The world's great sermons, Volume 8
Grenville Kleiser

Part 1 out of 3

Produced by the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.



Formerly of Yale Divinity School Faculty; Author of "How to Speak in
Public," Etc.

With Assistance from Many of the Foremost Living Preachers and Other


Professor Emeritus of Practical Theology in Yale University





TALMAGE (1832-1901).
A Bloody Monster

SPURGEON (1834-1892).
Songs in the Night

POTTER (1834-1908)
Memorial Discourse on Phillips Brooks

ABBOTT (Born in 1835).
The Divinity in Humanity

BROOKS (1835-1893).
The Pride of Life

GLADDEST (Born in 1836).
The Prince of Life

CLIFFORD (Born in 1836).
The Forgiveness of Sins

MOODY (1837-1899).
What Think Ye of Christ?

FOWLER (1837-1908).
The Spirit of Christ

WHYTE (Born in 1837).

WATKINSON (Born in 1838).
The Transfigured Sackcloth

LORIMER (1838-1904).
The Fall of Satan

LITTLE (Born in 1839).
Thirst Satisfied




Thomas De Witt Talmage was born at Bound Brook, N.J., in 1832. For
many years he preached to large and enthusiastic congregations at the
Brooklyn Tabernacle. At one time six hundred newspapers regularly
printed his sermons. He was a man of great vitality, optimistic by
nature, and particularly popular with young people. His voice
was rather high and unmusical, but his distinct enunciation and
earnestness of manner gave a peculiar attraction to his pulpit
oratory. His rhetoric has been criticized for floridness and
sensationalism, but his word pictures held multitudes of people
spellbound as in the presence of a master. He died in 1901.




[Footnote 1: Copyright, 1900, by Louis Klopsch, and reprinted by

_It is my son's coat; an evil beast hath devoured him._--Gen. xxxvii.,

Joseph's brethren dipt their brother's coat in goat's blood, and then
brought the dabbled garment to their father, cheating him with the
idea that a ferocious animal had slain him, and thus hiding their
infamous behavior. But there is no deception about that which we hold
up to your observation to-day. A monster such as never ranged African
thicket or Hindustan jungle hath tracked this land, and with bloody
maw hath strewn the continent with the mangled carcasses of whole
generations; and there are tens of thousands of fathers and mothers
who could hold up the garment of their slain boy, truthfully
exclaiming, "It is my son's coat; an evil beast hath devoured him."
There has, in all ages and climes, been a tendency to the improper use
of stimulants. Noah took to strong drink. By this vice, Alexander the
Conqueror was conquered. The Romans at their feasts fell off their
seats with intoxication. Four hundred millions of our race are
opium-eaters. India, Turkey, and China have groaned with the
desolation; and by it have been quenched such lights as Halley and De
Quincey. One hundred millions are the victims of the betelnut, which
has specially blasted the East Indies. Three hundred millions chew
hashish, and Persia, Brazil, and Africa suffer the delirium. The
Tartars employ murowa; the Mexicans, the agave; the people at Guarapo,
an intoxicating product taken from sugarcane; while a great multitude,
that no man can number, are the votaries of alcohol. To it they bow.
Under it they are trampled. In its trenches they fall. On its ghastly
holocaust they burn. Could the muster-roll of this great army be
called, and could they come up from the dead, what eye could endure
the reeking, festering putrefaction? What heart could endure the
groan of agony? Drunkenness! Does it not jingle the burglar's
key? Does it not whet the assassin's knife? Does it not cock the
highwayman's pistol? Does it not wave the incendiary's torch? Has it
not sent the physician reeling into the sick-room; and the minister
with his tongue thick into the pulpit? Did not an exquisite poet, from
the very top of his fame, fall a gibbering sot, into the gutter, on
his way to be married to one of the fairest daughters of New England,
and at the very hour the bride was decking herself for the altar; and
did he not die of delirium tremens, almost unattended, in a hospital?
Tamerlane asked for one hundred and sixty thousand skulls with which
to build a pyramid to his own honor. He got the skulls, and built the
pyramid. But if the bones of all those who have fallen as a prey to
dissipation could be piled up, it would make a vaster pyramid. Who
will gird himself for the journey and try with me to scale this
mountain of the dead--going up miles high on human carcasses to find
still other peaks far above, mountain above mountain white with the
bleached bones of drunkards?

The Sabbath has been sacrificed to the rum traffic. To many of our
people, the best day of the week is the worst. Bakers must keep their
shops closed on the Sabbath. It is dangerous to have loaves of bread
going out on Sunday. The shoe store is closed: severe penalty will
attack the man who sells boots on the Sabbath. But down with the
window-shutters of the grog-shops. Our laws shall confer particular
honor upon the rum-traffickers. All other trades must stand aside for
these. Let our citizens who have disgraced themselves by trading in
clothing and hosiery and hardware and lumber and coal take off their
hats to the rum-seller, elected to particular honor. It is unsafe for
any other class of men to be allowed license for Sunday work. But
swing out your signs, and open your doors, O ye traffickers in the
peace of families and in the souls of immortal men. Let the corks fly
and the beer foam and the rum go tearing down the half-consumed throat
of the inebriate. God does not see! Does He? Judgment will never come!
Will it?

It may be that God is determined to let drunkenness triumph, and the
husbands and sons of thousands of our best families be destroyed by
this vice, in order that our people, amazed and indignant, may rise up
and demand the extermination of this municipal crime. There is a way
of driving down the hoops of a barrel so tight that they break. We
have, in this country, at various times, tried to regulate this evil
by a tax on whisky. You might as well try to regulate the Asiatic
cholera or the smallpox by taxation. The men who distil liquors are,
for the most part, unscrupulous; and the higher the tax, the more
inducement to illicit distillation. Oh! the folly of trying to
restrain an evil by government tariff! If every gallon of whisky
made--if every flask of wine produced, should be taxed a thousand
dollars, it would not be enough to pay for the tears it has wrung from
the eyes of widows and orphans, nor for the blood it has dashed on
the Christian Church, nor for the catastrophe of the millions it has
destroyed for ever.

I sketch two houses in one street. The first is bright as home can be.
The father comes at nightfall, and the children run out to meet him.
Bountiful evening meal! Gratulation and sympathy and laughter! Music
in the parlor! Fine pictures on the wall! Costly books on the table!
Well-clad household! Plenty of everything to make home happy!

House the second! Piano sold, yesterday by the sheriff! Wife's furs at
pawnbroker's shop! Clock gone! Daughter's jewelry sold to get flour!
Carpets gone off the floor! Daughters in faded and patched dresses!
Wife sewing for the stores! Little child with an ugly wound on her
face, struck by an angry blow! Deep shadow of wretchedness falling in
every room! Doorbell rings! Little children hide! Daughters turn pale!
Wife holds her breath! Blundering step in the hall! Door opens! Fiend,
brandishing his fist, cries, "Out! out! What are you doing here?" Did
I call this house second? No; it is the same house. Rum transformed
it. Rum embruted the man. Rum sold the shawl. Rum tore up the carpets.
Rum shook his fist. Rum desolated the hearth. Rum changed that
paradise into a hell.

I sketch two men that you know very well. The first graduated from one
of our literary institutions. His father, mother, brothers and sisters
were present to see him graduate. They heard the applauding thunders
that greeted his speech. They saw the bouquets tossed to his feet.
They saw the degree conferred and the diploma given. He never looked
so well. Everybody said, "What a noble brow! What a fine eye! What
graceful manners! What brilliant prospects!"

Man the second: Lies in the station-house. The doctor has just been
sent for to bind up the gashes received in a fight. His hair is matted
and makes him look like a wild beast. His lip is bloody and cut. Who
is this battered and bruised wretch that was picked up by the police
and carried in drunk and foul and bleeding? Did I call him man the
second? He is man the first! Rum transformed him. Rum destroyed his
prospects. Rum disappointed parental expectation. Rum withered those
garlands of commencement day. Rum cut his lip. Rum dashed out his
manhood. Rum, accurst rum!

This foul thing gives one swing to its scythe, and our best merchants
fall; their stores are sold, and they sink into dishonored graves.
Again it swings its scythe, and some of our physicians fall into
suffering that their wisest prescriptions cannot cure. Again it swings
its scythe, and ministers of the gospel fall from the heights of
Zion, with long resounding crash of ruin and shame. Some of your own
households have already been shaken. Perhaps you can hardly admit it;
but where was your son last night? Where was he Friday night? Where
was he Thursday night? Wednesday night? Tuesday night? Monday night?
Nay, have not some of you in your own bodies felt the power of this
habit? You think that you could stop? Are you sure you could? Go on
a little further, and I am sure you cannot. I think, if some of you
should try to break away, you would find a chain on the right wrist,
and one on the left; one on the right foot, and another on the left.
This serpent does not begin to hurt until it has wound 'round and
'round. Then it begins to tighten and strangle and crush until the
bones crack and the blood trickles and the eyes start from their
sockets, and the mangled wretch cries. "O God! O God! help! help!" But
it is too late; and not even the fires of we can melt the chain when
once it is fully fastened.

I have shown you the evil beast. The question is, who will hunt him
down, and how shall we shoot him? I answer, first, by getting our
children right on this subject. Let them grow up with an utter
aversion to strong drink. Take care how you administer it even as
medicine. If you must give it to them and you find that they have a
natural love for it, as some have, put in a glass of it some horrid
stuff, and make it utterly nauseous. Teach, them, as faithfully as
you do the truths of the Bible, that rum is a fiend. Take them to the
almshouse, and show them the wreck and ruin it works. Walk with them
into the homes that have been scourged by it. If a drunkard hath
fallen into a ditch, take them right up where they can see his face,
bruised, savage, and swollen, and say, "Look, my son. Rum did that!"
Looking out of your window at some one who, intoxicated to madness,
goes through the street, brandishing his fist, blaspheming God, a
howling, defying, shouting, reeling, raving, and foaming maniac, say
to your son, "Look; that man was once a child like you." As you go by
the grog-shop let them know that that is the place where men are slain
and their wives made paupers and their children slaves. Hold out to
your children warnings, all rewards, all counsels, lest in afterdays
they break your heart and curse your gray hairs. A man laughed at my
father for his scrupulous temperance principles, and said: "I am more
liberal than you. I always give my children the sugar in the glass
after we have been taking a drink." Three of his sons have died
drunkards, and the fourth is imbecile through intemperate habits.

Again, we will grapple this evil by voting only for sober men. How
many men are there who can rise above the feelings of partizanship,
and demand that our officials shall be sober men? I maintain that the
question of sobriety is higher than the question of availability; and
that, however eminent a man's services may be, if he have habits of
intoxication, he is unfit for any office in the gift of a Christian
people. Our laws will be no better than the men who make them. Spend a
few days at Harrisburg or Albany or Washington and you will find
out why, upon these subjects, it is impossible to get righteous

Again, we will war upon this evil by organized societies. The friends
of the rum traffic have banded together; annually issue their
circulars; raise fabulous sums of money to advance their interests;
and by grips, passwords, signs, and strategems, set at defiance public
morals. Let us confront them with organizations just as secret,
and, if need be, with grips and pass-words and signs, maintain our
position. There is no need that our beneficent societies tell all
their plans. I am in favor of all lawful strategy in the carrying on
of this conflict. I wish to God we could lay under the wine-casks a
train which, once ignited, would shake the earth with the explosion of
this monstrous iniquity!

Again, we will try the power of the pledge. There are thousands of men
who have been saved by putting their names to such a document. I know
it is laughed at; but there are some men who, having once promised a
thing, do it. "Some have broken the pledge." Yes; they were liars. But
all men are not liars. I do not say that it is the duty of all persons
to make such signature; but I do say that it would be the salvation
of many of you. The glorious work of Theobald Mathew can never be
estimated. At this hand four millions of people took the pledge, and
multitudes in Ireland, England, Scotland, and America, have kept
it till this day. The pledge signed has been to thousands the
proclamation of emancipation.

Again, we expect great things from asylums for inebriates. They have
already done a glorious work. I think that we are coming at last to
treat inebriation as it ought to be treated, namely, as an awful
disease, self-inflicted, to be sure, but nevertheless a disease. Once
fastened upon a man, sermons will not cure him, temperance lectures
will not eradicate it; religious tracts will not remove it; the Gospel
of Christ will not arrest it. Once under the power of this awful
thirst, the man is bound to go on; and, if the foaming glass were on
the other side of perdition, he would wade through the fires of
hell to get it. A young man in prison had such a strong thirst for
intoxicating liquors that he had cut off his hand at the wrist, called
for a bowl of brandy in order to stop the bleeding, thrust his wrist
into the bowl, and then drank the contents. Stand not, when the thirst
is on him, between a man and his cups. Clear the track for him. Away
with the children! he would tread their life out. Away with the wife!
he would dash her to death. Away with the cross! he would run it down.
Away with the Bible! he would tear it up for the winds. Away with
heaven! he considers it worthless as a straw. "Give me the drink!
Give it to me! Tho the hands of blood pass up the bowl, and the soul
trembles over the pit--the drink! Give it to me! Tho it be pale with
tears; tho the froth of everlasting anguish float on the foam--give it
to me! I drink to my wife's wo to my children's rags; to my eternal
banishment from God and hope and heaven! Give it to me! the drink!"

Again, we will contend against these evils by trying to persuade
the respectable classes of society to the banishment of alcoholic
beverages. You who move in elegant and refined associations; you
who drink the best liquors; you who never drink until you lose your
balance, let us look at each other in the face on this subject. You
have, under God, in your power the redemption of this land from
drunkenness. Empty your cellars and wine-closets of the beverage, and
then come out and give us your hand, your vote, your prayers, your
sympathies. Do that, and I will promise three things: first, that you
will find unspeakable happiness in having done your duty; secondly,
you will probably save somebody--perhaps your own child; thirdly,
you will not, in your last hour, have a regret that you made
the sacrifice, if sacrifice it be. As long as you make drinking
respectable, drinking customs will prevail, and the plowshare of
death, drawn by terrible disasters, will go on turning up this whole
continent, from end to end, with the long, deep, awful furrow of
drunkards' graves.

This rum fiend would like to go and hang up a skeleton in your
beautiful house, so that, when you opened the front door to go in, you
would see it in the hall; and when you sat at your table you would see
it hanging from the wall; and, when you opened your bedroom you would
find it stretched upon your pillow; and, waking at night, you would
feel its cold hand passing over your face and pinching at your heart.
There is no home so beautiful but it may be devastated by the awful
curse. It throws its jargon into the sweetest harmony. What was it
that silenced Sheridan, the English orator, and shattered the golden
scepter with which he swayed parliaments and courts? What foul sprite
turned the sweet rhythm of Robert Burns into a tuneless babble? What
was it that swamped the noble spirit of one of the heroes of the last
war, until, in a drunken fit, he reeled from the deck of a Western
steamer, and was drowned. There was one whose voice we all loved to
hear. He was one of the most classic orators of the century. People
wondered why a man of so pure a heart and so excellent a life should
have such a sad countenance always. They knew not that his wife was a

I call upon those who are guilty of these indulgences to quit the path
of death! Oh! what a change it would make in your home! Do you see how
everything there is being desolated? Would you not like to bring back
joy to your wife's heart, and have your children come out to meet you
with as much confidence as once they showed? Would you not like to
rekindle the home-lights that long ago were extinguished? It is not
too late to change. It may not entirely obliterate from your soul the
memory of wasted years and a ruined reputation, nor smooth out from
your anxious brow the wrinkles which trouble has plowed. It may not
call back unkind words uttered or rough deeds done; for perhaps in
those awful moments you struck her! It may not take from your memory
the bitter thoughts connected with some little grave. But it is not
too late to save yourself, and secure for God and your family the
remainder of your fast-going life.

But perhaps you have not utterly gone astray. I may address one who
may not have quite made up his mind. Let your better nature speak out.
You take one side or other in war against drunkenness. Have you the
courage to put your foot down right, and say to your companions and
friends, "I will never drink intoxicating liquor in all my life; nor
will I countenance the habit in others"? Have nothing to do with
strong drink. It has turned the earth into a place of skulls, and has
stood opening the gate to a lost world to let in its victims; until
now the door swings no more upon its hinges, but, day and night,
stands wide open to let in the agonized procession of doomed men.

Do I address one whose regular work in life is to administer to
this appetite? For God's sake get out of that business! If a we be
pronounced upon the man who gives his neighbor drink, how many woes
must be hanging over the man who does this every day and every hour of
the day!

Do not think that because human government may license you that
therefore God licenses you. I am surprized to hear men say that they
respect the "original package" decision by which the Supreme Court
of the United States allows rum to be taken into States like Kansas,
which decided against the sale of intoxicants. I have no respect for
a wrong decision, I care not who makes it; the three judges of the
Supreme Court who gave minority report against that decision were
right, and the chief justice was wrong. The right of a State to defend
itself against the rum traffic will yet be demonstrated, the Supreme
Court notwithstanding. Higher than the judicial bench at Washington is
the throne of the Lord God Almighty. No enactment, national, State, or
municipal, can give you the right to carry on a business whose effect
is destruction.

God knows better than you do yourself the number of drinks you have
poured down. You keep a list; but a more accurate list has been kept
than yours. You may call it Burgundy, Bourbon, cognac, Heidsieck, sour
mash, or beer. God calls it "strong-drink." Whether you sell it in low
oyster-cellar or behind the polished counter of a first-class hotel,
the divine curse is upon you. I tell you plainly that you will meet
your customers one day when there will be no counter between you. When
your work is done on earth, and you enter the reward of your business,
all the souls of the men whom you have destroyed will crowd around
you, and pour their bitterness into your cup. They will show you their
wounds and say, "You made them"; and point to their unquenchable
thirst and say, "You kindled it"; and rattle their chain and say, "You
forged it." Then their united groans will smite your ear; and with the
hands out of which you once picked the sixpences and the dimes they
will push you off the verge of great precipices; while rolling up from
beneath, and breaking away among the crags of death, will thunder, "Wo
to him that giveth his neighbor drink!"




Charles Haddon Spurgeon was born at Kelvedon, Essex, England, in 1834.
He was one of the most powerful and popular preachers of his time,
and his extraordinary force of character and wonderful enthusiasm
attracted vast audiences. His voice was unusually powerful, clear and
melodious, and he used it with consummate skill. In the preparation of
his sermons he meditated much but wrote not a word, so that he was
in the truest sense a purely extemporaneous speaker. Sincerity,
intensity, imagination and humor, he had in preeminent degree, and
an English style that has been described as "a long bright river of
silver speech which unwound, evenly and endlessly, like a ribbon
from a revolving spool that could fill itself as fast as it emptied
itself." Thirty-eight volumes of his sermons were issued in his
lifetime and are still in increasing demand. Dr. Robertson Nicoll
says: "Our children will think more of these sermons than we do; and
as I get older I read them more and more." He died in 1892.




_But none saith, Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the
night_?--Job xxxv., 10.

Elihu was a wise man, exceeding wise, tho not as wise as the all-wise
Jehovah, who sees light in the clouds, and finds order in confusion;
hence Elihu, being much puzzled at beholding Job thus afflicted, cast
about him to find the cause of it, and he very wisely hit upon one of
the most likely reasons, altho it did not happen to be the right one
in Job's case. He said within himself--"Surely, if men be tried and
troubled exceedingly, it is because, while they think about their
troubles and distress themselves about their fears, they do not say,
'Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night?'" Elihu's
reason was right in the majority of cases. The great cause of the
Christian's distress, the reason of the depths of sorrow into which
many believers are plunged, is this--that while they are looking
about, on the right hand and on the left, to see how they may escape
their troubles, they forget to look to the hills whence all real help
cometh; they do not say, "Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in
the night?" We shall, however, leave that inquiry, and dwell upon
those sweet words, "God my maker, who giveth songs in the night."

The world hath its night. It seemeth necessary that it should have
one. The sun shineth by day, and men go forth to their labors; but
they grow weary, and nightfall cometh on, like a sweet boon from
heaven. The darkness draweth the curtains, and shutteth out the light,
which might prevent our eyes from slumber; while the sweet, calm
stillness of the night permits us to rest upon the lap of ease, and
there forget awhile our cares, until the morning sun appeareth, and
an angel puts his hand upon the curtain, and undraws it once again,
touches our eyelids, and bids us rise, and proceed to the labors of
the day. Night is one of the greatest blessings men enjoy; we have
many reasons to thank God for it. Yet night is to many a gloomy
season. There is "the pestilence that walketh in darkness"; there
is "the terror by night"; there is the dread of robbers and of fell
disease, with all those fears that the timorous know, when they have
no light wherewith they can discern objects. It is then they fancy
that spiritual creatures walk the earth; tho, if they knew rightly,
they would find it to be true, that

"Millions of spiritual creatures walk this earth,
Unseen, both when we sleep and when we wake,"

and that at all times they are round about us--not more by night than
by day. Night is the season of terror and alarm to most men. Yet even
night hath its songs. Have you never stood by the seaside at night,
and heard the pebbles sing, and the waves chant God's glories? Or have
you never risen from your couch, and thrown up the window of your
chamber, and listened there? Listened to what? Silence--save now and
then a murmuring sound, which seems sweet music then. And have you not
fancied that you heard the harp of God playing in heaven? Did you not
conceive, that yon stars, that those eyes of God, looking down on you,
were also mouths of song--that every star was singing God's glory,
singing, as it shone, its mighty Maker, and His lawful, well-deserved
praise? Night hath its songs. We need not much poetry in our spirit,
to catch the song of night, and hear the spheres as they chant praises
which are loud to the heart, tho they be silent to the ear--the
praises of the mighty God, who bears up the unpillared arch of heaven,
and moves the stars in their courses....

If we are going to sing of the things of yesterday, let us begin with
what God did for us in past times. My beloved brethren, you will find
it a sweet subject for song at times, to begin to sing of electing
love and covenanted mercies. When thou thyself art low, it is well to
sing of the fountain-head of mercy; of that blest decree wherein thou
wast ordained to eternal life, and of that glorious Man who undertook
thy redemption; of that solemn covenant signed, and sealed, and
ratified, in all things ordered well; of that everlasting love which,
ere the hoary mountains were begotten, or ere the aged hills were
children, chose thee, loved thee firmly, loved thee fast, loved thee
well, loved thee eternally. I tell thee, believer, if thou canst go
back to the years of eternity; if thou canst in thy mind run back
to that period, or ere the everlasting hills were fashioned, or the
fountains of the great deep scooped out, and if thou canst see thy
God inscribing thy name in His eternal book; if thou canst see in His
loving heart eternal thoughts of love to thee, thou wilt find this a
charming means of giving thee songs in the night. No songs like those
which come from electing love; no sonnets like those that are dictated
by meditations on discriminating mercy. Some, indeed, cannot sing of
election: the Lord open their mouths a little wider! Some there are
that are afraid of the very term; but we only despise men who are
afraid of what they believe, afraid of what God has taught them in His
Bible. No, in our darker hours it is our joy to sing:

"Sons we are through God's election,
Who in Jesus Christ believe;
By eternal destination,
Sovereign grace we now receive.
Lord, thy favor,
Shall both grace and glory give."

Think, Christian, of the yesterday, I say, and thou wilt get a song
in the night. But if thou hast not a voice tuned to so high a key as
that, let me suggest some other mercies thou mayest sing of; and they
are the mercies thou hast experienced. What! man, canst thou not sing
a little of that blest hour when Jesus met thee; when, a blind slave,
thou wast sporting with death, and He saw thee, and said: "Come, poor
slave, come with me"? Canst thou not sing of that rapturous moment
when He snapt thy fetters, dashed thy chains to the earth, and said:
"I am the Breaker; I came to break thy chains, and set thee free"?
What tho thou art ever so gloomy now, canst thou forget that happy
morning, when in the house of God thy voice was loud, almost as a
seraph's voice, in praise? for thou couldst sing: "I am forgiven; I am

"A monument of grace,
A sinner saved by blood."

Go back, man; sing of that moment, and then thou wilt have a song in
the night? Or if thou hast almost forgotten that, then sure thou hast
some precious milestone along the road of life that is not quite grown
over with moss, on which thou canst read some happy inspiration of His
mercy toward thee! What! didst thou never have a sickness like that
which thou art suffering now, and did He not raise thee up from that?
Wast thou never poor before, and did He not supply thy wants? Wast
thou never in straits before, and did He not deliver thee? Come, man!
I beseech thee, go to the river of thine experience, and pull up a few
bulrushes, and weave them into an ark, wherein thy infant faith may
float safely on the stream. I bid thee not forget what God hath done.
What! hast thou buried thine own diary? I beseech thee, man, turn over
the book of thy remembrance. Canst thou not see some sweet hill Mizar?
Canst thou not think of some blest hour when the Lord met with thee at
Hermon? Hast thou never been on the Delectable Mountains? Hast thou
never been fetched from the den of lions? Hast thou never escaped the
jaw of the lion and the paw of the bear? Nay, O man, I know thou hast;
go back, then, a little way, and take the mercies of yesterday; and
tho it is dark now, light up the lamps of yesterday, and they shall
glitter through the darkness, and thou shalt find that God hath given
thee a song in the night.

But I think, beloved, there is never so dark a night, but there is
something to sing about, even concerning that night; for there is one
thing I am sure we can sing about, let the night be ever so dark, and
that is, "It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, and
because His compassions fail not." If we cannot sing very loud, yet we
can sing a little low tune, something like this--"He hath not dealt
with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities."

"Oh!" says one, "I do not know where to get my dinner from to-morrow.
I am a poor wretch." So you may be, my dear friend; but you are not so
poor as you deserve to be. Do not be mightily offended about that; if
you are, you are no child of God; for the child of God acknowledges
that he has no right to the least of God's mercies, but that they come
through the channel of grace alone. As long as I am out of hell, I
have no right to grumble; and if I were in hell I should have no right
to complain, for I feel, when convinced of sin, that never creature
deserved to go there more than I do. We have no cause to murmur;
we can lift up our hands, and say, "Night! thou art dark, but thou
mightst have been darker. I am poor, but, if I could not have been
poorer, I might have been sick. I am poor and sick--well, I have some
friend left, my lot cannot be so bad, but it might have been worse."
And therefore, Christian, you will always have one thing to sing
about--"Lord, I thank Thee, it is not all darkness!" Besides,
Christian, however dark the night is, there is always a star or moon.
There is scarce ever a night that we have, but there are just one or
two little lamps burning up there. However dark it may be, I think you
may find some little comfort, some little joy, some little mercy left,
and some little promise to cheer thy spirit. The stars are not put
out, are they? Nay, if thou canst not see them, they are there; but
methinks one or two must be shining on thee; therefore give God a song
in the night. If thou hast only one star, bless God for that one,
perhaps He will make it two; and if thou hast only two stars, bless
God for the two stars, and perhaps He will make them four. Try, then,
if thou canst not find a song in the night.

But, beloved, there is another thing of which we can sing yet more
sweetly; and that is, we can sing of the day that is to come. I am
preaching to-night for the poor weavers of Spitalfields. Perhaps there
are not to be found a class of men in London who are suffering
a darker night than they are; for while many classes have been
befriended and defended, there are few who speak up for them, and (if
I am rightly informed) they are generally ground down within an inch
of their lives. I suppose that their masters intend that their bread
shall be very sweet, on the principle, that the nearer the ground, the
sweeter the grass; for I should think that no people have their grass
so near the ground as the weavers of Spitalfields. In an inquiry by
the House of Commons last week, it was given in evidence that their
average wages amount to seven or eight shillings a week; and that
they have to furnish themselves with a room, and work at expensive
articles, which my friends and ladies are wearing now, and which they
buy as cheaply as possible; but perhaps they do not know that they are
made with the blood and bones and marrow of the Spitalfields weavers,
who, many of them, work for less than man ought to have to subsist
upon. Some of them waited upon me the other day; I was exceedingly
pleased with one of them. He said, "Well, sir, it is very hard, but I
hope there is better times coming for us." "Well, my friend," I said,
"I am afraid you cannot hope for much better times, unless the Lord
Jesus Christ comes a second time." "That is just what we hope for,"
said he. "We do not see there is any chance of deliverance, unless the
Lord Jesus Christ comes to establish His kingdom upon the earth; and
then He will judge the opprest, and break the oppressors in pieces
with an iron rod, and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel." I
was glad my friend had got a song in the night, and was singing about
the morning that was coming. Often do I cheer myself with the thought
of the coming of the Lord. We preach now, perhaps, with little
success; "the kingdoms of this world" are not "become the kingdoms of
our Lord and of his Christ"; we send out missionaries; they are for
the most part unsuccessful. We are laboring, but we do not see the
fruits of our labors. Well, what then? Try a little while; we shall
not always labor in vain, or spend our strength for naught. A day is
coming, and now is, when every minister of Christ shall speak with
unction, when all the servants of God shall preach with power, and
when colossal systems of heathenism shall be scattered to the winds.
The shout shall be heard, "Alleluia! Alleluia! the Lord God Omnipotent
reigneth." For that day do I look; it is to the bright horizon of that
second coming that I turn my eyes. My anxious expectation is, that the
sweet Sun of righteousness will arise with healing beneath His wings,
that the opprest shall be righted, that despotisms shall be cut down,
that liberty shall be established, that peace shall be made lasting,
and that the glorious liberty of the gospel shall be extended
throughout the known world. Christian! if thou art in a night, think
of the morrow; cheer up thy heart with the thought of the coming of
thy Lord.

There is another sweet to-morrow of which we hope to sing in the
night. Soon, beloved, you and I shall lie on our dying bed, and we
shall want a song in the night then; and I do not know where we shall
get it, if we do not get it from the to-morrow. Kneeling by the bed of
an apparently dying saint, last night, I said, "Well, sister, He has
been precious to you; you can rejoice in His covenant mercies, and His
past loving-kindnesses." She put out her hand, and said, "Ah! sir, do
not talk about them now; I want the sinner's Savior as much now as
ever; it is not a saint's I want; it is still a sinner's Savior that
I am in need of, for I am a sinner still." I found that I could not
comfort her with the past; so I reminded her of the golden streets, of
the gates of pearl, of the walls of jasper, of the harps of gold, of
the songs of bliss; and then her eyes glistened; she said, "Yes, I
shall be there soon; I shall meet them by-and-by;" and then she
seemed so glad! Ah! believer, you may always cheer yourself with that
thought. Thy head may be crowned with thorny troubles now, but it
shall wear a starry crown directly; thy hand may be filled with
cares--it shall grasp a harp soon, a harp full of music. Thy garments
may be soiled with dust now; they shall be white by-and-by. Wait a
little longer. Ah! beloved, how despicable our troubles and trials
will seem when we look back upon them! Looking at them here in the
prospect, they seem immense; but when we get to heaven, we shall then,

"With transporting joys recount
The labors of our feet."

Our trials will seem to us nothing at all. We shall talk to one
another about them in heaven, and find all the more to converse
about, according as we have suffered more here below. Let us go on,
therefore; and if the night be ever so dark, remember there is not a
night that shall not have a morning; and that morning is to come by
and by.

And now I want to tell you, very briefly, what are the excellences of
songs in the night above all other songs.

In the first place, when you hear a man singing a song in the night--I
mean in the night of trouble--you may be quite sure it is a hearty
one. Many of you sang very prettily just now, didn't you? I wonder
whether you would sing very prettily, if there was a stake or two in
Smithfield for all of you who dared to do it? If you sang under pain
and penalty, that would show your heart to be in your song. We can all
sing very nicely indeed when everybody else sings. It is the easiest
thing in the world to open your mouth, and let the words come out; but
when the devil puts his hand over your mouth, can you sing then? Can
you say, "Tho he slay me, yet will I trust in him"? That is hearty
singing; that is real song that springs up in the night. The
nightingale singeth most sweetly because she singeth in the night. We
know a poet has said that, if she sang by day, she might be thought to
sing no more sweetly than the wren. It is the stillness of the night
that makes her song sweet. And so doth a Christian's song become sweet
and hearty, because it is in the night.

Again: the songs we sing in the night will be lasting. Many songs we
hear our fellow-creatures singing in the streets will not do to sing
by-and-by; I guess they will sing a different kind of tune soon. They
can sing nowadays any rollicking, drinking songs; but they will not
sing them when they come to die; they are not exactly the songs with
which to cross Jordan's billows. It will not do to sing one of those
light songs when death and you are having the last tug. It will not do
to enter heaven singing one of those unchaste, unholy sonnets. No; but
the Christian who can sing in the night will not have to leave off
his song; he may keep on singing it forever. He may put his foot in
Jordan's stream, and continue his melody; he may wade through it, and
keep on singing still, and land himself safe in heaven; and when he is
there, there need not be a gap in his strain, but in a nobler, sweeter
strain he may still continue singing His power to save. There are a
great many of you that think Christian people are a very miserable
set, don't you? You say, "Let me sing my song." Ay, but, my dear
friends, we like to sing a song that will last; we don't like your
songs; they are all froth, like bubbles on the beaker, and they will
soon die away and be lost. Give me a song that will last; give me one
that will not melt. Oh, give me not the dreamster's gold! he hoards it
up, and says, "I'm rich"; and when he waketh, his gold is gone. But
give me songs in the night, for they are songs I sing forever.

Again: the songs we warble in the night are those that show we have
real faith in. God. Many men have just enough faith to trust God as
far as they can see Him, and they always sing as far as they can see
providence go right; but true faith can sing when its possessors
cannot see. It can take hold of God when they cannot discern Him.

Songs in the night, too, prove that we have true courage. Many sing by
day who are silent by night; they are afraid of thieves and robbers;
but the Christian who sings in the night proves himself to be a
courageous character. It is the bold Christian who can sing God's
sonnets in the darkness.

He who can sing songs in the night, too, proves that he has true love
to Christ. It is not love to Christ to praise Him while everybody else
praises Him; to walk arm in arm with Him when He has the crown on
His head is no great deed, I wot; to walk with Christ in rags is
something. To believe in Christ when He is shrouded in darkness, to
stick hard and fast by the Savior when all men speak ill of Him and
forsake Him--that is true faith. He who singeth a song to Christ in
the night, singeth the best song in all the world; for He singeth from
the heart.

I am afraid of wearying you; therefore I shall not dwell on the
excellences of night songs, but just, in the last place, show you
their use.

It is very useful to sing in the night of our troubles, first, because
it will cheer ourselves. When you were boys living in the country, and
had some distance to go alone at night, don't you remember how you
whistled and sang to keep your courage up? Well, what we do in the
natural world we ought to do in the spiritual. There is nothing like
singing to keep your spirits alive. When we have been in trouble,
we have often thought ourselves to be well-nigh overwhelmed with
difficulty; and we have said, "Let us have a song." We have begun to
sing; and Martin Luther says, "The devil cannot bear singing." That is
about the truth; he does not like music. It was so in Saul's days: an
evil spirit rested on Saul; but when David played on his harp, the
evil spirit went away from him. This is usually the case: if we can
begin to sing we shall remove our fears. I like to hear servants
sometimes humming a tune at their work; I love to hear a plowman in
the country singing as he goes along with his horses. Why not? You say
he has no time to praise God; but he can sing a song--surely he can
sing a Psalm, it will take no more time. Singing is the best thing to
purge ourselves of evil thoughts. Keep your mouth full of songs, and
you will often keep your heart full of praises; keep on singing as
long as you can; you will find it a good method of driving away your

Sing, again, for another reason: because it will cheer your
companions. If any of them are in the valley and in the darkness with
you, it will be a great help to comfort them. John Bunyan tells us,
that as Christian was going through the valley he found it a dreadful
dark place, and terrible demons and goblins were all about him, and
poor Christian thought he must perish for certain; but just when his
doubts were the strongest, he heard a sweet voice; he listened to it,
and he heard a man in front of him saying, "Yea, when I pass through
the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil." Now, that man
did not know who was near him, but he was unwittingly singing to cheer
a man behind. Christian, when you are in trouble, sing; you do not
know who is near you. Sing, perhaps you will get a companion by it.
Sing! perhaps there will be many a heart cheered by your song. There
is some broken spirit, it may be, that will be bound up by your
sonnets. Sing! there is some poor distrest brother, perhaps, shut up
in the Castle of Despair, who, like King Richard, will hear your song
inside the walls, and sing to you again, and you may be the means of
getting him a ransom. Sing, Christian, wherever you go; try, if you
can, to wash your face every morning in a bath of praise. When you go
down from your chamber, never go to look on man till you have first
looked on your God; and when you have looked on Him, seek to come down
with a face beaming with joy; carry a smile, for you will cheer up
many a poor way-worn pilgrim by it.

One more reason; and I know it will be a good one for you. Try and
sing in the night, Christian, for that is one of the best arguments in
all the world in favor of your religion. Our divines nowadays spend a
great deal of time in trying to prove Christianity against those who
disbelieve it. I should like to have seen Paul trying that! Elymas the
sorcerer withstood him: how did our friend Paul treat him? He said,
"Oh, full of all subtlety and all mischief, thou child of the devil,
thou enemy of the righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the
right ways of the Lord?" That is about the politeness such men ought
to have who deny God's truth. "We start with this assumption: we will
prove that the Bible is God's word, but we are not going to prove
God's word. If you do not like to believe it, we will shake hands, and
bid you good-by; we will not argue with you. The gospel has gained
little by discussion. The greatest piece of folly on earth has been
to send a man round the country, to follow another up who has been
lecturing on infidelity just to make himself notorious.

Why, let them lecture on; this is a free country; why should we
follow them about? The truth will win the day. Christianity need not
wish for controversy; it is strong enough for it, if it wishes it; but
that is not God's way.

God's direction is, "Preach, teach, dogmatize." Do not stand
disputing; claim a divine mission; tell men that God says it, and
there leave it. Say to them, "He that believeth shall be saved, and he
that believeth not shall be damned"; and when you have done that,
you have done enough. For what reason should our missionaries stand
disputing with Brahmins? Why should they be wasting their time
by attempting to refute first this dogma, and then another, of
heathenism? Why not just go and say, "The God whom ye ignorantly
worship, I declare unto you; believe me, and you will be saved;
believe me not, and the Bible says you are lost." And then, having
thus asserted God's word, say, "I leave it, I declare it unto you; it
is a thing for you to believe, not a thing for you to reason about."

Religion is not a thing merely for your intellect; a thing to prove
your own talent upon, by making a syllogism on it; it is a thing that
demands your faith. As a messenger of heaven, I demand that faith; if
you do not choose to give it, on your own head be the doom, if there
be such, if there be not, you are prepared to risk it. But I have done
my duty; I have told you the truth; that is enough, and there I leave
it. Oh, Christian, instead of disputing, let me tell thee how to prove
your religion. Live it out!

Live it out! Give the external as well as the internal evidence; give
the external evidence of your own life. You are sick; there is your
neighbor who laughs at religion; let him come into your house. When
he was sick, he said, "Oh, send for the doctor"; and there he was
fretting, and fuming, and whining, and making all manner of noises.
When you are sick, send for him, tell him that you are resigned to the
Lord's will; that you will kiss the chastening rod; that you will take
the cup, and drink it, because your Father gives it.

You do not need to make a boast of this, or it will lose all its
power; but do it because you cannot help doing it. Your neighbor will
say, "There is something in that." And when you come to the borders of
the grave--he was there once, and you heard how he shrieked, and how
frightened he was--give him your hand, and say to him, "Ah! I have a
Christ that will do to die by; I have a religion that will make me
sing in the night." Let me hear how you can sing, "Victory, victory,
victory!" through Him that loved you. I tell you, we may preach fifty
thousand sermons to prove the gospel, but we shall not prove it half
so well as you will through singing in the night. Keep a cheerful
frame; keep a happy heart; keep a contented spirit; keep your eye up,
and your heart aloft, and you prove Christianity better than all the
Butlers, and all the wise men that ever lived. Give them the analogy
of a holy life, and then you will prove religion to them; give them,
the evidence of internal piety, developed externally, and you will
give the best possible proof of Christianity.




Henry Codman Potter was born at Schenectady, New York, in 1834, and
was graduated from the Theological Seminary of Virginia in 1857. He
was appointed rector of Grace Protestant Episcopal Church, New York,
in 1868, and was coadjutor to his uncle, Horatio Potter, from 1883
to 1887, when he was made Bishop of the Diocese of New York. He won
considerable distinction as a clear-cut and eloquent speaker. He
dealt in pulpit and on platform, with many public questions, such as
temperance, capital and labor, civic righteousness, and the purifying
of East Side slum life. He advocated personal freedom, and invariably
spoke with authority. He was particularly happy as an after-dinner
speaker. He died in 1908.




[Footnote 1: Reprinted by permission of Bishop Henry C. Potter and The
Century Company, publishers of "The Scholar and the State."]

_It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the
words I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life_.--John
vi., 63.

He who stops over-long in the mere mechanism of religion is verily
missing that for which religion stands. Here, indeed, it must be owned
is, if not our greatest danger, one of the greatest. All life is full
of that strange want of intellectual and moral perspective which fails
to see how secondary, after all, are means to ends; and how he only
has truly apprehended the office of religion who has learned, when
undertaking in any wise to present it or represent it, to hold fast
to that which is the one central thought and fact of all: "It is the
spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I
speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."

And this brings me--in how real and vivid a way I am sure you must
feel as keenly as I--face to face with him of whom I am set to speak

Never before in the history, not only of our communion, but of any or
all communions, has the departure of a religious teacher been more
widely noted and deplored than in the case of him of whom this
Commonwealth and this diocese have been bereaved. Never before,
surely, in case of any man whom we can recall, has the sense of loss
and bereavement been more distinctly a personal one,--extending to
multitudes in two hemispheres who did not know him, who had never seen
or heard him, and yet to whom he had revealed himself in such real and
helpful ways.

It has followed, inevitably, from this, that that strong tide of
profound feeling has found expression in many and most unusual
forms, and it will be among the most interesting tasks of the future
biographer of the late Bishop of Massachusetts to take note of these
various memorials and to trace in them the secret of his unique power
and influence.

But just because they have, so many of them, in such remarkable
variety and from sources so diverse, been written or spoken, and no
less because a memoir of Phillips Brooks is already undertaken by
hands preeminently designated for that purpose, I may wisely here
confine myself to another and very different task. I shall not
attempt, therefore, even the merest outline of a biographical review.
I shall not undertake to analyze, nor, save incidentally, even to
refer to, the influences and inheritances that wrought in the mind
and upon the life of your late friend and teacher. I shall still less
attempt to discover the open secret of his rare and unique charm and
attractiveness as a man; and I shall least of all endeavor to forecast
the place which history will give to him among the leaders and
builders of our age. Brief as was his ministry in his higher office,
and to our view all too soon ended, I shall be content to speak of him
as a bishop,--of his divine right, as I profoundly believe, to a place
in the episcopate, and of the preeminent value of his distinctive and
incomparable witness to the highest aim and purpose of that office.

And first of all let me say a word in regard to the way in which he
came to it. When chosen to the episcopate of this diocese, your late
bishop had already, at least once, as we all know, declined the
office. It was well known to those who knew him best that, as he had
viewed it for a large part of his ministry, it was a work for which
he had no especial sympathy either as to its tasks, or, as he had
understood them, its opportunities.

But the time undoubtedly came when, as to this, he modified his
earlier opinions; and the time came too, as I am most glad to think,
when he was led to feel that if he were called to such an office he
might find in it an opportunity for widening his own sympathies and
for estimating more justly those with whom previously he had believed
himself to have little in common.

It was the inevitable condition of his strong and deep convictions
that he should not always or easily understand or make due allowance
for men of different opinions. It was--God and you will bear me
witness that this is true!--one of the noblest characteristics of his
fifteen months' episcopate that, as a bishop, men's rightful liberty
of opinion found in him not only a large and generous tolerance, but
a most beautiful and gracious acceptance. He seized, instantly and
easily, that which will be forever the highest conception of the
episcopate in its relations whether to the clergy or the laity, its
paternal and fraternal character; and his "sweet reasonableness," both
as a father and as a brother, shone through all that he was and did.

For one, I greatly love to remember this,--that when the time came he
himself, with the simple naturalness which marked all that he did,
was brought to reconsider his earlier attitude toward the episcopal
office, and to express with characteristic candor his readiness to
take up its work if he should be chosen to it; he turned to his new,
and to him most strange, task with a supreme desire to do it in a
loving and whole-hearted way, and to make it helpful to every man,
woman, and child with whom he came in contact. What could have been
more like him than that, in that last address which he delivered to
the choir-boys at Newton, he should have said to them, "When you meet
me let me know that you know me." Another might easily have been
misunderstood in asking those whom he might by chance encounter to
salute him; but he knew, and the boys knew, what he had in mind,--how
he and they were all striving to serve one Master, and how each--he
most surely as much as they--was to gain strength and cheer from
mutual recognition in the spirit of a common brotherhood.

And thus it was always; and this it was that allied itself so
naturally to that which was his never-ceasing endeavor--to lift all
men everywhere to that which was, with him, the highest conception of
his office, whether as a preacher or as a bishop,--the conception of
God as a Father, and of the brotherhood of all men as mutually related
in Him.

In an address which he delivered during the last General Convention
in Baltimore to the students of Johns Hopkins University, he spoke
substantially these words:

"In trying to win a man to a better life, show him not the
evil but the nobleness of his nature. Lead him to enthusiastic
contemplations of humanity;"

in its perfection, and when he asks, 'Why, if this is so, do not I
have this life?'--then project on the background of his enthusiasm his
own life; say to him, 'Because you are a liar, because you blind your
soul with licentiousness, shame is born,--but not a shame of despair.
It is soon changed to joy. Christianity becomes an opportunity, a high
privilege, the means of attaining to the most exalted ideal--and the
only means.'

"Herein must lie all real power; herein lay Christ's power, that he
appreciated the beauty and richness of humanity, that it is very near
the Infinite, very near to God. These two facts--we are the children
of God, and God is our Father--make us look very differently at
ourselves, very differently at our neighbors, very differently at God.
We should be surprized, not at our good deeds, but at our bad ones.
We should expect good as more likely to occur than evil; we should
believe that our best moments are our truest. I was once talking with
an acquaintance about whose religious position I knew nothing, and he
exprest a very hopeful opinion in regard to a matter about which I was
myself very doubtful.

"'Why, I said to him, 'You are an optimist.'

"'Of course I am an optimist,' he replied, because I am a Christian.'

"I felt that as a reproof. The Christian must be an optimist."

Men and brethren, I set these words over against those of his Master
with which I began, and the two in essence are one. "The words that I
speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." There is a life
nobler and diviner than any that we have dreamed of. To the poorest
and meanest of us, as to the best and most richly-dowered, it is alike
open. To turn toward it, to reach up after it, to believe in its
ever-recurring nearness, and to glorify God in attaining to it, this
is the calling of a human soul.

Now then, what, I ask you, is all the rest of religion worth in
comparison with this?--not what is it worth in itself, but what is its
place relatively to this? This, I maintain, is the supreme question
for the episcopate, as it ought to be the supreme question with the
ministry of any and every order. And therefore it is, I affirm, that,
in bringing into the episcopate with such unique vividness and power
this conception of his office, your bishop rendered to his order and
to the Church of God everywhere a service so transcendent. A most
gifted and sympathetic observer of our departed brother's character
and influence has said of him, contrasting him with the power of
institution, "His life will always suggest the importance of the
influence of the individual man as compared with institutional

In one sense, undoubtedly, this is true; but I should prefer to say
that his life-work will always show the large and helpful influence of
a great soul upon institutional Christianity. It is a superficial
and unphilosophical temperament that disparages institutions; for
institutions are only another name for that organized force and life
by which God rules the world. But it is undoubtedly and profoundly
true that you no sooner have an institution, whether in society, in
politics, or in religion, than you are threatened with the danger
that the institution may first exaggerate itself and then harden
and stiffen into a machine; and that in the realm of religion,
preeminently, those whose office it should be to quicken and infuse it
with new life should themselves come at last to "worship the net and
the drag." And just here you find in the history of religion in all
ages the place of the prophet and the seer. He is to pierce through
the fabric of the visible structure to that soul of things for which
it stands. When, in Isaiah, the Holy Ghost commands the prophet, "Lift
up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid: say unto the
cities of Judah, Behold your God!" it is not alone, you see, his voice
that lie is to lift up. No, no! It is the vision of the unseen and
divine. "Say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!"

Over and over again that voice breaks in upon the slumbrous torpor of
Israel and smites the dead souls of priests and people alike. Now
it is a Balaam, now it is an Elijah, a David, an Isaiah, a John the
Baptist, a Paul the Apostle, a Peter the Hermit, a Savonarola, a Huss,
a Whitefield, a Wesley, a Frederick Maurice, a Frederick Robertson, a
Phillips Brooks.

Do not mistake me. I do not say that there were not many others. But
these names are typical, and that for which they stand cannot easily
be mistaken. I affirm without qualification that, in that gift of
vision and of exaltation for which they stand, they stand for the
highest and the best,--that one thing for which the Church of God most
of all stands, and of which so long as it is the Church Militant
it will most of all stand in need: to know that the end of all its
mechanisms and ministries is to impart life, and that nothing which
obscures or loses sight of the eternal source of life can regenerate
or quicken;--to teach men to cry out, with St. Augustine, "_Fecisti
nos ad te, Domine, et inquietum est cor nostrum donec requiescat in
te_": Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our heart is unquiet
until its rests in Thee,--this however, as any one may be tempted to
fence and juggle with the fact, is the truth on which all the rest

Unfortunately it is a truth which there is much in the tasks and
engagements of the episcopate to obscure. A bishop is preeminently,
at any rate in the popular conception of him, an administrator; and
howsoever wide of the mark this popular conception may be from the
essential idea of the office, it must be owned that there is much in
a bishop's work in our day to limit his activities, and therefore his
influence, within such a sphere.

To recognize his prophetic office as giving expression to that mission
of the Holy Ghost of which he is preeminently the representative, to
illustrate it upon a wider instead of a narrower field, to recognize
and seize the greater opportunities for its exercise, to be indeed
"a leader and commander" to the people, not by means of the petty
mechanisms of officialism, but by the strong, strenuous, and unwearied
proclamation of the truth; under all conditions to make the occasion
somehow a stepping-stone to that mount of vision from which men may
see God and righteousness and become sensible of the nearness of both
to themselves,--this, I think you will agree with me, is no unworthy
use of the loftiest calling and the loftiest gifts.

And such a use was his. A bishop-elect, walking with him one day in
the country, was speaking, with not unnatural shrinking and hesitancy,
of the new work toward which he was soon to turn his face, and said
among other things, "I have a great dread, in the Episcopate, of
perfunctoriness. In the administration, especially, of confirmation,
it seems almost impossible, in connection with its constant
repetition, to avoid it."

He was silent a moment, and then said, "I do not think that it need be
so. The office indeed is the same. But every class is different; and
then--think what it is to them! It seems to me that that thought can
never cease to move one."

What a clear insight the answer gave to his own ministry. One turns
back to his first sermon, that evening when, with his fellow-student
in Virginia, he walked across the fields to the log-cabin where, not
yet in holy orders, he preached it, and where afterward he ministered
with such swiftly increasing power to a handful of negro servants.
"It was an utter failure," he said afterward. Yes, perhaps; but all
through the failure he struggled to give expression to that of which
his soul was full; and I do not doubt that even then they who heard
him somehow understood him. We pass from those first words to the
last,--those of which I spoke a moment ago,--the address to the
choir-boys at Newton,--was there ever such, an address to choir-boys
before? He knew little or nothing about the science of music, and with
characteristic candor he at once said so. But he passed quickly from
the music to those incomparable words of which the music was the mere
vehicle and vesture. He bade the lads to whom he spoke think of
those who, long ago and all the ages down, had sung that matchless
Psalter,--of the boys and men of other times, and what it had meant to
them. And then, as he looked into their fresh young faces and saw the
long vista of life stretching out before them, he bade them think of
that larger and fuller meaning which was to come into those Psalms of
David, when he,--was there some prophetic sense of how soon with him
the end would be?--when he and such as he had passed away,--what new
doors were to open, what deeper meanings were to be discerned, what
nobler opportunities were to dawn, as the years hastened swiftly on
toward their august and glorious consummation! How it all lifts us
up as we read it, and how like it was to that "one sermon" which he
forever preached!

And in saying so I do not forget what that was which some men said was
missing in it. His, they tell us--who hold some dry and formalized
statement of the truth so close to the eye that it obscures all larger
vision of it,--his, they tell us, was an "invertebrate theology." Of
what he was and spoke, such a criticism is as if one said of the wind,
that divinely appointed symbol of the Holy Ghost, "it has no spine nor

A spine and ribs are very necessary things; but we bury them as so
much chalk and lime when once the breath has gone out of them! In the
beginning we read, "And the Lord God breathed into his nostrils the
breath of life, and man became a living soul."

And all along since then there have been messengers of God into whom
the same divine breath has been, as it were, without measure breathed,
and who have been the quickeners and inspirers of their fellows.
Nothing less than this can explain that wholly exceptional and yet
consistent influence which he whom we mourn gave forth. It was not
confined or limited by merely personal or physical conditions, but
breathed with equal and quickening power through all that he taught
and wrote. There were multitudes who never saw or heard him, but by
whom nevertheless he was as intimately known and understood as if he
had been their daily companion.

Never was there an instance which more truly fulfilled the saying,
"The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."
They reached down to the inmost need of empty and aching hearts and
answered it. They spoke to that in the most sin-stained and wayward
soul which is, after all, the image of the invisible God,--spoke
to it, touched it, constrained it. "What has this fine-bred Boston
scholar," plain men asked, when he bade him come to us and preach in
our Trinity--"what has such an one to say to the business men of Wall
Street?" But when he came, straightway every man found out that he had
indeed something to say to him,--a word of power, a word of hope, a
word of enduring joy and strength!

A kindred thinker of large vision and rare insight, New England born
and nurtured like himself, speaking of him not long after his death,

"There are three forms pertaining to the Christian truths: they
are true as facts, they are true as doctrines intellectually
apprehended, they are true as spiritual experiences to be
realized. Bishop Brooks struck directly for the last. In the
spirit he found the truth; and only as he could get it into a
spiritual form did he conceive it to have power.

"It was because he assumed the facts as true in the main, refusing
to insist on petty accuracy, and passed by doctrinal forms
concerning which there might be great divergence of opinion, and
carried his thought on into the world of spirit, that he won so
great a hearing and such conviction of belief. For it is the
spirit that gives common standing-ground; it says substantially
the same thing in all men. Speak as a spirit to the spiritual
nature of men, and they will respond, because in the spirit they
draw near to their common source and to the world to which all

"It was because he dealt with this common factor of the human and
the divine nature that he was too positive and practical. In the
spirit it is all yea and amen; there is no negative; in the New
Jerusalem there is no night. We can describe this feature of his
ministry by words from, one of his own sermons: 'It has always
been through men of belief, not unbelief, that power from God has
poured into man. It is not the discriminating critic, but he whose
beating, throbbing life offers itself a channel for the divine
force,--he is the man through, whom the world grows rich, and whom
it remembers, remembers with perpetual thanksgiving.'"

And shall not you who are here to-day thank God that such a man was,
tho for so brief a space, your bishop? Some there were, you remember,
who thought that those greater spiritual gifts of his would unfit him
for the business of practical affairs. "A bishop's daily round," they
said, "his endless correspondence, his hurried journeyings, his weight
of anxious cares, the misadventures of other men, ever returning to
plague him,--how can he bring himself to stoop and deal with these?"

But as in so much else that was transcendent in him, how little here,
too, his critics understood him! No more pathetic proof of this has
come to light than in that testimony of one among you who, as his
private secretary, stood in closest and most intimate relations
to him. What a story that is which he has given to us of a great
soul--faithful always in the greatest? Yes, but no less faithful in
the least. There seems a strange, almost grotesque impossibility in
the thought that such an one should ever have come to be regarded as
"a stickler for the canons."

But we look a little deeper than the surface, and all that is
incongruous straightway disappears. His was the realm of a divine
order,--his was the office of his Lord's servant. God had called him.
He had put him where he was. He had set his Church to be His witness
in the world, and in it, all His children, the greatest with the
least, to walk in ways of reverent appointment. Those ways might irk
and cramp him sometimes. They did: he might speak of them with sharp
impatience and seeming disesteem sometimes. He did that too, now and
then,--for he was human like the rest of us! But mark you this, my
brothers, for, in an age which, under one figment or another,
whether of more ancient or more modern license, is an age of much
self-will,--we shall do well to remember it,--his was a life of
orderly and consistent obedience to rule. He kept to the Church's
plain and stately ways: kept to them and prized them too.

But all the while he held his soul wide open to the vision of his
Lord! Up out of a routine that seemed to others that did not know or
could not understand him, and who vouchsafed to him much condescending
compassion for a bondage which he never felt, and of which in vain
they strove to persuade him to complain,--up out of the narrower round
in which so faithfully he walked, from time to time he climbed, and
came back bathed in a heavenly light, with lips aglow with heavenly
fire. The Spirit had spoken to him, and so he spoke to us. "The flesh
profiteth nothing: it is the spirit that quickeneth. The words that I
speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."

And so we thank God not alone for his message, but that it was given
to him to speak it as a bishop in the Church of God. We thank God that
in a generation that so greatly needs to cry, as our _Te Deum_ teaches
us, "Govern us and lift us up!" he was given to the Church not alone
to rule but to uplift.

What bishop is there who may not wisely seek to be like him by drawing
forever on those fires of the Holy Ghost that set his lips aflame?
Nay, what soul among us all is there that may not wisely seek to
ascend up into that upper realm in which he walked, and by whose
mighty airs his soul was filled? Unto the almighty and ever-living God
we yield most high praise and hearty thanks for the wonderful grace
and virtue declared in all His saints who have been the chosen vessels
of His grace and the lights of the world in their several generations;
but here and to-day especially for his servant, Phillips Brooks, some
time of this Commonwealth and this diocese, true prophet, true priest,
true bishop, to the glory of God the Father.




Lyman Abbott was born at Roxbury, Mass., in 1835. As successor to
Henry Ward Beecher, at Plymouth Church, Brooklyn, he ministered with
great spiritual power until 1898, when he resigned his pastorate to
devote his entire time to _The Outlook_, of which he was, and still
is, the editor. Dr. Abbott's conception of the minister's work is
briefly summed up in his own words:

"Whenever a minister forgets the splendid message of pardon, peace and
power based on faith in Jesus Christ as God manifest in the flesh,
whenever for this message he substitutes literary lectures, critical
essays, sociological disquisitions, theological controversies, or even
ethical interpretations of the universal conscience, whenever, in
other words, he ceases to be a Christian preacher and becomes a lyceum
or seminary lecturer, he divests himself of that which in all ages of
the world has been the power of the Christian ministry, and will be
its power so long as men have sins to be forgiven, temptations to
conquer, and sorrows to be assuaged."


BORN IN 1835


_Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, ye are
gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and
the scripture cannot be broken; say ye of him, whom the Father hath
sanctified, and sent into the world, thou blasphemest; because I said,
I am the Son of God_?--John X., 34-36.

The context and argument is this: Jesus Christ has declared that He
will give unto His sheep eternal life; and that no one can pluck them
out of His hand, because He and His Father are one; and the Father
who gives these sheep to His care and keeping is greater than all the
forces that are leagued against them. Thereat the Jews took up stones
against Him, saying: "Being a man thou makest thyself equal with God."
And Christ answers with our text. He refers them back to the Old
Testament, which, He says, declares of the judges of Israel, of the
men to whom the inspiration of God came, that they are divine. "Why,
then," He says, "do you accuse Me of blasphemy because I claim
divinity?" It is impossible to consider this a mere play upon the
word; that Christ uses the word God in one sense in one paragraph
and in another sense in the paragraph immediately following. It is
impossible to conceive that this is a kind of sacred pun. No, no; the
argument is clear and unmistakable. According to your Old Testament
scripture, He says, the men in whom and to whom and through whom the
power and grace of God are manifested are themselves the partakers
of the divine nature. If that is so, if the men of the olden
times, patriarchs and prophets, through whom the divine nature was
manifested--if they are divine, do not accuse me of blasphemy because
I claim for Myself divinity. If in this message, on the one hand,
Christ claims kinship with God, on the other He lifts the whole of
humanity up with Him and makes the claim for them. The religion of the
Old Testament and the New Testament, the religion of Christianity and
of Judaism, is a religion of faith in God. But it is not less truly a
religion of faith in man, and of faith in man because man is a child
of God. And the one faith would be utterly useless without the other.
For faith in God is effective because it is accompanied with faith in
man as the child of God.

And in this faith in man is the inspiration of all human progress.
_Faith_ in man, I say. Faith sees something which the eye does not
see. Faith sees something which the reason does not perceive. Faith
is not irrational, but it perceives a transcendent truth, over beyond
that which the sense perceives. Faith is always intermixed with hope
and with a great expectation, either with a hope because it sees
something which is not yet but will be, or else with a hope because it
sees something which is not yet seen but will be seen. Faith in a man
is not a belief that man is to-day a great, noble character, but it is
a perception in man of dormant possibilities of greatness and nobility
which time and God will develop. It is only the man who has faith in
man who can really interpret man. It is faith in man that gives us all
true human insight. The difference between a photograph and a portrait
is this: the photograph gives the outward feature, and stops there;
and most of us, when we stand in a photograph saloon to have our
picture taken, hide our soul away. The artist sees the soul behind the
man, knows him, understands something of his nature, and paints the
soul that looks out through the eyes. He sees in the man something
which the sun does not exhibit, and makes that something shine on
the canvas. The artist in literature sees an ideal humanity, and
interprets it. Realism in literature does not portray the real man.
Anthony Trollope pictures the Englishman as he is to-day, and society
as any man may take it with a kodak; but Dickens gives Toby Veck and
Tiny Tim; George Eliot, Adam Bede and Dinah Morris. Men say that no
such boy ever lived as MacDonald has portrayed in Sir Gibbie. In every
street Arab is a possible Sir Gibbie; and MacDonald has seen the
possible and shown us what Christianity may make out of a street
Arab. In this perception of a possible in man lies the spirit of all
progress in science. The man of practical science laughs at the notion
of an iron railway on which steam cars shall travel faster than
English coaches. But the man of faith in men, who believes that it is
in the power of men to dominate the powers of nature, builds the road.
The man of practical science laughs at the notion that we can reach up
our hands into the clouds and draw down the lightning. But Franklin
does it. The man of faith is sometimes mistaken, but he is always
experimenting, because he always believes that man to-morrow will
be more than man is to-day or was yesterday. And all progress in
civilization has its secret in this great faith in man as a being
that has a mastery, not yet interpreted, not yet understood, not yet
comprehended in its fulness, over all the powers of nature.

Now, is there any ground or basis for this faith in man? Have we a
right to believe that man is more than he seems to be, as we can see
him in the street to-day? Have we a right to build our institutions
and fabrics on this belief? Have we a right to think that man can
govern himself, or must we go back and say with Carlyle and Ruskin
and Voltaire that the great body of men are incompetent to govern
themselves, and a few wise rulers must govern them? Have we a right to
believe that all the progress that has thus far been made in
science is but an augury of progress far greater, reaching into the
illimitable? Have we a right to say that these portraits of a possible
humanity, this Portia, this Toby Veck, this Tiny Tim, this ideal man
and woman, are real men and real women in possibility, if not in
the actualities of life? Or are we to think of them as simply
phantasmagoria hung up for the delectation of a passing moment? The
Bible makes answer to that question,--the Bible preeminently, but
the great poets and the great prophets of all religions; the Bible,
because the poets and the prophets of the Bible transcend the poets
and the prophets of all other religions. And that declaration is that
man is made in the image of God, and that God dwells in man and
is coming to the manifestation of Himself in growing, developing,
redeemed humanity. Our Bible starts out with the declaration that God
made man in His own image. The poets take the idea up. MacDonald tells
us in that beautiful poem of his, that the babe came through the blue
sky and got the blue of his eyes as he came; Wordsworth, that the
child's imaginings are the recollected glory of a heavenly home; and
the author of the first chapter of Genesis, that God breathed his own
breath into the nostrils of man and made him in the image of God. All
fancy, all imaginings? But, my dear friends, there is a truth in fancy
as well as in science. We need not believe that this aspiration that
shows itself in the pure mind of a little child is a trailing glory
that he has brought with him from some pre-existent state. We need not
think that it is physiological fact that the sky colored the eyes of
the babe as the babe came through. Nor need we suppose that man was
a clay image into which God breathed a physical breath, so animating
him. But beyond all this imagery is the vision of the poet. God in
man; a divine life throbbing in humanity; man the offspring of God;
man coming forth from the eternal and going forth into the eternal.

This is the starting-point of the Bible. Starting with this, it goes
on with declaration after declaration based on this fundamental
doctrine that man and God in their essential moral attributes have the
same nature. It is human experience which is used to interpret divine
experience. According to pagan thought, God speaks to men through
movements of the stars, through all external phenomena, through even
entrails of animals. Seldom so in the Bible, save as when the wise men
followed the star, and then that they might come to a divine humanity.
In the Old Testament God speaks in human experience, through human
experience, about human experience, to typify and interpret and
explain Himself. God is like a shepherd that shepherds his flock.
God is like a king that rules in justice. He is like the father that
provides for his children. He is like the mother that comforts the
weeping child. All the experiences of humanity are taken in turn and
attributed to God. The hopes, the fears, the sorrows, the joys, the
very things which we call faults in men--so strong and courageous are
the old prophets in this fundamental faith of theirs that man and God
are alike--the very things we call faults in men are attributed to the
Almighty. He is declared to hate, to be wrathful, to be angry, to be
jealous; because, at the root, every fault is a virtue set amiss; and
the very faults of men have in them something that interprets the
power and will of God, as the very faults of a boy interpret the
virtues of his father. All through the Old Testament God manifests
Himself through human experience. He speaks in the hearts of men; He
dwells in the experience of men; He interprets Himself through the
life of men; and, finally, when this one selected nation which has a
genius for spiritual truth has been so far educated that there is no
danger that it will go back and worship man, that it will become a
mere hero-worshiper, when it has been so far educated that there is no
danger of that, then Jesus Christ comes into the world--God manifests
Himself in human life.

Who, then, is Jesus Christ? Let John tell us. The Oriental world was
puzzled about the question of the origin of evil. They said, in brief,
a good God cannot make a bad world. Out of a good God, therefore,
there have emanated other gods, and out of these gods other gods,
until at last there came to be imperfect gods or bad gods. And the
world was made, some of them said, partly by a good god and partly by
a bad one; and others by an imperfect god who was an emanation of the
perfect one. Of these emanations one was Life, another was Light,
another was the Word. And John, writing in the age of Oriental
philosophy, uses the phraseology of Oriental philosophy in order that
he might tell mankind who and what Jesus Christ is. "In the beginning
was the Word, and the Word was God." God never was an abstraction;
from the very beginning He was a speaking God, a living God, a
manifesting God, a forth-putting God. "The same was in the beginning
with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not
anything made that was made. And this Word became flesh and dwelt
among us (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten
of the Father), full of grace and truth." Let me put this into
modern language. What is it but this? From eternity God has been a
manifesting God. When the fulness of time came, God, that He might
manifest Himself to His children, came into a human life and dwelt
in a human life. He that had spoken here through one prophet, there
through another prophet; He that had sent one message in this
direction and another in that; He that had spoken through signs and
tokens, as the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews says, in divers
manners and in fragmentary utterances--when the fulness of time had
come, He spoke in one perfect human life, taking entire possession of
it and making it His own, that He might manifest Himself in terms of
human experience to humanity. Or turn to Paul and let me read you this
declaration; "Let this mind be in you which was also in Jesus Christ;
who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with
God, but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of
a servant, and was made in the likeness of man, and being found in
fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death,
even the death of the cross." What is this, again, but the same
declaration? God desiring to show Himself to humanity, entered into
one human life, became subject to human conditions, shared the
weakness, the wants, the ignorance of humanity, entered into and was
identified with one human life.

Do I say, then, that Jesus Christ was a man like other men? No. But I
do say that in their essential qualities God and man are identical,
and God entered into humanity that He might show to humanity what He
is. I do say, not that Jesus Christ was a man like other men, but that
other men may become like Jesus Christ. I hold a bulb in my one hand
and a tulip in my other. Will any man say to me, this beautiful flower
with all its rich coloring is like this bulb? Oh, no! But let the
sun of God shine long enough on this bulb, put it where it belongs,
subject it to the conditions of life, and this bulb will become like
this flower. Man is made in the image of God. All that is in man
that is not in God's image does not belong to man's nature. Natural
depravity? There is no natural depravity. Depravity is unnatural.
Depravity is contra-natural. It is against the whole law of man's
being. It is never wrong for any creature God has made to act out the
nature which God endowed him with. It is not wicked for a tiger to be
ravening. It is not wicked for a snake to be sinuous. It is wicked for
man to be ravening or sinuous, because it is against the divine nature
that God has put in man. He made man for better things.

God made man in His own image, God coming through successive stages,
manifesting Himself in successive relations of Himself in human
experience, God at last disclosing Himself in one pure, sinless,
typical man in order that man through that humanity might know who and
what God is--and is that the end? Oh, no! That is the beginning,
only the beginning. For what did God come in Christ? Simply to show
Himself? Here is a hospital--all manner of sick; the paralytic, the
fever-stricken, the consumptive. Is it good news to these hospital
bedridden ones if an athlete come in and show them his life, his
muscles, the purity of his lungs, the health of his constitution, and
then goes out? But if he comes in and says, "My friends, if you will
follow my directions I will put into you consumptive ones some of the
strength of my lungs, into you fever-stricken ones some of the purity
of my blood; into you paralytic ones some of the sinew and muscle
I possess--you can become like me," then there is good news in the
message. If God came into the world simply to tell us what God is and
what the ideal of humanity is, the gospel would be the saddest message
that could be conceived, as delivered to the human race. It would add
gloom to the gloom, darkness to the darkness, chains to the chains,
despair to despair. He comes not merely to show divinity to us, but to
impart divinity to us; rather, to evolve the latent divinity which He
first implanted in us. As God has entered into Christ, He will enter
into me. Christ says to me: As I am patient, you can become patient;
as I am strong, you can become strong; as I am pure, you can become
pure; as I am the Son of God, you can become the Son of God. Therefore
His message is the gospel that it is.

Christ is not a man like other men. I can find in the biography of
Jesus no trace of sin. In every other biography, oh, how many traces!
There is no trace of repentance. The Hebrew Psalmist laments his
iniquity. Paul confesses himself to be the chief of sinners. Luther,
Calvin, Melanchthon, Edwards--go where I will, in the biography of
all the saints there are signs of sin and iniquity. Never a trace of
repentance or confession in Christ. In all others we see a struggle
after God. "My heart panteth after thee, as the hart panteth after
water-brooks." "I count not myself to have attained, but, forgetting
those things that are behind, I press forward toward the mark." Never
in the written biography of Christ a trace of that aspiration after
something not yet reached. On the contrary, a great peace and a great
possession. He says: I have come full of life. I have come to give
life. This sinless Christ comes that He may give to us that which
He Himself possesses; that He may take the sin out of our lives and
sorrow out of our hearts, and for the yearning desire give a great,
great peace. I have come, He says, that you might have life. How much,
Lord and Master? Life more abundantly. What kind of life, Lord and
Master? Eternal life. Has He come with that great life of His to give
a little and then stop? Nay, to give all to every one that every one
will take.

I marvel to find Christian men denying that Christ is the type and
manifestation and revelation of the possible divinity in universal
humanity. It is written all over the Bible. What says Christ Himself?
I have come that you might have life, and that you might have it more
abundantly. As the Father has sent Me into the world, even so I send
you into the world. You shall be My disciples. You shall learn of Me.
You shall be My followers, and tread where I have trod. You shall take
up My cross, and suffer as I have suffered. The secret of My life
shall be the secret of your life. Ye shall be in Me. I will abide with
you. Ye shall be as a branch grafted on the vine, drawing the same
life as I have, as out of My very veins. As the Father was in Me, so
I and My Father will come and abide in you. He breathes upon the
disciples and tells them to receive the Spirit that was in Him; and in
His last prayer He prays that they may share His glory, that they may
be one with the Father, as He is one with the Father. Paul takes up
the same refrain and repeats it over and over again. Righteousness in
man is the righteousness of God, God's own righteousness coming out
of God's heart into human hearts. Ye shall be partakers of the divine
nature. Ye shall be joint heirs with the Lord Jesus Christ, inheriting
all that Christ inherited from His Father. Ye shall have the same
spirit that was in Christ. Metaphor and trope and figure are exhausted
in the endeavor of the apostle to set forth this sublime truth. Christ
is the servant of God. We are the servants of God. He is the Son of
God. We are the sons of God. He is the light of the world. We are
the lights of the world. He is a priest forever. We are priests
perpetually serving in His temple. He is the one eternal sacrifice. We
are to present our bodies a living sacrifice before God. He is dead.
We are to die with Him. He has risen. We are to rise with Him. Already
we sit in the heavenly place with Christ Jesus. We are changed from
glory to glory into His image. We are predestined to be conformed to
that image. We are bid to pray that we may be rooted and grounded in
Christ, and that with Him, we may be filled with all the fulness of

Do I say, then, that I am equal to Christ? Or that I shall ever become
equal to Christ? No! Let me try to make this plain to the child, and
then the rest will perhaps understand it. Here is a great man. He is
a great statesman. He is a great poet. He is a great orator. He is a
great philosopher. He is a great general. He is Bismarck and Gladstone
and Dante and Napoleon and Raphael and Plato all combined in one.
And he has children, and this boy is a statesman, and this boy is a
general, and this boy is an orator, and this boy is a poet, and this
boy is an artist. No one of them comprizes all the genius that was in
his father, but each one has one quality of that father, and all the
boys together reflect their father's nature. No, I shall never be
equal to Christ. But according to the measure of my own capacity,
I may reflect even here and now something of Christ and be really

Christ is my Master. I acknowledge no other Master than Him. I wish to
follow where He leads. I gladly believe whatever He says. And I have
no other ambition--oh, I wish it were true that I never had any other
ambition!--than to be like Him. But He is my Master because He bids me
follow where He leads, because He gives what I can take, because He
promised what He will yet fulfil. I believe in the divinity of our
Lord Jesus Christ. It is the center of my faith, as He is the center
and source of my life. But I do not believe in the medieval formula
that Jesus Christ is God and man mysteriously joined together, because
to believe that would be to leave me both without an ideal of man
which I might follow, and without a manifestation of God to which I
might cling. In my country home two Christians quarreled. An atheist
went to them and said to one of them, "Your Christ said, 'Forgive
all your enemies and love one another.'" "Yes," he said, "Christ was
divine. He could. I cannot." But there was nothing of moral virtue
that God wrought in Christ that He cannot work in you and me if we
give Him time enough. And, on the other hand, this separation of "God"
and "man" in Christ denies the real manifestation of God to man.
Jesus called His disciples to watch while He wrestled with agony in
Gethsemane, and Dean Alford, speaking on Gethsemane, says this was the
manifestation in Christ of human weakness. No! no! A thousand times,
No! It is the glorious manifestation of that sympathy in God which
wants the sympathy of the feeblest of His followers, as the mother
wants the sympathy and love of the babe on her lap. "Beloved, now are
we the sons of God; and it doth not yet appear what we shall be. Only
we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." There are two
things we do not know. Genius is always a mystery, spiritual genius
the greatest mystery of genius, and Christ the greatest mystery of
all. We do not know what we shall be, any more than one who never had
seen a garden could guess what the mold would be when the spring had
finished its work. Those are two things we do not know. But there are
two things we do know. We shall be like Him, and when we are like Him,
we shall see Him as He is. We shall be like no imagination of Him, no
deteriorated or imperfect conception of Him; but when we come to see
Him in all the regal splendor of His character, with all the love, all
the justice, all the purity, all the divine glory which is adumbrated
and shadowed here because our eyes could not look upon it and still
live--when we come to see Him in all the glory of that divine
character, we shall be like Him--_we shall be like Him_.




Phillips Brooks was born at Boston, Mass., in 1835, graduated at
Harvard in 1855 and studied theology at the P.E. Seminary, Alexandria,
Va. He was elected rector of the Church of the Advent, Philadelphia,
in 1859, and three years later to that of Holy Trinity in the same
city. In 1869 he became rector of Trinity Church, Boston, and was
consecrated Bishop of Massachusetts in 1891. He died in 1893. He was
in every sense a large man, large in simplicity and sympathy, large in
spiritual culture. In his lectures to the students at Yale he spoke of
the preparation for the ministry as being nothing less than the making
of a man. Said he:

"It cannot be the mere training to certain tricks. It cannot be even
the furnishing with abundant knowledge. It must be nothing less than
the kneading and tempering of a man's whole nature till it becomes of
such a consistency and quality as to be capable of transmission. This
is the largeness of the preacher's culture." Doctor Brastow describes
him thus: "The physical equipment was symbol of his soul; and the
rush of his speech was typical of those mental, moral, and spiritual
energies that were fused into unity and came forth in a stream of
fiery intensity."




[Footnote 1: Published for the first time by the kind permission of
William G. Brooks.]

_The pride of life_.--1 John ii., 16.

John is giving his disciples the old warning not to love the world,
that world which then and always is pressing on men's eyes and ears
and hearts with all its loveliness and claiming to be loved. "Love not
the world, neither the things that are in the world.... For all that
is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and
the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world."

What is the pride of life? Pride is one of those words which hover in
the middle region between virtue and vice. The materials which under
one set of circumstances and in one kind of character make up an
honorable self-respect, seem so often to be precisely the same as
those which under another set of circumstances and in another kind of
character make up arrogance and self-conceit. This last is the tone
evidently in which John speaks. So it is with most moral minglings.
All character is personal, determined by some force that blends the
qualities into a special personality. The same apparent qualities
unite into the most various results. It is like the delicate
manufacture of mosaics. The skilful workers of Rome or Venice put in
the same ingredients in nature and amount, and the composition comes
out at one time dull and muddy and at another time perfectly clear and
lustrous. Some subtle difference in the mixture of the constituents
or in the condition of the atmosphere or in the heat of the furnace
alters the whole result. So out of life we may say in its various
minglings there come various products in character, either humility or
thankfulness or contentment or self-respect, from some failure of the
qualities to meet in perfect union, from some fault in the shape or
misregulation of the temperature of the human furnace in which they
are fused, this degenerate and confused result of pride which yet
is often so near to, that we can see how it was only some slightest
cause, some stray and unguarded draft across the surface that hindered
it from being, one of the clear and lustrous combinations of the same
material. But that fact makes it no better. The muddy glass is no more
useful because it is made of the same components as the clear glass.
There is nothing still to be done with it but to throw it away.

What then is the pride of life which is bad, which "is not of the
Father, but is of the world"? Life itself we know is of the Father. In
whatever sense we take that much-meaning word, life is God's gift. The
mere physical being, if that be life, is the creation of His mighty
word. The continuance, the prolongation of the vital function, if
that be life, that too is the result of His never-sleeping care. The
surrounding circumstances, the scenery of our experience, if that be
life, is also of His arranging. The spiritual vitality, all the higher
powers as we call them, of thought and feeling and conscience, if they
be life, no hand but His strung and tuned their manifold and subtle
cords. Everywhere there is no life but what He gives. It is not of the
world. In no sense does any creative power of being issue either from
the material earth, or from the social system, or from the mass of
conventional laws and standards, each of which is sometimes, in
different uses of the word, characterized as "the world." They may all
influence and change and give character to life, but none of them can
create it.

And perhaps this brings us to what we want. The world may give a
certain character or shape to life, even altho it cannot create it.
Now pride is a certain character or shape of life. It is a term of
description not of the material of life but of a particular result of
that material fused into a particular furnace. In general the shape of
life which pride describes may be otherwise characterized as
arrogant self-reliance or self-sufficiency. We may reach more minute
definitions of it before we are done, but this seems to make the
meaning plain when it is said that the pride of life is not of the
Father, but of the world. Life comes from God. It is the world's
influence that shapes that life, which has no moral character in
itself, into arrogance and self-sufficiency, makes it up into pride
instead of into humility, and so leaves as the result the pride of
life. The pride of life, then, is God's gift which means dependence
changed and distorted into independence, revolt and disobedience.

Most necessary is it that in all we say we should keep clear in mind
that the first gift is God's. The substance of life is His. All evil
is misuse, otherwise repentance must be cursed with misanthropy and
hopelessness instead of being as it always ought to be, the very
birthplace of hope, the spring of a new life from the worn-out failure
of an old, back into the possibility of life that is older still, as
old as man's first creation.

Let us see where the pride of life shows itself. First of all
doubtless in the mere exuberance of animal strength. To be well and
strong, full of spirit and physical vitality, this is beyond all doubt
one of the most precious gifts of God. We never can forget the large
strong physical strain with which our Bible opens, the torrent of
health and full life that seems to pour down to us out of those early
days when the world was young, when the giants made the earth shake
under their mighty tread and the patriarchs outlived the forests with
their green old years. The fulness of physical vitality is of God, to
be accepted as His benefaction, to be cultivated and cared for with
the reverence that His gifts demand. And round the mere physical life
group a whole circle of tastes and enjoyments and exercises which
belong with the sensuous more than with the intellectual or moral part
of us, and whose full life seems to be dependent upon the fulness of
physical being, the mere perception of beauty, the love of comfort,
the delight in enterprise and adventure and prowess. The sum of all
these is what we call full physical life. It is what gives youth its
most generous charm and makes it always poetic with its suggested
powers and unaccomplished possibilities.

But yet this mere fulness of life as we all know has its dangers. Mere
health is overbearing by its very nature. There is a lack of sympathy
in it. Not knowing suffering itself, it is not respectful of suffering
in others. It is not careful of inflicting suffering. The full blood
sings of nothing but itself. It is careless of others. It is careless
of God, not malignantly cruel, nor deliberately atheistic, but selfish
with a sort of self-absorption which is often, very gracious in its
forms and infidel with a mere forgetfulness of God. Who of us does not
know, and who of us, wavering between his standards and his feelings,
has not very often found it hard to tell just how he ought to value
the enthusiastic and arrogant self-sufficiency of healthy youth?

It is this, I take it, that is described here as "the pride of life."
Wherever there is eager and full-blooded youth there it appears. It
breaks out in the wild and purposeless mob of lower city life, in the
impatience and insubordination of the country boy who longs to be free
from his father's farm, in the crude skepticism of college students'
first discussions of religion. It is jealous of slight, of insult,
of the least suspicion of restraint or leading. It belongs to strong
young nations as well as to strong young men. By it they flaunt
defiance in the face of the world and are afraid of the imputation of
prudence. It is what you can see in the faces of any group of eager
young men as you pass them on the street. Sometimes it makes them
attractive and sometimes it makes them detestable. It turns the noble
youth into a hero and the mean youth into a bully. A fine nature it
leads into the most exquisite tastes and encircles it with art and
music. A coarse nature it plunges into the vilest debauchery and vice.
In good fortune it makes the temper carelessly benignant. In bad
fortune it makes the temper recklessly defiant. It works these very
different effects but is always the one same spirit still,--the pride
of life. The gift of life which came from God, taken possession of by
the world and tamed into self-sufficiency, a thing not of the Father,
but of the world, who does not know in himself, or see in somebody
he watches, something of this pure pride in life? Just to live is so
attractive that the higher ends and responsibilities of living drift
away out of sight. This instinctive almost physical selfishness is the
philosophy of more than we think both of the good and of the bad that
is in young people.

I have seen too much of it to undervalue the sweet and sober piety of
old age. There is a beauty in it that is all its own. A softness and
tenderness and patience and repose in the western sky that the bolder
glories of the east where the morning breaks never can attain. Many
and many of the best men we have known have been old men, but no one
looks at men's progress without feeling that a great deal of what
passes for growth in goodness as men grow old is in reality only the
deadening of the pride of life from the dying-down of the life itself.
Many and many a man who passes for a sober, conscientious, religious
sort of man at fifty, if you put back into his cooled blood the hot
life he had at twenty-five would be the same reckless, profligate,
arrogant sinner that he was then. It is the life, not the pride, that
he has lost. Many and many a man thinks that he has saved his house
from conflagration because he, sees no flame, when really the flame
is hidden only because the house is burnt down and the fire is still
lurking among the ashes, hunting out any little prey that is left and
hungrily waiting for more fuel to light up the darkness again. One
thing at least is true, that the goodness of old age in what we may
call its passive forms, humility, submission, patience, faith, is
necessarily far more hard to recognize and be sure of than the same
goodness in a younger man. What you call piety may be only deadness.

And young men are often pointed just to this old age as the golden
time when they will be religious as they cannot be now. They look to
it themselves. "You are full of the pride of life," men say to them;
"Ah, wait! By and by the life will flag. The senses will grow dull,
the tastes will stupefy, the enterprise will flicker out, and the days
come in which your soul will say 'I have no pleasure in them.' Just
wait for that! Then your pride will go too, and then you will need and
seek your God." It is a poor taunt and a poorer warning. If you have
nothing better to say to make men use their powers rightly than to
tell them that they will lose their powers some day, the answer will
always be, "Well, I will wait until that losing day comes before
I worry." If you tell a young man that his life is short, the old
bacchanalian answer is the first one, "Live while we live." You must
somehow get hold of that, you must persuade him that the true life now
is the holy life, that life, this same life that he prizes, ought to
breed humility and faith, not arrogance and pride, or else you
must expect to talk to the winds. It surely is important that the
conversion of the pride of life must come not by the putting-out of
life but by making it a source of humility instead of pride.
The humbleness of life. How can it come? By clearer and deeper
truthfulness to let us see what the real facts of the case are, that
is all; but that is very hard, so hard that it can be brought about by
no other than the Almighty Holy Ghost. Let me see that this physical
life of mine, having no true character of its own, is made to be a
great machinery for simply conducting the knowledge and the love of
God into my life; let all my study of the exquisite adaptations of
the physical organs for their work be sanctified with this idea, this
ever-pervading consciousness that eye and ear and hand are doors for
the knowledge and the love of Him to enter by, and that all their
marvelous mechanism is only the perfecting of hinges and bolt that He
may enter more impressively and lovingly and entirely; let me learn
that every bright taste or fine instinct or noble appetite is a ray of
sunlight, not the sun, is the projection into my life of some force
above, outside of me, which I can find only by climbing back along the
ray that is projected, up to it; let me see all animal life a
study and preparation for this final life of man, sensations and
perceptions, growing clearer and clearer as we rise in the scale until
in man they are fit to convey this knowledge which man alone can have,
the knowledge of God; let me see this, and I must be ashamed to make
that life a thing of pride which might be the seat of such an exalted
and exalting dependence and humility. I am unwilling that those
well-built cisterns which ought to be so full of God should hold
nothing but myself, as if one crept into his aqueduct and closed it up
where the water came into it from the fountain and lived in it for a
house and found it very dry.

We see clearly enough what the change is that is needed. It is
to substitute for self-consciousness as the result of life the
ever-abiding consciousness of God. Do you ask how it shall be done?
Ah, my dear friends, that is the very miracle of the gospel. I can
tell you only this about it, which the Lord has told us all before:
"Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." The
kingdom of God, that region of life in which God is the life's King.
And again: "If any man love me he will keep my words and my Father
will love him and we will come unto him and make our abode with him."
"We will come to him!" That is what we want, for that is the source of
all humility, the coming of God into us, and the condition is love and
obedience, the spiritual and the active forms of faith. That is all we
can say. And that is enough, for in that this at least is clear, that
such a conversion is a work that God has undertaken to do for us, that
He asks of us nothing but submission to His willing helpfulness, and
that being a transformation of life, it may, nay it must, be done
while life is in possession, it can be done best when life is in its
fullest. We have not to wait till movement is slow and color is dull.
We are not tempted to make a vacancy and call it piety; but when man's
life is so full that it tempts him daily to self-consciousness and
pride, then let him open it wide to the consciousness of God and
ennoble it with the full dignity of that humility whose first
condition is the presence of God in the soul that He built for His own

There is a condition possible where the life shall flow with God as
fully and freely as it ordinarily flows with self, where the greater
volume it acquires, it only bears the more of Him; where every joy
delights in Him, and every power depends on Him, and the whole man


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