F. D. (Frederic Dan) Huntington.

Forty days with the Master online

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is hopeless who admires goodness. Nobody is lost
who wants to be saved. I have read the lives of
many bad men and some bad women, for I have read
history; and some of them I have seen. If men sunk
so low and gone so far astray as St. Augustine and
St. Ignatius before they were saints, and John New-
ton and John Bunyan and a host of other recovered
and righteous souls all along, have turned from foul
mud to ^^ living water/' leading many thousands up
after them from the depths where they wallowed to
the heights where they have ascended, then there
need be no despair.

And so Christ becomes the great Interpreter of
what we are. He comes to interpret us to ourselves.
It is the first step towards the new and everlasting
life. Christ does other things, and has other char-
acters. He is Prophet, Priest and King. He is
Sacrifice and Shepherd, Wine and Bread, Head of
the Church and Intercessor at the throne. But that
He may be all these to us He is to each and
all of us first a Eevealer of the secrets of the
soul, as Simeon predicted He would be when He
held Him in his arms at His birth. Not only
does He reveal God to man ; He reveals man to


himself. It is so in some degree with all true pro-
phets. They are listened to and followed by startled
people and nations because they tell them something
they had dimly felt in their own real inner life.
Into whatever company Christ entered^ the persons
about Him had a new self-knowledge. Sometimes it
angered them, as it did the Pharisees, or alarmed
them, as it did Herod and Pilate. Sometimes it
smote them into silence ; sometimes it converted
them. They went out, one by one, speechless, not
gossiping or snarling any more at other people's sins,
but astonished at the discovery of their own. He
sifted out chaff from wheat. Scribes from Publicans,
pretension from sincerity. Everybody's eyes were
turned inward; each one saw how weak, or mean,
or hollow, or selfish, or filthy he was, and how
changed and cleansed and Christ-like he ought
to be and might be. He said, Come to Me, and
you shall have power to live out your better
self, by the strength and inspiration I will give
you. So He drew the world after Him •, the common
people heard Him gladly ; only hypocrites hated
Him ; and the procession of His rejoicing and thank-
ful followers has lengthened out from Sychar to the
ends of the earth. Come to Him in your shame, and


lie will lead you to honor and peace. Give Him
yourself, and He will give you hach to yourself trans-
figured, your manhood made complete like His, your
womanhood made holy by His grace, your life made
satisfying by your likeness to Him.

You ask still liow He creates the thirst that brings
you. In three ways He creates it. He does it first
by lifting up before us the vision of good lives, far
better than our own. You recall some face that jo\\
used to look at in your childhood where love and
serenity and purity wrote out for you the living les-
son and pictured for you the living beauty of holi-
ness. Have you not known persons of whom you
said, There is the embodied righteousness of Christ ;
there is Christianity alive j in a human shape and an
every-day movement, in sweet temper, charitable
speech, noble action. You read tlie biography of
some saintly hero, and your heart kindPes with a
momentary sympathy. You take up your neglected
New Testament, and there shines the marvellous
splendor of that one life of Love ^ of which you know
that you might have a blessed share in it, and have
it more and more abundantly if you would. Perhaps
you will say, Give me this, that I thirst not !

He does it, secondly, by conscience, that mighty


"^ \

and awful witness within you whicli, in spite of all ^» \
your levity and lying and unbelief, lives on, which t ^ ,
survives through all the horrors and crimes and * '^
madness of our sinning race, which oceans cannot O
quench, and graveyards cannot bury, or earthquakes,^^*
displace, because it is a part of humanity itself. It
wakes up after you have drugged it to sleep. It conies
back after you have driven it away. It is warning
before you sin, commanding ^' Thou shalt not 5 " it
is waiting by you while you sin, more faithful to you
than you are to yourself; it is remorse and ven-
geance and agony after you have sinned, — afraid of
your Father, ashamed of yourself, face to face with
judgment. This is the thirst.

He does it, finally, by suffering. There is a. fever,
there is a restlessness, there is a pain, there is a
deep disease, not of the body, and all of it in all. the
sorrowing world is made for good. It means amend-
ment, repentance, prayer, newness of life. That is the
key to every dark chamber. That is the interpreta-
tion of mysteries of sickness and mourning. That is
the inmost sense of the Beatitudes of Him who knew
when to hurt and how to heal. It is the undertone in
the cry of your long days of grief, ^' Would God it
were evening ! " and of the longer nights, " Would


God it were morning ! -^ It comes from shattered
nerves, lost property, broken promises, mifaithful
friendships, lacerated and lonely and speechless
hearts. I needed what I would not seek, the deeper
well. The earth under foot is not iron ; the heavens
overhead are not brass. God is not hard, or cold, or
departed, or changed. My Christ has made be-
reavements beneficent, and crosses light, and pale
faces beautiful, and all truth and goodness immortal,
and every soul that comes thirsting to Him victori-
ous over disorder and death. I am satisfied to be
like Him.

Here we stop and think and pray. To-morrow, if
we live till to-morrow, the march, the strife, the
study, the trial will begin once more. We pray.
What shall the prayer be ? Whatever the other pe-
titions for yourselves or those you love, pray this. You
men who are not of the past but of to-day, you women
who are not of Samaria but here, pray this, reaching
out the hand of your faith : " Give me, Master,
this water, this glorious gift of God. Make me first
to long for and then to live this life with Thee ! Give
it, or I shall never have it. It will not be wages,
but bounty, for I shall never earn it. It will not be
bought, for


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Online LibraryF. D. (Frederic Dan) HuntingtonForty days with the Master → online text (page 10 of 16)