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THE NEW THINGS OF GOD. $1.25 net.

THE RIGHT LIFE AND HOW TO LIVE IT. $1.20
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THE APOSTLES' CREED IN THE LIGHT OF
MODERN DISCUSSION. $1.25.

QUESTIONS OF MODERN INQUIRY. $1.25.



BEHIND THE WORLD
AND BEYOND



BY



HENRY A. STIMSON

MINISTER OF THE MANHATTAN CONOREOATIONAL CHURCH
NEW YORK CITY




NEW YORK: EATON & MAINS
CINCINNATI : JENNINGS & GRAHAM



937863A



Copyright, 1910, by
EATON & MAINS



N



TO THE MEMORY

OF THOSE DEAR FELLOW

WORKERS WHO HAVE BEEN MY

LOVING HELPERS AND PARISHIONERS IN A

LONG AND HAPPY MINISTRY, WHO HAVE ALREADY

PASSED INTO THE BLESSED REST, AND WHOSE

SPIRIT AND LIFE GO TOWARD THE MAKING

UP OF THAT CHRISTIAN TESTIMONY

IN WHICH LIES THE ONLY SOLVING

OF THE WORLD'S GREAT

PROBLEMS






"E il suo volontade e nostra pace"

^-Dante.



VI



CONTENTS

I

PAGE

WHAT LIES BEHIND THIS PUZZLING WORLD? 1
"For in him we live, and move, and have our
being; as certain even of your own poets have
said, For we are also his offspring." — Acts 17. 28.

II

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF LIFE ? 13

"As for man, his days are as grass; as a flower of
the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth
over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall
know it no more." — Psalm 103. 15, 16.

Ill

CAN SIN BE FORGIVEN ? 25

"Two men went up into the temple to pray; the
one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The
Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God,
I thank thee, that I am not as the rest of men,
extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this
publican. I fast twice in the week; I give tUhes of
all that I get. But the publican, standing afar off,
would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven,
but smote his breast, saying, God, be thou merciful
to me a sinner." — Luke 18. 10-13.



viii CONTENTS

IV

PAGE

WHAT GOD HAS DONE FOR THE WORLD 38

"God hath at the end of these days spoken unto
us in his Son." — Hebrews 1. 2.



V

ON WHAT CONDITION IS HEAVEN TO BE AT-
TAINED ? 48

"In my Father's house are many mansions; if it
were not so, I would have told you; for I go to
prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare
a place for you, I come again, and will receive you
unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be
also."— John 14. 2, 3.



VI

THE ESSENTIALS OF THE CHRISTIAN
FAITH.— I 59

"Neither shall they say, Lo, here! or, There! for
lo, the kingdom of God is within you." — Luke
17. 21.



VII

THE ESSENTIALS OF THE CHRISTIAN
FAITH.— II 74

"For I delivered unto you first of all that which
also I received : that Christ died for our sins accord-
ing to the scriptures; and that he was buried; and
that he hath been raised on the third day according
to the scriptures." — 1 Corinthians 15. 3, 4.



CONTENTS ix

VIII

PAGE

THE ESSENTIALS OF THE CHRISTIAN
FAITH.— Ill 88

-'If Christ hath not been raised, then is our
preaching vain, your faith also is vain." — 1 Corin-
thians 15. 14.

IX

WHY NOT SIMPLY THE MORALITY OF JESUS? 101

"And as he was going forth into the way, there
ran one to him, and kneeled to him, and asked him,
Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit
eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest
thou me good? none is good save one, even God."
—Mark 10. 17, 18.

X

THE SEARCHING QUESTION Ill

"He saith unto them, But who say ye that I
am?" — Matthew 16. 15.



XI

THE MEANING OF A NEGLECTED CHRIST 121

"And we esteemed him not." — Isaiah 53. 3.

XII
THE CALL OF THE WORLD 131

"Jesus answered them, My Father worketh even
until now, and I work." — John 5. 17.



x CONTENTS

XIII

PAGE

THE WINNING OF THE BEST 143

"0 Lord Jehovah, thou hast begun to show thy
servant thy greatness, and thy strong hand: . . .
Let me go over, I pray thee, and see the good land
that is beyond the Jordan." — Deuteronomy 3.
24, 25.

XIV

THE TEST OP THE JORDAN 157

"They said, If we have found favor in thy sight,
let this land be given unto thy servants for a pos-
session; bring us not over the Jordan." — Numbers
32. 5.

XV

CHRIST'S CURE FOR " THE BLUES " 169

"And Jesus answered and said unto them, Go
and tell John the things which ye hear and see:
the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk,
the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, and the
dead are raised up, and the poor have good tidings
preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever
shall find no occasion of stumbling in me." —
Matthew 11. 4-6.

XVI

THE MANLY SIDE OF TEMPTATION 183

"There hath no temptation taken you but such
as man can bear." — 1 Corinthians 10. 13.

XVII
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF CONVERSION 193

"I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly
in unbelief." — 1 Timothy 1. 13.



CONTENTS xi

XVIII

PAGE

GOD'S USE OF THE USELESS 205

"But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, which art
little to be among the thousands of Judah, out of
thee shall one come forth unto me that is to be
ruler in Israel; whose goings forth are from of old,
from everlasting." — Micah 5. 2.

XIX

THE VOICE OF GOD IN OUR DAILY LIFE ^215

•'The multitude therefore, that stood by, and
heard it, said that it had thundered: others said,
An angel hath spoken to him." — John 12. 29.

XX

THE KINDNESS OF GOD 229

"And the king said, Is there not yet any of the
house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of
God imto him?"— 2 Samuel 9. 3.

XXI

LIFE'S GREAT TRUSTS 240

"For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor
are given in marriage, but are as angels in heaven."
—Matthew 22. 30.

XXII
THE SETTING UP OF THE ARK 250

"And David went and brought up the ark of
God from the house of Obed-edom into the city of
David with joy." — 2 Samuel 6. 12.



xii CONTENTS

XXIII

PAGE

CHRIST'S LOVE FOR THE CHURCH 261

"Christ also loved the church, and gave himself
up for it; that he might sanctify it, having cleansed
it by the washing of water with the word, that he
might present the church to himself a glorious
church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such
thing; but that it should be holy and without
blemish." — Ephesians 5. 25-27.

XXIV

THE SUPREME POSSESSION 272

!'In Christ."— Ephesians 1. 10.

XXV

THE CHALLENGE TO THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH. 281

"And I lifted up my eyes, and saw, and, behold,
a man with a measuring line in his hand." — Zech-

ARIAH 2. 1.



PREFACE

The title of this book, while suggested by
the opening chapter, is justified by the subject-
matter of the book. It deals with spiritual
realities, with what Plato called the noumena
as distinct from the phenomena of life. The
latter are what most absorb men's attention,
but back of them and beyond them is the realm
of the great truths which, while easily over-
looked or disregarded, persist through all
change, and are eternal. They never are alto-
gether fathomed, and nothing can be better
worth attention.

I have long enjoyed the privilege of minis-
tering in a pulpit which, in a loving and gen-
erous sense, is absolutely free. A church that
desires the truth is not afraid of it in any form.
A congregation that contains not a single
member who would consciously hinder his
pastor in any utterance he might make, be-
cause he loves him and trusts him, is one to
encourage outreaching thought. These ser-
mons are, therefore, not apologetic. The
preacher is not conscious of any pressure to
conceal or repress any expression that might

xiii



xiv PREFACE

be necessary to convey his thought; nor is he
aware of having had convictions in the past,
or of having any now, which he is not free to
utter. He is limited only by the range of his
own knowledge ; but he has taught the truth he
knows and, as far as possible, has experienced.
He wishes his experience were fuller and
deeper, and regrets that his knowledge is not
greater ; but such as it is, it has declared itself,
and it has ever been spoken with the interested
expectation that he would so speak; while on
his own part his belief has been constant that
he has had the guidance of the Spirit of God,
which is promised to those who seek him.

Imperfectly as his work is done, he believes
it to be the truth, which in the times in which
we are living God wants declared — the old
truth, of course, but expressed in the light of
modern thought and adapted to present needs.
Not only is it "certain that the world is not
made to the measure of any science or philoso-
phy, but on the scale which perpetually sum-
mons philosophy and science to reconstruct
themselves anew"; but it is also certain that
the Christian life is not made to that measure.
The law of its nature is fixed, and the pattern
is established in Jesus Christ; but it has the
duty of continually adjusting itself to that
pattern, and of making sure that it is obedient



PREFACE xv

to the law given once for all. It is called con-
tinually to interpret Christ in the terms of
daily life, and to apply his teachings to the
doubts and fears, the questions and the tasks
which each new day presents.

This is the function of the pulpit; and, be-
cause this function cannot be exercised by any
other agency, I believe that whether men "bear
or forbear" there is a perpetual need of the
preacher and his work. Because as a preacher
I long for witness to this, and the sign of the
Lord's approval of it which is found in hearts
that respond to it and lives that are helped by
it, I have given it to the press. As John Bun-
yan said of his "Grace Abounding," "I could
have stepped into a style much higher than
this in which I have discoursed, but I dared
not." "God did not play," he further said, "in
dealing with him"; therefore he might not
play in telling his story ; but "be plain and sim-
ple, and lay down the thing as it was."

I would add to the prayer with which my
message was delivered the earnest prayer that
in this form it may be accepted of the Lord,
and made useful to its readers.

Henry A. Stimson.

August 1, 1910.



'Slight as thou art, thou art enough to hide,
Like all created things, secrets from me,
And stand a barrier to eternity.
And I, how can I praise thee well and wide
From where I dwell upon the hither side,
Thou little veil for so great mystery?
When shall I penetrate all things and thee
And then look back? For this I must abide,
Till thou shalt grow and fold and be unfurled
Literally between me and the world.
Then I shall drink within beneath a spring
And from a poet's side shall read his book.
Oh! daisy mine, what will it be to look
From God's side even of such a simple thing?"

— Alice Meynell.



WHAT LIES BEHIND THIS PUZZLING
WORLD?

"For in him we live, and move, and have our being;
as certain even of your own poets have said, For we
are also his offspring." — Acts 17. 28.

Either there is something behind this puz-
zling world, or there is not. There is no third
in the alternative. There is a God, or there is
not. Every man's life shows on which side
of that alternative he is; and he must be on
one side or the other.

Let us admit at once that when we speak of
proof, in the accepted scientific and demonstra-
ble sense, we cannot prove the existence of
God. But it is equally true that the nonexist-
ence of God cannot be proved. We have come
to know that the field of science and of logical
demonstration is limited. We have passed the
age when the contrary was held. The last half
of the last century witnessed the great scien-
tific awakening which may be regarded as hav-
ing constituted the birth of modern science.
W r e were all carried away by it. A new world
of thought had opened, and undreamed-of

1



2 BEHIND THE WORLD AND BEYOND

powers were discovered to be in the hands of
scientific men. As is the case with every dis-
covery of a new power, the claim made for
them was all-embracing. Religion and science,
no less than physics and chemistry, the unseen
world no less than the seen, were all haled be-
fore their tribunal, and accepted beliefs were
as violently cross-examined as is the accused
in the French criminal courts, and were in
most cases ruthlessly swept away. Ruskin
protested that men no longer believed in God
because they did not "find God in a bottle."
No truth was accepted except on the authority
of the test-tube and the laboratory.

But the day for that has passed. It wrought
havoc with the peace of many good men. Leslie
Stephen, in his biography, says that Tennyson
"all his life was troubled lest men of science
should some day do away with God, and, there-
fore, with the basis of morality" ; as if science
and the duty of living a decent life rested
on scientific proof. Long ago Frederick W.
Robertson wrote, "In the darkest hour through
which a human soul can pass, whatever else
is doubtful, this at least is certain — if there is
no God, no future state, yet even then it is
better to be generous than selfish, better to be
true than false, better to be brave than to be a
coward."



WHAT LIES BEHIND ? 3

The fact is, we have come to know that there
are many other methods of knowledge than
that of physical demonstration or logical proc-
ess. The mind of man is open to the whole
circle of truth, certain broad ways leading
to him at its center. We are glad to know
them. The men of science have cast them
up as highways, and made paths, easy and
straight.

But on either side, and sweeping the en-
tire field, is a vast territory, through which
many other ways wind, many yet perhaps to
be cleared, but all open to the ingress of a
world of truth in many instances vital to man's
needs and already essential in his daily life,
but which are not labeled, and are perhaps
little known to many wise men of science. Dr.
James Martineau through the whole period of
scientific contention did not fail to claim that
it is a part of a sound philosophy to hold that
truth can be comprehended by the heart no
less than by the head. We have many a clear
comprehension, which we call instinct, or feel-
ing, or what you will, in the aggregate con-
vincing, satisfactory, conclusive, and the pos-
session of all men. Paul appeals to this in his
address to the Athenians. He says, You all
are worshipers. You all are seeking to know
the gods, all of them. You even set up an altar



4 BEHIND THE WORLD AND BEYOND

to the Unknown, and you do it because we are
all a common humanity, bound to seek God,
"if haply we may feel after him and find him,
though he is not far from each one of us : for
in him we live, and move, and have our being."
Your own poet, as you know, has put it, "For
we are also his offspring." He held the atten-
tion of his Athenian audience, and the same
truth holds the attention of men to-day, for
there is that in every heart which responds
to it.

We are aware, however, that a multitude
may think a thing, or believe a thing, or unit-
edly need a thing, and yet that thing not exist.
Thought may have slight connection with
reality. Human history is a long tale of egre-
gious superstition and unfounded traditions.
But in this instance we do well to look a little
deeper, and to consider what man is in himself,
who thinks these thoughts and is everywhere
conscious of these needs.

We know pretty accurately how man came
to be. There was a day, or, as certain books
put it, "once upon a time" a living cell existed.
Perhaps there were many of them, but one is
enough for our purpose. That cell was more
wonderful than anything else that has existed
since, as the acorn is more wonderful than
the oak. For the acorn not only contains the



WHAT LIES BEHIND? 5

oak potentially, but it contains all oaks and all
trees, and, like the "flower in the crannied
wall," to one who can understand, would give
the story of all vegetable life. That cell had
the power of reproduction, multiplying itself
in others like itself.

Then there came a day when the outer world
made an impression of a definite kind upon the
cell. For example, rays of light began to beat
upon it. The cell commenced to respond, and
sensation appeared. Out of that sensation,
which was the response of the cell to the outer
world, arose, in turn, the developed eye, as its
answer to the light, the eye of the ant in its
microscopic power, and the eye of the eagle,
the splendid telescope ; the ear, its response to
sound, so fine that it can hear the faintest
sound, and so intricate that it can comprehend
the very harmonies of heaven; the organs of
smell, of taste or touch, wonderful in their
variety and boundless in their scope.

Soon there was occasion for the living or-
ganism, possessing some of these faculties, to
turn in one direction or another, to accept or
reject — in short, to make what appeared to be
the beginning of what we know as choice. The
tendril of the bean began to wind about the
supporting stake in one direction, and not in
another, and maintained that direction. The



6 BEHIND THE WORLD AND BEYOND

rootlet stretched out through the dry ground
toward the distant moisture ; the tender sprout
spent its young strength in a desperate strug-
gle to escape from darkness into the region
of the neighboring light. This is not the whole
story; much lies between, much of which we
know nothing. But these events are like the
mountain peaks from which we survey a wide
territory, aware that much life and many an
eventful history lies hidden in the intervening
valleys.

One day there awoke the consciousness that
the organism was itself making these decisions.
Then it had for the first time the reality of
choice, the possession of self-knowledge and of
will ; then at once appeared the foundations of
character, and the path opened for that devel-
opment which we now recognize as the spirit-
ual beauty of the creature who can do right
as opposed to wrong, and can win to himself
the approbation of virtue. The most startling
moment in history was when that strange or-
ganism possessing this new consciousness, and
beginning to ascend by this wonderful path
of character, coming to himself, suddenly
turned and, addressing the world about him,
said : "I am not of you. By your aid I came
to be what I am. I am your kin, but you are
not my creator. Your companionship is not



WHAT LIES BEHIND ? 7

enough for me. I must look up and not down,
forward and not backward. I must reach out
for God."

We recognize it as the voice not only of a
man, but as the voice of humanity. It was
the first confession, and it remains the com-
plete prospectus. It declared the native en-
dowment, and proclaimed the ultimate attain-
ment, the final goal toward which all life is
directed.

At once we ask, Where did that first man get
that idea? Does it not correspond to the ac-
tual fact? Is not here indeed the explanation
of a long history? Everywhere the response
of the living organism has been to the truth
of existence. Step by step those responses
have come, and in making them life has ad-
vanced from the lower to the higher. This
result is not the outcome of a process which
has been ruled by chance. Here is no record
of the "fortuitous concourse of atoms"; here
is no "witches' dance of molecules" in empty
space. Here are plan, and purpose, and result.
The cry of man standing on the summit is the
declaration of the truth that has dominated
all from the beginning. God is behind his
universe. This is the moment for which God
has waited. Here is the earth with its inhabit-
ants, the sufficient result.



8 BEHIND THE WORLD AND BEYOND

What, then, is behind this world? A rational
universe requires a rational God. Mind is the
highest product of the evolutionary process,
and mind is rational ; that is, it has this as its
natural, its normal trait; it acts in a system-
atic way. It discovers and establishes laws
of thought. It never is content with discon-
nected fact. It is only satisfied when its com-
prehension of fact moves on to the discovery
of the relations of facts. It calls its acquisi-
tions knowledge only when this relationship
is established. However life began — the life
which has resulted in man endowed with these
powers of mind and heart — it requires a God.
There must be this counterpart to our moral
and spiritual natures, as there is everywhere
about us a counterpart to physical nature.
Man is an outreaching being. His life is not
complete without this search for, and this
effort to attain, what is above and beyond him.
He yearns to know that being who is

"A Presence that disturbs me With the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns."

Hence he has always and everywhere made for
himself a religion. The old Greek historian,
Plutarch, said : "You may find people without
morals, without laws, without manners, but



WHAT LIES BEHIND ? 9

you can find none without altars, without sac-
rifices, without worship."

The phenomenon of an instinct, an impulse,
a general conviction, call it what you will, of
the mind of man to reach out after God is too
vast for any other explanation than that it is
true to fact.

"Looking from the finite to infinity,
From man's dust to God's divinity,"

is a true impulse. There is a God adequate to
meet man's needs, and the mind of man in its
superior moments cannot escape the sense of
his presence. Clerk Maxwell said, "I have
looked up many strange theories and have
found that none of them will work without the
intervention of God." In the height of the
scientific storm of the last century Professor
Tyndall delivered a famous address before the
British Association of Science at Belfast, in
which he swept away the foundations for faith
in everything beyond the material world.
Years after a friend asked him, "When at the
bound of things what did you find?" He re-
plied, "I stood before the Eternal." "Why,
then, did you not say so in your Belfast ad-
dress?" was the inevitable question. And there
came the slow reply, "It was a great mistake !"
Faith in God, then, is something more than
a religious experience, which may be the pos-



10 BEHIND THE WORLD AND BEYOND

session of a few, and is always open to the in-
credulous distrust of the many. It is a re-
sponse, normal and compelling, to the primary
facts of life. It rests on "confidence in the
world as an honest world, in which form it
corresponds to fact and to truth; confidence
in the searchings of science and the inspira-
tions of hope; confidence in the goodness of
the good and the badness of the bad ; confidence
that the rational order is grounded in the
Eternal Reason, and the moral order in the
Eternal Righteousness; confidence in the evi-
dence of our own souls in their better hours;
confidence, in a word, that the worthiest ex-
planation of existence is the true one." This
is the final conclusion of the scientific theo-
logian, and is none the less the conclusion of
the man in the street who opens his eyes to
the facts of existence, and turns his thoughts
in upon the needs of his own soul and the
voices of his own heart.

Bear in mind, then, what is the alternative —
either God and his world, or the world unac-
counted for. There is no third to this alterna-
tive. Whatever your mood or your purpose of
indecision, every one, as a matter of fact, is
ordering his life one way or the other. You
recognize God as in all and over all, or you
are acting as if there were no God. Here is



WHAT LIES BEHIND? 11

the justification of the Christian faith. Re-
ligion is a way, and the man who believes in
God walks in it. Religion is a life, and the
man who believes in God strives with all his
might to live that life. God is revealed in
Christ. He is a living Presence, and the Chris-
tian is the man who believes it and knows it
and rejoices in it, and every day is trying to
live in the full consciousness of that divine
Presence. The Christian faith is the faith of
a man who believes that existence is given to
us as a blessing, and not as a curse; and it
moves straightforward to the recognition of
Him who gave it. It rests itself upon God,
because in him it finds help to do right. Its
affirmation is that it gives the assurance of
pardon and the sense of peace.

We come to this conclusion: If God is be-
hind this world, as he indubitably is, then he
is in the world, and beyond it. We come from
him, we live with him, and we shall appear
before him at last. Contrasting the results of
the two positions in the alternatives that are
before us, the faith of the atheist has proved
itself everywhere sterile, drear, with no con-


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