F. D. (Frederic Dan) Huntington.

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But there is something much deeper, more search-
ing and personal and religiously practical to our-
selves than that. These '' least things," in which
each of us is faithful or faithless, are not only the be-
ginnings of what seems great in the eyes of men ;
they are great already, by what they come out of;
they are disclosures of a life within us ; they signify
a principle in the springs and workings of character ;
they imcover and they prove that inward frame and
habit of the soul on which eternal life depends.

" My every weak, tliouj^b good, design
O'errule or ebauge as seemeth meet.

Jesus, let all my work be tbine!
Tby work, O Lord, is all complete

And pleasing in Thy Father's sight,

Thou only hast done all things right.

Here then to Thee Thine own I leave;

Mould as Thou wilt Thy passive clay:
But let me all Thy stamp receive

But let me all Thy words obey
Serve with a single heart and eye,
And to Thy glory live and die! ''


/~\ THOU who hast instructed us in Thy holy Word that
Thou wilt accept no divided service, cover us with the
helmet of hope and the shield of Thy glorious defence against
every temptation; that, being clad in the whole armor of God,
and heljied by Thee in all time of our necessity, we may enter
into the joy of them that love Thee with the whole heart;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.



I THINK we indulge and excuse ourselves in what
we call small faults bj an unconscious habit of divid-
ing up our inward man into parts, calling tbem facul-
ties or propensities, and then going on to put off the
blame upon them as if they were real and responsi-
ble agents apart from ourselves. I hear people say,
^' Pride embittered me ; fear betrayed me into false-
hood ; anger unsettled my reason ; a love of admira-
tion stained my modesty ; a love of money drew me
on to gambling speculations 5 love beguiled me ;
appetite corrupted me.'^ What then are pride and
fear and anger and vanity and avarice and lust ?
Moods, propensities, passions, you say. But whose
moods, whose propensities, whose passions but your
own ? At the centre of them all, the ruler and royal
master of them all, stands your will, having ears to
hear the voice of God. That will-power makes you
what you are, marks and bounds your personality,


parts you off from all the souls about you, drags you
out from under all screens and shadows into daylight ;
having reason and conscience and Bible and Church
to help you if you will take their warning and their
grace. While your inclinations were having riot,
where were you ? Manhood or womanhood is not a
medley of brute forces, or^ a menagerie of wild
impulses, or a mob of lawless passions. By that will-
power you are either saving or wasting your life.
By that will-power, set wrong or set right, you are
every day rising to the righteousness of Christ, or
sinking to spiritual death. By the will-power in you
you are climbing towards a sure Heaven, or drifting
out on a dark sea. Looking down upon you, and
into the secrets of your so id, God loves you too well
to let you be deceived. It is you that He calls His
child by your name ; you that He cares for ; you that
Ho watches, pities, helps ; and it is with you that
He will reckon for that which is ^^ least." Behind
every wrong act, every neglected duty, — the hasty
word, the impatient gesture, the equivocating answer,
the jealous cruelty, the reckless calumny, is yourself.
Each came out of your whole character 5 not your
temperament, or your constitution, or your provoca-
tion, but yourself You say it was unconsidered ;


but it was you that did not consider. You say you
did not think ; but God made you a thinking crea-
ture, and your thinking faculty was not given you
for great occasions, which are rare in any life, and
are not what wdll fix your place when you give in
your account. Trace the secret history of any of
the great crimes which now so often disgrace the
business world, and you find that he who is unjust in
much was unjust first in that which is least. ^' A
good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit."* Out of the
one heart are the issues of life and death. Another
illusion that misleads us is a habit of estimating
actions by their outward or apparent effects ; not by
their absolute and essential quality as being good or
bad in themselves ; not by comparing them with a
fixed and eternal standard, which is the law of God ;
not by their secret but sure eflfect on our own spiritual
salvation. It is a difficulty that runs all through our
ceaseless warfare, between the w^orld outside and the
law within, between flesh and spirit, between self and
Christ. What we see and hear, touch, work in, eat

* Our Lord pictures it m two perfect figures : ''Make the
tree good, and the fruit will be good." '^ The light of the body
is the eye. If thine eye he single, thy whole body shall be full


and wear, lay up and display, is so conspicuous and
ever-present that we make it a measure even of
what is infinitely greater than all of it — ourselves.
We take what is external to us, coarse and perishing
matter at the best, and apply its fluctuating valuations
to the part of us which opens into the world above
us, which receives gifts from God, is a child of God^
and grows, if it will, into the measure of the stature
of the man perfect in Christ. In business-dealing
with a customer, a contractor or client, a partner or
a clerk, I take some advantage, seen by me, not
seen by him, giving me a trifling credit, which, if he
did see it, he would say belonged not to me but to
him. By the material or visible account it is small.
The transaction looks not exactly like a theft, but it
looks not at all like honor. Shall I go back and set the
wrong right ? or do I say to myself, ^^It is too tri-
fling a matter ; let it go." Then the everlasting
law of commercial faithfulness is broken, and I am
a thief.

A woman at the head of a house, who imagines
herself a Christian, lets a servant or seamstress or
milliner go unpaid from month to month, denying
herself no comfort, feeling scarcely a twinge of con-
science, and calls it a trivial neglect. But there is a


sentence in God's law which declares that precise
trifle to have a judgment-cry in it which reaches the
ears of the Lord of Hosts. By an unchaste word, or
gesture, or fashion, you leave a spot on some man's
or woman's imagination which all the repentances of
a life-time will not wash out. You will not whiten
the stain, or make it little, by an adjective. You
are at school, and you go on committing and hiding
petty disobediences. Every one of thein leaves the
school-law broken, and it leaves the crystal of your
soul's purity cracked. You know what you w^ould
say to the dealer at the shop who apologized for the
flaw in the jewel he sold you, that it was a little flaw.
Who has put into your mortal mind balances by
which you dare to pronounce that one ugly deed of
yours is big and another is insignificant, in the ever-
winding and far-reaching issues of eternity ? Not
He certainly who tells you what heavenly rewards
there are for a cup of cold water, and what fearful
penalties hang on a word spoken against the Holy
Ghost, — tells you that to take into your arms a poor
woman's child, to rest and bless the mother, is better
for you than to clasp diamond bracelets upon them j
tells you that to serve your brother even to the wash-


SECOND TUESDAY. \\ V ^\ ^7^, ^^

ing of his feet is more rojal than the robing of lax^
queen or the crowning of a king. '

Here, at least, in this serious time, you long to
be more like Him whose purity you worship, whose
name you speak with every prayer, whose cross is
on your foreheads, whose love, you know, is greater
and sweeter than the dearest human love in your
hearts. Confess, then, that it is these faults, half-
open and half-hidden, which separate you from Him.
Faults, do you say ? Be honest and call them sins.
Your conscience is not dead. You believe the Creed.
You venerate and perhaps love your Church. You
say your prayers. You hope you will not be lost out
of the Family when your Father gathers His children
to Him at the end. Yet you know that all these
holy realities are far above the level of your daily
temper and behavior. When you lift your eyes
towards them, they seem out of your reach. They
scarcely touch your poor, unworthy, sinful life. Here
you see so much that is weak, yielding, unsteadfast,
vain, mean, wicked ; there the clear tranquillity and
glory of the Father's House on high. How can you
bring that better and nobler life and this poor, daily
struggle together, make them one, and live that one
life with Christian joy and power ?


Two ways have been tried. One is to begin on
the outside^ watch the faults, study them, analyze
them, name them, make a catalogue of them, and set
up before you a list of religious rules against them
You deal with them in detail, one by one. You sta-
tion your sentinels in the morning, and call them in
and take their reports at night. These are the rules,
and here are the shortcomings. You try and try
again. This is the way of the law. It has its place,
and its use. We are so made that written regulations
yield a certain amount of help. Some people are
more helped by them than others. In the progress
of every individual disciple, as in the public history
of the world, there comes in what may be called the
law-period, when the statute is put before the eyes,
and the passions that would sweep us to perdition
are *^ held in by bit and bridle,'' the threat of a just
punishment checks us, forbidden things are fought
back in that fear, — " Thou shalt " and '' Thou shalt
not" sounding in our ears. Israel was governed by
rule, and you and I have an Israel, a Moses, and
stone-tablets in our breast. Christ did not come
to destroy this law power, by His Gospel, but to fulfil
it, or fill it full. I have known scrupulous persons
who were largely indebted to this legal regimen, and


there was the strength of granite pillars in their
characters. But there is a limit to that stern statute
on the stone^ and to the help it gives. There are
wells of living water, there are fountains of healing
faith, there are streams of the heart's best blood of
love, which rules alone will not open. There are
great springs of spiritual power in the soul, — peni-
tence, prayer, charity, — which are never reached by a
rod, or stirred by penalties. Something more is
wanted. What then is the other way! It is the way
Christ took and taught. He sets the heart right
first, — the yiner man. The beginning of all goodness
in us, He says, is to get this heart close to Him, con-
scious of Him, quickened by Him, communing in a
sacrament with Him, alive with His life. You will
love what He loves, hate what He hates, go where He
calls, let alone whatever separates you from Him.
One place will be like another to your conscience
because He is there. One word spoken or deed
done — right or wrong — will be like another, because
it is either for or against His will. The thought of
Him will be law enough. As there can be no strong
morality without religion, so there will be no consist-
ent and steady righteousness in you except by this liv-
ing and loving faitli towards a living and loving Lord.


Your baptism is to pledge you this free spirit of
adoption as a son or a daughter of God. Your con-
firmation is to pour out upon you more and more this
spirit of an adopted and consecrated child, which is
liberty and joy. Your Communion-Feast is to nour-
ish in you this high, and sweet, and growing life.
Christian character will be one thing. Each duty
will be a privilege ; you will go to it not as a slave
scourged to the plantation, but as a free man, liberated
from your lameness, walking, leaping, and praising
God. Selfishness will be a mortification to you.
Sin will be shame, the fore-fire of hell. Self-sacri-
fice will be a victory. This more and more, till
nothing, great or small, easy or hard, no height or
depth, not things present or things to come, not the
principalities of the world, or the frivolities of fash-
ion, or any other creature shall be able to separate
^ou from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus,
y( ur Lord. '^ The whole body is full of light.''

c>a,ints are made saints not by doing extraoi^inary
or uncommon things, but by doing common things in
an un(: »ramon way, on uncommonly high principles,
in an uncommonly self-sacrificing spirit. Be sure
that this i- the only substantial thing. The bits of
knowledge that we call our learning, the bits of prop-


erty that we call our wealth, the momentary vanities
of delight that we call the conquests of social life, —
how swiftly they hurry to tlieir graves, or are lost in
forgetfulness ! Nothing, nothing else but character
survives, and character is Christ formed within.
The proof of the true man, — where is it found f Not
in the size of his performances, but in the fibre of
his manhood ; not in the quantity, or occasions, or
noise of his actions, but in the uprightness of his soul.
You will not have to wait to see how large the trusts
are which are committed to his keeping, or how he
will behave himself in some signal emergency. The
world is a safer and stronger place on account of him,
and Heaven is more real. ^' I will show you to whom
he is like. He is like a man which built a house, and
digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock."

" Whatever thou lovest best,
E'en that become thou must.
Christ's, if thou lovest Christ,
Dust, if thou lovest dust."

/^ GOD, the Perfect Truth and Everlasting Light, who hast
made faith in Thy Son to be the beginning of man's salva-
tion and the foundation of all righteousness : Enlighten and
strengthen our hearts by Thy Spirit, that, believing Thy word,
and confessing that which we believe, we may be made like
unto Thy Son Christ in His everlasting kingdom and glory
through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.



Slowly, very slowly does the Church learn and
put into her life her Lord's constant lesson — simple
and clear as it is — that His religion is neither a
creed without conduct, nor conduct without a creed.
The Church's weakness is our weakness ; her fault
is our fault. We put asunder what God has joined
together. We take a part rather than the whole,
and get half the blessing. Why is it ? Is it not evi-
dently because we allow in ourselves one or another
one-sidedness ? If the temperament is inactive, and
the will weak, a kind of speculative indolence in us
says, "Religion is a thing to be believed; the doc-
trine of works is a snare ; ^ doing Ms a vain delu-
sion, it is even ^ deadly ' ; this is a bad world enough,
to be sure, but God will take care of it ; let me only
be orthodox and safe ; Heaven forbid that I should
do anything that would look as if I expected to be
saved by my performances.'^ If, on the other hand,


the temperamerit is lively and the will energetic, if the
executive faculty is uppermost and the view is practi-
cal, and the spiritual sensibilities are dull, then the
bustling force in us says, '^ Religion is something to
be done ; no matter about your dogmas and articles
of faith 'j the world wants reforming, society is
wrong and needs to be set right, and nothing will do
that but labor j let me busy myself not about a world
overhead, or a world to come, but the world that is
at hand and palpable ; here are business and philan-
thropies, I will find my salvation in them."

One way of disposing of these halfnesses is to let
them alone, concluding comfortably that one will
balance the other, and that between the mystics on
one side and the workers on the other mankind will
get on, we ourselves drifting on whichever tide hap-
pens to suit our inclination. This was not the way
or the teaching of our Master, or of the apostolic men
whom He filled with His Spirit, and illuminated with
His truth. The first good and the first greatness of
the world is personal character, not a scheme of the-
ological opinions, or a scheme of social reformation.
Character is an integral and not a fragmentary thing.
It is a symmetrical growth, having laws, proportions
and vital conditions of its own. It cannot be a prac-


tical force without having its root in unseen reali-
ties, and its conscious source in the living God, and
its perpetually replenished supply by communion
with Him. It cannot be a developed and healthy
saint without a constant putting forth of its vitality
and vigor in a principled activity of use and exer-
cises of righteousness.

The Master came not only to tell us to live rightly,
and to show us how to live rightly, but to create in
us the power to live rightly. Here is the difference
between all false religions and the one that alone is
true. No other teacher, no other leader, no other
prophet, priest or king has done that. Faith is the
laying hold of that power. The very statement
shows the twofold nature of Christianity. If it were
action, and nothing but action, there would be no lay-
ing hold, no reaching up, no drinking in, no prayer,
no praise, no sacramental refreshment, no receiving
of gifts ; the sky would be an impenetrable ceiling
stretched over our heads. If it were faith, and noth-
ing but faith, then why speak of it as a power at all ?
An unexpended power, an unused force, a fountain
with no stream, a fruit-tree with no fruit — these are
names and images not of life, but of death. *' Faith
without works is dead.''

THIRD wed:n'esday. ' 105

A saying of ^Ir. Matthew Arnold has become fa-
miliar by quotation, to the effect that '^ conduct is
four-fifths of life," the inference being that a Chris-
tian man's doings are four times as important as his
believing. Mr. Arnold was a better critic than phi-
losopher. He often said things so well that they
were taken to be true because they were well said.
One cannot help wondering how he made his meas-
urements when he propounded this definite statement
of the relative dimensions of faith and work. He
must have known that everything done on earth that
is worth doing is believed in before it is done ; ^. c,
that before, behind, beneath, above all effectual or
memorable action, in enterprise, in invention, in edu-
cation, in building, or colonizing or conquering, no
less than in the Church, there must be a creed. You
have four-fifths of a watch without the mainspring,
four-fifths of a steamer without the engine, four-fifths
of a man without his heart and brain. It was a
witty enough answer of Clarkson, the philanthropist,
to the canting pietist, who inquired of him the state
of his soul, that he was so busy with his work that
he had no time to think whether he had a soul. But
without his soul he never would have found his work.
It is a bad fashion, bad logic, and bad manners to


glorify modern Christendoni and deny the eternal

On the other hand^ the world has a right to look
worshippers, as they come out of church, in the face,
and ask them, What do you bring away from your
altar, your psalm, your sermon, your benediction ?
What gifts have you to distribute in your neighbor-
hood? Why should we go in and say your Creed
with you ? Whatever else the world knows, it
knows that it wants good, hearty, honest, cheerful,
righteous work. It is a very unfinished world. As
you look in among its frightful and needless inequali-
ties, its mean competitions, its tyrannies, falsehoods,
insincerities, superstitions, disorders, bad temper,
bad air, bad faith, turn to the Master who has come
from Heaven to change, to renew, to heal, to toil, to
suffer, to save, and say to Him, ^^ Hear am I; take me;
guide me ; without Thee nothing is strong, nothing
is holy ; work Thou within me, and let me work and
live with Thee ! "

" Whether there many be who thrive
In their vast suit for that vast love,
Truly I know not; this I know,
That love lives not in outward show,


That but to sesk is not to stri ve,
That thankless praises, empty prayers,
Can claim no bond, for will of theirs
Hia court to move.

*' "WTiether there many be or few
Elect, the heavenly goal to win,
Truly I know not ; this I know
That none who move with footsteps slow,
That none who fight with hearts untrue,
That none who serve with service cold,
The eternal city can behold,
Or enter in."

"TTTORK Thy work m us, O Lord, that, believing in Thee
and in Thy Word with a contrite and true heart, we
may ever obey Thee, not m servile fear, but with cheerful,
readiness and a consistent righteousness, and thus through the
path of obedience come to dwell and reign with Thee, who,
being obedient to the Father even unto death, livest and
reignest with Him and the Holy Spirit, world without end.


Mix& MnxHU^.


When the Spirit speaks to us from day to day, or
in some rare moment of searching tenderness, and
tells us that, hard as our hearts may be, and poor as
our present way of living is with its frivolous pleas-
ures and mean pursuits and its indifference to the
high things of faith, nevertheless there is actually
somewhere in us, not utterly dead, a desire for better
satisfactions, do we disbelieve that ? Does one of
you reply, ^' I know nothing about this divine tliirst;
Bible men, psalmists and penitents and pulpits may
say what they please; I am content as I am ^' ?

Look farther and closer. Take first that part of
your time wdiich you spend in work, does the occu-
pation satisfy you without God ? Clearly enough we
were made to be working creatures. It is stamped
into us, through and through, that labor of one kind
or another, of hands or brain, is the lav/ of the whole
living creation. At the very head of the universe


stands a workings God. " My Father worketh hith-
erto, and I work.'' What a comfort that text is for
men and for women who feel overburdened with toil !
We wish there w^ere less to be done, but if w^e stop
doing, most of us pretty soon become restless rather
than resting, acting in mischievous directions, or else
we find forces of unhappincss coming into action be-
cause the better powers are disused. You think the
birds in the branches have an easy time, but w^atch one
for a few hours, and you find that bird-life is about as
anxious, vigilant and laborious as your own. The
animal world, the intellectual, the moral, the spiritual
world live by work. Even the unconscious atoms of
nature, from the stars to the vegetable atoms, toil in-
cessantly. If we will not live to w^ork, w^e are obliged
to vfork to live. The spiritual world is a working
reality, as much as the farm or shop. Acknowledge it
or not, you are a spiritual creature, and unless you
take your spiritual wants to Christ to be healed and
guided and sanctified by Him, you are but a mutilated
fragment and failure of a man. And something about
your outward work tells you this. Sometimes you
are perplexed about it, feeling the need of more wis-
dom and more patience in it than you can give your-
self That is really a thirst after God, whose wisdom


and patience alone are infinite, and from whom alone
these strong gifts can come. At other times you feel
your task to be greater than your capacity. You
sorely want more power than you have and are half
discouraged. That want is a thirst for God, because
He alone can supply the power, or else can encourage
you to persevere without it. Sometimes there comes
a better feeling yet. In some hour of more than or-
dinary sobriety you will be thinking over your whole
course of works and living and you will ask, what
all this daily labor is for, what is the object and what
the end. Is it merely to keep body and soul together,
to get wages and eat them up, or to set up a little
better furniture than your neighbors, is that all, or
are the enlargement of your soul, charity to your
neighbors, the glory of conquering self, the eternal
life gained, the salvation of yourself and others,— are
these the real end? This too is thirsting after God,
the living God, who would not leave you easy or let you

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Online LibraryF. D. (Frederic Dan) HuntingtonForty days with the Master → online text (page 5 of 16)