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The

Great Companion'



,'. ■■•'Xyman Abbott v.



cIl^TRAL RESERV1



New York

The Outlook Company

1904



TRANS. TO CENTRAL RESERVE



THE NEV/ YORK

PUBLIC LiBKAKY












"* •Copyright, 1904, by •
The Outlook Companj/ *^,

• , *•, Published Marcby ig04 ,* , *.



• • •



THE DEVINNE PRESS



' . a



The ETERNAL is no Simulacram ;
God is not only Thc-e. but Here or no-
where, in that life-breath of thme, in that
act arKl,'chc]lght of thii/e, - — ^nd thou
wen wis2 to look to it.

."• . Thomas Ca.ij.yle.

Speak to Him thou for He hears, and

Spirit with Spirit can meet —
Closer if: He than breathing, and nearer
-'thctiD hands and feet.

Alfpho Tennyson.

Our God is nevei so far off
As even to be near.

Frederick W. Faber.

♦* Blessed are the pure in heart, for they
shall see God."



• * • •



• "».



Contents



The Living God . .
The Quest after God .
The Hidden Presence
The Power of Vision
Pursuing God .
Listening to God . .
The Door ....
Christ's Yoke .
The Fruits o^ the Spirit
Devout Forgetting
Devout Remembering



PAGE

9

IS
31
49
65

75

87

103

115
129

145



• • •



•- .' •• •






•• •



THE LIVING GOD



r r \ w r L n FY OF

"THE CITY 0^ Mrw vnPK.



I
THE LIVING GOD

ONE of the most pathetic pas-
sages in modern literature is
Professor Clifford's lament : " We
have seen the spring sun shine out
of an empty heaven to light up
a soulless earth ; we have felt
with utter loneliness that the Great
Companion is dead. Our children,
it may be hoped, will know that
sorrow only by the reflex light of

a wondering compassion/*
II



THE LIVING GOB

To say that the Great Compan-
ion is dead, is not to say that there
is no God. The dead also Uve;
but between them and ourselves
all communion and companionship
seem to most of us impossible. So
to many in our own time, to many
without the Church, to some within
it, living companionship with' a
living God is an experience un-
known. They believe in what
Carlyle calls a "hypothetical God,''
but he is to them only a hypothe-
sis. They look back through the
ages for some evidence of a God
who revealed himself centuries
ago ; they look forward with antici-
pation to a God who will reveal



12



THE LIVING GOD
himself in some future epiphany ;
but of a God here and now, a God
who is a perpetual presence, a God
whom they can see as Abraham
saw him, with whom they can talk
as Moses talked with him, who
will inspire them with courage as
he inspired Gideon, with hope as he
inspired Isaiah, and with praise as
he inspired David, they do not
know. *'Our fellowship is with
the Father, and with his son Jesus
Christ," are to them sacred words,
but they do not express a real ex-
perience. ** I will not leave you
orphans,'' says Christ. There are
a great many orphan Christians to
whom the Father is a vague tradi-
13



THE LIVING GOD

tion or a scarcely less vague hope;
but not a living presence.

It is because I believe that God
is the Great Companion, that we
are not left orphans, that we may
have comradeship with him, that I
have written these pages. Not to
demonstrate any truth, but to give
expression to a living, inspiring,
dominating faith.



14



II

THE QUEST AFTER GOD

THE lament of Professor Clif-
ford is itself a witness to the
truth that the spirit of man longs
for fellowship with God. Whether
we know it or not, we are all in a
quest after the Great Companion.
All study, all art, all music, all lit-
erature, all government, all indus-
try are in essence a search after the
Infinite. This is science — not the
bringing together of phenomena
17



THE ^UEST AFTER GOB

that were before dispersed and scat-
tered, but the finding out what is
the unity in phenomena that makes
them all part of the one great
whole. This is art. The artist
does not really create ; he discovers.
Behind all forms of beauty there is
an infinite unity, and this unity,
this intrinsic and eternal beauty,
the artist is seeking to discern and
to make others discern. So with
the musician. See him try to
bring out from the piano that which
he has heard in his spirit. See
him try first one chord and then
another, crying at last, ** Eureka!
I have found it!'* What is this
man doing? He is searching after
i8



THE ^UEST AFTER GOD

a harmony already existing. He
has not created it. He has brought
it out of the inaudible into the au-
dible, out of the immaterial into
the material.

As of study, so of life; every
man's life is, consciously or uncon-
sciously, a quest for the infinite and
the eternal reality. What is the
doctor doing but endeavoring to
ascertain what are the laws of
health ? He does not make them ;
he finds them. What is the lawyer
doing ? If he be a true lawyer, he
is endeavoring to find out what are
the laws of justice. He does not
create them. They are ; they al-
ways were ; they always will be.
19



THE ^UEST AFTER GOD
The courts may disregard, the leg-
islature may violate them, but they
reassert themselves. And the law-
yer and the statesman are endeavor-
ing to find out what are these moral
laws which are as true as the phys-
ical laws, and which they can as
little create as the scientist can cre-
ate the physical laws.

The farmer and the manufacturer
also are working with God; they
also are trying to find out the divine
laws that lie back of nature. They
are working with God, whether
they know it or not, in transform-
ing useless material into useful ma-
terial, in lifting up from the lower
to the higher; they also are engaged



20



THE ^UEST AFTER GOD

in the divine pursuit, they also are
really in the quest after God and
God's way of working in the world.
In the deeper experiences of the
soul we grow into the conscious-
ness of what we are doing. When
sorrow comes, and the child or the
husband or the friend is rapt
away from our vision as Elijah was
from Elisha's as in a chariot of
fire, and the minister and the friends
cannot comfort, then the cry of the
heart before uninterpreted becomes
vocal, and we cry out, " O that I
knew where I might find him!"
Sooner or later to every man comes
the consciousness of this quest;
sooner or later to every man the

21



THE ^UESr AFTER GOD \

hungering desire to know a stronger
and better friend than any earthly i
friend, a wiser and truer justice than i
earthly justice, a larger and diviner j
life than the terrestrial life. j

It is wholly idle to attempt to i
stop this quest by saying it is a use- I
less one. The agnostic may tell :
us : "I have searched everywhere :
for God and I cannot find him. ;
We cannot know what we cannot \
see, and as we cannot see God, we '\
cannot know him. Stop looking J

for him.'' He has been saying ;

i

that for a great many years; and
still the world goes on with its
quest. Agnosticism has done the
Church a good service; for it has

22



THE ^UESr AFTER GOD

taught us the folly of dogmatism;
it has taught us that there are no
scales in which we can weigh God,
no phrenological chart possible of
him, that at best we know in part
and we prophesy in part; but ag-
nosticism cannot stop the soul's
quest after God. Still the scientist
will seek for the One Energy be-
hind all energies; still the manu-
facturer will seek new forth -puttings
of God's power in new combina-
tions of matter and new uses of
what he calls natural forces ; still
the lawyer and the statesman will
seek new revelations of the Eternal
Law-giver in new applications of his
immutable justice to the changing
23



THE ^UEST AFTER GOD

conditions of society ; still the artist
and the musician will search all the
realm of visible and invisible art,
of audible and inaudible sounds for
some new phase of the Infinite and
Eternal Beauty.

No statements about God can
satisfy the soul in this its quest after
God. Nothing can take the place
of the personal finding of him; per-
sonal communion with him; per-
sonal fellowship with him. Au-
thority can do something for us;
but there are things which it can
never do — whether it be authority
of creed, or of Church, or of Bible.
Authority may convince us that the
music of Beethoven is better than
24



THE ^UEST AFTER GOD

the music of Sankey, and we may
accept the statement because it is
made by a musical expert. But
the expert's statement will not give
us a thrill of joy in the music
of Beethoven's symphonies. Every
one must himself receive and hear
the message of Beethoven. An ex-
pert may tell us that the poetry of
Browning is better than the poetry
common in our daily newspapers,
and we may believe it because he
is an expert ; but his testimony will
not give the reader the thrill of
life that Browning can give to one
who appreciates him. The Bible
may tell the devout reader that God
lived in the world nineteen cen-
25



THE ^UEST AFTER GOD

turies ago, and he may believe it;
but that will not give the life that
God gives. The Church may tell
the devout churchman that God is
in his Church, and he may believe
it; but that will not give the life
that God gives.

Nothing can satisfy the quest
after God except God himself. We
must come to know him as Abra-
ham knew him, as David knew
him, as Isaiah knew him, as Paul
knew him, or our quest will never
be satisfied. '' O that I knew
where I might find him ! " is the
cry of humanity, and only God
himself can satisfy it. And he does

satisfy it. The soul can find God.
26



THE ^UEST AFTER GOD

How did Isaac know God ? he had
no visions. Or Joseph? did he
know him only by dreaming about
him ? Or Moses, before he met
him face to face in Sinai? did he
before that time only imagine a
Creator ? and if so, what made him
fancy that it was God who spoke
to him at the burning bush ? Or
Samuel? was his sole knowledge
derived from the mysterious Voice
which called him from his bed in
the Tabernacle? Or David? what
made him suppose that Jehovah
was his Shepherd, and led him be-
side still waters and in green pas-
tures? Or the author of the Hun-

dred-and-third Psalm? how came

27



THE ^UEST AFTER GOD

he to know that Jehovah forgave
all his iniquities, healed all his dis-
eases, redeemed his life from de-
struction, and crowned him with
loving-kindness and tender mercies ?
Or Isaiah ? how did he know that
they who wait upon Jehovah shall
renew their strength; shall mount
up with wings as eagles ; shall run
and not be weary, and shall walk
and not faint ?

The soul can know God, and
know that God instructs, guides,
forgives, redeems, strengthens, in-
spires the soul that trusts in him,
exactly as Isaac and Moses and
Samuel and David and Isaiah knew

him and his helpfulness, and in no

28



THE ^UEST AFTER GOD
other way. The knowledge is just
as vital and real, the intercommu-
nion as actual, to-day as ever. The
notions that there is no God, or
that God cannot make himself
known to men, or that he can
be known only at second hand,
either through a privileged hier-
archy or an ancient literature, are
all phases of the same general unbe-
lief. The doctrine of the Bible is
not that God once was, but that he
ever is ; not that man once knew
him, but that men can always know
him. Its doctrine is that God is
in his world of nature and in his
world of men, and that not to be

able to see him is to be blind, and
29



THE ^UEST AFTER GOD

not to be able to talk to him is
to be deaf and dumb.

This teaching of the Bible is also
the teaching of the great drama-
tists. " There is/' says Victor
Hugo, " a philosophy which denies
the Infinite. There is also a phi-
losophy, pathologically classified,
which denies the seen; this phi-
losophy is called blindness. To
erect our lack of a sense into a
source of truth is a fine blind man's
self-sufficiency."



30



THE HIDDEN PRESENCE



Ill

THE HIDDEN PRESENCE

WE fail to find God because
we do not look for him in
the right place. We conceive of
him as afar oflF, and coming at times
in great displays of majesty and
power to show himself to men, as
he appeared in strange symbolic
glory to Ezekiel in the land of
the Chaldeans. But the Scripture
writers represent him as in all the
33



THE HIDDEN PRESENCE
common places and in all the com-
mon experiences of mankind. We
think of him as manifesting himself i
to a few elect souls who possess a \
genius for religion and a power of i
vision exceptional and rare ; but the \
Scripture writers represent him as ]
the God of all men, whatever their
temperaments or their dispositions.

If there should be another de- \
struction of the Cities of the Plain, i

with some angel visitant to interpret i

i
it to us ; if* again the waters of the \

sea should part for an Israel to go

through as on dry ground, with the i

waves rising up on either side as a ]

wall for their protection, we should j

believe in the divine presence. But

34 ^



THE HIDDEN PRESENCE
the Scripture writers did not any less
believe in God's presence in the
commonest phenomena of nature.
In truth, the commonest phenomena
of nature are as great manifestations
of his mysterious power and pres-
ence as those which impress us as
unique. It does not need the con-
vulsion of a Mount Pelee to bear
witness to him. The springs that
water the valleys, the grass that
springs out of the earth, the perpet-
ual transformation of mineral into
vegetable, life-feeding products, the
ordinary movement of the planets in
their orbits — these also declare the
glory of God and show his handi-
work.

3S



THE HIDDEN PRESENCE

He sendeth forth springs into the

valleys ;
They run among the mountains :
They give drink to every beast of the

field;
The wild asses quench their thirst.
By them the fowl of the heaven have

their habitation.
They sing among the branches.
He watereth the mountains from his

chambers :
The earth is satisfied with the fruit of

thy works.
He cause th the grass to grow for the

cattle,
And herb for the service of man ;
That he may bring forth food out of the

earth :
And wine that maketh glad the heart of

man,

36



THE HIDDEN PRESENCE

And oil to make his face to shine,
And bread that strengtheneth man's

heart.
The trees of the Lord are satisfied ;
The cedars of Lebanon, which he hath

planted ;
Where the birds make their nests :
As for the stork, the fir trees are her

house.
The high mountains are for the wild

goats ;
The rocks are a refuge for the conies.
He appointed the moon for seasons :
The sun knoweth his going down.
Thou makest darkness, and it is

night ;
Wherein all the beasts of the forest do

creep forth.
The young lions roar after their prey.
And seek their meat from God.
37



THE HIDDEN PRESENCE \

As he is in all the common \
phenomena of nature, so he is an I
inspiring, guiding, protecting, re-
deeming presence in all the experi- ■
ences of men ; not more the God |
of the poet or the prophet than of'
the shopman or the day-laborer. '
He is the God of Abraham, of Isaac, i
and of Jacob. Abraham was a man
of visions, who went out from his i
native land not knowing whither ^
he went, seeking a God more spiri- ,

tual than any which the land of his ;

1
fathers had made known to him. i

God is the God oi the men of ;

!
imagination. Isaac was a common- ^

place man who saw no visions and

dreamt no dreams, but who in an i

38 \



THE HIDDEN PRESENCE

age of universal polygamy was faith -
ful to one wife, and in an age of
universal war sought peace and
pursued it. God is the God of the
commonplace man. Jacob was per-
haps the meanest man of Old Tes-
tament history ; he began his life
by driving a hard bargain with his
brother in necessity ; then cheated
his blind father on his death-bed ;
then made his first prayer a bargain :
" If God will be with me, and will
keep me in this way that I go, and
will give me bread to eat, and rai-
ment to put on, so that I come again
to my father's house in peace, then
shall the Lord be my God.''-* And
God was his God, and, through
39



THE HIDDEN PRESENCE

long years of disciplining sorrow,
conquered the meanness in him andi
deHvered him from it, and brought j
him out, in his old age, into a
peaceful and triumphant manhood.
God is the God of even the mean
and the despicable.

We are apt to imagine that God j
reveals himself to men in certain set I
and sacred places, that we can find \
him only in the church, or in the ;
closet, or on the mountain-top, or
in the midst of the tempest. But |
God, who came to Isaiah in the
temple, came also to Moses while I
in exile, and to Gideon while in I
hiding he was threshing wheat by

the wine-press, and to David while

40 \



THE HIDDEN PRESENCE
as a ruddy-faced boy he was keep-
ing his father^s sheep on the hillsides
of southern Judea, and to Paul in-
spired by a ruthless conscience and
with murderous intent. What Jacob
said when he awoke from his dream
of the celestial ladder to find his
head pillowed on the stones, we
might all of us say, at all times —
" Surely the Lord is in this place,
and I knew it not/'

As he is in the common places
of life, so he speaks to us in our
common experiences. We have an
idea that only the extraordinary, the
uplifting, the celestial movements
of our mind are divinely inspired ;
but this was not the conception of
41



THE HIDDEN PRESENCE
the sacred writers. The secret and
source of all life is God ; he is over
all and in all; in him we live and
move and have our being. All
human activities of every kind have
the source of their power in the
infinite and the eternal. A striking
illustration of this conception of the
Biblical writers, of God as the source
and inspiration of all the commonest
operations of the mind, is furnished
by the Plowman's Ode:

Listen, and hear ye my voice,

Attend, and hear ye my speech.
Is the plowman never done with his
plowing,
With the opening and harrowing of
ground ?

42



THE HIDDEN PRESENCE

Does he not, when its surface is leveled,
Scatter fennel, and sow cummin
broadcast ?
And duly set wheat there, and barley.

And for its border plant spelt ?
It is Jehovah who has taught these right

courses,
It is his God who has trained him.

We do not thresh fennel with sledges.
Nor are cart-wheels rolled over
cummin.
But fennel is threshed with a staff.

And cummin is threshed with a rod.
Do we ever crush bread-corn to pieces?
Nay, the threshing goes not on
forever.
But when over it cart-wheels are driven.
Or sledges, our care is never to
crush it.

43



THE HIDDEN PRESENCE

This also from Jehovah proceeds —
Wonderful counsel, great wisdom
has he/

Let us not, then, wait for the
extraordinary to bring us the reve-
lation of God's presence. We are
to look for him not without but
within. ''Say not in thy heart.
Who shall ascend into heaven }
(that is, to bring Christ down:) or.
Who shall descend into the abyss ?
(that is, to bring Christ up from
the dead.) But what saith it ? The
word is nigh thee, in thy mouth,
and in thy heart: that is, the word
of faith, which we preach." Every

*Isaiah xxviii. 23-29. Translation of
T. K. Cheyne.

44



THE HIDDEN PRESENCE

voice of conscience summoning to
virtue or restraining from vice, say-
ing, Thou shalt, or Thou shalt not ;
every regret for a misspent past,
every sorrowful " I have left undone
those things which I ought to
have done, and I have done those
things which I ought not to have
done ' ' ; every inspiration to a'higher,
nobler, and better future, calling
from the heights above. Follow thou
me — yes, every incentive to gener-
ous or unselfish service and self-
sacrifice for another, every impulse
toward humanity, of pity for the
sorrowing, or of mercy for the
erring, is the voice of God speaking
within us. Nay, more than that ;
45



THE HIDDEN PRESENCE

all the common operations of our
mind are, if we do but recognize
it, witnesses to his presence from
whom comes all our life, and by
whom, if we will but allow it, all
our life may be both guided and
strengthened.

And every virtue we possess,
And every victory won,

And every thought of holiness.
Are his alone.

To commune with ourselves is
to talk with God. If any one says
this is a dangerous utterance, let
him reframe it in the words of the
Psalmist: "The Lord will hear
when I call unto him. Stand in

46



THE HIDDEN PRESENCE

awe, and sin not: commune with
your own heart upon your bed, and
be still." To be still and commune
with our own heart is to commune
with God. His is the still, small
voice which we hear in the quiet
of our own souls.



47



THE POWER OF VISION



■"Ssit^-



IV
THE POWER OF VISION

NOT every good man has
within himself the con-
sciousness of the divine presence.
Some men walk by the light, with-
out knowing the light by which
they walk. To obey God, it is
not necessary to see God. A sol-
dier on the battle-field may receive
the orders of his commander-in-
chief filtered down to him through
51



THE POWER OF VISION

half a dozen intermediary com-
manders, and obey those orders loy-
ally, without ever seeing the one
from whom they come. On the
other hand, he may see the one
from whom they come, and be
disloyal to him, as Lee was dis-
loyal to Washington at the battle
of Monmouth.

Not every devout soul is at all
times equally conscious of the pres-
ence of God. That consciousness
is obscured by other causes than sin :
sorrow, perplexity, the enigma of
life, physical infirmity, native tem-
perament, mere weariness of the
flesh, may serve to obscure it. Prob-
ably most honest souls have experi-
52



THE POWER OF VISION

ences akin to agnosticism. Such an
experience was that of Job :

Behold, I go forward, but he is not

there ;
And backward, but I cannot perceive

him :
On the left hand, when he doth work,

but I cannot behold him:
He hideth himself on the right hand,

that I cannot see him.

But Job's agnosticism was Hke Pro-
fessor ChfFord's — sorrowful. The
devout soul is never a self-com-
placent agnostic; he is never con-
tent not to know God. He never
sings a Jubilate because the Great
Companion is dead. In the absence
of the Great Companion his soul
S3



THE POWER OF VISION

cries out, more or less consciously:
" O that I knew where I might
find him, that I might come even
to his seat!'*

Even Jesus Christ knew tempo-
rarily this experience, in which the
consciousness of the divine presence
was obscured, and out of that expe-
rience cried : '' My God, my God,
why hast thou forsaken me ? ''

But because the Great Compan-
ion is not seen he is not therefore
dead. He is the Universal Pres-
ence, though he is sometimes the
Hidden Presence. And man has
the power of vision, though he
may not exercise it, or may seem
wholly to lose it. For man is a
54



THE POWER OF VISION

child of God. This is what the
sacred writer means by his declara-
tion that "God created man in his
own image.'' This is what Isaiah
meant when he said : " Doubtless
thou art our father, though Abra-
ham be ignorant of us. And this is
what Paul meant when, speaking
on Mars' Hill at Athens to a con-
gregation of pagans, and quoting a
pagan poet, he said : " We are also
his offspring." Whether pagan or
Christian, whether agnostic or be-
liever, whether self-seeker or loyal
servant, we have sprung from God.
We are all kin to him. We so far
share his nature as to be able to
comprehend his will, receive his
SS



THE POWER OF VISION

love, recognize his presence. Spir-
itually, man springs from God and
partakes of the divine nature. He
has a conscience which recognizes
the difference between right and
wrong, hope and aspiration which
look to the future, faith which
enables him to see the invisible
world, love which binds him to
his fellow-men and which should
bind him to God. This is what is
meant by the statement that man is
by nature a son of God. He has
come from God, and he possesses
elements of the divine character in
his reason, his conscience, his higher
affections. True, he is an animal,
and he has come from lower ani-

56



THE POWER OF VISION
mals ; but he is more than an
animal. Whether this something
in him which is more than animal
has been developed from the lower
animal nature, as Darwin and Drum-
mond believe, or has at some epoch
in the evolutionary process been
implanted in him by the creative
energy of God acting on him from
without, is a question of philosophy,
not of religion. However man has


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