F. D. (Frederic Dan) Huntington.

Forty days with the Master online

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years of mediatorial toil on the earth didst labor without
wearying and didst possess Thy soul in perfect peace, give to
us, Thy uuj)rofitable servants, of Thy constancy in service and
Thy patience in pain, while yet we remain here on the earth,
and at length chat perfect rest which remaineth for the people
of God in His presence who liveth everlastingly, and world
without end. Amen.



The Giver of life and strength being also the
Giver of rest, it remains to see how this gift of rest
is bestowed. When a load and the strength of its
carrier are unequal there are two ways of equalizing
them. You may take away a part of the load, or
you may add to the carrier^s strength. Either will
accomplish the end. When a task is too much for a
laborer you may bring the two together either by
diminishing the task or by increasing the laborer's
power. In relieving the workman the result in the
two cases is the same. But as respects the amount
of work done for the Master, and the honor of the
workman, the results are very far from being the
same. In the one case you rest the man by letting
the work down to his infirmity, making it little for
his littleness. In the other case you rest him and
empower him together, by lifting him up to his high
calling, inspiring and so comforting him.


t «


If you look accurately at the matter you find that
even in our earthly rests, a night's rest, or a vaca-
tion's rest, it is not a mere stopping from work that
we gain, but far more than that, an increase of ca-
pacity and a replenishing of resources for service

Now, to give His rest to our souls Christ never
takes the first but always the second and more glori-
ous of these two metliods of relief. An accusing
conscience being the burden. He never relieves it
by dulling the sensibility of the conscience, or bj
merely striking out or cancelling the sin, as you
woidd take out weights from the heavier side
of an uneven balance. This is not the spiritual
account of the atonement, but a belittling travesty of
it. He rather stimulates and quickens that keen con-
science in His disciple more and more ; but then He
supplies to the penitent believer such a living and
holy power that all the sorrow and pain and fear are
lost in this new energy and assurance from his Lord.
He invigorates us with His inspiration. He fortifies
us with confirmation-grace. He feeds us with sacra-
ments. He revives us with answers to prayer.

So of the Christian's work. It is not shortened
down to his mere natural ability. He is raised up



and enlarged to the measure of its greatness. The
Christian man is not told that he may do less service
than the man of the world in order that he may be
satisfied with himself. He has far more to do, more
for man, more for God ; but the Master he serves
and in whom he believes furnishes him secretly, in-
wardly, spiritually, with a peculiar and glorious
energy. He triumphs by his King.

The principle holds of all the sufferings and trials
of Christian people. They are not exempt from the
common liability to pain, or the necessity of disci-
pline. They live in perishable bodies, among the
same companions and in the same disordered world
as irreligious men. Their nerves are as sensitive,
their feelings as tender, their tastes as fastidious as
other men's. The difference is that the sacrifices
encountered are no more evils to them because they
are met with another power of endurance, which is
the mighty power of Christ in their hearts. God's
will is their will. Thorns and thistles are turned
into plants of heavenly nourishment for them. Par-
adise has been re-entered through Gethsemane. As
the fall brought sweat and curse, because the inward
man was crippled, the cross brings rest and blessing
because by it righteousness becomes the choice and


glory and joy of life, and He who suiFered for ns once
dwells Himself, a conquering and peace-giving pres-
ence, in the new-born soul.

Doubtless, there might have been a different way.
We can imagine a God working miracles to excuse
His favorites from weariness of the flesh and anxie-
ties of the mind, providing Arcadian inclosures where
they could lounge away the idle hours, feast without
surfeiting, and never know the torture of a cross.
But then Pie would be a Pagan god in a heathen
heaven. Jesus said, ^^ Take My yoke upon you ;
carry My cross every day. Go work in My vine-
yard." He has too much work needing to be done
and too deep a love for the workman to indulge us in
any ignoble ease. He expects His Church to lead
the world in unselfish activity, a laboring, giving,
patiently-enduring Body of Christ. And all the
strength necessary for it He supplies if only the
channels of a receptive faith are open.

See the practical effect. When I have a fiery
temper to manage, a trying lot to take patiently, a
tiresome acquaintance or provoking neighbor to live
with, bad habits to break down, any dark sin to con-
quer, or more of the new man to put on — ought I to
ask that some Omnipotent Hand outside of me would


sweep the obstacles away and make my road to
Heaven smooth ? This would leave me no' a whit
greater^ holier, more Christlike than I was before.
No, what 1 ought to ask is courage and enduiance
equal to my task, and a holy principle mightier than
the temptation. That would be to be " strengthened
with might by His Spirit in the inner man."

We come by this way into the deep places of the
Gospel and the soul. We have found out just what
^^ Gospel grace " is. It is our Lord^s lifting Chris-
tians up into clear light and spiritual power out of
their natural infirmities, enabling them for all their
difficult work for God in this world. It is not letting
their standard down, or abridging the march, or
excusing them from battles. It is imparting to
them a new life, larger life, a redeemed life, wide
and grand with the fulness of God. Confess, then,
how those parsimonious Christians dishonor and mis-
represent their calling who drag on with indolent
dispositions, mean dimensions, grudging charities or
dainty fancies. The '^ Father worketh hitherto,''
and Christ, our King, our Prophet, and our Priest,
gives all His life away. We can rise to meet our
enemy on royal terms. We can look hostility in the
face, as the look of fearless eyes is said to subdue


lions. We can do all things through Christ strength-
ening us. Out of weakness, exactly as the apostle
says, we shall be made strong, and when weakest in
ourselves strongest for God. The strongest of you
arc impotent till you are on the side of the Almighty.
Your incomes are impoverishing you, unless you
would rather be poor than do wrong. Rest is not in-
action, but liberty; not idleness, but willing and joyous
movement forward. Rest is the perfect harmony
and fulness of all the energies and affections of the
soul, acting together by Him who fills all with His

And here, finally, we have splendid outlines of
what the Christian life hereafter will be. ^^ This is
life eternal ; " life is action. Heaven will indeed be
" rest," but not the rest of doing nothing. It will be
intense, ceaseless, glorious work for God, every
faculty free, every energy in play, every condition
harmonized, and every breath thanksgiving. There
shall be no night there, because there will be no need
of any other repose or recovery or recreation than
simply to live in a climate like that, a climate created
by the Face of the Lord, who is the Everlasting
Light. Day and night ^^ they serve Him." Limita-
tion, weariness, failure, suffering, sin are ended.


The discords of our cross-purposing and jarring plans
with too much self-seeking in them, our jangling
tempers and noisy passions, will be still. A few
more of these twilights fading down the walls of the
outer heavens that we see, and then the darkest and
weakest mind among us will be able to comprehend
what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and

** Where'er the gentle heart
Finds courage from above ;
Where'er the heart forsook
Warms with the breath of love;

Where faith bids fear depart

City of Rest ! thou art.

" Thou art where'er the proud
In humbleness melts down;
Where self itself yields up;
Where martyrs win their crown;
Where faithful souls possess
Themselves in perfect peace.

" Wliere in life's common way
With cheerful feet we go;
Where in His steps we tread
Who trod the way of woe;

Where He is in the heart,

City of God I thou art.

SIXTH wednesd/y. 24o


:m ski

^^ Not 'throned above tab skies,
Nor golden walled afar;
But where Christ's two or three
In His name gathered are,

Be in the midst of them

God's own Jerusalem."'

/~\ FATHER most merciful, who knowest all our necessities
and infirmities, our discouragements in serving Thee and
the burdens on our hearts, bestow upon us such strengthening
and comforting grace, we entreat Thee, as may support us in
all dangers to our faith, and carry us through all temptations
to complaining or despair, through Him who toiled and suffered
for our sake, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord. Amen.


3Mx ^MxMmj.


It is given us to believe that there is going on
now and always a twofold movement of the Life of
God, a movement first downward of God to us, and
then, answering to that, created by that, a move-
ment in mankind of its believing and recep-
tive souls upward towards Him. It is under-
stood well enough that these terms downward
and upward, below and above, are terms of meta-
phor, drawn from the world of sense and used
in all language by accommodation as a part of the
imagery by which alone we could conceive or ex-
press the realities of the spiritual world, making
luminous the whole process of Revelation. The
movement downward is one of loving kindness, help
and renewal, making man's life like the life of God.
It is not like the wind that blows down or the streams
that fall from the hills, unconscious. It is personal,
alive, having in it heart, raind and will. It is the


uncovered secret of the everlasting mystery. It is
characteristic of Christianity as distinguished from
all false religions. One would suppose all the world
would gladly believe it and welcome the gift. So
far as it is believed, the kingdom of Heaven comes
on the earth.

It strengthens us in the faith to see grand demon-
strations of the fact standing out in one historic
period after another in the religious training of the
race. These "■ Dispensations " are only so many
connected and successive ways of divine working by
which the Head of the one great family educates His
sons and daughters for a life like Plis own. Each
has much about it that is unlike the others, as we
might expect ; and yet underneath the differences
they are all one, because one purpose runs through
them, and one Hand guides them. The unity is in
Him who comes, and comes, and comes again. Su-
perficial minds puzzle themselves over the Scriptures
because instead of seeing the marks of a moral and
divine unity, and being satisfied with them, they
turn a microscopic criticism, partly finical and partly
conceited, on obvious but insignificant differences,
inseparable from a written Bible and a literary
method. Once recognize the evidence that from


Genesis to the Apocalypse there runs a ruling and
sublime design to open the unseen world doTvai into
this world by the Son of IMan, a design manifest in
some places and obscure in others, and details be-
come subordinate and difficulties insignificant. The
critics stumble into a barren and irrelevant skep-
ticism by looking for proofs of inspiration with
grammars and dictionaries and chonological tables,
instead of being awed by the simple and majestic
fact, unmatched in all literature and history, that
Providence has for a wonderful end brought and held
these ancient writings together through the ages and
for all nations, the Incarnation being the bond of
their unity, the theme of patriarchs and prophets,
psalmists and historians, evangelists and apostles.

The first age reaches from the first Adam to the
second, from Eden to the birth at Bethlehem.
Throughout are clear signals of the descending and
ascending movement. Notice the order, not ascend-
ing first, as if everything originated with man, as if
he made his own religion, sent his own Saviour, con-
structed his own Church, invented his own cross,
and by a pull of several thousand years drew himself
up into heavenly places; but descending first. The
power originates not on the human but on the divine


side; not, as the rationalist imagines, with those wlio
being helpless need to be helped, and being lost need
to be found, and born bad need to be born again,
but with the Almighty Maker, Helper, and Finder.
The entire sweep and meaning of the record strike
squarely against the theory that man elevates, puri-
fies, saves, or even civilizes himself. God moves
first for the soul of His child. The child is moving
not towards Him but from Him. The first line of
Scripture signalizes the entire era, ^^In the begin-
ning God." That keynote rings through the Old
Testament voices till the last of its prophets an- s
nounces the Word made flesh. Over all those East-
ern plains, moving before the eyes of men, the Leader,
Ruler, Pleader, Preacher, Deliverer, is one not of
this world. He wants His straying, blinded, home-
less children with Himself, out of the desert and
miry clay, out of the dark, out of the prison-house,
out of the far country of harlots and swine, heathen-
ism and hatred, the shadow of death, and they must
be lifted out. The eyes that are bent earthward
must be turned Heavenward, and then heart and
hope will be turned. They have not the power, the
knowledge, the sight, not even the dream. And
when there is a way disclosed, a Hebrew Church set


up, a people redeemed, a worship in the wilderness,
the cloudy pillar " descends, stands at the door of
the Tabernacle, and all the people rise up."

This pillar is not God^ or Christy or the Holy
Spirit. It is an external thing. God is not yet
known or felt by men as wdthin them, dwelling in
their hearts, or even a Presence among them, walk-
ing at their side. Above them He certainly is, a
glorious and worshipful Eeality there. He comes to
them from without, looks on them, speaks to them,
directs them, pleads tenderly with them, never for-
gets them. Yet He is thought of and spoken of
chiefly as elsewhere. At first there is not even a
special outward seat of His glory. In the Patriarchal
age the heavens enthrone and hide Him. Mes-
sengers come, and they always come down. They
visit men at their doors, at midnight, in holy
places, by ladders of light. The other world is open^
but distant. The forms of its bright inhabitants
gleam through shaded pathways. Supernatural
manifestations are never incredible. Clouds are
touched and mountains are crowned with their splen-
dor. Nobody is greatly surprised by a celestial
visitor or disputes his credentials. Whatever weak-
ness, or sins, or crimes there may be, such as we


have to witness and deplore now, there is none of
our wretched, shallow, upstart materialism. Men
and women live every day in the faith of a larger,
higher and better world than this. The centre and
throne is there — the seat of power, of light, of wel-
fare. The earth is troubled and transient. Heaven
is steadfast and eternal. Every movement of mercy
is started there.

To make the invisible more definite, and to bring
it within the easier grasp of all orders of minds,
these heavenly realities are symbolized and thus lo-
calized. God's people are planted in one country.
The Divine Majesty has an earthly court. There is
a theocratic commonwealth, a holy nation, a consti-
tution, a ritual, a tabernacle, a temple, a shekinah,
a priesthood, a Moses in the mount and an Aaron at
the altar. No one supposes these things originated
on the earth, were a human product contrived in the
brain of any man. The brain was less active than it
is now, but it knew better than that. Men knew
their needs, infirmities, dependence better, and they
knew God better. The wisdom that ordered this
visible worship, the foresight that planned both taber-
nacle and temple, the pardon in the sacrifices, the
light within the light, came from beyond the flight


of the eagle, the hiding-places of the thunder and
the chambers of the sun-rising. All beginnings
were seen to be in God. The unchanging residence
of all peace and love, power and protection was on
high. The downward and upward movement went
on. ^^ The cloudy pillar descended and stood at the
door of the tabernacle." Prophets preached, priests
ministered^ Psalms were sung to David's harp, fire
fell, incense arose, Israel was led and ruled, in the
same faith. Jerusalem itself, the city of the Great
King, was not the centre of life, the fountain of
dominion, or the foundation of the throne. Patterns
of holy things were let down from a loftier mount.
All was done to lift men upward, and they were
lifted. " The people rose up and worshipped." We
are their children, their heirs. Is their faith our
inheritance ?

As the deep blue of Heaven brightens into stars,
So God's great love shines forth in promises,

Which, falling softly through our prison bars,
Daze not our eyes, but with their soft light bless.

Ladders of light God sets against the skies,

Upon whose golden rongs we step by step arise,

Until we tread the halls of Paradise."


/^ ALMIGHTY God, who hast created the heavens and the
^-^^ earth, and who hast opened the heavens to the earth
that men mif^ht behold Tliy glory in the doing of Thy will, and
he drawn u^Jward to dwell with Thee in Thy unseen and ever-
lasting habitation, grant, we beseech Thee, that as Thy holy
angels always do Thee service in Heaven, so they may succour
and defend ns on earth, through Him who hath brought life
and immortality to light, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.



It sometimes seems that the Christian family, in
spite of all its gains, along with some things that it
could better spare has parted with a portion of its
birthright. Allowing that some delusions have been
dispelled, some idols broken, and some better inter-
pretations of obscure Scriptures found out, we never-
theless rise sometimes from the reading of those
^^ lively oracles,'' or from the writings of saints of an
elder time, with a feeling that a glory not of the
earth has passed away from it, because so generally
men look to themselves rather than to God, around
them rather than above them, to the works of their
hands and the creatures of their imaginations rather
than to Him who hangeth the earth upon nothing and
^^ maketh His angels spirits " ? If the Bible is the
Book of man's life, can it be that the living multitudes
which in all the Bible-times from first to last came
and went in the paths and habitations of men, joined


in their worship, witnessed to them of untrodden
tracts of the universe, have swept by like shadows
of the night or phautoms of its sleep ? Is all that is
above our heads a vacuum, a blank, an unreality ?
The school-house, the college, the chemical labora-
tory, the museum of natural history, the microscope,
do a great deal for us ; do they, have they ever, will
they ever, create a conscience, forgive a penitent,
quench lust, heal the broken in heart, publish a Gos-
pel, redeem a soul *? Would it damage our civiliza-
tion if its leaders, or our industries if their masters,
believed in beings that eye hath not seen or ingenuity
contrived ? Would it even hinder our speed or stop
the spindles or spoil trade if all the while the people
should commune with Heaven and take spiritual gifts
from on high ? Is there any reason why business-men
should be less strong in their hands and feet because,
before their business or after it, they are on their
knees ? I believe there could be no grander deliv-
erance of the religious mind of this people into liberty
and light and joy than by a restoration of the early
faith in the constant nearness of the unseen world,
by feeling inspirations in daily duty to come to us
out of its heights, and by a living sense that our Lord
in Himself, — He in us and we in Him — holds the


common and the heavenly spheres in ^^ one commun-
ion" together.

To this communion He constantly draws the minds
of His followers. It is, therefore, not something
speculative or unpractical. He points to His heav-
enly origin only that He may reveal the obligation
and furnish the power to our living the heavenly life
here. Joining God's life in Him with the human
life in us He gives His disciples a knowledge that
they too in a real sense ^^ came forth from God."
This new creation is in the individual and in His
mystical Body, as if the Church had a kind of moral
personality of its own. St. Paul taught it, how clearly !
The first man is of the earth, earthy *, the second
man is the Lord from heaven. ^^ As is the heavenly,
such are they also than are heavenly."

Without that descending grace and glory, this
mortal stir at its best and bravest, what would its
life be ? A ^' little life " indeed, and *^ rounded
with a sleep." ^^ Except a man be born again
he cannot see the kingdom of God." One would
suppose every son and daughter of man would
welcome so large a truth, so substantial a gift and so
inspiring a promise. So far as it is really and heart-
ily believed, God's kingdom coines here on the earth.


Whatever other things you may call by the name of
religion, in doctrine or practice or philosophy or
ceremony, this righteousness beyond the righteousness
of Scribe and Pharisee, the righteousness of ^^God
over all " wrought into character in men, is the re-
ligion of Christ.

Yes ; so is the coming of the kingdom. Who is
wise to understand this thing 1 Who has lips to de-
clare it ? ^' Entering into life ^^ is not having a pas-
sage way cut in the wall through which by-and-by
our souls may creep into heaven to get their first ac-
quaintance with it. There is present, immediate,
open intercourse. We have our refreshments where
we need them most, here, fighting temptation, serv-
ing our neighbors, forgiving enemies, returning good
for evil, bearing pain. You will be better every way
and everywhere, better scholars at school, better
workmen, better guides, better narses or patients,
better husbands or wives, better employers or wage-
workers, for faith in open heavens, in Him who ^"'has
ascended up on high giving gifts unto men.''

With all its failures and disgusts, its sicknesses of
heart and flesh, its emptiness and folly and the sin
that is worse than either, to a believing resident in
it " this present world " is an outer room at least of


the great House of God. The Church itself is sacra-
mental, under the outward sign of the visible body
an indwelling and. gracious and quickening power of
life. Members of it whose membership is of the
spirit and not of the letter only can say with angels
and archangels, ^^Lord. God of Hosts, Heaven and
earth are full of Thy glory. Glory be to Thee, O
Lord, Most High ! ''

Father divine ! this deadening power control,
Which to the senses binds the immortal soul;
O, break this bondage, Lord, I would be free,
And in my soul would find my heaven in Thee.

" My heaven in Thee! O God, no other heaven
To the immortal soul can e'er be given:
O let Thy kingdom now within me come,
And as above, so here, Thy will be done I

" My heaven in Thee, O Father, let me find,
My heaven in Thee, within a heart resigned;
No more, of heaven and bliss, my soul, despair,
For where ray God is found, my heaven is there."

/~\ THOU who hast set Thy glory above the heavens, and yet

hast condescended in Thy Son to make Thy dwelling with

the sons of men, wilt thou graciously assist ns by Thy Spirit,

that coming down from on high in the majesty and tenderness


of His heavenly power and love He may enter into our hearts

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Online LibraryF. D. (Frederic Dan) HuntingtonForty days with the Master → online text (page 12 of 16)