F. D. (Frederic Dan) Huntington.

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running in order, who without slumbering watches
the sleep of all His fourteen hundred million children
every night, makes no mistakes; He is never taken
unawares by a disease or a cloud. The mystery is
a mystery, but it has a revelation within it, and it
brings heavenly gifts under its wings. What did
your Maker put the faculty of faith into you for, when
He gave you a body and made it tender, and gave
you feeling and reason and memory and hope f Why
was His perfect and spotless Son poor, homeless, dis-
appointed, rejected, buffeted ? Why, as on this
week, did He die as robbers and murderers die,
when He might have lived on earth as kings live, or
swept Pilate and Herod and Judas and the Sanhe-
drim and the Roman Empire off the earth together
by twelve legions of angels 1 Call it a mystery if
you please ; these are the mysterious facts that are
the honors of history and the glory of the world.
You can do better. You can rise, and climb, and be


tranquil, and say, ^^ Thy will be done," and look on
the world around you with sweeter charity, and look
down with gentler comparison on feebleness, and
look up with a surer confidence and expectation into
heaven, and be strong. ^' Think it not strange.^'
'' Rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's
suiFerings/' for this was His rejoicing. "" If we suffer
with Him, that we may be also glorified together.''
A few uncommon spirits find their way into the
everlasting peace without the spur or scourge of
grief. But so rare is this, even in this Christian age
and country, where the Gospel Feast is spread every-
where, that when we see grown men and women
coming in from the world to the Church the question
rises, *^ What sorrow was it that roused at last and
wakened this soul to life 1 Was it sickness, was it a
business failure, was it a broken family circle, a
broken heart, a broken wedding-ring f " At any
rate there was the pang of a contrite conscience. Be
not afraid of that ! And so when we see a household
yet unreached and unrenewed by the Spirit of Truth, a
man living only for what is outside of him, a woman
who has taken flattery for her guide and admiration
for her comforter and pleasure for principle, with a
giddy head, a frivolous heart and an unchastened


temper, then a sober experience asks, What will the
trouble be which is to shake this loose fabric of
treacherous confidence to pieces, blight this beauty^
scatter this wealth, disturb this dream ? Which friend
will betray 1 Which bubble of speculation will burst ?
Which sin will find the sinner out and drag him to
the judgment ? He who knoweth every frame, O
thoughtless and unbelieving child, will suit the medi-
cine to the disorder. Why wait till you are hurt,
bleeding, humiliated, starved, or eating with swine,
every kind of '^ substance^^ wasted, before you arise
and come home ?

On the other hand, if you will read a brighter tes-
timony of the wonder-working transformation of the
cross, study the marvellous process by which your
Master changes the things that we dread, and run
away from, into helpers and ministers of grace. To-
day, in your neighborhood, you go into a house that
is desolate; all spirits in it are dejected; the lamp of
joy has gone out in loneliness and lamentation. Years
heilce you go again ; there may be sobriety still, not
much merriment or affluence, narrow fortunes, but a
great freedom ; much hard work, but the workers
knowing now that they are sons and daughters of
God, and content. You sit down by one of them


and you hear this unhesitating confession , rising into
praise to God: — '^ It was good for me that I lost what
I loved, for it was a foolish, a selfish, an unhallowed
love, hiding heaven from me. God has given me
back all that was good in it, and His oivn love with
it. He knew me and what I wanted better than I
knew myself. I was unsteady, fickle, living only in
surfaces, my passions uncontrolled, my life perverted.
God took me in His mighty -but merciful Hands, and
shook my heart, and set me down. He shut me up
in a cavern where was a darkness that could be felt.
1 did not see, at the time I could not see; I could only
lie there and shiver and groan and mourn. But I see
it all now. It was that I might find, and know, and
trust, and love, my Father. It was that I might
hear His voice out of the cloud. It was that being
' stablished, strengthened, settled,' I might learn to
live, and begin to live, the life of my Lord, and live
it ^r Him and vvdth Him forever,''

*' O Lord, tlie wilderness to m©
A very paradise shall be,
Since Thou for forty days wast there.
In fasting, solitude and prayer 1

" Lord, let me find some lowly place
Where I may seek Thy pitying face,


And plead with Tliee by Olivet,
By agony and bloody sweat.

" Some quiet aisle or dim recess
Shall make for me a wilderness ; ^

And surely angels shall be there
To wait on penitence and prayer.

** Oh, blessed thought, that faith can see
In every altar, — Calvary,
Find there the loving arms outspread.
And fall before tlie fallen Head."

/^ GOD, blessed Son of the Everlasting Father, who lovedst
^"^ tbem who hated Thee and sparedst them who nailed Thee
to Thy cross, grant that our many and grievous offences, our
unbelief and pride, our uncleanness and disobedience, and
every wicked and hateful thing in us, may be atoned for by
the agonies of Thy Passion, that Thou who in Thy humility
didst sufter death mayest in Thy glory bestow upon us eternal
light, where Thou ever livest in Thy glory with the Father
and the Holy Ghost, world without end. Amen.



ApPROACHlNa the cross we hear the forenotes of
the cry of the Passion. Even in the commemora-
tions of our Lord's early years there is a look and an
accent of pain. It cannot be by accident ; nothing
that is divine is accidental. A stall-manger with
oxen, the sharp end of a knife at the temple, the
frightened face of a mother looking for her lost child,
the bleeding doves at the purification, arc signals of
sacrifice. These tokens multiply as we accompany
the Saviour step by step to Calvary. The pain is
never arbitrary or superfluous. The suffering is
borne because it lies on the way to some obedience
and some triumph of good over evil, such suffering
as no one would think of welcoming, except as the
seed-grain of a higher kind of life and because all
life is costly. It reminds us of Lacordaire's start-
ling saying, that ^' the Church is born crucified,'' — a
paradox, no doubt, but such a paradox as prophets


and mystics are apt to use when a great spiritual
thought has to break through the rules of language,
like St. John's expression, " the Lamb slain from the
foundation of the world/' or our Lord's, '^ He that
loseth his life, for my sake, shall find it."

Keeping in mind this sacrificial aspect of our
religion, because the hard places in our lives are
meant to be the noblest places we find that there
are, in Christ's pers(mal ministry, what we may call
critical and decisive moments, as there are with most
persons who mean to be true children of Grod. An
instance occurs just before the end. Some Greeks,
representatives of a foreign nationality and a Gentile
culture, come to worship at a Jewish Feast. Most
likely tliey are irreverent travellers, inquisitive like
their active-minded countrymen at home, ready to
hear or see any new thing, and so not very unlike
our lively populations in the west. They are of a
nation easy in accommodation, and not likely to let
a national prejudice stand in the way of an enter-
tainment. The brain predominates. Turning to
Philip, v/ho by his Athenian name and temperament
would attract them, they say, " Sir, we would see
Jesus ; introduce us to this interesting Hebrew Pro-
phet j let us judge v\diether He is another of the


sanguine forerunners of their Messiah^ or another
pretender counterfeiting Him." So then, at that
moment, Greek curiosity, subtilty and skepticism,
the intellectual penetration of the most intellectual of
the old nations, are inquiring for the spiritual life
and grace of God in 'the Person of the Son of Man.
Who can wonder that when " Philip telleth Andrew,
and Andrew and Philip tell Jesus," He exclaims in
prophetic joy, ^' The hour is come that the Son of
Man should be glorified " ?

How is this new encounter met 1 Just as Christ
always meets the question as to the way into His
kingdom when put by the world, whether at its best
or at its worst, by a rich young ruler or a ragged
penitent in the streets, by an xAitheman of that old
time or an American of our time. He meets it not by
lowering in the least the high condition of admittance;
not by understating the cost, or hiding the hardships.
This transition from exultation to warning in His
language is wonderful in swiftness, in completeness.
^' Now is the Son of Man glorified " ; but ^^ Except
a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it
" abideth alone." " Now is my soul troubled. Shall I
say. Father, save me from this hour ? For this cause
came I unto this hour." Taking this world as it is,


men do not march out of its kingdom into the king-
dom of God with trumpets and banners, or with
mouths full of meat and wine. Count the cost.
" Strait is the gate.^' Some valued thing must be
given up ; some easy habit must be broken with a
pang 5 some wrench of the breaking chain must hurt
us ; some travail-agony be felt, before the better and
nobler life can be born in the heart and grow. The
Greek imagination would catch at once the meaning
of the parable. Ah-eady in a fable of their mythol-
ogy of the goddess of the grain mourning at the mys-
tery of her daughter prisoned as the seed corn is
under the ground, that poetic people had a faint
promise, in figure, of the Christian truth. Christ
opens to them in plain words the inmost heart of His
Gospel. We cannot live to God, He says, except as
we die to ourselves. Why not 1 Because life,
heavenly life, whether lived in Heaven or in these
earthly streets and houses, must be of love, and love
always sacrifices self. God is love. There is no life
yet found in the universe that is self-produced, or
without an antecedent life. Science with its keenest
search confesses that. But Christ is now telling us
something deeper. There is no passing out of a
lower sphere, He says, into a higher one, save as the


inferior is in, a measure sacrificed to the loftier. In
her analogies, as in her laws, nature is one. The
mineral kingdom disintegrates itself into the plant-
world above it, where the plant-life springs out of the
sod, triumphs over it, then dies, and so feeds its bet-
ters. Your grain of wheat may keep its brown, hard
rind a long time as it is ] you can hold it fast, hoard
it, lock it up, paint it if you please, set it in gold and
diamonds ; these souls of men and women are doing
that all the time. But then your corn of wheat
^' abideth alone.'' The man out on the farm, with a
better faith, buries it, loses it, and saves it. Early
and latter rain minister to it, spring mornings open
it for him, setting the green blade free ; summer
noons ripen it ; in October he comes bringing his
sheaves with him.

Not only must what is bad in itself, corrupt, un-
just, poisonous, perish in you, but whatever in you
shuts in and stifles the better powers of love and faith,
latent and asleep in you, must die too. Your uselessness
'^ abideth alone," fulfilling no fertile mission. The
glory of the seed is " fruit,'^ and by that, Christ says.
His Father is glorified. " The glory of the terrestrial
is one," — and it is not very glorious ; ^' the glory of
the celestial is another." Out of loss comes gain 5


out of decay increase ; out of privation abundance;
out of persecutions a purer and stronger piety ; out
of lonely prayers of believers in worldly liouseholds,
comes the " multitude that no man can number," from
the grave of buried seed, resurrection; through the
^' strait gate " of sacrifice a great salvation. It is
what the Prophet, far back, saw coming, the "valley
of Achor," which means " trouble, '^ turned into a
^' Door of Hope." Is it strange that the Spirit said
to the faithful in Smyrna, '^ Fear none of those things
which thou shalt suffer," and to the lukewarm in
Laodicaea, " As many as I love, I rebuke and
chasten '' ? Why otherwise should we be sobering
ourselves for forty days in this subdued worship,
turning our faces towards the cross ?

Suffering first, satisfaction afterwards. The fruit
of power and peace, gathered out of trial, comes not
all at once but gradually. Ripening under a clouded
sky, it ripens slowly. You are not to be discouraged
by that. Almost all Grod's spiritual harvests come
to maturity in the same silent way. That secret
and gracious work of the Spirit, whatever it is,
which brings tranquillity out of inward tumult, clear-
sightedness out of sorrow, and sympathy for others
out of your own heart-ache, goes on not by swift


transformations of the inner man, or sudden re-
act! ons, but iittlo by little. The Ahnighty Hand lifts
your soul out of its misery as the same Hand lifts the
growing blade of corn out of a black coffin in thc3
earth to its vigorous perfection, with its blossom and
grain, so imperceptibly that you see not the growth
but only the fulness of life. You may lay your ear
to the corn-field all the summer night and noon,
where the sunshine and the rain are strengthening
the stalks and weaving the leaves,- but you hear no
noise of the loom, or stroke of the sunbeams, or
stirring of the life. Jesus said, on the eve of His
passion, ^^ Except a corn of wheat fall into the
ground and die, it abideth alone ; but if it die, it
bringeth forth much fruit," new^ and multiplied and
glorious life, springing from a grave. You are not
blamed for your tears at the grave. Jesus wept for
Lazarus. Among the ruins of your life-long plan
you are not expected, the first day or the first week,
to sing the jubilatej or forbidden to mourn. The
Lord said, " My soul is exceeding sorrowful." And
what He asks there is the natural cry of a human
craving for companionship, " Tarry ye here and
watch with me." And so the promise is a promise
made to trust, not to be fulfilled at once, but " in due


season." ** The God of all grace, who hath called us
into His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye
have suffered awhile," — after that-—" Make you
perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you ! " The suf-
fering is transient, passing away. Character is
permanent, abiding and settled forever. So Christ
died once, but liveth evermore. Good Friday will
cease with time and the world. Easter is eternal.

There is a significant symbol in one of the
supernatural manifestations of our Lord's divinity
as He approached His cross. We had the superb
description of it by the evangelist lately, given to be
read by the Church just when she turns our eyes
towards this week of suffering. On Mt. Tabor, in
the splendor of the Transfiguration, where Christ
began to speak of the decease which He should
accomplish at Jerusalem, as " the cloud " encom-
passed them, St. Luke says of His three timid fol-
lowers, ^^ They feared as they entered into the cloud."
The cloud is the sign of mystery ; it is the hiding of
the light , it screens the sun ; it veils to their sight
the face of their dear Master, whose gracious counte-
nance is to each of them as another '^ Sun shining in
His strength." What strange obscuring, overcast-
ing is this ? Will it separate them altogether from


their safe Protection ? This is our own doubt-
ing question. The alarm is v/hen the cloud comes
doAvn. It is so with the coming on of a physical
disorder. Is this startling symptom the beginning
of the end ? The struggle is then. The sufferer
thinks of the possible agonies, the lingering days of
decline and nights of waking. The cloud, as he
enters it, is black vapor. Imagination sees not yet
the heavenly helpers, the compensations of prayer
and patience and human kindness and the felt near-
ness of God which come after. As the malady wears
on these appear with ministries almost angelic. It
is so with the early sorrow of repentance, with the
first crash of long-cherished schemes of fortune, with
the certainty first realized that those dearer to us
than ourselves must die. When mothers listen to
the breathing of their fevered childi-en, when some
definite sensation pronounces all remedies vain, or
medical science delivers its sentence of doom, the
keepers of the house tremble, and the windows are
darkened. When a guilty conscience is first roused
by a conviction that the years past have been all
wrong, hollow, ungrateful and ungodly, then it is an
entering into the cloud, and it is a fear. Fear is a
proof of weakness. In the best of Christians there


is enough of it to make the moving of an approaching
calamity dreadful. You shudder and start Lack.
You ask bitterly if the cup cannot be removed, and
cry that you can never, never bear it, and then you
go into a secret strife with yourself, and it is the
valley of the shadow of death, and you wrestle there
all night, like Bunyan's Pilgrim, till the daybreaketh.
David said, *^ My sins have taken such hold upon
me that I am not able to looh «(p." You see no way
out ; it is darkness, and nothing but darkness, around
you, before you, and even above, for providence
itself seems dead. Are there some who do not know
this, or believe it ? We can hardly pray that they
may never know it, because we are so made that
only by knowing the heavy blow of pain can we
know what that love is which *^ doth not willingly ''
inflict it.

For there comes, here when you suffer and are
afraid, as there came on Mt. Tabor, '^ a voice out of
the cloud," not out of a clear sky, not out of a soft
and perfumed air, not out of prosperity, or gaiety, or
the fulness of this world's delight, or in answer to
any intellectual call. If we did not quite lose our
little faith, if we kept feeling after God in the dark,
and listening, we should hear Him. There was a


transfiguration of the very cloiicl itself into a luminous
tent of rest and peace. The voice says, ^' This is
my Beloved Son ; hear Him." Christ has not de-
parted. Hear Him speak to you of His own Passion
and decease. He will tell you that without suffering
no soul is made perfect. He will say to you, '' Fear
none of those things which thou shalt suffer/' they
are friendly things. Hear Him to believe Him, and
you will he willing to let the pain stay, because it is
an instrument of your salvation. Hear Him to obey
Him, and obedience will make you strong. Hear
Him to love Him, and then, living or dying, waiting
in weakness all the days of your appointed time, you
will never be afraid any more, because love when it
is perfect casteth fear out.

"As one who entereth by night a room
Where sufferers lie,
Shadeth his lamp to suit the languid eye.

So doth the Christ draw nigh
Unto a world of gloom.

The light of life He beareth, and doth stand
Shading it tenderly with pierced hand.

As a ploughed field,
Left desolate and bare
To winter storms and chilly, frosty air, —
Yet only thus made dreary for awhile,
That richer there, the harvest grain may smile,


So is the heart whose sod,
Tender and green,
Hath deeply been
Upturned by God.
Its sprouting blades lie low,—
Yet only broken thus by grief's ploughshare,
That in its furrows He might sow
The seed of righteousness, which shall increase
Until it yield the harvest of eternal peace."

O CHRIST, the only Lord of our salvation, who wast cruci-
fied and buried that all who follow Thee, being buried
with Thee in baptism, and walking in Thy footsteps, might
rise through Thee into everlasting life, keep us, we beseech
Thee, that at the last we may appear before Thee clad in Thy
righteousness, awaking after Thy likeness, to dwell with Thee
in Thy presence and to worship Thee, the Lamb slain from the
foundation of the world, with the multitude of Thy saints,
world without end. Amen.


Mmmxj in iolH mth


There is no part of the New Testament which
does not teach that all the members suffer or rejoice,
hinder or help, together. In the great Eepiiblic of
God the flocks and the pastors are meant to ^' have
the same care one for another." We ask ourselves,
and we ask one another, what can break up the re-
ligious indifference which in all this country, in all
classes of men, in cities and rural districts alike, set-
tles down on the minds of the people ? For the most
part, it makes no quarrel with Revelation, admits
the facts of history to which the Church witnesses,
and declares no hostility to Christian worship or
charities, as a privilege of neighbors whose tastes
happen to relish them. It does not rise to the dig-
nity of a thinking doubt, and it does not always sink
to the degradation of a vulgar sensuality. Yet it
bears upon it no mark of hearty devotion, judged by
any standard that our Lord has named. It does not


dispute the Gospel; it lets it drop. It has objects to
accomplish in a world which likes anything better
than an uncompromising faith. Before this fearful
mass of practical irreligion every sincere and earnest
believer must stand appalled. Day and night, in dis-
may, disciples of the Master who are in earnest, min-
isters who are not hirelings, bishops who are not
blind, ponder this problem. Where is the kindling
and converting power 1 Christ says, ^^ If any man
will serve Me, let Him follow Me." But follow Him
where and how ? What shall His watchmen cry 1
Whence shall our help come 1

There is a power yet to be thoroughly tried. It
was tried by the holy men who, at the beginning,
planted because they buried their ^^ corn of wheat.'^
It was tried in the ten persecutions, and wherever
God gave the increase. It has been tried by innum-
erable saints whose ^' light of the world " shines along
the Churches story, their names no more to be num-
bered than the stars in the sky. It has been tried,
in our own day, by some young and older men and
consecrated women in hard places near and far off,
and not only in pestilences, or battle-fields, or hos-
pitals, but in ordinary houses where martyrdom may
be just as terrible, who by their faith and works and


sacrifices haye ^^ obtained promises.'' It was proved,
first of all, by Him who came traveling in the greats
ness of everlasting strength, who " went not up to
joy, but first He suffered pain; who entered not into
glory before He was crucified," whose blood healed
the sick and sinful heart of our kind. It is the power
of a more uncompromising, more consistent, more
ardent, because more self-forgetful righteousness.
If we search it to the bottom, will it not turn out to
be just that ^^ more excellent way " which St. Paul,
with his radiant lamp, showed to the Corinthians in
that magnificent contrast of all other '^ gifts " with
charity f It is the power of joyful self-renunciation
in the disciples, the workmen, the witnesses, of Christ.
I asked a young missionary who had given up refine-
ments, literary culture, preferments, common com-
forts, to live alone with sin and shame, how it could
be done. ^^ Only, "he said, "only by the certainty
that one is working at the side of Him who lived with
lepers, publicans and paupers." It is the power of a
loving as well as a living faith which rejoices and is
glad to believe that, if the corn of wheat die, it
bringeth forth much fruit, and that, if a man follow
the Master, " where the Master is there shall the ser
vant be."


One of the last things we learn is that God will
abide by His own law, whether our little understand-
ing can trace its operation or not. And here His
law is that there is no possible way but the giving
up of our handful of transient treasure, to reap the
better fruit of Christian liberty and Christian victory
afterwards. We get so used to compromises, to see-
ing an earthly policy mixed with the original heaven-

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Online LibraryF. D. (Frederic Dan) HuntingtonForty days with the Master → online text (page 14 of 16)