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never can be separated in spiritual experience. We have read of the soldier-father who destroyed his boy at the front rather than permit him to play the coward's part and disgrace an ancient name, and I have heard a humbler father say, in anguish of spirit, “Would that God had taken my boy years and years ago than let me live to see the man he has become!
Love has an ultimatum. There is a point where love is your enemy, and will destroy you rather than fail of its object: it can be satisfied with nothing less than the highest. For love is noble, and God is nobleness, because God is love. On the other hand, love will never spare the loved, because it is calling to higher heights day by day. Your increase of knowledge of the workings of God, of His ways with men, must lead you to know that you will not be placed always in the green pastures and led beside the still waters. God has something grander than this for the children of men: We have read of that ever-great commander who, when asking for someone to lead a forlorn hope, received with gladness the offer of his boy to do it. The old warrior's eyes lighted with love, and with pride he looked at him; he handed him the standard, and said, “ There is your task, yonder the enemy; go forward.” Was it love that spake, or was it indifference? Was it the love that would have placed its arms around him and shielded him from all harm and from all danger, love that would have cherished the feminine -which sometimes, after all, is the strongest-at the expense of the grandest in that boyish nature? No; in that warrior I read my God, who spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, and as He is so are we in this world.
Again, I would have you believe and know, when you speak of the love of God as the interpretation of things as they are, that it is so discriminating in its incidence that it will not deal with any two men alike. I sometimes wonder why this man has so much to bear and that man goes scot free. If the love of God were not discriminating you would both have cause to mourn. Sometimes we preachers deal with a glorious truth so unconvincingly that we begin to feel that it does not matter whether we preach the love of God or not, we are all alike sunned in the atmosphere of the Divine indifferentism. He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, but He knows which are evil and which are good. It is not as when the sun sometimes shineth in your window, and the birds sing in the garden, when you have death in the home; the glory without seems a mockery as you think of the sorrow within. No; there is something greater than indifferentism here. That man is chosen to be trained and sent at the bidding of love-love that knows itself as love, love that is felt as love; and yonder man is sent, like the warrior in the darkness, against principalities and powers—sent to do and to bear for the sake of the highest. What shall his reward be in the great day of revelation?
I will go farther, and say I do not think the warrior always knows who has sent him to the fight. Sometimes when I see a poor man afflicted in his body, without opportunity, social influence, or consideration, and suffering every moment of his life, passing me on the streets, I ask myself the question, What is that man bearing for me? Vicarious suffering is Divine service. We read that at the Cross. It may be some mitigation of the terribleness of the problem of human agony when you think that some of the unconscious sufferers of the world—I mean those who do not realise that the suffering is Divinely given-are serving against the great day when the secrets of all hearts, the explanation of all destinies, shall become known.
“ Yea, sometimes when I feel my heart
Most weak and life most burdensome,
From whence my help shall come ;
To th' archangelic trumpet-burst,
And many last be first.”
If we only believed this, and realised the sublimity of the doctrine which has sometimes been held to be so weak, that God is love, it would waken all the manhood in you, and call out the best; you would never shrink from the hardest, no matter what it involved, and your faith would never fail. Did you ever think of the heroism of the Christ? I love to dwell upon it. There was a Hero crucified, and He is my God. Shall we stand in that fellowship in the shadow of Calvary, or shall we fail Him? See what it has made. Even saving faith is the gift of God, the gift of His love, and to be prayed for; but when it comes it makes heroes-Christ's men, with the marks of the Lord Jesus.
Renan, that great scholar, and critic, and man, who spoke for an age and a people rich in admiration of the Christ, and stopped just short of the truth that I have now declared, this is what he says of the great Apostle of the Gentiles in his book on St. Paul: “ Convinced that he had given his life for a dream, Paul may have wandered, despairing and resigned, on some Iberian shore, aware of the nothingness of life, aware that he was wrong about the Christ, and that the future was dark.” Hear what Paul says about himself; it was not just that:
“Nothing in heaven or earth shall separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” That is the testimony of a man who died for the faith, and who died many times before the sword of Nero fell. If we only believed it, Dr. Martineau has said, it would be a comfort rather than a dread to think that the issues of our life are hid in God, that there is only a very little we can do in the fashioning of our own destiny. Should we not simply wait, wait in peace and fortitude, the Divine command? Back to the old authority, our Hero-God: “ He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me, and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him. He that loveth Me not keepeth not My sayings, and the word which ye hear is not Mine, but the Father's which sent Me."
PRAYING IN CHRIST JESUS
If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.-John xv.7.
THE subject of prayer is one of never-failing
interest to mankind, and one upon which con
troversy shows no signs of coming to an end. We might have thought that all that can be said upon this great theme has been said long ago, and that there was no more either to say or to argue concerning it. Such is very far from being the case. I am perfectly sure that in a congregation so comprehensive as this one, for example, we have the most various types of mind and attitudes, too, upon the subject of prayer. I have brought with me into the pulpit a book in which certain of these types are set forth for a purpose
rather different from mine; and I venture to suppose that every type herein suggested is present in this church. I intend to speak about these. The first of these is illustrated in the work before me, which I may remark, parenthetically, is a work on psychology, not on religion. The books that are most valuable to me, from a religious point of view, are nearly always those which treat religious questions from some other standpoint than the religious one. The eminent psychologist who has collected the particulars before me put questions to a number of individuals at random. Here are