Chapter I. The Groundwork of God's Character
Chapter II. The Self-Identification of God with Man
Chapter III. The Lamb as it Had Been Slain
Chapter IV. God's Austerities
Chapter V. In the Image of God
Chapter VI. Man in Mankind
Chapter VII. The Wholeness of Holiness
Chapter VIII. Purified as by Fire
Chapter IX. The Last Great Adventure
Chapter X. The City That Lieth Foursquare
IT was by what the world would call Luck, but by what I feel to be Divine Providence, that I was asked to fix upon a writer for our Lenten book for 1918 on April 20, 1917. I was driving the author of this inspiring book, if I remember right, down to the great service which we held in St. Paul's Cathedral to commemorate the greatest event which has happened for 100 years--the entrance of the United States into the Great War for the Freedom of the World--a service at which Bishop Brent himself preached a striking sermon.
But for this I should not, I think, have had the presumption to ask so busy a man, and one so well known throughout the world, to write our Lenten book. However, as he is a dear personal friend of mine, I took my courage into both hands and asked him after the service to do so; he at once consented. This book is the result.
I shall not attempt to summarize its close reasoning and deep thinking. I can only say that its very title gives us the inspiration we need to-day.
If we only look at what is close at hand to-day, the bloodshed, the mourning and the tears, we should be bound to be depressed, but, if we ascend the Mount of Vision, and see things in their true perspective against the background of the Character and the Purpose of God; if we see, as the Bishop so finely says, that the Cross is part of the Character of God, then we shall see life sanely, see it whole; things will fall into their true perspective; pain will be seen as part of Love and as a necessary condition of the new birth of the world; death will become "the last great adventure" (Chap. IX), and the whole of life will be seen as leading up to the completeness and symmetry of "a city that lieth foursquare" (Chap. X).
I commend, then, this book to the careful and prayerful study of my people during this coming Lent. Some may find it a little more difficult book than many that we have had written for us during past years, but it is none the worse for that, and its great spiritual value is most striking and undeniable; it is the work of a man who has lived out what he has written in his own life first, and I ask their prayers for the author, who left the manuscript of his book here on his way to the Front, to which he had been hastily summoned, that he may be long spared to carry on his splendid work.
A. F. LONDON.