F. D. (Frederic Dan) Huntington.

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You and I, so far as our humanity is not eaten out^
have something in us common to us and Jesus of Naz-
areth, our Lord, who becomes in this way a common
Saviour by a common salvation.

** No, no ! the energy of life may be

Kept on after the grave, but not begun !

And he who flagged not in the earthly strife,
From strength to strength advancing — only he,
His soul well-knit and all his battles won,
Mounts, and that hardly, to eternal life"

TltTE adore Thee, blessed Jesus, very God and very man, the
same yesterday, to-day, and for ever, our strong Salva-
tion, and our only Hope. Take us, we pray Thee, into Thy
keeping, both now, and at the hour of our death ; make us
faithful to Thee upon earth, and blessed with Thee in heaven,
wherewith the Father and the Holy Ghost, Thou livest and
reignest, ever one God, world without end. Amen.



A MISCONCEPTION of the nature of salvation leads
very directly to a misconception of the way of salva-

Here, very largely, is what is the matter with the
Church now. It is our disease^ our impotence.
What we lack is faith in the commonness or sim-
plicity of the Faith. You will not deny that some-
thing ails our religious condition. Pleasure the
Church in this country as it is by the New Testa-
ment, by the Epistle to the Ephesians, by the Ser-
mon on the Mount, by its Prayer Book, by its pro-
fessions of Evangelic Truth and Apostolic Order, by
its intelligence, by its wealth even, — and you will
have to confess that it is small and imbecile,
sordid and cowardly, mean-spirited, self-occupied
and worldly-minded. Lay the measuring-line down
closer on your own Christian household and economy,
for time is too short for anything but searching hon-


esty. Ought not years of such worship, such Scrip-
tures, such sacraments and such sermons as you have
had, to have reared a sturdier piety, to have spread
abroad a wider and deeper sanctity, and put out a
stronger evangelizing power into the neighborhood
about you ? We woidd not willingly let our style of
Christianity be set up as the standard for mankind.
Salvation we have had, over and over, in hymns, and
sermons without number. But though harvests are
past and summers ended we are not saved yet with a
grand and glorious, — no, uor with any safe salva-

And this is owing to our shallow and shrunk idea
of the common faith. Men come to tell you earnestly
enough and with plausible explanations that the dif-
ficulty is unbelief in this or that particular doctrine,
and they go painfully about by elaborate reasonings
to convince the people's understanding that there is
a God, that the universe had a Maker, that a chapter
in G-enesis is accurate as to its geology, and to beg
that the Book which has created Christendom and
bowed the highest heads of eighteen centuries in
reverent adoration may be forbearingly handled by
modern college professors and literary lecturers.
They expect to lead men into the Kingdom of Heaven


by an argument. They hope to awaken Gpiritual life
by rational ingenuity, to make sinning and tempted
men and frivolous women to be holy -hearted and
humble-hearted and pure-hearted, by making them
keen-sighted, to get them down on their knees in
repentance, or to enrapture them with the splendor in
the face of Christ and the beauty of His Beatitudes,
by clearing up a metaphysical puzzle or an ecclesi-
astical scruple or a grammatical paradox in the
praises of saints to whom the heavens were opened.
Our Lord Himself certainly did not take that way.
Yet He knew all that is in man, and all that is not in
man, all that is in earth and all that is in Heaven.
He and the Apostles He sent gave not a particle of
encouragement to the notion that sinners are to find a
path into the Kingdom of Heaven by their wits.
They were prompt and clear in declaring that there
are blessed things which " pass man's understand-
ing" — better, higher, deeper, grander things, — the
love of God that passeth knowledge, the peace of God
that passeth all understanding, the realities which the
princes and wise men of this world never knew, but
realities nevertheless, certain, and certain to be known
hereafter, and held fast meantime by faith. There
has been quite attention enough paid to the intellect-


ual difficulties of a few fastidious skeptics. Doubts
that are constitutional or irresistible are to be han-
dled with pity and pains by those who are compe-
tent, — as Christ handled the doubts of Thomas. But
the noisy doubters that we hear most, or most about,
need converting more than they need convincing.
The atheists need less to be told that there is a God
than to see what kind of a God God is. And if few
are saved, it is a good deal because salvation is not
taken as a noble gift to be had on simple terms, and
by that gift of grace to be a steady growth in us, till,
gradually in a perfecting of Christian manhood and
womanhood, we come to the measure of the stature
of the fulness of Christ.

For every soul that is lost outside the Church by
atheism, a thousand perish within the Church by an
impious complacency, fancying that they are Christ^s
disciples because of their manners, their education,
their social standing, or their ceremonial decency.
When one thinks of the parables of Christ, of the
divine morality of the Epistles, of the cross, of the
later chapters of St., John, and then of the Scribe
who is the type of a host of modern scholars, and the
Pharisee who is a type of a larger host of modern
communicants, and then of the Last Judgment, there


is hardly a more alarming spectacle^ I tLink, than one
of our fashionably-clad congregations. Were one of
these Simons to entertain the Lord Jesus at his table,
and were the woman out of the street to creep in, we
should hear again the question, '' Which of them loves
him most ? " and again the voice of the common
Master, ^^Thy faith hath saved thee. Go in peace ; '' —
the common faith bringing in the common salvation.
Ages ago, in a famine of heavenly bread, amid
the dry repetition of barren formalities in a temple
emptied of its spiritual refreshments, in a Church
where the self-conceit of Scribes had killed both pen-
itence and faith, there came the cry of a hungry
heart, ^' Wherewitlt shall I come before the Lord? '^
We here keep, or pretend to keep, not Hebrew Sab-
baths but Lord's Days, feasts where Christ gives
food and drink. As we enter the door, and move
towards the altar, and shut our eyes, and pretend to
pray, how many of us inwardly ask that question ?
*' Wli ere with shall I come 1 " What is the offering
we bring ? It is not a great deal that God asks.
He asks that wc want Him, asks that we mean what
we say, asks that we are ready to take what we come
for, a common salvation ; that in His house we will
not be hypocrites, self-satisfied and willing to seem


l)etter than we are, but Prodigals and Magdalens, —
Prodigals, lost in pride, not in sottish sensuality per-
haps, but in self-will, self-indulgence, self-admiration;
Magdalens, — not of the street, but of vanity, and envy-
ing, and imaginations which we should not dare to lay
open; prodigals and Magdalens by passions which re-
spectability, not the fear or love of God, holds in

One thing is certain, because the law is fixed.
What you do not come for you will not carry away.
If you come for the exercise or diversion of a curious
or restless mind, you will not find spiritual help, light
or strength. Temptation will be as dangerous as
ever, and your character as faulty, plus the guilt of a
false pretence. Coming to church for a Sunday
decency you will have had a decent Sunday.
" Verily they have their reward." Coming to get
something from man and nothing from God, the dis-
tance between you and God will be widened. No
man is great before God on account of his opinions.
Coming with no humble sense that you need first of
all to be forgiven, making no sincere confession, with
nothing childlike in your heart, you are among the
fools who make a mock at sin. Men do not gather
grapes of thorns, or righteousness of a picturesque


function in a chancel, or a tender conscience by crit-
icising choir or sermon. ^' Stand in the gate of the
Lord's House, and listen. Hear the word of the
Lord, all ye that enter in at these gates to worship.
Trust ye not in lying words^ saying, The Temple
of the Lord, the Temple of the Lord, the Temple of
the Lord, are we. Amend your ways and your
doings ; execute justice between a man and his
neighbor*, hurt not the stranger, the fatherless or the
widow. Worship no false God/' — or ye shall call
and there shall be no answer.

These are warnings. For every warning there is
a promise. Warning and promise are not to be
taken apart in any message from God. God's prom-
ises exceed all that we can desire. So do His reckon-
ings exceed all that we can dread. No man ever
found the way of salvation, common and open as it is,
who did not see that there is a way of danger. And
yet, as the Gospel tidings are ^^ glad," as the news is
'^good news,'' as God is Love, and duty is delightful,
and Pleaven is the land of beauty indescribable lying
" far up the Everlasting hills," '^ in God's own light,"
we ought to part and go away with the promise:
" Whosoever will, let him come." "^ Him that cometh
to me I will in no wise cast out."


'*No word of doom may shut tliee out,

No word of wrath may downward whirl,
No swords of fire keex) watch about

The opeu gates of pearl.
Forever round the raercy-seat

The guiding lights of Love shall burn.
But what if habit-bound thy feet

Shall lack the will to turn ? ^'

r\ RIGHTEOUS and merciful God, look favorably upon the
^-^ people, we beseech Thee, and bestow upon us Thy con-
tinual grace ; that assisted by Thy power and comfort here we
may omit nothing necessary to our Salvation, but strive ever
more earnestly towards everlasting blessedness; through Christ
our Lord. Amen.



When we know what salvation is, we have an easy-
path into the central doctrine in the Creed of the
Church. Its theological name is the Incarnation.
Its name in every- day language would be God in man,
God on earth among human families and employ-
mentSo Men having got apart from God by putting
their appetites, business and amusements in the first
and highest place forgot what kind of a God He is.
Various devices for bringing heaven and earth to-
gether failed, — because they were all outside of the
man — a splendid ritual, ^* the law,'^ a national polity.
But what if God should take up what is in us into Him-
self, and live out before our eyes perfect goodness, per-
fect wisdom and strength and sacrifice, in a woman^s
son 1 That would be the want met, the hunger filled, the
hurt healed, the Father coming out to meet the lost
child a great way off, sin forgiven and life everlast-
ing made certain. See what this Christian manhood
was, not Jewish, or Asiatic, or European, or African,


or American humanity, but humanity pure and sim-
ple, absolute, universal, '' common." You notice that
in all countries, all climates, and all ranks, the Chris-
tian is the same kind of man, a growth of one stock.
You recognize the stamp everywhere under all
types and colors and degrees of cultivation, and you
say. That man, that woman, is of Christ. Christ
creates the type. His religion. His life, fits every
nationality alike. It adapts and applies itself gra-
ciously, too, as a saving force, to every part of us as
we are made; the reason, the will, affection, imagina-
tion, — every sensibility to joy or grief, every fibre
of the flesh, every period, interest, pursuit of life.
It is catholic to the individual constitution as to the
race ; out of this one fountain -life, in a new creation
by a second Adam, flow all the streams that water and
fertilize and sweeten the four quarters of the earth :

'' See tlie rivers four that gladden
With their streams the better Eden

Planted by our Lord most dear.
Christ the Fountain, these the waters.
Drink, Zion's sons and daughters,
Drink and find salvation here.'

Out of Him history begins again, itself regenerated.
Out of Him grows the living, spreading, healing Tree.


Now we know what catholicity means and how and
why the Church is catholic. Out of the common
Christ come all its gifts of the Spirit, all sacramental
helps, washing, nourishment ; out of Him the creed
that never changes ; out of Him the voices that sound
the good news from land to land, from age to age; the
feet beautiful upon the mountains east and west, the
martyrs in robes of fire, the million-fold confessions
of all living and dying saints, the flocks that worship
by the Ganges to-day, and your neighbor who died
with the common Name on His lips last night, the
whole multitude that no man can number in the city
that lies four square, with gates open on all the

See this commonness in the fact that, from first to
last in His life, Christ kept Himself at the bottom of
society. If Jesus had been born and bred in any
one of wdiat we call the " upper classes," then the
lower classes, plebeians and peasants and slaves,
might have distrusted His sympathy and rejected His
condescension. Had He been a companion of the
rich, or lodged in a mansion, had He borne the titles
of a university or an earthly nobility, then forlorn
and homeless hearts might have asked, what does
this child of comfort know about us, our poverty, our


hardships, our bondage, our loneliness ? But of Him
who was poorei' than the bird in its nest or the fox
in his hole no pauper or outcast or toilsman in the
cotton-field or the factory or the city streets can say
that. Between the manger and the cross there was
wrought out, for you and me, a ^^ common salvation.'^
This is much more than a general, abstract truth.
This spiritual quality of our religion — which is a
glory of it — is not set up here as a mere historical
curiosity, a striking phenomenon which marks a dis-
tinction between the Christian and other systems of re-
ligious belief. I am not presenting it to you at all
as if you were students or critics or judges, but ex-
actly the contrary. It is a matter of the closest per-
sonal concern. What the way of salvation is for the
world at large is one question. But what is it to
you ? We get into a habit of treating God's message
as we do the topics of the day, the books we read, the
languages or sciences we learn. It becomes, i. e., a
thing for the mind to deal with, a thing to be looked
at, talked about, debated, reported in the newspapers
agitated in conventions, analyzed and recommended
in sermons. This is a part of the exaggerated, one-
sided importance given, in these days, to the work-
ings and speculations of one faculty in us which we


flatter by calling it intellectual, but wliicb yields by
no means the ricliest or deepest or sweetest satisfac-
tions of our life. It is a radical, terrible, disastrous
mistake. Nobody here is so blind or so lunatic as to
discredit the solid contributions of knowledge to
faith, the value of learning, or the great services of sci-
ence to revelation. All that is as public as the day-
light, and has gone into the common places. But
you will remember that mental activity never yet,
since man lived, made a strong nation, a permanent
commonwealth, a pure society, virtuous households,
or peace in any soul, or a certainty of a future life,
or a prayer. As between right and wrong, good and
evil, honor and shame, bare knowledge of itself
stands by, a looker-on, neutral and non-committal.
It is undirected power. It constnids or with equal
skill it piclcs the lock, in the great '^ Safe '' of the
world's welfare. It drives the train freighted with
human lives across the continent, or drives it into the
chasm. The first fact we have to face is not that ive
are dealing ivztli religion but that God is dealing tvith
us, and He deals with us directly, not through the
brain only but through the conscience and the heart.
He speaks to the spiritual part in us, that part which
alone can receive Him, hear Him, answer Him, feel


Him, or know Him. It is common to man. It is
quite as apt to be strong and clear in persons
without mucK culture, as in those who are pre-
occupied with their accomplishments. Spiritual
things are spiritually discerned. No principle in
philosophy, or law of nature, is surer than that.
Spiritual truth is spiritually found out not by any
physical organ or intellectual sharpness or energy.
Spiritual light enters by a spiritual eye. Of the
twelve men who changed the course of the world, in
the time of the Caesars, only one had a remarkable
brain or literary training. The Caesars and their
courts knew nothing of them. It is a common salva-
tion, and whoever has not this kind of faith, a child^s
faith, has not the faith that saves.

" Lord, I have fasted, I have prayed,
And sackcloth has my girdle been,
To purge my soul I have essayed

With hunger blank and vigil keen.
O God of mercy ! why am I
Still haunted by the self I fly?

Sackcloth is a girdle good,

O bind it round thee still ;
Fasting, it is angels' food,

And Jesus loved the night air chill ;
Yet think not prayer and fasts were given
To make one step 'twixt earth and heaven '^


/~\ SAVIOUR of the world, who didst send forth thine apos-
^-"^ ties to proclaim to mankind Thy common salvation, and
who hast ordained the way of salvation to be the way of the
baptism of water and the Spirit, deliver us, we beseech Thee,
from all errors of the mind and sinfulness of heart, that in Thee
only we may find the path of safety and walk steadfastly in it
unto the end. We ask it for Thy great name's sake, Christ,
our Lord. Amen.


3mn& p^rtttojj.


^^ He that is faithful in that which is least is faith-
ful in much.'' Put to the mind alone, as if that were
all there is of us, the mind might ask doubtfully how
it can be true. Speaking only of people as you
know them, or of their lives as they look, you might
say it seems otherwise. It looks as if one might be
upright in large transactions and yet careless in
trifles, tell the truth commonly but not always, rep-
resent the thing as it is when great interests are at
stake, but color or distort it in order to be entertain-
ing or clever; might serve an employer up to the
letter of the contract, but no further; might keep the
law of the school under the teacher's eye, but break
it out of sight; might be devout at church, but irrev-
erent in speech or manners in mixed companies; and
so meet emergencies quite handsomely in business,
or the family, or religion, and yet in the common-
places of every-day aflPairs come short. We have


seen such lives. Perhaps you are inclined to excuse
some such shortcomings in yourself. What, then,
can the saying mean ? Christ says that faithful men
and faithful women are faithful everywhere, under
all conditions, in all places alike.

"Faithful," full of faith. The Master chooses
that word. It is the key to the sentence. He does
not say of any men that they are at all times equally
careful or punctual or scrupulous or amiable, or
even devout. He names a quality that is deeper,
and more comprehensive. Faithfulness is not a
single virtue, or a separate trait. Where it is found
at all it runs through the whole character, as blood
does through the body. The root of it is faith in
God, and itself is the root of all excellencies and all
moralities. Place the faithful man where you please,
try him as you will, he is the same man. Faithful-
ness is not a thing of more or less, of seasons or op-
portunities, of rich or poor, of self-interest or respec-
tability, of ornament or convenience. Principles
never are, and faithfulness is a principle. It is not
to be measured or weighed, nor is it bought or sold,
iii any market, at any price. You cannot dilute it, or
halve it, or cut it into fractions. It is, or else it is not.
Whoever has it goes up among the high and strong


souls, walks through the world trusted, tells the truth
whatever it costs, is chaste and temperate in the light
and in the dark, never fails whatever he may lose,,
always succeeds with the only real success, sits in
heavenly places on the earth, though they may be
hard or painful places ; and he will live and reign
forever with Christ.

Moralists have always been trying to find an abso-
lute foundation for the rules and obligations of a good
life, like self-interest, innate sentiment, a social com-
pact, the greatest good of the greatest number.
Christ places that foundation beyond all circum-
stances, all the shifting moods or conditions of the
races, and nations, and governments, and ages of
men ) He plants it in the will of God, manifest in
His own life and love. Duty is universal because
God is universal. Duty is unchangeable because
God is unchangeable. Duty is in the smallest things
because God is there. There is no moral system in
history like this — man's life having its law, its sanc-
tity, its light, its power, where it has its source, in
its Father. Out of this one Fountain came the two
united and inseparable strengths and glories of the
Gospel, the loving Fatherhood of God and the loving
brotherhood of men, each seen equally bright and


perfect in Him who is the Son of God and Son of
Man 5 out of this comes the double commandment of
the Lord's new law; out of this the doctrines of the
creeds ; out of this the heavenly and earthly calling
of every Christian man and woman ; and out of this,
finally, the ceaseless business of the Church, the
building of holy character Godward and manward, in
faith and charity. Hence, too, it is that it is the
morality of Christ and the Church alone which
sheds splendor and dignity on the little things and
common things of life, lifting the least and lowest of
them up, and setting them by the side of the greatest.
It was in the song of the virgin mother before her
Son was born : " He hath exalted them of low de-
gree " — things as well as persons. Christianity, of all
the religions of the world, is the religion of common
people, common places, common things.

To be sure, this idea has gone more or less into
the imagination and the literature of our later times.
But it has gone there because it was first in Jesus of
Nazareth. You will not find it in the stories and
epics, the courts and games, the legends and fables
before Mary brought forth her Son and laid Him in
a manger. Even now, when genius sets itself to
magnify the importance of small things, it is mostly


in the fancy of poets. The object is not so much to
make us see the real value that the least duties have
in themselves to character and to God's judgment,
as to show how they lead on, by striking and singu-
lar links, to larger things ; how

'' We stride the river daily at its spring,

Nor in our cliildish thoughtlessness foresee
What myriad vassal-streams shall tribute bring,
How like an equal it shall greet the sea.''

One writer, himself an artist, tells you, in a
fascinating mixture of biography and fiction, of the
painter who ransacked old chronicles and travelled
through many lands to find a subject for his pencil,
and finally came upon it in a group of peasants at his
own door, sketching their figures with chalk on the
head of a barrel, for a picture that became immortal.
Another, the prose-poet of modern England, points out
how the finger of the Creator works as marvellously
^*in the casting of a lump of clay by the roadside as
in the kindling of the day-star, or in the lifting of
the mountains which are the pillars of heaven."
You read entertaining anecdotes of slight causes
determining momentous issues, a chance word spoken,
a shower interrupting a journey, an accident in a


nursery, or a freak of the wind, turning finally the
destinies of kingdoms, or colonies, or armies, or great
men's reputations. There are books full of such curi-
osities. They have their use.

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Online LibraryF. D. (Frederic Dan) HuntingtonForty days with the Master → online text (page 4 of 16)