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and to see the person who first of all felt the
sting of sadness and knew what grief and
anguish were, what a strange, stunned, dazed,
stupified being should we find. Literature is
the expression of life. Poetry and philosophy
are not vain and foolish imaginations; they
are the records of what seers and sages have
seen and thought concerning human life's



60 The Eternal Evangel.

mysteries. Go back howsoever far you will and
wherever you may, you will find that all have
faced the same great problem. It rested with
the weight of worlds on Plato and Homer;
Buddha spent a generation in meditation on the
causes of sorrow; it was one of the burdens
which broke the heart of Jesus. Great authors
have time for hardly any other theme. One
test of an author's immortality is whether he
studies such subjects. Whence is sorrow?
What is its meaning ? Will it ever end? Eun-
ning like a line of light through the world's
literature shines dim, but real, the faith that
somewhere and sometime the clouds will break
and the shadows flee away.

As culture extends men feign carelessness
concerning what may lie beyond. Some say :
" Enough for us to know what is right here and
now ; we need no motives from the life beyond."
Perhaps they do not appreciate motives from
the life beyond ; that does not change the fact
of which history is full — that everywhere that
human thought has been recorded the question
of Job has been raised : "If a man die, shall
he live again ? " It is found in the pyramids of
Egypt; in the temples and shrines of ancient
Greece ; in the rude wooden platforms on which
the American Indians placed their dead. Some-
how men have not been able or willing to
believe that death is final. They have trained
themselves as if they were destined to immortal



The Eternal Evangel. 61

existence. They have reared their children as
if they were not made simply to live a little
while and then to be buried. They have
indulged hopes of a better time, and have
dreamed of an unseen universe around all who
live, toil, and struggle on the earth.

Sin, sorrow, death, have been everywhere.
But there is another fact even more signifi-
cant : Wherever there has been sin, in some
form or other has appeared the expectation that
its power would be broken ; that by magic art,
by sacrifice, by shedding of blood of man or
beast, or direct intervention from above, relief
might be obtained. With sorrow there has
been a hope, vague and insubstantial but ever
real, that sometime it must end. Was not the
faith of Socrates the world's faith when, in
conversation with his disciples before he drank
the hemlock, he announced in triumphant and
positive terms that though his body might be
imprisoned and killed he never could be
caught? Listen to his words: "Those who
. . . having led holy lives are released from
this earthly prison and go to their pure home
which is above ... in mansions fairer far
than these."

These illustrations show that some evangel
has always been desired. ~No phrase ever used
concerning our Saviour is more appropriate
or beautiful than " the Desire of all nations."
That thought came to me as I visited the



62 The Eternal Evangel.

temples and shrines of Japan; as I climbed
mountains crowned with temples in honour
of Buddha and the mother of Buddha; as I
saw processions of men running long distances
that they might get release from their sins;
as I saw burdened souls putting their hands on
images, and then transferring them to them-
selves that relief from pain might be secured ;
as I found that even Buddhism itself is not
satisfied with its old idea of Nirvana, a state of
eternal rest, if not of extinction of being, and
had blossomed into one sect which believes in
" a western paradise," in which all will live and
grow for ever. From the Pyramids to the
Pantheon, from the prostrate columns of Stone-
henge to the loftiest gable of Mayahsan, shines
one resplendent truth which has never been
absent from the world, a truth which is all
contained in one phrase — "the Desire of all
nations."

To this universal and passionate hunger
Jesus Christ comes as the world's Evangel. The
four evangelists of art are sublimely symbolical.
Grouped, and holding golden trumpets, they face
the four quarters of the world, and speak their
message which is borne on all the winds : ' ' Hear
ye ! hear ye ! the Desire of nations is come ! "
That is the Evangel. In the midst of the world's
mystery Jesus stands like a lighthouse, sur-
rounded by black night and stormy waters. His
message is the revelation of God as Father. Is



The Eternal Evangel. 68

there hope for those who have violated truth
and right ? Reasoning only from the analogy of
human law the answer must be, ~No. A man is
a murderer ; no matter what taints of hate are
in his blood. The State can only say, He must
die, or be pardoned to an infamy worse than
death. A man in a fit of passion puts out his
eyes, and nature calmly and irrevocably says,
He must remain blind. Neither society nor the
universe assure hope to an individual conscious
of guilt, but Jesus says that the divine way is
not reflected by the State and the inflexibility of
the physical order. His reply to all sinners is,
" You are in your Father's hands." That reve-
lation should have its full force in these days
when men are more likely to be overwhelmed by
despair than to take undue advantage of hope.
Let a man ask himself, What would I do if my
child, stained, tainted, brutalised, but in dead
earnest, were to come to me and say, " Father,
I am no more worthy to be your child ; let me
be anything to be near to you, for my past I
despise and desire to escape ? " The instant,
glad response of every man worthy to be a
father would be : " My son, come home. God
bless you ! " And he would go to his house and
call together the other children and the mother,
and say between glad sobs : " Our boy has
come back, and this time he is willing to be
anything if he can only be near us. Shall we
help him?" And to the tears in the father's



64 The Eternal Evangel.

eyes, tears in every other eye would respond,
and from that moment the whole household
would be organised in the interest of that one
repentant child. That is the way that Jesus
meets the world's consciousness of guilt when
it is attended by repentance. He says : " Ke-
member your Father." That is enough, since
fatherhood in God is only human fatherhood
idealised and multiplied by infinity. The angels
with the trumpets set this music pealing to all
who have sinned in the four quarters of the
earth : " God is Father ; the Father of our
Lord Jesus Christ — every man's Father."

The same message goes to all those who
bend beneath sorrow. We know not why any
suffer, but we do know that suffering is not
God's will for man. He uses it for human
welfare, but never as an end ; and the words of
Jesus concerning sorrow indicate that it is con-
trary to the primary will of God. He is repre-
sented as bearing griefs and carrying sorrows ;
as One who would remove from men their
burdens, so far as that is possible. To ask why
we suffer is an idle question ; far better to put
emphasis upon the truth that, notwithstanding
the mystery of suffering, this universe is organ-
ised in the interests of blessing ; that no man is
beyond the reach of God, and God is to be
interpreted by fatherhood. Gravitation holds
the stars in systems, so that every star and con-
stellation feels its sway. What is gravitation ?



The Eternal Evangel. 65

One of God's ways of working, one expression
of His fatherhood ; so equally is every other
law and method in the physical and spiritual
spheres. Gravitation is inexplicable, and so is
sorrow, but both are beneficent if used as they
were intended to be used. " Why is my heart
so heavy ?" No one can answer, but there is
a way in which it may be made light. What-
ever the sorrow, if we could be sure that it was
being used by love, and that greater blessings
would result because of it than could come in
any other way, there would be no complaint. It
is not sorrow that hurts, but apparent injustice.
Sorrows are often nature's means of relief.
Many a criminal has voluntarily gone to prison
because he desired to do something to compen-
sate for the wrong he had done. To all the
heavy-hearted, to all who have lost somethings
and know not why, to all who mourn, comes the
teaching of Jesus. Never forget that you are in
your Father's hands, and that your Father can
do all things. Unconquerable fatherhood rules
in all the affairs of men, therefore all things
must work for good.

Again the golden trumpets send their music
to the sorrowing in all the four quarters of the
earth : " Remember your Father. You are the
children of God, who can do no wrong and
whom none can resist."

Theorise about it as we may the greatest
human problem is death. It looms like an_



66 The Eteenal Evangel.

immense black wall across the path along which
all men move. It is the mystery of mysteries. A
recent book bears the title, " A Study of Death,"
but no one has found out anything by studying
death. Who has not often felt like throwing
himself on some mounded grave, and listening
if perchance he might catch some echo from
the unseen. But no such echo was ever heard.
What does it all mean ? Could there be anything
more satisfying than this : " In My Father's
house are many rooms " ? Death is a passage
from one room to another. The teaching of
Jesus about death is this, Life in the flesh is
existence in one room ; death is the door that
leads into another room. There are many
rooms, but all are in our Father's house, and
our Father's house is His children's home.
That is all we know and all we need to know.
That is the last, greatest, and only satisfying
word concerning death. Anything less would
be as bad as nothing; anything more would
only amplify this. Why, then, do Christians
sorrow when their loved ones die? Not
because this revelation is insufficient, but
because to be separated from those who are
dear is a pain in proportion as they are loved.
The many mansions in the Father's house do
not explain death, but they do rob it of its
terrors. When you left your home up among
the hills for college or for business your mother
wept, not because you were going to larger



The Eternal Evangel. 67

opportunity, but because she could not every-
day feast her eyes upon your face. When you
stood at the marriage altar and gave your life to
another, father and mother had heavy hearts,
not because you were entering a larger world,
but because you would no longer live in the
old home. When friends die Christians weep,
not because their loved ones have gone into the
ampler room in the palace of God, but because
the place where they once laboured and prayed
will know them no more.

Once more those symbolic figures put the
golden trumpets to their mouths and ring out
this music to all corners of the earth and all
spaces of the sky : " Death is not extinction ;
it is going from room to room in our Father's
house."

This is the evangel to a sinning, sorrowing,
dying race. It may all be condensed in three
texts whose comfort will never fail from among
men : " Him that cometh unto Me I will in no
wise cast out." " They that sow in tears shall
reap in joy." " Death is swallowed up in vic-
tory." And these three texts are illumined and
glorified for all who from their hearts are able
to confess their faith, saying : " I believe in
God, the Father Almighty."

This is the message for which all peoples
have waited and which no teaching can ever
transcend. It means more now than it ever
could have meant before, because eighteen cen-



The Eternal Evangel.



turies have added to it their emphasis. No one
has trusted in Jesus Christ without losing his
consciousness of guilt and being thrilled with
power and passion for Divine service.

No one has believed in God the Father with-
out finding every sorrow a means of growth and
every tear a seed of joy.

No one has listened when the Great Teacher
has spoken of resurrection and life without
being glad to wait for the revelation of the
many rooms and the Father's house.

This is the Eternal Evangel, and no better
news can ever fall on human ears than that
which tells of salvation from the guilt and
power of sin, which makes it possible to believe
that the Lord is good to all, and declares that
beyond the black wall of death are fairer fields
and brighter skies.

This is the music that from the golden
trumpets and ten thousand times ten thousand
voices soundeth far and ceaseth never : the
Eternal Evangel is the Gospel of the blessed
God which declares that behind all sin, all
sorrow, and all death is our Heavenly Father.

That song shall swell from shore to shore.
One hope, one faith, one love, restore
The seamless robe that Jesus wore.



V.
THE VOICE OF THE CROSS.



T.

THE VOICE OF THE CEOSS.

"There they crucified Him/'— Luke xxiii. 33.

These words describe an event by no means
uncommon in that cruel age. In themselves
they are not unique enough to attract attention :
as a part of the ministry of Jesus Christ they
have relations to all ages and climes. The
death of Christ was not so painful as that of
the two thieves who hung by His side. Con-
sidered simply as a historic fact, it was the
death of One who by legal process had been
adjudged to be a criniinal. It has been called
a sacrifice, but there was no altar, no fire, no
priest. There has always been a tendency to
surround the cross with artificial scenery. In
it the dramatic instinct has found a fruitful
subject. Artists have followed the example of
theologians, so far as their art would allow
them. I have always considered Gerome's
painting of " The Crucifixion " peculiarly noble
because it shows only the three crosses, and
stretching from their feet the shadows of those
hanging upon them. The attempt to put
infinite agony into a human face always fails.
Guido Eeni's "Ecce Homo" is perhaps the



72 The Yoice op the Cross.

greatest effort to depict sorrow that was ever
made, but those upturned eyes full of tears,
that thorn-crown, that mouth parted with
grief too deep for groans, convey no meaning
beyond terrible physical anguish. Ethical
and spiritual sensibility defy the painter's
brush even more than the logician's formula or
the theologian's system. If the crucifixion in
itself was not more tragic than thousands of
other events, in what do we find the great and
vital mystery of Calvary ? Because of its rela-
tions to humanity, because it has been a foun-
tain of moral regeneration, because it has been
a source of salvation and new life, we are led to
ask concerning the personality of Him who died
that death. The cross alone proves nothing
concerning Christ or His mission, but what
followed shows that no ordinary mortal there
poured out His soul in death, and that the life
which then culminated was not like that of
other men. You cannot begin with the cross
as a fact in history and reach any adequate
conclusion concerning the Man ; but beginning
with the work of Christ you are led by a process
swift and irresistible to something like the
faith of Peter — " Thou art the Christ, the Son
of the living God."

Concerning the relation of the death of Christ
to the Deity and the moral order, speculation
has been common and useless. Salvation is as
mysterious as the action of the elemental



The Voice of the Cross. 73

forces. How gravitation operates no one
knows ; how the energy in a sunbeam is com-
municated to a flower no one understands ; how
electricity can be manipulated so that a man
may hold a pen in Chicago and write his sig-
nature in New York baffles imagination ; and
until such facts are explained no one need be
dazed at the mystery of spiritual life. The
cross in its relation to man is what claims our
attention. If that cross were still standing,
endowed with life and power of speech, what
would be its message in these latter years of the
nineteenth century ? We speak of the " Voice of
the Cross." By that we mean the motive which
is brought to bear upon every man to co-operate
with those Divine forces which found expression
on the cross. And by the cross we do not mean
simply Calvary and the wood that was there
raised, but that suffering and sacrifice which
were the symbol of the eternal love of God. If
Christ was only a man, then the appeal is no
greater than that which comes from any heroic
death. But the cross reveals at the same time
the love of God and the ideal life of man. Its
call runs throughout the earth, as that of the
sunshine and the rain. Every sunbeam seems
to have a voice for the farmer, telling him that
winter is past, and the time for the sowing of
seed has come. The raindrops and the sun-
beams call those who till the soil to co-operate
with unseen forces for the realisation of the



74 The Yoice of the Cross.

harvest. No farmer understands how the
ground is made ready for the seed, and as little
how the seed grows after it is sown. And yet
he may take advantage of the forces in nature,
and compel the earth to bring forth harvests.
Even the dullest savage may co-operate with the
universe and work with it for the support of the
life of man. As raindrops and sunbeams appeal
to the farmer, so the cross, on which the Divine
love broke into expression, appeals to all, telling
them that no man is left to himself ; that, so to
speak, redemption is in the nature of things ;
that God works with all who will work with
Him ; that the Divine invitation, " Whosoever
will, let him come," has in it a deep and
sublime philosophy ; that it is literally true that
there is not a human being so humble or
oppressed that he may not link his puny self to
the great love of God, and by it be led into the
fulness of the Divine life. I have sometimes
imagined the cross to be a living being, with a
voice which, ringing down the centuries and
throughout all lands, carries ever this message :
The true life of man is that which culminated
when our Master died.

To what does the cross call men ?

It calls to personal holiness. The teaching
and mission of our Lord point toward the
impartation to man of the very life of God. All
have that life in the sense that they have exist-
ence, but all have not the nature of God, which



The Yoice of the Ckoss. 75

is holiness. What is meant by holiness ? Per-
fect goodness. Goodness is a word which every-
one understands. There have at different times
been different moral ideals. In one age, the
bravest have been considered the best; in
another, the shrewdest ; but holiness, in the sense
of unalloyed goodness, has always been recog-
nised as the finest flower of human character. In
its Biblical usage, holiness was applied to the
sacrificial system, in which only animals per-
fectly sound were offered to God. That perfec-
tion was in our Master. Holiness is a state of
moral purity. Some words need no definition.
Pure as the air ! Pure as the light ! Pure as
Christ ! To think of an unholy imagination or
an unworthy desire in the whiteness of His
nature is blasphemous. But holiness is not only
perfect health and purity : it is also something
set apart for the service of God. A man with
not one thrill of passion, not one desire for
personal aggrandisement, but with ambition
to be great for the sake of at last giving
all to God, suggests what holy character is.
It is not weakness ; it has no kinship with
merely sentimental piety. It is a positive
quality — the sum of all virtues. A holy man
cultivates every faculty to the utmost, acquires
every possible art, disciplines his mind, trains
his thought, acquires grace of action and expres-
sion, completes his manhood, in order that at
last he may offer a finished and beautiful sacri-



76 The Voice op the Cross.

flee to Him whom he delights to honour.
Patience,, temperance, love, have been called
weak ; and jet patience requires more strength
than passion ; temperance more resolution than
audacity; and love, both bravery and endur-
ance. In the old time Csesar was the hero;
in the new time, Jesus upon the cross, dying
that He may heal the woes of humanity, is the
hero. To what does the cross call ? To Christ-
like holiness ; to the realisation that every gift
and grace, every faculty and energy, every
motive and thought, belong to God. Pure as
the water without a taint ! as a diamond without
a flaw ! as the light that bathes the world in
splendour ! What were men intended to be ?
What Christ was. What word condenses His
character better than any other ? Holiness. No
thought of self ! no plan for self ! everything
for humanity ! So pure in heart that He could
see God ! To that all are called — to the very
character of Him who hung upon the cross. Is
the ideal high ? It cannot be too high. Is it
an impossible ideal ? When Eobert Morrison
started for China, an incredulous American said
to him : " Mr. Morrison, do you think you can
make any impression on the Chinese?" "No,"
was the reply ; " but I think the Lord can."
That ideal of perfect, flawless, stainless purity,
can it ever be realised by such beings as our-
selves, stained by unholy memories and polluted
by foul thoughts ? Is not that a height beyond



The Voice of the Cross. 77

our reach ? I fancy that I hear some incredulous
man say, as he looks out over the fields loaded
with snow, " The idea that a harvest will ever
grow in these cold and icy fields is absurd ! "
It is absurd to you and me, but not to Him
who can send His sun to melt the snow, and
His rain to nurse the seeds that were sown
before the snow had fallen. To the very life of
God we are called. It is impossible to us, but
not impossible to Him.

The cross appeals to all to fill their lives with
service and sacrifice. On the cross was the
noblest example of self-sacrifice for the sake of
those who have nothing to return that this
earth has seen. "Let this mind be in you
which was also in Christ Jesus." He "came
not to be ministered unto, but to minister."
Service and sacrifice are the natural language of
love. Other men may have ambition for them-
selves, but a Christian must do as his Master
did — make the most of himself for the sake of
humanity. The life that ended on the cross,
how little it is understood ! We bear the sacred
name; rear buildings for His worship; wear
the symbol of sacrifice in jewels on our persons;
talk about the cross ; but how many know that
there is but one material of which a cross can
be made? There was never yet one cross of
gold or silver or precious stones ; the only
material that can get into that shape is love ;
and love must manifest itself in service which



78 The Voice op the Cross.

will not shrink from sacrifice. Love "without
service is like a sunbeam without light. The
mother must minister to her child. A friend
must seek to be helpful to his friend. The first
recorded word of Christ was, "Wist ye not that
I must be about My Father's business ? " and
His last, " It is finished." What lies between
these words? Constant ministry. When He
said, " Let him that is chief est among you be
servant of all/' He outlined the form that the
Christ-life must take. The voice of the cross
calls to what the cross symbolised. " Ah, but,"
you say, Ci that was all very well for Him who
came for the accomplishment of a special work,
but it has no meaning to us." No meaning for
us ? Are there not as great evils to-day as
when He came? Do not millions bend beneath
indescribable sorrow? Have all men even yet
the truth ? Do all know that they are children
of God ? Have the doors between this and the
spirit lif e been thrown open ? The very work
which faced the Master still remains. He began
that which His followers must complete. Take
two or three illustrations.

The poverty of the world is not so great as
when the Christ was here, but it is still appal-
ling beyond description. Think of the families
in one city with only one room to a family !
Think of human beings on the verge of starva-
tion ! Think of little children in factories when
they ought to be in school ! Think of women



The Voice of the Cross. 79

with children to support making shirts at ten
cents apiece ; finding their thread, paying their
rent, fuel, light, clothing, everything out of
that wage ! Think of the wretchedness and
poverty that surge even to the curbs of the
palaces of the rich ! Lazarus and Dives touch
elbows. Why do thousands of men cheer the
name of Jesus and hiss the mention of the


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