for

us?

AVho

to think for us ?

Who

to unravel the tangles

for our unskilled fingers?


ieties

When

cares

and anxto

come

to

our hearts, what are we

do with

themf

Some one may


worrying.

say that

it

is

impossible to avoid

The

disturbing experiences will come


out.

into our lives,

and we cannot shut them


it is

It

is

true they will come, but

not true that

we must
power.

admit them and surrender ourselves


It

to their

was a saying of Luther that we cannot prevent

the birds flying about our heads, but

we can

pre-

vent them building their nests in our hair.


like

In

manner,

it

is

impossible to keep cares from


us,

flocking in great

swarms around

but

it is

our

own

fault if they are allowed to

make

nests in our

hearts.

We are

to hold our hearts' doors

and win-

dows shut against them

just as resolutely as against

the temptations that constantly assail us, craving

admission into our

lives.

This applies to
small.
is

all

our worries, whether great or

We are
It

apt to say,
is

"Oh
But

yes,

but

my

trial

peculiar.

one of those that cannot be kept


off.^'

out, laid

down

or cast
in

there

is

no such
living

exception

made

the

divine

plan

of

48

WEEK-DA Y RELIGION.
for us in
is
is

marked out

tlic

inP2)ircd

word.

Anxiety
Nothing,

or distraction

never to be admitted.
to disturb our ])eace.
toil

small or great,

We

may

have sorrow or suffering or

or painful stress

and

strain,

but never worry.


is

What,

then,

the divine life-plan ?


?

What

are

we

to

do with our cares

Everything that threatens


to be taken at once to

to give us anxiety

is

God.

Nothing

is

too great

to carry to him.

Does not he bear up

all

worlds?

Does not he
verse ?

rule over all the affairs of the uni-

Is there
it

any matter
to us, too

in our life,

how

great

soever

may seem
Is any

hard for him to manto re-

age?
solve?

Is

any perplexity too sore for him

human

despair too dark for

him

to

illumine with hope ?

Is there any tangle or con-

fusion out of which he cannot extricate us?


is

Or

anything too small to bring to him


is

Is he not

our Father, and


concerns us?
things that
daily
life,

he not interested in whatever


is

There

not one of the countless


all

fly like

specks of dust

through our
us, that

tending to vex

and

fret

we

may

not take to God.

And

this is the cure

which

the Scriptures prescribe for care.

The

divine phil-

osophy of living

says, "

Be anxious
to

for nothing, but

make everything known

God;

in everything,

by


THE CURE FOR CARE,
prayer and thanksgiving,
let

49

your requests be made


thing

known unto God." Refer every disturbing to him that he may bear the burden of it.
" But

why

should I have to
one.

make
knows
it

it

known
about
It

to
it
is

him?" asks some


ah'eady.

"He

all

Why
make

must I take

to

him?"
it
;

reason enough that he has asked us to do

and

if

we
if

will not

it

known

to

him, can we complain


wants us to learn to
in

he does not help us?

He

confide in

him and

to flee to

him

every

moment

of perplexity or pressure.
into our

Whenever

there comes

experience a difficulty, an

annoyance

anything that tends to produce


iety or

irritation or

anxit

alarm or confusion

we
it

are to carry

at

once to God.

We

are to get-

somehow out of
shoulder into

our unskilled hands and off our

frail

the hands and over upon the shoulder of Christ.


It
is

not enough
is
it

to

kneel
to

down and make a

prayer, nor

enough

pray about the par-

ticular matter that worries us, asking for help or

deliverance.

Only the most simple-hearted

definite-

ness in prayer will meet the need.

We
it

must bring

the very perplexity itself and put


into

out of our hands


us.

God's that he

may work

it

out for

We
as

are to bring the matter as literally to

him

we

would carrv a broken watch

to the

watchmaker's,

50
leaving
it

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
for

him

to repair

and

readjust.

little

child playing with a handful of cords,

when they
her

begin to get into a tangle, goes at once to

mother that her patient fingers may unravel the


snarl.

How much
till

better this than

to pull

and

tug at the cords


ble
!

the tangle becomes inextrica-

May
little

not

the

child?

many of us learn a lesson from Would it not be better for us,


the

whenever we
any of our
to take
it

find

smallest

entanglement in
of any perplexity,

affairs or the arising

at once to

God
it

that his skillful hands

may

set it right?

Then, having taken


his hands,

to

him and put


it

it

into

we

are to leave

with him; having


his,
is

gotten

it it

off

our

own shoulder upon


But
it

we

are to

allow

to

remain there.
fail.

just at this

point that most of us

We
at

tell

God about
still

our worries, and then go on worrying

as if

we had never gone


had refused
cares,

to

him

all

or

as if he

to

help

us.

We
off.

pray about

our

but do not cast them

We

make

suppli-

cation,

but do not unlade our burdens.


It

Praying

does us no good.

makes us no more contentpatient,

ed or submissive,

or

or peaceful.

We
at

do not get the worries out of our own hands


all.

This

is

the vital point in the whole matter.

THE CUBE FOE CARE.


Or perhaps we do cast while we are praying, and
the burden upon
feel for the

51

God moment a
and go
have

strange sense of joy in our soul.

We

rise

a few steps as light-hearted as an angel. given

We

God

our cares to keep.


all

But

in a little while

we have
ieties

gathered up

the old burdens and anx-

again and have them once more on our

own

shoulder, and

we go bowing under them,


as before.

fretting

and worrying

"A

step or two on

winged

"

feet,

And

then I turned to share

The burden thou hadst taken up Of ever-pressing care


So what I would not leave with thee Of course I had to bear."

But
do

is

that the best the religion of Christ can


Is that the full

for us ?

meaning of the privgolden promises in the


rest

ilege expressed in so

many

Scriptures ?
iety in the
is

Is a little

moment's

from anxall

midst of long days of care


to obtain?

that

it

possible for us

During the

brief

pauses of a great battle the soldiers heard a spar-

row sing snatches of song from among the branches


of a
tree.
its

Then, when the awful roar burst out


song was
hushed.
Is

again,

that the

full

meaning of the peace that Christ promises?

Is

62
it

WEEK-DAY RELIGION,
only a sweet bird-note

now and

then amid the

long days and years of discontent and struggle?

They

sadly misread the blessed words of divine

comfort
ise.

who

find nothing better than this

prom-

We

are permitted to roll our care entirely


to let
it

over on

God and

stay there.

We

are to

put the broken plan, the shattered hope, the tangled work, the complicated
affair,

into the hands

of the

God

of providence, leaving the ordering


it

and outcome of

to his

wisdom.

The provocasorely,

tion, the friction, the

burden that presses

the annoyance, the hindrance,


ting ourselves to

instead

of permit-

be vexed, exasperated or dis-

turbed by them, we are quietly to turn the matter


over to God, and then go on calmly to the next

duty that comes

to

our hand.
this,

And, having done

we

are to cease to worry.

We

have given the perplexity to God.


us,

We
hands.

have

asked him to think for

plan for us and take

the ordering of the affair into his


is

own

It

our matter, therefore, no longer, but


not be willing to trust
affairs

his.

Should
put our

we
and

him?

We

worldly

and

interests into the


safe.

hands of men
sick-

feel that

they are

We

commit our

nesses to the skill of our physician.


plications

Business com-

we

confide to the

wisdom of our lawyer.

THE CUBE FOB CABE.

53
Is

broken machine we turn over to a mechanic.

not

God

wise enough to

manage the complications

of our lives and to bring order and beauty out of

them ?

Has he

not skill enough ?

Is he not our

Father? and will he not always do the very best

and wisest thing

for

us?

Should we not trust

him and
and

cease to be anxious about anything that


to

we have committed
is

him ?

Is not anxiety doubt ?


to

not doubt sin ?

We are

commit our way

to the

Lord, trust him and be at peace.


that concerns us
is

The only thing

our duty.

God

will

weave the web


follies

into patterns of beauty


sins

unless

by our

and

we mar

it.

But we
them, as

must not hurry him.

His plans are sometimes

very long, and our impatience


well as our sins.

may mar
till

The buds of

his purposes

must

not be torn open.


unfold them.

We

must wait

his fingers

" God's plans, like lilies pure

and white, unfold

We
Time

must not
if,

tear the close-shut leaves apart;

will reveal the calyxes of gold.

And

through patient
feet,

toil,

we reach

the land
rest,

Where tired Where we

with sandals loose,

may

shall clearly

I think that we will say,

know and understand, 'God knew the best.'"

VI.
GLIMPSES AT LIFE'S WINDOWS.

"IVrO one can ponder


-^ ^
tality for

the great theme of


feel

immorand

an hour and not

the stir

glow of a
prosaic
cell.

better, nobler life in

him.

In our more

moods we

are like

men

shut up in a narrow
little

We

see for the time nothing but the

patch of dusty floor at our feet and the cold,


cheerless walls that encircle us.

We

are occupied
press,

with our

little

round of

duties.

Burdens

sorrows pour bitter tears into our cup, our hopes are
shattered
;

or

we have our
fancies.

short-lived joys,

we

see

our plans succeed, and play at living like children


in their

mimic

Now

and then we have

intimations of a wider
outside

and more glorious world

our

walls,

stretching

away beyond

the

small circle in which

we

dwell.

Faint voices ap-

pear to come to us from without.

Or

there are

glimmerings as

if

of memory, like the visionary


life,

gleams of a past and forgotten


54

which

flash

GLIMPSES AT LIFE'S WINDOWS.


before us in our higher moods.

55

In these rare mopoet's

ments we seem

to realize the

meaning of the

sublime thought
" Our birth
is

but a sleep and a forgetting


life's star,

The soul that rises with us, our Hath had elsewhere its setting,

And cometh
Not

from afar;

in entire forgetfulness,

And
But

not in utter nakedness,


trailing clouds of glory,
is

From God, who

do we come our home."

But

to

most of us pent up

in

this

earthly

life

these are only merest intimations, faintest whispers,

dreamlike suggestions.

We

go on living in our
its

narrow sphere, oppressed by


faculties

limitations, our
its

and powers stunted by

gloom.

Did you ever climb


interior of
intervals, as

the winding staircase in the

some great monument or tower? you ascended, you came


a
little

At

to a

window

which

let in

light,

and through which, as

you looked

out,

you had a glimpse of a great ex-

panse of fair and lovely world outside the dark


tower.

You saw

green

fields,

rich gardens, piclike

turesque

landscapes, streams

flashing

flow-

ing silver in the sunshine, the blue sea yonder, and


far

away, on the other hand, the shadowy forms of

great mountains.

How

little,

how

dark,

how poor

56

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
cheerless,

and
your

seemed the

close,

narrow

limits of
illimit!

staircase as

you looked out upon the

able view that stretched from your

window

Life in this world

is

like the a.scent of such

column.

But while we climb heavily and wearily


dark stairway, there
lies,

up

its

steep,

outside the

thick walls, a glorious world reaching


eternity, beautiful

away

into

and

filled

with the rarest things


immortality,

of God's

love.

And

thoughts of

when they come

to us, are little

windows through
infinite

which we have glim])scs of the


stretch of life

sweep and

beyond

this

hampered, broken, frag-

mentary existence of

earth.
is

The

doctrine of the resurrection

one of these

windows.

It opens to us a vista running

away

beyond the grave.

Death

is

a m.ere episode, a

mere experience, an incident on the way.


the grave, which seems to quench
life,
is

Even

all

the light of

but a chamber in which we shall disrobe

ourselves
perfections

of the

infirmities,

blemishes and

im-

of mortality and be reclothed in the

holy, spotless vesture of immortality.

Thus we
;

sleep at night, and sleep seems like death

but we

awake

in the morning, our life

unharmed, un wasted,

made

fairer, fuller, fresher, stronger.


fall,

Winter comes,

and the leaves

the flowers fade, the plants die

GLIMPSES AT LIFE'S WINDOWS.

57

and snow wraps the earth in a blanket of death.

But spring comes


anew, the flowers
shoot up

again,
lift

and the buds burst out

their heads

and the

grasses

once more.

From

beneath the great

drifts the gentlest

and most

delicate forms of life


as if they

come

as

fresh

and fragrant

had been
from the

nourished in a conservatory.

Nature

rises

grave of winter in

new beauty and

luxuriance.
loveliness
is

In

place of the sere leaves

and faded

and
the

exhausted vigor of the autumn, there


splendor of new creation.

now
is

all

Every

leaf

green,

every pore

is

flowing

full

of vital sap, and every

flower pours sweetest fragrance on the air.

The grave
ness

is

but

lifers

winter, from whose dark-

and

chill

we

shall

come with unwasted beauty.

Then, away beyond


look out at the

this strange experience, as

we

window

again,

we

see life going on,

exj)anding, deepening, enriching.

When

the truth

of immortal existence comes


it

into our personal consciousness,


ful vista before us.

opens a wonder-

It gives life a

new

glory.

It
foi*

furnishes

one of the most powerful motives

noble living.

The weakness of most


Christian lives,
is

lives,

even

of

most
For,

the absence of this motive.


to the truth of

however firmly we may cling

im-

58

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
but few lives
in

mortality as a belief, there are

which

it is

so realized as to be a ruling inspiration,

a strong,

masterful
all

conviction.

How

it

would

widen out

our thoughts, conceptions, hopes and


life

plans if the walls that divide


after

here and here-

were broken down and our eyes could see our


existence in perspective, stretching

own

away

into

eternity, as real, as personal, as fraught with interest

beyond the grave

as

on

this side of

it

How

it

would

lift

up, dignify, ennoble, inspire,


all

awaken

and deepen

our

life

if

we could but hold the

truth of personal immortality in our consciousness


all

the while as vividly


!

and

as really as

we hold

to-morrow

The grave would not then be


and
It

the end of anysins,

thing save of mortality and of the


infirmities

weights

which belong

to this earthly state.

would break up no
If we see
life

plans.

It

avouM cut

off

nothing.

only as a narrow stage


falls at death,
little

bounded by the curtain that


there for ever,

ending

how poor and


!

and limited does

existence appear

We

can have no plans that re-

quire more than earth's brief day for their com])letion.

We

can start no work

that cannot

be

finished

before the end comes.

We

may

cherish

no joys that

will reach over into the life hereafter.

GLIMPSES A T LIFE 'S WIND OWS.

59
to har-

We

may sow no

seeds that will not

come
souls

vest this side of the grave.


thrilled

Our

may

be

by no aspirations and hopes that have


beyond the shadows.

their goal
if
is

But how
away
!

different

we
as

see life with the veil torn

The

future

much

in our vision

and

as real as the little

present.

We
for

may

begin works here which shall

require ten thousand years to complete.

There

is

no hurry,
work.
shall not

we

shall

have

all eternity in

which to

We

may

scatter

seeds

which we know

come

to harvest for

long ages.

We may
lie

cherish hopes and aspirations whose goals

far

away
fices,

in the life to come.

We

may endure

sacri-

hardships and

toils

which cannot bring any

recompense or reward in this world, knowing that


in the long yearless future
return.

we

shall find glorious

Life

may seem
But
it

a failure here, crushed like a lily


sin,

under the heel of wrong or


torn.

broken, trampled,

may

yet become a glorious success.

Many
know

of the truest and best of God's children

only defeat in this world.

They

are ever-

more beaten back and thrust doAvn.


are too heavy for them.

The burdens

They

are overmastered

by sorrows.
the dust.

The
They

world's enmity treads them in


are not worldly-wise,

and while

60
otbere march

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
by
to great earthly success they live

obscurely,

oppressed,

cheated,

wronged, and

lie

buried away in the darkness of failure.


vista did not reach

If the

beyond the bare and cold room


last,

in

which these unsuccessful ones breathe their

we might drop
of defeat.

a tear of pity over their sad story


curtain
is

But when the

lifted

and we

see millions of years of existence for

them on the

other side,

we dry our
them

tears.

There will be time

enough

for

to retrieve the failure of earth.

Through
Christian

the love and grace of Christ, the defeated


life

that goes out in the darkness here

may

be restored to beauty and power, and in the

long ages beyond death

may

realiz^ all the

hopes

that seemed utterly wrecked in this world.

Indeed,
here, as

it

may

be that those
it,

who have

failed

men

phrase

are the very ones

who

shall

win the highest success

in the after-life if they

have

kept their garments clean amid the struggles and


toils.

It has been said that heaven

is

probably a

place for those

who have

failed

on earth

for the

"Delicate spirits pushed away

In the hot press of the noonday."

Certainly, for the Christian, the realization of the

truth of immortality takes

away

the bitterness of

GLIMPSES AT LIFE'S WINDOWS.


earthly defeat.

61

There will be time enough for

victory and for the most glorious success in the

unending

eternity.
lives that are cut off here before

There are

any

of their powers are developed.


cluster about them.

thousand hopes
greatness or of

Dreams of

beauty

fill

the

visions of loving friends.

Then

suddenly they are stricken


or the early morning.

down

in the

dim dawn

The bud had

not time to

open out
existence.
its

its

beauties in the short

summer

of earthly

It

is

borne away
its

still

folding

up

in

close-shut calyxes all

germs and

possibilities

of power, loveliness and


terly over the hopes that
its

life.

Sorrow weeps

bit-

seem blighted and cuts

symbols of incompleteness upon the marble;


yet,

and

with the warmth of immortality pressing


gates,

up against the

what matters
its

it

that the

bud

did not open here and unfold


the grave?
ven's long
loveliness

beauties this side

There will be time enough in hea-

summer

for every life to put out all its

and glory.

No

hopes are blighted that

are only carried forward into the immortal years.


!N"o

life is

incomplete because

it is

cut off too soon

to ripen, in

an earthly home, into majesty of form


;

and glory of fruitage

for death does not

come

to

the Christian as a destroyer.

It dims no si)lendor.

02

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
It jwvralyzes no power.
It only takes out of

It blots out no beauty. It blights no


life
is

bud or germ.
is

whatever

dull, earthly

and opaque, whatever


it

corrupt and mortal, and leaves

pure, brilliant,

glorious.

"Heaven's

light for ever shines, earth's

shadows

fly;

Life, like a

dome

of many-colored glass.

Stains the white radiance of eternity,

Until death tramples

it to

fragments."

Death only sweeps away the

limitations, breaks

down
perfect

the walls, shatters


stains,

the crust of mortality,


life

washes out the

and then

expands into

freedom,

fullness,

joy and power.

The
heaven

translation of a Christian life


is

from earth

to

but like the removal of a tender plant from a


it is it

cold northern garden, where


into a tropical field,

stunted and dying,

where

puts out most lux-

uriant growths

and covers
to be

itself

with splendor.

There ought

wondrous comforting power


those

in the truth of immortality for

who

carry

here the burdens of sickness, infirmity or deformity


;

and there are many such.

Many lovely

bodies

are full of disease; they stagger under

life's lightest

burdens.

Then

there are

many who

carry imper-

fect bodies,

and old age comes

to the strongest

and

the fairest, stealing

away

the strength and touch-

GLIMPSES AT LIFE'S WINDOWS


ing the loveliness, and
tion
pain.
it

63

fades.

But the

resurrec-

bodv

will be for ever free


will

from disease and

There

be no decrepitude, no bowed

forms, no pale cheeks, no wasting or decay.

How
re-

pleasant

it is

to the old to

know
the

that they will get

back their bodies with

all
life

marks of age
all

moved, and will begin


of immortal youth
!

again with
it

the glow

I believe

is

Swedenborg

who

says that in heaven the oldest angels are the

youngest.

A
life

deep truth

lies

here.

Not only does


and

age leave no marks or traces of wasting, but the

immortal

is

a growth ever toward youth

freshness of existence rather

than toward senes-

cence and decay.

There

is

another bearing which the truth of


life

immortality must have upon the


realizes
it.

that truly

It

is

in the intensifying of all its best

activities

and powers.

If there were to be no

life

after this brief existence,

why
our

should

we deny

our-

selves

and spend our strength


should we
sacrifice

in serving others?

Why
thy ?
this

own

ease

and comfort

for the sake of those

who

are degraded and unW'Or-

How
!

cold and hard all duty seems without

motive

But when

this truth of

immortality

comes and touches these austere


begin to glow
!

duties,

how they

The

certainty of a hereafter brighf

64
with
all

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
manner of rewards and joys
is

a wondrous

inspiration.
result

No

matter that there


toil

is

no apparent

when we

and

sacrifice

that the
;

word
that

we speak seems
tlie

to float

away
to

into oblivion
life

impression

we seek

make on a

fades

out while
to

we

gaze.

Somewhere

in the long years

come we

shall find that not the smallest deed

done for

Ciirist,

or the feeblest word spoken, or

the faintest touch given, has been in vain.

In the

highest sense

higher

than the old

artist

dreamed

of

do we work for eternity.

In a truer and deeper

way than we know, and

in remoter ages than

we

can count, shall we find our songs from beginning


to

end in the hearts of our friends.

In

frescoing,

when

the artist lays on his colors they sink


trace,

away
no

and leave no
beauty.

but they reappear by and by in


lives to-day
see.

So we touch

and there

is

impression that

we can
But

The very memory


it

seems to fade out.


ifest.

in eternity

will be

manwest

The

brightest clouds in the glowing

lose their splendor while

you

gaze, but
in

work done
hues,

in

human
Thus

souls will

appear

unfading

brightening for ever.


the glimpses
in

we

get through the

little

dim

windows
give a

the walls of our

earthly

life

should

new meaning

to our existence here

and to

GLIMPSES AT LIFE'S WINDOWS.


all

65

our multiplied relationships.


us,

With immortality

glowiug before

our brief years on earth should

be marked by earnestness, reverence, love and faithfulness.


circle

Soon we

shall

break out of our narrow


fields that

and traverse the boundless

we

see

now
But

only in the far-away and momentary glimpse.


it

will be a blessed thing if

we can

get into

our hearts even

here something of the personal


its limitless

consciousness of our immortality, with


possessions

and

possibilities,

and

feel

something in
life.

our souls of the power of an endless


5

VII.
THE MARRIAGE ALTAR, AND AFTER.
" In the

lon^ years liker


be more of

iiinst

they grow
of

The man

woman, she
in

man

He
Nor
IShe

gain in sweetness and

moral height,

h)se the wrestlinu iliews tliat

throw the world;

mental breadth, nor

t;iil

in

cbildward eare

Move

as the tlouble-natnred poet e.ich

Till at the last she set herself to

man
Longfellow.

Like perfect music unto noble words."

rilHE
-^

preparations are
trousseau
is

all

at last

made.

The

bridal

completed.

The day has

been fixed.
comes.

The

cards have gone out.

The hour
flowers, a
altar,

Two young

hearts are throbbing with love

and

joy.

brilliant

company, music,

solemn hush as the happy pair approach the

the repetition of the sacred words of the marriage

ceremony, the clasping of hands, the mutual covenants and promises, the giving and receiving of
the rin^ the final
gether, let not

"Whom God

hath joined to-

man put

asunder," the prayer and


flesh.

benediction,

and they twain are one

There

THE MARRIAGE ALTAR, AND AFTER.

67

are tears and congratulations, hurried good-byes, a


bridal tour,

and a new bark puts out upon the


high hopes.

sea

freighted with

God

grant

it

may
and

never

be

dashed

upon

any hidden

rock

wrecked
Marriage
is

very like the bringing together of

two instruments of music.


get

The
pitch.

first

thing

is

to

them keyed

to the

same

Before a con-

cert begins

you hear the musicians striking chords


their instruments, until at length they

and keying
all

perfectly accord.

Then they come out and

play some rare piece of music without a discord or

ajar

in

any of

its

parts.

No

two

lives,

however thorough

their

former

acquaintance

may have

been, however long they

may have moved


the
clovser

together in society or mingled in


relations of a ripening

and more intimate

friendship, ever find themselves

perfectly in haris

mony on

their marriage-day.

It

only

when

that

mysterious blending begins after marriage which

no language can explain that each finds so much

the

other that

was never

discovered

before.

There are beauties and excellences that were never


disclosed, even to love's partial eye, in all the days

of familiar intimacy.

There are

peculiarities

which

were never seen to exist until

tliey

began to make

QS

WEFJK-DAY RELIGION.
tlic veil

themselves manifest witliin

of the matri-

monial temple.

There are incompatibilities that


till

were never dreamed of

they were revealed in

the attrition of domestic

life.

There are
in the

faults

which neither even suspected


habits of the other.

temper and

Before marriage young people are on their good


behavior.
Selfishness

They do not
is

exhibit their infirmities.

hidden under garments of courtesy

and gallantry.
votion to

Each

forgets self in romantic de-

the other.

The

voice

is

softened and
love.

made

tender,

and even tremulous, by

The

music flows with a holy rhythm mellowed by affection's gentleness.

Everything that would make


is

an unfavorable impression
lock and key.
sweetness

scrupulously put under

So there

is

harmony of no ordinary
young
lives,

made by

the two

unvexed by

one discordant note.

Marriage

is

a great mystery.
is

^'They twain shall

be one flesh"
of
closest,

no mere figure of speech.

Years
intiis

most familiar, most unrestrained


lives

macy bring
still

very close together, but there

a separating wall which marriage breaks down.


lives

The two
There

become one.

Each opens every

nook, every chamber, every cranny, to the other.


is

a mutual interflow, life pouring into life

THE MARRIAGE ALTAR, AND AFTER.

69

There may have been no intention on the part of


either to deceive the other in the smallest matter or
to cloak the smallest infirmity.

But

the disclosure

could not, in the very nature of things, have been

any more

perfect.

Each stood

in the vestibule of
its

a house, or at the most sat in


tering any other apartment.
is

parlor, never en-

Now

the whole house

thrown open, and many hitherto unsuspected

things are seen.

Too
longer

often the restraint seems to fall off

when
is

the matrimonial

chain

is

riveted.

No

effort

made

to curb

the

bad tempers and

evil
is

propensities.

The

delicate robe

of politeness

torn away, and

many

a rudeness appears.

It seems

to be considered

no longer necessary to continue


Selfishness begins to assert

the old thoughtful ness.


itself

The sweet

amenities
result
is

of the wooing-days
unhappiness.

are laid aside,

and the

Many
and

a young bride cries herself sick half a score of


times before she has been a

month a

bride,

wishes she were back in the bright, happy of her youth.


pair

home

Oftentimes both the newly-wedded


in their hearts

become discouraged and think

that they have

made a mistake.
is

And
ment.

yet there

really

no reason for discourageyet be

The marriage may

made happy.

70

WEEK-DAY
is

liELiaiON.

There

need only for large and wise patience.


lives

The two
two hearts
rules

require

only to be

brought into

harmony, and

lovers sweetest

music will flow from

in tender unison.

But

there are several

which must always be remembered and ob-

served.

Why,
sies,

for instance, should either party, after the


all

wedding-day, cease to observe


little

the sweet coui*te-

refinements and charming amenities of

the courtship-days?
all

AVhy should a man be

polite

day

to every

one he meets

even
her

to the porter

in his store,
street

and the bootblack or newsboy on the


then
less polite to

and

who meets him

at his door

with yearning heart hungry for exIf things have gone wrong

pressions of love?

with him
to his

all

day,
to

why

should he carry his gloom


his wife's tender

home
,

darken the joy of


should the

heart?

Or why

woman who

used to

be

all

smiles and beauty and adornment and per-

fume when her lover came, meet her husband now


with disheveled hair, soiled dress, slatternly manner and face
all

frowns?

Why

should there not

be a resolute continuance of the old politeness and

mutual desire

to

please which

made

the wooing-

days so sunny?

Then

love must be lifted up out of the realm

THE MARRIAGE ALTAR, AND AFTER.


of the passions and senses and spiritualized.

71

There
life.

should be converse on the higher themes of

Many
points.

persons

are

married only at one or two

Their natures

know but

the lower forms

of pleasure and fellowship.

They never commune


Their
intel-

on any topic but the most earthy.


lectual parts

have no fellowship.

They never

read

nor converse together on elevated themes.


is

There
they are

no commingling of mind with mind

dead
still

to each other in that higher reH:ion.

Then

fewer are wedded in their highest, their spirit-

ual natures.

The number

is

small of those

who

commune
nity.

together concerning the things of God,

the soul's holiest interests

and the

realities

of eter-

No

marriage

is

complete which does not


lives at

unite and blend the

wedded
should

every point.

Husband and
whole nature.

wife

be such

along their

This implies that they should read and study


together, having the

same

line of thought, help-

ing each other toward higher mental culture.


implies
also

It

that

they should

worship together,
the
holiest

communing with
themes of
life

one another upon

and hope.
and

Together they should

bow

in

prayer,

together

work

in

anticithis
life

pation of the same blessed

home beyond


72
of
toil

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
and
care.

I can conceive of no true and

perfect marriage

whose deepest joy does not


come.
is

lie

forward in the

life to

Perfect mutual confidence

an element of every
live

complete marriage.

Husband and wife should


all

but one

life,

sharing

of each other's cares, joys,


siiould not be a corner
is

sorrows and hopes.


in

There

the nature and occupation of either which

not open to the other.


to begiji
to shut
life

The moment a man has


out from any chapters
peril,

his wife

of his daily

he

is

in

and

in like

manThere

ner her whole

life

should be open to him.

should be a flowino- to^-ether of heart and soul in


close

communion and

perfect confidence.
is

No

dis-

cord can end in harm while there


intersphering of
liv^es

such mutual

and such interflowing of souls.

Once more, no third party should ever be taken


into this holy of holies.

No

matter

who

it

is

the sweetest, gentlest, dearest, wisest mother, the


purest, truest, tenderest sister, the best, the loyalest friend

no

one but

God

should ever be per-

mitted to

know aught

of the secret, sacred mar-

ried life that they twain are living.

This

is

one

of those relations with which no stranger, though

he be the
dle.

closest

bosom
is

friend, should

intermed-

Any

alien touch

sure to leave a blight.

THE MARRIAGE ALTAR, AND AFTER.


There are certain influences that bring out
the

73
all

warmth and tenderness needed

to

make any

niarriage very happy.


tle

When

one

is

sick,
!

how

gen-

and thoughtful
is

it

makes the other

J^Tot

a want

or wish
tions

left

unsupplied.

All the heart's aifec-

long
is

slumbering,

perhaps

are
or
is

awakened

and become intent on most kindly ministry.


service

No

thought a hardship

now

done with

any show of reluctance.


or look of impatience.

There

not a breath

Love
act.

flows out in tone

and look and word and

There

is

an inex-

pressible tenderness in all the bearing.

Even

the

coldest natures

become gentle

in

the

sick-room,
soft

and the

rudest, harshest

manners become

and

warm

at the touch of suffering in the beloved one.

Or

let

death come to either, and what an awakenis

ing there

of

all

that

is

holiest

and tenderest and


If the dead
life

sweetest in the heart of the other!

could be recalled and the wedded

resumed,

would
ever
it

it

not be a thousand times more loving than

was before ?

Would

there be any

more the
there

old impatience, the old selfishness?

Would
heart's

not be the fullest sympathy, the largest forbearance,

the

warmest

outflow

of

the

most

kindlv feelino^s?

And why may

not married

life

be lived day by

t4 day
iind
I*

]vej:k-da
the

y religion.
this

power of

wondrous influonce?

AV liv wait for sufferincr in the one

we love

to

thaw
chill

out the

lieart's

tenderness,

to

melt the icy

of neglect and indifference, and to produce in us


the

summer

fruits

of affection ?

Why
side

w'ait

for

death to come to reveal the beauty of the plain

and liomelv

life

that

moves bv our
it

and

dis-

close the value of the blessings

enfolds for us?

Why

should we only learn to appreciate and prize

love's splendors

and

its

sweetness as
sadly

it

vanishes

out of our sight?


fully!

Very

and yet how truthis

has
is

one sung:
gone, sweet

" And she


'Tis only

human
to

love

gone

when they spring


to
lie

heaven that angels


sit all

Reveal themselves
Beside you and

you; they

day

down

at night

by you,

Who
And

care not for their presence


all at

muse or sleep;
Then you know them!

once they leave you.


!"

We

are so fooled, so cheated

But why should the empty chair be the


vealer of the real worth of those
so close to us?

first re-

who

havfe

walked
loss

Why

should sorrow over our

be the

first

influence to

draw from our

hearts the

tenderness and the wealth of kindly ministries that


lie

pent up in them

all

the while?
that
is

Surely,

wedded

life

should

call

out

all

richest, truest, tenlife

derest,

most inspiring and most helpful in the

THE MARRIAGE ALTAR, AND AFTER.


of each.
riage.

75

This

is

the true ideal of Christian mar-

Its love is to be like that of Christ

and

his
sufits

Church.

It should not wait for the

agony of

fering or the

pang of separation
fill

to

draw out

tenderness, but should

all

its

days and nights

with unvexed sweetness.

There are many such marriages.


beautiful pictures

Few more
home

of wedded love were ever un-

veiled than that which was lived out in the

of Cliarles Kingsley.

His wife
words
:

closes her loving

memoir with

these
as

"

The

outside world

must judge him

an author, a preacher^ a

memhim
tell

ber of society, but those only

who

lived with

in the intimacy of every-day life at

home can
real

what he was
of his
life

as a

man.

Over the

romance

and over the tenderest,

loveliest passages
it

in his private letters a veil will not be lifting


it

must be thrown, but

too far to say that if in the

highest, closest of earthly relationships a love that

never failed

pure,

patient, passionate

for six-andits

thirty years, a love

which never stooped from

own

lofty level to a hasty

word, an impatient ges-

ture or a selfish act, in sickness or in health, in

sunshine or in storm, by day or by night, could

prove that the age of chivalry has not passed away


for ever, then Charles Kinirslev fulfilled the ideal / J C>

76
of a
*

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
most true and perfect knight
blest with that love in time
'

to

the one
to eter-

woman
nity.

and

To

eternity, for such

love

is

eternal,

and

he

is

not dead.

He

himself, the man, the lover,

husband, father, friend


is

he

still

lives in

God, who

not the

God

of the dead, but of the living."

And why

should not every marriage in Christ


It is possible,

realize all that lies in this picture?

and yet only noble manhood and womanhood, with


truest views of marriage
est love,

and inspired by the

holi-

can realize

it.

VIII.
RELIGION IN THE HOME.
" Sweet are the joys of home,

And

pure as sweet; for they,

Like dews of morn and evening, come To make and close the day,"

1%

/rUCH

is

said

and written of religion


it

in the
is

-^'-'"

home, and yet

may

be that there

not

always a clear conception of the meaning of the


term.
It
is
is

sometimes
fully

supposed that the

re-

quirement

met when family devotions are


This
is

regularly maintained.

of vital importance.
implies

Household

religion

certainly

the

daily

family worship.

I cannot think that any

home

realizes the true ideal or can

have Heaven's richest


this is omitted or

benedictions
neglected.
in

upon

it

in

which

God
is

blesses

and

shelters the household

which he

honored.

Prayer weaves a roof of


builds walls of protection

love over the

home and

about

it.

Surely the goodness of a thoughtful Providence,


77

78
received requires
is
it

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
day after day
in

unbroken continuity,

some

grateful recognition of praise.

Then

not a perilous thing for the


to

members of the
to

household
duties

disperse

in

the

morning

their

and

responsibilities, into

dangers and temp-

tations, to

meet possible

trials,

without the invoking

of Heaven's guidance, protection and help?


is

There
wor-

reason to fear that in


is

many homes

fajnily

ship

neglected,

and that

in the intense whirl


is

and
be-

excitement of these busy times the neglect

coming more and more common.

How
if

can

we

expect God's blessing upon our homes

we do
the
?

not

call
is

upon

his

name?

Is

it

any wonder that


in

there

sorrow over children's wanderings


is

households in which there

no family altar

There

is

a wondrous educating influence in the

daily assemblage of the family for prayer.

Where

through childhood and youth the custom has been


regularly maintained,
its

influence over the

life

is
it

such as can never be wholly obliterated.

And

may be

seriously questioned whether in

any other

way, by any other means, children can be so firmly


"

Bound by gold chains about the

feet of

God."

The memories

of the old

family

altar,

waked

years and years after the

home

walls had crumbled

RELIGION IN THE HOME.


and the home voices had become
silent,

79

have led

many

a wanderer back to God^s feet.

Then

there

is

nothing

else that so
is

sweetens the

home-life.

True family worship

a fountain that

brings streams of holy influences into every part of


the household.
It
all.
is

a vase of perfume that sheds


It quells

fragrance over
anger.

It softens asperities.

It quiets impatience.

It settles differences.

It subdues evil passions.

Hearts that are drawn

together at God's feet every day cannot get very


fur apart.

The

frictions of the

day are forgotten

when

all voices

mingle in the same heavenly song.


fall

As

the tender words of inspiration


counsels
all

with their
melts

beniy^n

feeling;

of unkindness

away.

The

altar in the midst

wondrously hallows
Besides,
it

and sweetens the home


})uts

fellowship.

new

strength into
It
is

every heart.
against

It comforts
It

sorrow.

a shield

temptation.
It

smoothes out the


strength for

wrinkles

of

care.

inspires

burden-bearing.

It quickens
iires

every

religious sentiment

and keeps the

burning on

every hearths

altar.

The manner
ducted
is

in

which the family worship


It

is

con-

very important.

should be made so

},)leasant as

to be looke<l forward to with gladness

eveti

by the youngest children.

Too

often

it

is

80

WEKKDAY
tedious,

RELIGION.

made

monotonous or burdensome.
order whicih

Men

fall

into a stereotyped

they never vary.


ofFered

Long

passages

are read,

and the prayers

are not only long, but are the

same every day from

year to year, with no ada{)tation to the home-liie,


or to the capacities of children.

There

is

no reason

why

the family worship should not be the most deIt should be the

lightful exercise in the home-life.

continual study of heads of households to


bright, interesting

make
it

it

and

profitable.

To make
It

dull

and irksome

is

treason to true religion.

is

im-

possible to give

more than the merest suggestions

and hints

as to methods.

part in the service

should be given to each child.

Questions

may be

asked each day on the passage read the day before.


Incidents

may

be introduced to illustrate the lesson.


explained.

Hard words may be


thought at
ture
least

One

practical

may
will

be selected from the Scripbear

read

which

upon the day's

life.

Cheerful songs

may
is

be sung.

Then

in the prayer
little

some part should be


Sometimes
it

given to the
to

ones.

good
it

have

all

follow in

the
all

prayer, repeating

phrase after phrase.

And

may

unite

in

the

Lord's Prayer at the

close.

When
it

there are quite

young children

in the family,

may

not be best to read the Bible in course, but

RELIGION IN THE HOME.

81

to select portions in wliich they will be easily interested.

For an

exercise so sacred
it

and fraught
to say that

with such influences

is

not too

much

the most careful preparation should be made.


is

It

probable

tluit

there are few duties for which so


is

little

preparation

actually made.

If

thought

were given to

this matter beforehand, the exercise

need never be dull or wearisome.

The

passage

may

not only be selected, but studied and some

point fixed

upon

for
little

practical

enforcement.

bright incident or
to fix the lesson.

story

may

be ready to help
be thought over

The prayer may

or even written out.

few minutes given every

day
to

to preparation for
it,

family worship will serve


be, the

make

as it should

most pleasant and

attractiv'e incident

of the day.
religion implies regular devoelse required.
is

But while family


tions, there
is

something

There are

homes
in

in

which family worship


is

never neglected

which there

yet a painful absence of


is

home
is

religion.

Religion

love,

and a religious home

one in which love reigns.

There must be love

in

action, love that flows out in all the

home
little

inter-

course,

showing

itself in

a thousand

expres-

sions of thoughtfulness, kindness, unselfishness

and

gentle courtesy.

There are homes

in

which there

82
is

WEEK-DAY REUGION.
truest
love.

The members of
lives
for

the houseliold
other.

woiilfl

irive

their

each

When

grief or pain comes to any one of them, the hearts

of

all

the others are touched and at once go out in

deepest sympathy, in warmest ex])ressions of affection

and

in self-forgetful

ministries.

There

is

no

question as to the reality and the strength of the

attachment that mutually exists between the hearts


of the household.

And

yet in their ordinary as-

so(;iations there is a great lack

of those exhibitions

of kindly feeling which are the sweetest charm of


love.

There

is

a lack of tender words.


after

Husband

and wife pass week


word,
it

week without one harsh

may

be,

but also without one of those en-

dejiring expressions such as

made

their early love-

davs sosunnv nnd radiant.


the whole liou>ehold
is

And

the interooui-se of

c^luu-acterized

by the same lack


conversation
is

of warmtii and tenderness.

The

is

about the most commonplace matters,


strained,

often con-

and

in

many
tone

cases consists

only of occaeaten almost


is

sional monosyllables.
in
silence.

^Many a meal
of
the

is

The
is

home- life

cold.

All

sentiment

avoided,

no

compliments

are

uttered.

Even

the simplest courtesies of

manner

are often neglected.

Favors are asked, given and

accepted without one of those sweetening graces of

RELIGION IN THE HOME.


politeness

83
observe in

which we are

all so careful to

our intercourse with strangers, and which add so

much

to the pleasure of such intercourse.


falls
is

Sorrow

upon one of the family, and immechanged.

diately all
passes

The

coldness of

manner

into tenderness.

This proves the reality

and power of the family bond.


love to be so locked
crannies of the

But ought the


in the

up and hidden away


in

heart and

the

inner recesses

of the nature as to require


call it out ?

affliction or

sorrow to
sweetest
it

Should not love celebrate


the while in the

its

summer
and

all

home?
its

Should

require calamity or pain to


its

woo out

fragrance

beauty?
a wondrous charm
the
it

What
when
out in
all

gives to family-life

members

let their hearts'

love flow

all

those tender graces of expression which


!

have so much power to give joy


homes.
door,

There are such


as

The very atmosphere,


seems
laden

you enter the

with

fragrance.

The

rarest

courtesy marks all the intercourse of the family.

Each one
pleasure.

is

thoughtful of the other's comfort and

No

harsh word

is

spoken.

The con-

versation at table flows on in musical sw^eetness,


bright,

sparkling and cheerful, without one jar.


is

There

no sullen look on any

face.

There

is

no

84

WEEK-DA Y RELIGION.
There
is

disregard of politeness.

no laying aside

of good manners.

But

there are

many who

are amiable and ])olite

away

fi-om

home who

are not so in the sacredness

of their

own honsehold.

There are men who

in

society are courteous, thoughtful

and gracious who


gruff,

when they
the

enter

their

own doors become


There are
social

moody, and even rude.


brightest

ladies

who

are

charm of the

circle,

sunny,

sparkling, thoughtful,

who

as they cross their

own

thresholds

are

suddenly

transformed,

becoming

disagreeable, petulant, impatient, irritable and unlovely.

Some of

the most brilliant lights of soci-

ety are the most unendurable at home.


their

They keep
relapse

courtly manners for company, and

into barbarism
roof-tree.

when

in the shelter of their


for

own
the

They have "careful thought


but for their

stranger,'^
JSTow, it

"own

the bitter tone."

need not be said that the most unbroken

continuity in family devotions will not

make such
is

home-life religious.
in

A true

Christian

home own

one

whose holy

circle all live the religion

of Christ.
doors

We should
ness

be just as sunny inside our

as on the street.

Courtesy that changes to rude-

when we

cross our

own

threshold

is

no cour-

tesy at all.

Love

that beareth all things, endureth

RELIGION IN THE HOME.


all

85
not turn

things and seeketh not

its

own must
home.

to petulance

and

selfishness at

We
we

should

appear always at our best among those


best.

love the

We

ought to bring the sweetest things of

our hearts into our homes.

Yet

there

are tendencies

to careless living at
to

home
ships,

against which

we need

guard ourselves

very carefully.

Sacred as are the

home
is

relation-

our very familiarity with them

apt

to

render us forgetful.
pressions of

Incessant repetitions of im-

any kind are in danger of producing


of sensibility.
lies

callousness
tact

In the constant conthe

of the home-loves

danger that we

become heedless of them.

It takes special care

and watchfulness and continual quickening of the


affections

to

keep our hearts'

sensibilities

always

alive to the

unbroken touch of the tender

relation-

ships of home.

Then

outside

we have

to be ever

on our guard.

The world has no

patience with

our ill-temper and bad manners.


petulance, a single gruff reply

moment's
word,
thing,

or uncivil

or

the

want of courtesy
us

in

the smallest

may

cost

a friend

or

lose us

a customer

or

mar our

reputation.

Hence we have the constant

pressure of these selfish motives to compel us to

appear always at our best in society.

8(3

weJ':k-ijay religion.

But

at

home

this pressure

is

romovcd.

We

are

sure of the hearts there.


us.

They have

patience with

Their love

is

not of the fickle and uncertain

kind that requires continuous propitiation.

We
In

have no fear of losing their esteem or regard.


our heedless selfishness we are

in constant danger,

when we

enter the

home-shelter after the stress

of the day, of removing the restraint and permitting our least amiable self to

come

to the outside.

There

is still

another reason

why
is

peculiar watchnecessary.

fulness over the home-behavior

In
is

the outside world the contact of

life

with

life

usually at a reasonable distance.

We

do not get

very close to men.

We

see only their best points.

We

meet them only in favorable circumstances,


to

and are not compelled

endure the friction of

actual contact with their

meaner

qualities.

But

that which

makes home-intercourse the


is

sorest test

of piety and of character


touch there at every point.
laying
all

its

closeness.

Lives

The very

unrestraint,

lives bare to each other,


friction.
lov^e

adds immeas-

urably to the danger of


the religion of Christ, the
things,
is

Nothing but

that endureth all

equal to the strain of such experiences.

IX.
THE MINISTRY OF SORROW.
"'Tis sorrow builds the shining ladder np

Whose

golden rounds are our calamities,

Whereon, our firm feet planting, nearer God The spirit climbs and hath its eyes unsealed."

BOOK

that

treats

even fragmentarily of

^^
is

Christian culture would be incomplete with-

out a chapter on the ministry of sorrow, for this

an experience through which sooner or


life

later

every

must

pass.

It

is

part of the earthly

education for the heavenly glory.


self passed this
fect

Our Lord himmade


peralso ordained for

way

before us and was


it

through suffering, and


his

is

us,

followers,

that through

much

tribulation

we must
They

enter the

kingdom of heaven.
young who know noth-

are only the very

ing as yet of the liturgy of grief.

To them

the

language of sorrow

is

an unknown tongue, and the

consolations of the Scriptures seem written in pale


or invisible ink.

But

it

will not long be so.


87

Th^

88
years will
liot fianies

WEKK-DAl' RKLKilOS.
l)riiig

griefs to

them, and under their

the comforts of religion will

glow upon

the inspired page as no other words do.


way-officials

The

rail-

passed through our train at

midday

and lighted the lamps.


understand

The

passengers could not

why

it

was done.

How

j)ale

the lights

seemed

in the blaze of

noon

But soon we plunged

into a long

tunnel, into pitchy darkness.

How
!

brightly

then

the

beams shone down upon us


all

and how grateful we

were for the lamps

So

the lamps of comfort which


hearts in our
so

God hangs about our


to us
is

sunny youth, and which seem

dim and

so without a purpose while there

no

break in our joy, will burst into heavenly brightness


shall

when

the darkness thickens about us.


if

AYhat

we then do

none of these lamps of conso-

lation are ready lighted in our hearts?

The mini
manifold.

tries

of sorrow for the Christian are

Blighthig the joys of earth on which


his heart,
il

he had

set

turns his eye toward the

things that are unseen

and

eternal.

There are
the light

many who
up
in

never saw Christ until

of

some tender beauty faded before them, and, looking


the darkness, they beheld that blessed face

beaming down upon

them

in

divine gentleness

and

love.

THE MINISTRY OF SORROW.


"Through the clouded glass Of our own bitter tears we
Earth
is

89

learn to look

Undazzled on the kindness of God's face


too dark,

and heaven alone shines through."

Many
of
trial.

of the sweetest joys of Christian hearts

are songs which have been learned in the bitterness

A story
while

is

told of ^^a little bird that will

never learn to

sing;

the song; his master will have


cas-e
is

him

sincr

his

full
this,

of
a

liorht.

He

listens

and learns a snatch of


all

trill

of that,

a polyglot of
a separate

the songs in the grove, but never


his
it

and entire melody of

own.
dark

But the
all

master covers his cage and makes

about

him, and then he listens and listens to the one song

he

is

to sing,

and

tries

and

tries,
it.

and

tries again,

until at last his heart


lie

is full

of

And then, when


is

has c.iught
.^ings it

thvi

melody, the cage

uncovered, and

he

sweetly ever after in the light."

It

is

often with our hearts as

with the bird.

The Master
catch

has a song to teach us, but


it,

we

learn

only a strain of

a note here and there, while

we

up snatches of earth's music, the workVs songs,


it.

and sing them with


it

Then he comes and makes


we
learn

dark about us
teacli

till

the sweet song he


it

would

us.

And, having once learned we continue

in

the deep shadows,

to sing it afterward,

90
even
in

WEHK-DA Y RKL K HON.


the brightest day of earthly joy.

Many

of the loveliest songs of peace and trnst and hope

which God^s children

sinu: in

this

world thev have

been taught in the hushed and darkened chambers


of sorrow.

In

like manner,

many

of the rarest beauties of

character are touches given by the divine Spirit in the hours of affliction.

Many

a Christian enters a

sore trial, cold, worldly, unspiritual, with all the


better

and more tender

qualities

of his

nature
fra;

locked

up

in

his heart like the beauty

and

grance in the bare and jagged tree in January

but

he comes out of

it

with gentle

spirit,

mellowed,

richened and sweetened, and with


graces

all

the fragrant
Tiie

pouring their perfume about him.

])h()tographer carries his picture back into a dark-

ened room that he

may

bring out
delicate
its

its

features.

The

light

would mar

his

work.

God
day

brings out in

many a
is

soul

loveliest

beauties

while the curtain


shut out.
it
is

drawn and the


not

light of

The darkness does

tell

of anger

only the shadow of the wing of divine love


little,

folded close over us for a

while the Master


to the

adds some new touch of loveliness


he
is

picture

bringing out in our souls.


sanctified,

Afflictions,

soften

the

asperities

of

THE MINISTRY OF SORROW.


life.

91

They tame the wildness of nature. They They burn out the temper human ambitions. They humdross of selfishness and worldliness.
ble
pride.

They
their

quell fierce passion^'.

They

re-

veal to
faults,

men

own

hearts, their
perils.

own

weaknesses,

blemishes and

They

teach patience

and

submission.

They

disciple

unruly

spirits.

They deepen and


ing the hard
in the heart,
soil

enrich our experiences.

Plough-

and cutting long and deep furrows fruits the heavenly Sower follows, and
It has been said that
to late perfection,

of righteousness spring up.

" the

last, best fruit

which comes
is

even in the kindliest soul,

tenderness toward the

unforbearing, hard, forbearance toward the

warmth

philanthropy toward of heart toward the cold, and


the misanthropic."

But there

is

no influence under
under

which these

late fruits ripen so quickly as

the power of sorrow.


all.

It

makes us gentle toward


and
fills

It softens every harsh feeling

the

heart with

benevolent

tender sympathy, kindly charity and Many a home is saved dispositions.

and draws from wreck by a sorrow that comes


estranged hearts
close

together

again.

Many

cold, icy nature is

made warm and tender by


it.

the

grief that crushes

Then sorrow

this cuts the chains that bind us to

"

92
earthly
life

WJJEK-DAY RELIGION.
and
scnrls us out to sea

on voyages of
our poor

new

discovery.

It

opens windows in

})rison-life

here through which

we

get glimpses of

the better things of immortality and glory.

Especially
death.
us,

is

this true of

the loss of friends by


life

We
soil

live

absorbed in the earthly

about

thinking

of no other, our eyes fixed on the

dusty

at our feet

and not seeing the radiant


shine above our
love
first
is

heavens that glow and

heads.

Then suddenly one whom we


from our
side,

plucked away

and

for

the

time

we begin

to

look up and to obtain glimpses of the invisible and


eternal

things of the

life

above and bevond

us.

Thus viewed from any


messenger of
truest

side, affliction

appears as a

God

sent to minister to us in the

way.

As one

has

beautifully

written of

sorrow,
" I turned and clasped her close with sudden strength,

And
"Within

slowly, sweetly, I

became aware

my arms

God's angel stood at length.

While-robed and calm and fair. 'Look thou beyond the evening sky,' she
'

said,

Beyond the changing splendors of the day,


Accept, and bid

Accept the pain, the weariness, the dread

me

stay.'

God

is

the

Comforter.

He

has put up the

bowers and opened the springs of comfort in al-

THE MINISTRY OF SORROW.


most every page of his word.

93
head of

At

the

almost every chapter an angel seems to stand crying, "

Comfort
There

ye, comfort ye
is

my

people, saith your

God."

no darkness that gathers about


into

any of God's children

which he does not send

some beams of

brightness.

One dark and


the Sabbath.
all the
rift in

dreary winter day I sat in

my

study thinking what I should say to

my

people on

The sky had been


But suddenly

heavily overcast
there was a
fell

morning.

little

the clouds, and a few sunbeams

on

window.
eyes,

As

the brightness flowed in I raised

my my

and

there,

on the

wall,

was a

little bit

of as

glorious rainbow as ever I saw.

There was some

peculiar formation in the glass of the

window-pane

which acted

as a perfect prism, disentangling


its

and
bril-

unsnarling the white beam and spreading


liant threads

in rich

display upon
is

the

plastered

wall of the room.


disciple,

So there

no

life

of Christian

however dark and

full

of cares and grief,

into

which

God
is

does not at some hour of each day


the splendor of heaven.
eves to the

pour a

little

at least of

The
fort

trouble

that

we shut our
it.

com-

and

will
sit

not look upon

We

see all the

clouds and

in the darkness, beholding not the


bits

sunbeams and the

of rainbow that our Fa-

y^

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.

ther sends into our lives to briiiliten and illumine


til

em.

There

is

a picture of a

woman

.seated

on the low

rocks, looking out

upon a wild sea down into which

the treasures of her heart have gone.

Her

face

is

stony

with

hopeless,

despairing

grief.

Almost

touching the black robe of the mourner, hovering


over her shoulder,
is

the

shadowy form of an angel

softly touching the strings of a harp.

But she

is

unaware of the angel's nearness, nor does she hear


a note of the
celestial

music.

She bows

in

dumb

unconsciousness, with breaking heart and unsoothed

sorrow, while the heavenly consolation

is

so close.

Thus many of God's

children

sit

in

darkness,

crushed by their sorrows, yearning for comfort and


for an assurance of the divine love

and sympathy,

hearing no soft music, no whisper of consolation,

while close beside them the Master himself stands


unperceived, and heaven's sweetest songs float un-

heard in the very air they breathe.


faith

It

is

a simpler

we need

to take the consolation our

Father

sends

when our
is

hearts are breaking.


fact of

There
nite,

no comfort like the

God's
ns.

infi-

unchanging and eternal love for

If

we

can but get this truth into our individual consciousness, it wijl sustain us in

every

trial.

All the uni-

THE MINISTRY OF SORROW.


verse
is

95
is

iiiKler

his personal

sway, and he

our

tenderest

and dearest Friend, carrying each one


Providence
is

of us close in his heart.


the

not merely

outworking of

mechanical system or the

beneficent operation of wise

and good laws.

It

is

rather the thoughtful, sleepless, loving care of our

Father.

We

put

God
is

too far

off.

There are laws


these laws

of Nature, but he

the

Lawmaker, and

are but the methods of his kindness.

They do

not

make any gulf between him and


rules,

his children.

In every well-ordered household there are regulations,

habits, laws,

but these do not make

the home-providence any less due to the love and

kindness of the parents.


established

No more

do Nature's
off

and uniform laws cut us

from the

personal care of God.

He

comes near

to us per-

petually in these methods of his providence.

His
his

own

fingers touch the tints in the flower.

With
all

own hand he
causes
it is still

feeds the birds,


his

and

in

second
beauti-

hand that works.

The

ful things

we

see are the pictures our

Father has

hung up

in our
^Ye

chamber

to give us pleasure.

The

good things

receive are the ever-fresh tokens


us.

of his thoughtful love for

And
things.

the same

is

true of the evil and painful


sent them.

Our Father

They seem

ta

96

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
But he
eternal.

mean harm.
tender

loves us

with a love deep,

and

We
this

cannot see

how

these

tilings consist

with love's plan, but we


in

know
rest,

that

they must

and

faith

we may

not

understanding, but yet undoubting, unquestioning

and unfearing.
"If we could push ajar the gates of life, And stand within and all God's workings We could interpret all this doubt and strife, And for each mystery could find a key."

see,

But
know.

this

we cannot

do.

Hereafter w^e

shall

Yet even now, knowing what we do of


us,
is

God's wise and eternal love for

we can

believe

and
fort.

trust

and be
is

at peace.

This

the truest com-

It

the clasp of the tree's roots upon the


It
is

immutable rock.
in the storm.

the soul's clinging to

God

A tourist writes of
at the

stopping at Giesbach to look


waterfalls.

wonders of

its

The party had

to pass over one of the falls on a slender bridge

through the drenching water, with the wild


rents dashing beneath.
It

tor-

was a trying experience.

But once through a glorious picture burst upon


them.
circling

There were rainbows above, beneath and


on
all sides.

So the spray of sorrow


to

falls

now, and we may have

walk through

floods

and

THE MINISTRY OF SORROW.


pitiless

97

torrents,

and

all

may seem
there will

a strange, in-

explicable mystery.

But

come a time

when we

shall

have passed through these showers


shall stand

of grief, and

when we
and

amid the splen-

dor of rainbows on the shores of glory.


will understand,
tear.
7

Then we
pang and

sec ove in every

XAS UNTO THE LORD.


"
I
I

must pray

to

God

that

somebody

else

may do whatever

leave undone.
I

unless

do

my

But 1 shall not have any right to that prayer duty wherever I see it." Edward Garrett.
(leal
th^'
is

GREAT
serving

said in the Scriptures

about

Lord.

J^ut

how

are

we

to serve

him?

What kind

of work comes under the head

of service?
ing this.
Ijord

There are wrong impressions regardAll suppose


that they are serving the
in

when they engage

specifically

religious

exercises.

After his day's work a

man

goes to a

prayer-meeting..

He

regards that as serving, but

does not think of calling his

long day's secular

work by

the

same sweet designation.

woman
She

visits a sick

neighbor in the afternoon, reads a few

passages and
feels as

bows

in

prayer at her bedside.


that the

she turns

away
work

Lord accepts that

as service, but she does not dare to think of her

long

morning's

at

home

in

burdensome

household duties or
98

among

her children, mending,

AS UNTO THE LORD.


patching,
teaching,

99
of
the

comforting,

as

same

sacred character.

And

yet

it is

possible for us to

do the simplest,

most prosaic of these things in such a way as to


render acceptable service to the I^ord.
tion,

The

ques-

then, arises,

How

are

we

to

perform these
pleas-

common

secular duties so as to

make them

ing to Christ as ministries to


First of
to Christ.
all,

him?

our lives must be truly consecrated

If they are not, the most magnificent

services will not be accepted.

Then

the

work we

do must be the work


time.

to

which he
than our
toil

calls us at the

Something

else

present

duty,

though requiring more

and appearing more

splendid, will not be pleasing while present duty


is

left

unperformed.
will

missionary journey

to

Joppa

not be accepted as a substitute for a

similar visit to Nineveh.

Prayer will not be a


there
is

sweet savor

if

at the

moment

human
to

need crying for help unheeded.


cas-meetings and

Running
societies

Dor-

temperance

or attend-

ing noonday prayer-meetings


smile
lected.

will

not win
are

the

of approval

while

home-duties

neg-

Then the work we do must

itself

be pure and
calling.

good work in a lawful and proper

No

100
formal

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
consecration

can

make any wrong-doing


"Work

pleasing to the Master.

Then, again, we must do our work well.


that

we

slight or

do dishonestly

is

not acceptable
is

service.

This phase of Christian duty

some-

times overlooked.
false

Those who would not utter a


act will yet per-

word
their

or

commit a dishonest

form

work

carelessly or imperfectly.

The

principles of religion apply just as well to the car-

penter's trade or to the tailor's or to the house-

keeper's

work

as to the business of the

banker or

the merchant.

It

is

just as really dishonest to

sew

up a seam
or bad

that will rip or to put inferior material


into a building as
it is

workmanship

to use

a short yardstick or light weights or to adulterate


coffee or sugar.

God

is

not pleased with any work

unless

it is

the very best that

we can

render.

The

old cathedral- builders understood this

when

they finished every smallest detail of their stupen-

dous fabrics as conscientiously as the most massive


parts.

The

gilded spires, far

away

in the clouds,

which no human eye could ever


with as

inspect,

were made

much

care as the altar-mouldings or the


all

carvings on the great doors, which

should

see.

They

slighted nothing because

it

was not

to be ex-

posed to

human

gaze.

They wrought

for the great

AS UNTO THE LORD.


Taskmaster's eye.
tresses

103

"

Why carve

yon so carefully the


asked one of au

of that statue's head?"

ancient sculptor as

he wrought with marvelous


" The statue

pains on the back part of the figure.


will stand high

up

in

its

niche, with its


it.''

wall,

and no one will


w^as

see

" Ah

back to the

the gods will

see it,"

the

sublime answer.

So must we

work
Lord.

if

we would render The builder must

pleasing service to the

build as conscientiously

in the parts that are to be covered

from sight as in

those that will be most conspicuous.

The

dress-

maker must sew


the most showv.

as faithfully the

hidden seams as

I do not believe that we can


acceptably

ever

serve

Christ

by any kind

of

shams or

deceits.
it

If we do our secular work thus,


able to the

will be accept-

Lord

as service rendered to him.

It

may

be impossible with each separate act to have

the conscious feeling, " I do this for Christ."


far as possible,

As

we should
and

cultivate the habit of this

minute serving.
tion to our lives,

It will give a
will

wondrous inspira-

change even drudgery


It
is

into service as holy as angels' ministries.

not

impossible to learn to do even this.


great underlying motive of all our
life

But

if the

be to serve

and honor Christ and

bless the world, the

whole

in-

102
eludes all
its

WEEK-DAY RELWION.
parts.

And
life

thus the dreariest paths

of duty will become bright ways of joy, the com-

monest drudgeries of

will

become clothed

in

garments of beauty, and

all

routine-work, in

home

and

field, in

shop and

office, in

school and study,


for the

will appear sacred

and holy because done

Master.

But amid these common

secular

duties

come

countless opportunities of serving in another sense

by active ministries

to

others.

This

is

always

pleasing to Christ; indeed, he puts himself behind

every one
all

who

needs help or comfort, and accepts

deeds of benevolence and true charity as done to

himself.

And

there

is

not an hour of our waking

existence that does not bring us in contact with

other lives that need something

we have

to give.

We

are not to wait for opportunities to do great

things

not

to

keep watching for some splendid


its

thing which by

conspicuous importance

may
do
al-

win

for us the applause of

men

but are

to

ways,

moment by moment,
It
is

the thing that comes to

our hand.

may be

to

speak a cheering word to

one
to

who mend

disheartened, to join in a child's play,

a broken toy, to send a few flowers

made

more fragrant by your love

into a sick-room, or to

write a letter of condolence or sympathy.

It

is

the

AS UNTO THE LORD.


thing, small or great,

103
finds at the

which our hand

moment

to do.

Or our
The
Then

part in serv^ing

may
wont

often

be to wait.

There are times when we can do nothing more.


voice which has been
is

to

say,

"Go

and

labor,"

heard saying,
submissive,

"Lie

still

and

wait.''

quiet,

unmurmuring

patience

pleases Christ just as well as ever did the most

intense activities in other davs.

Or
serve.

it

mav

be in sufferino; that
in

we
the
is

are called to
life

There come occasions

of each

one of us when the best


pain,

thin^: for us

darkness and

when we can do most


for his sake.

for the cause of Christ

by suffering
of service

In such cases the secret

lies in

joyful resignation, asking

"What would God have this sorrow do for me? What is its mission? Wliat its great design? What golden fruit lies hidden in its husk ? How shall it nurse my virtue, nerve my will, Chasten ray passions, purify my love, And make me in some goodly sense like him

Who

bore the cross of sorrow while he lived

And hung and bled upon it when he dit'd, And now in glory wears the victor's crown?"
Into a prisoner's

cell

came each day

for half
nail

an

hour a few rays of sunlight.


a stone on his
floor,

He

found a

and

aiid

with these rude

imple-

104

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
cliisclofl

mcnts cut and

day

after

day during the

few moments when the


until
in

liglit

lay

upon the

wall,

the stone he had cut

the iniaw

of the

Christ ujion his cross.


that

In the dark days of sorrow


serve Christ

come

to us

we may

by seeking
but

to sculpture his sweet beauty, not in cold stone,

on the warm, living walls of our own

hearts.
is

Thus we
privilege

see that serving the

Lord

not the
alone,

and pleasure of a few rare hours

but embraces the whole wide range of

life

and

work and takes


friends, to

in all

our relationships to home, to If

humanity, to business, to pleasure.


life

the heart be right, our whole

becomes one un-

broken

series

of services rendered to the Lord.

The

vital point in this


it all.

whole matter
It
is

is

the

mo-

tive that underlies

possible to live a
activities,

very laborious

life filled

with intense

and

yet never, from youth to old age, do one deed that

Christ accepts as service.


live a life of

It

is

possible even to

what

is

called religious service, full as

of what are regarded

sacred duties, and yet

never in one thing truly serve Christ.

The

heart

may
any

never have been given to him at

all.

Or

the

motives

may have

been wrong.

That which makes


act
is

act distinctively a Christian

that

it

is

done in the name of Christ and to please him.

AS UNTO THE LORD.


The
him

105

moralist does right things, but without any

reference to Christ, not confessinp;


;

him

or lovintr

the Christian does the same things, but does


to

them because the Master wants him

do them.

As one

has beautifully said, "


or nothing, but

What we
is

can do for
little

God

is little

we must do our

nothings for his glory/^


filling

This

the motive that,

our hearts, makes even drudgery divine beit

cause

is

done for Christ.

It

may

be but to

sweep a room or rock an infant


a ragged child or

to sleep or teach

mend

a rent or plane a board

but

if it is

done

as unto the
it

Lord,

it

will be

owned

and accepted.

But

may
life

be the grandest of works

the
but

founding of an asylum, the building of a


of eloquence or display
it

cathedral or a whole
if it is

not done for Christ,

all

counts for

nothing.

There
one
toil

is

no

life in

the world so sweet as that of


It
is

who
love

truly serves Christ.

always easy to
is

for one
for

we

love.

And when
it

the heart

full

of

the

Master,

throws a wondrous
all

warmth and tenderness about


that

duty.

Things
as

would be very austere or repulsive merely


become very easy when done for him.
little

duties
It

was the strange fancy of a

child, writes

George Macdonald, as he stood on a summer's

106

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.

evening looking intently and thonghtfully at the


great

banks of clouds piled like mountains of


^'
:

glory about the setting sun could be a painter."

" Wliy, my

Mother, I wish I
child?"

"For
may

then I would help


sunsets."
tion.

God

paint the clouds and the

It

was a strange and beautiful aspirain this

But our commonest work


that.

world

be made far nobler than

We

may

live to

touch hues of loveliness in immortal spirits which


shall

endure for ever.


float

Clouds dissolve and

away.

The most

gor-

geous sunset splendors vanish in a few moments.

The

artist's

canvas crumbles and

his

wondrous

creations fade.
for ever.

But work done


life

for Christ endures

A
Not

of simple consecration leaves a

trace

of

imperishable

beauty on

everything

it

touches.

great deeds alone, but the smallest,

the obscurest, the most prosaic, write their record


in fadeless lines.

We

need to have but the one care


little life

that we

live

our one

truly unto the Lord.

XI.
HUMILITY AND RESPONSIBILITY.

fTlHERE
-*-

are

some rare and beautiful virtues


evils lurk.

in
is

whose shadow

Thus humility
It
is

one of the loveliest of the graces.

an orna-

ment which
It
is

in the sight of

God
It
is

is

of great price.

an element of character which wins the adthe highest proof

miration of all the world.

of inner beauty of soul.

It is like the fragrance

of the lovely violet hidden amid the more conspicuous forms of


air
life,

unseen, but filling all the

with

its

sweet perfume.

No

grace

is

more

highly commended in the Scriptures.

And

yet in

its

shade there hide very specious

counterfeits of

itself.

Many

a man, while seriously

believing that he was exercising an acceptable humility, has buried his talents in the earth, hidden
his light

under a bushel, lived a useless

life

when

he might have been a blessing to many, and passed


in the end to a darkened and crownless future.
107

,108

WEEK-DA Y RELIGION.
virtue

The
look so
ceived.

and the

vice lie so close together

and

much

alike that
all

we

are quite apt to be de-

We
own

admire humility.

We

are pleased

to find a

man who

does not place a high estimate

on his

powers, and

who modestly

shrinks from
are pressed

great responsibilities even

when they

upon him.

Amid

the almost universal strife for


it

the highest places,

is

refreshing to find a

man

who

is

not scheming for preferment, and

who even

declines proffered trusts

and honors.

The exceedself-

ing rarity of modesty and humility in men's


estimates

makes

these traits shine in very

charming

beauty when they do appear.

We

grow

so sick of

men's pretensions, their bold pressing of their own


virtues

and excellences upon our attention, and

their

eagerness to assume resj^onsibilities for which they

have no adequate

fitness, that

we very

easily glide

into the other extreme.

It
ual

is

especially in the sphere of moral

and

spirit-

work

that

we

are most apt to excuse ourselves

from duty on the plea of humility.

Even

those
in

who

quite
life,

eagerly accept important positions

secular

and perform

their duties

with confi-

dence and effectiveness, shrink from the simplest


exercise of their powers in Christian work.

Men

who

at the

bar or on the judge's bench can utter

HUMILITY AND RESPONSIBILITY.


most eloquent words in behalf of
justice

109

and right

cannot be induced to open their lips in exhortation


or prayer in a religious meeting.

Ladies

who

in

the parlor and social circle exercise their conversational

powers with wondrous grace and earnestness


sit

cannot

down

beside an anxious inquirer to try

to guide a soul to Christ, or read

and pray

in a

sick-room, where their tender voice and gentle sym-

pathy would impart such marvelous help.

Over

all

the

Church the prevalent tendency upon


is

the part of lay-members


cise

to

shrink from the exer-

of their gifts in the Master's work.


is

And

the

plea

unfitness,

want of

ability.

Classes go un-

taught in

many

a Sabbath-school, and there are

thousands of children that ought to be gathered in

and

trained.

Meanwhile, there are large numbers

of Christian

men and women

in the churches, with

abundant

ability for

such service, but

who shrink
condel-

from

it

and try

to satisfy their

own uneasy

sciences

by humbly pleading unfitness for the

icate duties.

There are urgent

necessities for

work

in every line of Christian enterprise.


fields

There are

that need only reasonable culture to render


fruitful.

them

There are voices calling

to

duty
the

that break upon our ears every


noises of the street.

moment amid
cries

There are

of

human

no
distress

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
and want that are
for ever

coming

to

our
all

hearts with their urgent appeals.


these

But amid

opportunities for

usefulness, these

waiting,

clamorous duties and these pathetic pleadings for


help, gifted It
is

men and women

sit

with folded hands.

not because they have no interest in the

Master's

work

or are insensible

to
is

the calls of

duty and the

cries

of

distress.

It

because they

are unconscious of their

own power.

They do not
would be pre-

believe that they have ability to

do the things that


it

need to be done.

'

They think

sumption for them, with their weak and unskilled


hands, to undertake the duties that solicit them.

So they

fold their talent

away and bury

it,

and

think that they have acted in the line of a beautiful

and commendable humility, in modestly desuch important responsibilities.


to

clining

It

does

not

occur

them

that

they

have

grievously

sinned.

Our humility
to shrink

serves us falsely

when

it

leads us

from any duty.


is

The

plea of unfitness
It

or inability
is

utterly insufficient to excuse us.

too startlingly like that offered

by the

one-tal-

ented

man

in the parable,

whose

gift

was so small
it.

that there seemed no use in trying to employ

The

lrid light that the sequel to his story flashes

HUMILITY AND RESPONSIBILITY.


upon us should arouse us
to read the

Ill

meaning of
to

personal responsibility, and

to

hasten

employ

every shred of

gift

that

God

has

bestowed

upon

us.

The

talent

may

be very small

so small that

it

scarcely seems to matter whether

it is

used or not

so far as
lives
is is

its

impression on the world or on other


;

concerned

and yet we can never know


is

w^hat

small or what
starts

great

in

this

life,

in

which every cause


into eternity.
" Only a thought

consequences that sweep

but the work

it

wrought

Could never by tongue or pen be taught, For it ran through a life like a thread of gold, And the life bore fruit a hundred fold.

"Only a word; but 'twas spoken in love, With a whispered prayer to the Lord above

And

the angels in heaven rejoiced once more,


in

For a new-l)orn soul entered


It
is

by the door."

the faithfulness of the one-talented million

rather than of the richly-endowed one or two that


is

needed to-dav to hasten the comino; of Christ's

kingdom.

There

is

not a gift so small that


the

it

is

not wanted to
plete.

make
is

work of

the church
its

comhid-

There

not one so small but that


life
it

ing away leaves some

unblest.

There

is

not

one so insignificant that

may

not start a

wave

112

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
roll

of influence which shall

on over the sea of

human
nity.

life

until

it

breaks on the shores of eter-

But the most

startling phase of this subject

is

that which concerns the person himself.

Instead

of being a merely negative

act,

or even a praiseit

worthy humility,

to

decline a responsibility,

is

described in the Scriptures as a great dishonor to


Christ,

who

has bestowed his gifts upon us, and as


the

involving

most

calamitous

and farreaching
are granted to are required

personal consequences.

All

gifts

be used, and used to the utmost.


to develop our abilities

We

by exercise until they have

attained the very highest possibility of


usefulness,

power and

and

to

employ them

in

doing work

which will honor God and

bless the world.

The
tion to

perversion of our gifts

or their degrada-

unworthy ends, we
great

all

reprobate as sinful.
for

The man with


employs
this

power

usefulness

who
them
life,

power

to destroy others, to lead

astray, to corrupt
w^e

and poison the fountains of

condemn

as basest of mortals.

There are many


purity, to spread

such men,
ruin,
to

who

live

to tarnish

disseminate falsehood
to perdition.

and

to

lead

the

unwary

For

these there

must be a
this ques-

terrible retribution.

But the phase of

HUMILITY AND RESPONSIBILITY.


tiou

113

which I

am now
It

considering
is

is

not misuse but

nonuse of

gifts.

a fearful thing to take a

faculty given wherewith to bless the world,


it

and use

in such a

way

as to leave blight

and woe and


also a fearful
it

curse instead of blessing.

But

it

is

thing to fold up the talent and hide


is

away.

It

the blighting of our

own hope

of glory, the

throwing away of our own crown.

In a quarry

at

Baalbec

lies

the largest wrought

stone in the world, almost detached and ready for


transportation,

and

in

the
still

ruined temple

of the
for

Sun near by
was a

is

a place

empty and waiting


So

this stone after forty centuries.


it

large, so grand,
filled

failure,
it

because

it
;

never

the place
tell

for

which

was designed
lives lie

and who can


the wastes
fill

how

many human
of
life

among

and ruins

that

God

intended to

grand places?

When

they were called they declined to accept the

responsibility.

They

folded their talents


lie

away and

buried them, and for ever they will


ries,

in the quar-

pale

ghosts

of

glorious

might-have-beens,

while the niches in God's temple which they were

meant

to

fill

and adorn remain

for ever

empty,
fail-

memorials of their hopeless and irreparable


ure.

It never can be

known

until the final dis-

closure
8

how many

glorious gifts have thus been

WEEK-DA Y RELIGION.
world, nor

lost to the

how many

lives with

grand

possibilities
bliiihtino:

have

slirivelcd

and died under the

curse of n on use.

Kesponsibilities encircle us about.

They make

solemn

all

of

life's

relations.

They charge even

our lightest

acts

and

our unconscious influence

with the most weighty seriousness.


fulfill
life's

We

can only

grand meaning when we accept every

responsibility with glad

welcome and reverent


a wide difference

self-

confidence.
self-conceit

There

is

between

and that proper estimate of one's own


fairly

powers that rates them justly and


afraid to put

and

is

not

them

to the test.

That

self-confi-

dence

is

not wrong which leads us to accept with-

out distrust the responsibilities which

our

feet.

Humility

is

not meant to

God make

lays at

dwarfs

out of giants.

man

of great

gifts, in

order to

be humble,

is

not required to esteem himself a poor

ungifted and good-for-nothing man.


revise our ideas of humility.

We

need to
give

If

we must

account to

God

for every gift of usefulness,

and

for its fullest possible exercise,

we must honor our

redeemed powers, appreciate their true value, and


then devote them to the service of Christ and of

our fellow-men.

We

are not put into this world for idle ease, but

HUMILITY AND RESPONSIBILITY.


for

115
the

most earnest work.


life

They misunderstood

meaning of Christian

who

in olden days fled

away

to tlie deserts
cells, far

and dwelt

in

huts and caves


strife

and lonelv
the world,
also

from the noise and

of

and they misread the divine writing


in these days to serve Christ only to

who think
him.

in prayer
toil for

and devotion, while they go not out

"Hark, hark! a voice amid the quiet


It is

intense!

thy duty waiting thee without:


get thee hence;

Open thy door straightway and

Go
Work,

forth into the tumult

and the shout;

love, with workers, lovers, all about.

Then, weary, go thou back with failing breath, And in thy chamber make thy prayer and moan;

One day upon his bosom, all thine own, Thou shalt lie still, embraced in holy death."

There

is

no such thing as a consecrated

life

which

is

not consecrated to service.


health
lies

The way
toil.

to

spiritual

in

the paths of

The
with

reason of so

much doubt and


is

discontent in the

hearts of Christian people

that so

many
but

sit

folded

hands, with no occupation

brooding

over their

own

cares.

If they would but go out


others, they

and begin

to toil

for

would

forget

themselves, and the joy of the


into their souls.

Lord would flow


to fulfill life's

There

is

no way

1 1

WEEK-DA Y RELIGION.
to

grand meaning and

enter at last

into

fullest

joy but by living lives of devotion to duty.

Let no one, then, hide away from the solemn


sponsibilities

re-

of his calling in any imagined huhis

mility

or

lowly estimate of
calls us to

own

abilities.

When God
strength.

a work he gives the needed


the possibilities of

Not one of us knows


up

usefulness that lie folded

in his

hand and brain


feebleness as
is

and

heart.

The Lord can


strength.
is

use

human

well as

human
more
we

To him

that

faithful

in a little,
"

given, and

more and more.

What
Nor
For

are

set

seek to
all

on earth for ? Say to toil leave thy tending of the vines,


o'

the heat

the day,

till

it

declines.

And God
To

death's mild curfew shall from

work
oil

assoil.

did anoint thee with his odorous


wrestle, not to reign
;

and he assigns
soil

All thy tears over like pure crystallines

For younger fellow-workers of the

So others shall Take patience, labor, to their heart and hand, From thy hand and thy heart and thy brave cheer, And God's grace fructify through thee to all. The least flower with a brimming cup may stand,
for amulets.

To wear

And

share

its

dewdrop with another near."

XII.
NOT TO BE MINISTERED UNTO.
"She
and wept, and with her untressed hair Still wiped the feet she was so blessed to touch And he wiped off the soiling of despair From her sweet soul because she loved so much." Hahtley Coleridge.
sat
;

r I

IHERE

are

many

people

who

waufc to be useful,

-- who want
to

to live to help others,

who

find in-

superable obstacles in the way.

There are some

whom

they find

it

quite easy to minister

those
to

of lovely character, those

who

are

their friends

and who readily reciprocate any favors shown


them.

But

it

will not

do

to confine the outgoings

of their helpfulness and


classes

ministry to such small


sinners do good to those

as these.

Even
again.

that do good to

them and give to

those of

whom they
is

hope
more.

to

receive

The

Christian

to

do
hate

him.

He is even to do good to them that He is to minister to any who need his


117

min-

istry, despite

their character or their treatment of

118
liiin.

WEEK-DA Y RELIGION.
Even toward unwortliy and
he
is

disagreeable

people
faileth.

to

maintain

that

love that never

But how can

I help one

whom

I cannot respect?
treats

How

can I be useful to one


?

who

me

only

with insults and slights

There

is

way of

relating ourselves to all


all

men
and
So
due

about us which solves

these difficulties

makes

it

easy for us to do good to any one.


ourselves and of what
it is

loner as

we think of
others,

to us

from

will

be impossible for us to

minister to very

many

people.

But where

true
life

Christian love reigns in the heart the centre of


falls

no longer inside the narrow

circle

of

self.

Those who study carefully our Lord's


be struck with his wonderful reverence for
life.

life

will

human
that

He

looked upon no one with disdain or con-

tempt.

The meanest fragment of humanity


in his eyes.

crept into his presence, trampled, torn, stained, defiled,

was yet sacred

He

never de-

spised any

human

being.

And,

further, he stood
attention,
to serve, to be

before men, not

as a king,

demanding

reverence, service, but as one


to help, to
lift

who wished

up.

He

said he

had not come

ministered unto, but to minister.

He

never thought

of what was due from

men

to

him, but always of

NOT TO BE MINISTERED UNTO.


what he could do
them.
for
it

119

thera,

how he

could serve

How

could

be otherwise, since he came to


since his heart

earth solely to save


full

men and
?

was so

of love for them

Whenever a human being

stood before him, he saw one in whose heart were

sorrows which needed sympathy, or one bruised by


sin needing healing

and

restoration.

Thus he was
repulsive the
in one

easily able to serve all.


life

The more

that stood before him, the


it

more deeply,
it

sense, did

appeal to his love, because

needed

his help all the


ness.

more on account of

its

repulsive-

We
in

shall be prepared to seek the


largest,

good of others

the

truest

way only when we have

learned to look upon


did.

human

lives

as our

Lord

There was not a poor ruined creature that


into his presence in
all

came
under

whom

he did not

see,

the wasting of sin, something that he

esteemed worthy of his love.

There was not one

w'hom he thought
the
disciples

it

a degradation to serve.
as

When

were quarreling

to

which one

should take the servant's place and wash the feet


of the others, he quietly arose and performed the

humble

service.

He

was never more conscious of

his exalted glory than he

was that hour, and yet

there was no reluctance in his heart.

The

question

20

WEEK-DA Y' RELIGION.

of their immeasurable inferiority to him never rose


in his

mind.

He

never thought for a

moment

that

these

men were
in

not worthy to have such menial

service performed for

them by such

liands as his.
it

He

saw

them something which made


for his

no dethem.
lives

gradation even

divinity

to

serve

When we
as he did

have learned to look upon human


it

will be

no painful task

to minister, at

whatever
about
us.

cost, to

the lowliest and most unworthy

We
honor.

are willing enough to serve those

whom we

But we are apt

to

hold our lives as too

sacred to be spent or sacrificed for the sake of those

whom we
and

regard as beneath ourselves.

tender

delicate

woman

leaves her lovely, sheltered

home, and finds her way into the fever-wards of


the
city

hospital or into

the

gloomy

cells

of a

prison to try to help the suffering or the criminals

she finds there.

cultured girl turns


circles

away from

comfort and luxury, from

of loving friends,

and from

social

honors and triumphs, and plunges


heathen land to live out her
life

into the heart of a

beautiful

and golden

in

toiling for savages.

godly young
ease,

man

turns

away from applause


to the rescue of the

and

and gives himself

squalid classes in a great city.

On

all

hands peo-

NOT TO BE MINISTERED
pie
say, "

UNTO.

121

These
are

lives

are too precious for such


refined,

work.

They
But

too

too

beautiful, too

delicate, too valuable, to


vice.^'

be sacrificed in such ser-

if there

was nothing in that most


life

precious, that divine

of the

Lord Jesus

that

was too good


those for

to be

poured out in serving such as


life,

whom
life

he gave his
is

shall

we say

that
it

any human

so sacred, so valuable, that

may

not find fitting employment in serving tho

poorest, the

most ignorant, the most squalid men


to

and women

be found in prison, in jungle, in

hospital, in dreary

tenement or wretched garret?


measure others, not by their
spirit-

When we
rank and

learn to

station,

but by the worth of their

ual nature, by their immortality,


ities

by the

possibil-

that

lie in

the most ruined

life, it

will be

no

longer Imiuiliatiug for us to do even the humblest


service for the least of God's creatures.
will be

Then

there

nothing in us that will seem too rich or too

sacred to be poured out for the sake even of the

most despised.
be conscious of
lives as

We
all

may honor

ourselves and

may

the power and dignity of our

God's children, and yet not think ourselves

too good to minister to the smallest

and the

least.

There
to those

is

no other attitude in which we can stand


fulfill

about us in which we can

the law

22

WEEK-DA Y RELIGION.

of Christian love, which requires us to do good to


all

men.

We

must not think of ourselves

as detliis

serving attention from others.

We

are not in

world to be made much


served.
in this
ful,

of, to

be waited u})on and


to relate ourselves

The moment we begin


way
to others

we

cease to be largely help-

or helpful at all in the Christian sense.

AVe

measure every one then by his ability and willingness to serve us.

We

rate others as they are,

in our estimation, agreeable or disagreeable.

Reonly

pulsiveness repels us because


in its
eflfect

we think of
and

it

upon our own

feelings

tastes.

We

love pleasant people only, are kind only to those


that are kind to us, and serve only those

whom we
treatment

regard as honorable and worthy.

Kude

from others shuts our hearts toward them.

In a

word, we do nothing from disinterested motives and


seek always our own.

This may make us very

pleasant and agreeable in the small circle of our

personal friends, and even in business and social


life,

but

it

is

infinitely

removed from the

spirit

and practice of true Christian love and

service.

We
before

are to regard ourselves as the servants of

others for Jesus' sake.

We

are to put ourselves

men

as our

Master did, not asking what


get from them, but

benefit or help

we can

what we


NOT TO BE MINISTERED
can do for them.

UNTO.

123

It will be seen at a glance that if

we

look upon others in this disinterested way, our

hearts yearning to do

them good, the whole aspect

of the world will be changed.


receive

We

are not here to


to scatter

and

to gather, but to give

and

not to be served and treated generously, but to


serve regardless of men's character or their treat-

ment of

us.

This invests every


It brings
feet.

human

life

with
pride

a wondrous sacredness.

down our

and keeps

it

under our

It changes scorn to

compassion.

It softens our tones


spirit.

and takes from


Instead of be-

us our haughty, dictatorial

ing repelled by men's moral repulsiveness, our pity


is

stirred

and our hearts go out in deep, loving


Instead of

longing to heal and to bless them.

being offended by men's rudeness and unkindness,

we

bear patiently with their faults, hoping to do

them good.

Nothing that they may do

to us turns

our love to hate.

We

continue to seek their inte-

rest despite their slights, insults

and

cruelties.

We
less

are glad to spend

and be spent

for others even

though the more abundantly we love them the


they love us.

With
to the

this spirit it is

no longer hard

to

do good

most disagreeable people,


It
is

to help the

most

unworthy.

easy, then, to love our enemies

124
in the

wJ':kk-day religion.
only

way

it

is

possible for us to love them.

We

cannot love them as we do our friends.

We
make
right

cannot approve their faults or


moralities or

commend

their im-

make

black white.

We

cannot

ourselves think their characters beautiful


are full of repulsiveness, or
their

when they

conduct

when

it

is

manifestly wrong.

Love

plays no such
It does not
It does not
to

tricks with

our moral perceptions.


color-blind.

hoodwink us or make us

make

us tolerant of sin or

indifferent

men's
as a

blemishes.

Christ never lowered, by so

much

hair's breadth, the perfect standard of holiness

by

which he measured
we.

all

men and

all life.

Nor must

We

are ever to keep living in our souls the


ideal.

pure and unspotted

We

are not to look

upon any

sin

leniently or apologetically,

and yet

we

are to love the sinner, to pity

him and have

compassion upon him, and instead of turning away

from him in horror and self-righteous pride we are


to seek

by every means
all

to

lift

him up and save


is

him.

Under

the ruin of his sin

the shat-

tered beauty of the divine


fingers of love

image which the gentle

may

repair

and

restore.

XIII.
WEARINESS
"
IN WELL-DOING.

npHE beginning
-^
ancient

is

half of the whole/' said the

Greeks.

And

it

is

true

true
And
the last

whether the beginning be right or wrong.


yet a good beginning
is

not enough.
It
is

It

is

step that wins in the race.

the last stroke

that fells the tree.

It

is

the last grain of sand that

turns the scales.


practical life
all obstacles,
is is

One

of the sterling virtues in

continuance

continuance

through
It

hindrances and discouragements.

unconquerable persistence that wins.


life

The paths

of

are strewn with the skeletons of those

who

fainted

and

fell

in the march.

Life's prizes can be

won only by
every
field

those

who

will not fail.

Success in

must be reached through antagonism

and

conflict.

In no sphere are these things truer than


moral.
rich

in the

Many

start well in the Christian life,

with

hope and glowing ardor, who soon faih

They
125

126

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
at tlie liardness

become discouraged
ness of
al)le to
tlic

and toilsome-

way or

at the little ini])ression they are

make on

the world, and

grow weary.

Such

faint-hearted ness will

never win the honors and

crowns of immortal

life.

These are only

for those

who overcome.
There are two ways of becoming weary
doing.
there
ences.
vice.
is

in well-

We
The

may be weary
best

in

it

or of

it.

And

an immense difference in the two experi-

men may grow weary


is frail.

in their ser-

Human

nature

We

are not angels,

with exhaustless powers of endurance.


to

But we

are

guard against growing weary of our great work,

as sometimes

we

are tempted even to be.

There

are discouragements that sorely try our faith, but,

whatever they

are,

they should not be allowed to

cause us to faint.

"

What

is

the use of serving

God

?" cries one.

" I have

tried for years to

be faithful to him and


to live, but

to live as he

would have me
life.

somehow
There

I do not succeed in

I have no blessing on

my
is

work.

My
of

business does not prosper.

my

neighbor,

who never

prays,

who

disregards

the precepts

God's word, w^ho desecrates the


life
is

Lord's day, whose


selfish.

unjust, hard, false

and

And

yet he gets along far better than I

WEARINESS IN WELL-DOING.
do.

127

What is the profit of serving God?" Many good man has felt thus in liis heart, even if he
To
all

has not spoken his thoughts aloud.


this it

may
is

be replied that God's years

are long

and he

never in a hurry.

As

a good

Christian

man

said to a scoffer

who

boasted that

his crops were for

good though he had never prayed


them, while the Christian's after
failed, "
all

God

to bless

his praying,
settle his

had

The Lord
in the

does not always

accounts with

men

month of Octois

ber."

Besides,

worldly prosperity

not always

promised, nor

is it

always a blessing.
life

There come
trial is better

many

times in every man's

when

than prosperity.
diction
is

A
Of
in

little

with Heaven's bene-

better than great gains poisoned


this at
least

by the

curse of God.

we may always

be sure

that

the end
will

well-doing will suc-

ceed and

ill-doing

bring

sorrow and woe.


of Austria to

"

My

Lord Cardinal,"

said

Anne
is

Cardinal Richelieu, "

God

a sure

paymaster.

He may
month

not pay at the close of every week or

or year, but he pays in the end."

We
good

may

be tempted also to grow weary of doing

to others.

There are things

to discourage if

we

look no farther than the present.

Attainments

come slowly.

The buds

of

sj^iritual

growth open

128

WEEK-DAY RELIQION.

out languidly in the chill climate of this world.

Men's

faults cling tenaciously.

Battles are tedious

and
and

victories
fierce

come

painfully,

and only

after long

struggle.

Everything about Christian

life is difficult

of attainment.

In the ardor of

his

youthful zeal and the glow of his yet untried and


unbaffled hope, the
that everything
strokes.
is

young Christian

is

apt to

feel

going to yield at once to his

He expects to see every touch of his tell on men. He looks for immediate results in every case. He has large hope and enthusiasm, but has not strong faith. He begins, and soon discovers his
mistake.

People are pleased with his earnestness,

but their stubborn hearts do not vield.


himself beating against stone walls.
not appear.
aging, but
it

He

finds

Results do

To him

this

is

strange and discourso.

has always been

Many

people

reject the blessings

God

is

sending to their doors.


rich spiritual things,

We come
sion.

to

them laden with


to chase

and they turn away

some vanishing

illu-

We

tell

them of

Christ,

and they turn

to

listen to

the siren song that

would lure them on


this
is

the rocks

of ruin.

That

disheartening

cannot be denied.

But does not God behold our work?


not see our
toil

Does he

and our

tears ?

Does he not witness

WEABINESS IN WELL-DOING.
our faithfulness in his service
does
fall

129

Suppose the seed

partly on the hard-trodden roadway and


;

yield no fruit

will the sower fail of his reward ?


in

Will he be forgotten

that day

when God

re-

members

his

faithful ones ?
if

No

Though men
it

may

reject

your message,

you have given

faithfully
blessed.

and with true

motive,

you

shall

be

^^But

men

are ungrateful."

Yery

true.

You
deny;

minister to those

who

are in need, taking the bread


to feed their hunger,

from your own plate

ing yourself necessary things to give to them


visit

you

and care

for

them

in sickness

you spend time

and money
trouble
is

to relieve

them.

Then, so soon as the

past and they need your

money
as if

or help

no longer, they turn away from you

you had
virtues

wronged them.
is

Almost

rarest of

human

true gratitude.

The one may

return, but the

nine come no more.

Many

a faithful Christian,
in relieving distress

having spent time and means

only to be forgotten by, and perhaps even to receive

wrong from,
and
I
those
ness,

those he has aided, becomes weary,

says, " It is of

no use

I will try
it

it

no more."

know how much


who
are grateful,

sweeter

is

to

work

for

who remember our kindand return love


for

who speak

their thanks

130
fvcrv
favor

WEEK-DAY BEL 10 ION.


shown.
It
liLrlitens

one's

burdens.

Grateful words are like cups of cold water to one

who

is

weary and

faint;

and surely

it

is

fit

that

men should
kindness

be grateful.
not. in

But suppose they are


are
forgotten

Su})pose years of

moment.

Suppose

great sacrifices are never thought of again.

Sup-

pose deeds of love are rewarded with insult, injury,

calumny, wrong, or with the stab of malice.


these

Do

returns

rob

you of those higher rewards


to

which God promises


his

every self-denial made for


to

sake?

Suppose one has


L^ivinij::

go through
life

this

world weary and lonelv,


sparing
neglect,

out his

in

unonly

measure for
ingratitude,

others,

and receiving

even

persecution.

Suppose
people are,

one

is

misunderstood, as so

many good

his motives misrepresented, misconstrued, falsified.

Suppose

one

is

maligned, calumniated,

abused.

Because earth
will

misconstrues

and

misunderstands,

heaven

No
and

there
their

is

one place where men

are understood
ciated.

work and worth apprewill

No

good deed

be forgotten

there.

No

lowly

sacrifice will

be overlooked.

There will

be commendation and reward there.


reap here, but

We

may

not

we

shtiU

reap nevertheless.

Then many who

ap])eal to us for aid are utterly

WEARINESS IN WELL-DOING.
unworthy.
resort to all

131
to

Those who dispense charity have

manner of

care

and pains

to protect

themselves against imposition.


told

pitiful story is

pitiful

enough

to melt the heart of a miser.

You
steals

give
into

money, and the treacherous recipient


the nearest dram-shop and spends
it

for strong drink.

Or you ask where

the appli-

cant lives, and, being reluctantly informed, you go


miles away, to JSnd that no such person ever lived
there.

The

result of such discoveries, unless


is

we
to

are careful,

that the warmest hearts are closed

against all appeals for help.


chill

The tendency

is

and freeze the fountains of our charity and

to stay their outflow

toward the needy.


is

We

are

tempted to say, " Giving money


it

only throwing

away

it

is

charity wasted

as utterly as fra-

grance in the
It certainly
to try to help

desert.'^
is

disheartening to labor for months


one, only to have

some

him prove

unworthy

in

the end.
costliest

It seems like building a

house of the

materials

in

a quagmire
are digcities in

only to sink away out of sight.

Yet they

ging up
the

in these

days buried palaces and

Old World which have long been hidden out


So work may seem
to sink

of sight.
lost,

away and be
is

but

God

will let nothing be lost that

done

132
for his name.
is faithiiil,

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
It will reappear in
-will

the end.

Ife

and

not forget your work and labor

of love.

Yon

will be rewarded,

even though your


beneficiaries.

work has been expended on unworthy

Though

the recipient of your charity turned out


yet, if
it

an impostor,

was bestowed

in Christ's
last,

name and
"

for
it

his sake, he will say at the

Ye

did

unto me."
is

Another

discouraged because there seems no

blessing on his work.

You

are a parent, and


for years for

you have been laboring


your child's salvation, yet

and praying

you do not
teacher,

see the hoped-for result.


toil

You

are a

and although you

with

all

your might,
lives

you do not notice any impression on the


those you teach.

of

Or you

are a preacher, and you


faithfulness, but

preach with

all

diligence

and

men

do not turn

to the

Lord, and you are heavy-heartit all

ed and sometimes tempted to give


spair.

up

in de-

But do you
blessed ?

really

know that your work

is

not

Do you know
successes,

that there are no results ?

Things are not what they seem. most evident

The

quickest,
us, are

as they appear to

often in reality the worst failures.

The

least

comes

of them in the end.

In Christian work we have

WEARINESS IN WELL-DOING.

133

frequently to discount sudden and tropical growths,


or at least to fear for their genuineness

and permais

nence.

The

quiet and gradual growth

usually

the truest.

Then we cannot measure


picture growing

spiritual results as

we
the

can those which are physical.

The

artist sees

upon

his canvas as

he works day

by day.

The

builder sees the wall rising as he

lays stone uj^on stone.


is

But

the spiritual builder


is

working wath invisible blocks,


see.

rearing a fabric

whose walls he cannot


painting

The

spiritual artist is

away

in the unseen.

His eyes cannot be-

hold the impressions, the touches of beauty he

makes.

Sometimes the

results of

work on human

lives

may

be seen in the expansion and beautifying of

character, in the conversion of the ungodly, in the

comforting of sorrow, in the uplifting and ennobling of the degraded


;

and yet much of our work


and perhaps in hea-

must be done
ven
lives
it

in simple faith,

will

be seen that the best results of our


influences,

have been from their unconscious


fruitful
efforts those

and our most


in vain.

we

considered

The

old water-wheel turns round and round outIt seems to be idle

side the wall.

work

that

it

is

134
doing.

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
You
see

nothing

acconi])lis]io(l.

But

its

shaft runs through the mill-wall

and turns a great

system of machinery there, and makes bread to feed

many
But
if

a hungry mouth.
oftentimes

So we
see

toil

away,

many
fruits.

of us, and

no rewards or

we

are true to God,


for his glory

we

are

making

results

somewhere

and the good of

others.

The

shaft runs through into the unseen


there,
lives.

and turns
for
ev^er

wheels

preparing

blessings

and food

hungry
fail.

No

true

work

for Christ can

Somewhere, some time, somehow, 'there

will

be results.

We

need not be discouraged or distime we shall reap


if if

heartened, for in due


faint not.

we

But what

we

faint ?

XIV.
WAYSIDE MINISTRIES.
"I expect
fore,

through this world but once. If, therethere be any kindness I can do to any fellow-being, let
to pass
it

me

do

now.

Let

me

not defer or neglect

it,

for I shall

not pass this

way
are

again."

rriHERE
lives.

two ways

in

which

all

of

iis

work,

and two

classes of results

which flow from our

There are things we do purposely

that we
We

deliberately plan to do.

We

take pains to do them.


in fitting ourselves

We spend
to travel

long years oftentimes

do them.

They

cost us thought

and

care.

many

miles,

perchance, to

perform them.

They

are the things

we

live to do.

Then

there are

other things

we do
them.

that have

formed no part of our plan.


in

We

did not set out

the

morning

to

accomplish

They

are

unplanned,
or

unpurposed things, not premeditated

prearranged.
are the
little

They

are

wayside

ministries.

They

things w^e do between the greater

things.

They

are the seeds

we drop by chance from


135

36

WEEK-DA Y REUOIOK
hand
in
tlie

oiir

path as

we

fjo

out to the broad

field to

sow.

They, are the minor kin(hie.sses and


fill

eourtesies that

up the
little

interstices of

our busy

days.
that

They

are the

flowers and lowly plants

grow

in the

shade of the majestic trees or hidtaller ])lants

den away like violets under the


shrubs.

and

They

are

the

smaller o])portunities of

usefuhiess which open to us as


responsibilities.

we

carry our great

They

are the things of which

we

take no note, and perhaps retain no


touches given as

memory

mere

we

hasten by, words dropped as

we

pass along.

We set no store by this part of our life-work. We do not expect to see any result from We pride ourselves on our great masterpieces. We
it.

point to them as the things which


us,

fitly

represent

the things in which

we hope

to live.

And

yet oftentimes these unpurposed things are

the holiest and most beautiful thinfrs

we

do, far

outshining those which


I believe that

we

ourselves prize so highly.


it

when

the books are opened

will

be

seen that the very best j^arts of


parts

many

lives are the

by which they

set

no store and from which


fruits,

they expected no outcome, no


they took pride in

while the things

and wrought with plan and

pains shall prove to be of but small value.

Our

WAYSIDE MINISTRIES.
Lord
tells

137

us that the righteous shall be surprised


to

in the

judgment

hear of noble deeds wrought

by them of which they have no knowledge or


recollection.

No doubt

there

is

a wondrous

amount

of good

done unconsciously of which the doers


aware until
it

shall never be

is

disclosed in the

future
It

life.

is

said that

when Thorwaldsen,

the Danish

sculptor,

returned to his native land with


art

those

rare

works of

which have made

his

name
and

immortal, chiseled in Italy with patient

toil

glowing inspiration, the servants who unpacked


the marbles scattered upon the ground the straw

which was wrapped around them.

The next sumbloom-

mer

flowers from the gardens of

Rome were

ing in the streets of Copenhagen from the seeds


thus borne and planted by accident.

While pur-

suing his glorious purpose and leaving magnificent


results
in

breathing marble, he was at the same

time, and unconsciously, scattering other beautiful

things in his path to give cheer and gladness.

And

so, in

all

true living, while

men

execute

their greater plans, they are ever unintentionally

performing a
yield

series

of secondary acts which often

most
is

beneficent

and

farreaching

results.

There

a wayside ministry, for instance,

made up

138
of countless
passing

WEEK-JJAY liELIGION.
little

courtesies, gentle lives

words,

mere

touches

on the

of

those

we meet
influ-

casually, impulses given

by our

salutations,

ences flowing

indirectly

from the things we do

and the words we speak

ministry undesigned,

unplanned, unnoted, merely incidental


is

and

yet

it

impossible to measure the results of these acci-

dents of usefulness.

We
and

go out

in the

morning

to

our round of duties,


less

and perform them with more or


effectiveness.

faithfulness

But during

the busy hours

of

the day

we

find opportunity for doing

many minor
street

kindnesses.

We

meet a friend on the

whose

heart

is

heavy, and

we

stop to speak a

word of

thoughtful cheer and hope which sings in his ear


like a bar of angels' song all

day long.

We
a
little

ring a

neighbor's door-bell, as

we go out from
is

dinner, to

inquire for his sick child, and there

more

brightness in that sad

home

all

the afternoon be-

cause of this thoughtful ness.

We

walk a few steps

with a young

man who
let

is in

danger of slipping out

of the wav, and

fall

a sincere word of interest


whi(;h

which he
save him.

will

remember and

may

help to

All sorts of people come to us on


errands during the day.

all

sorts of

We

cannot talk

much

to

WAYSIDE MINISTBIES.
each,

139

and yet we may drop

into each heart a

word

of kindness that will prove a seed of beauty.

We
to

meet people in business

relations.

To

talk

them on

religious themes

may

be neither practiis

cable nor expedient.

And

yet there

not one of

them

to

whom we may
marks of

not minister in some way.

One man
carries the

has had sorrow in his home.


sore struggle

His

face

and inward pain.

By

a gentler bearing, a mellowed speech, a heartier

hand-grasp or longer pressure, and a thoughtful expression of the

sympathy and

interest

we

feel,

we
is

send him away strangely comforted.

Another

staggering under financial burdens, and a hopeful

word gives him courage


under his load.

to

stand

more bravely

We

are writinir business letters,


in-

and we put in a personal sentence or a kindly


quiry,

revealing a

human

heart

even amid the


it

great clashing, grinding wheels of business, and


carries a pulse of better feeling into
fice

some dingy
far away.

of-

and some dreary treadmill

life

JSiot

one of these things have we done with any clear


thought, or even consciousness, of doing good, and
yet, like

the

flower-seeds the sculptor bore back


his
to

amid the wrappings of


loveliness

marbles,

they yield
a bare

and fragrance

brighten

many

and toilsome path.

140
Social
life

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
presents also countless opportunities
It

for these wayside ministries.

would be hard

to

imagine anything more icy and cold, more devoid


of the sweet charities of
life,

than

much

of the
circles

formal intercourse of society, especially in


of wealth and fashion.
rules

It

is

regulated by arbitrary
for tender heart-play.

which leave no room


oftentimes insincere.
is

It

is

The

staple of its con-

versation

the emptiest of idle gossip or the most

merciless dissection of character.

And

yet what opportunities does this very social

intercourse afford for the most beautiful wayside


ministries
!

What words
often, too,
!

of kindness

can

be

spoken

how

where they are most sorely There are hearts starving There are
gentle

needed and craved

under
spirits

these

icy

formalities.

amid

all this

mad

whirl that long for someall

thing true and


this glitter.

real.

There are sorrows under


are shut to those

The doors

who come
no

professedly to bring blessing.


outside, perchance,

Even
in vain.

Christ stands

knocking

There

is

open entrance to any who would come with avowed


intent to do good.

And

yet the Christian

woman

who enters the doors, even in the most formal way, may carry with her Heaven^s sweetest benedictions. Many earnest Christians in early, primitive days vol-

WAYSIDE MINISTRIES.
uiitarily

141

became slaves

to gain access to the

homes

of the noble that they might at least live out the

holy religion of Jesus in the heart of their households,

and perchance win souls for heaven.

Mis-

sionaries study medicine that they

may

be admitted

into the

homes of the people

as

physicians,

and

Avhile there in that capacity they

cannot but scatter


Christ.

some of the holy fragrance of the love of

To

those whose hearts are full of the spirit of

grace there are large opportunities for quiet and un-

purposed usefulness opened in the formalities of


social
life.

There need be nothing ostentatious

indeed, ostentation shuts the door at once.


is

What

wanted

is

a deep

and sincere piety that breathes

out unconsciously in face and word and act and

manner, like the fragrance of a flower, like the


shining of a
rare
star,

like the irresistible

charm of
its

beauty or tender music.


is

Indeed,

uncon-

sciousness

its

greatest

power.
things

She who goes


or carry certain

intending to say certain

blessings or leave certain influences

may

fail.

But,

going from house to house with a soul


ness, purity

full

of good-

and

love, with a heart sincerely long-

ing to

leave

blessing

everywhere, with a speech

seasoned with grace and breathing kindness and


peace,
it is

impossible not to leave heavenly influ-

142

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
rnipulses are given

ences in every drawing-room,


to better
life.

Strength
is

is

imparted to struggling

weakness.

Comfort

breathed softly into hearts

that are sore with grief.

Flowers from heaven's


soil.

gardens are j)lanted in earthly


a

Glimj)ses into

new and

richer life are given.

No woman

with

deep piety in her heart and Christlike grace in her


life

can go in and out in the formal routine of solife

cial

and not unwittingly perform a blessed

ministry of good, leaving behind her

many

a bit

of brightness and

many

a lovely flower.
re-

Although unnoted on earth and unprized, the


sults of such ministry

may

outshine in splendor, in

the great disclosure, the things to which most toil

and thought have been given.


In every
life

there are these oj)portunities

for

wayside ministry.
of any
ence.
life

Indeed, the voluntary activities


its influ-

do not by any means measure


things

The

we do with
])art

deliberate intention

make but
life-results.

small

of the sum-total of our

Our
It

influence has no nights


is

and keeps

no Sabbaths.

continuous as

life

itself.

We

are leaving impressions all the while on other lives.

There

is

a ministry in our handshaking, in our


in

greeting,

the most casual conversation, in the

very expression we wear on our faces as we move

WAYSIDE MINISTRIES.
along the
street, in

143

the gentle sympathy that adds

such a

thrill

of strength to fainting weariness,

" Like moonliglit on a troubled sea,

Brightening the storm

it

cannot calm."

To meet some
their cheery "
all

people on the sidewalk and have

Good-morning

!"

makes one happier


is

day.

To

encounter others

as dispiriting as
is

meeting a funeral-procession.
potency always in a sunny
face.

There

a magic
is

There

a holy

aroma always about

unselfish love.

son scatters gladness like

A joyful persong-notes. A consewarmth wherever

crated Christian life sheds a tender


it

moves.

What
made by

a wondrous sphere of usefulness


!

is

thus opened to every one of us


best
is

Preparation for

it is

heart-culture.

It

purity, truth, helpfulness

and love that sanc-

tify the influence.

Full of Christ, wherever

we
the

move we

leave brightness and joy.

Amid

busiest scenes,

when engaged

in the

most momen-

tous labors,

we

carry on at the same time a quiet,

unpurposed ministry whose results shall spring up


in our

pathway

like lovely flowers, or echo again in

the hearts of others in notes of holy song, or glow


in

human

lives in touches of radiant beauty.

XV.
THE BEAUTY OF QUIET
angel Gabriel taking a poor boy's place:

LIVES.

In one of his poems Robert Browning represents the arch-

"Then to his poor trade he turned By whicli the daily bread was earned; And ever o'er the trade he bent,

And

ever lived on earth content;

He

did God's will

to

him

all

one

If on the earth or in the sun."

1%
-^

/TANY

people measure a man's power or

effect-

iveness

by the noise he makes


always

in the world.

But

this standard is not

correct.
flute,

The drum
but for true,
flute

makes vastly more noise than the


soul-thrilling music
is

and soothing power the


effective.

a thousand times more


they start in
all
life,

Young men,
must

when

usually think they

make

the noise they can, else their lives will be

failures.

They must make

their voices heard loud


else

abov^e the din

and clamor of the world,

they

must remain unknown and


144

die in obscurity.

But
little

thoughtful, observant years always prove

how


THE BEAUTY OF QUIET
real

LIVES.
brass.'^

145
Life
is

power there

is

in " the

bray of

measured by

its final

and permanent

resalts.

jS[ot

by the place a man occupies before the public and


the frequency

and loudness of

his utterances, but

by the

benefits

and blessings which he leaves belives,

hind him in other


be rated.

must

his true effectiveness

It will be seen, in the great

consummawith-

tion, that those

who have wrought silently and

out clamor or fame have in

many

cases achieved

the most glorious permanent results.

"What shall I do lest life in And if it do, And never prompt the bray
What Remember
need'st thou rue?

silence pass?

of brass,

aye the ocean's deeps are mute


is

The shallows roar; Worth is the ocean fame Along the shore."
:

the bruit

There are great multitudes of lowly

lives lived

on the earth which have no name among men,

whose work no pen records, no marble immortalizes,

but which are well

known and unspeakably


They make no

dear to God, and whose influence will be seen, in


the end, to reach to farthest shores.
noise in the world, but
it

needs not noise to

make

life

beautiful

and noble.

Many

of God's most
silently all

potent ministries are noiseless.


10

Plow

146

wi:ek-day religion.
siinboains
fall

day long the


gardens
life
!

upon the
what
!

fields

and
what

and yet what

cheer,

inspiration,

and beauty, they


!

difTuse

How

silently the

flowers bloom

and yet what


!

rich blessings of fra-

grance do they emit

How

silently the stars

move
!

on

in

their majestic

marches around God^s' throne

and yet the telescope shows us that they are mighty


worlds or great central
incalculable power.

suns representing utterly


silently the angels

How

work,

stepping with noiseless tread through our homes and

performing ever their


about us
!

tireless ministries for us

and

Who

hears the flutter of their wings or

the whisper of their tongues? and yet they throng

along our path and bring


suggestion,

ricii

joys

of comfort,
strength
to

protection, guidance

and

us every dav.

How

silently

God
we

himself works

He

gives his blessing while

sleep.

He

makes
is

no ado.

We

hear not his Ibotfalls, and yet he

ever moving about us and ministering to us in ten

thousand ways and ))ringing


finest
gifts

to us the rarest

and
relife

of his love.

Then who does not

member men

the noiselessness of our liord's

human

on the earth?
Ik

He

did not strive or cry, nor did

ar his voice on the street.

He

sought not,

but rather shunned, publicity and notoriety.

His

wondrous power was life-power, heart-power, which

THE BEAUTY OF QUIET


he shed forth in
but which
is

LIVES.

147

silent influence
all

among

the people,

pulsing yet in
all

lands, in millions

of hearts, and in
spirits.

the vast abodes of redeemed

And many
caught his

of our Lord's earthly servants have

spirit,

and work so quietly that they are

scarcely recognized
their humility they

among men

as workers.

In

do not even suppose themselves


their unprofit-

to be of

any use and mourn over


servants,
as

ableness as Christ's

and yet in heaven


the very noblest
great things, but

they are written

down

among

of his ministers.

They do no

their lives are full of radiations of blessing.


is

There

a quiet and

unconscious influence ever going


falls

forth from

them that

like a benediction
for
it

on
is

every

life

that

comes into their shadow;

not only our elaborately-wrought deeds that leave


results behind.
this

Much

of the best work we do in

world

is

done unconsciously.

There are many


is

people
toil

who

are so busied in

what

called secular
to

that they can find few

moments

give to

works of benevolence.

But they come out every


to their

morning from the presence of God and go


daily business or
toil,

and

all

day, as they

move
and
To-

about, they drop gentle words from their lips


scatter seeds of

kindness along their path.

148

WEEK- DA Y BEL 10 ION.


flowers of the garden

morrow

of

God

.sj)rlng

up

in the liard, dusty streets of eartli

and along the

paths of

toil

in

wliich their feet liave trodden.


in

More than once


God's people
dew.
in

the Scriptures the lives of

this

world are compared to the

There may be other points of analogy, but


is

especially uoteworthy

the quiet

manner
It falls
noise.

in

which

the

dew performs
dropping.

its

ministry.
It

silently

and imperceptibly.
hears
night,
it

makes no

No

one

It chooses the darkness of the

when men
its

are sleeping

and when no one can


It covers the leaves

witness

beautiful

work.

with clusters of pearls.

It steals into the

bosom

of the flower, and leaves a


there.

new

cupful of sweetness
the roots of

It pours itself

down among

the grasses and tender herbs and plants.

In the

morning there
life.

is

fresh beauty everywhere,

and new

The

fields
all

look greener, the gardens are more


nature glows and sparkles with a

fragrant and

new

splendor.

Is there no suo-o-estion here as to the manner in

which we should seek


Sliould
it

to

do good

in this

world

not be our aim to have our influence

felt

rather than to be seen and heard?

Should we

not desire to scatter blessings so silently and so


secretly that

no one shall know what hand dropped

THE BEAUTY OF QUIET


them?

LIVES.

149

The whole
:

spirit

of our Lord's teaching


let

confirms this

"

When

thou doest thine alms,

not thy

left

hand know what thy right hand doeth,

that thine alms

may

he in secret"

We
men

are

comto

manded not
good deeds
of them.

to seek the praise of

not

do

to be seen of

men

or to receive reward

We

are not to sound trumpets or anacts

nounce our righteous

from the housetop.


life,

Translated into the phrase of daily


injunctions

these

would seem

to

mean

that

we

are not

to seek to have all our benevolent acts published in

the

newspapers.

They would seem


desire publicity

to

mean

that

we should not

and human

praise for every generous thing


fice

we

do, every sacri-

we make and every kindness we show.

They

seem, indeed, to imply that

we should even take


made known
at

pains not to have our good deeds


all

that we should seek


and
secretly that the

to

perform them so

silent-

ly

world

may

never hear any


is

report of them.
praise of

When

the motive

to

receive

men

or to exhibit our goodness, the act

loses its beauty in

God's sight.

This

test

applied

may

find

many
dew

of us wanting.
to steal

Are we willing

to be as the

abroad

in the darkness, carrying blessings to men's doors

which

shall enrich

them and do them good and

150
give
tlu'iii

WEEK-BAY RELIGION.
joy,

and

tlicn steal

away again

])of()re

they awake to

know what hand brought


work without

the gift?

Are we

willing to

gratitude, without

recognition, without

human

praise,
lives

without return?

Are we content
the
ful,

to

have our

poured out
it

like

dew

to bless the

world and make

more

fruit-

and yet

to

remain hidden away ourselves

to

see the effects of our toil

and

sacrifice

all

about

us in brightened homes and bettered character, in


beauties and joys springing up, in renewed society,
in

good

institutions,

and

in

benefits prepared

by

our hands and enjoyed by others, and yet never to


hear our names spoken in praise or honor, perhaps
to hear the shouts of applause given to the

names

of others?

And

yet

is it

not thus that

we
to

are to live as fol-

lowers of Christ?

Honor

is

be sought for him.

We

are to seek to be blessings in the world, to

breathe inspiration everywhere, to shed quickening


influences

upon other

lives, to

impart helpfulness
to dis-

and noble impulse


appear, so that
lift

to all

we meet, and then

men may

not praise us, but

may

their hearts to Christ alone.

Florence Nightin-

gale,

having gone like an angel of mercy among


until

the hospitals in the Crimea

her

name was

enshrined in every soldier's heart, asked to be ex-

THE BEAUTY OF QUIET

LIVES.

151

cused from having her picture taken, as tlionsands

begged, that she might drop out and be forgotten,

and that Christ alone might be remembered

as the

author of the blessings her hands had ministered.

That

is

the true Christian


in this

spirit.

And
if

way we may
this

all

learn to live too

we

will.

In

way

countless lowly ones have

lived,

and are living continually.


fret

There are mothers who sometimes


their spheres of usefulness

because

seem so circumscribed.

They long

to

be able to do grand things, like the


lifted

few who are

above the

common
But

level,

and

to be permitted to live their lives

on the mountainthey, in very

top in the gaze of the world.


truth,

have

far

grander
for

fields

than they dream.


for

No

one

who

lives

God and

love can be

called obscure.

Do

not the angels watch?


Is any one obscure

Does

not all heaven behold?

who

has heaven for an amphitheatre?


tell

Then who can


life

the mighty, farreaching influence of the

of a lowly mother

who

lives

for

her children?

Mothers have lived in


training sons to

hardship

and obscurity,

move

the world, and they have

lived to good purpose.

The
quiet,

best

work of the

true parent and teacher


It
is

is

unconscious work.

not what a

man

152
says or does

wJ':p:k-t)ay^

religion.
direct

piir])osely

and with

intention
in

that leaves the deepest


otlier lives,

mark

in the

world and

bnt

it

is

the unconscious, unpurposed

influences

which go out from him like the persleeps,

fumes from a garden, whether he wakes or


whether he
is

present or absent.

blight the things that

we

are

God seems to proud of and to make

them come

to uaught.

Then, when we are not

intending to do anything grand, he uses us and our

work

for noble purposes

and

to

make
life.

lasting

im-

pressions on the world and


It
is

its

the quiet, unheralded lives that are silently

building up the
note
is

kingdom of heaven,

Not much

taken of them here.

They

are not report-

ed in the newspapers.

Their monuments will not


Their names

make much show

in the churchyard.

will not be passed

down
But
is

to posterity with

many

wreaths about them.

their

work

is

blessed,

and not one of them

forgotten.
little

Long, long centuries ago a


in a valley.
Its veins

fern-leaf
its

grew
fibres

were delicate and


it fell

tender.
ished.

It

was very beautiful, but

and perit

It seemed useless

and

lost,

for surely
in

had made no history and


world.

left

no impression

this

But

wait.

The

other day a thoughtful

man

searching Nature's secrets

came with pick

THE BEAUTY OF QUIET


and hammer and broke
there on
it

LIVES.

153

off a piece

of rock, and

his eyes traced

" Fairy pencilings, a quaint design,

Leafage, veining,

fibres, clear

and

fine,

And

the fern's

life

lay in every line.

So, I think,

God

hides some souls away,


last day."

Sweetly to surprise us at the

Not a

life

lived for
its

God

is

useless or lost.
its

The

lowliest writes

history

and leaves
his

impression

somewhere, and
last,

God

will open

books at the

and men and angels


world these quiet

will read the record. like those

In

this

lives are

modest

lowly flowers which

make no show, but which


tall
fill

hidden away under the


out sweet perfumes and

plants and grasses, pour

the air with their odors.

And

in

heaven thev will receive their reward

not

praise

of men, but open confession by the Lord

himself
Father.

in

the presence of the angels and of the

.y

XVI.
KINDNESS THAT COMES TOO LATE.
"

What

use for the rope

if it

be not flung
rock has clung?
past?

Till the

swimmer's grasp

to the

What

help in a comrade's bugle-blast


the peril of Alpine heights
is

When
What

need that the spurring psean


the runner
is

roll

When
What

safe

beyond the goal?


?

worth
If

is

eulogy's blandest breath

When
No, no

whispered in ears that are hushed in death


!

you have but a word of cheer,

Speak

it

while I

am

alive to hear."

Mrs. Preston.

"T

HAVE

always been glad that there was one


out her alabaster vase and anointed

who brought

the Lord beforehand for his burial.

Most persons
sealed,
it
till

would have waited, keeping the vase

he

was dead, and would then have broken


his

to anoint

body when
in the

it

lay, torn,

wounded and

cold,

wrapped
not wait.
its

garments of burial.

But she did

She opened the jar while he could enjoy

sweet perfume, and

when

his

worn and weary


which
it

feet could feel the

delicious refreshment

gave.
154

KINDNESS THAT COMES TOO LATE.

155

We

have not to read between the

lines to find

the lesson.

When

one dies there

is

no lack of

ala-

baster boxes to be brought from their hiding-places

and unsealed.

The

kindest words are spoken then.


is

Not

a voice of faultfinding

heard in the darksilence.

ened room where the dead form reposes in

thousawd pleasant things are

said.

gentle

charity covers and hides all his mistakes,


his follies

and even

and

sins.

His

life is

talked over, and

memory

is

busy gathering out the beautiful things

he has done, the self-denials he has made and the


kindnesses he has wrought for the poor along the
years of his
life.

Every one that knew him comes


and says some generous

and looks on

his pale face

word about him, recalling some favor received from


his

hands or some noble deed wrought by him.


friends go
to the florist

Near

and order

flowers,

woven

into anchors, crosses, harps, pillars or crowns,

to be sent with their card

and

laid

upon

his coffin.

There

is

nothino; wrons; in all this.

Flowers on

the coffin arc beautiful.


there tliey are
rests.
fit

When
to

a Christian sleeps
in

symbols of the hope

which he

Then they seem

whisper sweet secrets of

comfort for sorrowing hearts.

They

tell, too,

of

kindly feelings and gentle remembrances outside


the

darkened

homes while

hearts

are

breaking

156
within.

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
They
are the tokens of love

and respect

for the (lend.

There can be nothing inappropriate

in

tlie

placing of a few ciioice flowers upon a coffin

or on the
It
is

bosom of the dead.


fitting,

too,

that

kind words should be

spoken even when the ear cannot hear them or the


heart be

warmed and
to a

thrilled

by them.
life

There

is

no richer tribute

human

than the sincere

witness of sorrowing friends around the coffin and

the grave.

It

is

natural that

many

a tender sleep-

ing

memory should
It
all
is

be awal^ened at the touch of

death.
friends

natural that

when we have

lost

our

the sealed vases of affi^ction should be


last

broken open to anoint them for the


is

time.

It

well that even death has power to stop the tongue

of detraction, to

subdue enmities, jealousies and


the
hitherto

emulations, to reveal
beauties

unappreciated
to

and excellences of a man's character,

cover with the veil of charity his blemishes and


faults,

and

to

thaw out the tender thoughts, the

laggard gratitude and the long-slumbering kindly


feelino;s in

the hearts of his neii^hbors and friends.


is

But meantime there

a great host of weary


life

men and women


grave

toiling;

throuo-h

toward the

who

sorely need

jud now

the cheering words

and helpful ministries which we can give.

The

KINDNESS THAT COMES TOO LATE.


incense
is

157

gathering to scatter about their


it

coffins,

but

why
?

should

not be scattered in their paths


are lying in men's hearts

to-day

The kind words

unexpressed, and trembling on their tongues


voiced, which will be spoken

un-

by and by when these

weary ones are sleeping, but why should they not


be spoken now,

when they

are needed so much,

and when
grateful ?

their accents

would be so pleasing and

Many
ding,

a good

man

goes through

life plain,

plod-

living obscurely, yet living a true, honest,


life,

Christian

making many a

self-denial to serve

others, doing

many

a quiet kindness to his neighbors


hears a

and

friends,

who scarcely ever

word of thanks

or cheer or generous commendation.

He may

hear

many

criticisms

and many expressions of

dis[)ar-

agement, but no approving words come to his

ears.

If his friends have pleasant things to say about him, they manage so to speak them that he will not
hear them.

Perhaps they are not uttered


toils for

at all.

Those he loves and

may

be grateful, but

their gratitude lies in their hearts like fruit-buds


in

the branches in February.

The

vases filled

with kindly appreciation are kept sealed.


flowers are not cut from the stem.

The

You

stand by his

coffin,

and there are enough

158

WEEK-JJAY RELIGION.
to

kind things said there


liour of
liis

liave

brightened every
tlie

life

if

they Imd been said at

right
his

time.
foisket

Tliere are
to

enough flowers piled ujmn


filled

have kept his chamber


all

with fra-

grance through

his years if they

had only been


his

wisely scattered in daily clusters.

How

heavy
if

heart would have leaped and thanked

God

he

could have heard some of the expressions of affection

and approval

in

the midst of

life's
its

painful

strifes,

and when staggering under

burdens,

which are now wasted on ears that hear them not

How much

happier his

life

would have been, and


his

how much more


generous friends

useful, if

he had known, amid

disappointments and anxieties, that he had so

many
might

who

held

him

so dear

But, poor

man! he had
express
his cold
itself.

to die that the appreciation

Then

the gentle words spoken over

form he could not hear.


his coflin

The

flowers sent

and strewn on

had no fragrance for him.

The

love blossomed out too late.

Many
from

woman

gives out her


ministries.

life

for Christ in

lowly, self-denying
ease

She turns away


toils

and comfort and


fingers she

for

the

poor.

With her own

makes garments
she
rise
is

for the
is

widow and orphan.


great mourning.

When

dead there
call

The poor

up and

her

KINDNESS THAT COMES TOO LATE.


blessed.
coffin

159

Those she

has clad
coats

gather about her

and

show the

and

garments

she

made

for tliem while she

was

alive.

Her

pastor

preaches her funeral sermon with wondrous tenderness and eloquence.

All very well.

It

is

sweet reward, a beautiful ending, for such a

life.

But would

it

not have been better

if

part at least

of that kindness had been

shown

to her while her

weary

feet

were walking on their long love-errands


fingers

and her busy

were
?

drawing the needle

through seam after seam

husband piled most elaborate


coffin, built a

floral

oiferings

about his wife's

magnificent
in

monu-

ment over her grave and spoke


of her noble
sacrifices.

glowing eulogy

But

it

was whispered that

he had not been the kindest of husbands to her


while she lived.

daughter showed great sorcould not


it

row

at

her mother's funeral and

say

enough in commendation of
that she

her, but

was known

had thrust many a thorn into her pillow

while she was living.


Is
it

not a better thing to seek to

make

the liv-

ing happy than to leave them to walk along dreary

paths without sympathy, unhelped, neglected, per-

haps wronged, and then flood their

coffins

with
the

sunshine?

Many

man

goes

down under


160
pressure of

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
lil'c's

hardship and the weight of

itfj

burdens, never hearing the voice of


pathy.
is

human symthat friends


to utter his
tiie

Wlmt

matters
lies

it

to

him, when the agony


fichl,

over and he
in

dead on the

come

thrones to lament his

fall

and
of

j>raises?

May

it

not be that a

tith(!

sympa-

thy and appreciation wasted and unavailing now

would have kept

his

heart

bravely beating

for

many

another year?

"How much

would I care for it could I know That when I am under the grass or snow, The raveled garment of life's brief day Folded and quietly laid away, The spirit let loose from mortal bars And somewhere away among the stars, How much do you think it would matter then What praise was lavished upon me, when.

Whatever might be

its stint

or store.

It neither could help

nor harm

me more?"

Do

not, then, keep the alabaster boxes of

your

love and tenderness sealed up until your friends


are dead.
Fill their lives with sw'eetness.

Speak
can

approving, cheering words


hear them.

while

their

ears

The

things you

mean

to say

when

they are gone say before they go.

The

flowers

you mean
and

to send for their coffins send to brighten

sw^eeten their

homes before they leave them.


it

1? a sermon helps you,

will

do the preacher good

KINDNESS THAT COMES TOO LATE.


to tell

161

him of

it.

If the editor writes an article


still

that you like, he can write a

better one next

week

if

you send him a note of thanks.


is

If a
to the

book you read

helpful,

do you not owe

it

author to write him a word of acknowled2:ment?

If you

know

a weary or neglected
it

one or one

overwrought, would

not be such work as God's


little

angels love to do to seek to put a

brightness

and cheer into his

life,

to manifest true

sympathy

with him, and to put into his trembling hand the

cup
I

filled

with the wine of


said

human

love?

have always

and

am

sure I

am

speak-

ing for thousands of weary, plodding toilers


if

that
the

my

friends have vases laid

away

filled Avith

perfumes of sympathy and affection which they intend to break over


if

my

dead body, I would be glad

they would bring them out in some of

my
I

weary

hours and open them, that I


cheered

may be

refreshed and

by them while I need them.

would

rather have a cofBn without a flower and a funeral

without a spoken eulogy than a


sweetness of
w^ould
fulfill

life

without the
If we

human

tenderness and cheer.

our mission, we must anoint our friends

beforehand for their burial.


nesses

Post-mortem kindspirit.

do not cheer the burdened

Tears

fall-

ing on the icy brow


11

make poor and tardy atonement

162
for coldness

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
and neglect and cruel
years.
selfi.sliness

In

long,

struggling
is

Apjireciation

when

the

heart

stilled

has no inspiration

for the spirit.

Justice conies too late


in the

when

it is

only pronounced

funeral

eulogium.

Flowers piled on the

coffin cast

no fragrance backward over the weary

days.

XVII.
THE DUTY OF ENCOURAGEMENT.

nnHERE
-*-

are few things to

which we need

to

train ourselves

more

diligently

and conscien-

tiously

than to the

habit ot

giving cheer and

encouragement.

To many
struggles.
shine.

people
It has

life

is

hard.

It

is

full

of

more of shadow than of sunand


severe.
Its bur-

Its duties are stern

dens press heavily.


those

We

know

not

how many

of

whom we

meet have been worsted in the

struggle of to-day or of yesterday and are cast

down

or almost in despair.

We

know

not behind what


see not the se-

smiling faces are sore hearts.


cret sorrows that

We

weigh like mountains upon many

a gentle spirit.
difficulties

We
paths
is

do not understand with what


of

the

many pilgrim
its

feet

are

beset.

There
is

not a heart without

bitterness

Work

hard.

Burdens press heavily.


lost.

Battles
like

are fierce, and are often

Hopes fade
163

164

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
roses,

Bummer
ashes.

leaving disappointment and dead


gravitation

The

constant and invariable


is

of

human

hearts

toward discouragement and

depression.

An
ences

honest watching of our


for

own

inner experi-

a week will
is

verify all this,

and

our
is

personal experience

but a

reflection of

what

going on

all

about

us.

few lives

may

be more

sunny than

ours, while in

most the shadows are

deeper, the struggles hotter and the path steeper

and harder.
While, then, there
ing,
it

is

so

much

that

is

dishearten-

becomes our duty to watch for every opporlittle

tunity to put a

bit

of brightness or better

cheer into the lives of those

we The

meet.

It

would

seem

to be clear that

we should never
word.

needlessly

utter a discouraging

guides caution
to

travelers

at

certain

points
lest

on the Alps not

speak even in a whisper,

the reverberations of

their tones should start an avalanche


fect poise

from

its

per-

and send

it

crashing down.

There are

hearts so poised on the edge of despair that one


dispiriting

word

wnll cast

them down.
to speak a

It

is,

there-

fore, disloyalty to

humanity

word whose
life's

influence tends to quench hope, to cool

ardor

or to cast a shadow over any sunny heart.

THE DUTY OF ENCOURAGEMENT.


And
this.

165

yet there are

There are

many who do not remember preachers who utter discouraging


issue

messages.
battle,

If a commander, leading his army in


to

were

lugubrious

proclamations,

dwelling upon the

difficulties

and dangers of the


the uncertainty

hour, the power of the

enemy and

of the

issue,

he would ensure the defeat of his

army and
are

the failure of his cause.


set to lead in

And

yet there

men

the

army of Christ who


with scarcely a brave
it

ever dwell mournfully on the hardships and dis-

couragements of the
heroic, hopeful word.

conflict,

Should

not be the

office

of

all

who occupy

responsible places as leaders,


influ-

where their every word or tone has a mighty

ence over other lives, carefully and conscientiously


to refrain

from ever uttering one sentence which

would check the enthusiasm of any hopeful heart


or add to the fear and depression of one

who

is al-

ready downcast?

There

is

enough

in life's sorrows

and

trials

to dishearten

without

this.

Men and

women need incitement, encouragement, inspiration. Many a church is kept from aggressive work and
earnest progress

by the discouraging utterances of

a timid leader.

One

of the essential qualifications

of leadership

is

large hopefulness.

Then, in

all life's relations, there are

many

peo-

106
pie

WEEK- BAY RELIGION.


who
are always saying disheartening tilings.
to

Meet them when you may, speak

them on what-

ever theme you choose, they will leave a depressing


influence

upon you.

They take gloomy views of


are always

everything.

They

dominated by

dis-

couragements.
in

They

see the difficulties first of all

any enterprise or scheme.

They regard

the

present time as the most unpropitious for the un-

dertaking of any new work.

This
;

is

the most cor-

rupt age the world has ever seen


so depraved
;

men never were


so worldly, so

the
;

Church never was

shorn of power

there never was so


their

little

true piety.
affairs,

Then touch upon


they grow
griefs.
still

own

personal

and

more gloomy.

They

air all

their
to

They have a volume of lamentations


ears.

pour into your


matter of your

Ask

their counsel

in

any

own

or speak to

them of any plan

of yours, and they will shake their heads and point out to you every unfavorable aspect of
it.

They

seem

to live to discourage others, to

quench hope,

to repress ardor

and enthusiasm,

to

pour darkness

into bright lives,

and

to spread demoralization

and

panic wherever they move.


ence of such lives
it is

The

chilling

influ-

impossible to estimate.
is

To
dr^-

meet them in the morning


j)ressiou.

to

have a day of

THE DUTY OF ENCOURAGEMENT.

167
live to

On

the other hand, there are those

who

give cheer and encouragement.

They may have

burdens, or even sore griefs, of their own, but they hide them
rvino;
life.

away deep

in

their

own

hearts, not car-

them

so as to cast their

shadows on anv other


it

When you
fragrance
filling

meet tliem,

is

as w^hen

you go

out on a June morning under a cloudless sky, with

dewy
songs

breathing
air.

all
is

around and

bird-

the

There

a loving radiance

in their countenances.

Even

if

vou do not know

them personally, and merely meet them without


salutation on the street, there
is

something

in their

expression that leaves a benediction on you whose

holy influence follows you

all

day like the

mem-

ory of a lovely picture or the refrain of a sweet


song.
by,
it

If you have only a greeting as you hurry


is

so cordial, so hearty, so sincere, that

its

inspiration tingles all

day

in

your veins.

When

you talk with them, you do not hear one gloomy


word.

They take hopeful views of

everything.
in

Tliev alwavs find some favorable


to

li!2:ht

which

view everv
ardor
is
is

discouraii-inoi:

event or circumstance.
is

1^0

quenclied, no hope

dimmed, no

enthusiasm

repressed in your heart, as you take

counsel with them.

They seek

to

remove

difficulties, to oj)en

paths,

168

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
make you
stronger,

to inspire fresh courage, to

and

to

add

to

vour determination to succeed.

You

always go out from a few minutes' talk with them


with new impulses stirring in your breast, with
lighter step, brighter face, deeper joy,

and with the

assurance of victory thrilling in your soul.

The

ministry of such lives

is

a most blessed one.

What men
strife is

need most in this world's struggle and

not usually direct help, but cheer.


at a high

child

was seen

window

in

a burning building.

brave fireman started up a ladder to try to resit.

cue

He

had almost gained the window, when

the terrible heat appeared too

much

for

him.

Pie

seemed to stagger and was about to turn back, when

some one

in the

throng below
u]),

cried, "

Cheer him

!"

loud cheer went

and

in a

moment more he

had the imperiled child


an awful death.

in his

arm, snatched from

cumbed

in great

Many men have fainted and sucstruggles whom one word of cheer
to

would have made strong

overcome.

We
much
its

should never, then, lose an opportunity to

say an inspiring word.


it

We
how

do not know how

is

needed or

great and farreaching

consequences

may

be.

One

night long ago,

during a terrible storm on the coast of England,


a clergyman
left his

own cozy home,

hurried

away

THE DUTY OF ENCOVRAGEMENT.


to tlie headland

169

and lighted the beacon.

Months

afterward he learned that that light had saved a


great shi}) with
its

freight of

human
interests

life.

We
carry
desti-

know

not to what imperiled

and hopes

our one word or act of encouragement


rescue and safety.
nies

may

Nor do we know what

may

be wrecked and lost by our failure to

speak cheer.

In the training and education of the young there


is

a great call for encouragement.


criticise their

Parents are too

apt to

children and find fault w^ith

them

for the imperfect

manner

in

which they do

their work.

In too many homes the prevalent


and censure.
Is
it

temper

is

that of faultfinding

any wonder that the children sometimes grow


couraged and
feel

dis-

that there

is

no use in trying to
receive a
is

do anything right?
commendation.

They never

word of

Nothing that they do


in their

approved.
are always

The

defects

and mistakes

work

pointed out, oftentimes impatiently, and no kindly


notice
ress
is

ever taken of any improvement or prog-

made.
at.

Their

little

plans and ambitions are

laughed

Their day-dreams and childish fan-

cies are ridiculed.

No

interest

is

taken in their
to

studies.

They

are

not merely

left

struggle

along without encouragement or appreciation, but

170
every

WEEKDAY
V)U(](]ing

RELIGION.
is

as]>iration

mot by the dulling

frost of critici.sin.

If wc

a(liilt> li:ul to

make head-

way

in

life

against

sueh repressing influences as

many

children meet,

we should soon
way.
"

iaiut

by the

way and give up


There
is

in despair.

better

kiss

from

my

motlier," said
er."

Benjamin West,

^*

made me

a paint-

Had

it

not been for her approving love and

the cheer and

encouragement which she gave to


his first

him when he showed her


would never have gone

rude

effort,

he

on.

frown, a rebuke,

a cold, indifferent criticism or a look or word of


ridicule

would have

so discouraged

him

that he

would never have

tried again.

No

doubt many a

grand destiny has been blighted

in early youth

by

discouragement, by disapproval or by a sneer; and,

on the other hand, proper encouragement and appreciation

woo out the coy and shrinking powers

of genius and start

men on grand
teachers

careers.
this.

Wise

parents

and

understand

They

notice

every improvement, every


it.

mark of

progress,

and speak approvingly of


is

They com-

mend whatever

well done.

They never chide


its

for faults or mistakes


best.

when

the child has done

They point out

the defects in such a

way

as not to give pain or to discourage, but rather to

THE DUTY OF ENCOURAGEMENT.


stimulate to

171
at a

new

effort.

They never laugh

child's visions or fancies or ridicule its plans, but

regard them as the earliest germs of a beautiful


life

which they must try

to

woo

out.

They do not
its

ridicule a child's answers or rebuke

questions.

They

treat

every manifestation of

its

young

life

as tenderly as the skillful gardener treats his


delicate plants

most
it

and

flowers.

They seek
life,

to

make

summer about

the budding

so as never to stunt

any nascent growth, but

to

warm and

cheer and

to call out every lovely possibility of strength

and

beauty.

A
very

naval

officer

who

rose to high
fire.

honor

relates

his first experience


fierce,

under

The

conflict

was

and

at the beginning his terror

was

very great.

He

was almost

utterly

unmanned.

The commander of
coming
to

the ship noticed his terror, and,

him

in the gentlest

manner, stood beside

him

for a

few moments and told him of his expefirst

rience

when

called into danger.

He

assured

the vouno: officer that he understood his feelin2:s


perfectly

and sympathized with him.

He
off

then
that
his

encoura2:ed

him with the further assurance


would soon pass

the feeling of dread

and

courage w^ould return.

Had

the

commander ap-

proached him with stern reproach and rebuke, he

172
miglit
it

WEEK-DAY BE LI G ION.
liave

become utterly panic-stricken.

As

was, his words of

sympathy made

liim brave as

a lion.

Thus I read
It
is

the duty of giving encouragement.

the sunshine most lives need.

Childhood,

youth, struggling genius, fainting energy, wearied


liope,

tempted

virtue,

breaking hearts,
cheer.
this

all

are

waiting for
W(nild

sympathy and
learn

Those
secret

who

do good must

pastor,

teacher, editor, parent.

Disheartening words any-

where are treasonable words.

They

cause fear,

anxiety, panic, loss of courage, rout, disaster.

There are discouragements enough


already.
let

in

most

lives

Let us never add

to life's burdens,

but

us rather at every possible opportunity breathe


fresh

cheer,

incitement,

new

courage.

He

that

lives thus,

even in the lowliest walk, will make

brightness and song wherever he goes, and will

have a choral entrance into joy

at the end.

XVIII.
ON LOVING OTHERS.

I^TEXT
-^^
in practical

to loving

God comes

the duty of lovit

ing others.
life

Most people

find

convenient
of the law.

to qualify the scope

In the ancient Jewish interpretation enemies were


left

out; they were to be hated.


to

This made the

commandment

love others easy of observance.


gloss or tradition of the

Without any rabbinical

elders to justify us, while


its

we

preserve the text in

purity and read

it
it

in our Bibles with emphasis


is

and commendation,

seriously to be questioned

whether we follow the commandment much more


closely than did the religionists of our Lord's time.

There are some people


love,

whom

it

is

not hard to

and

to

whom
to

it is

quite easy to be kindly af-

fectioned.

They

are congenial

and

to

our

taste.

We are

drawn

them by

their amiable qualities or

charming manners, or
kind and generous as
easy to love such,

their treatment of us is so
to

win our

aifection.

It is

173

174

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
otlicrs

But there are

to

whom we

arc not tlins

naturally attracted.
liaps not amiable.

They

are not congenial

por-

They have unlovely


Certain faults
treat

or dis-

agreeable

traits.

mar the beauty of


us rudely and unfor us to bear

their characters or they

kindly.

It

is

by no mearis easy

ourselves toward such with all of love's patience,


gentleness, thoughtfuln&ss

and helpfulness.

And

yet

it

is

this that is required of those

who would

walk
those

in the footsteps of the

Lord.

Sinners love

who

love them.

Sinners do good to those


Sinners lend to those of

^vho do good to them.

whom

they hope to receive again.

But we

are to

do more.

We

are to love our enemies.

We

are

not to select from the mass about us a few to


the law of love
is

whom
our

to be applied.

We

are to have

our special friends, just as Jesus had, to


hearts and lives

whom

may

turn for that deep companion-

ship which

all

pure and true souls crave; but, like

him

also,

we

are to love all

and show

to all love's

holiest offices.

It

is

not enough to have the love in the heart


to look also to its expression.

we need

In the bare,

jagged trees that stand like naked skeletons in the


early spring days there are thousands of intentions

of leaf and

fruit,

but they are folded up and hid-

ON LOVING OTHERS.
den away in unopened buds.
are in

175

So, I believe, there

many

lives thouglits

and purposes of love

which do not reveal themselves.


the heart, but
it

The

love

is

in

wants expression.

Oftentimes the
is

very reverse of the kindly thought

uttered.

From many
of
bitterness

a lip the petulant word or the tone


is

allowed

to

escape,

while

true

love dwells deep within the heart.

Most
and cold

Christian people are better than they seem.


is
is

There are excellent men whose goodness


like the bare granite rocks. It

rugged
strong,

firm, true, upright, but

lacks the finer graces of


is

the Christliest piety.

It

quite possible to love

and not be kindly


which there
is

affectioned.

There are homes in

love that would

make any

sacrifice,

but in which hearts are starving for kindly expression.

There

is

a dearth of those tender words and

thoughtful
suggest.

little acts

which a true gentleness would

There are fathers who love their children


their lives for

and would give

them who are yet

wanting in those kindly expressions which so endear the parental relation.

There are friendships

that are true enough, but which are not hallowed

by

those graceful attentions and those tokens of thoughtful ness

which cost so

little

and are worth so much.


full

There are men whose hearts are

of benevolent

76

WEEK-DA Y RELIGION.
and of sincere symwhose
lives

dispositions toward the needy,


patliy for those

who

suifer, in

none of

these benevolent thoughts or feelings of cotnpassion

take practical form.

There are men with kindly

natures whose manners are gruff and rude.


are others

There

who

boast of honest frankness in speech


as to give

whose words are so harsh or ill-timed


immeasurable pain.
tact

Then how
to

rare

is

that wise
is

which seems always


of,

know what one


at the very right
its

in

need

and comes always


its

mo-

ment with
ministry,

delicate attention,
!

unostentatious

its

quiet help

"The

ill-timed truth

we might have

kept,

knows how sharp it pierced and stung? The word we had not sense to say, Who knows how grandly it had rung?"

Who

There

is

great need, therefore, of thought with refitting

gard to the
feeling
too, in

expression of love.

The kindly

must find some way

to utter itself

a way,
when
of the
deport-

keeping with the beauty of the sentiment.


a lovely thought loses all its loveliness

Many

clothed in speech or act.


heart must

The benevolence
in

show

itself

amiability of

ment and

in

deeds of mercy.

Manner

is

as import-

ant as matter.

The

gruff

man

can never impart

ON LOVING OTHERS.
much
The
happiness
to
others.

177
be

Kindness must

kindly expressed.
true test of Christian love
is

in life's closer

relations.

There

is

a great difference between lovshall see,

ing people
those with
contact.

we never saw, and never

and

whom we

mmsfle continuallv in actual

There are some persons whose souls glow

with love for the benighted heathen far away wdio


fail

utterly in loving

their

nearest

neighbors or
in

those
ness

who

jostle against
society.

them every day


doubt
it is

busi-

and in

No

easier to love

some people

at a distance.
lives, just

Distance lends enchantas

ment

to

many

far-away rugged
picturesque.

landscape

may seem charmingly

We

cannot see their faults and blemishes.

We

are not

required to endure their uncongenial or disagreeable qualities.


ries

We
the

do not meet them in the


of social
life.

rival-

of business or chahngs

We
them.

see

nothing of

petty meanness

and
in

selfish-

ness that closer association

would reveal
at

Our

lives are not

impinged upon

any point by
friction.

theirs,

and there can therefore be no

If

we were brought

into close association with them,

our interest in them might be lessened.

Many

men who have been


ing occasionally
12

excellent friends while meetin

and

favorable

circumstances

178

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
when
bronj^lit into close
life.

liave ceased to be friends

contact in the attritions of daily

There are
lens.

few characters that will bear the microscopic

But

the test of true Christian love

is

that

it

does

net fail even in the closest relations, in the most

trying frictions of actual

life,

in wliich

men

so often

appear at their worst.

Charity beareth

all

things

and never

faileth.

When

hitherto undisclosed

and

unsuspected faults or blemishes appear in one we

have esteemed, we are not to love him the


Disagreeable
qualities

less.

may appear
break
test

upon

closer

acquaintance which
distance
lent

will

the

charm

that

and sorely

the genuineness of or eccentricities

our love.

There may be

faults

which painfully mar the beauty of men's characters,

rendering them uncongenial.

Their actions

toward us

may

give us apparent cause for withthat

holding from

them

courtesy and

kindness

which

it

is

our wont

to manifest to all

men.

And

yet none of these things modify the


its

law

of love or abridge
tercourse with

application.

In

all

our inis

them our treatment of them


of the sweetest charity.

to

be in the

s])ii'it

No
our

rude-

ness of theirs
turn.

must provoUe us

to rudeness in reto
spirits

No

matter

how

distasteful
be,

their habits or

manners may

we

are to treat

ON LOVING OTHERS.
fhcm with unvarying
injustice

179

courtesy.

Even wrongs and


things and

on their part toward us are to be answered


all
is

only by that love that beareth


easily

not

provoked, by the soft answer that turneth


the meekness that

away wrath, and by

when

re-

viled revileth not again.

The law of
into

love, however, is not to

be tortured
are

applications

never intended.

We

not

required to take all sorts of people into intimate

companionship or sacred friendship.

There are

many from whom we are commanded to separate ourselves. Even among the good our hearts are
permitted to have choice of their
affinities.

Yet

we
est

are to cherish love toward

all.

In the

face of

the most repulsive qualities, even under the deep-

wrongs,

we

are

still

to maintain

and exhibit

love in

all its tenderness, patience,

thoughtfulness,

compassion and helpfulness


calls evil

not

the love which

good, but the love that desires for others

the blessings which

we

seek for ourselves.

To

help in bearing with disagreeable people or

those with

unamiable

qualities, there

is

nothing

better than a sincere wish to


is

do them

srood.

There

a better side to every marred or distorted char-

acter.

Hidden away under the blemishes


possibilities

are the

germs and

of a noble and beautiful

180
life.

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
Christ sees under the most faulty cxteri(n'
liis

that wliicli by

grace he can exalt into heavenly

sainthood.

We

should look even upon the worst


it

men
to

in the

same wav, and hold

to be our errand

them

to help to bring out in

them the

])ossi-

ble beauty.

There

is

a key somewhere to unlock

any and every

heart,

and a hand that can bring


life.

betterment to every

If we meet
distorted

men and

women, no matter how

their character,

with a sincere desire to help and to bless them, we


shall find
treat
it

an easy task to bear with them and

them lovingly.
says,

Longfellow

"If we could read

the secret
in

history of our enemies,

we should

find

each

man's
all

life

sorrow and suffering enough to disarm

hostility."

We

always

feel

kindly and speak

softly in the presence of suffering.

There

is

some-

thing in us that prompts us to extend sympathy

and help

to

one that has sorrow.


life

To remember
the law of love.

that in every

there are hidden griefs would go

far to help us to observe

toward

all

An

artist
is

used to say to his pupils,


the proof of the picture."

"The end

of the day

He

meant

that the most favorable time to judge of the excellence of a painting


is
is

the twilight-hour,

when

there

not light enough to distinguish details.

Then

ON LOVING OTHERS.
defects in execution cannot be seen,

181
artistes

and the
In

thought glows in

its

richest beauty.

like

man-

ner, the close of the


to look at

day of

life is

the truest time


all

human

character.

In the noon glare

men's faults appear.


rivalries

Jealousies, emulations

and

show

us to each other in the heat of clash-

ing, conflicting life in

most unfavorable

light.

We

are apt to put the worst construction


other's actions

upon each

and motives.

We

see each other

through the defective and distorting vision of our

own

selfishness.

All the evil appears magnified,


better things are unperceived or

and many of the

shown

in false settings.

But when the shadows


fall

of the evening of eternity begin to

upon

us,

we

see

each

other with

the

asperities

softened

and the blemishes covered by the

veil of charity.

When
men
in us

the fierce

competitions are hushed

we

see

in truer light.

We

do justice then

to their

virtues

and

better qualities.

Envy and

prejudice

no longer magnify the

evil that is in

them,

while the good shines out in transfigured splendor.

W hen we

sit

beside a man's death-bed


to

we have

no harsh judgments

pronounce.

Beauties ap-

pear which we had never observed before, and imperfections fade

out in the softening, mellowing

glow that streams from the gates of the eternal

182
world.

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.

How

kiiuUy we

feel

toward him

in

that

hour!
as

Can we not
and

learn to look at

men always
Then
all
it

we

shall at the close of the


feel

day?
toward

will

be easy to
that

to exhibit

that love
evil,

never
all

faileth,

that

thinketh

no

that

hopeth

things.

XIX.
THOUGHTFULNESS AND TACT.
"Evil
wrought by want of thought As well as want of heart."
is

CiOME
^^

people have a wonderful

way of always

speaking a kind word or doing a kind act at

the right time

-just

when

it is

most needed and will

do the greatest good.

No

matter

when we meet
have something
our

them, they seem, as by some unfailing inspiration,


to understand our

mood and
it

to

precisely suited

to

bit of sunshine for

gloom, a word of cheer for our disheartenment, a


gentle but never offensive reminder of duty if
are

we

growing remiss or
is

neglectful,

an impulse to

activity if our zeal

flagging, or a

word of generif

ous commendation and delicate praise

we

are

weary and overwrought. There


is

a wondrous power in

fitness.

kind-

ness that, standing apart


utterly
insignificant takes

from

its

occasion, seems
as-

on importance and
183

l^^l

WKKK-DAY IlELHUON.
incstiniahle value hccaiise of
its

snmos an
tiinones.s.

njipor-

It

imiltiplios

one's

usel'ulncsss

Imnspeak

(Ircdfdld,

a thousandfold, to

know

liow to

the

rii!;lit

wonl or do the
in

ri<^ht

thing just at the

rjij-ht

moment and

the right way.

Many
tentions

people with the very b&st motives and in-

and with truly


fail

large

caj)acity for

doing

good almost utterly


their
tact.

of usefulness and throw


lack
this gift

lives

away because they

of

They perform

their kindest deeds in such aii

inappropriate
j)ower to

way

as to rob

them of nearly

all their

comfort or cheer.

They always come


They speak
wdien they wanted to

a few minutes too late to be helpful.


the

wrong word, giving

})ain

give pleasure.
to

They

are always

making

allusions

themes on which no word should be spoken.


are ever touching sensitive spots.

They

When

they

enter a

home

of sorrow,

drawn

l)y

the truest sympahearts bleed

thy, they are almost sure to

make tender

the more by some want of fitness in word or act.

They

are continually hurting the feelings of their

friends,

offending nearly every person

they meet

and leaving frowns and

tears in their path.

Every

one gives them credit for honesty of intention, and


yet their efforts to do good mostly

come

to

naught
all
is

or even result in harm.

The

sad part of

it

THOUGHTFULNESS AND
that their motives are good

TACT.

185

and

their hearts full of

benevolent desires.

Their

lives are failures because

they lack the proper touch and do not

know

in

what manner
Others

to

do the things they resolve

to do.

may

not have one whit more sincere

or

earnest desire to be useful.


ple

Their interest in peo-

may

be no truer, their sympathy no deeper,

their love

no warmer.

They may have

less

rather
be-

than more natural power to give help.

Yet

cause of their peculiar and gentle tact they scatter

gladness

all

about them and are ever performing


2:ood.

sweet

ministries of

Their

susrsrestions

of

kindness do

not come to them as


too late to render
all sorts

after-thoughts
help.

when

it

is

any

They do
try
like

not blunder into

of cruelty

when they

to alleviate sorrow.

They come opportunely,


what

God's angels.
itively

Their thoughtful ness seems intuwill

to understand just

be the best
fittest

word
to do.

to speak

or

the

kindest

and

thing

When

they are guests in a home, they have a


grateful

way of showing a

appreciation

of the

favors and attentions bestowed upon them, and yet


in

so delicate a

way
it

as never to appear to flatter.

When

they

feel

necessary to remind another of

some remissness

in duty, they

do

it

so gently as

18G
not
to

WKICK-DAY RKLKUON.
loso

the

triond, but
tlie

to

draw

liim all

(he

closer.

Tlu'v possess

art of inanifesting

an intliey

terest

not

feigned, but sincere

in each

one

meet, and succeeil in leavinr a pleasant impression

and a benign influence upon


There are some who regard
hypocrisy.

all.

tact as insincerity or

They

boast of their

own

honesty, which

never

tries to disguise

a dislike for a pei*son, which

bluntly criticises another's faults even at the price

of his friendship.

They

believe in truth in all

its

bare ruggedness, no matter


give,

how much

jialn it

may

and condemn

all

that thoughtful art which

regards

human
way

feelings
it

and

tries to sjieak the truth

in such a

that

may

not

wound and

estrange.

They love
all

to quote the

woe against those of

whom

men speak

well,

and that other saying of our

Lord's
sword.

that

he had not come to send peace, but a


is

Their favorite prophet

Elijah,

and they

refer often to the biblical

condemnation of certain
things.

who

proi)hesial

smooth

They mistake

bluntness for sincerity.

In the name of candor

they employ sarcasm or sharp and bitter personalities.

When

othei-s are

grieved or hurt or insulted,

thev answer,"!
meiui,

am

a blunt

man;

I say

what I
is

and vou must excuse me."


is

Frankness
it is

to

be honored, but this

not frankness;

imper-

TIIOUGHTFULNESS AND TACT.


tinence, cruel unklndness, the outbreak of

1H7

bad na-

ture in

him who speaks, which,

instead of doing

good, works only harm.

true appreciation of the story of the teachings

of the gospel will reveal the fact that our Lord

himself exercised the most beautiful and thoughtful tact in all his

mingling among the people.

He

was

utterly incapable of rudeness.

He

never need-

lessly

spoke a harsh word.

pain to a sensitive heart.


of
all

He never gave needless He was most considerate

human human

weakness.
sorrow.
it

He was most gentle toward He never suppressed the truth,


in love.

but he uttered

always

Even

the terrible

woes he pronounced against unbelief and hypocrisy


I do not believe were spoken in the tones of thun-

der trembling with rage which

men impart

to their

anathemas.

I think

we must read them

in the light
re-

of his tears over the city of his love, which had


jected him, pulsing

and tremulous with divine and

sorrowing tenderness.

His whole

life tells

of most

considerate thoughtfulness.

He

had a wondrous

reverence for
ity

human

life.

Every scrap of humanin his eyes.

was sacred and precious

He

bore

himself always in the attitude of tenderest regard


for every one.

How could

it

be otherwise, since he

saw

in

every one a lost being

whom by

love he

188

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
rescue, or

might win and


niiglit

whom by

a harsh word he

drive

for ever

beyond hope?

spoke brusquely or made truth cruel.


every

He never He saw in

man and woman enough

of sadness to soften

the very tones of his speech and to produce feelings

of ineffable tenderness in him.


striving to impart to every one
help.

He moved

about

some comfort or

If we can

but

realize,

even

in

the

feeblest

way, the feeling of Christ toward men, our bluntness and rudeness will soon change to gentleness.

And

this is true tact.

It
is

is

infinitely

removed from
flatters

cunning.

Cunning

insincere.

It

and

practices all the arts of deception.

It professes a
feel.

friendship and interest

it

does not
It

It seeks

only to promote
core,

its

own

ends.

is

selfish at the

and utterly wretched and debasing.


tact
is

True

sanctified
its

common

sense.

It

Christian love doing


It
is

proper and legitimate work.

that

wisdom

wdiich our

Lord commended

so

heartily to

the disciples as they went out


It
is

among
same

enemies and into a hostile world.


time harmless as a dove.

at the

No

one can read the

New

Testament thoughtfully without seeing how love

moves everywhere
Truth
is

as the

queen of
in the

all

the graces.
radi-

everywhere clothed

warm and

THOUGHTFTTLNESS AND TACT.


ant

189

beauty
it is

of

charity.

Positive,

strong

and

mighty,
finger.

ever gentle as the touch of a child's has


said

Some one
unpleasant

that whoever

makes
against

truth
virtue.

commits

high

treason

The remark needs

a qualification.

There

are unpleasant truths that must cause pain


faithfully spoken.

when
any

Yet truth
it

itself is

always lovely,
it

and we are not

loyal to
it

when we

present

in

way

that will

make
is

appear repulsive.

Christian tact
It
is

wise and lovino; thous^htfulness.


is

that

charity which
all things,

wisely gentle to

all,

which beareth

which seeketh not her own,


It has

which thinketh no
sire to

evil.

an instinctive de-

avoid giving pain.


It

It seeks to please all

men

for their good.

knows very
is

well that the surest

way

not to do

men good
avoids

to antagonize
;

them and

excite their opposition

and enmity

therefore, as far
life

as possible,

it

all direct

attack upon the

and opinions of others.


views of those

It shows respect for the

who

differ in
^'

sentiment or

belief.

wise writer has said,


is

When we would show


is

any one that he

mistaken, our best course

to

observe on what side he considers the subject


his

view of
to

it is

generally right on his side


is

and
bo

for

admit

him

that he

right so far.

He

will

satisfied

with this acknowledgment that he was

190
not

WEEK-DAY
wrong
in his

RP.LTGION.

judgment, though inadvertctit in

not looking at the whole of the case."

How much
who
differs

wiser and more effective this method than that of


violently assaulting the position of one

from

us, as

if

we were

infallible

and he and
!

his

opinions were worthy only of our contem])t

We

can accomplish by indirection what

we could never

do by

direct methods.
class of

In no
needed as
is

work

is

this wise

tact so

much
There

in trvins; to lead to

men

to

Christ.

somewhere a key

every heart, and yet there


to

are good

and earnest men


zeal

whom no
little

heart opens.
Sanctified

They have
tact

without knowledge.
in a

shows

its skill

thousand

ways which

no rules can mark

out, but

which

w'in hearts

and

find acceptance for the

living truth and for the

wondrous love of Christ.


in the

I believe

it

will be seen

end that many

lives

which might have been

saved by the gentle methods which love teaches

have

drifted

away from Christ and been

lost

through the unwisdom of workers.


Tact has a wonderful power
tangled
afftiirs.

in
it,

smoothing out
will

pastor, with

harmonize

a church composed of

most discordant elements,


strifes

and prevent a thousand

and quarrels by

saying the right word at the right time and by

THOUGHTFVLNESS AND

TACT.

191

quietly and wisely setting other influences to


to neutralize the discordant tendencies.

work

A
to
is

teacher

possessed of this gift can control the most unruly

pupils and disarm mischief of

its

power
it

annoy
a most

and disturb the


indispensable
soft
oil.

peace.

In the home
tact will

Quiet
to

always have the

word ready
It

speak in time to turn away


to avoid unsafe ground.

anger.

knows how

It

can put
is

all parties into

a good

humor when
It
is

there
silent

dano;er of
silence

diiference or clashino;.
is

when

better than speech.

Nothing

else

has so

much

to

do with the success

or failure of

men

in usefulness as the possession or

non-possession of tact.

man with

great gifts

and learning accomplishes nothing, while another,


with not one-half of his natural powers or acquirements, far outstrips
diiference lies in tact

him
in

in practical

life.

The

knowino; the art of doing:

things.

We

need more than brains and erudition.

The
is

talent of all

which

tells

most

effectively in life

that

which teaches us how

to use the

power

ive

have.

One

person

will

do more good without

learning than another with his brain full of the


lore of the aores.

Tact
but
it

is

no doubt largely a natural endowment, an


art,

is

also partly

and can be cultivated.

192

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
wlio
is

The awkward man


against

always swinging

Iiimst'lf

some one or treading down some tender


acquire something of the graee of easy

flower

may
and

carriage.
heart,

The
witli

harsh, brusque
it

man may get

a softer
is

a softer manner.

The man who

always saying the wrong word and paining some


one

may

at least learn to be silent on doubtfid oc-

casions.

Tliere

is

no better way

to

acquire this
filled

wonder-working

tact

than by becoming

with

the spirit of Christ.


all

AVarm

love in the heart for

men, unselfish, thoughtful, kind, will always

find

some beautiful way

to

perform

its

beneficent

ministries.

delicate kindness

moves us more than the subGentleness


is

limest exhibition of power.

mightier

than noise or

force.

The

tiny flower

growing high
ice

up on the

cold,

rugged mountain, amid

and

snow, impresses the beholder more than the great


piles of granite that

tower to the clouds.

The

soft

shining of the sun can do more than the rude blast


to

make men

unfasten their heavy garments

and

open their hearts to the influences of good.

XX.
MUTUAL FORBEARANCE.

AMDNG
touch

all

Christian duties, there are few that


at

life

more points than the duty of


that, in the

mutual forbearance, and there are few

observance or the breach, have more to do with the


happiness or the unhappiness of
live our lives solitarilv.
beins-s.
life.

We
to

cannot

We

are

made
and

be social

It

is

in our intercourse with others that

we

find

our

sweetest

pleasures

our purest

earthly joys.

Yet

close

by these springs of happi-

ness are other fountains that do not yield sweetness.

There often are briers on the branches from


fruits.

which we gather the most luscious

Were

human
of

nature perfect, there could be nothing but


in the

most tender pleasure


life.

mutual comminglings

But we

are all imperfect


qualities in

and

full of in-

firmities.

There are

each one of us
are annoying to

that are not beautiful


others.
13

many that
_

Self rules in greater or less measure in the


193

194
best of us.

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
In our busy and excited lives we are

continually liable to jostle against each other.

Our

individual

interest^i

conflicrt,

or seem

to conflict.

The own

things

we do

in the earnest

pressing of our

business and our

own

plans and efforts seem

at times to interfere with the interests of others.

In the heat of emulation and the warmth of


interest

self-

we

are

apt to do

things

which

injure

others.

Then,
in

in

our closer personal contact,

in society

and

business relations,

we

are constantly liable to

give pain or offence.

We

sometimes speak quickly

and give expression


like sparks

to thou;^htloss

words which

fall

on other inflammable tempers.

Even

our nearest and truest friends do things that grieve


us.

Close commingling of imperfect lives always


its

has

manifold

little injustices,

wrongs, oppressions,

slights

and grievances.
not always see each other in clear

Then we do
and honest
toward
self,

light.

We

are prone to have a bias

and often misconstrue the bearing,

words or
given to

acts of others.
little

Many

of us, too, are


ill-

petulances and expressions of

humor
Thus

or

bad temper which greatly lessen the

probabilities of
it

unbroken fellowship.
is

comes about that no Christian grace

MUTUAL FORBEARANCE.
likely to be called into play

195

more frequently than


Without
it

that of mutual forbearance.


really exist
in a society

there can

no close and lasting friendly relations

composed of imperfect beings.

Even
If
the

the most tender intimacies and the holiest associations require the constant exercise of patience.

we

resent

every apparent
every
little

injustice,

demand
insist

righting of

wrong, and

upon

chafing and uttering our feelings at every infinites-

imal grievance, and


circle

if all the other parties in the

claim the same privilege,

what miserable
life will

beings

we

shall all be,

and how wretched

become

But

there

is

a more excellent way.

The

spirit

of love inculcated in the

New

Testament
life,

will, if

permitted to reign in each heart and


fellowship without a jar or break.

produce

We
spirit.

need to guard
It
is

first

of

all

against a critical

very easy to find fault with people.

It

is

possible,

even with ordinary


in

glasses, to

see

many

things

one

another that are not what


carry micro-

they ought to be.

Then some people

scopes fine enough to reveal a million animalculse


in a

drop of water, and with these they can find


conduct

countless blemishes in the character and

even of the most saintly dwellers on the earth.

DO

WEEK-DA Y RELIGION.
^^4ath^ng for slights

There arc some who are always

and grievances.
aiul

They

are suspicious of the motives

intentions of others.

Tliey are always imag-

ining offences, even where none were most remotely


intended.

This habit

is

directly at variance with

the law of love, which tliinketh no evil.

We turn

to the Pattern.

Does Christ look upon

us sharply, critically, suspiciously?


infirmity in us, but
it.

He

sees every

it

is

as

though he did not

see

His love overlooks


faults.

it.

He

throws a veil over

our

He

continues to pour his

own

love
ill-

upon us

in spite of all our blemishes

and our

treatment of him.

The law of
us.

Christian forbear-

ance requires the same in

We

must not keep

our

selfish suspicions

ever on the watch-tower or

at the
tesies,

windows, looking out for neglects, discourwrongs, or grievances of any kind.


to think evil

must not be hasty

of others.

We We
all

had

better be blind, not perceiving at all the seem-

ing rudeness or insult.


that
is

It

is w^ell

not to hear
to be as

said, or, if

hear

we must,

though

we heard

not.

Many

bitter quarrels

have grown out of an im-

agined slight,

many

out of an utter misconception,

or perchance from the misrepresentation

of some

wretched gossipmonger.

Had

a few

moments been


MUTUAL FORBEARANCE.
197

given to ascertain the truth, there had never been

any occasion

for ill-feeling.

We

should seek to

know

the motive also which

prompts the apparent grievance.


the cause of our grievance
is

In many

cases

utterly unintentional,

chargeable to nothing worse than thoughtlessness


possibly meant even for kindness.
to

It

is

never

fair

judge men by every word they speak or every-

thing they do in the excitement and amid the


irritations of

busy daily

life.

Many

a gruflp

man
come

carries a

good heart and a sincere friendship under


manner.

his coarse

The

best does not always

to the surface.

We should

never, therefore, hastily

imagine evil intention in others.

Nor should we

allow ourselves to be easily persuaded that our

companions or friends meant to

treat us unkindly.

disposition to look favorably


is

upon the conduct

of our fellow-men
frictions of life.

a wonderful absorber of the

Then

there

are always cases of real injustice.

There are rudenesses and wrongs which we cannot


regard as merely imaginary or as misconceptions.

They proceed from bad temper


repaid with unkindness.
in

or from jealousy

or malice, and are very hard to bear.


is

Kindness

We

find impatience

and petulance

our best friends.

There are

98

WEEK-DA Y RELIGION.
tliin^s

countless

every day in our associations with

others which tend to vex or irritate us.

Here

is

room

for the fullest exercise of that di-

vinely-beautiful charity which covers a multitude

of sins in others.

We
is

seek to

make every

possible

excuse for the neglect or rudeness or wrong.

Per-

haps our friend

carrying some perplexing care

or some great burden to-day.


iroing:
it

Something may be

wrons^ in his business or at his home.

Or
so

may
be

be his unstrung nerves that

make him
his

thouo-htless

and inconsiderate.
cause.

Or

bad health
spirit

may

the

large-hearted

will

always seek to find some palliation at


apparent wrong.

least for the

Another step

in the school

of forbearance

is

the

lesson of keeping silent under provocation.

One
takes

person alone can never


two.

make

a quarrel

it

homely counsel

to a newly-married couple
at the

was that they should never both be angry same time


and

that
If

one should always remain calm

tranquil.

There

is

still

diviner counsel

which speaks of the

soft

answer which turneth


the soft answer

away wrath.

we cannot have
nearly

always ready, we can at


at all.

least learn not to


all

answer

Our Lord met

the insults he

received with patient uncomplaining silence.

He

MUTUAL FORBEARANCE.
was
the
like a

199
All

lamb dumb before the

shearer.

keen insults of the cruel throng wrung from

him no word of resentment, no look of impatience.

As

the fragrant

perfume but gives forth added


crushed, so
cruelty,

sweetness
]>ain

when

wrong and

only made him the gentler and the love that

always distinguished him the sweeter.


It
silent.
is

a majestic power, this power of keeping

Great

is

the conqueror
is

who

leads armies

to victories.

Mighty
is

the strength that captures

city.

But he

greater

who can

rule his

own

spirit.

There are men who can command armies,

but cannot

command

themselves.

There are men

who by
tudes

their

burning words can sway vast multisilence

who cannot keep


The
It
is

under provocation
nobility
regal
is

or wrong.
control.

highest

mark of

self-

more kingly than

crown and

j)urple robe.

''Not in the clamor of the crowded

street,

Not
But

in the shouts
in ourselves,

and phiudits of the throng, are triumph and defeat."

There are times when


w^ords

silence

is

golden,

when

mean

defeat,

and when victory can be gained

only by answering not a word.


ful

Many

of the painof what

(quarrels

and much of the

bitterness

200

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
call

we

so

often

" inccmipatihility
if

of

temper"

would never be known


silence

we would
us.
flies

learn to keep

when

others

wrong

We may
to

choke

back the angry Avord that


insult
its

our

lips.

The

unanswered will
destruction.
is

recoil

upon

itself

and be

own
There

also a wonderful opportunity here for

the play of good nature.

There are some people


to their re-

whose abounding humor always comes


lief

when they observe


will

the gathering of a storm,


story ready, or will sud-

and they

have a

little

denly turn the conversation entirely away from the

inflammable subject, or will make some bright or


])layful

remark that

will cause the


It

whole trouble

to

blow

off in a hearty lauo^h.

would not seem

impossible for all to learn to bear insults or grievances in some of these ways, either in silence
sullen, thunder-charged, but loving silence

not
by

or

returning the soft answer which will quench the


flame of anger, or by that wise tact which drives

out the petulant


a

humor by

the expulsive power of

new emotion.
There are at
least

two motives which should be


to

sufficient

to

lead

us
is

cultivate

this

grace of

forbearance.

One

that
it

no insult can do us
to
irritate

harm

unless

we allow

us.

If we

MUTUAL FORBEARANCE.

201

endure even the sorest words as Jesus endured his

wrongs and

revilings, they will not leave

one trace

of injury upon us.

They can harm

us only

when

we allow

ourselves to become impatient or angry.

We

can get the victory over them, utterly disarm


to

them of power

do us injury, by holding our-

selves superior to them.

The

feeling of resent-

ment

will

change to pity when we remember that


is

not he
is

who

wronged, but he who does the wrong,


suffers.

the one

who

Every

injustice or griev-

ance reacts and leaves a stain and a wound.


the
cruelties
inflict

All

and persecutions that human hate


would not leave one
us,

could

trace

of

real

harm upon

but every feeling of resentment

admitted into our hearts, every angry word uttered,


will

leave a stain.

Forbearance thus becomes a


all

perfect shield
ties

which protects us from


life.
is

the cruel-

and wrongs of

The
to

other motive

drawn from our

relation

God.

We

sin against
fails.

him

continually,

and
all

his

mercy never

His love bears with

our

neglect, forgetful ness, ingratitude

and disobedience,

and never grows impatient with

us.

We

live only

by

his forbearance.

The wrongs he endures from

us are infinite in comparison with the trivial grievances

we must endure from our fellow-men.

When

202

WEEK-DA Y RELIGION.
tliink

MO

of

tliis,

can

we grow impatient of
fellowsliip?
^'

the
are

little

irritations

of daily

We

tinght to pray every day,


as we forgive our debtors."
petition sincerely

Forgive us our debts

How

can

we

j)ray this

and continue

to be exacting, re-

sentful, revengeful, or

even to be greatly pained

by the unkind treatment of others?

The Koran
when

says that two angels guard every

man

on the earth, one watching on either side of him; and


at night he sleeps, they fly
all

up

to

heaven with

a written report of
ing the day.

his

words and actions durlie

Every good thing

has done
lest

is

recorded at once and repeated ten times,

some

item

may

be lost or omitted from the account.


to a sinful thing, the angel

But when they come

on the right says to the other, " Forbear to record


that for seven hours
;

peradventure, as he wakes and

thinks in the quiet hours, he

may

be sorry for

it,

and repent and pray and obtain forgiveness."


is

This

a true picture of the


lives.

way

in

which God regards

our

He

is

slow to see our sins or to write


us.

them down against

He

delights in

mercy.

We

are to repeat in our lives as his children some-

thing at least of his patience.

The song of

for-

giveness and forbearance which he sings into our


hearts

we

are to echo forth asrain.

XXI.
MANLY MEN.
"Let my early dreams come tnie With the good I fain would do; Clothe with life my weak intent,
Let

me

be the thing I meant."

/CHRISTIAN life is more than a tender senti^^ ment. Christian character is more than gentleness,

patience,

meekness,

humility,
these

kindness.
qualities

There are some men who have

who
hood.

lack the

more robust

characteristics of

manThey
inis

They

are weak, nerveless, spiritless.

are wanting in courage, force, energy

and that

definable quality called grit.

Their gentleness

the gentleness of weakness.

They

are not

manly

men.

Their virtues are of the passive kind, and

they lack those active, positive traits that give

men

power and make them strong


less

to stand

and

resist-

when they move.


of conviction.

Such

persons
their

have no
opinions

strength

Holding
is

lightly, their grasp of

them

easily relaxed.
203

They

204

WEEK-DAY EELJGfON.
tlieir

are reinarkal)]c for

forbearance and meekness,

thus illustrating one phase of true Christly character,

but they serve only as moral bulfcrs

in

society

to

deaden the force of the concussion j^roduced by

other men's passions.

They generate no motion,

they kindle no enthusiasm, they inspire no courage,

they

make no
They

aggression against the world's hosts


are good men.

of

evil.

They have

the pa-

tience of Job, the


bility

meekness of Moses, the amia-

of

John, but they want the boldness of

Peter, the enthusiasm of Paul

and the moral hero-

ism of Luther superadded


to

to their passive virtues

make them
There
is

truly strong men.

another class of defects sometimes found


spirit.

in

men

of very gentle

They

possess

many

of those qualities of disposition that are most highly

commended

in

the Scriptures.

They

are not

easily provoked.

They speak They

the soft answer that


well the rough

turneth away wrath.


experiences of
life.

They endure

are gentle to all

men

and

full

of kindness, and yet they are wanting in

the quality of perfect truthfulness.


false

They

are neither

nor dishonest in great matters, but in countless

minor matters they are characterized by a disregard


of that exact truthfulness which the religion of
Christ requires.

They

are

not careful to

keep

MANLY
their

MEN.
are

205
ready to promise

engagements.

They

any favor asked of them


to say "

No !"

to

they have not the courage a request but they frequently


so readily promise.

fail

to fulfill

what they

They

are

unpunctual men,

late at

meetings, keeping others


often failing
alto-

waiting at appointments, and

gether to appear after the most positive engage-

ment
" In

to attend.

We

can readily forgive the cruelty

of that facetious editor

who

recently wrote a tearful

Memoriam "
late

of one of these unpunctual men,


late

speaking of him as the "

Mr. Blank."

These

people are frequently careless, too,


little

about paying
" careless
intend
'^

debts.

In charity, I think,

is

the

proper word, for they do not

to

defraud any one, but have permitted

themselves to grow into a loose habit of doing


business.
little

They make

little

purchases or borrow

sums of money from

friends, faithfully

prom-

ising to

pay or return the amount


so, until

in a

day or two,

but neglecting to do
fades altogether

by and by the matter

from

their

memory.

They bor-

row books

also, if

they chance to be of a literary

turn of mind, and other articles of various kinds,

pledging themselves to return the same in a very


little

time

and many an empty place


article in

in a library

and many a missing

a household pro-

20G

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
many bad memories
or a pain-

claim either a great


ful

want of conscientiousness
is

in borrowers.

There

still

another class of

blemishes

for

which I can
the

find

no more gentle designation than

word meannesses.

No

other faults detract more


it

from the nobleness of manhood, and yet


confessed with

must be

shame that none


to possess
little

are

more common.

man seems

an excellent character as

beheld from a

distance.

He

has

many

ele-

ments of power,

traits

of usefulness, perhaps even

of greatness; but when drawn close to him into


intimate personal relations, you discover evidences

of meanness which you had not suspected before.

As

a friend he

is

disingenuous.

Through

all

the

guise of good profession the

marks of

selfishness

and self-seeking appear.


further his

He

uses his friends to

own

personal

interests,

and

cares not
is

that they suffer loss provided


efited.

he himself

ben-

He

is

not loyal to those to w^hom he pro-

fesses

such unfaltering devotion, but speaks freely in

whispers to others of their faults, disclosing

many

a matter entrusted to him or learned by him in the


sacredness of close friendship.

If he wishes any-

thing accomplished
tion,

that involves risk of reputa-

he puts some other one forward to do the un-

pleasant work, to bear the

odium or take the sneers

MANLY

MEN.

207

and reproach, while he quietly steps in to reap the


advantage.

In business he

is

close

and hard.

He

never pays

a debt cheerfully, without protest or question.


treats

He

every creditor as

if

he were an enemy or a

conspirator and as if his bills were fraudulent or


unjust.

He

takes every advantage in a bargain.

He

higgles for the lowest

penny when he
is

is

to pay,

and the highest when he

making the

sale.

He
To

counts the fractious of cents in his


his

own

favor.

employes he pays the

while he extorts

minimum of w^ages, from them the maximum of work.


" Till
as a

He

is

suspicious of the honesty of every one, qtiot:

ing often the old aphorism of meanness

you know that a man


rogue.''

is

honest, treat
out, too,

him
in

His meanness creeps

many

very small things.

He

always pays out the most

ragged

bill

he has or the smooth or notched coin,

reserving the bright, clean notes


for himself.

and the new coins


and

He

accepts compliments, dinners

other

favors

and kindnesses, but never returns


borrows his neighbor's newspaper to

them.

He
is

save the expense of buying one for himself.


to

But

no one

he so mean as to the Lord and to his


the contribution-box
is

church.

When

passed, he

selects the

smallest bit of

money

in his

pocket to

208
give.

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
When
subscriptions are asked, he puts
that will be received,

down
if

the least

amount

and then,

possible, will in the

end evade payment altogether.


graspiuij,
self,

He
man.

is

small-souled,
lives

narrow-spirited
his selfish-

He

only for
itself,

and even

ness overreaches

for in the eves of all

man-

kind nothing

is

more despicable than meanness, and


back
poorer and

nothing brings
returns.

more beggarly

All of these are unmanly qualities.

It does not
faults, that

meet the case

to say that they are

minor

we ought

not to be hypercritical, that

we should
wrong
star

have that large charity which covers even multitudes of blemishes.


involved, there are no

When

right and

are

little things.

seems

a mere speck to our poor vision, but to God's eye


it is

a vast burning sun.

The

evils that

we deem
There
is

so minute, in Heaven's sight are infinite.

only one pattern on which we must fashion our


lives,

and
in
its

in that there

is

no

fault.

The word of

God

divine requirements makes no provision

for blemishes,

though they be the smallest.


thought will show any one that
of these things do not only

Then a
mar

little

even the most

trivial

the bcautv of the character as seen bv others,

but also destroy the influence of the person in the

3IANLY MEN.
community.
faithful

209
as un-

A
his

man who becomes known


in

to
in

promises and appointments, or as

careless

meeting his obligations,

paying his

debts and in returning what he has borrowed, soon

wins

for

himself a very

unenviable reputation.
for good.

Such a man has no power

He may

preach the gospel or exhort in meetings or teach in


the Sabbath-school, but his words avail nothing,

because his character

is

Avorm-eaten and he has lost

the confidence and resi)ect of his neighbors.


his

All

goodness

and well-meaning

go for nothing
is

while even in the smallest matters he


to

known

be untruthful

and dishonest,
to

to

evade paying

his debts, or even

be careless of his promises

and pledges.

Who

has not

known

the usefulness of

manv an
by a

otherwise

excellent

man

utterly destroyed

negligent disregard of his obligations and engage-

ments

Who

has any true


its

respect for a

mean

man

Meanness defeats

own

object

and wins
it

contempt.
is fatal

Even

as a matter of worldly policy

unwisdom.

Nothing wins
in the matter of

in the marts like

generosity.
it
is

And

manly character

a most despicable blemish.

The world

will

forget

and forgive almost anything sooner than

meanness.

One

exhibition of such a spirit in a

210
Cliristian

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
docs incalculable

harm
a

to

Ills

influence,

and habitual

meanness

in

little

while utterly

wastes his })ower for usefulness.

How

long can
true

sneaking,

evasive,

gossipy

person

have

friends or retain

the respect of those wdio

know
it

him?

We

may

call these trivial blemishes,

and

may

seem hard

that, while a

man

is

good

in the staple

of his character, he should be made to suffer for such minor faults


ha]), or

mere

mere negligence of mayaccidents of education but the


habit,

fact

stares us in the face,

and must be accepted

as inex-

orable.

Even
things as

the ethics of the world condemns

these

unmanly, and the character that

suffers itself to

be tarnished by them must pay the

penalty in diminished or utterly destroyed influence


for good.
It
is

worth our while to study closely the cha-

racter of true manliness as


])attern
in

we have

its

type and
learn
is

the

life

of our Lord.

We

soon

that while in
rich
ness,

him love blossomed out

in all that

and beautiful in human tenderness and gentleit

did

not leave him weak and strenothless.


so full of compassion, so

Never was any other man


))itiful

toward those who had wandered, so patient


toward his en-

in bearing \vrong or so forgiving

MANLY

MEN.

211

emies.

But you seek

in vain in all his life for the

faintest trace of

moral feebleness.

To him

sin in

any form was unutterably abhorrent.


in every lineament of his soul.

Truth shone

He

was the em-

bodiment of courage.

All the active virtues, as

well as the passive, were exhibited in him.

He
forces

was not merely a patient

sufferer

he

set

a-going in

the world the mightiest forces of divinity

whose

resistless
life,

momentum
have
lost

has penetrated

all

the

world's

and which even

at the distance of

nineteen centuries
or vitality.

none of their energy

He

was not a weak man swept along


to

by the strong currents of the world's passions


unavoidable destiny.

an
to

So he sometimes appears

superficial observation, but so he

was

not.

Every

step

was voluntary.

His was the sublime march


all

of a king.
tive,

He

had

power and was always

ac-

never passive even in what seem the most


life.

helpless hours of his

He

laid

down
in
his

his life

he had power

to lay it

down.

Even
up
this

dying he

was

active, voluntarily giving

life.

We

cannot study enough


life

sometimes negforce

lected phase of Christ's


itiveness of his character.

the

and pos-

Patient to endure, there

was yet power enough


it

in his. gentlest

word

to

make
His

a living influence for uncounted centuries.


'212

WEKK-DAY RELIGION.

most passive moments were marked by exhibitions


of omnipotence. be yet put
bealing.
fortli

Snbmitting to the arresting band,


liis

band

to

work a miracle of

On

bis cross

be opened heaven's gates

to a penitent soul.

Then be was
uttermost of
find in all

in every

way

the manliest of

men

large-hearted, noble-spirited, generous to the very


self-sacrifice.

No

microscopic eye can

his

life

a trace of selfishness or one

token of meanness.

Such

is

the Pattern, and a Christian

man must

be

strong as well as tender.

The The

active virtues

must

be cultivated as well as the passive.

Meekness

must not be weakness.

soft speech

must not Like

be the timid utterance of moral feebleness.

the mighty engine which can polish a needle or cut

a bar of iron, a Christian


as gentle as

man must have

a touch

an infant's and yet possess the courage

of a hero to smite evil and to do the Lord's work.

With
dureth
ter

the charity that beareth all things and enall

things he must have the force of characwill

which

make

his influence a

mighty positive
into the

power

for good.

Truth must be wrought


fibre

very grain and

of his manhood.

His word
must

must be pure

as gold.

His

lightest promises

be as sacredly kept as his most solemn engagements.

3IANLY MEN.

213

He
He

must be a large-hearted, generous man, unselabove


all suspicion

fish, noble-spirited,

of meanness.
dealings,

must be scrupulously exact

in all his

promptly returning what he has borrowed, paying


his debts the very

day they are due, never seeking

to

evade them, never forgetting them, nor postponing

payment

till

the very latest time.

He

must not be

a hard man, close, oppressive, domineering, despotic.

In a word, he must combine unflinching


unvarying promptness and punctuality

integrity,

and conscientious truthfulness with generosity and


liberality.

Such a man will grow into a marvelous power in


the community in which he lives.
lieve in his religion because

People will beit.

he lives

No

one

will sneer

when he exhorts

others to be honest,

upright and true, prompt and punctual, and faithful


to

utmost
life
is

scrupulousness

to

their

engagements.
is

His

one unflawed crystal.

He

manly

man.

Even

the enemies of religion respect him.

His simplest words are weighty.


ence
is

His whole His daily


is

influ-

for truth

and nobleness.

life is

sermon.

God

is

honored and the world

blessed

by

his living.

XXII.
BOOKS AND READING.
"

The wish

falls often

warm upon my

heart that I

may

learn

notliing here that I cannot continue in the other world

tliat

may

do nothing here but deeds that will bear

fruit in

heaven."

KiCHTER.

"TT
-*-

is

said that

it

would require hundreds of years


books in the

to read the titles alone of all the

world's libraries.

Even

of those that issue each

year from the press newly written, one person can


read but a very meagre percentage.
It
is

therefore

a physical impossibility to read

all

the books which

the art of printing has put within our reach.


if

Even

our whole time were to be devoted to reading,


could in our brief years peruse but a very small

we

portion of them.
in these

Then

it

must be considered that

busy days, when active duties press so im-

periously, the

most of us can devote but a few

hours each day at the best to reading, and very

many

find,

not hours, but minutes only, for this

214

BOOKS AND READING.


purpose.

215

There are hosts of busy people who

cannot read more than a score of books in a year.


It
is

settled, therefore, for us

all,

that

we must

be content to leave the great mass of printed books


unread.

Even

those

who

are favored with most

leisure cannot read one in a

thousand or ten thou-

sand of the books that

offer themselves.

And

those

whose hands are

full

of activities can scarcely touch

the great mountain of printed matter that looms


invitingly before them.

up

The important
ciple should

question, then,

is,

On

what prin-

we

select out of this great wilderness

of literature the books

we

shall

read?

If I can
I to

read but a dozen volumes this year,

how am

determine what
shall

volumes of the thousands they

be?
all

For

books are not alike good.


all.

There are
Then, of

books that are not worth reading at


those that are good, the

value
that

is

relative.

The
Let us
subject

simplest

wisdom

teaches

we should choose
richly.

those which will

repay us

most

look

at

some principles

relating

to

this

which are worthy of consideration.

There are books that are tainted with impurity.

Of

course

all

such are to be excluded from our


can no more afford to read a vile

catalogue.

We

2 6
1

WEEK-DA Y RELIGION.

book, however daintily and dcliratdy the vileness

may

be drajx'd, than

we can

afford to
lives.

admit an imPerliaps the

pure companion.shij) into our

most of us are not

sufficiently careful in this matter.

The country

is

flooded with publications, oftentimes


illustrated,
titles,

attractively prepared, elaborately

their

impurity concealed under harmless

but in
death.

which

lurks

the

fatal

poison

of

moral

Many

good people are beguiled into reading books

or papers of this class as a recreation.

When we
its

remember that everything we read


pression

leaves
its

im-

upon our inner

life

and makes

enduring

mark upon our


ject appears.

character, the importance of this sub-

The

geologist will take

you

to

some

old rock-formation, and will

show you, on what was


left

once the shore of an ancient sea, the traces

by the waves, the tracks of the bird that walked


along
that
in the ;iand

one day, and the


tliere.

])rint

of the leaf

fell

and lay

The

shore hardened into

rock, and the rock holds every trace through all


these
centuries.

So

it

is

in

character-buildino;.
life

Everything that we take into our

leaves

its

permanent impression.
Then, when we consider the subject from a Christian view-point,
it

becomes even more important.


spiritual culture.

Our work

here

is

We

are to

BOOKS AND READING.

217

keep most sedulous watch over our hearts that


nothing shall tarnish their purity.

We

are

to

admit into our minds nothing that may dim our


spiritual

vision or break in

any degree the conti;

nuity of our

communion with God

and

it is

well

known
a

that any corrupt thing, admitted even for


into our thoughts, not only stains our
trail

moment

mind, but leaves a memory that may draw a


of stain after
it

for ever.

It is related of a cel-

ebrated painter that he could not look upon a dis-

gusting object

when engaged
it

in his

work without

seeing the effect of

in

the productions of his

brush

and

pencil
in

afterward.

distinguished

clergyman,

speaking of the

effect

upon the

mind of reading
a bit of his
reacliiig a

certain classes of literature, gives

own

experience.

He

was beguiled into


pojjular writer

number of the works of a


to

which were not supposed

have any irreligion in

them, but he could not preach with any comfort


for six

months afterward.

If

we would keep

the

tender joy of our heart-experiences unbroken,

we

must hold the most

rigid watch over our reading,


is

conscientiously excluding not only all that

ob-

viously impure, but all


su2:2:estion

in

which lurks even a

of wronar.

Then

there are books that are free from immoral

218

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
we want
tc

taint tJKit \vc niiiHt exclude also unless

throw away our time and waste our opportunities


for

improvement.

They

are

unobjectionable

on

moral grounds, but are vapid, frivolous, empty.

There are many popular novels that have even a


sort of religious odor

which yet teach nothing, give

no upward

imjiulse, furnish
fact to

no food for thought,

add no additional

our store of knowledge,

leave no touch of beautv.

There

is

nothinp; in

them.

There

is

a great

demand
It

in these days for

this easy

kind of reading.

agrees well with

the indolent disposition of

many who want


or
toil.

noth-

ing

that

requires

close

application

vigorous
It
is

thinking or patient, earnest mental


not directly harmful.
for

It could not be indicted


influence.

bad moral quality or

It leaves no

debris of vile rubbish

behind.

It

may

be ortho-

dox, full of sentimental talk about religion and

of pious moralizing on sundry duties.

It starts

no impure suggestion.
trine or
science.

It teaches no false

doc-

wrong

principle.

It debauches no con-

It flows over our souls like soft senti-

mental music.

And
ters

yet

it

is

decidedly evil in
It imparts

its

effects

upon

mind and
to

heart.

no vigor.
life.

It minis-

none of the functions of

Then

it

BOOKS AND BEADING.


vitiates the

219

appetite, enervates the

mind and deand substantial

stroys all taste for anything solid


in literature.
tion,

It so enfeebles the powers of atten-

thought,

memory and
is

all

the

intellectual

machinery that there

no

ability left to grapple

with really important subjects.


evil

Next

to

the great
literature

produced by impure and tainted

comes the debilitating influence of the enormous


flood of trashy, worthless publications filling the

country.

If

we can

read in our brief, busy years but a

very limited number of books of any kind, should


not those few be the very best, richest, most substantial

and useful that we can


?

find in the

whole
lie

range of literature
before

If one hundred books

me and
if

I have time to read but one of

them,

am

wise will
to

not select that one

which will bring

me

the largest

amount of

in-

formation, which will start in

my mind

the grandest

thoughts, the noblest impulses, the brightest conceptions, the purest emotions, or

which

sets before

me

the truest ideals of

manly virtue and heroic

character ?

But how do most persons read


ciple

On what

prin-

do they decide what to read or what not to


Is there one in a

read ?

hundred who ever gives

220

WEEK-DA Y RELIGION.

a serious tlionght to the question or makes any


intelligent

choice

whatever?

With many
of what

it
it

is
is.

"the

last novel," utterly regardless

With
or

others

it

is

anything that

is

talked about
in

extensively

advertised.
is

We

live

time

when

the trivial

glorified

and magnified and

held up in the blaze of sensation, so as to attract


the gaze of the multitude

and

sell.

That

is

all

many books
ten for

are

made

for

to sell.

They

are writ-

money, they are

set

up

in type, stereotyped,

printed, illustrated, bound, ornamented, titled, sim-

ply for money.

There

is

no soul

in

them.

There

was no high motive, no thought

all

along their his-

tory of doing good to any one, of starting a

new

impulse, of adding to the fund of the world's joy


or comfort or knowledge.

They were wrought out


to sell,

of mercenary brains.
to sell they

They were made


So

and

must appeal

to the desire for sensation,


it

excitement, romance, or diversion.


pass that the country
less
is

comes

to

flooded with utterly worth-

publications, whilst really good and valuable


left

books are

unsold and unread.

The multitude
tales,

goes into ecstasies over ephemeral

weekly

lit-

erary papers, new, sentimental poems, magazines,

and a thousand
for a

trivial

works that please or excite

day and are then old and forgotten in the

BOOKS AND READING.


intense
est

221
is

and

thrilling plot of the story that

new-

and

latest

to-morrow, whilst books every

way
the

admirable are passed by unnoticed.

Hence, while everybody reads, few

read
all

grand masters.
the
auroral

Modern

culture

knows

about
dies

literature

that flashes

up and

out again, but knows nothing of history or true


poetry or really great
fiction.

Many

people

who

have not the courage


last

to confess ignorance of the as

novel

regard

it

no shame to be utterly
classics.

ignorant of the majestic old

In the

floods

of ephemeral literature the great books are buried

away.

It

is

pretty safe to say that not one in a

hundred now reads Milton's Paradise Lost, and


that not one in a thousand has ever read a translation

of Homer's

Iliad.

Every one goes

into

ra tures over

some sentimental song-writer of a


read even the great master-

;-,

but

how many

pieces of Shakespeare ?

The Pilgrim^ s Progress

is

only

known from being

referred to so often, while

the thousand

summer volumes on

sentimental re-

ligion are eagerly

devoured by pious people.

It

is

time for a revolution on this subject.


to

We

must gain courage


mass of books
'

remain ignorant of the great

in the annual Nile-overflow of the

finting-press.

We

must read the great mas/ers

222

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.

in ])oetry, in science, in liistory, in relii^icin, in fiction,

and we must have a system by wliich our


directed,
profited.

reading shall be rigidly controlled and


or

we

shall

spend

all

our

life

and not be
to

Aimless rambling from book


little.

book accom})lishes

We

should select conscientiously, wisely,

systematically.

Having
that bears

stricken from the catalogue everything

any immoral
and

taint
trivial,

and whatever
there

is

merely ephemeral

remains a
old,

grand residuum of truly great works, some

some new, from which we must again


ing to

select accordleisure,

our individual

taste,

occupation,

attainments and opportunities.


as

We

should read
attention,

staple

works that

require

close

thought, study and research, indulging in lighter


classes only for

mental relaxation.

The

old classic

poets should be not only read, but deeply studied.

Of
eral

history one should have at least a correct gen-

knowledge.

One cannot
set

afford to be ignorant

of the sciences in these days of discovery.

All

books that

before us grand ideals of


great.

character are in
W'ere

some sense

The

ancients

wont

to

place the

statues
their

of their distinthat
their

guished ancestors about

homes

children might, by contemplating them, be stim-

BOOKS AND READING.


iilated to

223
Great lives

emulate their noble qualities.


in

embalmed
power

printed

volumes have a wondrous


young, for "a

to kindle the hearts of the


in

good book holds, as

a vial, the purest efficacy


intellect that bred
it.'^

and extraction of the living

There are great books enough


all

to

occupy us during
if

our short and busy years


will resolutely

and

we

are wise,

we

avoid

all

but the richest and

the best.

As one

has written, "

We

need to be

reminded every day how many are the books of


inimitable glory which, with all our eagerness after
reading,

we have never taken

in

our hands.

It

will astonish

most of us to find how much of our


given to the books which leave no
often

industry

is

mark

how

we rake

in

the

litter

of the

printing-press while a crown of gold and rubies


is

oifered us in vain,"

XXIII.
PERSONAL BEAUTY.

rriHE
-*it first

desire to be beautiful
is

is

natural and right.

Holiness

beauty.

The human

form,

when

came from the Creator's hands, was perfect


It was the

in loveliness.
is

embodiment of

all

that

noble, graceful, winning, impressive

and charma perfect

ing.

We

cannot doubt that

God made

body

as the temple

and home of a perfect soul that

bore his

own

image.

He who made

all

things

beautiful certainly gave the highest loveliness to


his masterpiece.

But
form.

sin

has marred the grace of the


physical beauty
is

human
in

Perfect

not found
tlie

any

one.

There are fragments of

shattered
in

splendor found
another

one feature
artists

in one,

and another

by which we have hints of what the


The
have tried
to

orig-

inal was.
first

reproduce the

perfect beauty

by gathering from many forms

these fragments of loveliness


224

and combining them

PERSONAL BEAUTY.
all in one,

225

which they
to

call the ideal

human

beauty.

They point
can do

certain

remains of ancient Greek

sculpture as presenting, as nearly as


it,

human

skill

the restored beauty of creation.

How

far art

may have
not.
is

succeeded in achieving

its

aim we know

We
or

cannot
is

tell

whether the

Apollo Belvidere
or whether the

not a restored

Adam,

Venus de Medici
This
is

fairly represents

the beauty of Eve.


this time.

not our inquiry at


is

But we know

that all Christian life

a growth toward perfect beauty.


restore ruined nature to
is

Christ came to

its

lost loveliness.
life,

This

true not only of the spiritual

but also of

the physical form.

We

are to wear the spotless

image of our Lord in the future world.

Perhaps

we do
truth

not always realize the full meaning of this


as it
is

declared in the Scriptures.

It

is

explicitly

and positively taught that Christ will

change our vile bodies and fashion them like unto


his

own

glorified

body.

This corruptible must


this

put on incorruption, and


immortality.
as to

mortal must put on

This

is

not the place for speculations

the nature or material of the resurrection


it

body, and
plain, clear

may

only be said further that the


are that all
left

teachings of inspiration
infirmities

blemishes and
15

are

to

be

in

the

2*26

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
There
will

e^rave.

be no deformities in the

new
All

bodv.
the

There

will be

no

sin

and no

disease.

work of

sin

is

to

be undone by redemption,

and hence the body


perfectness.
life
is

will be restored to its original

Thus

the development of Christian

toward perfect beauty, and the desire to be

beautiful in form

and

feature, unless perverted, is a

proper and holy desire.

What,

then,

is

true personal beauty?

Answer-

ing the question from a Christian point of view,

we know
charms,

that

it

does not consist in mere physical


figure,

in proportion, grace,
life,

complexion,

but in the

the soul

that looks out through

these windows.
" Wliat

Not the show Of graceful limbs and features. No;


is

beauty ?

These are but flowers That have their dated hours

To

breathe their momentary sweets, tlien go.

'Tis the stainless soul within

That outshines the

fairest skin."

It

is

a well-known

and

universally-accepted

principle that the soul gives to the

body

its

form,

and that the

life

whites

its

whole history in the

features of the face.

beautiful character will

transfigure

the countenance.

You

look

into

it,

and you read refinement, purity,

delicacy,

peace,

PERSONAL BEAUTY.
love.
its

227

In

like

manner, an evil character hangs

curtains at all the windows,

and you

see at

glance selfishness, cunning,


malignity, coarseness, unrest.
ture
filled
is

lust, deceit,

falsehood,

So

all spiritual cul-

toward beauty, for as the heart becomes

with the holy graces of the Spirit they make


transforming of the

themselves manifest in the


features.

It

was

sin that shattered

the original splendor


blemishes,
disfigure-

of

the

human

form.

All

ments and deformities have been produced by violations of divine laws,

by over-indulgence of pasdiseases

sions

and

appetites,

and by

and

infirmities

resulting therefrom.

Hence

all true

searching for
it

beauty must be along the path on which


lost.

was

Those who would recover and

retain lovelito

ness of form

and

feature

must seek

have the
assim-

divine laws written upon their hearts


ilated in their lives.

^d

The observance of
ing
is

the physical laws of our be-

of vital importance.
is

These are inexorable.

There

no forgiveness for their violation.

A large
The

part of the misery and wretchedness of this world

comes from the disregard of these precepts.


beauty as well as the comfort and happiness of

men
if all

and women would be immeasurably advanced

228

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.

could be brought to obey, strictly and invariably,


the simple laws of physical
life.

Then

still

more

essential

is

the observance of
soul informs
in
its

moral and spiritual precepts.

The

own
face.

dwelling.

There

is

no beauty

the idiot's

The most
when
there

perfect features have scant loveliis

ness

a vacant mind behind

them.

Selfishness wipes out the soft

and tender
cold.

lines

and

leaves the cheeks faded

and

Cleanness de-

grades the majesty of the countenance and takes


the kingly glory from the eyes.
features.
itself

Greed

petrifies

the

Anger, nourished and cherished, writes


visage.

upon the

Impurity of soul and

life

robs the expression of the bloom of innocence and

hangs

its

telltale

marks
to

all

about the

face.

It

is

utterly vain to

hope

be beautiful with bad tem-

pers, groveling tastes or base passions ruling in the

heart.

The

face

The

greatest

may still wreathe itself with smiles. pains may still be taken to cherish and
But

retain the
it

bloom and freshness of innocence.

is

in vain.
its

discrowned soul cannot long preits

serve in

palace the splendors and glories of

days of power and majesty.


every line of
its

The

inner

life

writes

history on the features, where the


its

practiced eye can read

every word.

So, also, beauty of soul exhibits itself in the ex-

PERSONAL BEAUTY.
presslon.
tleness.

229

Ivindness wreathes the face with gen-

Holy thoughts
the form
Sincerity

refine

the countenance.

Grand purposes, noble


clothe

resolves, high aspirations,

and

features

with dignity and

power.

and truth transfigure even the

homeliest looks.

Those who would cultivate personal beauty must


look to their inner
life.

As

the dweller's taste and

refinement always manifest themselves in the adorn-

ment of

his

home, so goodness and moral beauty in

a soul will always exhibit themselves in look and

manner and

bearing.
is

Hence
the

there

no

beautifier of the person like

Holy Ghost dwelling

in a lowly heart.

The

plainest features are often

made

to shine in almost

supernatural loveliness
the

when

struck through with

warmth and

tenderness

of indwelling love.

The most

beautiful people in the world are truly

benevolent people, their hearts full of sympathy

aud kindness and

their lives devoted to labors of

love for the good of the race.

The

sweetest faces I

ever saw were those of dear old Quaker mothers.

All their
at peace.

life

through they have kept their hearts


resisted,

They have never

never defended

their rights, never struggled against circumstances.

They have

quietly submitted to the will of God,

230
and
liis

WKEK-DAY RELIGION.
calm and
lioly

peace has

filled

their souls

and ruled
ing, has

their lives.

This blessed peace, indwell-

made

their faces almost transj)arent, radiant

Avith the radiance


])icture

of heaven and lovely beyond any

on this earth.

Old age

writes no lines of

decay and leaves no marks of wasting or fading

upon them.

The

sweetness and freshness of youth


the chill winter of years, like

linger through

all

those tender plants and flowers that creep out in

springtime

from under melting snows unharmed

and fragrant.
simply reverses

An

anxious and fretful disposition

all this.

Love

is

the fulfilling of the

law

not

selfish

love, but the love that goes out in self-denial, in

sympathy,
effort

in kindness, in
sacrifice
its

continual thought and

and

for others.

Such love builds

beauty for
flower by

home, just as the chaste and delicate

its

own

nature fashions for itself a form


''

of

exquisite

shape and hue.

The

angels
is

are

beautiful because they are good,

and God

beauty

because he

is love.''

Men

and women grow lovely

even in outward feature just in the degree in which


thev become
filled

with the love of God.

Not, then, to the outside must our care be given,

but to the culture of the heart.


will transform the

beautiful soul

most repulsive

features.

On

the

PERSONAL BEAUTY.

231

other hand, a bad heart will break through natural


loveliness, spoiling its delicacy

and beauty.

When

God
in

took from a devoted mother a precious and

her only child, she, to occupy her heart and hands

some way about her vanished

treasure, filled the

first

days with touching a faithful photograph of

her child which she possessed.


skillfully,

Love wrought very

and under her brush the very features of

the sweet, coy child-life

came out

in the

picture.

The photograph was


days, and

laid carefully
it

away

for a few

when she sought

again the eyes were

dimmed and
blotches.

the face marred with strange and ugly


it

Patiently she wrought

over a second

time,
laid

and the beauty was

restored.

Again

it

was

away, and again the ugly blotches appeared.


fault

The

was

in

the paper on which the photo-

graph had been taken.


ing in
it

There were chemicals lurk-

which

affected the delicate colors.


lives.

The

anface

alogy holds in

human
we

We may adorn the


art

and features

as

will.

By

and

skill

and care

we may
fresh

try to keep the complexion fair, the skin


soft

and

and the whole countenance beautiful


within us selfish hearts, groveling

but

if there are

dispositions, uncontrolled appetites, they will

work

out through the surface- beauty, and will blotch and


spoil
it

all.

232

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
true culture of personal
it is

The
ternal
;

beauty

is

not exsun, the

licart-work.

It

is

not the

liot

high winds, or any climatic accidents, that steal

from cheeks their truest

loveliness.

I see ladies

taking the most wonderful care to keep their complexions soft anil white.

They

shield themselves

scrupulously from wind and sun and reflection.

If

we were

all

to give as

much thought and

j^ains to

keep the bloom of our heart's purity untarnished

and the warmth and sweetness of our

heart's life

unwanted, our faces would soon shine with the lustre of angelic beauty.

There are some who can never hope


ically beautiful
in

to

be physworld.

face

and form

in

this

Their visages are in some way marred.


or disease has left

Accident
the sins of

them

disfigured.

Or

past generations have visited them in the shape of

some physical deformity that dooms them


a ruined soul-house
all their

to live in
to such

days.

But even

Christ brings the possibility of the rarest beauty.

The deformed
ful

Christian will walk erect in beautior majestic

womanhood

manhood on

the shores

of immortality.
will appear in

The

face

scarred by the flames

unblemished loveliness in the new


will get back all the freshis

home.

Wrinkled age

ness of childhood.

Christ

able to take the mean-

PERSONAL BEA UTY.


est

233
it all

fragment of humanity and make


divine.

glorious

and

As

the

summer

takes the barest tree


it

from the clasp of winter, covers


of green and steeps
it

with garments

in fragrance, so the

Lord

Jesus can take the most ill-formed, the barest and

most unsightly character and clothe

it

in the gar-

ments of grace and

love.
is

A
think

piece of canvas
it

of a trifling value.

You

can buy
it

for a few pennies.


if

You would
you saw
it

scarcely

worth picking up

lying in

the street.
lines

But an
figures

artist takes it
it,

and draws a few


his

and

on

and then with

brush
is

touches in certain colors, and the canvas


for

sold

hundreds of

dollars.

So Christ takes up a
life

ruined, worthless

human
but
is

which has no beauty,


blotched and

no

attractiveness,

repulsive,

stained by sin.

Then

the fingers of his love add

touches of beauty, painting the divine image upon


it,

and

it

becomes precious, glorious, immortal.

XXIV.
TAKING CHEERFUL VIEWS.

/^NE
^^
ness
is

of the

divinest

secrets

of a happy

life

the art of extracting comfort and sweet-

from

every

circumstance.

Some one
It

has

said that the habit of looking


is

on the bright side


is

worth a thousand pounds a year.

wand

whose power exceeds that of any fabled conjurer^s


to

change

all

things into blessings.

Those who

take

cheerful

views find
is

happiness everywhere,
!

and yet how rare


prefer to
life.

the habit

The multitude
ways of

walk on the shady


writes of the

side of the

One

" luxury of woe," and

there would seem to be a meaning in the phrase,

paradoxical as

it

appears.

There are those who

take to gloom as a bat to darkness or as a vulture


to carrion.

They would

rather nurse a misery than


find the

cherish a joy.

They always
is

dark side of

everything, if there

a dark side to be found.


if

They appear

to

be conscientious grumblers, as

TAKING CHEERFUL VIEWS.


it

235

were their duty to extract some essence of misery

from every circumstance.

The weather

is

either

too cold or too hot, too wet or too dry.

They

never

find

anything

to

their

taste.

Nothing

escapes their criticism.

They

find fault with the


lie,

food on the table, with the bed in which they

with the railroad-train or steamboat on which they


travel,

with the government and

its

officials,

with
the

merchant

and w^orkman

in

a word, with

world at large and in


grumblers.
in

detail.

They

are chronic

Instead of being content in the state


are,

which they

they have learned to be disconlot.

tented,

no matter how happy their


in

If they
dis-

had been placed

Eden, they would have

covered something with which to find fault.

Their

wretched habit empties

life

of possible joy for them

and turns every cup

to gall.

On

the other hand, there are rare spirits


life.

who
at

always take cheerful views of


the bright side.

They look

They

find
is

some joy and beauty


covered with clouds,

everywhere.

If the sky

they will point out to you the splendor of some


great cloud-bank piled

up

like

mountains of glory.

When
plating

the storm rages, instead of fears and com-

plaints, they find


its

an exquisite pleasure in contem-

grandeur and majesty.

In the most

236

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
some
bit of

faulty picture tliey see

beauty which

charms

tliem.

In

tlie

most disagreeable person

they discover some kindly trait or some bud of


promise.

In the most disheartening circumstances

they find something for which to be thankful, some

gleam of cheer breaking in through the


gloom.

thick

When

a ray of sunlight streamed through

crack in the shutter and

made a bright patch on


little

the floor in the darkened room, the

dog rose

from

his

dark corner and went and lay down in


;

the one sunny spot

and

these people live in the

same philosophical way.

If there be one beam of


lot,

cheer or hope anywhere in their


it.

they will find

They have a genius


happy

for

happiness.

They They
as

always make the best out of circumstances.


are
as
travelers.

They

are

contented
fails.

boarders.

Their good nature never

They

take a cheerful view of every perplexity.


in sorrow their faces are illumined,

Even

and songs come


Such persons

from the chambers where they weep. have a wondrous ministry


are like apple trees
in

this world.

They

when covered with


about them.

blossoms,

pouring sweetness
It

all

may

be worth while to linger a

little

on the
results.

philosophy of living which produces such

TAKING CHEERFUL VIEWS.


Some

237

people are born with sunny dispositions, with

large hopefulness

and joyfulness, and with eyes


life.

for

the bright side of

Others are naturally dis-

posed to gloom.

Physical causes have, no doubt,


lives.

much

to

do with the discontent of many


is

Dyspepsia or a disordered liver

responsible for

much bad
and
yet,

temper,

low
is

spirits

and melancholy;
tem-

while there

this predisposition in

perament on the one hand toward hopefulness, and

on the other toward depression and gloom,


still

it

is

largely a matter

of

culture

and

habit,

for

which we are individually responsible.


persons
cheerful
certainly

Young
to

can
life

train

themselves
to

take

views of

and

extract

enjoyment

from any circumstances.


This
is

clearly a

most important part of Chrisis

tian culture.

Joyfulness

everywhere commended
is

as a Christian duty.

Discontent
is

a most detest-

able fault.

Morbidness

a sin.

Fretfulness grieves

God.
peace.
acter.

It tells of unbelief.

It destroys the soul's

It disfigures the beauty of Christian char-

It not only

makes us soured and unhappy


but
its

in our

own

hearts,

influence

on others

is

bad.

We

have no right to project the gloom of


life.

our discontent over any other


to

Our
is

ministry

is

be ever toward joy.

There

nothing so de-

238
pressing in

WEEK-DA Y RELIGION.
its

cfTbct

upon others

as morbidness.
live

Plence, for the sake of those

among whom we

and upon whose


either

lives

we

are for ever unconsciously

casting

shadows or pouring sunshine, we

should seek to learn this Christian art of contentment.

"What are some of the elements of


philosophy of living?

this divine

One

is

patient submission to

ills

and hardships
perfect.

which are unavoidable.

No

lot is

No
is

mortal ever yet found a set of circumstances without some unpleasant feature.

Sometimes

it

in

our power to modify the discomforts.


is

Our
of

trouble

often of our
little
it.

own making.
are fools if

Much
live

it

needs

only a

energetic activity on our part to re-

move

We

we

on amid

ills

and hardships which a reasonable industry would


change
to comforts, or

even pleasures.
burdens which
or

But

if there are inevitable ills or

we cannot by any energy of our own remove


lighten, they

must be submitted

to without

mur-

muring.

We

have a saying that "

What
is

cannot be

cured must be endured."


tells

But the very phrasing


There
submission

of an unyielding heart.

to the inevitable,

but no reconciliation.

True con-

tentment does not chafe under disappointments and

TAKING CHEERFUL VIEWS.


losses,

239
to

but accepts them, becomes

reconciled

them, and at once looks about to find something

good

in them.

This

is

the secret of
it,

happy

living.
it

And when we come


is

to think of

how

senseless

to struggle against the inevitable!

Discontent

helps nothing.

It

never removes a hardship or


lighter or brings back a vanfeels

makes a burden any


ished pleasure.
plaining.

One never

better for

combird

It only

makes him wretched.


its fate, flies

One

in a cage struggles against

against the

wire walls, and beats upon them in


till its

eiforts to

be free

breast

and wings are

all

bruised and bleedrestraint,

ing.

Another bird shut in accepts the


its

perches itself upon

bar and sings.

Surely the

canary

is

wiser than the starling.


get far along toward content-

Then we would
ment
if

we

ceased to waste

time dreaming over

imattainable earthly good.

Only a few people can

be great or rich
ordinary

the mass must always remain in

circumstances.
;

Suppose

all

our forty

millions were millionaires

who
?

could be found to do

the

work

that

must be done

Or

suppose

all

were
one

great poets.

Imagine forty million people


!

in

country writing poetry

Who

would write the

prose?

little

serious reflection will

show that

the world needs only a very few great

and conspic-

240
nous
lives,

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
while
it

needs millions for

its

varied in-

dustries, its plain duties, its

hard

toil.

And

yet a

large

amount of our discontent

arises

from our envy

of those

who have what we have

not.

There are

many who
possesses.

lose all the comfort of their

own

lives

in coveting the better things that

some other one

There are several considerations that ought

to

modify

this miserable feeling

which brings so much


the secret history of

bitterness.

If

we could know
for
its

the

life

that

we envy

splendor and prosperity,


for
it

perhaps
life

we would not exchange


its

our lowlier
it

with

homely circumstances.
is

Certain

is

that contentment

not so apt to dwell in palaces or

on thrones as in the homes of the humble.


tall

The

peaks

rise nearer the skies,


fiercely.

but the winds smite

them more

Then why should


earth because
it

I hide
?

my

one

talent in the

is

not ten

\Yhy should

make

ray

life

a failure in the place allotted to me, while


unattainable things?

sit

down and dream over


should I miss

Why

my
I

one

golden opportunity,

however small, while

envv some other one what


Countless people
vainly
trying to

seems his greater opportunity?

make themselves wretched by

grasp far-away joys, while they leave

untouched

TAKING CHEERFUL VIEWS.


and despised the numberless
bits
little

241

joys and bright

of happiness which

lie

close to their hand.

As one

has written,

^^

Stretching out his hand to

catch the stars,

man

forgets the flowers at his feet,

so beautiful, so fragrant, so multitudinous

and so

various."

The

secret of happiness lies in extract-

ing'pleasure from the things


ter

wq

have, while

we en-

no mad, vain chase after impossible

fancies.

Another way
of
life
is

to train ourselves to cheerful views

resolutely to refuse to be frightened at


is

shadows, or even to see trouble where there

none.

Half or more of the things


have

that most worry us

no existence save in
things that in
the

a disordered

fancy.

Many

dim

distance look like


to

shapes of peril, w^hen

we draw near

them melt

into harmless shadows, or even change into forms of


friendliness.

Much

of the gloomy tinge that


is

many
of
be-

people see on everything

caused by the

c.olor
sit

the glasses through which they look.

We

hind our blue-glass windows, and then wonder what

makes everything
discontent
is

blue.

The

greater part of our

caused

by some imaginary trouble


AYe can do much
to-

which never really comes.

ward curing ourselves of


refusing to be fooled

fretting

and worrying by

by a foreboding imagination.

Then we need
16

to learn ever to

make

the best of

242
things.

wp:ek-1)AY religion.
There
will

always be cloudy days.

No

one can live without meeting discomforts, disapj)ointments and hard.shij)s.


try of ours can eliminate

No

wisdom, no indusall

from our experience

that

is

disagreeable or painful.

But

shall

we allow
to

the one discordant note in the grand

symphony

mar

for us all the noble

music?

Shall

we

pei'mit

the one discomfort in our


all
its

home

to cast a cloud over


its

pleasures and embitter all

joys?
is

Shall
really

we not

seek for the bright side?

There

sunshine enough in the darkest day to


ordinary mortal happy
is

make any
it.

if

he has eyes to see

It

marvelous what a

trifling

thing will give joy to a


in the

truly grateful heart.

Mungo Park
It saved

bleak

desert found the greatest delight in a single tuft of

moss

srrowinof in the sand.

him from de-

spair and from death and filled his soul with joy

and hope.

There
its

is

no

lot in life so
little

dreary that

it

has not at least

one

patch of beauty or

its

one wee flower looking up out of the dreariness,


like a smile of

God.
eve can see no brio;htness in

Even

if the natural

the cloud, the faith of the Christian


there
is

knows

that

sood in evervthins: for the child of God.

There are reasons, no doubt, why no perfect happiness can be found in this world.

If there were

TAKING CHEEBFVL VIEWS.


no thorns in our pillow here, should we care

243
to pil-

low our heads on the bosom of divine love ?

Our

Father makes the nest rough to drive us to seek


the warmer, softer nest prepared for us in his
love.

own

To
of

each one

who

is

truly in Christ
is

and who

really loves

God

there
is

a promise of good out

all things.

There

a wondrous alchemy in the

divine providence that out of the commingling of


life's

strange elements
faith's vision sees

always produces blessing.

Thus

good

in

all
ill

things,
in

how-

ever dark

they

may

appear, and
faith in

nothing.

"We need but living

God

to enable us to

take a cheerful view of any experience.

There

is

another purely Christian element in the

culture of contentment which must not be over-

looked.

The more
its

the heart becomes engaged with

God and
less
is
it

affections

enchained about him, the


little

disturbed by the

roughnesses and
fret

hardships of earth.

Things that

childhood

have no power

to

break the peace of manhood.

As we grow
rise

into higher spiritual


filled

manhood and

become more and more

with Christ we shall

above the power of earth's discontents.

We
amid
life

shall be

happy even amid

trials

and

losses,

discomforts and disappointments, because our

244
is

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
God and we have meat
ourselves
habits
to eat

hid with Christ in

of which the world knows not.

Thus

w^e

may

train

away from
and

all

gloomy and

despondent

experiences
lesson,

toward cheerfulness and hope.

The

well

learned, wall repay the sorest discipline.

It will

bring some

new

pleasure into every

moment.
desert.

It
It

will paint beauty for us will plant flowers for


ruo:2:ed road.

on the dreariest

us along every steep and

It will brino^ music for us out of


It will It will

every sighing wind and wailing storm.


fill

the

darkest night with starbeams.

make

us sunny-hearted

Christians, pleasing

God

and blessing the world.

XXV.

SOMETHING ABOUT AMUSEMENTS.


"

Why

should we think youth's draught of joy,


should the cup the sooner cloy
to bless?"

If pure, would sparkle less?

Why

Which God hath deigned

NY man
life.

is

a cynic

who condemns

all

amuse-

raent as evil and inconsistent with the truest

Christian

Such teaching might have been

accepted in the days of ascetic sternness and rigor,

when

piety

meant contempt
life,

for all the joys

and

pleasures of
salvation

when

devotees thought to merit


their flesh,

by macerating

by breaking

the chords of natural

affection

and by spurning

every happy experience as sinful.

Then

holiness

was

moroseness,

self-inflicted

pain was a sweet

savor to God, and pleasure was guilt.


also been phases of
in

There have
in later days

undoubted piety

which similar abnormal developments of Chrishave appeared either as the result of devostern doctrine or produced

tian life

tion to

some

by the sore
245

246
stress

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
and
strain of existence
life

under which gladness


colorless iu

died
its

away and

became hard and

very intensity.

In many
of

lives misconceptions of the true ideal

Christian

character

have tended

to

illiberal

views regarding pleasure.

The

loyal

and earnest

Christian seeks ever to imitate Christ.


ceptions of his character and
selves, therefore, in
life

Our

con-

reproduce them-

our ethics and living.

som-

bre Christ makes a sombre religion.

A joyous

and

joy-approving Christ produces a sunny religion.


It has been
said

from time immemorial that

Jesus never smiled.

The

prevalent conception of
in deep sorrow,

him has been of a man clothed


grief-laden, tearful,

on whose

face

no ripple of

gladness ever played.

Wherever

this conception
all

has prevailed

it

has colored the lives of

who
has

sought closely to follow Christ.


often been a

The

result

gloomy

religious spirit

which sought
irrev-

to repress its natural joy.

Mirth has seemed

erent and all amusements have been regarded as

incompatible wdth sincere piety.

But
and

as

men have

read more deeply into the heart

spirit

of the gospel this view of Christ has


superficial.

been found to be

Amid

all his sor-

rows, under all the deep shadows that

hung over

SOMETHING ABOUT AMUSEMENTS.


his
life,

247
Exte-

Christ carried ever a heart of joy.

riorly his life

was hard and

full

of

grief,

but the
did not
like

hardness did not crush his


carry his griefs in his face.

spirit.

He

His heart was

one of those fresh-water springs that burst up in


the sea, ever sweet under
all

the salt

bitterness.

Wherever he moved

there were joy and gladness.


fell

Not one misanthropic word ever

from

his lips.

He

did not frown upon the children's plays, upon

the marriage festivities, or upon the sweet pleasures of home.

benign joyfulness plays over


life.

nearly every chapter of his blessed

The

true

conception of Christ's
serious
life,

character

is

of a deeply

man,

earnest, thoughtful, living an intense

but never sombre, gloomy or cynical, the deep

earnestness of his character struck through with a


quiet joy and the calm, steady light of a holy peace.

Wherever
lovely color,
those

this conception
its

prevails

it

gives

its

sunny brightness,

to the lives of

who

love and worship Christ.

It

unbinds

the iron fetters of ascetic piety.

It does not

make
It re-

men

boisterous.

It tames
It

wild nature.

presses excessive levity.


serious, charging
it

makes

life

earnest

and

with a deep consciousness of


it

responsibility.

But

does not restrain the inno-

cent play of nature.

It does not put out the light

248
of joy.

WI'JJ'JK-DAY
Tliore

RELIGION.
holi-

is

no inconsistency between
It
is
is

ness and laughter.


a

no

sin to smile.

Indeed,

sombre religion

unnatural.

Gloom

is

morbid-

ness.

Our

lives

should
in

be sunny and songful.


the

The type of

religion

New

Testament
is

is

joyous even amid sorrows.

There

not a tinge

of ascetic severity or misanthropic hardness in one


of the saints whose pictures are preserved.

We
in the

hear sono^s
is

in

the nidit.

There

is

a flower that
set,

most fragrant when the sun has


its

and

darkness pours

richest

aroma on the

air.

So

true religion grows in sweetness as shadows deepen.

He
the

misrepresents Christianity and the likeness of

Master whose piety


or

is

cold, rigid, colorless,

joyless,

who frowns upon innocent

gladness

and pure

pleasure.
not, therefore, con-

True Christlike piety does

demn

all

air.usements.

It does not look with discall

approval upon the sports of the children or


youth's glad-hearted ness sinful.

There are proper

amusements

in

which the

truest Christian

may

in-

dulge without grieving Christ, ev^en enjoying his


gracious benediction and conscious of his presence.
It
is

not

my

intention to designate specifically

what
do

amusements are proper

for a Christian, or to

more than

lay

down

certain

general

j^i'i^^ciples

S03IETHING ABOUT AMUSEMENTS.


relating to the subject.
tures do, leaving

249

This

is all

that the Scrip-

the

responsibility

of discrim-

ination

upon the individual


necessity for

conscience.

The

amusement and

recreation is

written in our nature.

No man
after

or

woman

can enlife,

dure the incessant strain of hard and intense

day

after

day,

month

month, without some

relaxation.

God

ordained sleep, the Sabbath and

home

as

quiet resting-places iu which


toil

we may

pause and build up what

and care and struggle

have torn down.

And we

need, not rest only, but


little

pleasure also, to unbind for a

the stiff harness

of duty, to relax the strain of responsibility and to


lubricate the joints of
life.

All Avork and no play

makes older

people, as well as Jack, dull.

One
sees

that

reads Luther's private and

home

life,

and

how

he could laugh and how he played with his children


learns

even

when carrying the

greatest

burdens,

where he found much of the inspiration for


and stern and herculean
tasks.

his gigantic toils

It

is

necessary for all earnest and busy people to

have seasons of relaxation and diversion.

But
its

to

what extent may we indulge?


and
lect.

Life has

duties

responsibilities,

and these we must never neggive

If we must

account for every

idle*

word we speak, must we not

also for every idle

250
moment, and

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
for every

moment wasted
at liberty to

in pleasure?

How
it is

far,

then, are

we

spend time in

amusement or

relaxation ?

Clearly, only so far as


fit

needed to give us required rest and to


It
is

us

for the most efficient work.

right to sleep
is

but when we give more time to sleep than

neces-

sary to restore tired Nature, to " knit up the raveled


sleeve of care,"

and

to

fit

us for duty,

we

become squanderers of precious time.


principle

The same
Life

must be applied

to

time spent in any kind


is

of relaxing pleasure however innocent.


play.

not

It

is

very serious.

It has

its

responsibilities
fill

and

duties,

which press at every point and

every

day and hour.


ing
life

He who

would succeed

in the excit-

of to-day cannot afford to lose a moment.


to count.

Every hour must be made


would
fill

And

he

who

up the measure of
to

responsibility implied

in consecration

God must redeem

the

time.

Amusements

are

lawful, therefore, only so far as


life's

they are necessary to reinvigorate


ergies, or to

wasted en-

put fresh buoyancy and

elasticity into

powers wearied or worn by the strain of physical


or mental
toil.
is

Amusement
not
life's

not an end, but a means.

It
is

is

object,

but a help on the way.

It

not

the goal, but the cool bower or the bubbling spring

SOMETHING ABOUT AMUSEMENTS,


on the
vital,
stiff,

251
is

steep mountain-side.

This distinction

and must not be overlooked by those who


live as to please

would so
Then,

God.

as to the

kind of amusements in which we

may

lawfully engage, there are several equally clear


to
is

principles

be observed.

At
is

the very outset,

whatever
nation on
in sin.

in itself sinful carries its

own condem-

its face.

Christian

never to indulge

No

necessity of relaxation can ever give

license to

anything that contravenes the pure morals

of the gospel.

Christian

is

never off duty,

is

never an}i:hing but a Christian.


of circumstances can
lating the principles

No

combination

make him

blameless in vio-

and precepts of Christianity.


Tuesday or Thursday

These are just

as binding on

evening as on the Sabbath.


as books, speech, business

Amusements,
all

as well

and

conduct, must be

brought

to the

bar of the highest Christian morality.

Religion and

common

life

are not

two

different

and
in

distinct things.

We

may

not cut our existence

two parts and

say, "

Over

this Christ shall rule,

but over that he shall have no control.'^


ligion

True

re-

knows no

difference

between Sabbath and


life

Monday,

so far as the ethics of


its

are concerned.

Each day brings

own

specific duties,

but there

are not moral precepts for the one

which are sus-

252
pended wlien

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
its

sun

sets that for six

days a mitis

igated or less holy law

may

prevail.

Holiness

to

be the Christian's dress


every hour's conduct.

all

the

week

throii<rh

in

All pleasures and amuse-

ments must be tested by the unvarying rule of right.

The standard of
It
is

perfect purity cannot be lowered.

the fashion to laugh at criticisms

upon

art

and

certain forms of

amusement, made on moral


there
is

grounds.

But

for

a Christian
tested

nothing

which must not be


purity.
eties

by the severest rules of


all

All immodest exhibitions,

impropri-

of attitude which would in ordinary associa-

tions be

condemned,

all

forms of pleasure in which

lurks even the suggestion of impurity, must


this principle be excluded

by

from the

class of

amuse-

ments proper for one who would closely follow


Christ.

A
is

further test which seems just

and reasonable

a reference to the spirit of Christ's


is

own

life.

This

to be the Christian's
life is

guidance in

all things.

His earthly

the copy set for us.

It

is

a safe
to as-

and true thing


certain our

to test every separate act in

and

duty

every uncertain
if

moment by
will

asking what Christ would do


place.

he were in our

All

life is

following him.
follow.

Where he

not lead us

we cannot

As we have

seen,

he

SOMETHING ABOUT AMUSEMENTS.

253

does not frown upon pure and innocent pleasures.

He

went himself, when he was on the

earth, to

places of enjoyment and festivity.

He

attended

a marriage-feast and contributed to the gladness of


the guests.

He accepted invitations
And

to family feasts.
all the story

There
of his

is

not a trace of asceticism in

life.

he would do the same

if

he were

here now.

Pleasures that are pure, innocent and

helpful, or that contribute to the joy*and


others, he
if

good of

would

enjoy.

And what

he would do

he were in our place, we, as his followers,

do.

But

there are

amusements in

may which we may

be sure he would not indulge.


instinct will readily discriminate

tender spiritual

between those in

which he would and those in which he would not


engage.

This seems a reasonable and legitimate

test for us, his followers.

Then

there

is

another

test.

The one
The

great busaspiration

iness of life is character-building.

of every earnest Christian


holiness
all life.

is

to

grow every day


is

in

and

spirituality.

This motive

to rule

Our

business, our associations, our friend-

ships, are to be chosen with reference to this


object.

one

Anything
or

that tarnishes the lustre of our

spirituality,

hinders

the

development of our

Christian graces, or breaks the inner peace of our

254

WEEK-DA Y RELIOION.
communion with God,

hearts, or interferes with our


is

harmful and must be excluded from among the


lives.

circumstances of our
Tlie question as to

what amusements are proper


must answer
for

or

what improper

for us, each one

himself.

Questions continually asked of pastors


as these

and recognized Christian guides are such

"Is

it

right for a Christian to dance?

Or may
play

he attend th theatre or opera or


cards?"
is

circus, or

The

true

way

to

answer such questions

by an honest appeal

to experience.

What

is

the influence of such amusements on our spiritual


life

and enjoyment?

Is prayer as sweet, as wel-

come, as helpful, afterw^ard?

Do we

return to

it

from the hours passed

in such pleasures with the


desire, as before ?

same eagerness, the same


find our

Do we
s:low

communion with God

as sweet, as restful,

as conscious?

Do we
we
felt

retain the

warmth and

of heart that

before?

Or do our amusethey unfit us for de-

ments mar our peace and interrupt our enjoyment


of the divine presence ?
votion, and
distracted

Do

do we find our hearts made cold and


?

by them

Do

they chill our ardor in


times in our
Is
it

Christian

work?

At what
best,

life

do

we

care most for such pleasures ?


is

when our
most
fer-

religious life

at

its

when

love

is

SOMETHING ABOUT AMUSEMENTS.


vent and zeal
Christian,
in

255

most earnest?
the

Does the young


his
first

warmth and glow of

love, care for these things?

Do

they, in our ex-

perience,

promote our

spirituality

and

fit

us for

hicrher usefulness?

This
stances

is

the experimental us are

test.

All the circuminfluences,

about
is is

educating
to
piety,

and

whatever
character,

injurious

whatever lowers

not proper or right as a means of

enjoyment.

True and
in

rational

amusements are a great

force

educating and building character.


is

All pure
touch of

joy

helpful.

All pure art leaves

its

beauty.

Pure music sings

itself into

our hearts,
ever a

and becomes thenceforward and


element of power in our
life
life.

for

new

Laughter makes

sunnier.
off

It sweeps the clouds

from the sky,


out

shakes

many

a care,

smooths
a
tear.

many

wrinkle and dries


sweetens

many

Pure pleasure

many

a bitter heart-fountain, drives

away

many
ened

gloomy thought and many a hobgoblin

shape of imagined terror, and saves


spirit

many

a dark-

from despair.

"

m.erry heart doeth

good
ed

like a medicine."

Not

the least highly-gift-

men

are those to

whom God

has imparted the


others laugh.

talent of

humor

that they

may make

25G
Sanctified

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
wit
lias

a blessed mission.

Life

is

so

hard, so stern, with so


gles, that there is

many burdens and


all

strug-

need for

the bright words

we

can speak.
are those
their

The most wretched

people in the world

who go about
in
-

in sackcloth, carrying all

griefs

their

faces

and

casting

shadows

everywhere.

Every Christian should be a hap-

piness-maker.

We

need a thousand times more


get.

joy in our lives than most of us

We

w^ould

be better

men and w^omen

if

we were

happier.

Like "the man who hath no music

in his soul,"

he who has no sense of gladness and gives forth no


pleasure
is

"

fit

for treason, stratagems

and

spoils,"

and

is

not worthv to be trusted.


need, most of us, to plan

We
them,

more

pleasures,

especially

more home
worried

pleasures.

Busy men need


glad-

w'eary,

women need them,

hearted children

need them.

There are amuse-

ments and relaxations which do not tarnish the


soul's

purity or

chill

the

ardor of devotion

or

break our fellowship with heaven, but which refine, exalt, purify,

enlarge and enrich

life.

Much harm

has been done in the past by the

indiscriminate condemnation of amusements, while

nothing has been provided to take the place of


those which are harmful.

The

absolute necessity

SOMETHING ABOUT A3IUSEMENTS.

257

of relaxation of some kind must be kept in mind.

God
men

has
will

made us
have
;

needins;

mirth.

Amusement

and

in this, as in all other reforms,


is

the truest and wisest method

not to condemn

and cut

off,

leaving nothing, but to provide true

pleasures and substitute them,

and

let

these

win

hearts
It
to

from the impure and the hurtful.


is

was a maxim of Napoleon's, " To replace

conquer.^'

Let Christian parents and Chris-

tian people in a

community provide

healthful and

profitable entertainments for the young,

and these

will gradually

and insensibly uproot and replace


There
as

those which are pernicious and injurious.


is

no other true and

effective

way.

This

is

much

the duty of Christian leaders as to preach sermons

and

conduct

Sabbath-schools.

Otherwise, while
hel])

c:ie day's religious services

bring

and purity
six
all

to the

lives of the people

and the children, more than undo

days' worldly pleasures will

the good.
institute in

Let Christian men and women quietly


every community such means of en-

joyment

as shall

combine pleasure and

profit,

and

thus the harmful shall be replaced.


17

XXVI.
ON THE CHOICE OF FRIENDS.

Tj^EW
friends.

objects are of such as

vital

importance to

young people
Tourists

the character of their early

among

the

Alps

climb

the

mountains tied
help each

togetlier

with ropes that they


falls

may
and

other.

But sometimes one

drags the others


to

down with him.

So the friends

whom

the

young

attach themselves will either

help them upward to fairer beauty and sublimer


excellence or drag
acter,

them down

to

blemished char-

and mayhap

to sullied purity.

friend should be one It


is

whom we

can trust per-

fectly.

the truest test of friendship that you

can utter the most inviolable confidences, living as


it

were a transparent

life

in the presence of

your

friend without dreading for a

moment

that he will

betray or misuse the privacies you have unveiled


to

him.

Such confidence

is

impossible without

a background of integrity and sterling character.


258

ON THE CHOICE OF FRIENDS.

259

If you have the least doubt of a man's truth and


honor, if you believe
loyal even in thought,

him capable of being


you cannot take him

dis-

into

the

sacred

relation of friendship.

The

familiar

story of Alexander

and

his physician

well illus-

trates the trust that friendship

should be able to
tell-

give.

The king was

sick,

and received a note

ing him that his physician intended to give him


poison under the guise of medicine.
note and put
it

He

read the

under his pillow, and when the

physician came in he took the proffered cup, and,

looking him calmly in the face, drank the draught.

He

then

drew out the note and gave


It
is

it

to

his

friend.

impossible to conceive of any trust

more

perfect

than

this.

Such confidence could

never be exercised in one of whose integrity we


could have the faintest suspicion.
tial

The

first

essen-

qualification in a friend

is,

therefore, a soul

of unblemished truth.

Then
of us

a friend must be one

who

will not

weary

when he

discovers the faults and imperfecus.

tions that are in

We

meet people

in society,

and they

see us in the

glow of distance which lends

enchantment, concealing our unlovely qualities or


spreading over them a deceptive coloring.
faces

Some

which look very

attractive

when

veiled dis-

260

WEEKDAY
when

RELIGION.
seen uncovered.

close man}; blemishes

There
traits

are few characters that

do not reveal uncomely

on intimate acquaintance that were not apparent


the ordinary intercourse of social
life.

in

We

walk

before our closest friends in a sort of moral deshabilley

and they oftentimes

see

much

silliness,

pride

and vanity under the thin veneer of our


manners.

society

Even

in the very best of us

there are

unlovely features which close intimacy discloses.

In choosing friends we want those who will not be


driven

away when they


must take us

learn

our
all

faults.

True

friendship
eries.

must be proof against

such discov-

It

for better or for worse.

\ye do not want friends in whose presence we must

wear a mask of

reserve, but those

who, seeing and


of the

knowing us

as

we

are, shall love us in spite

blemishes, seeking wisely, though

not officiously

or offensively, the removal of our faults and the


elevation

of our character.
is

Nothing but great-

heartedness

sufficient for this essential want.

Then we should choose


ful to us.

friends

who

will be help-

Every friendship

leaves

its

impression

upon

us.

There are touches that

blight,

and there

are touches that are benedictions.

voun<]^

and

innocent heart

is

so delicate in its beauty that a


it

breath of evil leaves

sullied.

We

cannot afford

ON THE CHOICE OF FRIENDS.


to take into our
life,

26

even for a

little

time, an im-

pure companionship.

It will leave a

memory

thai

will give pain even in the holiest after years.

There

is

embraced in the thought of friendship

the element of mutual helpfulness.

There grows

up between two

friends a sort of holy

communism.
it

What

one has the other must share, whether

be

sorrow or joy.

Whatever experience
is

is

passing

over the chords of one heart


the other.

echoed also from

When
it.

there

is

a cup of gladness, two


there
is

hearts drink of

When
it.

a burden, there

are two shoulders under


limit in giving.
Its joy
is

Friendship knows no
not in receiving, but in

is

imparting.

It

not, therefore, exacting in its de-

mands

or quick to

complain of seeming neglect.

We want unselfish friends who shall care for us for our own sake. We want those who will never tire of bearing our burdens. We may have sorrow and adversity. We may become a great care in the future,

unable to give anything in return save grateful

love.
self

He who
many
It

becomes our friend takes u23on himsacrifice

possibilities of

and unselfish

service.

may

cost

him much.

He

must be one

who

will not

grow weary of

these burdens should


to share

they be imposed.
infirmities

He
tire

must be ready
of helping
us.

our

and not

2G2

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
this.

There are friendships that do


tlieni all is

Holiest of

the parent's.

have seen a child grow-

ing up deformed or blind or deaf, or

mayhap weakcare,

minded, so as to be always a burden and a


never a pride or a joy.

And

yet through
it

the

years the parental hearts clung to

with

most

tender affection, never wearying of the burden, ministering with almost divine patience
all

and gentleness

the while.

Then

have seen invalids who

could never be anything but invalids, to be toiled


for

and

to

be watched over year after year, to be

carried from

room

to

room and up and down

stairs

like helpless infants.

There was not a shadow of


toil

a hope that they could ever repay the

they cost,

or even lighten the burden they exacted from those

who

loved them.
ties

Even
seen

outside

of

home and
that

family
faltered

I have

friendships

never

under burdens that were heavy and could


less.

never grow

We

know

not what

may

befall

us in the undisclosed years, and

we want

friends

who
come.

will never tire of us should

even the worst

We

want friends

in prosperity

and wealth
if

who

will cleave to us

even more loyally


strip

misfor-

tune and poverty should


friends are rare.
to such tests.

us

bare.
is

Such
equal

Only purest

unselfishness

ON THE CHOICE OF FRIENDS.


Then, in choosing
only with
death.
friends,

263
those

we should take

whom we
should

can hope to walk beyond

Why
should

we form

close

and tender
?

attachments here to be severed for ever at death

Why

we be unequally yoked with unbereaches


its

lievers?

Friendship
it

highest, truest

meaning only when


every point

knits two lives together at

not

in the lower nature alone, but in

the higher as well, and with reference to the eternal


future.
therefore,

We

should seek for our close friends,


those

only

who

are

God's
in

children.

Then

the

web which we weave

our love-years

shall never be rent or torn.

Having chosen a few such


never
let

friends,
lives if

we should
we can by
is

them go out of our

any

possibility retain them.

Friendship

too rare

and sacred a treasure

lightly to be

thrown away.

And

yet

many
Some

people are not careful to retain their


lose

friends.

them through
little

inattention, fail-

ing to maintain those

amenities, courtesies

and

kindnesses which cost so


steel to

little,

and yet are hooks of

grapple and hold our friends.

Some drop

old friends for


at

new

ones.

Some

take offence easily

imagined slights or neglects, and ruthlessly cut


ties.

the most sacred


little

Some become impatient of


truest
friendshij)s.

faults,

and discard even

264

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
arc inca])al)le of

Some

any dcop or permanent

af-

fection,

and

fly

from friendship
to

to fricndsliip like

restless birds

from bough

bough, making a nest


beautiful friendships

for their hearts in none.

Then

are often destroyed, not


rel,

by any sharp, sudden quar-

but by slowly and imperceptibly drifting apart


is

until there

a great chasm between two lives that

once were woven sacredly together.

There are a great many ways of losing

friends.

But when we have once taken


grasp of our hearts,
rarest jewels.

true souls into the

we should
is

cherish

them

as

There

no wealth in the world like

a noble friendship, and nothing should induce us to


sacrifice

such a treasure.

If slights are given,

let

them be overlooked.
let

If misunderstandings
set right.

arise,

them quickly be
temper or cold
for

Let not pride or


disdainfully toss
It
is

fiery

selfishness

away a friendship

any

trivial cause.

not

hard to lose a friend, but the


arable.

loss is utterly irrep-

Let

it

never be overlooked that


to

we

as friends

must stand ready

be and

to

do

all that

we expect
a high

our friends to be and to do.

If we

set

standard for them, that standard must be ours also.


It will not do to give pebbles and ask diamonds in
return.

XXVII.
THE ETHICS OF HOME-DECORATION.
"Each man's chimney
Is the central point
is

his golden milestone,

from which he measures

Every distance
Tlirough the gateways of the world around him;

he sees it, Hears the talking flame, the answering night-wind, As he heard them
farthest
still

In his

wanderings

When

he

sat with those

who

were, but are not."

Longfellow.
r 1

1HIS -^ on

is

not aD

essay on

household
relate

taste

or
the

the

art principles

which
is

to

adornment of homes, but there


to
this subject

an

ethical

side

on which I have a suggestion or

two
It

to offer.
is trite

to say that

every

home

influence

works

itself into the heart

of childhood, and then works

itself

out again in the subsequent development of

the character.

None of

us

know how much


lives.

our

homes have

to

do with our

When
its

one's

childhood home has been true and tender

mem-

265

266
ories can

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
never be effaced.
Its voices of love

and

prayer and song come back like angels'


like
sea,

wliisjiers,

melodies from some far-away island in the

when the

lips

that

first

breathed them have

long been silent in the grave.


get

No
life.

one can ever

away from the


or bad,
it

influence of his early home.

Good

clings through

the real schools and universities in

Homes are which men and


The
poet's

women
song

are trained, and fathers and mothers are


life.

the real teachers and makers of


is

but the sweetness of a mother's love flow-

ing out in rhythmic measure through her child's


life.

The

lovely things

men

build in their days

of strength are but the reproductions of the lovely


thoughts that were whispered in their hearts in the

days of tender youth.

The

artist's picture is

but

a touch of a mother's beauty wrought out on the


canvas.
the

grand manhood or womanhood

is

only
life

home

teachings

and prayers woven into

and form.
It
is

proven that even the natural scenery in


is

which a child
tone and hue of

reared has

much

to

do with the

its

future character.

Those who are

cradled among; the 2;rand mountains or bv the shore

of the majestic sea carry into their mature years


the mystic influence of those scenes
;

and there

is

THE ETHICS OF HOME-DECORATION.


no feature of a home
itself or

267

of

its

scenery and

surroundings that does not print


sensitive

itself

on infancy's

heart

like

the

images on the photog-

rapher's prepared plate, to be brought out again


in the future character.

This truth
educating

is

not properly appreciated.

The

eflPect

of

home-decoration has not reit

ceived that attention which

deserves, nor has

its

moral value come into general and thoughtful consideration.

The

subject has been discussed

from

the view-point of art, but not from that of character


culture.

Much

has been said and written

of books, good and bad, vulgar and refining, and


of the importance of putting such only as are pure

and elevating into the hands of the young.


like manner, the importance of their early

In
com-

panionship has received

much

attention.

But the

moral

effect

of home adornment needs to be con-

sidered just as thoughtfully

and carefully

as that

of either books or associations.


It
ino;
is

important that in the education and train-

of children

we throw around

their sensitive

lives all of beauty, purity

and inspiration that we

can.

The

sites

of our homes should be selected


this.

with reference to

In

this regard the country


city.

has usually wonderful advantages over the

268

WEEK-DA Y RELIGION.
is

Its lovely natural scenery

a gallery hung with

the rarest beauties, and yet there are


ers of
this.

many

build-

homes

N\'ho

seem never
sites

to give a

thought to

They choose

for

some temporary con-

venience or on the ground of inexpensiveness in


the midst of unlovely, or even repulsive, surroundings,

when

at a little additional cost they could

have placed their homes in the midst of picturesque scenery and refining surroundings.
altogether from

Apart

the

question of taste, the moral

influence of the scenery on

which the doors and

windows open
any

is

of immeasurably more value than

difference in

money

cost.

There

is

no refining

and purifying power

like that of true beauty.

Then
a

the ornamentation of the grounds about


furnishes another opportunity not only for

home

the display of taste, but for the choice of import-

ant educating influences.


to

These may be permitted

remain without any adornment whatever, open

to passing hoof, trodden

down, void of any trace


suffered

of beauty.

Former improvements may be


broken

to fall into decay, leaving

gates, tottering

fences,

unpainted

buildings,

grounds

overgrown

with weeds, with not a lovely walk or an inch of


green grass, and not a tree or shrub, not a vine or
flower.

Or

they

may be made

tasteful

and beau-

THE ETHICS OF HOME-DECORATION.


tiful,

269

with neatly-painted palings, gates in order,


green lawn, shade-trees,
pleasant walks,

bright

lovely plants and beds of flowers.

In the mere

education of taste the influence of these different

surroundings
that
is

is

obvious, but there

is

a moral

effect

vastly
lie

more

important.

Holiness

and

beauty

very close together, and the influence


is

of all repulsiveness

toward

evil.
is

The moral
still

effect

of interior home-decoration

greater.

We

should

make

the rooms in which

our children sleep and play and live just as bright

and lovely as our means, directed by wisest


and purest
taste,

skill

can

make them

and not only

should the adornments and decorations be pleasing


to the eye, but
it is

of importance that

we give

the

most careful heed


are

to their

moral character.
christian

There

many

pictures found in even


is

homes

whose influence
other
pictures

toward impurity.
is

There are

whose influence

toward gloom,

and there are those again whose chaste beauty,


bright cheerfulness and rich suggestiveness

make
and
into

them continual

inspirations toward refinement

moral excellence.

They frame themselves

young
ever.

hearts

and become a joy and comfort for

young

artist

once asked a great painter for

270

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
wbicli

some word of advice


his after-life.

might

liclp

him

in all

Having

noticed on the walls of the


sketches,

young man's rooms some rough and coarse


he advised him, as a young
in his profession, to

man

desirous of rising

remove

these,

and never

to

allow his eye to become familiar with any but the


highest forms of
art.

If he could not afford to


first class,

buy good
either get

oil

paintings of the

he should

good engravings of great pictures or


all

have nothing at

upon

his

walls.

If he per-

mitted himself to become familiar with anything


in art that

was vulgar

in conception,

however per-

fect in execution, his taste

would insensibly become

depraved

whereas, if he would habituate his eye

to look only

on that which was pure and grand or


lovely, his taste

refined

and

would insensibly be-

come

elevated.
is

This advice

of perfectly pertinent application

to the use of pictures


oration.

and statuary

in

home-dec-

Children from their earliest years are

naturally fond of pictures.

Their eyes

rest

much
to

upon them, and insensibly they have much


not only with the formation of their
in giving
taste,

do

but also

moral tone and color to their minds.


with
vulgarity

Familiarity
inevitably

and coarseness

will

deprave, and

looking upon pure and

THE ETHICS OF HOME-DECORATION.

271

beautiful things will imperceptibly, yet surely, refine,

elevate

and

inspire.

Lovely pictures
subtle
life.

in a

home have

a wondrous and
child-

power

in the education

and refining of

They may be but wood-cuts


but
let

or chromos or

steel engravings,

them be

chaste

and pure.

Let us hang nothing

in our parlors or play-rooms

or bedchambers or dining-rooms that would bring

a blush to the sweetest modesty or start a su2:2:estion

of anything indelicate in any beholder's mind.

Every

picture, engraving or print will touch itself

into the soul

of each child reared in the home.

That which

is

impure or gross
is

will leave a stain,


^vill

and that which


sweetening

refined

and lovely

become a

memory

for ever.
is

The whole
in art
is

question of what

modest and pure

one that few Christian moralists have had


It
is

the courage to meet.


ize as

the custom to character-

" prudish

^^

any

criticism based

upon

ethical

grounds, or any judgment of a picture or a statue

which considers
ians

its

moral influence.

But

as Christ-

we

are

bound

to look at everything

from a
very

moral point of view.


high as a work of
ecution,
art,

painting

may rank

both in conception and ex-

and yet
is

its
it

influence be toward impurity.


is

If this

the case,

not

fit

to

hang on the wall

272
of any home.
flir

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
In the adorn incnt of our homes, so

as

works of art are concerned, Christian people


j)rinciplc.

cannot properly overlook this

The

display of undraped figures on canvas must


exert

necessarily

a harmful

influence,

especially
religion of
in

upon the minds of the young.


Christ
lurks
is

The

chaste,

and condemns everything

which

even the faintest suggestion of impurity.

Whatever, then, may be the merits of pictures or


statuary as works of art, true Christian refinement

must
rity.

fix its

standard along the line of perfect puprinciples that


to

The same
and

we apply

to books,

to

speech

behavior we must apply un-

flinchingly to the selection of pictures for the walls

of our homes.
I

know
it

that this principle


is

is

denied.

Men

tell

us that

only a prurient imagination that sees

impurity on canvas or in marble.

They
to

call

it

prudery and quote the motto, " Evil


evil thinks,''

him who

or the

Scripture

aphorism,

"Unto
u"5,

the pure all things are pure."

They taunt
art,

too,

with ignorance of high and true


chatter learnedly about nature.

and begin
ability to

to

The

be

shocked, they say, by any representation of simple


nature
is

an evidence of an evil imagination.

Such

things have been said so often, and modesty has

THE ETHICS OF HOME-DECOBATION.


been so

273

much laughed

at,

that pure and delicate-

souled people do not dare to seem to be shocked

they think thej ought to be able to look at anything in


art.

The

figures introduced in parlors

and

drawing-rooms wax more and more wanton as the


petrified

impurity of ancient heathenism


to
fill

is

dug up

and brought
Christianity.

the niches of a pure and chaste


will this affect the purity of

How

our households?

Ignoring utterly the charge of prurience and


over-delicacy, pleading for the utmost purity in the

influence of the

homes
must

in which our children


reassert the

are

growing up,

I.

principle
life

that

nothing which would be indecent in actual


be proper in
else out
art.

can

No
The

sophistry can

make anything
wantonness
ex-

of the laws of perfect purity which religleast indelicacy or

ion inculcates.
in

any picture or statue

in a

home cannot but

ert a subtle influence for evil

over the minds and


this

hearts of the children.

AYe admit

principle

in reference to all other things.

We

believe that

every shadow and every beauty of the mother's character prints its

image on the

child's soul

that the
away
in to sing

songs sung over the cradle hide themselves


the

nooks and crannies of the tender


aii;ain

life,

themselves out
18

in

the lono; vears to come.

274

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
l)eiicve the

We

same of every other


pictures

influence,

and

nuist

we not of
godly

and statuary

as well ?

man

said that
to

when

quite youniz; an evil

picture

was shown

him on
had

the street.

He

saw

it

only once and for a moment, but he had never been


able to forget
it,

and

it

left

trail

of stain

all

along his years.


I plead for most earnest consideration of this

w^hole question of the morals of home-decoration.

A dew-drop
whether
the
life
it

on a leaf in the morning mirrors the


it,

whole sky above

whether

it

be blue and clear or

be covered with clouds.

In like manner

of a child mirrors and absorbs into itself


it

whatever overhangs

in

the

home

beauty

and

purity or blemish and stain.

XXVIII.
PICTURES IN THE HEART.

IVTIEBUHR,
-^ ^

the distinguished traveler, became

blind in his old age.


lands,

Sut, having traversed

many

amid the

fairest

and

loveliest scenes

of the world, he had stored away in his

memory

countless pictures of landscapes, mountain-scenery,


vales of rare beauty

and great and splendid

cities.

Then, as he lay upon his bed or reposed on his


easy-chair, his face

would often brighten

into a

rich

glow, as if some inner light was shining

through.

He

was

pondering

once more

some

splendid scene he had looked upon in the sunny


Orient.

The chamber-walls of

his

memory were
dark-

hung

all

over with pictures which

filled his

ened years with joy and beauty.


to

It mattered not
out, leaving thick

him

that the light


all

had gone

gloom

about him.

His heart was


there.

his world,

and there was no darkness

No

putting

out of sun or star could obscure the pictures that

hung

in that sacred house of his soul.


275

276
Ill

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
a far truer sense than

many

of us are aware
us.

do our hearts make our world for

The

things

we behold
are in us.

are but the

shadows of the things that

If we have bright pictures in our heart,

the whole world, wherever we. go, will be a picture-gallery.

Every scene

wdll be a

panorama of

beauty.

The most

repulsive objects wdll wear a

tinge of loveliness.

On

the other hand, a sombre,

cheerless heart clothes the

whole world in shadow

and gloom.

writer says

"

cold firebrand and a burn-

ing lamp started out one day to see what they


could find.

The

firebrand

came back and wrote


world was very dark.
it

in its journal that the w^iole

It did not find a place wherever

w^ent in

which

there was light.

Everywhere

w^as darkness.

The

lamp when

it

came back wrote


it

in

its

journal

'Wherever I went
any darkness
in all

was

light.

I did not find

my journey.'
it

The whole world


it,

was

light.
it

The lamp

carried light with

and

when

went abroad

illuminated everything.

The dead

firebrand carried no light,


it

and

it

found

none wdiere

went.'^

Living men and women go

through the world, and, returning, write records of


observation just as diverse as these.

Some

find

only gloom in the

fairest paths,

and amid the love-

PICTURES IN THE HEART.


liest

277

scenes nothing beautiful.

Others find noth-

ing but beauty and brightness even in the deepest


vales of earth.

Each one

finds just

what he takes

out in himself.
his

The
life.

colors he sees are the tints of

own

inner

Many

people naove amid unbroken music, hearso, in

ing not one note;

a spiritual world full of

heavenly presences,

men remain

unconscious of the

love and companionship that linger about them.

Having

eyes they see not,

and having

ears they

hear not.
the

Their sorrows go uncomforted, while


stands
close

Comforter

beside

them.

The

world seems dreary and

cold, while tender

warmth

and rich beauty


This
is

lie close

around them.
life.

true in our
all

commonest
is

How many
!

of us find

the good there

in our lot

Do we

extract the honey from every flower that blooms in

our path

Do we

find all the gold that lies in the


feet

hard rocks over which our


behold
all

stumble

Do we

the beauty that glows along the Avays


toil ?

of our sore

Do

not
slip

many good

things pass
for ever

through our hands and


before

away from us

we even

recognize their loveliness or their

worth?

Do
us,

not angels come to us unaware in

homely
ister

disguise,

walk with

us, talk

with

us,

minto us

to

and then only become known

278

WEIJK-DA y LELIGWN.
tlioir

when
their

})lace

is

empty and they have spread


flio^ht

radiant winji^s in
to recall?

which we have no

power ever

The baby seemed very troublesome


your night's
rest

as

it

broke

with

its cries

and you were com-

pelled to rise
liushed

and care

for

it.

But when
the flowers,

it

lay

and

still for

ever

among
to

what
cry

would you not have given


again?
till

have heard

it

^ye never see the beauty of our friends

they are vanishing out of our sight.

While

they were with us


faults.

we were

impatient of their

Their habits fretted


it

us.

But when death

touched them
liant beauty.

clothed them in a garb of briltransfigured.

They appeared

Out of

the dull, faulty character sprang a radiant angel-

form, and hovered just beyond our reach for ever.

What
to

joy and blessing

it

had brought

to

our lives

have seen the beauty and the worth before the

evanishing

So

it

is

in all

life.

It really takes

but very

little to

make any one happy,

yet there are

many

who

cannot extract even a reasonable happiness


joys.

from a world of luxuries and

There are
the
art,

some who

see

nothing to

admire in

most
while

magnificent collections of rare works of

others stand enraptured before the rudest picture.

PICTURES IN THE HEART.


There are those who
will

279

go through a forest on

a June morning when a thousand birds are warbling and hear not one note of song, while others
are thrilled and charmed
that falls out of the
in the
air.

by the

coarsest bird-note
sees

One man

no beauty

most picturesque landscape; another finds


bit of

some tender
most
rugged

loveliness

in the

barest
find

and

scenery.

One cannot

pleas-

ure or contentment amid the most lavish abund-

ance

another finds enough in the sheerest poverty

to give

deep happiness and evoke hearty praise.


this distinction

In nothing does
clearly than in

come out more


of
life
ills.

the

way

the

ills

appear.

One

class

of persons see nothing but

EverySmallest

thing wears to them a sombre aspect.


trials are

magnified into

crushing disasters.

All

troubles look exaggerated to their vision.

"We
The

overstate the

ills

of

life,

and take

Imagination (given us to bring down


choirs of singing angels overshone

By

God's clear glory) down on earth to rake

The dismal snows instead, flake following flake, To cover all the corn. We walk upon The shadow of hills across a level tlirown,

And
These
see

pant like climbers."

nothing but adversity in

all their days*

They

find

some cause

for discontent in the serenes)

circumstances.

280

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
otlicrs

Then
go.

find

only blessing wherever

{\\Qy

Their sorrows are struck through with the


love.

glory of GocFs
the

In the baptistery
that

at Pisa

dome

is

so

constructed

sounds uttered
melo-

below come back

in a delightful response of
is

dious music, and even a discord


a

converted into

harmony

as

it

floats

up

into the resonant vault

and returns
these
souls.

to the ear.

Such a dome hangs over


painful

Even

the

and

discordant

thiuirs are

changed into rich harmonies.

Life seems different to different people because


their

hearts
is

differ.

One man
;

listens to thrilling

music and

not

moved

under the same strains

another feels his soul kindled into rapture.


first

The

has no music in his

own bosom

to interpret

the melody that strikes his ear from without; the


other has a singing angel in his breast that responds
to every sweet note that breathes

through the air


in

about him.
heart," says

"You

must have the bird

your
it

some one, " before you can

find

in

the bush."
It
life
is

not, then,

half so

much

the outward in
spirit
is

that

we need
life.

to

have changed as the


cause of discontent

of

the inner

The

not in

men's circumstances, but in their


temper.

own

spirit

and

Get the song into your

heart,

and you

PICTURES IN THE HEART.


will

281
the wail-

hear songs

all

about you.

Even
for you.

ing storm will but

make music
and good

Get the

beauty and the good into your


will see only beauty

own
life,

soul,

and you

in all things.

Get
will

the peace deep into your


find peace in every lot.

own

and you

Our
we
see

hearts

make our world

for us.

The The

things

around us are but the shadows of our inner


cast

experiences, which are

outside.

things

we
all

hear are but the echoes of our

own

inner
fill

thoughts and feelings.

Pictures in the heart

the world with ugliness or loveliness.

XXIX.
LOSSES.

nriHERE
-^

is

no other

loss,
is

iu all the range of

possible losses, that

so great as the breaking I

of our communion with God.


not the ordinary estimate.

know

that this

is

We

speak with heavy


bereavements

hearts of our earthly sorrows.

When

come and our homes are emptied and our tender


joys are borne away,
like
ours.

we think
are

there

is

no grief

Our

lives

darkened, and very

dreary does this earth appear to us as we walk


its

paths in loneliness.
all

The shadow

that hangs

about us darkens

the world.
losses

There are other


alienation
erty,

losses

of

friends

by

or

misunderstanding;

losses

of

prop;

of comforts, of health, of reputation


of beautiful

the

shattering there
is

and

brilliant
is

hopes,

but

not one of these that

such a calamity

as the loss of God's smile or the interruption of


fellow^ship with him.

Men

siijh

over those misfortunes which touch

282

LOSSES.

283

only their earthly circumstances, but forget that


the worst of all misfortunes
uality in their hearts.
is

the decay of spiritif all

It

would be well

of

us understood

this.

There are earthly misfortunes


all

under which hearts remain


tender, like the

the while

warm and
when
are
life

flower-roots

beneath the winter's

snows, ready to burst into glorious bloom


the

glad

springtime

comes.

Then

there

worldly prosperities
withers and dies.
est

under

which
is

spiritual

Adversity

ofttimes the rich-

of blessings.

But the

loss of

God's smile

is

always the sorest of calamities.

We

do not know what God


sense of his presence

is

to us until

we

lose the

and the conscious-

ness of his love.

This
not
iled

is

true, indeed, of all

blessings.

We
till it

do

know
or

their value to us until they are imper-

lost.

We

do not prize health


to

is

shattered

and we begin
it

realize that

we can
with

never have

restored again.

We
it

do not recoghas
fled,

nize the richness of youth until


all
its
it

glorious

opportunities,

and worlds cannot

buy

back.

We

do not appreciate the comforts


till

and blessings of Providence

we have been

de-

prived of them and are driven out of


into the cold paths of a dreary world.

warm homes

We

do not

284
estimate
tlie

WJ^:EK-J)Ay RELIGION.
value of our
till

facilities

for education

and improvement
nities is

the period of these opportubattle of life

gone and we must enter the


equipped.
friends

imperfectly

We
us

do
till

not
they

know how
lie

much our

are to

before

us silent and cold.


the deep loneliness

Ofttimes the empty place or

about us

is

the

first

revealer

of the worth of one

we

failed

duly

to prize while

by our

side.

In like manner, we do not know the blessedness


of fellowship with
or

God

until his face

is

darkened
Jesus

he seems to have withdrawn himself.


to the
disciples

was never so precious


they had him no more.
deed, never
until his

as

when

Two

of his friends, in-

openly confessed their love for him


cross.

body hung on the

They had

se-

cretly loved

him

all along,

but now, as they saw

that he

was dead and that thev could never, as

they supposed, do anything more for him or enjoy


his

presence again,
in

all

their

heart's

silent

love

awoke

them, and

they came boldly out and


it

begged his body, gently took


of the
multitude, and bore

down
to

in the sight

it

loving burial.
realized
wafi

But

for his death they

would never have

how much
to them.

they loved

him

or

how much he

LOSSES.
In like manner, David never knew what

285

God

and God's house were


driven away from his
enter the sanctuary.
if his

to

his

soul

until

he was

home and could no more


fled
;

As he

away

it

seemed as

very heart would break


for the joys of

yet his deepest sorleft

row was not


throne,

home

behind

for

crown, palace and honors


its

but

for

the

house of God, with

hallowed and blessed com-

munion.

All the other bitter griefs and sorrows

of the hour were swallowed up in this greatest of


all his griefs

separation from the divine

presence.
fel-

Nor do

I believe that the privileges of divine

lowship had ever been so precious to him before


while he enjoyed them without hindrance or interruption as

now when he

looked from his exile


it.

toward the holy place and could not return to

Does not the very commonness of our


blessings conceal
says, " If, in his gifts

religious

from us their inestimable value?

Luther somewhere
efits,

and ben-

God were more

sparing and close-handed,

we

should learn to be more thankful."

The very unlose

broken continuity of God's favors causes us to


sight of the Giver,

and

to forget to prize the gifts

themselves.

If there were gaps somewhere,

we

should learn to appreciate the outflow of the divine


goodness.

Who

is

there

among

us

all

that values

286

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
summer of God's
infinite

liidilv cnoiiixh the tender

love
ever-

that broods

over us with

warmth

more?

Our church

privileges,

our open Bibles,

our religious liberty, our Sabbath teacliings and

communings, our hours of prayer,


these blessings as

do

we

prize

we would

if

we were suddenly
cruel fortune

torn

away from them by some


W'

and

cast in a land

here all these are wanting ?

Do we
God

appreciate our
as

privileges of fellowship with


if for

we

w^ould

an hour his love should be


light of his presence put out?

withdrawn and the


There
is

something very sad in the thought that


fail to

we

not only

value the rich blessings of God's

love, but that

we

ofttimes thrust

them from us and


wounding the

refuse to take them, thereby both

divine heart and impoverishing our

own

souls.

It

would be a very
first

bitter thing if

any of us should

be made truly aware of the presence and grace

of Christ by his vanishing for ever from our sight,


after

having for long years stood with wondrous


It

patience at our locked and bolted doors.

would

be a bitter thing to learn the blessedness of the


things of the mercy and love of
often

God

as

we

are

only made aware of the value of earthly

blessings

by

seeing

them depart

for ever

beyond

our reach.

LOSSES.

287

There
ought
dren

is

another phase of this subject which

to bring

unspeakable comfort to God's chil-

who

are called to suffer earthly losses.

If

they have
arable.

God

left to

them, no other loss

is

irrep-

gentleman came

home one evening


lost

with a heavy heart, and said that he had


everything.

Bankruptcy
utterly
is

had
he

overtaken
said.

him.
is

"We

are

beggared,"
left.

"All

gone ; there

nothing

We

must go out of

our home beggars for to-morrow's bread."


little girl

His

of five years crept up on his knee, and,

looking earnestly into his despairing face, said,

"Why,

papa, you have


is

mamma

and me

left."

Yes, what

the loss of money, stores, houses,

costly furniture,

musical instruments and works

of art while love remains?


ral

Or what

are tempo-

and worldly

losses
is

of the sorest kind while


surely enough in

God remains?
privation.
friends,

There

him

to

compensate a thousand times for every earthly de-

Our

lives

may

be stripped bare

home,
we may
yet if
suffice ?

riches,

comforts, gone, every sweet voice

of love, every note of joy silenced

and
not to

be driven out from briglitness, music, tenderness

and

shelter into the cold


left,

ways of sorrow
ought
it

we have God himself

Is he not able to restore again to us all

we have

"

288
lost?
all

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
Is he not in liimsclf infinitely

more than

his gifts?

If we have him, can we need any-

thing else?

In very beantiful words has Mrs.


this truth:

Browning expressed

"All are not taken; there are left behind Living Beloveds, tender looks to bring, And make the daylight still a happy thing,

And
But

tender voices, to
if it

make
if

soft the

wind.

were not so

I could find

No

love in all the world for comforting,

Nor any path but hollowly did ring, Where 'Dust to dust' the love from life

disjoined,

And

if,

before those sepulchres unmoving,

I stood alone (as some forsaken lamb

Goes bleating up the moor


Crying,

in

'Where

are ye,

O my
'
:

weary dearth). loved and loving?'


!

Daughter, I am know a Voice would sound Can I suffice for heaven, and not for earth ?'

Therefore

is it

that so often

we do not

learn the

depth and riches of God's love and the sweetness


of his presence
till

other joys vanish out of our

hands and other loved presences fade away out of


sight.

The
the

loss

of temporal things seems ofttimes

to be necessary to

empty our hearts that they may


that
is

receive

things

are

unseen and eternal.

Into

many

life

God

never permitted to enter

until sorest earthly losses

have made room

for

him.

The door

is

never opened to him until the soul's


it

dead joys are borne out; then, while

stands open.

LOSSES.
he enters bearing into
is it
it

289

joys immortal.

Plow

often

true

tliat

the sweeping

away of our

earthly hopes

reveals the glory of our heart's refuge in

Some one
hidden

has

beautifully said,
in

^'

God Our refuges


are

are like the nests of birds:

summer they

among

the green leaves, but in winter they


the

are seen
losses

among

naked branches."

Worldly

but strip off the foliage and disclose to us

our heart's
19

warm

nest in the

bosom of God,

XXX.
THE SERVICE OF CONSECRATION.

BOU BEN ADHEM


saw within
it

awoke one night from


Eastern story
in his

"^-^ a dream of peace

so runs the
moonlight
lily in

and
making

the

room,

rich,

and like a

bloom, an angel
asked,
"

writing in a book of gold.


writest thou ?"

He

What

The

angel answered, "

The names

of those

who

love the Lord."

"Is mine there?"

he asked.
softly

"Nay,"

replied the angel.


said,

Then Abou
Next

and cheerily

" I pray thee, then, write


niujht

me

as one that loves his fellow-men."

the vision came again, disclosing the names


love of

whom

God had

blessed, and, lo

Ben Adhem's
and teachclearly

name

led all

the rest.

The more deeply we


ings of our

read into the

life

Lord and

his apostles, the

more

does

it

appear that the golden thought of this old

legend comes out of the very heart of the gospel.


It lies
in the

embedded not only

in

John's Epistles, but

teachings of the Master himself.

Love

for

29n

THE SERVICE OF CONSECRATION.


God
is

291

only a vaporous sentiment, a misty emo-

tion, unless it manifest itself in love for

men.

Our Lord gave


ment which

us a picture of the last judg;

at first almost startles us

for, instead

of making faith in himself or love for


test

God

the

of men's lives, he makes

all

turn, in that great

final day,

upon the way they have

treated others
their gifts

in this world.

Those who have used

to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to relieve

the distress of the poor, the prisoner, the sick, are

welcomed

into eternal joy.

Those who have shut

up

their

hands and
to

hearts, allowing

human need

and suffering

go unrelieved, are themselves shut

away from Are men,

blessedness.

then, after

all,

saved by good works?

No;
that.

the meaning of the picture lies deeper than

True love

for Christ always opens men's

hearts toward their fellows.

There

is

another fea-

ture of the picture which


still

presents this truth in

clearer light.

Christ appears accepting every-

thing done to the needy as done to himself in per-

son

"I was anhungered, and ye gave me m^at. was sick, and ye visited me.'^ Then, when the
:

righteous say, in amazement,


thee

"Why, we

never saw

hungry and fed

thee, or

found thee sick and

ministered unto thee," he explains by saying "

Ah

292

WJCEK-DAY EELiaiOy.
it,

you duln't know

but every time you feJ


eu^)

ii

liun-

gry neighbor, or gave a

of water to a thirsty

pilgrim, or visited a siek man, or clothed an orphanchild, or


in need,

wrought any ministry of kindness

to one

you did

it

to

me"
is

that

is,

the

way he

wants us to serve him


our ministry.

by serving those who need


is

The

incense he loves best

that

which
its

is

burned, not in a golden censer to waste


air,

perfume on the

but in the iionies of need

to cheer

some human weariness or comfort some

human

sorrow.
practical

The whole matter of


ourselves to Christ,
tion of all our gifts

consecration

is

ofttimes very unsatisfactory.

We

say that

we give
AVe

making an unreserved
and powers

consecra-

to his service.

are not insincere, yet are w^e not conscious that in

our actual living we utterly

fail to

make good our


It

solemn covenants and honest intentions?

may

help us take our consecration out of the region of


the emotional and
it is

make
we
is

it

real to

remember that
ourselves

livins: sacrifice

are to

make of

to

God

that

is,

it

not merely hymn-singing,

praying and love-rapture he wants, but a living


service in his

name and

for

him

in this blighted

world.

The

old

monks used

to hide

away

in deserts

and

THE SERVICE OF CONSECRATION.


mountains and in monastery
cells, as far as

293

possible

from human sin and need, and thought that the

kind of service Christ wanted.

Sometimes they
their

would torture themselves,


fast, live

lacerate

bodies,

in the cold

and storms.

Some of them

dwelt for years on tops of pillars and monuments,


exposed to rain and snow, to heat and tempest, and

thought that they were offering most acceptable


sacrifices to

God.
not.

But they were

They were only

wasting,

in idle reverie, useless sacrifice, unavailing suffering

and hideous

self-torture, the glorious gifts

which

God had bestowed upon them


ing others.

to

be used in servis

Only the

living sacrifice

pleasing.

We

bring our natural endowments, our acquired


gifts

powers or gains, our


feet; and,

and

blessings, to

his

touching them with his benediction, he


to us

gives

them back
for

and

says, "

Take

these again

and use them

me

in bearing joy, help, comfort,


to

cheer or inspiration
life's

those

about you and in

paths

who need your


still

ministries."

As we
this

read

more deeply into the heart of


that

matter,

we

find

God
for

bestows no

gift,

j)Ower

or

blessing

upon us

ourselves alone.

Take money.

The mistake of

the rich

man

in

our Lord's parable was not that he was

rich.

He

294

WJCJ'JK-DA
his wealth

Y RELIGION.
God gave
his
it

made
ill

honestly.

to

him

abundant harvests.

But

sin

began when

he asked, "AVhat shall I do with

all this

wealth?

Where

shall I bestow all

my

fast-increasing goods?"
for

His decision showed that he was living only


himself.

He
to

thought not of his relation to


^^

God
of
it

above or
barns,

men about him.

I will l}uild larger

and there bestow

my

goods.''

Instead

using his wealth to bless others, he would hoard

and keep

it all

in his

owm

hands.

The man who

fulfills his

mission and illustrates his consecration


is

when money
is

given to him

is

he
it

who

says,

"This

not mine.

I have received

through God's

blessing.

He

has greatly honored


it

me

in

making

me

his agent to use

for him.

It

is

a sacred trust,
for the bless-

granted to be employed in his


ing of

name
it

men

I must do with
if

just

what Christ
place."

himself would do

he were here in

my

Or
life, is

take knowledge.

Culture, in a consecrated
its

not to be sought for

own

sake, but that

we may
for the

thereby be

made capable of doing more


Each new
employed
lesson

good or the joy of others.


each

in

life,

new

accession to our knowledge, each


is

new"

experience,
it

legitimately

only

when

is

turned at once into some channel of

personal helpfulness.

One

has the gift of music,

THE SERVICE OF CONSECRATION.


and can sing or play
well.

295

The kind of
is its

consecra-

tion Christ wants of this gift


to others, to

use to do good
or better, to put

make them happier

songs into silent hearts and joys into sad hearts.

Of

all gifts, there is

no one, perhaps, capable of


is

a diviner ministry than


"

the gift of song.


earth,

God sent his singers upon With songs of sadness and

of mirth,

That they might touch the hearts of men, And bring tliem back to heaven again."

A young
oui the
to

lady can read well.

If she would carry


is

spirit

of her consecration to Christ, she

employ her acquisition in giving happiness and


She can brighten many an even-

profit to others.

ing hour in her

own home by reading aloud


the

to the

loved ones that cluster around

hearth-stone.

Or

she can do

still

more Christly work by seeking

out the aged with


read,

dim
in

eyes, the

poor

who cannot
Avords of

or the sick

their

lonely chambers, and

quietly and

tenderly reading to

them

comfort, instruction and divine love.

Take
There
letters.
is

the

blessings

of

spiritual
in

experience*

a wonderful

sentence

one of Paul's
the

He
^'

is

thanking
to

God
in

for

comfort

which he had given


he says,

him

some sorrow, and


all

Blessed be the

God

of

comfort,

^vIk

^^J6

WEKK-DA Y RKLIGIOy.
us in
all

oonifortcth

our tribulation, Ihat we

may
by

be able to comfort them which are in


tlie

any

trouhlf,

comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted

of

God

"

that

is,

he praised

God

not merely be-

cause he had liimself been comforted, but because


the comfort which had been

given to him

in

his

sorrow

gave

him

added

power

wlierewith

to

comfort others.
It

was a great thing

to feel the

warmth of God^s

love breaking into his heart, the light of his face

streaming upon his soul, and his blessed peace


stealing into his bosom.

But

his personal experi-

ence of joy in being thus comforted was entirely

buried

away

in the gladness of the other thought,

"

Ah

now I
I
I

can

be a

better

preacher to the
to

troubled.

can

bring

more consolation

the

sorrowing.
fulness wit!)

have gotten a new power of help-

which

to

.serve

my

fellows.
tears

I can
to

do moi'e hereafter

to wi})e

away

and

put

songs into the hearts of others."


that he

It

was

for this

thanked

God

not

that

the comfort

of

God had

been imparted to him, although that was

a great joy, but that he had something

now which

he never had before with which to do good and


scatter

benedictions.

His

greatest

gladness was,
in his souJ

not that

God had

lighted a

new lamp


THE SERVICE OF CONSECRATION.
to

297
sorrow,

pour

its

heavenly beams upon his

own

although that was cause for deep praise, but that


lie

had now a new lamp

to carry into other

dark-

ened homes.

What

sublimity

of

usefulness

Yet
That
"

that

is

the true Christian

way of
gift

receiving
blessing.

comfort
is

and

every spiritual

and

the true idea of consecration.

When

Peter

" when

thou art converted/' said the Master to


thou art converted, strengthen thy

brethren."

His meaning was that a new power

of personal helpfulness was to come to him through


his sad experience

which he should use

in strength-

ening others to meet temptation.

Then, when he

had passed through that

terrible night,

when he

had been

lifted

up again, when he had crept back Lord and had been forgiven

to the feet of his risen

and
tliat

rciiir-tated,

he had double cause for gratitude

he himself had been saved from hopeless wreck


restored,

and

and,

still

more, that he was

now

better
to be

man, prepared,

in a higher sense than before,

an apostle and a patient, helpful friend to


trial.
still

others in similar

Then take
of our Lord's

the

more wonderful experience

own

temptation.

He

certainly en-

dured for his own sake that he might become Conqueror and Lord of
all,

that he might be

"made

298
perfect

Wl'nJK-lJAY RELIGION.

through

sufTerins:,"

hut that whidi

tlie

Scriptures love to linger upon as the chief reason

-why he wa.s called to pass through temptation was


that he might thereby be fitted, by
liis

own

ex-

periences, to be to his people a sympathizing


lielj^ful

and

Friend and Saviour.


of
all

The meaning

this is that

we

are to receive

even our spiritual

gifts

and blessings not only as

mere tokens of the love and kindness of God


toward
us,

but also as new powers wherewith


It
is

we

are to serve our fellow-men.


ish
life.

easy to be self-

even in the region of our most sacred spiritual

We may

want

comfoi-t only that

we may be
no

comforted ourselves.

We may

desire high attain-

ments

in Christian life for their

own

sake, with

wish to be made thereby greater blessings to the


world.

But when we seek

in this

way we may

not receive.

Even

in

spiritual

things selfishness
us.

restrains the divine outflow

toward

God

does not like to bestow his blessings where

they will be hoarded or absorbed.


his very best gifts into the

He

loves to put

hands of those who will

not store them away in barns, or fold them up in

napkins and hide them away, but will scatter them


abroad.

He

puts songs into the hearts of those

who

will sing

them out

again.

This

is

the secret

THE SERVICE OF CONSECRATION.


of that promise that to
given, and of that other
believed

299

him

that hath shall be

little
^'

understood,

little

word of

Christ,

It

is

more blessed

to

give than to receive."

Heaven's benediction comes,

not upon the receiving, but upon the dispensing.

We

are not blessed in the act of taking, but in the

act of giving out again.

Things we take to keep

for ourselves alone fade in our hands.

Men

are

good and great before God, not as they gather into


their

hands and hearts the abundant


spiritual,

gifts

of God,

whether temporal or
ino;

but as their gather-

auofments

their

usefulness

and makes them

greater blessings to others.

XXXL
BEAUTIFUL OLD AGE.
"Softly, oh softly, the years have swept by thee,

Touching thee lightly with tenderest care; Sorrow and care di^l they often bring nigh thee. Yet they have left thee but beauty to wear."

rilHTS may

scarcely seem a fitting

theme

to in-

troduce in a book meant chiefly for the young,

and yet a moment's


priateness

reflection will

show

its

appro-

and
is

practicalness.
all

Old age
gone

the harvest of
It
is

the years that have


all

before.

the
It

barn into which


is

the

sheaves are gathered.


the
in
rills

the sea into which all

and rivers of

life

flow from their springs

the hills and valleys of youth and manhood.


are each, in
all

We
old.

our earlier years, building the

house in which we shall have to live when we grow

And we may make


may make
and
filling
it
it

it

a prison or a palace.
it

We
taste
to

very beautiful, adorning

with

with objects which shall minister

our pleasure, comfort and


300

power.

We may

BEAUTIFUL OLD AGE.


cover the
walls with

301

lovely pictures.

We

may
rest.

spread luxurious couches of ease on which to

We

may

lay

up

in store great supplies

of provision

upon which
feebleness.

to feed

in the days of

hunger and

We

may

gather and pile


fires

away

large

bundles of wood to keep the


in the long winter days

blazing brightly
age.

and nights of old

Or we may make our house very gloomy.


may hang
covering them with

AYe

the chamber-walls with horrid pictures,

ghastly spectres which shall

look dow^n uj^on us and haunt us, filling our souls

with terror when we


of
life's

sit

in the gathering darkness

nightfall.

We

may make
lay

beds of thorns
to feed

to rest upon.

We may

up nothing

upon

in the

hunger and craving of declining years.

We may have no fuel ready for the winter fires. We may plant roses to bloom about our doors
and fragrant gardens
us, or

to

pour their perfumes about


briers to flaunt
in our

we may sow weeds and

them-

selves in our faces as

we

sit

doorways in

the gloaming.

All old age

is

not beautiful.

All old people are

not happy.

Some

are very wretched, with hollow,

Bcpulchral lives.

Many

an ancient palace was built

over a dark dungeon.

There were the marble walls

that shone with dazzling splendor in the sunlight.

302

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
cliainbers with

There were the wide gilded

their

magnificent frescoes and their splendid iidornments,


the gayety, the music and the revelry.

But deep
(hiz-

down beneath

all

this luxurious

splendor and
filled

zling display was the

dungeon

with

its

un-

happy victims, and up through the

iron gratings

came the sad groans and moanings of


echoino;

despair,
p;ilded

and

reverberatins;

throua;h

the

halls

and

ceiled

chambers; and
old age.
It

in this I see

picture of

many an

may have abun-

dant comforts and


in an outward sense

much

that tells of j^rosperity

wealth,

honors, friends, the

pomp and

circumstance

of greatness

but

it

is

only a palace built over a gloomy dungeon of

memory, up from whose deep and dark

recesses

come evermore

voices of remorse

and desjmir to

sadden or embitter every hour and to cast shadows


over every lovely picture and every bright scene.
It
sad,
is

possible so to live as to
it

make

old age very

and then

is

possible so to live as to

make

it

very beautiful.

In going

my

rounds

in the

crowd-

ed city I came one day to a door where

my

ears

were greeted with a great chorus of bird-songs.

There were birds everywhere

in parlor, in

din-

ing-room, in bedchamber, in hall

and

the whole

house was

filled

with their joyful music.

So may


BEAUTIFUL OLD AGE.
old

303

age be.
It
is

So
fall

it

is

for those

aright.
little

of music.

who have lived Every memory is a


bird-notes of
last

snatch of song.

The sweet

heavenly peace sing everywhere, and the


of
life

days

are

its

happiest days

"

Rich in experience that angels might covet, Rich in a faith that lias grown with the years."

The important
we

practical question

is,

How

can

so live that our old age,

when

it

comes, shall be

beautiful

and happy

It will not

do

to adjourn

this question until the


us.

evening shadows are upon


it.

It will be too late then to consider

Con-

sciously or unconsciously,
to settle the question =?weet

we

are every day helping

whether our old age shall be


bitter

and peaceful or

and wretched.
little

It

is

worth our while, then, to think a

how

to

make

sure of a happy old age.

We

must

live a useful life.

Nothing good ever


selfishness.

comes out of idleness or out of


standing water stagnates
death.
It
is

The

and breeds decay and

the running stream that keeps pure

and sweet. and


peace.

The

fruit of

an

idle life is

never joy

Years lived

selfishly

never become
Hapj^iness
others.

garden-spots in the field of memory.

comes out of

self-denial

for the

good of

304

WEEK-DA Y RELIGION.

Sweet always are the memories of good deeds done

and

sacrifices

made.

Their incense, like heavenly


tlie

perfume, comes floating up from

fields

of

toil

and

fills

old age with holy fragrance.

AVhen one
grateful,

has lived to bless others, one has

many

loving friends whose affection j)roves a wondrous


source of joy

when

the days of feebleness come.


is

Bread

cast

upon the waters

found again after

many
make
cold,

days.

I see

some people who do not seem

to

want

to

friends.
distant,

They

are unsocial, unsympathetic,

disobliging, selfish.

Others, again,

make no

effort to retain their friends.

They

cast

them away

for the slightest cause.

But they

are

robbing their later years of joys they cannot afford


to
lose.

If we would walk in the warmth of

friendship's

beams

in

the

late

evening-time,

we

must seek

to

make

to ourselves loyal

and

faithful

friends in the busy hours that


w^e

come

before.

This

can do by a ministry of kindness and self-for-

getfulness.

This was part at


in that counsel

least

of wdiat our

Lord meant

which

falls so strangeit
''
:

ly on our ears until

we understand

Make

to

yourselves friends of the


ness, that

mammon
they

of unrighteousreceive

when ye

fail,

may

you into

everlasting habitations."

BEAUTIFUL OLD AGE.


Again,

305
holy
life.

we must
carries in

live

a pure

and

Every one

himself the sources of his

own

happiness

or

wretchedness.
to

Circumstances

have really very


riences.

little

do with our inner expe-

It matters little in the determination of

one's degree of enjoyment whether

he live in a

cottage or a palace.

It

is

self,

after all, that in

largest measure gives the color to our skies

and the
sees

tone to the music

we

hear.

happy heart

rainbows and brilliance everywhere, even in darkest

clouds,

and hears sweet

strains

of song even
;

amid the loudest wailings of the storm


heart,

and a sad

unhappy and

discontented, sees spots in the

sun, specks in the rarest fruits,

and something with

which

to find fault in the

most perfect of God's

works, and hears discords and jarring notes in the


heavenliest music.

So

it

comes about that

this

whole question must be

settled

from within.

The

fountains rise in the heart

itself.

The

old man,

like the snail, carries his house

on his back.

He

may change
his

neighbors or homes or scenes or com-

panions, but he cannot get

away from himself and

own

past.

Sinful years put thorns in the pilrests.

low on which the head of old age

Lives

of passion and evil store away bitter fountains

from which the old man has


20

to drink.

30(i

WEEK-DAY REIJQION.
may seem
how
it

Sin

pleasant to us now, but


will appear

we

nuist
it

not forget

when we

get past

a!id turn to look

back upon
it

it;

especially

must we
pil-

keep
low.

in

mind how

will

seem from a dying


})ure

Nothing brings such


a^s

peace and quiet


past.

joy at the close

well -lived

We

are

every day laying up the food on which


feed in

we must
up

the closing years.

We

are hanging
that

pictures
shall

about the
to

walls
at

of our hearts
sit

we
and

have

look

when we
that

in

the shad-

ows.

How
ai2:e,

important

we

live

pure

holy lives! of old

Even

forgiven sins will

mar

the peace

for the uirly scars will


all

remain.

Summing
make any
lever

up

in

one word, only Christ can


or old, truly beautiful

life,

young

or

truly happy.

Only he can cure the

heart's restless

and give quietness and calmness.


us,

Only he
our corru])t

can purify that sinful fountain within


nature,

and make us holy.


life,

To have
live

a peaceful
it

and

blessed ending to

we must

with Christ.
Its

Such a
last

life

grows brighter even

to its close.

days are the sunniest and the sweetest.


earth's joys
fail,

The
satis-

more

the nearer and the

more
nests

fying do the comforts

become.

The

over

which the wing of God droops, which

in the bright

summer days

of

pr(jsperous

strength lay hidden

BEAUTIFUL OLD AGE.

307

anion o; the leaves, stand out uncovered in the days

of decay and feebleness


the branches bare.

when winter has

stripped

And

for such a life death has


its

no

terrors.

The tokens of

approach are but

" the land-birds lighting on the shrouds, telling the

weary mariner that he


end
is

is

nearing the haven."

The

but the touching; of the weatherbeaten keel

on the shore of glory.

XXXII.
UNCONSCIOUS FAREWELLS.
"I
liave often said
*

Good-bye' lightly, with plans for the

fii

lure, to

people

whom

have next seen or heard of as dead." Private Letter.


to

Tj^YERY
ever.

hour there are partings, thought


little

be

-^^^ only for a

season,

which prove to be for


his wife

One morning

young man bade


to

and child good-bye and went out


There was an accident on the day
It
his lifeless
street,

his

work.

and before midto his

body was borne back

home.

was a

terrible

shock, but there was one sweet

comfort that came with wondrous power to the


crushed heart of the young wife.

The

last

ho

they had spent together had been one of peculiar


tenderness.

Not

word had been spoken by

either

that she could wish had not been spoken.

She had
their last
it

not dreamed at the time that

it

would be

conversation, and yet there was nothing in


left

that

one painful recollection


308

now

that she should

UNCO^'^SCIOUS

FABE WELLS.
Throuo;h
all

309
these

meet her husband no more.


years of loneliness and

widowhood the memory of


life,

that last parting has been an abiding joy in her


like a fragrant

perfume or a bright lamp of holy

peace.

Life

is

very

critical.

Any word may

be our

last.

Any

farewell, even

amid glee and merriment, may


were but burned
into

be for ever.

If

this truth

our consciousness,

if it ruled

as a deep conviction
it

and

real

power

in our lives,

would

not give a new

meaning
it

to all our

human

relationships?

Would

not

make

us far more tender than


it

we sometime?

are ?

Would

not oftentimes put a rein upon our


?

rash and impetuous speech

Would we

carry in

our hearts the miserable suspicions and jealousies

that

now

so often

embitter the fountains

of.

our loves?
faults of

Would we be so impatient others? Would we allow trivial

of

tliG

misun-

derstandings to build up strong walls between us

and those

whom we

ought

to

hold veiy close to us

Would we keep

alive petty quarrels year after year

which a manly word any day would compose?

Would we
street

pass neighbors or old friends on

the

without recosrnition because of some real or

fancied slight,

some wounding of pride or some sup-

posed injury?

Or would we

be so chary of our

<>

10

WEEK-DAY nELWION.
.symi)atliy,
all

kind words, our coniiueiulations, our

our

words of comfort, when weary hearts

about us

are breaking for just sueh expressions of interest or

appreciation or helpfulness as

we have

it

in

our

power

to
all

give?

We
inir

know how kindly

it

makes us

feel

toward

any one
our

to sit beside his death-bed.


last

AVe are spendw^ould not utter

hour with him.

We
single

a harsh

word or cherish a
There

grudge against
an oppor-

him

for the world.

will never be

tunity to recall any word spoken now, or to obliterate

any painful impression made.


is

We

can never

again give joy to this heart that


its

so soon to stop

beatino-s.
!

What

softenino;

influence

this

thouixht has

All our coldness melts

down

before

the eyes that have death's far-away look in them.

All the long-frozen kindly sentiment

in

our hearts
last

toward our friend

is

thawed out as we hold our


^

intercourse with him.

how slumbering love awakes and cold spirits warm and all the chill of selfishness dissolves beside the coffin of one who is
Then we
all

know,

too,

dead.

Everv one

feels

kindlv then.
lingers
in

Not
any

a trace
heart.

of grudging or
Sliirhts
I(;v

bitterness

and wrono-s

are fori>:iven

and

for2:otten.

winter changes to mellow summer.

Loving

UNCONSCIOUS FAREWELLS

311

words of gratitude or appreciation flow from every


tongue.

Praise and commendation never spoken

when

the weary spirit needed

them

so

much

find

free expression

when
feel

the heavy ear can hear

them

no more.
ence

Men

themselves awed in the presheartily

of eternity, and

ashamed of

their

wretched spites and petty animosities and cold,


mechanical friendship.

Now, how
if

it

would
that

bless

and beautify our


thouglitful,

lives

we could carry

same

grateful,

patient, forgiving, loving spirit into our

every-day
treat

intercourse with each other; if

we could

men
their

with the same gentle consideration, with the same


frank,

manly
if

sincerity, as

when we

sit

by

death-bed;

we could bring

the post-mortem apunselfish

preciation, gratitude,
liness

charity and

kind-

back into the vexed and overburdened vears


life!

of actual, toilsome
It

would be impossible

to live otherwise if

we

but realized that anv hour's intercourse with another might indeed be the
felt
last.

If a

man

truly

that he might be spending his last day with

his family, taking his last meal with them, enjoy-

ing

the last

evening with them, would not his


of
all

heart be cleansed
selfishness?

harshness, bitterness and


his

Would

not

feelings,

his

very

312

WEEK-DAY RELIGION.
\\\{\\

tones, be cliarircd

almost a divine tenderness?

If a mother

felt that

to-day miglit be the last that

she would have her child with her, would she be


so
imj)atient

of
its

its

endless

questions,
so

so

easily

annoyed by
vexed by
its

restless activities,

fretted

and

faults

and thoughtless ways?

AVould we be so exacting, so calculating, so cold

and formal,

so undemonstrative, so selfish, in our

intercourse with our friends, if


to-day's sunset

we

truly felt that

might be the

last

we should

be-

hold or that we should never meet our friends


airain?

Would

not the realization of this ev^er-

imminent
all

possibility act as a
is

mighty

restraint

on
a

that

harsh

ox.

unloving in
all

us,

and
is

as

powerful inspiration to bring out


ly

that

kind-

and tender ?

The

poet's

words are well worth

heeding
"If thou dost bid thy friend farewell, But for one night though that farewell may Press thou his hand in thine.

be,

w.

How

canst thou tell

how

far

from thee
corner of a
street,

Fate or caprice

may

lead his steps ere that to-morrow comes?

Men have been known liglitly to turn the And days have grown to months, And months to lagging years, ere they
Have
looked in loving eyes again.
. . .

Yea, find thou always time to say some earnest word Between the idle talk, lest with thee henceforth,

Kight and day, regret should walk."

UNCONSCIOUS FAREWELLS.
With many a
^\alk night

313

lonely heart regret

does indeed

and day because of the memory of

unkind words spoken which can never be unspoken, since the ears that heard them are deaf
to every

sound of earth.

Friends have separated

with sharp Avords or in momentary estrangement

through some

trivial

diiference,

and have never


to

met

again.
life

Death has come suddenly

one of

them or

has set their feet in paths divergent

from that moment.


ing tear

Many

a bitter and unavail-

bitter because unavailing

is

shed over

the grave of a departed one by one Avho would

give worlds for a single


forgiveness or seek to

moment

in

which to beg

make

reparation.

So uncertain
vicissitudes of

is

life

and so manifold are the


experience that any leave-

human

taking

may be

for ever.

We

are never sure of

an opportunity to unsay the angry word or draw


out the thorn

we

left

rankling in another's heart.


felt

The kindness which we


able to perform.

prompted

to

do to-

day, but neglected or deferred,

we may never be
therefore, to save
is

The only way,

ourselves from unavailing sorrow and regret


let

to

love always rule in our hearts and control our

speech.

If we should in a thoughtless moment


to

speak unadvisedly, giving pain

another heart,

31
lot

WEEK- 1) A Y RELIGION.
rcj)arati()ii

be

made upon the


upon

spot.

The sun

should

never

go down

our

wrath.

We
we

should never

leave anything

over-night that

-would not be willing to leave finally and for ever


just in that shape,

and which we would blush

to

meet again

in

the great di.selosure.

Life's actions

do not appear

to us in the

same
in

colors

when viewed

in the noontide glare

and

the evening's

twiliLL-ht.

Little thinii-s in our treat-

ment of

others,

which

at the time,

under the crossin the excitement

lights of emulation

and rivalry or
life,

of business and social

do not seem wrong, when

seen from the shadows of final separation or great


grief,
fill

us with shame and regret.


far the truest.

This after-

view

is

by

After-thoughts are the

wiser thoughts.
sentation

We
in

get the most faithful repreretrospect.

of

life

The

things

we
to

regret in such an hour are things

we ought not

have done.
are thinfrs

The
we

things

we wish then we had done


There could be

ouo-ht to

have done.

no better
*^

test of life's actions

than the question,


I look back

How

will this appear

when
it

upon
or

it

from the end?

Will

give

me

pleasure

painr
AVe
lives.
all

want want

to

have beautiful endings to our

We

to leave sweet

memories behind

UNCONSCIOUS FAREWELLS.
ill

315
love us.

the

hearts of those
to

who know and


footfalls

We

want our names

be fragrant in the homes


are

on whose thresholds our


heard.

wont
last

to be

We

want the memory of our

parting

with our friends to live as a tender joy with them


as the days pass away.

We

want, if

we should

stand by a friend's coffin to-morrow, to have the


consciousnass that
ter his life, to

we have done nothing


his

to embit-

add to

burdens or to tarnish his


nothing undone which

soul,
it

and that we have

left

lay in our

power

to

do to help him or to min-

ister to

him

com.fort or cheer.

We

can

make
day

sure

of this only by so living always

that
last

any day
;

would make a tender and beautiful


any hand-grasp would be a

that
that

fitting farewell

any hour's

intercourse

with friend or neighboi

would leave

fragrant

memory; and

that

no

treatment of another would leave a regret or cause


a pang if death
ever.

or space

should divide us for

For

after

any heart-throb, any sentence, any


write

good-bye,

God may

Finis.

->-'->>

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