F. D. (Frederic Dan) Huntington.

Forty days with the Master online

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Can there be any doubt about it ? Hear what
Christ Himself says to all His followers : — " If ye
were of the world the world would love his own. But
because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen
you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
These, Father, are not of the world, even as I am


not of the world." '' If any man love the world, the
love of the Father is not in him." In every accent
of command, entreaty, warning, by every strenuous
remonstrance, this Lord of spiritual life sets the two
masters and the two services apart. The Gospel is
one long appeal for loyalty to a Heavenly Leader.
The apostolic preaching continues it in every variety
of expostulation. We can choose the one, or we can
choose the other; but we cannot choose both at the
same time. The world-spirit in any man poisons,
shrivels, kills the soul. Christ's Spirit gives life,
longer life, pure life, noble life, victorious life, gives
it more abundantly, and makes it life everlasting.

Plainly enough then the work of disenchanting
society of its low delusions, of elevating and spiritual-
izing it, is to begin, as the old prophets did, at the
House of God. The first purifying must be in the
church itself. Draw the line straight, and cut it deep.
You will not cut it too deep. Be reasonable, be large,
be patient, be good-natured, but be holy, for God is
holy and will be worshipped only in holy ways. Say
to worldliness, at the church door, at the altar, at the
choir, at the pulpit, ^^This is holy ground." Eemem-
ber what the Lord Christ in His indignation did, with
the scourge in His hand, in a temple less hallowed


than every Christian sanctuary. Let the world come
in, by all means, to learn, to listen, to kneel down and
confess and pray, to keep Lent, to be converted, bap-
tized and blest; the doors are open wide for that, —
but not to desecrate. The Lord is in His holy
temple, and all that pertains to its worship and offices
is His. Keep it for Him; you will not be sorry when
the glitter of life fades, as it will, and its lights go
out, and the great realities are revealed before your
soul, and the books are opened. If the prince of
this world looks in, let him find nothing here of his

" How often as -we beat along
With wind ahead and flowing strong,
We hear our watchful Captain cry,
* Near ! Nothing off! ' and ' Full and by ! '
So when in life our oars begin
To run the rapids dark of sin,
May conscience wake our timely fear,
Lifting her warning cry of ' Near !^
And when from Truth's unerring line
Our coward lips would dare decline.
Then may we heed, tho' fools should scoflf,
Her stern injunction, ' Nothing off! '
Virtue and vice to win us try,
Be then our watchword, ' Full and by!'
Safe course, thro' this world to another.
Is ' fiill ' of one and ' by ' the other !"


A LMIGHTY God aud most merciful Saviour, while weeks,
"^^ months, and years are bearing us on toward the time of
our appointed change. Thou sittest ahovethe lieavens, the same
yesterday, to-day, and forever. O Lord, he Thou our strong
tower, whereunto we may alway resort. Grant that "by faith
in Thee our hearts may he fixed, stablished, and settled ; that
being steadfast in purpose and wise to withstand all the allure-
ments of the prince of this world, we may so pass the waves of
this troublesome world, that finally we may come to the land
of everlasting life, there to reign witb Thee, world without end.



An age of active moral impulses is not sure to be
an age of moral courage. The religion itself may
be social and amiable, intelligent and enterprising,
given to missions and philanthropy ; but when the
spirit of a worldly and fashion-following society sneers
or tempts in any of its imposing and fascinating
shapes, it is not at all sure that this religion will not do
what Simon Peter did at the trial of his Master.

Arraign for judgment your social practices, your
ambiguous excuses, your timid evasions, your weak
anxiety to be on the safe side, your dread of being
sneered at, or laughed at, or left out of a " set," your
shirkings of responsibility, your hiding from a pub-
lic duty and calling it modesty, your halting resolu-
tion, your shameful assents to calumnies, your
silence where silence is falsehood or treachery, the
smile on your face when there is protest, or reproof,
or contempt in your heart. What are the Forty


Days for if not for this ? The hackneyed lists of sins
in the manuals and directories and confessionals need
to be extended. What would happen if the men and
women who have taken vows of loyal allegiance to
Christ in the Church should go into a modern evening
party, or even stand at the gate of the Lord's house,
saying, as Joshua, the typical Hebrew hero, said to
the man he met at Jericho, ^^ Art thou for us, or for
our adversaries ? " In all the companies of noble
spirits saved in Heaven, as among the groups that
Dante saw when he walked in Paradise, there will be
none nobler than those of whom it can be said,
^' These are they who on the earth were not afraid."
The prime minister of fear is compromise. Let
worldliness become a little religious, and religion a
little w^orldly, let self-indulgence talk the language
of the Church and the Church borrow the wardrobe
of the world, let the respectable thieves of the stock
market be seen and heard at the conference and
prayer-meeting, let partakers at sacraments waive
their scruples and be ^' liberal/^ let luxury and ma-
terialism, extortionate monopolists, .despots of mine
and factory, and robbers of Avork-women say the
Creed and pay the pew-tax, — then may not the Gos-
pel and mammon dwell peacefully together, then may


not courage be dropped out of the catalogue of Chris-
tian virtues ? A conscience that will not conipro- ^
mise, a steady, unyielding bravery for God, for the y\ :\
righteousness of God, for the truth of God, for the . */^
rights and liberties of every son and daughter of ^
God, however undefended or poor, — is this a charac-
teristic of our American, republican, nineteenth cen-
tury Christian life !

Count up, then — it will humiliate us, but humilia-
tion is Lenten business — the hindrances that put
back truth, and justice, and charity, and a thousand
blessed reformations in the world, from cowardice.
What losses God's kingdom suffers, not now from ha-
tred, or cruelty, or lust, or avarice alone, but from
their vulgar ally, cowardice ! Society is the wide,
sad council-chamber of the rulers where, every hour,
by some recreant affection or fugitive virtue, afraid
of His righteousness, Christ is betrayed. Watch it.
See the retreating and hesitating, the trimming and
apologizing, the pale signals of fainting manhood in
the countenance, the vanquished confidence in the
eye, the sinking independence in the tone, the truth
half-told, and the other half stifled by a sudden dread,
the draggled flag of defeated magnanimity flying
from the field.


Some wrong is on the eve of being righted, some
suffering neighbor's pain or poverty might be relieved,
some slander crushed, some injured reputa^tion vindi-
cated j a nobler thought is born in some bright mind
which would grandly set forward the brotherhood of
men, the reign of love, the gospel of life 5 but close
after the divine idea comes an instigation of the
earth earthy 5 of self selfish ; of the devil devilish.
What will the world say ? How will this bear on my
interest, my income, my prospects of promotion, my
favor with the patron, the partisan, the customer, the
voter, the rich parishioner, the influential family, the
profitable patient, the desirable client, the social
leader, the ruling majority ? A generous impulse
springs to life in the heart •, but before it comes out
to a hearty utterance on the lips or is embodied in a
deed^ fear kills it with a crafty calculation. And
this is our horrible slaughter of the innocents, the no-
bler children of our humanity, murdered by Herod,
lest Christ should live.

Most of these degraded timidities in our average
Christian come not from absolute malignity, like
Herod's, but from feeble principles and confused
perceptions of where the two ways part. We are
not quite sure whether this man with the drawn


sword is for Christ or for his adversaries, and we are
afraid to ask him. O, if only the two kingdoms
stood out over against one another with plain lines
and contrasted colors, like white and black, how
much easier duty would be ! There is so much in
the world's amiabilities and industries, its winning
ways and elegant arts, that seems to be good ; and
there is so much in the Church's bigotry, and con-
troversy, and pharisaism, and moral bitterness that
is certainly morbid and deformed ! We think we
shall get hard-headed men and frivolous women to
sacraments and penitence by going half-way with
them to Babylon. We undertake to make religion
popular by making it less and less religious. We
propose to be ^^ liberal" by giving away what it is
not ours to give, God's truth. We want the world's
money for the Gospel, and so make the Gospel every
day less and less worth anybody's money, or any-
body's enthusiasm, or confidence, or zeal. We im-
agine we shall conciliate to the Church the spirits of
darkness, not considering what a church with such
spirits for supporters, preachers and singers must be.
So far as we know there was never a people on the
earth really honoring cowards. While Christ is
Master, disciples who are afraid to face His enemies


and bear His cross not only cannot share His tri-
umph, they cannot know what His triumph is.

*' Why haltest tlius, deluded heart ?

Why ^vaverest longer in thy choice ?
Is it so hard to choose the part

Offered by Love's almighty voice ?
O look with clearer eyes again,
(Strive thou to enter not in vain.
Press on !

"Rememher 'tis not Caesar's throne,

The proud world's honor, wealth or might,
Where God's high favor shall be shown
To liim who conquers in this fight.
Himself and His eternity
Of life and joy He offers thee.
Press on ! ■'

4 LMIGHTY God, our only strength in mortal frailty, teach
-^^ us ever to value Thy love above all things, and to esteem
Thy favor more than life itself; and grant that we may pass
through all the temjDtations of this world with peace, and in-
nocence, and safety. Enable us to fight manfully against our
great adversary, who is daily lying in wait to destroy us.

Suffer us not, O merciful God, to be led away by the vain and
foolish customs of this world, nor seduced from our duty by the
company and example of wicked men : but grant that we may
fearlessly make Thy laws the rule of all our actions; and let it be
our constant and most zealous endeavor to please Thee above all
things in the several places and stations wherein Thy Provi-
dence is pleased to place us. Grant this, through Jesus Christ;
our Lord. Amen.



There is no more need to construct an argument
in behalf of courage than an argument for beauty, or
health, or fresh air. Mankind, civilized and savage,
having agreed in admiring it, if Christians as Chris-
tians, if the Church as a Church, do not make it
manifest in their life and use it for their cause they
fall below the common level of humanity. What it
concerns us to consider is its nature, how it is nour-
ished, how a consecrated will courts it and depends
upon it for the building of character. We shall
honor it the more the better we know the moral in-
gredients that make it up.

Men are indifferent to danger when they believe
in something that is greater than themselves, higher,
larger, worth more than their own comfort. Swiftly,
as by a divine instinct, they pat that greater thing
first ; it is easy to let life, blood, comfort, go for it.
There is no cautious process of comparison and cal-


culation. The surrender of selfish safety is sponta-
neous and generally unconscious. That is the crown
and the glory of the brave man. If he sacrifices the
favor of his whole social class and alienates admiring
friends by espousing an unpopular cause, taking
ridicule or hatred or poverty instead, he has the
valor because he believes in that cause and not in
popularity. If in a moral crisis, when a question of
right and wrong sharply divides a community, he
breaks with old ties, disappoints his set, speaks the
unexpected word or does the unfashionable thing,
freely accepting the reproach of an '"' impracticable,"
or a traitor to his party that he may be true to a
principle, his bravery is simply the unavoidable ac-
tion of his faith; he believes in the principle; he does
not believe in any safe surrender of it; and his hurt
pride, his crushed ambition, his tortured sensibilities,
his scanty income, are the sacrifice. They are the
Gibeonites that Joshua made bondmen, '^ hewers of
wood and drawers of water for the house of God."
Just then the popular thing in Israel was to slaughter
Hivites and Hittites. Joshua and his princes, for
certain reasons, had promised these captives that they
should not be slaughtered but kept alive. The con-
gregation clamored. The courage wanted for radi-


calism yesterday is wanted to-day for conservatism.
In place of the boldness of aggressive measures to
exterminate an enemy, there is needed now the calm
fortitude that spares him ; and here it is, ^^ We have
sworn unto them, by the Lord God of Israel 5 now,
therefore, we may not touch them." There was be-
lief in a promise, and in God who keeps promises.
It is true enough, there is a mere animal courage in
some men which is born in the blood, an appetite for
battles, an exultation in peril, which has made dash-
ing warriors; it is no more Christian than the size of
the hand or the color of the eyes ; but that too is a
kind of barbarous faith in the thing the man fights
for, which makes him fearless ; and the rule holds.
In that purple and fine linen tyranny which rules the
customs and courtesies of social life with weapons
sharper than a sword, some Christian woman defies
that despotism. She dares to be simple in style, to
be economical, to be just, not to tempt her weaker
sisters by admired displays, harmless to herself, which
would be ruin to them : — she braves the world's
laugh or sneer because she believes in character, in
duty, in Christ. A soldier rides cheerfully into the
valley of death because he believes in his country,
his leader, his flag. And, remember, whenever fear


paralyzes your tongue, or drives you into dishonor,
or crowds you into unclean company, it is only be-
cause you -do not believe in veracity, or purity, or
honor. Peter loved his Master when he denied Him,
but he was afraid. It w^as the same difficulty on the
water. Clirist said, '' Wherefore didst thou doubt ? ''
Slow of heart to believe, weak of heart to obey. Let
us put, therefore, as the first and noblest element in
courage, faith. In the peerage of heroes recorded in
the eleventh to the Hebrews you find the faith and the
courage, in their root, were one. We hear certain per-
sons praised as having '' the courage of their convic-
tions." But the courage is in the conviction, or
else the conviction is not worthy of its name. As the
Church is really believing it w^ill be brave.

Along with faith is constancy. A long war sifts
out a few patient, enduring generals from a multitude
of brilliant, eager adventurers, stars that rise and set
in a short campaign. The Christian life is a long
war, with no discharge. Intensity of feeling at the
beginning, high-wrought emotions at conversion, are
not the tests of a courageous discipleship. Brave
words may be spoken ; there may be dashes of duty;
ardent pledges ; occasional excitements that bring a
brief refreshment to a discouraged ministry. But


time comes and tries them all of what substance they
are. God wants for His servants here those souls
that choose for Him once for all, and for all time; that
having ranged themselves on His side stay there;
that having taken the Church for their House abide
by its law ; that having called Christ Master follow
Him to the cross; that having made a good confession
and an honest vow are faithful to the end How
much of the proof of loyalty lies in that endurance !
Silent, unpraised, unstimulated, unpretending endur-
ance ! Few lives attract attention beyond a very
narrow circle; few careers raise a ripple that does not
sink to the broad flat face of the waters in less time
than it takes the human body to grow. Yet every
spot in the whole wide field is a scene of conflict, and
in all these houses and streets, every day, there is
courage or cowardice for God, — in the conscience,
in the will, in the tongue, in the life. Now that per-
secutions are past, inquisitions are impotent, and cru-
sades absurd, the greater part of valor is in standing
at our posts, bearing the suffering that is sent, re-
turning evil with good, conquering ourselves. Great
soldiers have said that it takes more courage to sit
still under fire than to fight in the most fearful en-
gagement. After Joshua had swung his sword up


and down all Palestine, had set his feet on the neck
of prostrate kings, in the quiet godliness of liis old
age he dwelt in Timnath-Serah, and there is noth-
ing finer than the scorching, painful, faithful words
he spoke to his people, as keen as the sword's edge,
till he bound them by shame and honor to his God,
and set up the great stone for a witness under the oak
in Mount Ephraim. In the heart of true valor there is
always tenderness. Who has been brave if not the
early Christian martyrs of the Roman catacombs ?
Their royal tormentors with the ferocity of brutes
joined the exquisite ingenuity of artists and inventors
in cruelty. Yet on the stone slabs where they
carved the names of their dead, and the peaceful
symbols of their hope, the dove, the anchor and the
ship, there is not one trace of malediction, or anger,
or revenge.

Again, a criterion of courage is solitude. The
trial that tests its quality separates man from the
supports of human sympathy. A great part of our
Lord's sacrifice was its loneliness. ^^ Ye shall be
scattered every man to his own, and shall leave Me
alone." We never come quite close to Him till we
show that utter independence of men. Just when He
longed to draw and bind all hearts to Him, then He


must be forsaken, — not more solitary on the mountain-
top at midnight than in the multitude at noonday.

In all the personal confessions of the strong Apostle
we see nothing more pathetic than his " No man
stood by me.'' There has been splendid intrepidity
in the shock of armies and in the storm of the
siege, — the courage of action, — ^bi:ft not the highest
after all. An eloquent voice at Oxford described
the inspiration that comes, in Church and army,
from the sense of being a member of a great host.
A figure of it was found in the issuing of the
brave troops on the eve of the battle of Solferino
out of the forest-country where they had marched all
day. Concealed in the wood no soldier knew the
force of the movement of which he formed a part. At
sun-rise, as the vast lines of battalions filed out into an
open plain, the light fell on miles of burnished arms
and glittering standards^ every eye flashed and every
cheek flushed at the magnificence of the spectacle,
for the multitude was instantly conscious of its
strength. Yes, no doubt. But there is a loftier and
grander heroism than that. It is in the heroes that
stand in common places and sufi*er single-handed,
with no shoLit to cheer them, no ranks, no banners,
no trumpets, nothing but the light, and none to look


on but God. Can you go straight on in the road
when there is something rougher than rocks and
colder than ice, alone, for Christ's sake ? Then the
accommodating and bargaining compromises of a sup-
ple society or a cringing church will have no peace,
because they will have no power, like yours.

** Everlasting, changing never;

Of one strength, no more, no less,
Thine almightiness forever,
All the same Thy holiness;

Thee Eternal,
Thee all glorious we possess !

" Ours must he a nohler story
Than was ever writ thus far;
Nearer to Thee would we venture;
Of Thy truth more largely share.

Raise us nearer,
To Thy pure and perfect day ! "

*' Did we in our own strength confide,

Our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side,

The Man of God's own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be ?
Christ Jesus, it is He
Lord Sabaoth is His name
From age to age the same,

And He will win the battle.


** That word above all eartMy powers —

No thanks to them — ahideth.
The Spirit and the gifts are ours

Through Him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go,
This mortal life also.
The body they may kill;
God's truth abideth still,

His kingdom is forever."

^^ LORD Jesus Christ, Who art ascended into Heaven, there
^■"^ to intercede for us Thy servants, grant us firm faith in
Thine Almighty power ; strengthen our hope in Thee, O Jesus,
King, most wonderful, hear us, Thou Who hast triumphed most
gloriously; and grant that we may so follow Thee now without
fear, in patient toil and suffering, that, when Thou comest
again to judge the world we may sit with Thee in heavenly
places ; through Thy merits, O Lord and only Saviour, Who
with the Father and the Holy Ghost livest and reiguest ever
one God, world without end. Amen.


imxi\t ^UnxHU}},

Christ's mastery over the human race appears in
His influence on its standards of heroism. Savage
or civilized men admire heroes. Their heroes are
men such as they would like to be. Our admirations
furnish our inspiration, such as it may be. In the
historical development of greatness and of the idea of
greatness the body comes first. The first great heroes
were the hard fighters, strong wrestlers, swift run-
ners. It is remarkable how tenaciously this defer-
ence to physical ability keeps its place in the most
intellectual modern communities. Our bodies are
familiar to us ; we know their uses, resources, limits,
and they furnish with least study the most conven-
ient measure of what man can do. Their strength,
skill, suppleness, endurance, are almost as conspicu-
ous and general marks of distinction, on land and
water, and even in seats of education, now in the
games of America, as in the Greek Olympics^ mental


ambitions and emulations are more, but the struggle
for bodily superiority is not much less. Intellectual
eminence comes next, a step higher in the scale ;
and of that there are many grades, from the low self-
ish cunning of the huntsman, money-maker and self-
ish political trickster, to the kings of thought and
capitalists of knowledge, inventors, prophets, instruct-
ors, artists, philosophers. Moral greatness, the con-
quest of self, the power of sacrifice, the glorj^ of
heroic godliness comes last and comes slowly. It
comes perfectly in the Son of Man and Son of God,
the Second Adam, the Saviour.

If there is something to be done dangerous to the
outward man, so hard that most people shrink from it
and make excuse, something like rowing a boat
among breakers to a sinking ship, or mounting to the
top of a burning building to rescue a child, or enter-
ing a house where there is pestilence — then every-
body says the prompt, strong oarsman, climber,
nurse, is a hero. Suppose the peril and the daring
were different, to risk reputation for righteousness,
to give up party for principle, success for truth, pror
perty for honor, to speak unpopular words, to refuse
and denounce a fashion because i^ l^ vicious or
tempting, to take a gtand which would make those


whose love or favor we long for hate lis, or those
whom it would be for our interest to please angry
with us. Here is another test of courage, a different
measure of greatness, a new standard of heroism. Is
not this precisely what Christ meant when He spoke
to the world as its Master, and told us what we must
do and be if we would follow Him ?

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Online LibraryF. D. (Frederic Dan) HuntingtonForty days with the Master → online text (page 7 of 16)