ITS PLACE AND FUNCTION
Addresses to the Clergy of the Diocese,
in preparation for
THE PREACHING MISSION
CHAUNCEY B. BREWSTER, D.D.,
Bishop of Connecticut
November the third, A.D. 1915
LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO.
The Committee to whom was entrusted the matter decided that, in Connecticut, the Preaching Mission should be entered upon in Lent, 1916. Even this postponement left none too much time to get ready. To help us in this Diocese, we can expect to have few, if any, trained Missioners. How then can we hold a Mission? Evidently, if there be a call for a Preaching Mission, our own clergy, being commissioned preachers, must heed the call and, as best they may, do the duty.
Always for a Mission most important is the preparation. The necessary arrangements require much of thought and effort beforehand. Especially on the part of those who are to preach, there is need of hard work. Place must be made for instruction, simple, clear and definite, as well as for earnest preaching. There is demanded much preparation personally. For us in Connecticut most imperative is this need of spiritual preparation.
Therefore, inasmuch as many of the clergy would be attending the Consecration of the Suffragan Bishop, I took advantage of their coming together and invited the clergy to a Conference [3/4] the day before, in order that we might take counsel regarding this matter and also have a service of prayer together. At the devotional service were given the following addresses. C.B.B.
ITS PLACE AND FUNCTION
 When first I heard, in the House of Bishops, the proposal to inaugurate a nation-wide preaching mission, I confess I was not attracted to it. Indeed I felt a repulsion, as from one more spasmodic effort at revival. With further thought I have changed my mind and attitude. After all, the Mission would mean only a renewed emphasis upon what is certainly the business of the Church, and a very pressing business, that may well claim precedence over much that engages the Church's attention. Entered upon heartily and with genuine faith, the undertaking has in it possibilities. A concerted movement, exerted upon the nation, may be expected to produce some result. Much depends upon the spirit in which we approach it. It seemed worth while to call the clergy together for a service of meditation and of prayer in order that we may go back to our work, and in due time take up this particular task, with new vision and purpose and spirit.
 That will not demand that in my charge to you to-day I tell you things that are new to you. It is often the old things that we need to have called to our remembrance, in order that, although we know them, they may come to us with a renewed meaning and power.
At the outset let us ask ourselves: Where is the first and foremost need of the Mission? Who needs it most? We may imagine some one asking the question: Why does the Episcopal Church undertake a Mission to convert the nation before it has undergone a thorough conversion itself? Indeed, the Bishop of Vermont has raised this very question in a pastoral letter to his Diocese. Is there not something in it to give us pause? Clergy and people, we need to be converted from worldliness and laxity and self-indulgence. We need to go back to the first things, to face anew the simple truths of our religion and then to practice them in our lives. Unquestionably it would be wholesome to rouse the Church to true repentance, and to quicken our people out of spiritual lassitude, laziness, and indifference, and the moral inertia that likes complacently to call all this by the name of conservatism; wholesome to have in this Church a revival of Christian discipline, of domestic and personal loyalty. And in all this, let us, of the clergy, take heed unto ourselves.
Then, in proportion as we come to be truly better Christians, we shall be unable to forget the [6/7] others, the lapsed, the wanderers, the indifferent, the doubting, the openly hostile, the strangers and foreigners. We shall recognize our mission to all these people, and be eager to go forth in aggressive effort.
There may be recognized to-day such need and demand as constitute opportunity. There is possible an atrophy of the religious faculty. Of this there have been instances among men of science in a former age. Notable examples might be named. There have been in recent decades indications of such atrophy of the religious sense on a large scale. The mere mechanism of life has largely dulled the ear and made men deaf to the still, small voice. The attractions and demands of the immediate surroundings have held men's attention to a near horizon and made them unheeding of what is beyond.
But we are come to another chapter. The awful catastrophe that will make this year forever memorable has prevailed over the noise of the wheels of the machinery of ordinary life, has startled and shocked the world out of its stupor and quickened the sensibility of the spiritual part of man. There is a general recoil from a merely materialistic mechanicalism, as men see its import and fruits. There is a recognition of something better, a turning toward higher ideals, toward things spiritual, toward God. The [7/8] very foundations tremble. Plainly the old order is changing. Men's hearts are failing them for fear of what immediately may come, but are also musing in expectation of a new day that shall bring in better things. It is the beginning of a time.
POWER OF THE PULPIT SOMEWHAT IMPAIRED,
It is in such an hour, of change and crisis, big with portent and issues of unspeakable moment, that the Church has undertaken this preaching mission. The undertaking puts a renewed emphasis upon the function of preaching. That function has of late suffered somewhat of disregard because of the stress laid upon other functions, for instance, worship and administrative work. The pulpit has, according to common opinion, lost something of its former power. It were well for us to clear our mind as to its place and function. This impairment of power has been in part the consequence of a natural reaction. For aside from other tendencies there has been, not long ago, an over-exaltation of the place of the pulpit.
The pulpit, we may not rightly forget, is a means, and subsidiary to, a purpose higher than itself. Beyond the pulpit is the altar. The pulpit is to lead men to the altar. Yet, although a means, [8/9] the pulpit should be none the less a power. Every means the Church uses ought to prove its potency.
In considering the power of the pulpit we must note that there have been instances of a perversion of its proper functions. Some recent preaching has let interest in its own methods and processes get in the way of devotion to its great end and purposes. Digressing into by-paths, it has failed to arrive. Does not the preacher sometimes become so intent upon following up an interesting line of thought, or working out a particular idea, as to lose sight of the goal?
Has not much of modern preaching addressed itself only to a part of human nature, appealed to the intellect alone, or, if not alone, merely to the emotions, and failed to reach the depths of human nature, its vital heart of heart? Has it not, moreover, been often too superficial, played too much with the surface of things, not sounded the depths of truth; or, if it has touched the deep things of God, touched them only intellectually, with the instrument of logical analysis, dealt with them verbally, mechanically, rather than spiritually and vitally?
If the pulpit has been over-intellectualized, it was partaking of the tendency in a recent age to exaggerate the functions of the intellect. Thus it has been natural to make of primary consequence the intellectual argumentation of the sermon. [9/10] Surely, however, it is possible to overdo the discussion of intellectual difficulties and problems. I remember the remark of a layman to me that, after hearing sermons in different places on that same topic, his patience was exhausted at the announcement of a whole series to be given upon "The Inside of the Cup."
If discussion of problems be needed, let it be in special conferences and lectures by competent experts, but not habitually intruded into the preaching addressed to the general congregation. The preacher may well take some things for granted (which is our privilege as Churchmen) and then go on to other things.
A certain minister's wife was wont to ask him each week the subject of his coming sermon. One day she changed the question thus: "What is to be the object of your sermon?" It were profitable for us often to ask ourselves: What is the object of this sermon, what am I preaching it for? What is it meant to accomplish?
Thus we may come to see the place of preaching, as a means to stop men on the down-grade and turn them about in the right direction, a means to conviction of sin and conversion from wrong, a means to bring men to repentance, to bring them to God in prayer and sacrament, to bring them to be up and doing something in service to God and men. Thus conceived of, in relation to the moving of living men in their life, preaching will inevitably be vital. [10/11] And, brethren, preaching ought to be more vital than much of it is, and to that end ought to be more profound. It must go deeper down into truth and into human nature before it can be truly anything like deep calling unto deep.
In much preaching may there not be need of some change of method or emphasis? Has our preaching had firm grip on the great themes? —GOD—A distinguished layman has just given this working definition of preaching: "It is the use of speech in public with intent to reveal God to man." Certainly there is need of God in human life, considered both collectively and individually. Many men are leading lives that might fairly be described by those sad words: "having no hope and without God in the world." Are we bringing to them the news of God as He was shown by Christ? Again, Salvation—Of this preaching mission, the resolution of General Convention uses the language: "whose sole purpose and aim shall be the salvation of men through Him whose Name is above every name." Have we let other issues side-track our preaching and divert it from that main purpose to preach the Saviour? He came to save people from their sins. Has our preaching taken due account of sin? This undertaking of a preaching mission involves first of all a call to us preachers. It summons us to serious thinking. It puts us on our [11/12] mettle. But moreover it calls on us to get down on our knees. It puts us upon honest and searching self-questioning. It is a call to self-examination, meditation, and prayer.
SIN AND ATONEMENT
 We have glanced at the over-exaltation of the pulpit and have reminded ourselves that preaching is a means. Here, as so often, we have to beware of the tyranny of the secondary when usurping the place of things primary. In a recent age, as criticism has pushed in and crowded creativeness out, and put a premium upon argument and discussion, far from unfamiliar has been a tendency to make man's approach to God in prayer an incident of public worship and God's approach to man in sacrament an occasional appendage thereto, and to make the sermon the central and dominant thing.
The point I would make is that the pulpit will really suffer nothing, no loss of appreciation or genuine power, from recognition of its due place as a means. Rather will its true value be enhanced and its own peculiar character recovered. As the great end and purpose of preaching shall be exalted, as the whole conception of Christianity shall be enlarged and deepened and quickened; inevitably, the means thereto must be more prized and appreciated, stimulated, and empowered.
 Just now was suggested the question, whether the pulpit of to-day, taken as a whole, has put due stress upon the fact of sin. It may seem that the increased emphasis upon the doctrine of the Incarnation might account for less attention to sin and Atonement. But, of course, there is no incompatibility here. This company of men trained in theology needs not to be told how the Incarnation is involved in the Atonement. If recent preaching has paid less attention to sin, this has been largely due to the spirit of the age. It has been the fashion to make light of sin or at least to ignore it. "Fools make a mock at sin," if such be the right rendering of that text. Sir Oliver Lodge, by no means a fool, made the now famous declaration: "As a matter of fact the higher man of to-day is not worrying about his sins at all." Mr. Crapsey, discoursing of the Re-birth of Religion, [page 240.] says: "The man of the new dogmatic will not look upon himself as of necessity and essentially a sinner. . . . The old dogmatic erred in laying the great stress of its preaching upon sin." Before him, the distinguished Rector of Lincoln College, Mark Pattison, had said: "There is no such thing as sin; there are only mistakes." Now men will acknowledge mistakes and failures when they will not confess sins. It is true the New Testament word for sin, amartia, means missing, failing to hit the [14/15] mark. But what is the mark, what is the goal, of human life? It is GOD. "Thou, O God, hast made us for Thee, and our heart is restless till it rests in Thee."
In a good deal of preaching there has been need of a conception of sin more vital, more spiritual because more personal. Often it has been lost sight of that sin has its personal quality and reference. It touches man's personal relationship to GOD. David, when his sin is brought home to him, exclaims: "I have sinned against the Lord." He has wronged Bathsheba and basely betrayed Uriah. But these wrongs are merged in something else whence they issued, "Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned."
What is the essence of sin? It is not found in broken law, in lawlessness. Sin, while involving lawless disorder, essentially consists not in transgression of a code but in the false direction and concentration of personal life. Nearly a century ago Müller [The Christian Doctrine of Sin. (T. & T. Clark.) Vol. I., pp. 129 et seq.] showed that moral evil has its inner principle in the estrangement of man from God. Sin, then, essentially is personal estrangement from God, the isolation there must be when in one's life self is put in place of God. Its root is selfishness, self-will instead of God's will, self-love instead of the love of God. Some of you will recall how wonderfully Dante unfolds [15/16] the symbolic portrayal of sins in their various essential aspects as slack love of God or excessive or distorted love of self.
The world's sense of sin, which had gone to sleep, has had a rough awakening by war. On a sudden the curtain was lifted to disclose what we could not have dreamed of. We have had to behold a spectacle of ruthless self-interest, selfish aggression, breach of plighted honour, brutal disregard, nay, devilish defiance, of right and of the claims of humanity, such as beforehand we should have deemed incredible. It is a terrible demonstration, on a colossal scale, of sin and of the wages of sin in wholesale slaughter.
Staggering our faith in human nature, it can be explained only as the result of a national apostasy from the God revealed by Christ, a perversion and estrangement from Him and from the ideals cherished by a Christian civilization. It is a demonstration we may well take heed of and then bid our people look to their own life and beware of drifting away from God, and look within and there find germs like those that have beyond the seas so developed to ravage the nations.
May the Spirit help us to convict men of sin in its personal relations to the God of life and love! That conviction has often brought such a sense of the burden of personal sin as to constitute a condition spiritually pathological, which [16/17] preaching cannot reach, which demands private ministration by the physician of the soul.
No abuse of private confession should prevent recognition of its proper place and use as it is recognized by the Prayer Book. Thus to "open his grief," that he may receive godly counsel, would be for many a man a thing wholesome and helpful.
Let me recall the striking testimony of an impartial Harvard philosopher regarding confession. Says William James: "For him who confesses, shams are over and realities have begun; he has exteriorized his rottenness. If he has not actually got rid of it, he at least no longer smears it over with a hypocritical show of virtue—he lives at least upon a basis of veracity. The complete decay of the practice of Confession in Anglo-Saxon communities is a little hard to account for," . . . "on the side of the sinner himself it seems as if the need ought to have been too great to accept so summary a refusal of its satisfaction. One would think that in more men the shell of secrecy would have had to open, the pent-in abscess to burst and gain relief, even though the ear that heard the confession were unworthy." [The Varieties of Religious Experience. Pp. 462, 463.]
This is something to be contemplated and provided for in a Mission, something for which the faithful Missioner will make place and opportunity. [17/18] We ought to cherish respect for the inviolable sacredness of the individual soul and its free personality. But we are speaking of ministration to sin-sick souls, "that they may be saved through Christ for ever."
That is to be our great aim and purpose. We must preach, as perhaps we have not hitherto sufficiently preached, salvation from sin. Or, better, to come from the abstract to the concrete and personal, we ought to proclaim the sinless Saviour. Our preaching must be loyally true to His unfailing purpose, to bring men back to God. If sin is estrangement from God, salvation from sin must mean return and reconciliation to God.
The proclamation of the Atonement was, in a former day, too often not simple enough. It was too much overlaid with speculative explanations and theories. The doctrine, as preached, was often not big enough. It was too narrow and small and partial. It was too individualistic and also it was not always presented in its oneness with the rest of the glorious gospel. Hear St. Paul, "Having been buried with Him in baptism, wherein ye were also raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead through your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, you did He quicken together with Him, having forgiven us all our trespasses; having blotted out the [18/19] bond written in ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us: and He hath taken it out of the way, nailing it to the cross." [Col. II. 12-14.] There the doctrine of the Cross is so fused with the Resurrection and the import of Baptism as to make one whole. That former preaching of the Cross often failed to present its dynamic power. Take the text following the passage just quoted. Whatever those words mean, whether, as in the version of King James, "having spoiled," the word is literally stripped, the principalities and powers of evil, or, which is likely to be the truer rendering, having stripped from Himself, having put off from Himself, having divested Himself of them, as of clinging, poisonous garments of infection that enwrapped humanity with Woe, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it; whatever be the rendering, certainly it means triumph over evil. It means that with dynamic power the Cross "showed up" sin and broke its spell.
Once more, the preaching of the Cross in that former age was not always vital enough. Here, in this passage, "you hath He quickened" into life. The Atonement is no mere legal fiction, no artificial imputation, like a factitious credit in bookkeeping. It is a vital, vivifying process. The Atonement we will preach not as a doctrinal scheme framed and fashioned out of forensic [19/20] formulas but as a living process, fitting in with moral facts and spiritual verities, a vital process, quickening and empowering life.
The vicarious, sacrificing love of Christ must take hold of men and master them, if we make them see how He suffered for sins, not as a passive victim caught in the whirl of circumstance, but how He willingly identified Himself with sinners. "The love of Christ constraineth." It is a love hard to withstand. In fact nothing has so moved men, nothing has held men with such captivating and compelling power, as the Cross of Christ. There is the actual throne of His power, whence He wields over hearts and lives potent sway, as He is seen suffering not as a mere substitute in our stead, to let us off, but on our behalf and at our head, to take us all in. "The love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that one died for all, therefore all died." Between Him and them was such a relation of solidarity that in His death they shared. That sacrificing love is potent to turn the tides of life, to reverse the old self-centered life. That great passage continues: "therefore all died; and He died for all, that they which live should no longer live unto themselves, but unto Him who for their sakes died and rose again." [II Cor. V. 14, 15.] Thus the atoning process does away with the root of sin, which is selfishness, and brings one to self-surrender; [20/21] Christ crucified for us that we might be crucified with Christ.
But how shall the weak and impotent will make this great act of self-surrender? It is for us to show men that the Gospel not only tells things but does things. Calvary we are to interpret in terms of Easter and Pentecost. Remember St. Paul's goal of personal experience: "the power of His resurrection and fellowship of His sufferings." He put no article between, so close in the original is the connection: "the power of His resurrection and fellowship of His sufferings." Christ crucified is not dead. His Cross means not death alone but victorious life, and life empowered by the Spirit of God: that Spirit one with our spirit; the Spirit of the Crucified identified with our spirit and ourselves identified with Him, knowing the fellowship of His sufferings in communion with Him, in sacramental fellowship with His sacrifice. On this wise let us preach the Atonement, as meaning reconciliation of life to God, as concerned with what men live for and live by.
Let me express, brethren, my confidence that it is not needful for me to insist that our preaching must be thus concerned with life. So you have determined with yourselves already, long before this time. You agree with me that we are to deal with the life of men, to bring them into life's secret which is to know the only true God. Our aim is to bring them to a Godward life, a life [21/22] turned to God and steered for God in prayer, to bring them into that divine companionship on life's common way, to bring them into vital union with God, a life lived in God, in sacramental oneness with Him. But what an unspeakable privilege thus to minister to personal salvation, to one and another personal life saved by a personal Saviour who loved me and gave Himself up for me, and who lives in me and I in Him.
My brethren, if we would win souls to Him, we must first be won to Him ourselves and draw close to Him. If we are going to preach the Cross, there must be the Cross in our life. That our ministry in this Mission, and otherwise, have genuine power, demands resolute break with self-indulgence, the shaking off of love of ease and of comfortable self-complacency, the lowliness of him who faces himself as he is, in true humility before God, and the high-hearted readiness to dare and do which comes only of giving up self for His sake who gave Himself up for me, and letting self go. Our ministry will lack power in the measure in which there is wanting from our life that note, stern and compelling, of the Cross, the note of self-surrender. Many of you will recall words of the layman already referred to: "To gain his message the preacher must lose himself in God. To give it carrying power, he must lose himself in men."
SALVATION, WHILE PERSONAL,
 We have seen the privilege that is ours to preach personal salvation. It is a salvation which, while thus personal, is never individualistic but always social. The At-one-ment which brings personal life from isolation back to God brings it into fellowship with men. Let me quote another Harvard philosopher, not to be suspected of ecclesiasticism. Says Professor Royce: "The salvation of the individual man is determined by some sort of membership in a certain spiritual community,—a religious community and, in its inmost nature, a divine community—. . . There is a certain universal and divine spiritual community. Membership in that community is necessary to the salvation of man." [The Problem of Christianity. Vol. I, p. 39.] My brethren, we must preach the gospel of the Kingdom.
It is the Kingdom of God whom Christ revealed as the Father. The doctrine of God that has advanced from sovereignty to fatherhood comes inevitably into a conception of the Kingdom as involving the idea of commonwealth. Thus will [23/24] come a real gain of vitality to our doctrine of the Church as the Republic of God, the commonwealth of man in Christ, "the brotherhood that is in the world," the Catholic Democracy. We have gotten by the peril of the exaggeration of Protestantism in Calvinism with its limited redemption and its election of a certain part of humanity. But we have to beware of any and all individualistic and so essentially aristocratic tendencies in Protestantism. Faithfully we must preach conversion from sin. But we shall beware of any insistence upon certain experiences which are inevitable in some lives but not to be expected or exacted where one has not wandered into the far country and there plunged into riotous living. We shall beware of any identification of religion with emotions which may be temperamental or peculiar to individuals. It is likely to prove helpful to our preaching not to forget our duty to have services for the children, where there must be taught the great truths in their simplicity and the wholesome system of quiet growth in grace.
We shall beware of all narrowing and esoteric interpretations of the Gospel. Some of us may to-day be drawn toward a presentation of religion on its mystical side which, notwithstanding its attractiveness, would tend to make religion a special and exclusive privilege, something essentially aristocratic, an attainment for a richly endowed few rather than an opportunity for all.
 I need not remind you in this connection of the unspeakable value of the great Sacraments, as they bring men to a common level and bind them together. Those Sacraments are essentially democratic. "By one Spirit are we all baptized into one Body." "We all partake of the one bread." The Eucharist is essentially a popular service, not for the select few of a religious aristocracy but for the people of the great congregation, the common people. Let us be sure that we present the Sacraments in their social and democratic aspect.
In all this there is a vitalizing touch for our churchmanship, to quicken it out of the mechanical and the abstract and academic. The conception of authority, for example, may be translated into terms of human life, so that it may be seen to be, as Dr. Figgis has shown, "the communal bond," "the life of the whole spirit-bearing body, which its members share like an atmosphere or a language,—occasionally, though rarely, coming to articulate statements or creeds." [The Fellowship of the Mystery. Appendix p. 258.]
What I would now emphasize is that we be sure to present Christianity in its Catholic and democratic aspect, as something essentially popular rather than esoteric, as for all sorts and conditions of men, because every human life bears the royal stamp of potential value in the Kingdom [25/26] of God. To interpret human life in the revealing and transfiguring light of the Kingdom of God, to demonstrate its value according to the standards of weight and measure in that Kingdom, to disclose to view the possibilities of life to be realized in the Kingdom of God, to sound the trumpet-call of summons to arise and enter into this choice heritage of humanity and realize these possibilities; and not only to bid men arise but to take them by the hand and lift them up and on—such is the task before us in this Mission.
In this social aspect of the Gospel there is something to quicken and vitalize the idea of religion, because it applies to religion the searching test of action. It is interesting to note that the apostolic description of the life of Christ Himself emphasizes not His being good but says: "Who went about doing good." Our Lord Himself in His account of the Judgment applies the same test: whether ye have done it, or did it not, unto one of the least of these.
There is a value in the pragmatic test of reality in action; how it works in practice. This test of reality in action our preaching must not ignore. It must not rest in the question: What do you think about it? It must find place for the question: What are you going to do about it? There is the test to determine whether one 's religion is the real thing or only a languid stir of academic curiosity or sentimental interest or a dilettante fancy, or [26/27] anything merely superficial; whether it is genuinely the whole thing.
"Religion's all or nothing; it's no mere smile
O' contentment, sigh of aspiration, sir—
No quality o' the finelier-tempered clay
Like its whiteness or its lightness; rather, stuff
O' the very stuff, life of life, and self of self."
Truth believed is to be lived. Whether it be three fourths of life or no, conduct cannot be ignored. Our Mission must not forget the expression of conviction in action or fail to put due emphasis upon the doing of service.
Thus our preaching of the gospel of the Kingdom cannot keep away from the claims of what, for lack of a better term, we call social service, to be presented not as a substitute for religion or as its essence but as its expression. First come a man's relations to God. There is the ground wherein are rooted his relations to man. They find there their reason, their sanction, and motives, and inspiration. "That he who loveth God love his brother also."
The great need in America to-day is more of Christian fraternity. Our preaching may well go beyond a benevolent interest in community welfare. It should proclaim social righteousness, the righteousness of doing right. No social service must be allowed to make men deaf to the insistent [27/28] appeal of social justice. Let us not shrink from duty though it be unpopular. In parts of our land to-day it is costing men their place and living to be loyal to the claims of social justice.
There is in the essentially social character of the Gospel something to quicken and vitalize our political and social life. What might not a true nation-wide Mission accomplish in the direction of the possibilities inherent in collective humanity? The reintegration of society in a real brotherhood of man, the realization of finer industrial relations, the attainment of a truer social democracy, the welding together of these incoming folk of all kindreds and tongues into a genuine citizenship receiving consecration and inspiration from citizenship in a better country, that is, an heavenly—all this is within the meaning of the Kingdom of God in America and is not foreign to the interest and effort of the Church as the agency and instrumentality of that Kingdom.
What a nation-wide Mission ought to mean is the getting more soul into this nation. It needs to be waked up to the supremacy of spiritual things over material, to save it from the threatened peril in the predominance of the mere mechanism, the outer fabric and system and mechanical efficiency, over what might and should uplift and inspire and can alone make a nation truly great.
But that demands soul in the preaching; and [28/29] first of all you and I must be sure that the soul be in ourselves. The proposed Mission is a great undertaking. It demands plenty of work, but, above all, largeness of soul. It demands much of meditation and prayer. We must cherish our vision, lifting up our eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh our help.
So the ancient Prophet was doing when he uttered that exquisite strain about the snow of Lebanon and the cold flowing waters. A view of what he saw we get in the better rendering of the Revised Version: "Shall the snow of Lebanon fail from the rock of the field? or shall the cold waters that flow down from afar be dried up?" [Jer. XVIII. 14.] It was a picture full of beauty and inspiration for the Hebrew poets: Lebanon, the White Mountain, with its mantle of snow and its gushing streams, "streams from Lebanon." The Prophet gazes at those masses of mountain and distant shining summits with their perpetual snow. It was a spectacle that gave the heart that was open a vision of things unseen, above and beyond. The sound, in the Syrian heat, of those trickling cool waters of streams from far away that do not run dry, brought, to the ear that was attent, authentic tidings of Him whom this same prophet calls "the fountain of living waters." Far up those heights the snow lingered late into summer. It did not "fail from the rock." The splendor of the distant [29/30] peaks was a vision that did not vanish. So too those cool waters that flowed from afar never failed. They were always telling their secret to him that had ears to hear.
In this prosaic western land still is it well for us to heed that message of the vision that does not vanish and the waters from afar that do not fail. Lebanon is far away. Our eyes may never behold it. But we may have our vision of the heights, thitherward keep our faces, and in heart and mind thither ascend. Let us be sure we get our vision, then cherish it and be never disobedient to it. Hear the message of the waters that flow from afar. Only as fed from those living waters can the course and current of our ministry be other than shallow and impotent. But, drawing upon those sources inexhaustible, we may, each man of us, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of his ministry. The vision will not fade, if we be faithful. The high and hidden springs of inspiration and of power, if we forsake them not, shall never fail us.