F. D. (Frederic Dan) Huntington.

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In form and general plan this voiume may be re-
garded as completing a series of three, including
"Helps to a Holy Lent" and "New Helps to a
Holy Lent." In those two, many of the subjects ob-
viously pertaining to the meditations, self-examina-
tions and active duties of this yearly appointment
are presented in their particulars. What follows is
published with a desire on the part of the writer to
extend the help, if possible, and to share with others
convictions that have grown in his own mind as to
certain truths lying at the heart of the Faith and
Church of Christ, as to the relations of men and
society to His Person and Kingdom, and as to divine
powers which are at work in the world, too little
observed, but of deep import both to personal re-
ligious health and to social righteousness. Accord-
ing to any comprehensive idea of Lent it would
seem that its states of feeling and its rules and
practice of discipline can have no proper end or
meaning apart from their use as serious aids to the
building of character.

F. D. H.

Advent, 1890,

' What He wa^ti? Us to see is that, while
both the pa-rts are scored, "one without the other is a
delusion, and may be a lie. People blunderingly dis-
parage the Church when what they have in mind is
that one of the Church's two sons who misrepresents
her by giving her the signs and starts of life without
constant obedience. We all know the difference be-
tween spirit and body .when we see a body after the
life has left it. But you do not honor your faulty
friend by putting contempt on his body, or save even
a fruitless tree by cutting away its trunk. " Make the
tree good.'' Christian character is to be formed and
ripened according to the plan of God, not in ways of


our devising, but under His own laws, in His own
kingdom, which is His Church.

But the power of the Church is the personal power
of its Head. Affectionate and trusty loyalty to a
leader is a very different thing 'froiii' adherence to a
set of speculative opinioKSf 'it^Js a far- ftjd're^ inspiring
thing. Again and agaiS^x^'affempts have Ke^r/' made,
On the basis of rational pnilosophy, to construct a
scheme of mioral 'obligation or righteous conduct
independently of Jes.iis^ of Nazareth, this Son- of God
and Son of Man. Thatlli^s been the undertalfittg 'of
nearly a dozen ^^ SeiigiODSi" Their effect ozi the
living forces of mankind' t?t€. lif^art, the 'vvdlly tne con-
science of the actual world,' as compared wifh the per-
sonal power of a divine yet human Saviour, is that
of moonlight compared with sunlight, or as a set of
rules and a volume of poetry compared with the be-
nignant and vital authority of a living Lord, not
the less manly for His divinity, in whom love and
wisdom are blended. Christianity is alone in this
embodiment of all its living and loving force in Him
whom Christians worship, love and serve. If your
religious course begins with a personal devotion and
conversion to Him it will be faithful as He is faitli-
ful, constant and abiding as He is constant and


abiding, steadfast with His steadfastness who is
the same yesterday, to-day, and forever. It will
be a satisfying service, because affectionate and

Spiritual physicians, who have had the care of
souls, wdll agree that most of the unhappy people that
come to them, lamenting their lack of religious life, give
this account of themselves: There was a time when they
were aroused •, they heard a voice asking why they
were sent into the world and saying, ^^ Go work in
God's vineyard 5 " they saw a vision of heavenly
light. But this interest was fitful, not constant ; the
better hour fled and left no mark ; the vision van-
ished, and self and the world came back. Repentance
was the early dew ; resolve was the morning cloud.
It is remarkable that the first book written, a picture
of a thinking man's experience under the hand of
God, has in it the same confession that serious minds
of every age since have repeated : ^^0 that I were
as in months past, when God's candle shined upon
my head, and by His light I walked through darkness,
and the secret of God was upon my tabernacle ! "
Remember our spiritual life is under laws, like our
bodies, the seasons, and the growing grain. Unless
we mind them and work as they work, church-going,


preaching, and Lent-keeping are in vain. You are
supposed not to be trifling now, but in earnest.

Ask then with what idea as to its purpose, and
what motive as to its personal effect, your religious
interest began. One principal cause of failure is
found in false expectations. Whether we look into
the Master's teaching in the New Testament, or into
the practical embodiment of it in His life, we find the
chief mark upon it to be that it is unselfish. His
aim is to carry us, in our chief concerns, out of our-
selves. Just so far as thought, labor, feeling, anxi-
ety are fixed on our own comfort, narrowed down to
the little circle of our private welfare, even in the
matter of religion, we have mistaken the essential
quality and first law of His Grospel. Men may be self-
seeking, self-pleasing and self-complacent in religion
as well as in trade, or society, or study, or amuse-
ment. In the false religious systems of the world
that spirit has been uppermost ; worship and obedi-
ence were rendered for a selfish advantage, to selfish
deities living in a selfish heaven. However splendid
the ritual, or costly the sacrifice, the devotion was a
calculation, and the sacrifice a bribe. Christ said
prayer and praise are a child's free-will offering of
beautiful faith to a Father ; the first and last act of a


Church in these American States is puny, slow,
small, failing of its possible conquests and promised
glories, it is because Christian worshippers are not
enlarged and quickened by this ennobling and en-
abling spirit of the kingdom, as Christ brought it, a
mission on the earth. It is safe, it is salvation, to
live in the kingdom by the law of the King. There
is no other salvation, no other life eternal. Personal
responsibility for the welfare of the world about you is a
chief element in the vitality and stability of your
own faith — not the great, far-off world, so distant as
to be indistinct, or so general as to be unreal, but the
near, actual, living world of men and women. Have
you pondered the problems that perplex them, bewil-
der them and set some of them to asking why they
were ever born into the world, and whether suicide
would not be a pardonable escape out of it ? Has it
struck you that in this time, in this country, in this
community, where wrong, and cunning, and lying,
and unbelief, and the desecration of holy things, and
fascinating but poisonous books circulating clandes-
tinely among your children in the schools, are pulling
down the only safeguards that can make homes pure,
marriages sacred, society decent, and the future toler-
able, — it is an awful thing to live at all ? If not,


then surely it is no wonder that your past religion seems
to you little better than the phantasm of an idle brain,
and your expectation of heaven an unsubstantial
dream. It is only by looking at these neighbors as
Christ looked at His, only with a burning sense that
it is your mind and your heart, your work and will,
your pity and your time, that can save them — them
and you together, — only in this way that what you
have ventured to call your faith can be an inspiring
and satisfying thing.

" Thou knowest, Lord, tKe "weariness and sorrow

Of the sad heart that comes to Thee for rest;
Cares of to-day and burdens of to-raorrow,

Blessinf^s implored, and sins to he confessed.
I come before Thee at Thy gracious word,

And lay them at Thy feet ; Thou knowest, Lord !
Thou knowest all the past ; how long and blindly

On the dark mountains the lost wanderer strayed,
How the Good Shepherd followed, and how kindly

He bore it home, upon His shoulders laid,
And healed the bleeding wounds, and soothed the pain,
And brought back life, and hope, and strength again."

/~\ ALMIGHTY and most merciful Lord God, look down from
^^ heaven, we beseech Thee, as we draw near unto Thee with
lowly penitence. We entreat Thee to forgive us all our
offences, and to receive us as Thy dear children. Let Thy



Fatherly Hand ever be over us, and so loosen our chains, O
Lord, and deliver our souls from the snares and temptations of
this evil world, that by Thy same merciful and most powerful
Hand we may be for ever united to Thee through Thy only-
begotten Son, Who is our pardon and our peace. Grant this
for Thine own Love's sake, in Him, Christ our Lord.



Knowing perfectly that in His ultimate purpose
He was to form and perpetuate a Society whicli should
be the organization of His Spirit^ the most vital and
powerful ^' Body " ever existing on the earth, it is
remarkable how personal our Lord was in all the first
acts of His ministry. He not only called, taught, and
trained persons, but it seems to have been His inten-
tion so to constitute this Society that all the social
and political combinations of His time should be
crossed and broken up by it, classes fused, their di-
viding lines obliterated, and the individuality of
every individual preserved. See how he took His
countrymen as they came, — sailors, farmers, a physi-
cian, office-holders, all more interested at first in their
pursuits than in Him. What is it that He seeks
first to do ? To draw each person to Himself, so as
to establish a direct personal communication, or an
infusing of the divine life into the man; not that sort


of conversion which would destroy our personality
and substitute another, Lut a careful preservation of
the personal characteristic and variety, and yet the
forming within of the image, the spiritual and living
image of the Master. Perfect man Himself He reaches
into every heart and puts His strong and tender hand
on something there that needs Him — on a publican's
longing for sympathy, on Peter's impulses, on John's
enthusiasm, on Thomas's doubts, on Nathaniel's purity,
— on one woman's sorrow, and another's shame, and
another's gratitude. This was the secret of His
power. He knew just where to touch. The object
is to link each heart to His own, to make them all see
the Father's face as He sees it, to make them hate
sin, and believe in charity, and hunger and thirst
after righteousness. They will come to this by keep-
ing Him company. They will not only learn it from
Him, but catch it from Him, or breathe it in. All
through the early part of His three years' ministry,
this is His work, — calling, gathering, attracting and
inspiring. He is preparing a few men to do a cer-
tain thing.

They have a special name, suited to what is going
on, ^' disciples." After a while the name changes,
because the work changes. They are not called^ but


sent ; not gathered, but scattered ; not only learners,
but preachers and laborers.

They go to all quarters of the globe. They are
apostles now. Illuminated, they become Light-bearers.
They have found out that no man liveth to himself,
or dieth to himself. Watch them, and you see rising
up in them the great conception of a cause or king-
dom. They are to live for that. The idea takes
possession of them and masters their minds. They
see Christ in this '^ Cause.'' They have a passion
for it, because it is His. Their loyalty to His Person
becomes one with their devotion to His Church. It
is His Body. Knowing it, they know Him. It is
His House. Spreading it, they widen His glory.
The sense of personal responsibility enlarges ; it
passes from concern for their own salvation to concern
for the saving of the world. They no longer inquire
how many there are with them, but only where each
shall go and what each shall do ; not what are the pros-
pects of success, but where there is room for work.
They are lifted into a higher view, and their stand-
ard of duty is raised with them. Their piety be-
comes unselfish, their life is missionary life. Freely
they have received ; freely they give themselves
away. Every man knows that he must answer for


the triumpli of the cause. The live coal has touched
their lips. The voice of the Lord was heard saying,
^' Whom shall I send, and who shall go 1 " Then
said each believer and follower of the Crucified,
" Here am I; send me.''

All along, that divine fire has flamed up in some
single heart, wherever the cause has been set for-
ward, or great things have been done. It was because
St. Philip felt personally responsible for the souls in
Samaria that he went out from Jerusalem, the first
missionary, with the whole weight of the honor of the
Church on his shoulders. St. Peter traveled with the
same power of solitary and personal responsibility.
St. Paul felt it and acted under it everywhere, and
it made him the greatest of missionaries, the greatest
of theologians, the greatest of preachers. St. Luke
felt it when he stood by his master at Rome, while
others deserted, so that Paul wrote of him in the
epistle, ^^ Only Lul^e is with me." The whole Chris-
tian age has passed. How is it now 1

Within our own life-time two men have left Eng-
land and home, each conscious of personal responsi-
bility for the salvation of a continent, saying, ^^ Send
me," and going to the ends to the earth. Bishop
Selwyn sailed to New Zealand because others counted


their lives too dear to go; and tlie doors of an immor-
tal future for nations sitting in darkness opened be-
fore him. Livingstone felt his way by faith to the
heart of Africa; and now the Kingdom of Heaven is
pressing after him, to seek two hundred millions of
people. Not long before he died, alone there, for the
eye of God, he wrote in his journal, ^' My Jesus, my
King, my Life, my All ! I have given and here
dedicate my whole life to Thee. Accept me, and
grant that before this year has gone I may finish my
task. Amen.'' When his body was found dead it
was on its knees.

These seem like prophets and evangelists, dis-
tant figures, too far on and far up for our following.
But remember that for every one like them God
wants ten thousand Christians faithful in ordinary
places; and He wants one in the place where you are.
You are not to go to the Southern Ocean, but to bear
the witness of a devout, patient, sweet-tempered
housemate in the house where you go in and out.
You are to conquer for Christ the barren waste in
your own heart, your Africa. Remember those
commanding spirits were at first imworthy and of
small account. They would have been insignifi-
cant to the end, and we should never have heard


their naraesj if they had not answered, each one, to
the Master's call, '^ Here am I ; send me."

And because it will lift you up a little nearer to
them, and will stir you with fresh energy to holier
work, hear Isaiah's description of his vision. " In
the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sit-
ting upon a throne high and lifted up, and His train
filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphim.
Each one had six wings; with twain he covered his
face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with
twain he did fly. And one cried unto another and
said. Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts ; the
whole earth is full of His glory. And the bolts of
the door moved at the voice of Him that cried, and
the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, Woe
is me ! for I am undone ; because I am a man of un-
clean lips and I dwell in the midst of a people of un-
clean lips; for mine eyes have seen the King, the
Lord of Hosts. Then flew one of the seraphim unto
me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had
taken with the tongs from off the altar. And he laid
it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched
thy lips, and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy
sin purged. Also I heard the voice of the Lord,


saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us
Then said I, Here am I; send me/'

Few years, no wisdom, no renown,

Only my life can I lay down;

Only my heart, Lord, to Thy throne

I bring ! and pray
That child of Thine I may go forth,
And spread glad tidings through the earth,
And teach sad hearts to know Thy worth —

Lord, here am I !

And make me strong; that staff, and stay,
And guide, and guardian of the way
To Theeward may I bear each day

Some precious soul.
• Speak, for I hear ! ' make ' pure in heart '
Thy face to see. Thy truth impart
In hut and hall, in church and mart-
Lord, here am I !

" I ask no heaven till earth be Thine,
Nor glory-crown while work of mine
Remaineth here When earth shall shine

Among the stars.
Her sins wiped out, her captives free,
Her voice a music unto Thee —
For crown, new work give Thou to me ;

Lord, here am I! '


"OE present, O Lord, to our supplications, nor let thy merciful
clemency be far away from us. Grant, we beseech Thee,
that renewing our sacred observances with annual devotion Tve
may please Thee both in body and soul. Give a salutary effect to
our fasting, that the mortification of our flesh may jirove the
nourishment of our souls. May thy mercy, O Lord, be before-
hand with thy servants, and all our iniquities be blotted out by
thy speedy pardon ; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


ixx$t ixxAnji.


We shall deal effectually with our moral life very
much in proportion as we understand its laws. Like
the body, the spirit has its laws of growth, healthy
welfare and restoration from disease. They are less
plain and more complicated ; they are not reached
by the senses ; but we come to know the inward
man as we know the outward, by observation, by
attention, by study. We can shirk spiritual dis-
cipline 5 but we cannot, if we shirk it, be wise, safe
or strong.

One of the facts to be found out is that in the
renewal of the souPs life there is one that is princi-
pal, and there are others that are subordinate. One
is supreme, in that the others are not likely to take
place to much purpose without it ; it is radical, in
that it goes to the root (radix) of character, altering
by our will the quality of all that grows from the
root, or the whole of life ; it is comprehensive, in


that the effect of it is to touch and change for the
better the various purposes of the will and the entire
course of conduct. Other renewals may follow.
They must if this is real. '' The inward man is
renewed day by day.'' Religious nurture implies a
succession of religious acts ; but there is a beginning
of them which is apt to be conscious and intentional.
Character-building is a process of repeated strokes,
shapings, convictions ; but before them all is the
laying of a foundation. As often as Ave wander we
must mark the deviation and come back to the right
way; but the general direction is chosen and taken
at the outset.

What is now referred to is not the doctrinal dis-
tinction between regeneration and conversion. The
sacramental mystery of a second birth by the grace
of the Spirit of Grod acting on an obedient human
faith, set fast by our Lord and His Apostles in the
original constitution of the Divine Kingdom, is a
reality apart from the personal decisions that fol-
low it. What secret connection there may be, or
how it may be traced in different individuals, is not
here considered. The mystic ''• wind blow^eth where
it listeth, and thou canst not tell whence it cometh,
or whither it goeth." In adult baptism the connec-


tion between the personal choice and the grace
conferred is verj close. But among those move-
ments of the will which are properly called a con-
version there is one, with many and perhaps with
most persons, which is readily distinguished by its
definiteness, its immediate power, its permanent re-
forming impression. Not a few of us in retrospect
can fix it in time and place. There was a full stop
on a wrong road. The face was set in a new direc-
tion. There was an extrication from a tangled web
of sophistries and confusions. A fog lifted. An
obstinate habit was broken short off. It is not too
much to say that life became a new thing and put on
a new look. Throughout the New Testament this
change is constantly recognized and is sanctioned by
such names as '^turning/' '^arising/' '^awaking/'
being ^^rencAved in the spirit of the mind." Between
this and '^ amendment/' or ^' improvement," or repent-
ances for particular ' sins, or the correcting of daily
errors, there is a difference.

In one of the striking actions of His ministry
Christ marks this difference, symbolizing it first in
His attitude and gesture, and then interpreting it in
language. The most impulsive of His disciples, from
mingled shame and pride, refuses the foot- washing ;


and then, seeing that consent will be a proof of loyal

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Online LibraryF. D. (Frederic Dan) HuntingtonForty days with the Master → online text (page 1 of 16)