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righteousness. But the characteristic of his life which determines the flavor of his spirit is the constant presence in his thought of God's immeasurable grace. A love that surrounds us before we are born, broods over our unconsciousness, seeks us in our waywardness, and welcomes us home again as a father greets his long-lost son from a far country, is nothing which anyone can earn. A love which freely forgives when by the very nature of forgiveness the recipient does not deserve it, has no claim upon it, has merited its opposite, is pure grace. A love that opens before us vistas of expectation where

“All we have willed or hoped or dreamed of good shall exist;

Not its semblance, but itself,” is clear grace. The Fourth Gospel describes him truly: He was "full of grace" (John 1:14).

Above all, his disciples poignantly have felt that the vicarious sacrifice of his life and death, by which all his teaching was set afire in a conflagration that has lighted up the world, involves us in a debt which we can never pay. Sinners cannot themselves bear all the consequences of their own iniquity. Some consequences fall in punishment upon the evil-doers; some fall in unsought tragedy upon the innocent; some are voluntarily assumed by saviorhood when it seeks the reclamation of the sinners. This is the law of grace which runs through all of life, like the scarlet thread through the ropes of the British Navy which shows that they are the property of the Crown. This is the law that Christ exalted and made glorious, when for us men and our salvation he endured in life and death his Cross of vicarious saviorhood.

If, therefore, a man is indeed a Christian; if around his life he sees the generous bestowal of ancestral sacrifice, and in his daily experience feels the benediction of free gifts for which he never paid; and if still deeper he has been blessed by the love of God which Christ revealed, forgiven by his mercy, enlarged and liberated by his hopes, and so knows himself to be beyond computation the beneficiary of the Cross, honor demands of him nothing less than such a life of sacrificial service as the New Testament exalts. The essence of paganism is to see life as a huge grab bag, somehow mysteriously put here, from which the strongest hands may snatch the most. The heart of Christianity is to see life over

shadowed by the Cross; to stand humble and grateful in the presence of immeasurable grace; to know that we have already been served beyond our possibility to make return. The inevitable consequence of such an outlook on life is tireless, self-denying usefulness, without condescension, for we are hopelessly in debt ourselves, without pride, for we have nothing to give which we did not first of all receive. Our spirit is Joyce Kilmer's when he went out to fight and to die in France :

"Lord, Thou didst suffer more for me
Than all the hosts of land and sea.
So let me render back again
This millionth of Thy gift. Amen.”


Victorious Personality

DAILY READINGS Granted that service to our fellows is both our obligation and privilege, what has religion to do with it? Might not a plea for service be made from which all mention of God had been elided, and in which alike the motive, exercise, and issue of helpfulness were confined to human relationships ? Such questions are frequent in our generation. Mystical experience of fellowship with God and practical service to humankind do not seem to involve each other. According to temperament some are tempted to divorce service from a cherished religious experience, or to divorce religion from a zealous desire to serve.

Twelfth Week, First Day

We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. Hereby know we love, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath the world's goods, and beholdeth his brother in need, and shutteth up his compassion from him, how doth the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither with the tongue; but in deed and truth.-I John 3: 14-18.

The love of God for us, our love for God, and our love for our brethren are in John's thought perfectly mingled. As old John Scotus Erigena put it: “We are not bidden to love God with one love, and our neighbour with another; neither are we instructed to cleave to the Creator with one part of our love, and to creation with another part; but in one and the same undivided love should we embrace both God and our neighbour.” The difficulty which many folk have in seeing the

need for God in a serviceable life is that they miss utterly this vital idea of God as a present, permeating Spirit of Love, the immediate source of all the love there is. Their God is an isolated individual a long way off; he is not a present Spirit in whom "we live and move and haye our being.” Say “God” to them, and their thought shoots up into the interstellar spaces; it leaps back into the pre-nebular aeons; it does not go down into the fertile places of the spirit, here and now, where, as Jesus said, living waters rise. We do actually deal daily with two kinds of existence: one material, the other spiritual. The central question of all life, then, is this: which of these two represents and expresses the eternal and creative Power ? To believe in God is to believe that our spirits, rather than our bodies, express Eternal Reality. To believe in God is to believe that all that is best in us is the Eternal in us, and that when we deal with righteousness and love we are actually dealing with God, for "God is love."

God is ever ready, but we are ever unready; God is nigh to us, but we are far from Him; God is within, we are without; God is at home, we are strangers. The prophet says: God leadeth the righteous by a narrow path into a broad highway, till they come into a wide and open place; that is, unto the true freedom of that spirit which hath become one spirit with God. God help us to follow Him, that He may bring us unto Himself. Amen.—John Tauler (1290-1361).

Twelfth Week, Second Day

Take heed, brethren, lest haply there shall be in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief, in falling away from the living God: but exhort one another day by day, so long as it is called To-day; lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin: for we are become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our confidence firm unto the end.—Heb. 3: 12-14.

Evidently this writer did not think that faith in God or the lack of it was a small matter; clearly he felt the large concerns of Christian integrity and usefulness to be at stake. Nor has our modern naturalism with its insistence that our bodies, not our spirits, are the spokesmen of ultimate, creative power, done anything to mitigate the New Testament's serious estimate of unbelief. One naturalist has given us a candid pic


ture of the universe in which he lives : "In the visible world the Milky Way is a tiny fragment. Within this fragment the solar system is an infinitesimal speck, and of this speck our planet is a microscopic dot. On this dot tiny lumps of impure carbon and water crawl about for a few years, until they dissolve into the elements of which they are compounded.” On such a world-view, an individual, supported by the social and religious influences of his own and previous generations, may live a practically useful life. But suppose that all men at last shared this world-view, that no man held any other, that this was the universally accepted philosophy of life. Just how much enduring, sacrificial service for men's salvation and the hope of social righteousness would persist on the earth?

O Lord, our Light and our Salvation, banish the night of gloom and ignorance, and grant to those in doubt the illumination of truth and of knowledge; that their hope may be firmly set in Thee, and the assaults of malicious foes may be brought to naught. Establish their confidence upon a rock of stone, that, surely grounded in the faith of Christ, they may be built up in love to their highest perfection. Amen.—“A Book of Prayers for Students.”

Twelfth Week, Third Day

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is begotten of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. Herein was the love of God manifested in us, that God hath sent his only begotten Son into the world that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No man hath beheld God at any time: if we love one another, God abideth in us, and his love is perfected in us: hereby we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.-I John 4:7-13.

John here expresses one of the immediate consequences of believing in God. He is assured that all the love in human life is begotten of God, that it has an eternal source and backing, that it is not thin, surface water which by chance has gathered in human lives but that it has behind it infinite reservoirs and ahead of it infinite destinies. So one of Crom

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