Citation
Edges and wedges

Material Information

Title:
Edges and wedges a book for the young
Creator:
Mackray, Archibald N
Religious Tract Society (Great Britain) ( Publisher )
Selwood Printing Works ( Printer )
Butler and Tanner ( Printer )
R. & E. Taylor (Firm) ( Engraver )
Place of Publication:
London
Publisher:
Religious Tract Society
Manufacturer:
Butler & Tanner ; Selwood Printing Works
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
160 p. : ill. ; 19 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Christian life -- Juvenile literature ( lcsh )
Tools -- Juvenile literature ( lcsh )
Natural history -- Juvenile literature ( lcsh )
Storytelling -- Juvenile literature ( lcsh )
Bldn -- 1895
Genre:
novel ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
England -- London
England -- Frome
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )

Notes

General Note:
Date of publication from inscription.
General Note:
Illustrations engraved by R. and E. Taylor.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Archibald N. Mackray.

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University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
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This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections (special@uflib.ufl.edu) with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
026859266 ( ALEPH )
ALH4005 ( NOTIS )
228107571 ( OCLC )

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Ay os Pe
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“LNG ‘ x : .
gg Fy PY RN SARA

wy



THE LOGAN STONE.



EDGES AND WEDGES

& Book for the Poung

BY

ARCHIBALD N. MACKRAY, M.A.

Author of ‘Bird-Preachers*

London

THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY!
56 PATERNOSTER Row, AND 65 St, PAUL’s CHURCHYARD



Bur_er & TANNER,
Tue Setwoop Printing Works,
Frome, AND Lonvon.



IT
III

Iv

VI
VII
VIII

IX

XI
XIT
XIII
XIV

XV
XVI

XVII

XVII

CONTENTS

PAGE
THE WEDGE. . é : ; : ‘ ; 7
GOADS AND NAILS ; ; 3 | u 5) GS
ARE YOU BREATHING? : : : F aes
THE TIDAL RIVER : : : : 5 2S:
THE SECRET OF THE LORD : : ; a BS
WEIGHTS AND WINGS. A : 4 i See ANT
ROCKING STONES. : : : : : . 49
THE KIss : 5 : y : : : go gil
ALL FOOLS’ Day . £ ; : 5 : 1803
‘But iF Not, (For Boys). ; : : : 75
THE TOUCHSTONE ‘ : i : : 5 Oy
THE SPECTRE OF THE BROCKEN . : - 95
“AS WATER’. : : 3 3 : . 102
‘HoLp YouR TONGUE’ : , 5 Soar

THE DRILL oF LiFE (Spoken to Members of

the Boys’ Brigade) ‘ : : : abe lely7)
THE PARABLE OF THE CRICKET FIELD (For

Elevens of all Ages). : ; : meeG2
TRHEGIEY, OF (COLD) ee eee ereeericy

THE GATE OF PEARL . : : : : peels 5







THE WEDGE

‘With purpose of heart.’—A¢c?s xi. 23

Dp you know how to use a needle?

“Of course we do, says the youngest
of my girl readers, answering for all the
fair sisterhood. And I wouldn't like to hint
that there exists a boy who couldn't drive a
nail well home, even if he did give his fingers a
taste of the hammer. An axe is an ugly thing
for little folks to meddle with, but there was
a handy little chisel in the box of tools you got
last Christmas. Now, I wish you to remem-
ber that needle and nail, axe and chisel, are
examples of the wedge—one of the mechani-
cal powers (if that is not too big a word for
some of you) by the aid of which men can do
many things that would be otherwise quite im-
possible. By the use of the wedge they can
split a tree and rend the solid rock. Great
ships, too, are raised every day in dry docks
by the same means.

Just stop for a moment and see whether you
7



8 Ledges and Wedges



can put your hand upon a bit of metal or wood,
thick at one end and sloping down to a thin
edge at the other end, which will make my
object lesson quite plain to you. For all sorts
of wedges, big and little, have this one thing
in common—they have only a single edge.
And you can do so much with the wedge be-
cause it is a kind of inclined plane, and its thin
end—it may be a knife’s edge—answers to all
the force which you can give, by pressing or
driving, to its thick end.

Suppose, however, that you had a wedge
with two edges; an iron nail, for example,
whose point had got split. Could you or the
best of carpenters do much with z#? Boys
know very well that if the big blade of the
pocket-knife gets rough and jagged, it is ‘no
good’; and if you tried to drive a wedge that
had a double edge into a piece of timber, you
might shatter the wedge but you couldn’t split
the wood. Get the thin end of the wedge
into anything and you will work wonders, but
only a fool would try to work with a wedge
that had two edges.

Now I want you to think whether there is
not something within you, belonging to your
minds and hearts, which acts like a wedge.
Your fathers would speak of it as your will



The Wedge 9

or your purpose. And it is hard to say what
may not be done or dared by boys and girls
who work with the wedge of a single intention.
Thus prizes are won at school, great scores
are made at cricket, victories are gained over
our evil selves, and battles are fought for truth,
and right, and God. All the might of imperial
Rome was often unable to make a Christian
maiden lay an idolatrous garland on the statue
of Jupiter, and boys in those old fierce days
have chosen rather to face the hungry lions
than renounce their Saviour. That was a
" wedge-like word with a single edge into which
our King Henry V. put all the strength of his
determination whenever he was asked to do
what was wrong. ‘Impossible!’ was the only
answer he gave. And I could wish that all
my readers met the call of duty with the same
force of will which crashed through every
obstacle as the king who said simply, when
some good thing was proposed to lavieot, © MU
must be done.’

But when the wedge has got two edges,
when the heart is divided, and the will does not
all go the same way, what weakness and failure
and defeat are the result! You are working
with a double-edged wedge when you try to
learn your school lessons and have a story book



10 Ldges and Wedges

conveniently beside you, just to glance at for
a moment now and then; when you run an
errand and have a game at ball as you go;
when you kneel at night to say your prayers,
and let your thoughts at the same time chase
one another all over the world. Boys grow
up into men and turn out miserable failures
because they have never learned to do one
thing at a time and with their whole heart. I
warn you against young Master Facing-Both-
Ways, although he has a pleasant smile and
seems to agree with all you say. He doesn’t
look straight at you. His talk sounds hollow.
He chums with you to-day, and with quite
another set to-morrow. You can never be
sure of him. He is like the man in the Bible
who thought to serve two masters. Even the
gentle Jesus abhorred the double-minded. A
wedge with two edges is worse than useless.
Think of the good and noble men you have
read of, like Moses, David, Daniel, Paul,
Luther, Knox, Gordon. They were all men
of a single intention, who set their faces like
a flint to the path of duty. . But it is in the
life story of Jesus, our Lord and Saviour, who
is able to make us like Himself, that we have
the best example of a will that works like a
wedge with a single edge. His boyhood was



Lhe Wedge II

as real as your own, but it was never weakened
and wasted by opposite wills that both wanted
to have their way. When He was just twelve
years old He wondered that anybody (least of
all His own good mother) should not under-
stand that He must be supremely interested
in the things of His Father in heaven. The
thin end of the wedge went in so readily and
quietly! An old English poet calls Christ very
reverently—

‘The first true gentleman that ever breathed.’!

But all the strength of His manhood went
without loss or strain, without hurry or hesita-
tion, to the doing of His Father's will. When
you sing about the ‘Green hill far away,’ you
may well confess—
‘We may not know, we cannot tell
What pains He had to bear,’
as He hung upon the awful cross. But the
wedge had only a single edge, and it was very
fine. Men’s thoughts and ways about sacrifice
had become so poor and unreal, or so wrong
and hideous, that it was the delight of Jesus,
through all His unknown sufferings and sor-
rows, to fulfil the true will of God about saving
others by suffering for them. And even if you
1 Dekker.



12 Edges and Wedges



feel yourselves to be just a bundle of contradic-
tions, and if you can’t make a thorough work
of any duty because your will has got more
than a single edge, Jesus has no greater joy
than to make you like Himself. Let the smith
put the split nail into his furnace until it is
red-hot and he will soon shape it into a single
sharp point. Let him put the rough and
jagged chisel upon his whirling wheel and he
will turn it into a useful wedge with one thin
end. Christ can melt all our rebel wants and
wishes in the fire of His love, and He can
simplify and purify our wills until they shall be-
come the echoes of God's voice.

This simple, friendly talk would be better
remembered, and be longer helpful, if you
would take pen and ink and draw the outline
of a wedge. Then you might put such a
prayer as this at the top: Teach me to do Thy
will; within the wedge itself this would be a
good watchword: With purpose of heart; and
underneath the thin edge of the wedge you
could not do better than write the resolve of
the brave St. Paul: This one thing I do.







tr

Wane _
SOS Fass

iY



: 2 yd
nity Lc

EASTERN PLOUGIIING.



GOADS AND NAILS

‘The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails well
fastened.’—Leccles, xii. 11 (R.V.).

°V, ov have all learned, though not without
Ff tears, to read. At least, the reading
© lesson has begun, although it may be far
from being finished. Are we not learning to
read all our lives? The larger part of your
waking hours, in and out of school, has to be
spent among books. And many of you, I hope,
have begun to love reading for its own sake.
You have discovered the secret of one of life's
highest and longest joys when you find com-
panionship in good books, and are turning to
them as to your best friends.

But I am afraid that a great deal of our
reading is as resultless as dropping seed on the
flagstones. ‘In at one ear and out at the
other’ is too true a proverb. It might help us
to take heed what we read and how we read
if we had a little earnest talk about the two
picture words by which Ecclesiastes, or the

15



16 Edges and Wedges



Preacher, sets forth some of the uses of all
wise words and good books.

THe Goab.

You have seen, I daresay, a picture of an
Eastern labourer at the plough. Two, four, or
eight yoke of oxen may be before him ; and,
like some two-legged creatures I know of, they
are not always intent upon their proper busi-
ness, but are prone to be just too placid and
restful. They need to be roused to action and
made to mind their immediate duty. A whip
would hardly meet the case. So the plough-
man in Bible lands long ago, as in Southern
Europe and Western Asia to-day, was armed
with a wooden pole, eight or ten feet in length
and tipped with iron, by which he could very
efficiently bestir the lazy members of his team
and bring refractory ones to a more sober
mind.

This, then, is the first use of the words of
the wise, especially of teachers, guides, and
friends of the young. They stir the mind,
touch the heart and rouse to action. It isn’t
easy to wake up some of you in the morning
and get you fairly out of bed. And words need
to be like ox goads, if they are to lead you to



Goads and Nails 17



think wisely, feel rightly and do bravely. You
may go on reading story books in an idle,
dreamy fashion, earl you persuade yourselves
that you have been the prime actors in the
scenes over which you have laughed and wept.
The prick of the goad would be useful here.
Many a growing lad has found the turning-
point of his life in a long and earnest talk mie
some older and wiser friend whose faithful
words have pierced the wind-bag of his self-
conceit, shamed him out of his idle ways, and
stirred him to a noble ambition.

Of all wise words none have such power to
awaken thought, kindle feeling and urge to
action as the words of the good old Book,
through which the Spirit of God is now speak-
ing to every one who has ears to hear. The
ox goad is, indeed, a coarse and clumsy weapon
to take as an emblem of the Word of God,
which is the sword of the Spirit. But the
Bible does prick the conscience and the heart
like a goad.

It was so in the experience of Augustine,
when the heavenly voice came to him in the
garden of Milan saying, Tolle et lege, ‘Take up
and read,’ and, opening the New T estament at
Romans xiii., his eyes fell on words at the close
of the chapter which awoke within him the

B



18 Edges and Wedges



pulses of a new life. Honest Martin Luther
found out at Rome that only the Word of
God could heal the wounds it had made.
And as John Wesley listened to the singing of
Psalm cxxx. in St. Paul’s Cathedral, he learned
the truth which went straight to the quick of
his heart, that God is to be feared because He
so freely forgives.

Many of you, I trust, could put a little figure
of a goad over against more than one place in
your Bibles, because this text aroused you from
idle, careless ways, and that helped you to win
a battle over some evil habit, and yet another
kept you firm in the shock of temptation.

What do some oxen do when the ploughman
prods them with his goad? They kick back.
Do you remember how our Lord, from His
heavenly glory, charged the persecutor of His
saints, and therefore of Himself, with doing
this foolish and futile thing when he madly re-
sisted the striving of the good Spirit of God
and the accusings of his own conscience? ‘Saul,
Saul, it is hard for thee to kick against the
goad!’ Perhaps this is what Jesus has to say
about some of you.

But the Preacher's second picture word is



Goads and Nattls 19

Tue NalIL.

He means the big wooden peg that holds
the tent rope, or the golden nail that fastened
the boards of the Tabernacle. All wise words,
and especially the words of perfect Wisdom,
are not only like goads that arouse and bestir,
but they are also like nails that give safe and
sure holding. It is well for a man, said the
Rabbis, to have a nail on which to hang his
thoughts. What confusion there would be at
school and in the house if there were no pegs
for your caps and hats! But that is just the
state of many people’s minds. Their thoughts
are all ‘higgledy-piggledy,’ and nothing can be
found when it is wanted. You should be stor-
ing your minds betimes with great thoughts
and wise words to which you can always attach
yourselves when you have to be your own
company. That is how you may make your
mind a kingdom of which you can never be
deprived.

I have known old people sain in the long
hours of sleepless nights, have held their minds
from growing weary and fearful by the nails
of well-remembered Scriptures and hymns. If
you start in the morning with a text for the



20 Ledges and Wedges



day, and have it well fixed in the mind, you
will have a hold-fast against the tempter’s
most sudden assaults. And when in the’even-
ing you find the nail still in its place, you will
be able to say, with one of God’s heroes in the
old times, ‘ The testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple.’

I want you, then, to take the Goad and the
Nail as tests of the books you read and your
manner of reading them. Do they push you
forward in the right direction, and do they hold
you fast to what is good and true? Columbus’
conviction that there was another world in the
West sent him voyaging through unknown seas,
and kept him steadfast in his mission in spite
of every difficulty and disappointment. If you
will turn to the muster roll of the faithful in
Hebrews xi., you will see for yourselves how
the promise of God has been both goad and
nail to such heroes as Abraham, Joseph, and
Moses. The three boys who went on wor-
shipping the true God in heathen Babylon, and
held to Him in the face of the fiery furnace
heated seven times, are splendid examples of
the impelling and retaining power of the Word
of God. The call of Christ to come to Him

as their Saviour and Lord, and follow Him as



Goads and Nats 21





their Guide, Guardian, and Friend, is to-day
entering, goad-like, into young hearts and lives,
arousing and inspiring them by ‘the expulsive
“power of a new affection,’ to new aims and
endeavours ; and, like the bolt that fastens the
plates of our ironclads, it is also holding them
true to duty and to God.

It belongs to Christ to make us like Him-
self. By His wisdom we grow wise. In trust-
ing Him we become trustworthy. His love is
the magnet of love, till we too come to possess
a little of His attractive power. It is thus that
your words, your private, confidential talk with
friend and chum, may have the stimulating and
sustaining virtues of the goad and the nail.
Never mind an angry retort or surly refusal.
Wake up your class-fellow to prepare for his
exam. Bestir your companion to bear himself
more bravely in the battle of life. Let every
letter to your friend have something in it that
will help him forward. Let your words be
what Luther said St. Paul’s were—living crea-
tures with hands and feet. The nail is, per-
haps, more needful than the goad. Your word
should always be your bond. You must always
be a hold-fast to your brothers and sisters, and
your weak, wavering mate you must keep from



22 Edges and Wedges



going tothe bad. The saving power of Christ's
words may always be passing into ours.

‘Oh, strengthen me, that, while I stand
Firm on the rock and strong in Thee,
I may stretch out a loving hand
To wrestlers with the troubled sea.

Oh, teach me, Lord, that I may teach
The precious things Thou dost impart;

And wing my words, that they may reach
The hidden depths of many a heart.’ 1

1 F, R. Havergal.



ARE YOU BREATHING?

‘Hide not Thine ear at my breathing.’—Zam. iti. 56

lee had taken him, poor boy, out of the
river, dripping and deathly pale, his hands
$

still holding the grass-roots which he had
clutched as he slipped from the bank. But
his rescuers knew what to do, and after, oh!
such a long time, as it seemed, they whispered
to one another, and the whisper flew round the
circle of anxious playmates, who felt that some-
thing of their own life had come back to them
as each said to his neighbour, ‘ He is breathing
again!’ For they knew that if he breathed he
couldn't be really dead.

I daresay it was a word from ie ae old
Book that had come into their minds, though
they didn’t know it. For we often read in the
Bible of ‘the breath of life. Yes; breathing
is the sign and proof of being alive. Some-
times, when all other tokens of life are gone, a
mirror is held over the mouth, and if the slight-
est dimness comes upon the glass it is known
that the breath of life still lingers. For we

23



24 Edges and Wedges



have a kind of living pair of bellows in our
chests, rising and falling every few moments.
When they expand, the air of heaven comes in
to give the blood what it requires, and they
squeeze it out again when they contract, al-
though we are never quite ‘out of breath.’
For that would mean to cease to live.

Now, what is true of the life of the body is
true of another and higher kind of life—one
that thinks, feels, loves, hates, does and dares
right nobly, and is the very best thing in us,
for itis God Himself in us. This life shows
itself by breathing. We call its breathing
prayer. So that if you want to know whether
you are living this best and highest kind of life
—the life Jesus lived—just stop and ask
whether you have been praying to God to-day,
thinking about Him, and wanting to do what
He likes: whether you have been breathing,
for prayer is—

‘A breath that fleets beyond this iron world,
And touches Him who made it.’!

Now you will understand your text for the
week. How often you have lamented the fate
of the timid, sensitive, yet brave and unflinch-
ing, prophet, whom the wicked princes of
Jerusalem left to starve in the prison-pit, be-

1 Tennyson.



Are You Breathing ? 25



cause he would be neither flattered nor fright-
ened into speaking anything but the truth God
gave himto speak! And you boys would have
liked to have had a hand at the ropes by which
the good Ethiopian got him drawn up out of
the foul black mud at the bottom of the empty
cistern into which he had been thrown.

Now, this was what Jeremiah said to God,
when left alone to die miserably in the filthy
dungeon, ‘ Hide not Thine ear at my breathing.
Every breath he drew was a prayer, a cry.
But the cry was so lone and low that only God
could hear it, and the martyr felt that He would
‘put down His ear close to listen. Just as
mother has bent low over you when once you
were so ill that you could do no more than
breathe your wishes into her ear. How I wish
we got to think and feel that praying to God is
just like breathing, and that we can live only
as we pray!

It is not alone with the pair of bellows we
call the lungs that you breathe. There isa
kind of breathing that goes on all over the sur-
face of the body.

If you look at the back of your hand, you
will see (supposing it is clean enough) a multi-
tude of little holes or pores. Each of these
leads. into a tiny twisted pipe, up which there



26 Ie; dees and Wedges



is constantly rising from the blood vessels a
kind of foul breath or steam which, as you
know very well, gathers on your face when you
have been running hard, in great drops. If
the body could not breathe or sweat away its
impurities, the blood would get poisoned, and
we would die. This was the sad fate of a little
boy, a long while ago, at a grand procession in
Rome, where he was made to represent an
angel by covering his whole body with gold-
leaf and fastening a pair of gold wings to his
shoulders. The little fellow looked so lovely
that his mother let him go to bed in all his
gilded glory. But when she came to wake the
sleeping angel next morning, she found that he
was dead. The glittering gold-leaf, stopping
up all the breathing holes of the body, had
killed him.

And the better life which you and I and
everybody might live and enjoy by trusting in
Jesus and doing good is killed in the same way.
If we would but remember that whatever
hinders us from thinking about our Saviour-
God, telling Him everything and trying to
please Him, is stopping our soul’s breath and
slowly killing us!

‘And if for any wish thou dar’st not pray, _
Then pray to God to cast that wish away.’



Are You Breathing ? By



He is putting His ear, just now, close to your
secret heart. Does He hear it breathing ?

One word more. When do you breathe
loudest ? When do you work your bellows
hardest ? When you use the dumb bells or
skipping rope, or have a long run, or do a stiff
bit of work. And when do you pray best?
‘When are your souls most filled with the
breath of God? When you try to be good,
when you are training in Christ’s gymnasium,
‘exercising yourselves unto godliness.’ You
never breathed so loud, never prayed so hard,
as when you closed your teeth upon the angry
word or the mean lie, or stood up for the weak
and wronged, or denied yourself for another's
sake. Some of my boy readers can translate
St. Benedict's watchword — Ora et labora.
Praying and working are just like the double
action of the lungs. And if, holding on by
Jesus, you set yourselves in earnest to love the
good and do the right, and hate every wicked
way, up in heaven God will hear your breath
ing.



THE TIDAL RIVER

‘I came that they may have life, and may have it abun-
dantly.’—/ohn x. 10 (R.V.)

WHE river is one of the oldest emblems of
Ol human life. The boys and girls of long
ae ago, as well as of yesterday, had their de-

_lightful day-dreams as they lay upon the
river bank in the glad summer time. And
though your life is only opening out before you,
you know that it may junfold the same story
which the river tells, in its own way, of tiny
beginnings, first uncertain directions and count-
less little tributaries ; a story, too, of noisy shal-
lows, sluggish flats, silent pools, and finally of
a peaceful, majestic ending, which is, however,
but a new and nobler beginning, in the blue,
the infinite sea.

But there is one notable feature of the great .
rivers of the world which our story has not
included. And if the Brook may be credited
with the musical song many of you know, we
might, perhaps, fancy the River growing weary
of its constant flow, sighing over its hard lot ot

rush and race and perpetual pouring of itself
28



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A TIDAL RIVER.







Lhe Trdal River om

away. But one day a strange thing happened
to it. Its waters ceased to flow down into the
vast, insatiable sea. On the contrary, the sea
began to flow up into the river, filling it from
bank to bank, while great ships sailed on its
broader bosom, and strange fish swam far up
its deeper channels. Instead of giving it was
getting, instedd of flowing away it was filling
up. It had become a ¢2dal river. The sea
took possession of it twice a day for many a
mile. Up the Amazon, for example, the tide
flows for 576 miles, and the Mersey at its
mouth rises thirty feet at high tide. What a
triumphant song the tidal river may be sup-
posed to sing !

The river of human life, yours and mine, is,
or ought to be, a tidal river. For the ocean of
God's life and love is seeking by every channel
to flow into and possess our minds and hearts
and wills, and make our little lives larger and
richer and more useful. You wonder now how
you once got so much enjoyment out of your, —
old toys and games, and to-morrow you will
care little for the dearest desire of to-day. The.
cry of the human heart is everywhere for ‘ more
life and fuller,’ though it takes wasteful and
woeful ways of satisfying its needs. But every
tidal river is charged by God to tell, in its own



nN

Edges and Wedges

} Go



way, the glad news of His Son’s coming, that
you and I and everybody may have the best
of life and abundance of it. Have you never
felt the tide of Truth, Purity, and Love rising
within you, as you looked down into the cup of
a flower or watched the white clouds overhead
or read of brave deeds or knelt in prayer or
did a kind act that cost you something? I
wish you would stop and consider whether you
are letting the sea of God's grace into the river
of your lives.

“Lord, we are rivers running to Thy sea,

Our waves and ripples all derived from Thee :

A nothing we should have, a nothing be,
Except for Thee.

Sweet are the waters of Thy shoreless sea,

Make sweet our waters that make haste to Thee;
Pour in Thy sweetness, that ourselves may be
Sweetness to Thee.’ +

I never heard of any riverside people neglect-
ing or resisting the tides that flowed up their
rivers. They know their value too well to be
guilty of such suicidal folly. And as many
causes are at work at the mouths of rivers to
bar out the sea, there are many skilful and
costly contrivances for removing obstructions,
deepening the estuaries, and keeping the tidal

1 Christian Rossetti.





The Tidal River 33



way open. Jetties serve to prevent the sand
from silting up. Training walls concentrate
and guide the flow of the tides. And huge
_ dredging machines are kept working at great
_ expense to remove the drift of the river and
increase its tidal capacity. Without going
beyond our own shores, one may see on the
Clyde and the Tyne how to make the most of
the wealth-bringing tides of the sea.

I wish we cared half as much to make room
-in our hearts and lives for the tides of God’s
saving love. But pious wishes are not enough.
We must give ourselves to real, hard, steady
dredging. Sheer laziness, the habit of putting
off till to-morrow what should be done to-day,
selfish greed, bad temper and evil companion-
ship are obstructions that must be cleared out
at all costs. We must attend to the training
walls of God’s holy commandments. For the
tides of His grace run best in the lines of faith,
in the promises and obedience to the precepts
_ of God’s Word. And if we practise the double
P. of the great missionary —‘ Prayer and
Pains,’—we shall enlarge our hearts and increase
our tidal capacity. It is a great thing to lay
ourselves out, like the river, for the inflowing
of the Spirit of truth and power and love. The

tide would never ebb if we tried always to be
c



34 Edges and Wedges



living with Jesus, who is come that we might
have life in Him, and have it ever more abun-
dantly. No more sticking in the mud nor
standing apart from each other. The tide is
coming in; and what may we not be and do
and dare when the infinite sea of God’s love is
filling up the river of your life and mine until
it overflows all its banks ?

Here is a little bit of a sermon preached by
a great and good man to the House of Com-
mons more than 300 years ago. I do not think
that you will find Dr. Cudworth too hard to
understand, and his noble words might well
be taken to proclaim the gospel of the Tidal
River: ‘There is a straitnesse, slavery, and
narrownesse in all sinne; sinne crowds and
crumples up our souls, which, if they were
freely spread abroad, would be as wide and
large as the whole universe. No man is truly
free but he that hath his will enlarged to the
extent of God’s own will, by loving whatsoever
God loves and nothing else . . . He
enjoys a boundlesse liberty and a boundlesse
sweetnesse, according to his boundlesse love.
He enclaspeth the whole world within his out-
stretched arms. His soul is as wide as the
whole universe, as big as yesterday, to-day and
for ever.’



IGE SIHCIME I (OVE FMEUS, ILOURID

PS, X8V. 14

HAVE forgotten, I fear, most of the riddles
I was familiar with when a boy. But this
one, at least, has stuck to my memory:
‘Too much for one, enough for two, and
nothing at all for three.’ It is what little
folks dearly love to possess. How close the
little heads come together! What whispering
and listening! What vows of silence! And
what confidential looks and nods pass between
the two for whom it is just enough! Yes, it is
delightful to have a real good secret with just
one other ; and if it should come to the tip of
the tongue, the teeth must close firmly. upon it
before it gets to a third, when, as the riddle
says, it would be nothing at all.

It is not, of course, every secret that we
should wish to know or ought to keep. There
are false, foul, guilty, ghastly secrets that turn
the hearts that hold them into living hells.
Like the black streak in the white marble,
many a young life has been lastingly defiled by



36 Edges and Wedges



some hidden evil which it has taken into itself.
If I speak to boy or girl who has a dark secret
in the heart which is poisoning all the sweet
springs of life, let me urge them to tell all at
once to their own father or mother, and have
done with the foul thing before it becomes, like
the flaw in the marble, part of themselves.

But this world is full of secrets, rare, rich,
and rewarding, which the wise and good God
has put into air, water, and fire; into tree,
flower, and stone; into every form of life, and
into the words and ways of men. What a
fruitful secret young James Watt found in the
white cloud of steam which he watched as it
came out of his mother’s kettle boiling on the
fire! And if you will keep your eyes and ears
open, and, like Sir Isaac Newton, give atten-
tion to things, you may one day discover some
new secret of Nature which may prove a great
blessing to mankind.

But our text speaks of the secret of secrets,
and tells us, also, how we may make it our very
own. The words are soon learned, but we
shall never find out all the wonders that lie
within them. ‘ Zhe secret of the Lord 1s with
them that fear Firm. Just think of it. God
and you come so close together that He tells
you His secret. He sent His Son from heaven



ES Oe Pa

The Secret of the Lord _ 37
to earth to bring about this close, confidential
fellowship. It is in Jesus, the Son of His love
and the Saviour of the world, that the secret
of the Lord is with them that fear Him.

This word ‘secret’ is a picture-word. It
suggests a couch, or rather a carpet, spread
upon the floor, just large enough for two, upon
which in the East they sit, ¢é¢e-d-¢éte, as the
French say, their heads close together in
private, confidential talk.

This picture-word is thus a little window
which lets you look into a great matter. God
takes His people into such near and dear re-
lations to Himself that they sit, as it were, upon
the same carpet. The secret of the Lord is
with them. But nobody understood all that
this could mean until God Himself became one
of us, under the conditions of a human birth
and a human life, and looked out upon men
with human eyes, and drew them to Himself
with human hands, and loved them into loving
Him with a human heart that broke in its
sorrow for their sin and misery.

Who is it that is called Immanuel?. And
what does that name mean? I was one day
sitting, very lonely, in the dining-room of a
foreign hotel, with a hundred and fifty noisy
Germans around me. Waiting till the head



38 Edges and Wedges



waiter came round for payment of my dinner,
I was testing my eyesight, which was then
very weak, with a ¢haler, or German crown-
piece, I had in my‘hand. To my surprise and
delight, I found around the rim of the big
silver coin the watchword of the now Imperial
House of the Hohenzollerns : ‘ Gott mt uns’
—‘God with us. It came to me, this old
battle cry of the Prussians, as the very secret
of the Lord, and I thought of the dying words
of John Wesley—‘ The best of all is, God is
with us.’ And I felt, I hope, something of the
humble, holy, loving fear of the Lord, without
which we can have no secrets with Him.

Try now to remember the three words, each
beginning with a ¢, which will show you suff-
ciently the character of the happy Fearers of
the Lord, whom He takes into His counsel, and
to whom He tells His secret—trust, truth, and
tenderness.

You must trust the Lord, saying from the
heart the first two words of the Lord’s Prayer,
which a poor boy in the East End of London,
who had never been within a church, and who
knew nothing of the Bible, prayed night and
morning at his wretched bedside, and this one
struggling sunbeam transformed his dim, sad

life—‘ Our Father.’



The Secret of the Lord BO.



Then you must be true to the Lord ; ¢vusé-
worthy, as well as, and just because you are,
trustful. God will not tell His secrets to those
who do not keep His word.

Finally, you must have a ¢ender heart to-
wards the Lord, such as you have towards your
own mother, whom you can’t bear to offend,
whom it pains you to grieve. What is called
fear in the Old Testament is called dove in the
New. The secret of secrets is Jesus Himself,
and only love knows Love. He is with them
that are trustful, truthful, and tender-hearted ;
with them in the street, at the school, in the
shop, and when afar off upon the sea; with
them as their Guide, Guardian, Friend, and
Companion. Oh, it is good to have secrets
with the Lord Jesus—quiet talks, hidden con-
fidences. A good man used at times, as he
walked along the street, to raise his hat from
his head, and, on being asked by a friend why
he did so, he confessed that it was because he
felt the Lord so near to him. I have a vivid
remembrance of a visit I paid, when a boy, to
a feeble old man, who had long been ‘beadle’
in our church, in a country town in the north of
Scotland, and whom I found lying in what was
called a box bed in a comfortless little room.
‘How lonely, Gordon, you must be here!’ |



40 Ldges and Wedges

said in boyish honesty. ‘Oh no, master,’ he
answered, ‘I’m never lonely. The good man’s
confession is one of my earliest recollections.
I must have felt that he possessed a secret that
was unknown to me — one that Jesus had
taught him: ‘Alone, yet not alone, for the
Father is with me.’

The secrets in people's hearts may often be
guessed at from their faces. You may some-
times know those with whom is the secret of
the Lord by their peaceful, happy looks, but a
surer sign is their gracious words, kind acts,
and winsome lives. Even in heaven there will
be the secret of the Lord. Everything will
not be public. We shall not be lost in the
crowd. For it is our Father's house, and not
one child will be confounded with another.
Christ promises to him who overcomes in the
good fight of faith—to every one who by His
grace and strength is true, brave, pure, kind,
and loving, ‘a white stone, and upon the stone
a new name written, which no one knoweth
but he that receiveth it. What a secret that
will be! I wonder what it can be! I mean to

find out one day. Well you ?



WEIGHTS AND WINGS

‘It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.’
Lam, ni. 27
Vi EIGHTS AND Wuncs; the youngest of
\ iy my readers ¢an easily remember these
4° two words, each of them beginning with
the double v, which is such a trouble to
foreigners. And I shall try to show you how
all our weights may become wings. The truth
will, perhaps, find readiest entrance into your
minds through the fable that tells how the
birds came to fly. For at the first they could
only run upon the ground like other creatures.
But one day God brought two little burdens,
and laid them down on either side of every
bird according to the size of each. And He
said to them (for God can speak to birds as
well as to angels and men), ‘Take up these
burdens and carry them for Me.’ Now the
birds that obeyed God’s command found that
the burdens beside them clung to, and became

part of, themselves. They could move them
41



42 Edges and Wedges

about and rise with them, until at last by means
of them they mounted aloft and roamed at will
through God’s great heaven of blue. The
weights became wings. In bearing their bur-
dens the birds found that their burdens bore
them.

Now I don’t believe that the youngest little
toddler who listens to what I am saying is
quite without a burden, or difficulty, or trouble.
Haven’t some eyes been wet to-day, some
hearts sad, some little heads very perplexed? |
Oh, they don’t know children who think that
they are without troubles and cares! Brave
little weight-carriers I know of, who are ‘ breed-
ing their future wings.’ I have heard girls, not
very young either, singing a rather foolish song
about wings, and what they would do with
them if they had them. And when we put the
wishing cap on our heads we suddenly mount —
up as on eagles’ wings, and we do marvellous
things. But it is out of our heavy weights,
not our idle wishes, that we gain real wings.
Haven't you found this out for yourselves?
Learning to write, for example, is not an easy
thing. Oh, the weariness of those everlasting
strokes and pot-hooks, the fingers that z7// get
inky, and the copybooks that w2// get blotted,
and the pens that never wré/ go right, even



Weights and Wings 43



when the Seti tongue is following the
devious course of each uncertain capital! But
now that by letter writing you can still talk to
father and mother when they are from home,
and know what your brother is doing in Canada
or Australia, have not the weights become
wings? How I have pitied people who, having
never learned to write even their own names,
have had to be content with making a mark
like this—X! It is a life-long burden they
have to carry, because they had not borne the
school yoke i in their youth.

Neither is it easy to learn languages. The
French verbs are such a bother to the brain,
and if the roads of the Romans go straight
over hill and dale, their long sentences seem
as confused and confusing as the maze at
Hampton Court. But when you come to
travel on the Continent, or go into an office in
the City, or when you can make companions
of the wisest and wittiest of the old Greeks
and Romans, you will find that the weights
have given you wings. I have known lads at
school and college who were heavily weighted
in the race by SINS: we call adverse circum-
stances. Some of them lived just one or two
degrees above starvation. Oh, it was hard,
entel work! But their difficulties became a



44 Edges and Wedges

divine discipline. They learned to do without,
and that is a way of growing rich in which the
poorest may excel. They learned the secret,
through prayer and pains, of turning weights
into wings.

Look at that boy of twelve or fourteen, sit-
ting, on a summer evening, in the early years
of this century, on the coping of the railing
that enclosed Canterbury Cathedral. He has
worked hard all day in the shop of a coach-
builder. Too poor to purchase drawing mate-
rials, he is content with an old slate and pencil ;
and it was thus equipped that an artist found
little Sidney Cooper, night after night, on the
coping, sketching the great church, and gave
him, to his astonishment and delight, his first
bundle of pencils. The boy became a famous
landscape painter, and in the story of his life,
which he has lately told, his use of the slate for
sketching the cathedral is seen to be only the
first of many other instances of weights be-
coming wings. And this is how the veteran
artist closes his autobiography: ‘I feel that I
have risen to some distinction, and that I have
a name which no gold could purchase nor parch-
ment alienate. I have, moreover, found peace
in the better knowledge of my Saviour, and
grace which will comfort me for the rest of my



Weights and Wings 45
life; as well as trust, which will bear me
through the dark valley when my time comes,
and the blessed assurance that there is a glori-
ous immortality, and that I shall one day see
Him as He is.’

But it is ‘when we read the sweet story of
old, when Jesus was here among men,’ that we
learn best how weights become wings. We
shall never, indeed, know all the burdens that
were laid on Him when He gave Himself to
do the Father’s will and save the world. But
He spoke of His sufferings and death for us as
His being ‘lifted up.’ And if under the bur-
den of our salvation He was lifted up to the
cross of shame, was He not also, by the same
burden, lifted up to the throne of glory, where
He holds the post of honour in the universe of
God? You remember how He likened His
strong, tender, self-sacrificing, unquenchable
love to the wing of the mother bird spread over
the helpless brood in the hour of peril. But
we shall never put our trust under the shadow
of His wings until we really believe that all the
heavy, crushing weights He bore for us, as Boy.
and Man, as’ Servant, Sufferer, and Saviour,
have given Him His wings of pitying, shelter-
ing, saving love, under which He would gather
us and all men.



46 Edges and Wedges



And Jesus is the Power to make us like
Himself. It is a hard struggle for boys and
_ girls, as well as for grown men and women, to
curb the temper, crush down evil thoughts, and
hate every wicked way, and be truthful, faithful,
pure-hearted, generous, and brave. But if you
ask the Saviour to help you; if you join com-
pany with Him and get Him to fill you with
His own spirit of trust and love, of purity and
patience, of grace and glory, you will find that
the burdens you carry are carrying you. And
out of the weights you have to bear, as Chris-
tian boys and girls, you will acquire good and
noble habits that will be as eagles’ wings to
you in all your future lives.

The birds in the fable that would not carry
the weights God in His wise love put down
beside them are wingless to-day. Even the
kite you fly in the meadow will not mount up
steadily without a weight to its tail. To be
without a burden is the greatest burden of all.
The old prophet was right when he said that it
was good for a man to bear the yoke in his
youth. You should see the gleam of bright
wings in every. heavy weight you are called to
carry. In the school of Christ the yoke gives
ease and the burden grows light. To bear the
cross is to wear the crown.







gh





































































































































































































































































































DARTMOOR.







ROCKING STONES

‘ Speak unto the children . . . that they go forward.’—
Exod. xiv. 15

Wes I lived in South Devon I often spent
Yi¥ a holiday on Dartmoor, where I have
ais passed many a restful hour among those
great, odd-looking masses of rock known by
the name of Zorvs. They have such funny,
fantastic shapes. There is what looks like a
huge honeycomb, and yonder is the face of an
old man with enormous nose, while farther off
there is a ruined tower that might have been
once a part of a keep or castle. But they are
all self-made, or rather self-ruined. Their
granite is of a kind that decomposes in the
course of time. The sand and earth get washed
away by the winters’ rains. Growing top-heavy
as the ages run on, and sorely beaten by wind
and weather, those huge masses of stone at last
fell in upon themselves, and took those strange,
weird shapes that have given rise to’ many a
fabulous tale. One of. these rocks is called a
logan, or rocking stone. The rock has been
49 D



50 ee eek and ES

gradually eaten away into two parts, the upper
half retaining its upright position, and having
its point of support resting in a natural socket
in the lower half. Hence, while a strong push
makes the huge stone move in its socket, not
the strongest arm can move it out of its place.
It rocks for a time, but as surely returns to its
old point of repose. These rocking stones are
found in several parts of our country, and used
to be held in awe by the simple country folk,
who fancied that they might learn something
about the future from the number of times the
strange stone rock rocked after it had been
touched.
But while they are no longer used for divina-
tion I have found a sermon in these stones,
which I have often needed to preach to myself.
And how many boys and girls there are like
the logan or rocking stone! Moved they may
be, but never removed. They rock, but will
not run. They are like the son in the parable
who promptly answered his father’s vineyard
call, ‘1 go, sir’; du¢ went not. You have felt,
once and again’ as I have talked with you, that
the preacher was describing your own faults,
and throwing an electric light upon the hidden
evils of your hearts, and you have been ashamed
of your own meanness, selfishness, cowardice



Rocking Stones 51



and cruelty. You have felt your eyes grow
moist and a lump came into your throat, as you
read about little unknown heroes and heroines,
inspired by the love of Christ, at.any cost of
service or suffering, to be the saviours of
others. And you have longed to be true and
good and brave and self-sacrificing like them.
But the rocking stone, let it be pushed ever so
hard, still keeps in its old socket.

And how many of my readers still put feeling
in the place of acting, and meaning to do in-
stead of really doing! Yet all that is best in
boy and girl nature recoils from this undecided,
see-saw sort of life. None is more deservedly
detested at school than the boneless fellow who
never makes up his mind, never sticks to his
guns, is ‘everything by starts and nothing long.’
You can’t play with him, work with him, con-
fide in him—you can’t even fight with him.
Boys should be like their school colours—no
mistaking what they are. Even my little six-
year-old, catching the excitement of the town
where we lived over a parliamentary election,
but not very sure about his words, was quite
certain that he was ‘a Liberary,’ while his twin-
sister was not less emphatic in declaring that,
like all good people, she was ‘a Conservatory.’
No part, I fancy, of the great Czesar’s life



52 Edges and Wedges



awakens youthful enthusiasm like his early
defiance of a jealous Senate who forbade him
to cross the boundary of the northern province
of Italy. He wandered all day along the banks
of the forbidden river, until preferring, as he
said, to be the hammer rather than the anvil, he
plunged into the stream and led his victorious
soldiers straight to Rome. And now, ‘crossing
the Rubicon’ is another name for manly re-
solve, thorough decision, taking a step which
can never be retraced.

Some of you know very well what is the
Rubicon in your life, before which you have
dallied and delayed far too long. And this is
God's call to you as truly as to faithless, fearful
Israel before the Red Sea—‘Go ForRwarbD.’
It is on the other side of the Rubicon of per-
sonal decision for Christ that His open secret
will be found. And if there is a heavy weight
before you, lift it, and it will give you wings.
Carry the cross, and the cross will carry you.

I do like the reply of the little girl when her
mother, who had been showing her a picture
of the surly disciples repelling the women and
children from their Master's presence, said, ‘ If
we had been there, I would have pushed you,
not from Him but to Him. ‘Mother,’ she
answered, ‘I would have gone without push-



Rocking Stones 53



ing.’ Do not rock to and fro any longer in
aimless, pithless fashion. Run, and never look
back. Translate your feelings into facts. Make
your wishes works. Ova et labora was the old
monk’s maxim. And remember that it is
prayer and pains together that will accomplish
everything. Not the toughest tree nor the
hardest rock can resist the cleavage of a wedge
that has a single edge. But a wedge with two
edges is useless. That is why some of you
have made so little progress, or rather, haven't
yet really started in the way of life. You have
a double mind, a divided heart. You are like
the rocking stone on the Devon moor. Take
care. The process of decay is still going on
in these old tors. The point of support is
gradually wasting away, and one day the logan
will cease to rock and become quite irre-
sponsive to the touch of the strongest or the
purest. If you do not act upon the secret
promptings of the good Spirit of God, you will
soon cease to feel them. Christ comes close
up to each of you, calling you by the word of
His grace, touching you by the love of His
cross. But He moves on, this Light of Life,
and if you do not follow, you will be left in the
cold and in the dark. ‘Speak,’ says the Lord,
‘unto the children . . . that they-go forward.



THE KISS

‘Greet ye one another with an holy kiss.’—1 Cor. xvi. 20

WAVHERE are other things than sermons that

consist of ‘two heads and an application.’

The Romans had a word gustus, which
means ¢aste or relish, whence comes our word
chowe—anything that has a good taste. It is
another form of the same word which I have
chosen for my text. A kiss ts a chotce thing.
It tastes or smacks delightfully. Hence it is
the common sign and seal of friendship. The
meeting of parent with child, of brother with
sister, of friend and lover, tastes sweet to the
heart, and the mutual pressure of the lips is the
token of this sweetness. There are, indeed,
different forms of salutation among nations: and
tribes—some of them, as it seems to us, strange
and nasty, like the rubbing of noses. But the
kiss is the commonest, especially on the conti-
nent of Europe and throughout the East. I
once felt quite awkward and shame-faced when

a Russian count, an exile for conscience’ sake,
54





The Kiss 55



with whom I had enjoyed in a foreign town
much pleasant Christian intercourse, kissed me
on both cheeks as we parted at the railway
station. A warm grasp of ‘the hand might
have done as well.

There's a deal of kissing, not always of the
right sort, in the Bible. You might spend a
little while in searching out the typical instances
—such as the kiss of subtle Jacob, of generous
Joseph, of honest Boaz, of cruel Joab, of trait-
orous Judas. The first Christians differed from
other people in nothing more*than in their
mutual love and devotion ;.not otherwise could
they have shown themselves true followers of
the Prince of Peace and King of Love. And
thus ‘the kiss of love’:came to be the tender
token of membership in the Christian society.
They called it ‘giving the peace’ to one
another. It accompanied every act of worship.
It was the seal of prayer and holy communion.
They kissed at baptism and marriage, and the
kiss of peace was left upon the lips of the dy-
ing and the dead. These simple loving ways
suited the infancy of Christ's Church, just as
childhood is the kissing time among ourselves.
But they were apt to be abused. So the good
people, when they met in church, instead. of
kissing each. other, were content to kiss a



56 7 Edges and Wedges



wooden tablet or plate of metal, figured with
the Crucifixion, which they called ‘the pax,’ or
the peace, and which they handed round the
assembly. But this was an odd, unreal kind
of practice, more childish than childlike. The
apostolic counsel just means that Christian
people, young and old, when they meet each
other, are to show their kind and friendly feel-
ings in all frank, hearty, becoming ways. Don't
you think that the children all over the world,
who have ‘church in the house’ on Sunday
evenings, should ‘greet one another with a holy
kiss,’ should think kindly of one another, and
ask for each other the choicest gifts of God’s
love? Just stop for a moment and send a real
kiss of love and peace to all who may, with you,
be reading or hearing these words.

The apostolic rule is very practical. It
means that you give mother a chair before you
take one for yourself, that you do not leave
your little sister in the cold corner, that you
havea kind welcome for the new boy or girl in
your class at school, and that there is to be no
rough speech to the servants at home; for is
it not mean and cowardly to speak rudely to
those who cannot repay you in your own coin?

But ‘the corruption of the best is the worst.’
Rose leaves are fragrant even in decay ; but



The Kriss 57



our darling baby couldn’t long be looked at
when the light of life had gone out of his blue
eyes. Unless our kiss of greeting is ‘holy,’
that is, simple and sincere, unless the heart
kisses as well as the lips, we had better not kiss
at all. And it is so easy to do right things in
wrong ways. Is the shell of much value with-
out the nut, or the candlestick without the
candle, or the envelope without the letter?
Kisses may be hollow and false and poisonous.
We read more about bad kisses in the Bible
than about good ones. Whose was the kiss of
the deceiver, and whose the kiss of the assassin?
Blackest of all was the kiss of the traitor under
the moon-lit olives of Gethsemane, which
wounded the heart of Jesus more cruelly than
the cross nails tore His hands. Yet by the
pure lips he had so foully polluted, Judas was -
still called ‘friend,’ as if to give him one last
opportunity of repenting. Let us take care
that our kisses are always honest and sincere.
Don't be little hypocrites, saying what you do
not mean, and acting differently from what you
feel. It is like the kiss of Jacob, to greet your
father pleasantly at night if you have deceived
him about your conduct during the day. And
if you have talked against a schoolfellow be-
hind his back and plotted to do him a shabby



58 Edges and Wedges

turn, and thereafter accost him as your own
friend and chosen chum, you are acting much
as Judas did, whose kiss told a lie that might
have shocked a devil. I was reading lately
about an eminent man of science, Professor
Sedgwick, who lived to be eighty-eight years
of age. Everybody loved him. Dean Stanley,
who was his friend, said that his eye was like
the eagle’s when it flashed fire against what
was wrong. The good dean treasured an old
grammar, all: tattered and torn, which had
belonged to Sedgwick when he was a little boy
at school ; for he found, written in boyish hand,
on the first page these words from Shakespeare,
which his friend nobly exemplified through his
long and honoured career: ‘Still in thy right
hand carry gentle peace to silence envious
tongues. Be just, and fear not.’ That is the
spirit which you must cherish, if your friendship
is to be worth the having, and if its every token
is to be honest and holy.

But, before I close, I must tell you of another
kind of kiss, although it is almost too sacred
and secret to talk about. God wants you to
kiss flim. The soft winds that fan your
cheeks, the sunlight that sparkles in your eyes,
every rose that yields you its sweet scent, and
every warm kiss imprinted on your lips by



The Kuss 59



father, mother, and friend, might teach you
that. But more. God, as you all know, looks
upon us with the human eyes, touches us with
the human hands, and loves us with the human
heart of Jesus, the Lover of little children and
the Good Shepherd, who gave His life for the
sheep. He is the King of whom we read in
the second Psalm, that echoes the treasonous
talk of evil plotters in their divans. But it is
all in vain. For Jesus is on the throne, and
this is the call of God which rings through the
Bible, and is uttered in all that is tender and
terrible in Nature, and speaks with still, small
voice in all the duties and joys and sorrows of
boyhood and girlhood : ‘ Kiss the Son, lest He
be angry.’

There ts the kiss of worship. And Jesus
loves the heart's praise of the children. There
as the kiss of love. And Jesus has no other
test of discipleship than the old question to
Peter: ‘Lovest thou Me?’ And there is the
hiss of obedience. When a soldier or a states-
man is appointed by the Queen to any special
service he has the honour of kissing her hand,
as he sets forth to do her bidding. And every
boy and girl, just as they are, may ‘kiss hands’
with Jesus now, if they give themselves in His
grace to their own special mission of modesty,



60 Edges and Wedges



trust, love, and cheerfulness. Jesus wants to
be kissed with the homage of our hearts, the
words of our lips and the service of our hands.
Once He was the guest of a rich man, who
was cold and suspicious, and gave Him no kiss
of welcome, as he should have done. Jesus
felt the slight, as He stzl/ feels zt. Buta poor
woman, who had led a bad life until Jesus told
her of the Father’s love and led her to trust in
His forgiveness, so that she was drawn even to -
the house of the Pharisee by her devotion to
her Saviour, made up for Simon's cold indiffer-
ence, as—

‘She sat and wept, and with her untressed hair
Still wiped the feet she was so blessed to touch ;
And He wiped off the soiling of despair

From her sweet soul, because she loved so much.
I am a sinner, full of doubts and fears,

Make me a humble thing of love and tears.’

Yes, Jesus shall never want for trust and love
and praise. But can you bear it that He should
say secretly to you now, as one day He may
have to say it openly before His Father and
the holy angels,—

‘Thou gavest Me no kiss’ ?















































































































THE WISE FOOL.



ALL FOOLS’ DAY

‘I have played the fool.’—1 Sam. xxvi. 21

W are all children on the first morning of
WY April. ‘ Hunt-the-gowk’ is the familiar
“9 name of the day in Scotland, ‘gowk’
being the Scotch for cuckoo, which has come
to mean a foolish person. It is not pleasant to
be made a gowk or fool of, on any day, and
there are limits to the liberty of deception, even
on the first day of April. But he must be a
sour, churlish fellow who takes offence at being
sent, that day, on a bootless errand, or grows
angry because some practical joke has been
played upon him. There isn’t too much laughter
in the world. Work at home and school will
go on more smoothly and briskly after the
pleasantries of Fools’ Day morning, even if
there has been a spice of mischief in them.

I hardly know why the first of April has
beén chosen for taking people -off their guard
and turning the laugh against them. In old
times the year began on March 25, and the

63



64 Ledges and Wedges

festivities of the new year continued till April
1. When, however, a change was made in
the kalendar, and the year began on January 1,
the old associations of March 25: were felt to
be absurdly out of place, and all were fools
who sought for New Year’s Day on April 1.
But this doubtful explanation leaves the fact
unexplained that a fools’ day is observed by
other and remote nations. There is an Indian
tradition, for example, about a young prince,
who was as good as he was brave, and who
was beloved by gods and men. But there was
an evil enchanter who hated the prince and
sought to set his people against him. The
brave prince challenged the enchanter to a trial
of strength. But the evil arts of his foe pre-
vailed. The poor prince suddenly disappeared,
and though sought for by his sorrowing people
long and far, he was never seen again. To
keep his memory alive among them, the search
was renewed on every anniversary of his dis-
appearance, which happened on the first day of
April. Mothers used to say on that day to
their daughters, ‘Go and search for the good
prince and you will find a husband.’ Teachers
said to their scholars, ‘Go and find the young
prince and you will become wise. But the
search was vain. Not thus were girls to be-











All Fools Day 67
come happy wives, nor boys wise men. So
the first of April came to be called by far-away
peoples as well as by ourselves ‘ All Fools’ Day.’

But let the origin or origins of the day be
what they may, it is, perhaps, well for us to
have one day in the year to learn how foolish
we all are as we search for what cannot be
found, and seek after what is never attained.
Smiles and tears are very near neighbours.
And when Fools’ Day next comes round we
may discover some sobering and humbling
truths under our jokes and jests, and see that
we are really laughing at ourselves when we
grow merry over those whom we have sent on
idle quests.

The child sets out to find the rainbow that
spans the hillside, or hastens to nail the fugitive
sunbeam to the window sill, or thinks to keep
the lustrous soap bubble as a thing of beauty
for ever. How foolish! But children of a
larger growth, who may be counted among the
wise, are befooling themselves in a similar way.
every day.

As David, who was then at his noblest and
best, stood on the top of the crag looking
across the gully,.on the other side of which
were Saul and his officers, and holding aloft
the royal spear which yesternight he could



68 Edges and Wedges

have plunged into his pursuer’s heart, the con-
science of the moody, jealous king smote him,
and he cried out in bitterness of soul, ‘ Behold,
I have played the fool and have erred exceed-
ingly. And many a boy has spoken the same
remorseful words ‘between his teeth’ when he
finds that through his unrestrained passion for
sport he has been ploughed in the day of trial,
or that he has lost his situation through his
companionship with a bad set.

In old days, when there was a jester or
‘fool’ in every great man’s house, one of this
odd class had given to him by his master a
gold-headed staff, which he was to keep until
he could find a greater fool than himself. His
lord fell sick unto death. The friendly fool
came to see him and asked him question after
question, —‘ where he was going ?’ ‘ whether he
was coming back again ?’ ‘what preparation he
had made for the journey and for what was to
come after?’ But the sick man could answer
only by a sad shake of the head, implying that
he was quite ignorant on all the points at issue.
Then spake the poor fool, laying his staff by the
side of the great man, ‘ Master, thou tellest me
that thou art about to take a long journey, of
which thou hast long known, and from which
thou shalt not return, but for which thou hast



_ AM Fools Day 69

made no preparation, and of the end of which
thou knowest nothing. I must give thee this
staff thou gavest me. For surely I have found
a greater fool than myself.’

Was he not right? So many people in this
world are reckoned to be clever and ’cute, and
are envied for their success, who have spent all
their time and strength and the best blood of
their hearts in cramming the carriage which
they must leave behind them as soon as they
come to the close of the first stage in a long
journey.

Fool is a tell-tale word, coming from the
Latin word for a wind-bag, and seen in the
verb to blow. Puffed cheeks with cap and
bells, was the made-up fool of long ago as of
to-day. When you are writing your class
exercises on ‘foolscap,’ do you think of this
odd mark of old paper makers which has given
this size of paper its name, and do you take
care not to lead the examiner to think that the
fool’s cap would fit you well? |

In the Book of Proverbs, which is filled with
wise counsels and grave warnings for the young
—and a nice pocket edition of it can be bought
for a halfpenny,—much is told us about fools
and foolishness. It isn’t the simple, slow-
witted boy or girl who deserves the naughty



70 Ledges ana Wedges



name, and you incur the displeasure of the
Divine Protector of the weak and Avenger of
the wronged, when, in contempt or scorn, you
call any one a fool because he may be less
clever, less cultured, and probably less con-
ceited than you are.

I can’t attempt to catalogue all the evil
qualities of mind and heart, of will and way,
which are found in the ‘fool’ of the Bible.
Happily, none of you have reached the deeper,
darker, almost hopeless stages of what the
Bible calls folly, when the heart gets quite
insensible to what is good and true, and doesn’t
feel or find God anywhere. But there is a folly
which the Book of Wisdom tells us is bound
up with the heart of a child, and unless you
get rid of it in early life, you will never reach a
noble manhood or womanhood, but live all your
days in what Milton calls ‘the paradise of fools.’

For the commonest word in the Bible for
fool and folly just means weakness, moral
weakness. The fool is proud, self-confident,
headstrong. He won't take advice, refuses to
be controlled, and is quite sure that all will
come right at last though he is sailing down
the rapids. I wish that I could frighten some
feather-brained, self-willed boy with the picture
of the fool in the Book of Proverbs,



All Fools Day 71



It is painted from the life. He has a vacant,
wandering look, for his eyes are at the ends of
the earth. - Gazing at the stars he falls into the
ditch. He prates or talks idly with his mouth.
He is the original of Bunyan’s Mr. Talkative.
A meddling or meddlesome fellow he is, ‘ show-
ing his teeth,’ as the word means, like a snarling
dog. Yet, for all the good he does, his legs
might hang as loose as a cripple’s. He can
keep what is entrusted to him no longer than
the stone remains in the whirling sling. If you
could put him into a mortar and pound him with
a pestle, his folly would still stick to him.
Counsel and warning and the hard lessons of
experience are quite wasted on him. His folly
is always repeating itself, and like the dog to
its vomit, he returns quite infatuated to his old
wicked ways.

A frightful picture and all too true. But the
evil is not incurable. The fool is not given up
hopelessly to his folly. Christ has come to
make the foolish wise and the bad good. His
Spirit of truth and love is striving with the
senseless, reckless temper of fools. ‘I have
played the fool,’ may be the penitent cry of a
new heart and may mark the first step in the
ways of wisdom. If there is an All Fools’
Day in the year, there is also the Day of All



72 Edges and Wedges
Saints. And in their goodly fellowship you
and I may humbly hope to have a place, if we
have taken the yoke of Christ upon us and are
learners in His school.

‘I have no wisdom, save in Him who is

My Wisdom and my Teacher, both in one;

No wisdom can I lack while Thou art wise,
No teaching do I crave, save Thine alone.’!

1 HH. Bonar.







+L




ne
Sahil SS

THE THREE CHILDREN,



i a
‘es

5 Ny iH Ww
ne
Ma suy/Zeas
fia Si i” He

ANS

AM ,
Wy
D






(Oe






tf iy *





yp WAY gx, x





CB OLALE NOT foe
Dan, iit. 18

FOR BOYS



JFluree short words, soon spoken, easily re-
| membered, not easily forgotten. I do not
6 know that braver words were ever spoken.
They show the high-water mark of courage
and devotion, for they denote the heroism of
the few in the face of the many, of the weak
before the strong—the heroism of the soldier
who, when urged to save his life by the loss
of his honour, said: ‘It is necessary that my
honour should live. It is not necessary that I
should.’

‘But of not. . . The very words for
boys and lads to learn, and love, and live.

These three lads, with their uncouth names,
were not much more than boys. It is an old,
old story. You can read the name of the king

before whom they were arraigned and the
75





76 Edges and Wedges



records of his conquests on clay cylinders now
in the British Museum. And we are not called
to fall down before a golden image rising a
hundred feet into the sky. Nor are we in any
danger of being thrown into a furnace of leap-
ing, hissing flame, just as we have no reason to
expect deliverance in a miraculous way if we
venture life for truth, and right, and God.

But these Hebrew lads thought, felt, lived,
loved, just as we do. Righteousness, good-
ness, and God are the same to-day as in those
far-off times. There are tyrants still ; cruelties,
idolatries, temptations still; and in the boy life
of London, as of Babylon, the inevitable choice
has still to be made between the gain and
pleasure of sin and the loss and pain that come
of doing one’s duty and serving God.

The early Christians knew well what this
story meant for them, else they would not have
loved to scratch on the walls of the catacombs
the three boys in their Phrygian caps and Per-
sian trousers. And if, as is probable, some
Wesleyan boys are among my readers, they
should have a special interest in these words
of the Hebrew protesters, for they formed the
text of a noble sermon preached by the father
of the brothers Wesley, who was a curate in
London, in condemnation of the tyrannous



Pein 70 es TG

mandate of James II. on the eve of the Revo-
lution. ;

Fire is fire. And a burning fiery furnace,
licking up the mighty men who went near
enough to cast the unresisting youths into its
roaring flames, was surely sufficient trial of
faith and constancy. But I believe that these
brave lads had undergone a severer ordeal in
the corrupt court of Babylon, beset, as they
were, by envious and unscrupulous foes, who
were bent upon their downfall. He has the
martyr’s heart who does his duty, whatever it
may be, regardless of consequences. That
weak, timid, sensitive boy in Zom Brown's
Schooldays, who knelt in the open dormitory
to say his prayers, although heavy boots were
flung at his head, till Tom became his pro-
tector, showed the spirit of the Hebrew youths
and knew the meaning of their noble alterna-
tive ‘ But if not > And the same spirit
sustains many a young apprentice who refuses
to swear, or drink, or gamble like others in the
workshop, and who has, therefore, to bear,
unnoticed and unknown, what is little short of
a living martyrdom.

Across the centuries, then, you may well
strike hands with these three young confessors
in Babylon. I want you to chum with these



78 Edges and Wedges



lads, who, when they had to turn or burn, chose
the fire. Let us talk for a little about their
courage, their endurance, their deliverance.

1. I have said that theirs was the highest
kind of courage, and you will, I think, agree
with me. All courage is good; and if your
companionship is of the right sort, those of you
who are weak and timid will be gaining nerve
and pluck. But, don’t confound cheeé with
courage. The rude, swaggering fellow is gener-
ally a bully, and grows white and whimpering
as soon as a decent, steady, manly lad stands
up to him. Many of you know that our word
courage comes from the Latin cor, which means
. the heart; for it isa thing of the heart. You
know what English king was called the lion-
hearted. But I doubt whether many of you
know the origin of our English word coward.
It also comes from a Latin word, cauda, which
means a tail. A coward is a creature’ that
turns tail, like the cur that runs yelping down
the street with his tail between his legs. Boys
with tails, in this sense, had better be shut
up with the monkeys in the Zoo. At school
and in the playground, in the church and the
world, we want boys with hearts—that is, cour-
ageous.

Physical courage is not to be despised. The



Bitatja 10 ns 79
prime need of the soldier, according to General
Wolseley, is zevve; and the little boy’s answer
to the question, ‘What is nerve?’ was a very
good one, when he said, ‘It is walking on
awfully high walls and liking it. Your athletic
sports and class drill should be making you
cool and self-possessed in the sudden moment
of danger; although I don’t want you to show
your nerve in the way little Bob Clive did, who
climbed to the top of the church steeple at
Market Drayton, perched himself on the sum-
mit, and made grimaces at the people below,
who were expecting to see him dashed to
pieces. But one does not wonder that a boy

of such nerve became one of the heroes of the .; -

Indian Mutiny, and led a little army of 1,000
against one that numbered 15,000 horse and
40,000 infantry. .

But moral courage, as you will have to learn,
is a harder and higher attainment than the
most splendid dash and daring. Self-conquest
is the greatest of victories. The hero of a
hundred fights was never so courageous as
when he refused to fight a duel, sending back
this message to his challenger: ‘I am afraid of
sinning ; yow know I am not afraid of fighting.’
What do you think of this epitaph, which is
placed on the grave of a soldier?



80 Edges and Wedges



‘Here lies a soldier, whom all must applaud,
Who fought many battles at home and abroad ;
But the hottest engagement he ever was in
Was the conquest of self in the battle of sin’

Higher than the courage of the soldier who
carries the colours through a rain of bullets ;
higher than the courage of the fireman who
rescues the terror-stricken inmates of a burning
house through choking smoke ; higher than the
courage of the lifeboat crew who struggle
through a blinding storm to the sinking wreck,
was the courage of these three Hebrew boys.
For these others—heroes all—had the stir and
stimulus of applauding onlookers, or the assur-
ance that their country would welcome them
home with honours if they lived, or bless their
memory if they died. But the Hebrew boys
had none of these incentives. They stood
alone, against all the world’s pomp, and power,
and praise, to do a thing unheard of in Babylon
—to set their wills against the will of the
mightiest monarch in the world, who thought
himself a match for any of the gods—-to do
what was unpopular, suspected, and detested.
They had to give up dear life when it was
fairest and most attractive, and when they had
their feet on the ladder of honour and fame.
And it seemed such a little thing they were



SIBOTE WE TAGE 3 81



asked to do—to bow their heads before the
image of the god of Babylon. It was what
everybody was doing; and it was hard to be
marked out as young Pharisees, and hypocrites,
and traitors, and they hadn't the clear, strong
vision of another world and of a waiting, wel- —
coming Saviour and Lord on the other side of
the leaping, hissing flame. No, they lived long
before Jesus had come to open the kingdom of
heaven to all believers.

Boys, wasn’t it the highest kind of courage
just to do the right because it was right? to be
faithful to duty and obedient to the will of God,
though nothing came of it but suspicion, shame,
suffering, and an awful death? This is the
courage of the martyr, the courage of Jesus
Christ Himself, who rejected the offer of all
the world’s power and glory, and chose the
path of obedience to duty which led Him
straight to the cross. This is the courage |
want you to show—the courage to be honest
when it seems the worst policy, and to do the
right though it brings you not smiles but
frowns, not success but failure, not blessing but
cursing. Men and women are still tempted to
worship the idols of worldly success, popular
favour, self-interest, and material gain; and
you boys, I know, are tempted every day to be

-



82 Edges and Wedges



cheeky, and deceitful, and false, to spend
money that is not yours, to indulge in nasty
talk, to smoke, drink, and gamble, to give up
prayer, to forget God and deny your Lord and
Saviour.

Be brave like these Hebrew lads. Refuse
to worship any idol. Stand up against lying,
cheating, and swearing. Dare to do right, and
be sure that God will somehow help and deliver
you, though you suffer for your honesty, purity,
and dutifulness, and your companions unite to
molest you, and you don’t seem to have a
friend on the earth.

2, But imitate these Hebrew confessors in
their endurance as well as in their daring.
Their courage was not a mere flash in the pan ;
it didn’t go down to their shoes at the first
sight of the roaring furnace. Their minds
were made up, their convictions quite settled.
They endured as seeing God, who was invisible
to all else—a name and nothing more.

How that second chance the king gave them
must have tried the young believers! They
had time to reconsider their position. They
never felt before how sweet life was. Friends,
perhaps, came round them—Babylonian girls,
who loved them and whom they loved, hung
upon them, and, with tears, urged them not to



‘But Ceo ene 83



brave the fury of the king. It was a hard
trial. But they persevered, these three lone
lads, against all the world. If they must turn
or burn, welcome the fire!

All boys know something of this second
chance the Hebrew confessors got. The bad
set in the street, or school, or shop try to get
round you, coaxing, flattering, or frightening.
Come with us, do as we do, and (as the king
said) it will be well with you; if not, there is
the burning fiery furnace. Then they turn
round and tell lies about you, persecute you,
and do all they can to make your life miserable.
It is just what the tyrants did long ago with
the young Christians. They showed them the
lions tearing up the living bodies of older
Christians, and then said, ‘Give up, or that’s
your fate.’

Boys, hold on, stand your second trial. Said
one of the Covenanting ministers in Scotland.
to the Marquis of Argyll, as he stood for con-
science sake before the ‘Maiden,’ a kind of
guillotine still to be seen in the Antiquarian
Museum in Edinburgh: ‘My lord, now hold
your grip sicker.’ That's what you and all of
us need to do. Hold fast your grip on duty,
on God, on your own Lord and Saviour, who
will never forsake you. Away with a religion



84 Edges and Wedges



of concealments and compromises, that knuckles
down to the tempter and goes with the crowd!
I want for you a religion that’s fireproof, that
will enable you to suffer rather than sin, and
to die rather than tell a lie. Oh, that you were
like the famous Cameronian Regiment, of
whom it was said that they prayed as they
fought, and fought as they prayed ; they might
be slain, but never conquered. Yes, help,
deliverance, and victory will come in God’s
time and way, which are always the best.
These Hebrew confessors trusted God to de- -
liver them from the fire, but if not—if this were
not His will concerning them, they did not
complain, they did not hesitate; they would
still do their duty and be faithful to their God.
There was one swift moment of fierce agony,
and then they found what they had never
imagined—their God able to deliver them, not
fron the fire, but, what was greater and more
glorious, 7z the fire. And their tyrant, who
had smiled grimly as he saw the daring youths
who ventured to dispute his will tossed into the
flames, starts from his throne in astonishment
_ and dismay as he sees them walking loose and
unharmed in the furnace that swallowed up
their executioners, and a Fourth is with them,
more glorious than the,sons of men, wearing”



UE GLT OLN rnd 85

the mien and apparelled in the celestial splen-
dour of a Son of God.

- 3. It isa nobler thing to be saved in the fire
than from it. It is better to be carried victo-
rious through the fight than to be exempted
from it. If you are truthful, dutiful, God-
fearing, and Christ-loving, you will be delivered
in your boyish troubles, secret temptations, and
unknown conflicts. You will find One with
you, the strong Son of God. General Gordon
used to say that without the presence of God
he was no better than an empty sack bumping
on a camel’s back: And you know what the
hero of Khartoum was when God was with
him in the fire. He who suffered and died for
you, and who loves you and lives for you, and
will let nothing really harm you, calls you to
trust Him and serve Him, firm to the end.
You all know what a roll-call means. If you
have long left school, yet even the oldest of
you can remember how he used to answer to
his name. But there’s another roll-call in the
future—not far off for some of you—-when no
true servant or soldier of Christ will fail to
answer to his name. On a tombstone in a
Scottish parish, covering the remains of a brave
officer, is placed this sentence : ‘ Just as the last
bell struck, a peculiar sweet smile shone on



86 Edges and Wedges



his face, and he lifted up his head a little and
quickly said, Adsum, and fell back. It was the
word we used at school, when our names were
called; and he whose heart was that of a little
child had answered to his name, and stood in
the presence of the Master.’ That sentence,
taken from Thackeray's Mewcomes, is fitly
placed over the grave of the fine old soldier
who was the original of the great writer’s hero.
May grace be given to you, and me, and to all
who read my simple words, to do the right,
careless of consequences, to love and serve our
Lord for His own sake, and be faithful unto
death. Then shall we be able to answer to
our names, not in shame, but with joy, when
the Master calls—that ‘Lord of love and
power, whom our cleansed sight, ‘through
sevenfold flames,’ may see,—

“Walking with His faithful three.’ +

1 Keble



THE TOUCHSTONE
‘The Lord trieth the hearts.’—Prov. xvii. 3

uR words, like old coins, pass among us. so
unquestioned that, when I chose the
subject for my present simple talk with
young folks, I was not thinking of the hard
black stone which was once used as a rough-
and-ready means of testing the purity of gold
But young folks are very inquisitive, and I
shall not get you to listen to me until I have
answered the question which my text has set
you asking.. Well, you know, I daresay, that
while many things are made of gold, scarcely
anything, not even the gold sovereign, is made
of pure gold. The precious metal is mixed
with others less precious, and especially. with
copper, and people naturally wanted to know
how much alloy or baser stuff was mixed. with
the real thing.. The assayer or tester found it
out inthisway. He prepared a number of very:
thin bars or needles of gold, one of which was

made of the pure metal, another contained one
87



88 Edges and Wedges

part of copper, a third two parts, and so on.
Now, each of these needles when drawn across
the black stone left a red mark of a darker or
lighter shade, according to the proportion of
copper in each. When, therefore, anybody
wanted to know how much alloy was in the
piece of gold he might have, the assayer had
just to make a mark with it on his touchstone,
and comparing this with the markings that
were already registered, he could tell with
tolerable accuracy how far the gold was pure
or impure. So much, then, for the goldsmith’s
touchstone.

Now, I have read somewhere of a man who,
long, long ago, appeared among men—they
knew not whence he came—who possessed a
very mysterious touchstone. It tested every-
thing in the land, and discovered its real nature
and worth. Much that seemed fair became
foul, and what was lightly esteemed proved to
be of highest value. Fine jewels lost all their
brilliance, and statues of gold crumbled at its
touch. None escaped this strange assayer’s
test, whether king, priest, or beggar. But the
people at length grew angry. They tired
of being continually tested. They wanted
things to be as they once were. So they rose
against the mysterious Stranger and slew him



The Touchstone 89
and destroyed his touchstone. But they didn’t
gain much thereby. Although the stone was
gone, its testings remained. They couldn't alter
its judgments. The foul could never be fair
again, nor the sham pass for reality.

This is the touchstone I want you to think
_about. It is the touchstone of truth—God’s
truth, for all truth is of God. His scholars
learn it, His saints know it, His prophets preach
it, His soldiers fight for it, and wherever it
comes it works great changes. Not all that
glitters is found to be gold. Lies are forced to
show their ugliness, and the swaggering knave
can no longer pass for a brave and honest man.
But people don’t like to be thus tried and tested
by truth. Those who search for it are despised.
Those who publish it are persecuted. Those
who fight for it find few willing to aid them.
Nevertheless, the truth prevails, for God is
stronger than all beside. They might put the
apostle in prison, but they couldn't keep his
Gospel in chains. They might burn the Bible,
but they couldn’t destroy the faith, and love,
and hope which it had kindled in human. hearts.
Nothing can rub out the marks which the touch-
stone of God’s truth has made upon the con-
science. You can never think that to be right
which you have felt to be wrong. And you can't



go Edges and Wedges

reckon that to be real gold which leaves little
else than a copper mark upon the touchstone.
Tom Brown couldn’t work any more with cribs
when the quiet, unconscious influence of little
Arthur's pure example had made the old, easy
way of getting over his difficulties seem mean
and cowardly. And there is, perhaps, a biggish
girl among those I am now addressing who
sees, even when she tries to shut her eyes to
the unpleasant discovery, that her conduct to
her little sister to-day cannot stand the test of
truth and kindness.. The gold is nothing but
copper.

For you and me the strange story of the man
and his touchstone just means the presence of
Jesus and the voice of His Spirit within us.
He called Himself the Truth. He knew what
was inman. Nobody could wear a mask before
Him, nor appear other than he was. It was
the bad people who put a fair cloak over their
foul sins, and strutted about as the most
excellent of the earth, whom He saw through
and through. He showed them the awful sight
of their real selves, as the only way of their
ever becoming better. But they hated Him
for His truthfulness, and determined to get rid
of Him. The people who knew they were all
wrong and didn’t conceal their badness He



- The Touchstone QI
pitied, and took to His heart, and saved them
from their evil selves. One reason why Jesus
loved children so much was because they looked
straight into His face, answered to His call,
and didn’t try to be other than they were. Oh,
it is a solemn thing to stand in the pure and
perfect light of Christ's presence, for it is the
presence of God. But itis the only way to get
rest and peace. In the game of hide-and-seek
you try all kinds of dodges to escape detection.
But as soon as you are caught all concealment
ends, and you walk in openly, with your captor
as your friend. There was no escape from the
Man and His touchstone. ‘The only way to
hide from God,’ said Augustine, ‘is to hide in
God.’ And though it never is done until we
are sorry for our bad, untruthful, selfish ways
and want to be different, yet it is the happiest
hour in all our lives when we give ourselves up
to Jesus, the Saviour and Judge, and ask Him
to take us in hand, forgive us, search and prove
us, and make us real and true in everything.
When John Ruskin was once addressing an
assembly of big, strong men at Camberwell, he
told them that if they wanted to be true work-
men they must become childlike. And he gave
them four marks of right childhood. They are
four red lines on the black touchstone that show



92 Edges and Wedges

the real gold of childhood by which you may
try and prove yourselves. To be modestis the
first note of right childhood, according to this
good and wise man. To be faithful is the
second; there is nothing better than to bea
trustful and trustworthy child. To be loving is
the third ; and it must be love that shows itself
in real kindness and helpfulness. To be cheer-
ful is the fourth and last essential; and the
humble, trustful, loving child will be full of
God’s own cheer.

I would: not like any sensitive, true-hearted
boy or girl to be discouraged by what I have
said to them about the touchstone of life and
character. If the wedge you work with has got
a single edge ; if you really want to stand right
with truth and duty and God ; if you put your-
selves into the hands of Jesus to be tried and
strengthened, trained and saved by Him, you
must not lose heart because the touchstone
shows that there is still much alloy in the gold.

Good and true men were the monks and their
abbot who lived in a certain monastery long
ago. But it was a sore distress to them that
they could not better render the daily service
of praise. Although they did their best, their
songs, it was said, were enough to frighten
away the birds. Then a new brother came



The Touchstone 93

among them, who possessed the divine gift of
song. And one night, as his pure and perfect
voice rose in the stillness of the chapel and filled
its silences with the music of the Magnificat,
the holy but songless monks began to weep
for joy that now at last the Lord was worthily
praised. The same night, however, the good
abbot had a vision of Christ, who asked him
why, for the first time these many years, no
song of praise had gone up to heaven from the
brotherhood, whose evening hymn had been so
sweet to the ear of the Lord they loved. Over-
whelmed by the revelation, the abbot told how
they had sorrowed that they sang so vilely when
they tried their best, and how they had rejoiced
that night when their new brother sang the
Magnificat with a perfectness that made them
silent for very shame. ‘Ah,’ said the Lord,
‘he sang to his own praise, and the song of the
insincere never reaches heaven. Only the
humble can sing My praise, and what sounds dis-
-cordant on earth may be sweetest harmony in
heaven.’ Doubtless the abbot and his monks
took fresh hope from the heavenly vision, and
the melody of their hearts made their voices
musical in the ear of the Lord. So may it be
with us, if it is the Lord’s judgment that chiefly
concerns us. ‘ Within the folded seed He sees



94 Edges and Wedges



the flower, and in the will the deed.’ And our
talk about the touchstone will not have been in
vain if now upon ‘the knees of our souls’ we pray
“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try
me and know my thoughts, and see if there be
any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way
everlasting.’



THE SPECRRE \OF WitE BIO OKEN,

‘Conformed to the image of His Son.—omz. vill. 29




[Ave you heard of the Spectre of the

Brocken? It is not a ghost-story, although
“\ people are not a little startled at first by
the sight. I want to tell you about it for the
sake of the truth which it will serve, I hope,
to fix in your minds.

The Brocken is the name given to the high-
est summit of one of the Hartz Mountains in
Saxony. If you were there this evening just
before sunset, you would probably find your-
selves in a region of mist and cloud. I shall
suppose you are making your way down the
steep mountain path. On turning a sharp
corner, so that the sun is shining low down at
your back, you are startled to see straight
before you on the opposite bank of fog or mist
a gigantic human form. It stops when you

stop ; it moves when you move; it holds up
95

1
VN





96 Edges and Wedges



its huge hands when you hold up yours; it
does everything that you do, but on an immense
scale, and the strange, startling apparition has
a rainbow-coloured halo around its head. No
wonder that the traveller is at first puzzled and
alarmed at this Spectre of the Brocken. But
it is just yourself that you would be looking
at and shrinking from—the shadow of yourself
thrown upon the misty eastern horizon, greatly
magnified in the slanting sunlight, which gets
broken up into a rude kind of halo by the
watery particles held in the fog.

Now, children, you have never, probably,
seen this spectre of the mountain; but you
have seen something like it, only far more real
and important ; for there are times and scenes
in your young lives when you may and do
really look upon your magnified selves—your-
selves as you will be when grown into men and
women, or even when you have passed into the
great, solemn eternity. Milestones are useful
on a long, unknown road. But God has made
of every turn of our lot a mirror in which we
may see what we are going to make of our-
selves and our lives. Oh, how the sight should
sbock and alarm some of you, and how it may
encourage and strengthen others! ‘How like
he is to his father,’ and ‘ She is the very image



The Spectre of the Brocken 97



of her mother, are exclamations which you
often hear very pleasedly from your friends.
But I want you to remember that you are now
little fathers and mothers, and that your
parents are just yourselves as you will be when
you have beards and are merchants, or farmers,
or doctors, or parsons, or when you wear long
dresses and have houses of your own, and
when you are whitening under the snows of old
age. ‘The child is father of the man.’

Don’t you think that Cain might have seen
the murderer he was going to be in his hatred
and jealousy of his brother, and in God's
merciful warning that sin was crouching like
a wild beast at the door of his heart, ready to
make the fatal spring ? How the young shep-
herd of Bethlehem must have dreamed and
pondered and prayed about his anointing by
the great prophet of Jehovah; and would he
not learn from his care of his father’s flocks and
his battle with lion and bear, something at
least of what he might yet do and dare as
the Saviour and Shepherd of Israel? I can
fancy that Simon, the Galilean fisherman,
puzzled and troubled his mates not a little,
when they were out upon the lake, as he fell to
brooding over the new name of Peter, or Rock,
which the Christ had given him, and in which

G



98 Edges and Wedges



he saw what even he, impulsive and unstable
as he knew himself to be, might, by His grace,
become. It was this new, strange promise and
hope of being a rock-man that bound the rash,
uncertain Simon for ever to the Lord, and
helped to make him the strengthener of his
brethren and the foremost of the apostles.

Your boyish and girlish day-dreams about
what you are going to be should be neither
idle nor fleeting. The boy grows for the
moment quite manful, and the girl a thoughtful
woman, when the ruling passion of their after
lives first lays hold upon them, and they seem
to see themselves crowned in the far future as
artist or musician, merchant or explorer, soldier,
or nurse or missionary. Dream your dreams,
my boys and girls. Cherish your hopes, and
hold to your ideals against every temptation to
give them up. I don’t want any of you to be
like the maiden in the old story, who set out in
the morning to follow her native spring to its
ocean fulness, whose distant murmurs awakened
strange longings in her soul, but who grew
tired of the long quest, and turned aside into
the sleepy meadows, where the sound of the
sea was heard no more. Oh, the pity of it!
For though the meadow-life was pleasant
enough—



Full Text




Ay os Pe
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THE LOGAN STONE.
EDGES AND WEDGES

& Book for the Poung

BY

ARCHIBALD N. MACKRAY, M.A.

Author of ‘Bird-Preachers*

London

THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY!
56 PATERNOSTER Row, AND 65 St, PAUL’s CHURCHYARD
Bur_er & TANNER,
Tue Setwoop Printing Works,
Frome, AND Lonvon.
IT
III

Iv

VI
VII
VIII

IX

XI
XIT
XIII
XIV

XV
XVI

XVII

XVII

CONTENTS

PAGE
THE WEDGE. . é : ; : ‘ ; 7
GOADS AND NAILS ; ; 3 | u 5) GS
ARE YOU BREATHING? : : : F aes
THE TIDAL RIVER : : : : 5 2S:
THE SECRET OF THE LORD : : ; a BS
WEIGHTS AND WINGS. A : 4 i See ANT
ROCKING STONES. : : : : : . 49
THE KIss : 5 : y : : : go gil
ALL FOOLS’ Day . £ ; : 5 : 1803
‘But iF Not, (For Boys). ; : : : 75
THE TOUCHSTONE ‘ : i : : 5 Oy
THE SPECTRE OF THE BROCKEN . : - 95
“AS WATER’. : : 3 3 : . 102
‘HoLp YouR TONGUE’ : , 5 Soar

THE DRILL oF LiFE (Spoken to Members of

the Boys’ Brigade) ‘ : : : abe lely7)
THE PARABLE OF THE CRICKET FIELD (For

Elevens of all Ages). : ; : meeG2
TRHEGIEY, OF (COLD) ee eee ereeericy

THE GATE OF PEARL . : : : : peels 5

THE WEDGE

‘With purpose of heart.’—A¢c?s xi. 23

Dp you know how to use a needle?

“Of course we do, says the youngest
of my girl readers, answering for all the
fair sisterhood. And I wouldn't like to hint
that there exists a boy who couldn't drive a
nail well home, even if he did give his fingers a
taste of the hammer. An axe is an ugly thing
for little folks to meddle with, but there was
a handy little chisel in the box of tools you got
last Christmas. Now, I wish you to remem-
ber that needle and nail, axe and chisel, are
examples of the wedge—one of the mechani-
cal powers (if that is not too big a word for
some of you) by the aid of which men can do
many things that would be otherwise quite im-
possible. By the use of the wedge they can
split a tree and rend the solid rock. Great
ships, too, are raised every day in dry docks
by the same means.

Just stop for a moment and see whether you
7
8 Ledges and Wedges



can put your hand upon a bit of metal or wood,
thick at one end and sloping down to a thin
edge at the other end, which will make my
object lesson quite plain to you. For all sorts
of wedges, big and little, have this one thing
in common—they have only a single edge.
And you can do so much with the wedge be-
cause it is a kind of inclined plane, and its thin
end—it may be a knife’s edge—answers to all
the force which you can give, by pressing or
driving, to its thick end.

Suppose, however, that you had a wedge
with two edges; an iron nail, for example,
whose point had got split. Could you or the
best of carpenters do much with z#? Boys
know very well that if the big blade of the
pocket-knife gets rough and jagged, it is ‘no
good’; and if you tried to drive a wedge that
had a double edge into a piece of timber, you
might shatter the wedge but you couldn’t split
the wood. Get the thin end of the wedge
into anything and you will work wonders, but
only a fool would try to work with a wedge
that had two edges.

Now I want you to think whether there is
not something within you, belonging to your
minds and hearts, which acts like a wedge.
Your fathers would speak of it as your will
The Wedge 9

or your purpose. And it is hard to say what
may not be done or dared by boys and girls
who work with the wedge of a single intention.
Thus prizes are won at school, great scores
are made at cricket, victories are gained over
our evil selves, and battles are fought for truth,
and right, and God. All the might of imperial
Rome was often unable to make a Christian
maiden lay an idolatrous garland on the statue
of Jupiter, and boys in those old fierce days
have chosen rather to face the hungry lions
than renounce their Saviour. That was a
" wedge-like word with a single edge into which
our King Henry V. put all the strength of his
determination whenever he was asked to do
what was wrong. ‘Impossible!’ was the only
answer he gave. And I could wish that all
my readers met the call of duty with the same
force of will which crashed through every
obstacle as the king who said simply, when
some good thing was proposed to lavieot, © MU
must be done.’

But when the wedge has got two edges,
when the heart is divided, and the will does not
all go the same way, what weakness and failure
and defeat are the result! You are working
with a double-edged wedge when you try to
learn your school lessons and have a story book
10 Ldges and Wedges

conveniently beside you, just to glance at for
a moment now and then; when you run an
errand and have a game at ball as you go;
when you kneel at night to say your prayers,
and let your thoughts at the same time chase
one another all over the world. Boys grow
up into men and turn out miserable failures
because they have never learned to do one
thing at a time and with their whole heart. I
warn you against young Master Facing-Both-
Ways, although he has a pleasant smile and
seems to agree with all you say. He doesn’t
look straight at you. His talk sounds hollow.
He chums with you to-day, and with quite
another set to-morrow. You can never be
sure of him. He is like the man in the Bible
who thought to serve two masters. Even the
gentle Jesus abhorred the double-minded. A
wedge with two edges is worse than useless.
Think of the good and noble men you have
read of, like Moses, David, Daniel, Paul,
Luther, Knox, Gordon. They were all men
of a single intention, who set their faces like
a flint to the path of duty. . But it is in the
life story of Jesus, our Lord and Saviour, who
is able to make us like Himself, that we have
the best example of a will that works like a
wedge with a single edge. His boyhood was
Lhe Wedge II

as real as your own, but it was never weakened
and wasted by opposite wills that both wanted
to have their way. When He was just twelve
years old He wondered that anybody (least of
all His own good mother) should not under-
stand that He must be supremely interested
in the things of His Father in heaven. The
thin end of the wedge went in so readily and
quietly! An old English poet calls Christ very
reverently—

‘The first true gentleman that ever breathed.’!

But all the strength of His manhood went
without loss or strain, without hurry or hesita-
tion, to the doing of His Father's will. When
you sing about the ‘Green hill far away,’ you
may well confess—
‘We may not know, we cannot tell
What pains He had to bear,’
as He hung upon the awful cross. But the
wedge had only a single edge, and it was very
fine. Men’s thoughts and ways about sacrifice
had become so poor and unreal, or so wrong
and hideous, that it was the delight of Jesus,
through all His unknown sufferings and sor-
rows, to fulfil the true will of God about saving
others by suffering for them. And even if you
1 Dekker.
12 Edges and Wedges



feel yourselves to be just a bundle of contradic-
tions, and if you can’t make a thorough work
of any duty because your will has got more
than a single edge, Jesus has no greater joy
than to make you like Himself. Let the smith
put the split nail into his furnace until it is
red-hot and he will soon shape it into a single
sharp point. Let him put the rough and
jagged chisel upon his whirling wheel and he
will turn it into a useful wedge with one thin
end. Christ can melt all our rebel wants and
wishes in the fire of His love, and He can
simplify and purify our wills until they shall be-
come the echoes of God's voice.

This simple, friendly talk would be better
remembered, and be longer helpful, if you
would take pen and ink and draw the outline
of a wedge. Then you might put such a
prayer as this at the top: Teach me to do Thy
will; within the wedge itself this would be a
good watchword: With purpose of heart; and
underneath the thin edge of the wedge you
could not do better than write the resolve of
the brave St. Paul: This one thing I do.

tr

Wane _
SOS Fass

iY



: 2 yd
nity Lc

EASTERN PLOUGIIING.
GOADS AND NAILS

‘The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails well
fastened.’—Leccles, xii. 11 (R.V.).

°V, ov have all learned, though not without
Ff tears, to read. At least, the reading
© lesson has begun, although it may be far
from being finished. Are we not learning to
read all our lives? The larger part of your
waking hours, in and out of school, has to be
spent among books. And many of you, I hope,
have begun to love reading for its own sake.
You have discovered the secret of one of life's
highest and longest joys when you find com-
panionship in good books, and are turning to
them as to your best friends.

But I am afraid that a great deal of our
reading is as resultless as dropping seed on the
flagstones. ‘In at one ear and out at the
other’ is too true a proverb. It might help us
to take heed what we read and how we read
if we had a little earnest talk about the two
picture words by which Ecclesiastes, or the

15
16 Edges and Wedges



Preacher, sets forth some of the uses of all
wise words and good books.

THe Goab.

You have seen, I daresay, a picture of an
Eastern labourer at the plough. Two, four, or
eight yoke of oxen may be before him ; and,
like some two-legged creatures I know of, they
are not always intent upon their proper busi-
ness, but are prone to be just too placid and
restful. They need to be roused to action and
made to mind their immediate duty. A whip
would hardly meet the case. So the plough-
man in Bible lands long ago, as in Southern
Europe and Western Asia to-day, was armed
with a wooden pole, eight or ten feet in length
and tipped with iron, by which he could very
efficiently bestir the lazy members of his team
and bring refractory ones to a more sober
mind.

This, then, is the first use of the words of
the wise, especially of teachers, guides, and
friends of the young. They stir the mind,
touch the heart and rouse to action. It isn’t
easy to wake up some of you in the morning
and get you fairly out of bed. And words need
to be like ox goads, if they are to lead you to
Goads and Nails 17



think wisely, feel rightly and do bravely. You
may go on reading story books in an idle,
dreamy fashion, earl you persuade yourselves
that you have been the prime actors in the
scenes over which you have laughed and wept.
The prick of the goad would be useful here.
Many a growing lad has found the turning-
point of his life in a long and earnest talk mie
some older and wiser friend whose faithful
words have pierced the wind-bag of his self-
conceit, shamed him out of his idle ways, and
stirred him to a noble ambition.

Of all wise words none have such power to
awaken thought, kindle feeling and urge to
action as the words of the good old Book,
through which the Spirit of God is now speak-
ing to every one who has ears to hear. The
ox goad is, indeed, a coarse and clumsy weapon
to take as an emblem of the Word of God,
which is the sword of the Spirit. But the
Bible does prick the conscience and the heart
like a goad.

It was so in the experience of Augustine,
when the heavenly voice came to him in the
garden of Milan saying, Tolle et lege, ‘Take up
and read,’ and, opening the New T estament at
Romans xiii., his eyes fell on words at the close
of the chapter which awoke within him the

B
18 Edges and Wedges



pulses of a new life. Honest Martin Luther
found out at Rome that only the Word of
God could heal the wounds it had made.
And as John Wesley listened to the singing of
Psalm cxxx. in St. Paul’s Cathedral, he learned
the truth which went straight to the quick of
his heart, that God is to be feared because He
so freely forgives.

Many of you, I trust, could put a little figure
of a goad over against more than one place in
your Bibles, because this text aroused you from
idle, careless ways, and that helped you to win
a battle over some evil habit, and yet another
kept you firm in the shock of temptation.

What do some oxen do when the ploughman
prods them with his goad? They kick back.
Do you remember how our Lord, from His
heavenly glory, charged the persecutor of His
saints, and therefore of Himself, with doing
this foolish and futile thing when he madly re-
sisted the striving of the good Spirit of God
and the accusings of his own conscience? ‘Saul,
Saul, it is hard for thee to kick against the
goad!’ Perhaps this is what Jesus has to say
about some of you.

But the Preacher's second picture word is
Goads and Nattls 19

Tue NalIL.

He means the big wooden peg that holds
the tent rope, or the golden nail that fastened
the boards of the Tabernacle. All wise words,
and especially the words of perfect Wisdom,
are not only like goads that arouse and bestir,
but they are also like nails that give safe and
sure holding. It is well for a man, said the
Rabbis, to have a nail on which to hang his
thoughts. What confusion there would be at
school and in the house if there were no pegs
for your caps and hats! But that is just the
state of many people’s minds. Their thoughts
are all ‘higgledy-piggledy,’ and nothing can be
found when it is wanted. You should be stor-
ing your minds betimes with great thoughts
and wise words to which you can always attach
yourselves when you have to be your own
company. That is how you may make your
mind a kingdom of which you can never be
deprived.

I have known old people sain in the long
hours of sleepless nights, have held their minds
from growing weary and fearful by the nails
of well-remembered Scriptures and hymns. If
you start in the morning with a text for the
20 Ledges and Wedges



day, and have it well fixed in the mind, you
will have a hold-fast against the tempter’s
most sudden assaults. And when in the’even-
ing you find the nail still in its place, you will
be able to say, with one of God’s heroes in the
old times, ‘ The testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple.’

I want you, then, to take the Goad and the
Nail as tests of the books you read and your
manner of reading them. Do they push you
forward in the right direction, and do they hold
you fast to what is good and true? Columbus’
conviction that there was another world in the
West sent him voyaging through unknown seas,
and kept him steadfast in his mission in spite
of every difficulty and disappointment. If you
will turn to the muster roll of the faithful in
Hebrews xi., you will see for yourselves how
the promise of God has been both goad and
nail to such heroes as Abraham, Joseph, and
Moses. The three boys who went on wor-
shipping the true God in heathen Babylon, and
held to Him in the face of the fiery furnace
heated seven times, are splendid examples of
the impelling and retaining power of the Word
of God. The call of Christ to come to Him

as their Saviour and Lord, and follow Him as
Goads and Nats 21





their Guide, Guardian, and Friend, is to-day
entering, goad-like, into young hearts and lives,
arousing and inspiring them by ‘the expulsive
“power of a new affection,’ to new aims and
endeavours ; and, like the bolt that fastens the
plates of our ironclads, it is also holding them
true to duty and to God.

It belongs to Christ to make us like Him-
self. By His wisdom we grow wise. In trust-
ing Him we become trustworthy. His love is
the magnet of love, till we too come to possess
a little of His attractive power. It is thus that
your words, your private, confidential talk with
friend and chum, may have the stimulating and
sustaining virtues of the goad and the nail.
Never mind an angry retort or surly refusal.
Wake up your class-fellow to prepare for his
exam. Bestir your companion to bear himself
more bravely in the battle of life. Let every
letter to your friend have something in it that
will help him forward. Let your words be
what Luther said St. Paul’s were—living crea-
tures with hands and feet. The nail is, per-
haps, more needful than the goad. Your word
should always be your bond. You must always
be a hold-fast to your brothers and sisters, and
your weak, wavering mate you must keep from
22 Edges and Wedges



going tothe bad. The saving power of Christ's
words may always be passing into ours.

‘Oh, strengthen me, that, while I stand
Firm on the rock and strong in Thee,
I may stretch out a loving hand
To wrestlers with the troubled sea.

Oh, teach me, Lord, that I may teach
The precious things Thou dost impart;

And wing my words, that they may reach
The hidden depths of many a heart.’ 1

1 F, R. Havergal.
ARE YOU BREATHING?

‘Hide not Thine ear at my breathing.’—Zam. iti. 56

lee had taken him, poor boy, out of the
river, dripping and deathly pale, his hands
$

still holding the grass-roots which he had
clutched as he slipped from the bank. But
his rescuers knew what to do, and after, oh!
such a long time, as it seemed, they whispered
to one another, and the whisper flew round the
circle of anxious playmates, who felt that some-
thing of their own life had come back to them
as each said to his neighbour, ‘ He is breathing
again!’ For they knew that if he breathed he
couldn't be really dead.

I daresay it was a word from ie ae old
Book that had come into their minds, though
they didn’t know it. For we often read in the
Bible of ‘the breath of life. Yes; breathing
is the sign and proof of being alive. Some-
times, when all other tokens of life are gone, a
mirror is held over the mouth, and if the slight-
est dimness comes upon the glass it is known
that the breath of life still lingers. For we

23
24 Edges and Wedges



have a kind of living pair of bellows in our
chests, rising and falling every few moments.
When they expand, the air of heaven comes in
to give the blood what it requires, and they
squeeze it out again when they contract, al-
though we are never quite ‘out of breath.’
For that would mean to cease to live.

Now, what is true of the life of the body is
true of another and higher kind of life—one
that thinks, feels, loves, hates, does and dares
right nobly, and is the very best thing in us,
for itis God Himself in us. This life shows
itself by breathing. We call its breathing
prayer. So that if you want to know whether
you are living this best and highest kind of life
—the life Jesus lived—just stop and ask
whether you have been praying to God to-day,
thinking about Him, and wanting to do what
He likes: whether you have been breathing,
for prayer is—

‘A breath that fleets beyond this iron world,
And touches Him who made it.’!

Now you will understand your text for the
week. How often you have lamented the fate
of the timid, sensitive, yet brave and unflinch-
ing, prophet, whom the wicked princes of
Jerusalem left to starve in the prison-pit, be-

1 Tennyson.
Are You Breathing ? 25



cause he would be neither flattered nor fright-
ened into speaking anything but the truth God
gave himto speak! And you boys would have
liked to have had a hand at the ropes by which
the good Ethiopian got him drawn up out of
the foul black mud at the bottom of the empty
cistern into which he had been thrown.

Now, this was what Jeremiah said to God,
when left alone to die miserably in the filthy
dungeon, ‘ Hide not Thine ear at my breathing.
Every breath he drew was a prayer, a cry.
But the cry was so lone and low that only God
could hear it, and the martyr felt that He would
‘put down His ear close to listen. Just as
mother has bent low over you when once you
were so ill that you could do no more than
breathe your wishes into her ear. How I wish
we got to think and feel that praying to God is
just like breathing, and that we can live only
as we pray!

It is not alone with the pair of bellows we
call the lungs that you breathe. There isa
kind of breathing that goes on all over the sur-
face of the body.

If you look at the back of your hand, you
will see (supposing it is clean enough) a multi-
tude of little holes or pores. Each of these
leads. into a tiny twisted pipe, up which there
26 Ie; dees and Wedges



is constantly rising from the blood vessels a
kind of foul breath or steam which, as you
know very well, gathers on your face when you
have been running hard, in great drops. If
the body could not breathe or sweat away its
impurities, the blood would get poisoned, and
we would die. This was the sad fate of a little
boy, a long while ago, at a grand procession in
Rome, where he was made to represent an
angel by covering his whole body with gold-
leaf and fastening a pair of gold wings to his
shoulders. The little fellow looked so lovely
that his mother let him go to bed in all his
gilded glory. But when she came to wake the
sleeping angel next morning, she found that he
was dead. The glittering gold-leaf, stopping
up all the breathing holes of the body, had
killed him.

And the better life which you and I and
everybody might live and enjoy by trusting in
Jesus and doing good is killed in the same way.
If we would but remember that whatever
hinders us from thinking about our Saviour-
God, telling Him everything and trying to
please Him, is stopping our soul’s breath and
slowly killing us!

‘And if for any wish thou dar’st not pray, _
Then pray to God to cast that wish away.’
Are You Breathing ? By



He is putting His ear, just now, close to your
secret heart. Does He hear it breathing ?

One word more. When do you breathe
loudest ? When do you work your bellows
hardest ? When you use the dumb bells or
skipping rope, or have a long run, or do a stiff
bit of work. And when do you pray best?
‘When are your souls most filled with the
breath of God? When you try to be good,
when you are training in Christ’s gymnasium,
‘exercising yourselves unto godliness.’ You
never breathed so loud, never prayed so hard,
as when you closed your teeth upon the angry
word or the mean lie, or stood up for the weak
and wronged, or denied yourself for another's
sake. Some of my boy readers can translate
St. Benedict's watchword — Ora et labora.
Praying and working are just like the double
action of the lungs. And if, holding on by
Jesus, you set yourselves in earnest to love the
good and do the right, and hate every wicked
way, up in heaven God will hear your breath
ing.
THE TIDAL RIVER

‘I came that they may have life, and may have it abun-
dantly.’—/ohn x. 10 (R.V.)

WHE river is one of the oldest emblems of
Ol human life. The boys and girls of long
ae ago, as well as of yesterday, had their de-

_lightful day-dreams as they lay upon the
river bank in the glad summer time. And
though your life is only opening out before you,
you know that it may junfold the same story
which the river tells, in its own way, of tiny
beginnings, first uncertain directions and count-
less little tributaries ; a story, too, of noisy shal-
lows, sluggish flats, silent pools, and finally of
a peaceful, majestic ending, which is, however,
but a new and nobler beginning, in the blue,
the infinite sea.

But there is one notable feature of the great .
rivers of the world which our story has not
included. And if the Brook may be credited
with the musical song many of you know, we
might, perhaps, fancy the River growing weary
of its constant flow, sighing over its hard lot ot

rush and race and perpetual pouring of itself
28
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A TIDAL RIVER.

Lhe Trdal River om

away. But one day a strange thing happened
to it. Its waters ceased to flow down into the
vast, insatiable sea. On the contrary, the sea
began to flow up into the river, filling it from
bank to bank, while great ships sailed on its
broader bosom, and strange fish swam far up
its deeper channels. Instead of giving it was
getting, instedd of flowing away it was filling
up. It had become a ¢2dal river. The sea
took possession of it twice a day for many a
mile. Up the Amazon, for example, the tide
flows for 576 miles, and the Mersey at its
mouth rises thirty feet at high tide. What a
triumphant song the tidal river may be sup-
posed to sing !

The river of human life, yours and mine, is,
or ought to be, a tidal river. For the ocean of
God's life and love is seeking by every channel
to flow into and possess our minds and hearts
and wills, and make our little lives larger and
richer and more useful. You wonder now how
you once got so much enjoyment out of your, —
old toys and games, and to-morrow you will
care little for the dearest desire of to-day. The.
cry of the human heart is everywhere for ‘ more
life and fuller,’ though it takes wasteful and
woeful ways of satisfying its needs. But every
tidal river is charged by God to tell, in its own
nN

Edges and Wedges

} Go



way, the glad news of His Son’s coming, that
you and I and everybody may have the best
of life and abundance of it. Have you never
felt the tide of Truth, Purity, and Love rising
within you, as you looked down into the cup of
a flower or watched the white clouds overhead
or read of brave deeds or knelt in prayer or
did a kind act that cost you something? I
wish you would stop and consider whether you
are letting the sea of God's grace into the river
of your lives.

“Lord, we are rivers running to Thy sea,

Our waves and ripples all derived from Thee :

A nothing we should have, a nothing be,
Except for Thee.

Sweet are the waters of Thy shoreless sea,

Make sweet our waters that make haste to Thee;
Pour in Thy sweetness, that ourselves may be
Sweetness to Thee.’ +

I never heard of any riverside people neglect-
ing or resisting the tides that flowed up their
rivers. They know their value too well to be
guilty of such suicidal folly. And as many
causes are at work at the mouths of rivers to
bar out the sea, there are many skilful and
costly contrivances for removing obstructions,
deepening the estuaries, and keeping the tidal

1 Christian Rossetti.


The Tidal River 33



way open. Jetties serve to prevent the sand
from silting up. Training walls concentrate
and guide the flow of the tides. And huge
_ dredging machines are kept working at great
_ expense to remove the drift of the river and
increase its tidal capacity. Without going
beyond our own shores, one may see on the
Clyde and the Tyne how to make the most of
the wealth-bringing tides of the sea.

I wish we cared half as much to make room
-in our hearts and lives for the tides of God’s
saving love. But pious wishes are not enough.
We must give ourselves to real, hard, steady
dredging. Sheer laziness, the habit of putting
off till to-morrow what should be done to-day,
selfish greed, bad temper and evil companion-
ship are obstructions that must be cleared out
at all costs. We must attend to the training
walls of God’s holy commandments. For the
tides of His grace run best in the lines of faith,
in the promises and obedience to the precepts
_ of God’s Word. And if we practise the double
P. of the great missionary —‘ Prayer and
Pains,’—we shall enlarge our hearts and increase
our tidal capacity. It is a great thing to lay
ourselves out, like the river, for the inflowing
of the Spirit of truth and power and love. The

tide would never ebb if we tried always to be
c
34 Edges and Wedges



living with Jesus, who is come that we might
have life in Him, and have it ever more abun-
dantly. No more sticking in the mud nor
standing apart from each other. The tide is
coming in; and what may we not be and do
and dare when the infinite sea of God’s love is
filling up the river of your life and mine until
it overflows all its banks ?

Here is a little bit of a sermon preached by
a great and good man to the House of Com-
mons more than 300 years ago. I do not think
that you will find Dr. Cudworth too hard to
understand, and his noble words might well
be taken to proclaim the gospel of the Tidal
River: ‘There is a straitnesse, slavery, and
narrownesse in all sinne; sinne crowds and
crumples up our souls, which, if they were
freely spread abroad, would be as wide and
large as the whole universe. No man is truly
free but he that hath his will enlarged to the
extent of God’s own will, by loving whatsoever
God loves and nothing else . . . He
enjoys a boundlesse liberty and a boundlesse
sweetnesse, according to his boundlesse love.
He enclaspeth the whole world within his out-
stretched arms. His soul is as wide as the
whole universe, as big as yesterday, to-day and
for ever.’
IGE SIHCIME I (OVE FMEUS, ILOURID

PS, X8V. 14

HAVE forgotten, I fear, most of the riddles
I was familiar with when a boy. But this
one, at least, has stuck to my memory:
‘Too much for one, enough for two, and
nothing at all for three.’ It is what little
folks dearly love to possess. How close the
little heads come together! What whispering
and listening! What vows of silence! And
what confidential looks and nods pass between
the two for whom it is just enough! Yes, it is
delightful to have a real good secret with just
one other ; and if it should come to the tip of
the tongue, the teeth must close firmly. upon it
before it gets to a third, when, as the riddle
says, it would be nothing at all.

It is not, of course, every secret that we
should wish to know or ought to keep. There
are false, foul, guilty, ghastly secrets that turn
the hearts that hold them into living hells.
Like the black streak in the white marble,
many a young life has been lastingly defiled by
36 Edges and Wedges



some hidden evil which it has taken into itself.
If I speak to boy or girl who has a dark secret
in the heart which is poisoning all the sweet
springs of life, let me urge them to tell all at
once to their own father or mother, and have
done with the foul thing before it becomes, like
the flaw in the marble, part of themselves.

But this world is full of secrets, rare, rich,
and rewarding, which the wise and good God
has put into air, water, and fire; into tree,
flower, and stone; into every form of life, and
into the words and ways of men. What a
fruitful secret young James Watt found in the
white cloud of steam which he watched as it
came out of his mother’s kettle boiling on the
fire! And if you will keep your eyes and ears
open, and, like Sir Isaac Newton, give atten-
tion to things, you may one day discover some
new secret of Nature which may prove a great
blessing to mankind.

But our text speaks of the secret of secrets,
and tells us, also, how we may make it our very
own. The words are soon learned, but we
shall never find out all the wonders that lie
within them. ‘ Zhe secret of the Lord 1s with
them that fear Firm. Just think of it. God
and you come so close together that He tells
you His secret. He sent His Son from heaven
ES Oe Pa

The Secret of the Lord _ 37
to earth to bring about this close, confidential
fellowship. It is in Jesus, the Son of His love
and the Saviour of the world, that the secret
of the Lord is with them that fear Him.

This word ‘secret’ is a picture-word. It
suggests a couch, or rather a carpet, spread
upon the floor, just large enough for two, upon
which in the East they sit, ¢é¢e-d-¢éte, as the
French say, their heads close together in
private, confidential talk.

This picture-word is thus a little window
which lets you look into a great matter. God
takes His people into such near and dear re-
lations to Himself that they sit, as it were, upon
the same carpet. The secret of the Lord is
with them. But nobody understood all that
this could mean until God Himself became one
of us, under the conditions of a human birth
and a human life, and looked out upon men
with human eyes, and drew them to Himself
with human hands, and loved them into loving
Him with a human heart that broke in its
sorrow for their sin and misery.

Who is it that is called Immanuel?. And
what does that name mean? I was one day
sitting, very lonely, in the dining-room of a
foreign hotel, with a hundred and fifty noisy
Germans around me. Waiting till the head
38 Edges and Wedges



waiter came round for payment of my dinner,
I was testing my eyesight, which was then
very weak, with a ¢haler, or German crown-
piece, I had in my‘hand. To my surprise and
delight, I found around the rim of the big
silver coin the watchword of the now Imperial
House of the Hohenzollerns : ‘ Gott mt uns’
—‘God with us. It came to me, this old
battle cry of the Prussians, as the very secret
of the Lord, and I thought of the dying words
of John Wesley—‘ The best of all is, God is
with us.’ And I felt, I hope, something of the
humble, holy, loving fear of the Lord, without
which we can have no secrets with Him.

Try now to remember the three words, each
beginning with a ¢, which will show you suff-
ciently the character of the happy Fearers of
the Lord, whom He takes into His counsel, and
to whom He tells His secret—trust, truth, and
tenderness.

You must trust the Lord, saying from the
heart the first two words of the Lord’s Prayer,
which a poor boy in the East End of London,
who had never been within a church, and who
knew nothing of the Bible, prayed night and
morning at his wretched bedside, and this one
struggling sunbeam transformed his dim, sad

life—‘ Our Father.’
The Secret of the Lord BO.



Then you must be true to the Lord ; ¢vusé-
worthy, as well as, and just because you are,
trustful. God will not tell His secrets to those
who do not keep His word.

Finally, you must have a ¢ender heart to-
wards the Lord, such as you have towards your
own mother, whom you can’t bear to offend,
whom it pains you to grieve. What is called
fear in the Old Testament is called dove in the
New. The secret of secrets is Jesus Himself,
and only love knows Love. He is with them
that are trustful, truthful, and tender-hearted ;
with them in the street, at the school, in the
shop, and when afar off upon the sea; with
them as their Guide, Guardian, Friend, and
Companion. Oh, it is good to have secrets
with the Lord Jesus—quiet talks, hidden con-
fidences. A good man used at times, as he
walked along the street, to raise his hat from
his head, and, on being asked by a friend why
he did so, he confessed that it was because he
felt the Lord so near to him. I have a vivid
remembrance of a visit I paid, when a boy, to
a feeble old man, who had long been ‘beadle’
in our church, in a country town in the north of
Scotland, and whom I found lying in what was
called a box bed in a comfortless little room.
‘How lonely, Gordon, you must be here!’ |
40 Ldges and Wedges

said in boyish honesty. ‘Oh no, master,’ he
answered, ‘I’m never lonely. The good man’s
confession is one of my earliest recollections.
I must have felt that he possessed a secret that
was unknown to me — one that Jesus had
taught him: ‘Alone, yet not alone, for the
Father is with me.’

The secrets in people's hearts may often be
guessed at from their faces. You may some-
times know those with whom is the secret of
the Lord by their peaceful, happy looks, but a
surer sign is their gracious words, kind acts,
and winsome lives. Even in heaven there will
be the secret of the Lord. Everything will
not be public. We shall not be lost in the
crowd. For it is our Father's house, and not
one child will be confounded with another.
Christ promises to him who overcomes in the
good fight of faith—to every one who by His
grace and strength is true, brave, pure, kind,
and loving, ‘a white stone, and upon the stone
a new name written, which no one knoweth
but he that receiveth it. What a secret that
will be! I wonder what it can be! I mean to

find out one day. Well you ?
WEIGHTS AND WINGS

‘It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.’
Lam, ni. 27
Vi EIGHTS AND Wuncs; the youngest of
\ iy my readers ¢an easily remember these
4° two words, each of them beginning with
the double v, which is such a trouble to
foreigners. And I shall try to show you how
all our weights may become wings. The truth
will, perhaps, find readiest entrance into your
minds through the fable that tells how the
birds came to fly. For at the first they could
only run upon the ground like other creatures.
But one day God brought two little burdens,
and laid them down on either side of every
bird according to the size of each. And He
said to them (for God can speak to birds as
well as to angels and men), ‘Take up these
burdens and carry them for Me.’ Now the
birds that obeyed God’s command found that
the burdens beside them clung to, and became

part of, themselves. They could move them
41
42 Edges and Wedges

about and rise with them, until at last by means
of them they mounted aloft and roamed at will
through God’s great heaven of blue. The
weights became wings. In bearing their bur-
dens the birds found that their burdens bore
them.

Now I don’t believe that the youngest little
toddler who listens to what I am saying is
quite without a burden, or difficulty, or trouble.
Haven’t some eyes been wet to-day, some
hearts sad, some little heads very perplexed? |
Oh, they don’t know children who think that
they are without troubles and cares! Brave
little weight-carriers I know of, who are ‘ breed-
ing their future wings.’ I have heard girls, not
very young either, singing a rather foolish song
about wings, and what they would do with
them if they had them. And when we put the
wishing cap on our heads we suddenly mount —
up as on eagles’ wings, and we do marvellous
things. But it is out of our heavy weights,
not our idle wishes, that we gain real wings.
Haven't you found this out for yourselves?
Learning to write, for example, is not an easy
thing. Oh, the weariness of those everlasting
strokes and pot-hooks, the fingers that z7// get
inky, and the copybooks that w2// get blotted,
and the pens that never wré/ go right, even
Weights and Wings 43



when the Seti tongue is following the
devious course of each uncertain capital! But
now that by letter writing you can still talk to
father and mother when they are from home,
and know what your brother is doing in Canada
or Australia, have not the weights become
wings? How I have pitied people who, having
never learned to write even their own names,
have had to be content with making a mark
like this—X! It is a life-long burden they
have to carry, because they had not borne the
school yoke i in their youth.

Neither is it easy to learn languages. The
French verbs are such a bother to the brain,
and if the roads of the Romans go straight
over hill and dale, their long sentences seem
as confused and confusing as the maze at
Hampton Court. But when you come to
travel on the Continent, or go into an office in
the City, or when you can make companions
of the wisest and wittiest of the old Greeks
and Romans, you will find that the weights
have given you wings. I have known lads at
school and college who were heavily weighted
in the race by SINS: we call adverse circum-
stances. Some of them lived just one or two
degrees above starvation. Oh, it was hard,
entel work! But their difficulties became a
44 Edges and Wedges

divine discipline. They learned to do without,
and that is a way of growing rich in which the
poorest may excel. They learned the secret,
through prayer and pains, of turning weights
into wings.

Look at that boy of twelve or fourteen, sit-
ting, on a summer evening, in the early years
of this century, on the coping of the railing
that enclosed Canterbury Cathedral. He has
worked hard all day in the shop of a coach-
builder. Too poor to purchase drawing mate-
rials, he is content with an old slate and pencil ;
and it was thus equipped that an artist found
little Sidney Cooper, night after night, on the
coping, sketching the great church, and gave
him, to his astonishment and delight, his first
bundle of pencils. The boy became a famous
landscape painter, and in the story of his life,
which he has lately told, his use of the slate for
sketching the cathedral is seen to be only the
first of many other instances of weights be-
coming wings. And this is how the veteran
artist closes his autobiography: ‘I feel that I
have risen to some distinction, and that I have
a name which no gold could purchase nor parch-
ment alienate. I have, moreover, found peace
in the better knowledge of my Saviour, and
grace which will comfort me for the rest of my
Weights and Wings 45
life; as well as trust, which will bear me
through the dark valley when my time comes,
and the blessed assurance that there is a glori-
ous immortality, and that I shall one day see
Him as He is.’

But it is ‘when we read the sweet story of
old, when Jesus was here among men,’ that we
learn best how weights become wings. We
shall never, indeed, know all the burdens that
were laid on Him when He gave Himself to
do the Father’s will and save the world. But
He spoke of His sufferings and death for us as
His being ‘lifted up.’ And if under the bur-
den of our salvation He was lifted up to the
cross of shame, was He not also, by the same
burden, lifted up to the throne of glory, where
He holds the post of honour in the universe of
God? You remember how He likened His
strong, tender, self-sacrificing, unquenchable
love to the wing of the mother bird spread over
the helpless brood in the hour of peril. But
we shall never put our trust under the shadow
of His wings until we really believe that all the
heavy, crushing weights He bore for us, as Boy.
and Man, as’ Servant, Sufferer, and Saviour,
have given Him His wings of pitying, shelter-
ing, saving love, under which He would gather
us and all men.
46 Edges and Wedges



And Jesus is the Power to make us like
Himself. It is a hard struggle for boys and
_ girls, as well as for grown men and women, to
curb the temper, crush down evil thoughts, and
hate every wicked way, and be truthful, faithful,
pure-hearted, generous, and brave. But if you
ask the Saviour to help you; if you join com-
pany with Him and get Him to fill you with
His own spirit of trust and love, of purity and
patience, of grace and glory, you will find that
the burdens you carry are carrying you. And
out of the weights you have to bear, as Chris-
tian boys and girls, you will acquire good and
noble habits that will be as eagles’ wings to
you in all your future lives.

The birds in the fable that would not carry
the weights God in His wise love put down
beside them are wingless to-day. Even the
kite you fly in the meadow will not mount up
steadily without a weight to its tail. To be
without a burden is the greatest burden of all.
The old prophet was right when he said that it
was good for a man to bear the yoke in his
youth. You should see the gleam of bright
wings in every. heavy weight you are called to
carry. In the school of Christ the yoke gives
ease and the burden grows light. To bear the
cross is to wear the crown.

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DARTMOOR.




ROCKING STONES

‘ Speak unto the children . . . that they go forward.’—
Exod. xiv. 15

Wes I lived in South Devon I often spent
Yi¥ a holiday on Dartmoor, where I have
ais passed many a restful hour among those
great, odd-looking masses of rock known by
the name of Zorvs. They have such funny,
fantastic shapes. There is what looks like a
huge honeycomb, and yonder is the face of an
old man with enormous nose, while farther off
there is a ruined tower that might have been
once a part of a keep or castle. But they are
all self-made, or rather self-ruined. Their
granite is of a kind that decomposes in the
course of time. The sand and earth get washed
away by the winters’ rains. Growing top-heavy
as the ages run on, and sorely beaten by wind
and weather, those huge masses of stone at last
fell in upon themselves, and took those strange,
weird shapes that have given rise to’ many a
fabulous tale. One of. these rocks is called a
logan, or rocking stone. The rock has been
49 D
50 ee eek and ES

gradually eaten away into two parts, the upper
half retaining its upright position, and having
its point of support resting in a natural socket
in the lower half. Hence, while a strong push
makes the huge stone move in its socket, not
the strongest arm can move it out of its place.
It rocks for a time, but as surely returns to its
old point of repose. These rocking stones are
found in several parts of our country, and used
to be held in awe by the simple country folk,
who fancied that they might learn something
about the future from the number of times the
strange stone rock rocked after it had been
touched.
But while they are no longer used for divina-
tion I have found a sermon in these stones,
which I have often needed to preach to myself.
And how many boys and girls there are like
the logan or rocking stone! Moved they may
be, but never removed. They rock, but will
not run. They are like the son in the parable
who promptly answered his father’s vineyard
call, ‘1 go, sir’; du¢ went not. You have felt,
once and again’ as I have talked with you, that
the preacher was describing your own faults,
and throwing an electric light upon the hidden
evils of your hearts, and you have been ashamed
of your own meanness, selfishness, cowardice
Rocking Stones 51



and cruelty. You have felt your eyes grow
moist and a lump came into your throat, as you
read about little unknown heroes and heroines,
inspired by the love of Christ, at.any cost of
service or suffering, to be the saviours of
others. And you have longed to be true and
good and brave and self-sacrificing like them.
But the rocking stone, let it be pushed ever so
hard, still keeps in its old socket.

And how many of my readers still put feeling
in the place of acting, and meaning to do in-
stead of really doing! Yet all that is best in
boy and girl nature recoils from this undecided,
see-saw sort of life. None is more deservedly
detested at school than the boneless fellow who
never makes up his mind, never sticks to his
guns, is ‘everything by starts and nothing long.’
You can’t play with him, work with him, con-
fide in him—you can’t even fight with him.
Boys should be like their school colours—no
mistaking what they are. Even my little six-
year-old, catching the excitement of the town
where we lived over a parliamentary election,
but not very sure about his words, was quite
certain that he was ‘a Liberary,’ while his twin-
sister was not less emphatic in declaring that,
like all good people, she was ‘a Conservatory.’
No part, I fancy, of the great Czesar’s life
52 Edges and Wedges



awakens youthful enthusiasm like his early
defiance of a jealous Senate who forbade him
to cross the boundary of the northern province
of Italy. He wandered all day along the banks
of the forbidden river, until preferring, as he
said, to be the hammer rather than the anvil, he
plunged into the stream and led his victorious
soldiers straight to Rome. And now, ‘crossing
the Rubicon’ is another name for manly re-
solve, thorough decision, taking a step which
can never be retraced.

Some of you know very well what is the
Rubicon in your life, before which you have
dallied and delayed far too long. And this is
God's call to you as truly as to faithless, fearful
Israel before the Red Sea—‘Go ForRwarbD.’
It is on the other side of the Rubicon of per-
sonal decision for Christ that His open secret
will be found. And if there is a heavy weight
before you, lift it, and it will give you wings.
Carry the cross, and the cross will carry you.

I do like the reply of the little girl when her
mother, who had been showing her a picture
of the surly disciples repelling the women and
children from their Master's presence, said, ‘ If
we had been there, I would have pushed you,
not from Him but to Him. ‘Mother,’ she
answered, ‘I would have gone without push-
Rocking Stones 53



ing.’ Do not rock to and fro any longer in
aimless, pithless fashion. Run, and never look
back. Translate your feelings into facts. Make
your wishes works. Ova et labora was the old
monk’s maxim. And remember that it is
prayer and pains together that will accomplish
everything. Not the toughest tree nor the
hardest rock can resist the cleavage of a wedge
that has a single edge. But a wedge with two
edges is useless. That is why some of you
have made so little progress, or rather, haven't
yet really started in the way of life. You have
a double mind, a divided heart. You are like
the rocking stone on the Devon moor. Take
care. The process of decay is still going on
in these old tors. The point of support is
gradually wasting away, and one day the logan
will cease to rock and become quite irre-
sponsive to the touch of the strongest or the
purest. If you do not act upon the secret
promptings of the good Spirit of God, you will
soon cease to feel them. Christ comes close
up to each of you, calling you by the word of
His grace, touching you by the love of His
cross. But He moves on, this Light of Life,
and if you do not follow, you will be left in the
cold and in the dark. ‘Speak,’ says the Lord,
‘unto the children . . . that they-go forward.
THE KISS

‘Greet ye one another with an holy kiss.’—1 Cor. xvi. 20

WAVHERE are other things than sermons that

consist of ‘two heads and an application.’

The Romans had a word gustus, which
means ¢aste or relish, whence comes our word
chowe—anything that has a good taste. It is
another form of the same word which I have
chosen for my text. A kiss ts a chotce thing.
It tastes or smacks delightfully. Hence it is
the common sign and seal of friendship. The
meeting of parent with child, of brother with
sister, of friend and lover, tastes sweet to the
heart, and the mutual pressure of the lips is the
token of this sweetness. There are, indeed,
different forms of salutation among nations: and
tribes—some of them, as it seems to us, strange
and nasty, like the rubbing of noses. But the
kiss is the commonest, especially on the conti-
nent of Europe and throughout the East. I
once felt quite awkward and shame-faced when

a Russian count, an exile for conscience’ sake,
54


The Kiss 55



with whom I had enjoyed in a foreign town
much pleasant Christian intercourse, kissed me
on both cheeks as we parted at the railway
station. A warm grasp of ‘the hand might
have done as well.

There's a deal of kissing, not always of the
right sort, in the Bible. You might spend a
little while in searching out the typical instances
—such as the kiss of subtle Jacob, of generous
Joseph, of honest Boaz, of cruel Joab, of trait-
orous Judas. The first Christians differed from
other people in nothing more*than in their
mutual love and devotion ;.not otherwise could
they have shown themselves true followers of
the Prince of Peace and King of Love. And
thus ‘the kiss of love’:came to be the tender
token of membership in the Christian society.
They called it ‘giving the peace’ to one
another. It accompanied every act of worship.
It was the seal of prayer and holy communion.
They kissed at baptism and marriage, and the
kiss of peace was left upon the lips of the dy-
ing and the dead. These simple loving ways
suited the infancy of Christ's Church, just as
childhood is the kissing time among ourselves.
But they were apt to be abused. So the good
people, when they met in church, instead. of
kissing each. other, were content to kiss a
56 7 Edges and Wedges



wooden tablet or plate of metal, figured with
the Crucifixion, which they called ‘the pax,’ or
the peace, and which they handed round the
assembly. But this was an odd, unreal kind
of practice, more childish than childlike. The
apostolic counsel just means that Christian
people, young and old, when they meet each
other, are to show their kind and friendly feel-
ings in all frank, hearty, becoming ways. Don't
you think that the children all over the world,
who have ‘church in the house’ on Sunday
evenings, should ‘greet one another with a holy
kiss,’ should think kindly of one another, and
ask for each other the choicest gifts of God’s
love? Just stop for a moment and send a real
kiss of love and peace to all who may, with you,
be reading or hearing these words.

The apostolic rule is very practical. It
means that you give mother a chair before you
take one for yourself, that you do not leave
your little sister in the cold corner, that you
havea kind welcome for the new boy or girl in
your class at school, and that there is to be no
rough speech to the servants at home; for is
it not mean and cowardly to speak rudely to
those who cannot repay you in your own coin?

But ‘the corruption of the best is the worst.’
Rose leaves are fragrant even in decay ; but
The Kriss 57



our darling baby couldn’t long be looked at
when the light of life had gone out of his blue
eyes. Unless our kiss of greeting is ‘holy,’
that is, simple and sincere, unless the heart
kisses as well as the lips, we had better not kiss
at all. And it is so easy to do right things in
wrong ways. Is the shell of much value with-
out the nut, or the candlestick without the
candle, or the envelope without the letter?
Kisses may be hollow and false and poisonous.
We read more about bad kisses in the Bible
than about good ones. Whose was the kiss of
the deceiver, and whose the kiss of the assassin?
Blackest of all was the kiss of the traitor under
the moon-lit olives of Gethsemane, which
wounded the heart of Jesus more cruelly than
the cross nails tore His hands. Yet by the
pure lips he had so foully polluted, Judas was -
still called ‘friend,’ as if to give him one last
opportunity of repenting. Let us take care
that our kisses are always honest and sincere.
Don't be little hypocrites, saying what you do
not mean, and acting differently from what you
feel. It is like the kiss of Jacob, to greet your
father pleasantly at night if you have deceived
him about your conduct during the day. And
if you have talked against a schoolfellow be-
hind his back and plotted to do him a shabby
58 Edges and Wedges

turn, and thereafter accost him as your own
friend and chosen chum, you are acting much
as Judas did, whose kiss told a lie that might
have shocked a devil. I was reading lately
about an eminent man of science, Professor
Sedgwick, who lived to be eighty-eight years
of age. Everybody loved him. Dean Stanley,
who was his friend, said that his eye was like
the eagle’s when it flashed fire against what
was wrong. The good dean treasured an old
grammar, all: tattered and torn, which had
belonged to Sedgwick when he was a little boy
at school ; for he found, written in boyish hand,
on the first page these words from Shakespeare,
which his friend nobly exemplified through his
long and honoured career: ‘Still in thy right
hand carry gentle peace to silence envious
tongues. Be just, and fear not.’ That is the
spirit which you must cherish, if your friendship
is to be worth the having, and if its every token
is to be honest and holy.

But, before I close, I must tell you of another
kind of kiss, although it is almost too sacred
and secret to talk about. God wants you to
kiss flim. The soft winds that fan your
cheeks, the sunlight that sparkles in your eyes,
every rose that yields you its sweet scent, and
every warm kiss imprinted on your lips by
The Kuss 59



father, mother, and friend, might teach you
that. But more. God, as you all know, looks
upon us with the human eyes, touches us with
the human hands, and loves us with the human
heart of Jesus, the Lover of little children and
the Good Shepherd, who gave His life for the
sheep. He is the King of whom we read in
the second Psalm, that echoes the treasonous
talk of evil plotters in their divans. But it is
all in vain. For Jesus is on the throne, and
this is the call of God which rings through the
Bible, and is uttered in all that is tender and
terrible in Nature, and speaks with still, small
voice in all the duties and joys and sorrows of
boyhood and girlhood : ‘ Kiss the Son, lest He
be angry.’

There ts the kiss of worship. And Jesus
loves the heart's praise of the children. There
as the kiss of love. And Jesus has no other
test of discipleship than the old question to
Peter: ‘Lovest thou Me?’ And there is the
hiss of obedience. When a soldier or a states-
man is appointed by the Queen to any special
service he has the honour of kissing her hand,
as he sets forth to do her bidding. And every
boy and girl, just as they are, may ‘kiss hands’
with Jesus now, if they give themselves in His
grace to their own special mission of modesty,
60 Edges and Wedges



trust, love, and cheerfulness. Jesus wants to
be kissed with the homage of our hearts, the
words of our lips and the service of our hands.
Once He was the guest of a rich man, who
was cold and suspicious, and gave Him no kiss
of welcome, as he should have done. Jesus
felt the slight, as He stzl/ feels zt. Buta poor
woman, who had led a bad life until Jesus told
her of the Father’s love and led her to trust in
His forgiveness, so that she was drawn even to -
the house of the Pharisee by her devotion to
her Saviour, made up for Simon's cold indiffer-
ence, as—

‘She sat and wept, and with her untressed hair
Still wiped the feet she was so blessed to touch ;
And He wiped off the soiling of despair

From her sweet soul, because she loved so much.
I am a sinner, full of doubts and fears,

Make me a humble thing of love and tears.’

Yes, Jesus shall never want for trust and love
and praise. But can you bear it that He should
say secretly to you now, as one day He may
have to say it openly before His Father and
the holy angels,—

‘Thou gavest Me no kiss’ ?









































































































THE WISE FOOL.
ALL FOOLS’ DAY

‘I have played the fool.’—1 Sam. xxvi. 21

W are all children on the first morning of
WY April. ‘ Hunt-the-gowk’ is the familiar
“9 name of the day in Scotland, ‘gowk’
being the Scotch for cuckoo, which has come
to mean a foolish person. It is not pleasant to
be made a gowk or fool of, on any day, and
there are limits to the liberty of deception, even
on the first day of April. But he must be a
sour, churlish fellow who takes offence at being
sent, that day, on a bootless errand, or grows
angry because some practical joke has been
played upon him. There isn’t too much laughter
in the world. Work at home and school will
go on more smoothly and briskly after the
pleasantries of Fools’ Day morning, even if
there has been a spice of mischief in them.

I hardly know why the first of April has
beén chosen for taking people -off their guard
and turning the laugh against them. In old
times the year began on March 25, and the

63
64 Ledges and Wedges

festivities of the new year continued till April
1. When, however, a change was made in
the kalendar, and the year began on January 1,
the old associations of March 25: were felt to
be absurdly out of place, and all were fools
who sought for New Year’s Day on April 1.
But this doubtful explanation leaves the fact
unexplained that a fools’ day is observed by
other and remote nations. There is an Indian
tradition, for example, about a young prince,
who was as good as he was brave, and who
was beloved by gods and men. But there was
an evil enchanter who hated the prince and
sought to set his people against him. The
brave prince challenged the enchanter to a trial
of strength. But the evil arts of his foe pre-
vailed. The poor prince suddenly disappeared,
and though sought for by his sorrowing people
long and far, he was never seen again. To
keep his memory alive among them, the search
was renewed on every anniversary of his dis-
appearance, which happened on the first day of
April. Mothers used to say on that day to
their daughters, ‘Go and search for the good
prince and you will find a husband.’ Teachers
said to their scholars, ‘Go and find the young
prince and you will become wise. But the
search was vain. Not thus were girls to be-


All Fools Day 67
come happy wives, nor boys wise men. So
the first of April came to be called by far-away
peoples as well as by ourselves ‘ All Fools’ Day.’

But let the origin or origins of the day be
what they may, it is, perhaps, well for us to
have one day in the year to learn how foolish
we all are as we search for what cannot be
found, and seek after what is never attained.
Smiles and tears are very near neighbours.
And when Fools’ Day next comes round we
may discover some sobering and humbling
truths under our jokes and jests, and see that
we are really laughing at ourselves when we
grow merry over those whom we have sent on
idle quests.

The child sets out to find the rainbow that
spans the hillside, or hastens to nail the fugitive
sunbeam to the window sill, or thinks to keep
the lustrous soap bubble as a thing of beauty
for ever. How foolish! But children of a
larger growth, who may be counted among the
wise, are befooling themselves in a similar way.
every day.

As David, who was then at his noblest and
best, stood on the top of the crag looking
across the gully,.on the other side of which
were Saul and his officers, and holding aloft
the royal spear which yesternight he could
68 Edges and Wedges

have plunged into his pursuer’s heart, the con-
science of the moody, jealous king smote him,
and he cried out in bitterness of soul, ‘ Behold,
I have played the fool and have erred exceed-
ingly. And many a boy has spoken the same
remorseful words ‘between his teeth’ when he
finds that through his unrestrained passion for
sport he has been ploughed in the day of trial,
or that he has lost his situation through his
companionship with a bad set.

In old days, when there was a jester or
‘fool’ in every great man’s house, one of this
odd class had given to him by his master a
gold-headed staff, which he was to keep until
he could find a greater fool than himself. His
lord fell sick unto death. The friendly fool
came to see him and asked him question after
question, —‘ where he was going ?’ ‘ whether he
was coming back again ?’ ‘what preparation he
had made for the journey and for what was to
come after?’ But the sick man could answer
only by a sad shake of the head, implying that
he was quite ignorant on all the points at issue.
Then spake the poor fool, laying his staff by the
side of the great man, ‘ Master, thou tellest me
that thou art about to take a long journey, of
which thou hast long known, and from which
thou shalt not return, but for which thou hast
_ AM Fools Day 69

made no preparation, and of the end of which
thou knowest nothing. I must give thee this
staff thou gavest me. For surely I have found
a greater fool than myself.’

Was he not right? So many people in this
world are reckoned to be clever and ’cute, and
are envied for their success, who have spent all
their time and strength and the best blood of
their hearts in cramming the carriage which
they must leave behind them as soon as they
come to the close of the first stage in a long
journey.

Fool is a tell-tale word, coming from the
Latin word for a wind-bag, and seen in the
verb to blow. Puffed cheeks with cap and
bells, was the made-up fool of long ago as of
to-day. When you are writing your class
exercises on ‘foolscap,’ do you think of this
odd mark of old paper makers which has given
this size of paper its name, and do you take
care not to lead the examiner to think that the
fool’s cap would fit you well? |

In the Book of Proverbs, which is filled with
wise counsels and grave warnings for the young
—and a nice pocket edition of it can be bought
for a halfpenny,—much is told us about fools
and foolishness. It isn’t the simple, slow-
witted boy or girl who deserves the naughty
70 Ledges ana Wedges



name, and you incur the displeasure of the
Divine Protector of the weak and Avenger of
the wronged, when, in contempt or scorn, you
call any one a fool because he may be less
clever, less cultured, and probably less con-
ceited than you are.

I can’t attempt to catalogue all the evil
qualities of mind and heart, of will and way,
which are found in the ‘fool’ of the Bible.
Happily, none of you have reached the deeper,
darker, almost hopeless stages of what the
Bible calls folly, when the heart gets quite
insensible to what is good and true, and doesn’t
feel or find God anywhere. But there is a folly
which the Book of Wisdom tells us is bound
up with the heart of a child, and unless you
get rid of it in early life, you will never reach a
noble manhood or womanhood, but live all your
days in what Milton calls ‘the paradise of fools.’

For the commonest word in the Bible for
fool and folly just means weakness, moral
weakness. The fool is proud, self-confident,
headstrong. He won't take advice, refuses to
be controlled, and is quite sure that all will
come right at last though he is sailing down
the rapids. I wish that I could frighten some
feather-brained, self-willed boy with the picture
of the fool in the Book of Proverbs,
All Fools Day 71



It is painted from the life. He has a vacant,
wandering look, for his eyes are at the ends of
the earth. - Gazing at the stars he falls into the
ditch. He prates or talks idly with his mouth.
He is the original of Bunyan’s Mr. Talkative.
A meddling or meddlesome fellow he is, ‘ show-
ing his teeth,’ as the word means, like a snarling
dog. Yet, for all the good he does, his legs
might hang as loose as a cripple’s. He can
keep what is entrusted to him no longer than
the stone remains in the whirling sling. If you
could put him into a mortar and pound him with
a pestle, his folly would still stick to him.
Counsel and warning and the hard lessons of
experience are quite wasted on him. His folly
is always repeating itself, and like the dog to
its vomit, he returns quite infatuated to his old
wicked ways.

A frightful picture and all too true. But the
evil is not incurable. The fool is not given up
hopelessly to his folly. Christ has come to
make the foolish wise and the bad good. His
Spirit of truth and love is striving with the
senseless, reckless temper of fools. ‘I have
played the fool,’ may be the penitent cry of a
new heart and may mark the first step in the
ways of wisdom. If there is an All Fools’
Day in the year, there is also the Day of All
72 Edges and Wedges
Saints. And in their goodly fellowship you
and I may humbly hope to have a place, if we
have taken the yoke of Christ upon us and are
learners in His school.

‘I have no wisdom, save in Him who is

My Wisdom and my Teacher, both in one;

No wisdom can I lack while Thou art wise,
No teaching do I crave, save Thine alone.’!

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FOR BOYS



JFluree short words, soon spoken, easily re-
| membered, not easily forgotten. I do not
6 know that braver words were ever spoken.
They show the high-water mark of courage
and devotion, for they denote the heroism of
the few in the face of the many, of the weak
before the strong—the heroism of the soldier
who, when urged to save his life by the loss
of his honour, said: ‘It is necessary that my
honour should live. It is not necessary that I
should.’

‘But of not. . . The very words for
boys and lads to learn, and love, and live.

These three lads, with their uncouth names,
were not much more than boys. It is an old,
old story. You can read the name of the king

before whom they were arraigned and the
75


76 Edges and Wedges



records of his conquests on clay cylinders now
in the British Museum. And we are not called
to fall down before a golden image rising a
hundred feet into the sky. Nor are we in any
danger of being thrown into a furnace of leap-
ing, hissing flame, just as we have no reason to
expect deliverance in a miraculous way if we
venture life for truth, and right, and God.

But these Hebrew lads thought, felt, lived,
loved, just as we do. Righteousness, good-
ness, and God are the same to-day as in those
far-off times. There are tyrants still ; cruelties,
idolatries, temptations still; and in the boy life
of London, as of Babylon, the inevitable choice
has still to be made between the gain and
pleasure of sin and the loss and pain that come
of doing one’s duty and serving God.

The early Christians knew well what this
story meant for them, else they would not have
loved to scratch on the walls of the catacombs
the three boys in their Phrygian caps and Per-
sian trousers. And if, as is probable, some
Wesleyan boys are among my readers, they
should have a special interest in these words
of the Hebrew protesters, for they formed the
text of a noble sermon preached by the father
of the brothers Wesley, who was a curate in
London, in condemnation of the tyrannous
Pein 70 es TG

mandate of James II. on the eve of the Revo-
lution. ;

Fire is fire. And a burning fiery furnace,
licking up the mighty men who went near
enough to cast the unresisting youths into its
roaring flames, was surely sufficient trial of
faith and constancy. But I believe that these
brave lads had undergone a severer ordeal in
the corrupt court of Babylon, beset, as they
were, by envious and unscrupulous foes, who
were bent upon their downfall. He has the
martyr’s heart who does his duty, whatever it
may be, regardless of consequences. That
weak, timid, sensitive boy in Zom Brown's
Schooldays, who knelt in the open dormitory
to say his prayers, although heavy boots were
flung at his head, till Tom became his pro-
tector, showed the spirit of the Hebrew youths
and knew the meaning of their noble alterna-
tive ‘ But if not > And the same spirit
sustains many a young apprentice who refuses
to swear, or drink, or gamble like others in the
workshop, and who has, therefore, to bear,
unnoticed and unknown, what is little short of
a living martyrdom.

Across the centuries, then, you may well
strike hands with these three young confessors
in Babylon. I want you to chum with these
78 Edges and Wedges



lads, who, when they had to turn or burn, chose
the fire. Let us talk for a little about their
courage, their endurance, their deliverance.

1. I have said that theirs was the highest
kind of courage, and you will, I think, agree
with me. All courage is good; and if your
companionship is of the right sort, those of you
who are weak and timid will be gaining nerve
and pluck. But, don’t confound cheeé with
courage. The rude, swaggering fellow is gener-
ally a bully, and grows white and whimpering
as soon as a decent, steady, manly lad stands
up to him. Many of you know that our word
courage comes from the Latin cor, which means
. the heart; for it isa thing of the heart. You
know what English king was called the lion-
hearted. But I doubt whether many of you
know the origin of our English word coward.
It also comes from a Latin word, cauda, which
means a tail. A coward is a creature’ that
turns tail, like the cur that runs yelping down
the street with his tail between his legs. Boys
with tails, in this sense, had better be shut
up with the monkeys in the Zoo. At school
and in the playground, in the church and the
world, we want boys with hearts—that is, cour-
ageous.

Physical courage is not to be despised. The
Bitatja 10 ns 79
prime need of the soldier, according to General
Wolseley, is zevve; and the little boy’s answer
to the question, ‘What is nerve?’ was a very
good one, when he said, ‘It is walking on
awfully high walls and liking it. Your athletic
sports and class drill should be making you
cool and self-possessed in the sudden moment
of danger; although I don’t want you to show
your nerve in the way little Bob Clive did, who
climbed to the top of the church steeple at
Market Drayton, perched himself on the sum-
mit, and made grimaces at the people below,
who were expecting to see him dashed to
pieces. But one does not wonder that a boy

of such nerve became one of the heroes of the .; -

Indian Mutiny, and led a little army of 1,000
against one that numbered 15,000 horse and
40,000 infantry. .

But moral courage, as you will have to learn,
is a harder and higher attainment than the
most splendid dash and daring. Self-conquest
is the greatest of victories. The hero of a
hundred fights was never so courageous as
when he refused to fight a duel, sending back
this message to his challenger: ‘I am afraid of
sinning ; yow know I am not afraid of fighting.’
What do you think of this epitaph, which is
placed on the grave of a soldier?
80 Edges and Wedges



‘Here lies a soldier, whom all must applaud,
Who fought many battles at home and abroad ;
But the hottest engagement he ever was in
Was the conquest of self in the battle of sin’

Higher than the courage of the soldier who
carries the colours through a rain of bullets ;
higher than the courage of the fireman who
rescues the terror-stricken inmates of a burning
house through choking smoke ; higher than the
courage of the lifeboat crew who struggle
through a blinding storm to the sinking wreck,
was the courage of these three Hebrew boys.
For these others—heroes all—had the stir and
stimulus of applauding onlookers, or the assur-
ance that their country would welcome them
home with honours if they lived, or bless their
memory if they died. But the Hebrew boys
had none of these incentives. They stood
alone, against all the world’s pomp, and power,
and praise, to do a thing unheard of in Babylon
—to set their wills against the will of the
mightiest monarch in the world, who thought
himself a match for any of the gods—-to do
what was unpopular, suspected, and detested.
They had to give up dear life when it was
fairest and most attractive, and when they had
their feet on the ladder of honour and fame.
And it seemed such a little thing they were
SIBOTE WE TAGE 3 81



asked to do—to bow their heads before the
image of the god of Babylon. It was what
everybody was doing; and it was hard to be
marked out as young Pharisees, and hypocrites,
and traitors, and they hadn't the clear, strong
vision of another world and of a waiting, wel- —
coming Saviour and Lord on the other side of
the leaping, hissing flame. No, they lived long
before Jesus had come to open the kingdom of
heaven to all believers.

Boys, wasn’t it the highest kind of courage
just to do the right because it was right? to be
faithful to duty and obedient to the will of God,
though nothing came of it but suspicion, shame,
suffering, and an awful death? This is the
courage of the martyr, the courage of Jesus
Christ Himself, who rejected the offer of all
the world’s power and glory, and chose the
path of obedience to duty which led Him
straight to the cross. This is the courage |
want you to show—the courage to be honest
when it seems the worst policy, and to do the
right though it brings you not smiles but
frowns, not success but failure, not blessing but
cursing. Men and women are still tempted to
worship the idols of worldly success, popular
favour, self-interest, and material gain; and
you boys, I know, are tempted every day to be

-
82 Edges and Wedges



cheeky, and deceitful, and false, to spend
money that is not yours, to indulge in nasty
talk, to smoke, drink, and gamble, to give up
prayer, to forget God and deny your Lord and
Saviour.

Be brave like these Hebrew lads. Refuse
to worship any idol. Stand up against lying,
cheating, and swearing. Dare to do right, and
be sure that God will somehow help and deliver
you, though you suffer for your honesty, purity,
and dutifulness, and your companions unite to
molest you, and you don’t seem to have a
friend on the earth.

2, But imitate these Hebrew confessors in
their endurance as well as in their daring.
Their courage was not a mere flash in the pan ;
it didn’t go down to their shoes at the first
sight of the roaring furnace. Their minds
were made up, their convictions quite settled.
They endured as seeing God, who was invisible
to all else—a name and nothing more.

How that second chance the king gave them
must have tried the young believers! They
had time to reconsider their position. They
never felt before how sweet life was. Friends,
perhaps, came round them—Babylonian girls,
who loved them and whom they loved, hung
upon them, and, with tears, urged them not to
‘But Ceo ene 83



brave the fury of the king. It was a hard
trial. But they persevered, these three lone
lads, against all the world. If they must turn
or burn, welcome the fire!

All boys know something of this second
chance the Hebrew confessors got. The bad
set in the street, or school, or shop try to get
round you, coaxing, flattering, or frightening.
Come with us, do as we do, and (as the king
said) it will be well with you; if not, there is
the burning fiery furnace. Then they turn
round and tell lies about you, persecute you,
and do all they can to make your life miserable.
It is just what the tyrants did long ago with
the young Christians. They showed them the
lions tearing up the living bodies of older
Christians, and then said, ‘Give up, or that’s
your fate.’

Boys, hold on, stand your second trial. Said
one of the Covenanting ministers in Scotland.
to the Marquis of Argyll, as he stood for con-
science sake before the ‘Maiden,’ a kind of
guillotine still to be seen in the Antiquarian
Museum in Edinburgh: ‘My lord, now hold
your grip sicker.’ That's what you and all of
us need to do. Hold fast your grip on duty,
on God, on your own Lord and Saviour, who
will never forsake you. Away with a religion
84 Edges and Wedges



of concealments and compromises, that knuckles
down to the tempter and goes with the crowd!
I want for you a religion that’s fireproof, that
will enable you to suffer rather than sin, and
to die rather than tell a lie. Oh, that you were
like the famous Cameronian Regiment, of
whom it was said that they prayed as they
fought, and fought as they prayed ; they might
be slain, but never conquered. Yes, help,
deliverance, and victory will come in God’s
time and way, which are always the best.
These Hebrew confessors trusted God to de- -
liver them from the fire, but if not—if this were
not His will concerning them, they did not
complain, they did not hesitate; they would
still do their duty and be faithful to their God.
There was one swift moment of fierce agony,
and then they found what they had never
imagined—their God able to deliver them, not
fron the fire, but, what was greater and more
glorious, 7z the fire. And their tyrant, who
had smiled grimly as he saw the daring youths
who ventured to dispute his will tossed into the
flames, starts from his throne in astonishment
_ and dismay as he sees them walking loose and
unharmed in the furnace that swallowed up
their executioners, and a Fourth is with them,
more glorious than the,sons of men, wearing”
UE GLT OLN rnd 85

the mien and apparelled in the celestial splen-
dour of a Son of God.

- 3. It isa nobler thing to be saved in the fire
than from it. It is better to be carried victo-
rious through the fight than to be exempted
from it. If you are truthful, dutiful, God-
fearing, and Christ-loving, you will be delivered
in your boyish troubles, secret temptations, and
unknown conflicts. You will find One with
you, the strong Son of God. General Gordon
used to say that without the presence of God
he was no better than an empty sack bumping
on a camel’s back: And you know what the
hero of Khartoum was when God was with
him in the fire. He who suffered and died for
you, and who loves you and lives for you, and
will let nothing really harm you, calls you to
trust Him and serve Him, firm to the end.
You all know what a roll-call means. If you
have long left school, yet even the oldest of
you can remember how he used to answer to
his name. But there’s another roll-call in the
future—not far off for some of you—-when no
true servant or soldier of Christ will fail to
answer to his name. On a tombstone in a
Scottish parish, covering the remains of a brave
officer, is placed this sentence : ‘ Just as the last
bell struck, a peculiar sweet smile shone on
86 Edges and Wedges



his face, and he lifted up his head a little and
quickly said, Adsum, and fell back. It was the
word we used at school, when our names were
called; and he whose heart was that of a little
child had answered to his name, and stood in
the presence of the Master.’ That sentence,
taken from Thackeray's Mewcomes, is fitly
placed over the grave of the fine old soldier
who was the original of the great writer’s hero.
May grace be given to you, and me, and to all
who read my simple words, to do the right,
careless of consequences, to love and serve our
Lord for His own sake, and be faithful unto
death. Then shall we be able to answer to
our names, not in shame, but with joy, when
the Master calls—that ‘Lord of love and
power, whom our cleansed sight, ‘through
sevenfold flames,’ may see,—

“Walking with His faithful three.’ +

1 Keble
THE TOUCHSTONE
‘The Lord trieth the hearts.’—Prov. xvii. 3

uR words, like old coins, pass among us. so
unquestioned that, when I chose the
subject for my present simple talk with
young folks, I was not thinking of the hard
black stone which was once used as a rough-
and-ready means of testing the purity of gold
But young folks are very inquisitive, and I
shall not get you to listen to me until I have
answered the question which my text has set
you asking.. Well, you know, I daresay, that
while many things are made of gold, scarcely
anything, not even the gold sovereign, is made
of pure gold. The precious metal is mixed
with others less precious, and especially. with
copper, and people naturally wanted to know
how much alloy or baser stuff was mixed. with
the real thing.. The assayer or tester found it
out inthisway. He prepared a number of very:
thin bars or needles of gold, one of which was

made of the pure metal, another contained one
87
88 Edges and Wedges

part of copper, a third two parts, and so on.
Now, each of these needles when drawn across
the black stone left a red mark of a darker or
lighter shade, according to the proportion of
copper in each. When, therefore, anybody
wanted to know how much alloy was in the
piece of gold he might have, the assayer had
just to make a mark with it on his touchstone,
and comparing this with the markings that
were already registered, he could tell with
tolerable accuracy how far the gold was pure
or impure. So much, then, for the goldsmith’s
touchstone.

Now, I have read somewhere of a man who,
long, long ago, appeared among men—they
knew not whence he came—who possessed a
very mysterious touchstone. It tested every-
thing in the land, and discovered its real nature
and worth. Much that seemed fair became
foul, and what was lightly esteemed proved to
be of highest value. Fine jewels lost all their
brilliance, and statues of gold crumbled at its
touch. None escaped this strange assayer’s
test, whether king, priest, or beggar. But the
people at length grew angry. They tired
of being continually tested. They wanted
things to be as they once were. So they rose
against the mysterious Stranger and slew him
The Touchstone 89
and destroyed his touchstone. But they didn’t
gain much thereby. Although the stone was
gone, its testings remained. They couldn't alter
its judgments. The foul could never be fair
again, nor the sham pass for reality.

This is the touchstone I want you to think
_about. It is the touchstone of truth—God’s
truth, for all truth is of God. His scholars
learn it, His saints know it, His prophets preach
it, His soldiers fight for it, and wherever it
comes it works great changes. Not all that
glitters is found to be gold. Lies are forced to
show their ugliness, and the swaggering knave
can no longer pass for a brave and honest man.
But people don’t like to be thus tried and tested
by truth. Those who search for it are despised.
Those who publish it are persecuted. Those
who fight for it find few willing to aid them.
Nevertheless, the truth prevails, for God is
stronger than all beside. They might put the
apostle in prison, but they couldn't keep his
Gospel in chains. They might burn the Bible,
but they couldn’t destroy the faith, and love,
and hope which it had kindled in human. hearts.
Nothing can rub out the marks which the touch-
stone of God’s truth has made upon the con-
science. You can never think that to be right
which you have felt to be wrong. And you can't
go Edges and Wedges

reckon that to be real gold which leaves little
else than a copper mark upon the touchstone.
Tom Brown couldn’t work any more with cribs
when the quiet, unconscious influence of little
Arthur's pure example had made the old, easy
way of getting over his difficulties seem mean
and cowardly. And there is, perhaps, a biggish
girl among those I am now addressing who
sees, even when she tries to shut her eyes to
the unpleasant discovery, that her conduct to
her little sister to-day cannot stand the test of
truth and kindness.. The gold is nothing but
copper.

For you and me the strange story of the man
and his touchstone just means the presence of
Jesus and the voice of His Spirit within us.
He called Himself the Truth. He knew what
was inman. Nobody could wear a mask before
Him, nor appear other than he was. It was
the bad people who put a fair cloak over their
foul sins, and strutted about as the most
excellent of the earth, whom He saw through
and through. He showed them the awful sight
of their real selves, as the only way of their
ever becoming better. But they hated Him
for His truthfulness, and determined to get rid
of Him. The people who knew they were all
wrong and didn’t conceal their badness He
- The Touchstone QI
pitied, and took to His heart, and saved them
from their evil selves. One reason why Jesus
loved children so much was because they looked
straight into His face, answered to His call,
and didn’t try to be other than they were. Oh,
it is a solemn thing to stand in the pure and
perfect light of Christ's presence, for it is the
presence of God. But itis the only way to get
rest and peace. In the game of hide-and-seek
you try all kinds of dodges to escape detection.
But as soon as you are caught all concealment
ends, and you walk in openly, with your captor
as your friend. There was no escape from the
Man and His touchstone. ‘The only way to
hide from God,’ said Augustine, ‘is to hide in
God.’ And though it never is done until we
are sorry for our bad, untruthful, selfish ways
and want to be different, yet it is the happiest
hour in all our lives when we give ourselves up
to Jesus, the Saviour and Judge, and ask Him
to take us in hand, forgive us, search and prove
us, and make us real and true in everything.
When John Ruskin was once addressing an
assembly of big, strong men at Camberwell, he
told them that if they wanted to be true work-
men they must become childlike. And he gave
them four marks of right childhood. They are
four red lines on the black touchstone that show
92 Edges and Wedges

the real gold of childhood by which you may
try and prove yourselves. To be modestis the
first note of right childhood, according to this
good and wise man. To be faithful is the
second; there is nothing better than to bea
trustful and trustworthy child. To be loving is
the third ; and it must be love that shows itself
in real kindness and helpfulness. To be cheer-
ful is the fourth and last essential; and the
humble, trustful, loving child will be full of
God’s own cheer.

I would: not like any sensitive, true-hearted
boy or girl to be discouraged by what I have
said to them about the touchstone of life and
character. If the wedge you work with has got
a single edge ; if you really want to stand right
with truth and duty and God ; if you put your-
selves into the hands of Jesus to be tried and
strengthened, trained and saved by Him, you
must not lose heart because the touchstone
shows that there is still much alloy in the gold.

Good and true men were the monks and their
abbot who lived in a certain monastery long
ago. But it was a sore distress to them that
they could not better render the daily service
of praise. Although they did their best, their
songs, it was said, were enough to frighten
away the birds. Then a new brother came
The Touchstone 93

among them, who possessed the divine gift of
song. And one night, as his pure and perfect
voice rose in the stillness of the chapel and filled
its silences with the music of the Magnificat,
the holy but songless monks began to weep
for joy that now at last the Lord was worthily
praised. The same night, however, the good
abbot had a vision of Christ, who asked him
why, for the first time these many years, no
song of praise had gone up to heaven from the
brotherhood, whose evening hymn had been so
sweet to the ear of the Lord they loved. Over-
whelmed by the revelation, the abbot told how
they had sorrowed that they sang so vilely when
they tried their best, and how they had rejoiced
that night when their new brother sang the
Magnificat with a perfectness that made them
silent for very shame. ‘Ah,’ said the Lord,
‘he sang to his own praise, and the song of the
insincere never reaches heaven. Only the
humble can sing My praise, and what sounds dis-
-cordant on earth may be sweetest harmony in
heaven.’ Doubtless the abbot and his monks
took fresh hope from the heavenly vision, and
the melody of their hearts made their voices
musical in the ear of the Lord. So may it be
with us, if it is the Lord’s judgment that chiefly
concerns us. ‘ Within the folded seed He sees
94 Edges and Wedges



the flower, and in the will the deed.’ And our
talk about the touchstone will not have been in
vain if now upon ‘the knees of our souls’ we pray
“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try
me and know my thoughts, and see if there be
any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way
everlasting.’
THE SPECRRE \OF WitE BIO OKEN,

‘Conformed to the image of His Son.—omz. vill. 29




[Ave you heard of the Spectre of the

Brocken? It is not a ghost-story, although
“\ people are not a little startled at first by
the sight. I want to tell you about it for the
sake of the truth which it will serve, I hope,
to fix in your minds.

The Brocken is the name given to the high-
est summit of one of the Hartz Mountains in
Saxony. If you were there this evening just
before sunset, you would probably find your-
selves in a region of mist and cloud. I shall
suppose you are making your way down the
steep mountain path. On turning a sharp
corner, so that the sun is shining low down at
your back, you are startled to see straight
before you on the opposite bank of fog or mist
a gigantic human form. It stops when you

stop ; it moves when you move; it holds up
95

1
VN


96 Edges and Wedges



its huge hands when you hold up yours; it
does everything that you do, but on an immense
scale, and the strange, startling apparition has
a rainbow-coloured halo around its head. No
wonder that the traveller is at first puzzled and
alarmed at this Spectre of the Brocken. But
it is just yourself that you would be looking
at and shrinking from—the shadow of yourself
thrown upon the misty eastern horizon, greatly
magnified in the slanting sunlight, which gets
broken up into a rude kind of halo by the
watery particles held in the fog.

Now, children, you have never, probably,
seen this spectre of the mountain; but you
have seen something like it, only far more real
and important ; for there are times and scenes
in your young lives when you may and do
really look upon your magnified selves—your-
selves as you will be when grown into men and
women, or even when you have passed into the
great, solemn eternity. Milestones are useful
on a long, unknown road. But God has made
of every turn of our lot a mirror in which we
may see what we are going to make of our-
selves and our lives. Oh, how the sight should
sbock and alarm some of you, and how it may
encourage and strengthen others! ‘How like
he is to his father,’ and ‘ She is the very image
The Spectre of the Brocken 97



of her mother, are exclamations which you
often hear very pleasedly from your friends.
But I want you to remember that you are now
little fathers and mothers, and that your
parents are just yourselves as you will be when
you have beards and are merchants, or farmers,
or doctors, or parsons, or when you wear long
dresses and have houses of your own, and
when you are whitening under the snows of old
age. ‘The child is father of the man.’

Don’t you think that Cain might have seen
the murderer he was going to be in his hatred
and jealousy of his brother, and in God's
merciful warning that sin was crouching like
a wild beast at the door of his heart, ready to
make the fatal spring ? How the young shep-
herd of Bethlehem must have dreamed and
pondered and prayed about his anointing by
the great prophet of Jehovah; and would he
not learn from his care of his father’s flocks and
his battle with lion and bear, something at
least of what he might yet do and dare as
the Saviour and Shepherd of Israel? I can
fancy that Simon, the Galilean fisherman,
puzzled and troubled his mates not a little,
when they were out upon the lake, as he fell to
brooding over the new name of Peter, or Rock,
which the Christ had given him, and in which

G
98 Edges and Wedges



he saw what even he, impulsive and unstable
as he knew himself to be, might, by His grace,
become. It was this new, strange promise and
hope of being a rock-man that bound the rash,
uncertain Simon for ever to the Lord, and
helped to make him the strengthener of his
brethren and the foremost of the apostles.

Your boyish and girlish day-dreams about
what you are going to be should be neither
idle nor fleeting. The boy grows for the
moment quite manful, and the girl a thoughtful
woman, when the ruling passion of their after
lives first lays hold upon them, and they seem
to see themselves crowned in the far future as
artist or musician, merchant or explorer, soldier,
or nurse or missionary. Dream your dreams,
my boys and girls. Cherish your hopes, and
hold to your ideals against every temptation to
give them up. I don’t want any of you to be
like the maiden in the old story, who set out in
the morning to follow her native spring to its
ocean fulness, whose distant murmurs awakened
strange longings in her soul, but who grew
tired of the long quest, and turned aside into
the sleepy meadows, where the sound of the
sea was heard no more. Oh, the pity of it!
For though the meadow-life was pleasant
enough—
The Spectre of the Brocken 99



‘Yet—I sometimes think, and thinking
Makes my heart so sore—
Just a few steps more—
And there might have shone for me,
Blue and infinite, the sea.’!

You are all busy at the making of yourselves.
It were bad enough, just now, to be idle,
slovenly, mean, cowardly, or cruel. But the
badness reaches the superlative degree, and
can't be reckoned up, when you see it all in the
future, like the Spectre of the Brocken, im-
mensely magnified, so that you are horrified at
the sight of yourselves, a dead weight upon
your friends, unloving and unloved, tempters of
others to their ruin. There is, on the other
hand, a present reward in being diligent,
earnest, upright, self-denying, and generous.
But Zow good it is you only know when you
see yourselves in the far future, the support
and solace of your aged parents, friends that
stick closer than brothers, and foes of all that
is false and foul.

Many of you, I hope, have a good-sized note-
book beside you in which you write all interest-
ing odds and ends that you meet with. It is
far better to make a book of quotations than to

1 The parable is told at length by Archbishop Benson,
in his Boy-Lize.
100 Edges and Wedges

get one ready-made. Will you put this choice
saying into your book, or, better, fix it in your
memory, and learn it by heart >—‘ Sow an act,
and reap a habit; sow habit, and reap char-
acter; sow character, and reap destiny.’ But
here, as always, we must come to Jesus. None,
as we have seen, ever knew so well the secret
of the Lord, for none ever trusted and loved
and obeyed like Him. His weights gave Him
wings that bore Him to the throne of God, and
bring Him to-day into your heart and mine.
He never faltered, never failed in His mission
of mercy, but set His face like a flint to go to
Jerusalem, where, on the green hill without the
city wall, it was gloriously fulfilled. And so
true and clear was the vision of His faith and
hope that from the beginning, the end, the
shameful, splendid end, was seen and loved and
longed for. Every brave, high-minded boy
has his hope, his ideal, with which he shapes,
colours, and glorifies the future of his life. And
if you are reverent, it will do you good to think
out for yourselves how the boy Jesus, as He
talked with His mother, learned at school,
listened to the reading of the Holy Scriptures
in the synagogue (for I do not think that He
ever possessed a Bible), prayed to the Father
whose Son He was, and cherished the call of
The Spectre of the Brocken 101

the Spirit within Him, came to believe with a
firmness that no temptation could shake in His
mission to be the Saviour of the world. And
thus, as you remember, when twelve years old,
He felt that He must be about His Father's
business. Let us all away to Him, who is now
‘closer to us than breathing, nearer than hands
and feet. And let us put the youngest first.
In His faith and fellowship, as we sit upon the
same carpet, we shall learn the secret of the
Lord. Our present weights shall become our
future wings. Unlike the old stones on the
moor that rock but never run, ‘Forward’ shall
be our watchword. And we shall have our
moments on the mount, when, like the traveller
on the Brocken, we see ourselves, not as we
now are, but as by His grace we shall yet be—
conformed to fis image. May this evening
close, for you and me, in the glory of this
vision. And to-morrow? We shall strive to
become what we have seen.
‘AS WATER’

‘Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel.’—Gen. xlix. 4

MONG the books of my long-past boyhood
that rest in peace on unvisited shelves of
my library are some school prizes. One

I lately looked at bore the rather grand in-
scription: ‘For general excellence.’ It was a
proud moment, I remember, when our rector
wrote ‘excellent’ upon our English essays
(leaving also a flavour of snuff upon them), for
that was his highest and rarest word of com-
mendation. Some of you know that ‘ex-
cellent’ means literally to rise out of the
common or to get above the average. It is
more than rivalry. You may be an excellent
scholar, although you are not a double first, and
you win the reward for general excellence in
the great school of life if you are making pro-
gress in all that is true and right and good, ever
rising higher, like Longfellow’s famous boy
with his banner and its strange device, although

102
‘As Water 103
you do not need to perish like him in the frost
and snow.

Now the great object of all our honest,
earnest talks with young folks is to show the
way to real excellence of boyhood and girlhood,
and to stir and strengthen you in its pursuit.
For ‘good things,’ as the Greek proverb says,
‘are difficult.’ It is easy enough zo¢ to excel.
You can keep in the crowd and remain duffers
all your days without any difficulty ; and I want
to warn you against some evil ways which will
surely lead to miserable failure both in this life
and the life to come.

Long, long ago, a father lay on his death-
bed. He called his twelve sons around him.
He was blind; but he had long studied their
characters and ways, and in the sunset of his
life ‘coming events cast their shadows before.’
So he told them what should befall them in the
latter days. Reuben came first. But though
the old man sighed as he thought of the
excellency of dignity and power that should
have belonged to his first-born, he had to tell
him that no true excellence could ever be
reached by the man who was ‘unstable as
water.’ And all our boys and girls would do
well to give heed to this warning message of
the patriarch Jacob, the man who saw the shin-
104 Edges and Wedges



ing Ladder and looked upon the Face of God.
If you get a glass of water and put it on the
table beside you, you will understand better
the old man’s image of pitiful failure.

Water is, indeed, the good gift of God, a
choice Bible emblem of the very spirit of life
and health and gladness. There was little else
than water in the vegetables and fruit you had
at dinner to-day. Cook, I daresay, won't
believe that in every four pounds of boneless
meat there are three pounds of water. Nor
would the butcher be content with payment for
just one pound. But it is true. And if some
boys are proud of getting so strong in hand
and limb, it may surprise them to learn that
there is more water in their muscles than any-
thing else. Whether in fountain, river, sea, or
cloud, water is in its numberless uses one of the
most promiseful gifts of God. But it is, also, a
type in Nature of what is evil and hurtful. And
I don’t want you to grow up weak, watery, un-
stable, unexcelling boys and girls. There are
three properties of water which must not be
your qualities, or farewell for ever to all real
excellence.

First, wader ts very yielding. Its particles
are held so loosely that it has no shape of its
own. It goes into a small glass as freely as
‘As Water’ 105
into a big one, and is equally at home in a
bottle with a long neck or a short neck, or no
neck at all. You can’t, indeed, compress water
into a smaller space than it naturally occupies,
as Lord Bacon showed more than two hundred
years ago, when he filled a hollow leaden globe
with water, and having soldered it up, ham-
mered upon it until the water came through the
lead like dew. But there is nothing solid or
stable about water. You can’t build upon it
nor build it into anything, unless, indeed, it is
first frozen; and if it is spilt upon the ground,
who can gather it up again?

Here, then, is the first cause of failing to
excel, whether as boy or man, as_ scholar,
soldier, or saint. There’s nothing stable and
steadfast about you. You let your companions
squeeze you into any shape they please. You
can’t be depended upon. Your word is not
always your bond. Those who know you
shake their heads and speak of you as a
shuffler. You have never girt yourself with
the soldier’s belt of truthfulness. You aren’t a
young Luther among your fellows, saying,
‘Here stand J, and no other can I do, so help
me God.’ Boys know what it is to be in good
form at a cricket or football match. And the
best form for young and old in the work and
106 Edges and Wedges



warfare of life is the image of Christ, who can
make us like Himself. But if we are squeezable
as an India-rubber ball, as ‘unstable as water,’
how shall we ever excel ?

Second, water ts very changeable. It is con-
stant only in change, as some of us know to our
cost, who have counted on a smooth passage
across Channel because the sea was quiet on
the previous evening. You can make a tem-_
pest in a tea cup. And the lake that sleeps
among the hills reflects every changing cloud.
Yesterday Johnnie was going to be a sailor ;
to-day he is all for soldiering; to-morrow it
will be something else. Some fathers are quite
heavy-hearted about their big lads who won't
stick to any trade or profession. It is well for
the little lizard that crawls on trees and catches
insects with its long-shooting tongue that it
can take the colour of surrounding objects,
being of a bluish ash one moment, and the
next quite yellow with red spots. But children
are not chameleons. To be Jack-of-all-trades
is to be master of none. Toagree always with
the last speaker is to have no opinions of your
own. To show or hide your colours according
to the company you are in is to wreck your
character at the start. I don't care about
having fluid friends, for you can never be sure
(As Water’ 107
of having them. Commend me to the ‘friend
that sticketh closer than a brother. And if
we are clinging to the Rock of Ages there will
be somewhat of the solid and unchangeable in
all our thoughts and words and ways.

Third, water always seeks its own level. The
spout of the teapot must not be lower than the
top of the pot, if you do not wish to have a
tea-flood round you. Rivers don’t run uphill.
If you bore a hole in the bottom of the water-
cask to-night, there won't be much in it to-
morrow morning. Boys and girls will never
gain the reward of excellence who are content to
keep on the level and drift downwards. There
may not be much difference between the words
dux and dunce, but there is all the difference in
the world between the things, or the persons
they represent. And I can tell quite certainly
whether you are going to be the one or the
other at school, in the coming struggle of life,
and amid all the gracious teachings and lead-
ings of the good Spirit of God, if you will tell
me whether the wedge of your will has gota
single or a double edge, whether you are test-
ing the quality of your gold with Christ’s touch-
stone, or taking all for gold that glitters, and
whether you are lifting your eyes to the hills
of God, and pressing ever onward and upward,
108 Edges and Wedges



or are keeping your gaze, like the browsing
cattle, on the ground and meanly drifting down-
wards,

Failure, then, let us remember, comes from
being like water, very yielding, changeable, and
down-going. If we want to excel, get above
the average and gain the blessing of God’s
first-born, we must be solid, steady, and aspir-
ing. Nothing will make you firm and fast in
all that is true and pure and good except a
stalwart sense of duty, loyal obedience to the
voice of God that speaks within you. Nothing
will steady you and make you scorn all fickle-
ness and change like a pure and noble love—
the love of friend, of mother, of the Saviour
Christ. And nothing will keep you so surely
from sinking down and down, and becoming
mere dawdlers and drivellers, as laying hold
upon what is above you, joining yourself to
God Himself. Even water must rise to its
own level. Hence it comes into your houses,
if you live in towns, and runs up to the highest
rooms, because it comes through great. pipes
from far-away lake or river among the hills.
Heaven must come down to us, if we are ever
to go up to heaven. It was just in order to
bring the lost children of men quite home to
Himself, and to all the good it is in His heart
‘As Water’ 109
to give them, that God sent His Son from His
very bosom down to this earth that He might
be as one of ourselves, and woo and win us to
Himself by His love and His blood. And if
we let Jesus in into our hearts and lives, He
will raise us up as high as Himself. Could you
remember this saying of old Bengel, whom all
Bible students know and love —‘ Jesus in
heaven, the heart in heaven; Jesus in the
heart, heaven in the heart’ ?

But I have a clever boy reading this friendly
talk who has found out from the marginal read-
ing of our Old Testament text, that it may be
rendered, ‘ Bubbling or boiling over as water,
thou shalt not excel.’ Yes, such is probably
its meaning. Reuben’s hot temper and un-
restrained passions led his aged father to fore-
bode the worst. And certainly, self-conquest
is the first and greatest of all victories. If
some of you would take an earnest look at the
kettle on the fire and see how its bubbling
water is passing away idly in puffs of white
steam, you might learn the reason why you
have never reached the real excellency of your
boyhood and girlhood. Your good desires and
fervent feelings bubble and boil over wastefully.
You don’t harness the steam to make it do
something. You don’t try to answer your own
110 Edges and Wedges



prayers. You don’t turn your feelings into
acts. Hurry is half-sister to delay. Noise is
the child of confusion. The bubbling water
wastes itself. ‘If ye love Me,’ says our Lord,
‘ye will keep My commandments.’
CTEEOUEIO) | WAOXOIR, THOUS GOI,”

o other triad of words ever comes so
frequently to the ears of young folks as
S this counsel of silence. Older sisters utter
it beseechingly in a babel of voices which
makes piano-practice or letter-writing impos-
sible. It is hurled at the little ones by the bully
of the family, who must be Sir Oracle on all
occasions. And when the noise becomes just
too deafening, father speaks it in a way that
produces silence—though not for half an hour.
Truly a counsel of perfection for boys and girls,
hard of attainment like all such counsels.

You may not know that it is a Bible precept ;
and the familiar words that are often spoken in
loud and angry tones take a new meaning and
power when you hear them from the lips of God
Himself, and uttered by the still, small voice
of His Spirit within your hearts. You will find
the familiar words in a terrible scene of judg-
ment described by the peasant-prophet, Amos

TIL
a2 Edges and Wedges

(vi. 10). But the counsel was never intended
to be literally obeyed. To hold the tongue
with your fingers you will find to be a difficult
and ludicrous task. There are many commands
in the Bible which are to be observed, not in
the letter, but in the spirit of their requirements.
Their common sense might teach people that
first rule of interpretation. Hence the trans-
lators of our English Bible have generally
rendered ‘hold thy tongue’ by ‘hold thy
peace. It would be very ridiculous to see a
congregation trying to fulfil the precept literally ;
but it is in the house of God and in His holy
worship that young people are prone to violate
the spirit of the counsel.

‘Hold your tongue,’ then, is a text which is
well worth your pondering. What you hold
you have power over ; but as soon as you have
lost your hold your power is gone. Of the un-
spoken word, says the Indian proverb, you are
master, but the spoken word masters you.
Have you ever thought why our Lord sighed
as He opened the deaf man’s ear and loosed his
dumb tongue? You may know a boy or girl
who is deaf and dumb. How entirely and only
glad you would be if they could hear and speak
like you. Nothing made Jesus so glad as when
He saved men from the suffering and sorrow
flold Your Tongue Tete



which sin has brought into the world. But
since life and death, weal and woe, are in the
power of the tongue, He heaved a great sigh as
He conferred this power upon one who had not
had it before. For what use would he make of
it? Power means responsibility, and the man
might so abuse his new faculty as that at the
last he would be condemned by his own words.
The sighs of Christ are still to be heard all over
the world. And if you hadn’t dulled your ear
to the finest sounds, you would have heard His
sigh as you listened greedily to the nasty talk
of a companion, or used your gift of speech to
hurt another or blaspheme God. We should
hold our tongues, I am sure, to better purpose
if we remembered that we may make God
regret that He ever gave us the power to
speak.

One of the books of the Bible, which we call
the Proverbs, was composed for young people,
and especially for boys growing up into man-
hood. There is a great deal in it about the
tongue, and the emblems it uses are so expres-
sive that, if you would take the trouble to
gather them together, you could easily interpret
them for yourselves. Thus, the tongue is said
to be a tree whose fruit is either wholesome or
poisonous ; a well whose waters are either sweet

H
T14 Eages and Wedges



or bitter; a balance—it wags so easily and so
readily inclines to one side or another ; a sword
which you may wield for truth and friendship,
and words to-day are stronger than drawn
swords ; a firebrand and the tongue of the false
tale-bearer scatters fire that is deadlier than the
Greek, which burned under water.

In the terse, practical Epistle of James, the
Just and the Wise as he was called, there are
two emblems of the tongue which still further
show its power. It is an indicator, like the
hands on the face of a watch or clock. It
shows what is in us, and whether we are grow-
ing better or worse. A blameless tongue,
according to the truth-loving James, is an
index of a whole, healthy, perfect man. ‘Show
me your tongue,’ says the doctor, when he is
called in to see what is the matter with you.
‘My tongue is cleaner noo,’ was the answer
which a Scotch workman gave when asked for
some proof of his conversion to God. He had
given up the use of the coarse and wicked
words in which he had long indulged. The
cleaner tongue showed a purer heart. If you
were judged by your prevailing talk at home
and at school, could you stand the test ?

But the power of the tongue is further
likened by St. James to a ship’s rudder or a
flold Your Tongue I15



horse’s bridle. The big ship is. turned about
by a small helm ; the strong horse is controlled
by a bit in his mouth. The whole course of life
may be determined by a single word, as when
a lad says ‘Yes’ to the call of the recruiting
sergeant, or a maiden answers ‘I will’ to the
question, ‘ Wilt thou have this man to be thy
husband?’ Oh! the temptation is sometimes
terribly strong to disclose the secret confided to
you, or give voice to the anger raging within
you, or whisper the foul thing which will defile
the white soul of a girl-friend.

But you can put down the rudder and ‘bout’
the ship ; you can tighten the reins and hold in
the horse. You can close your teeth and hold
your tongue and refuse to blab or swear or lie.
Yes; but who shall direct the steersman when
the helm is in his hands? Who shall control
the rider when the reins are in his grasp? Ah!
we all know that we can’t hold our tongues with
our fingers. In a moment the word is spoken
which we would give worlds to recall. The
tongue can be held fast only by the strong sense
of duty, the silken cords of love, and the fixed
force of a free choice.

But if the tongue can be held only by the
conscience, the heart, and the will, who shall
hold ¢hewz? Who can make the conscience
116 Ledges and Wedges



good and the heart pure, and the will right?
You must let Christ come within and be the
Lord of your soul. You must give Him the
control of your thoughts and feelings. You

will hold your tongue as Jesus holds your
heart.
THE DRILL OF LIFE

(SPOKEN AT A CHURCH PARADE OF MEMBERS OF
THE BOYS’ BRIGADE)

‘Exercise thyself unto godliness.’—1 Zim. iv. 7

y dear boys : I welcome you gladly to this
house of Christian worship and fellow-
ship, because the objects of the Boys’

Brigade are quite in harmony with the great

ends of the Christian Church. These objects

are, according to your card of membership,

‘the advancement of Christ's Kingdom among

boys, and the promotion of habits of rever.

ence, discipline, self-respect, and all that tends
towards a true Christian manliness.’

I take, as the motto of my address to you,
the counsel which the grey-haired veteran sent
from his dungeon in Rome to a young soldier
of Jesus Christ. I want you to regard it as
the advice of a minister who, though no longer
young, is still young enough to remember the
bounding heart of boy life, and to feel with
boys in all their struggles and temptations,

117


118 Edges and Wedges



successes and defeats, their hopes, joys, and
fears.

There are few sights so solemn and inspiring
to any one who has come to know the great-
ness of life, the worth of it, the tragedy of it,
the heaven and hell that are wrapped up in it,
as one like the present, where we have sixty or
seventy boys before us with the trust of this
life in their hands. You may have fifty years
or more to live. What are you going to do
with them? The old story of the proud and
careless king, who allowed one volume after
another to be burned of the precious books
that were offered him by the wise woman from
the East, till, taking thought when too late, he
willingly paid for the last three the three
hundred gold pieces for which he might have
obtained the whole nine, has its applications
to us to-day. Some of us older people have
thrown away our best chances, and can now
redeem to. goodness and God only the last
fractions of our lives. But you have your
years before you. You might put them all on
the side of Christ’s cause, which is the cause of
truth, right, and love. It is to help you to do
this and to make your lives, from start to finish,
true, pure, brave, and good that you have been
enrolled in the Boys’ Brigade, and that I give
The Drill of Life 119



you to-night the counsel of the veteran Apostle

Paul to his young son Timothy : ‘ Exercise
thyself unto godliness.’

Lixercise. The actual word is gémnaze, in
which you will recognise your own gymnasium,
the scene of your physical exercises. Be a
gymnast, says Paul, unto godliness. Drill and
discipline yourself so as to be a good man,
one who loves and serves God, and does his
best for others. ‘The gymnasium,’ says the
apostle, ‘or all the bodily exercise that goes
on there, is useful, and profitable as far as it
coes. It must be good for a man to have
complete command over his body, and to carry
the spirit of obedience down to his legs, and
you can’t do that without drill. Didn't you
find that out when you were first put to squad
drill? Your toes turned in instead of out.
You went to the right wheel when you wanted
to go to the left; and it is a hard thing to
stand erect, shoulders square, and eyes to front.

Yes, exercise is profitable, but it does not go
very far. The mind needs training as well as
the body ; and the thing that is by far the most
profitable (for it will last the longest and get
the highest reward) is godliness, which is living
a life built on God, and that has the love of
Christ for its spring and soul. Be gymnasts,
120 Edges and Wedges
athletes, after that pattern, and all your squad
and company drill and all the work of the
Brigade are designed to help you to fulfil this
highest law of life. ‘Exercise thyself unto
godliness.’

Now, I want to show you how you can take
the counsel of the old apostle into your squad
drill, and marching and firing exercises, and be
helped by them in training yourselves in the life
of faith and goodness. As soon as a boy falls
in for instruction, the first command he hears is

ATTENTION !
You know what position you spring to when
you hear the command: ‘Sguad/ Atten—tion!’
Square shoulders and body to front, straight
knees, arms hanging loosely, hands partly
closed, head erect, and eyes looking straight
ahead,—every bit of you on the alert, ready
for the next order, whatever it may be. Take
that word with you into life and be guided and
ruled by it, and it will do far more for you than
the fabled Sesame which worked such wonders.
Sir Isaac Newton explained his discoveries by
his being able to give more attention to things.
In every business, success comes to the man
who is always at the position of attention, and
nothing but failure can come to the boy who
The Drill of Life 121



drifts, dallies, and doesn’t give attention to his
school lessons or his apprentice work.

Eyes front! is a fine watchword for life.
During the Indian Mutiny, a detachment was
holding an advanced post against the attacks of
a vastly superior force. The enemy gradually
enveloped the post and threatened to cut off
the retreat of its defenders. But the defence
was maintained unshaken. At last an Irish-
man, with more military instincts than the rest,
exclaimed: ‘Och, captain, captain, we're sur-
rounded!’ The officer's reply came quick and
stern: ‘What's that to you, sir? Look to
your front!’ And the defence was continued.*

How this call rings through the Bible! The
flood from which Noah was saved, the fire
from which Lot was saved, the cross by which
the world is judged and saved is God's call to
attention. Bunyan heard the call when his
companion in wickedness was struck down at
his side by lightning. A cousin of mine, as he
told me long afterwards in his log cabin in the
Australian bush, first obeyed the call when his
ship took fire on his way to Sydney, and he
had to take his turn at the pumps week after
week until, mercifully, the land was reached.

Have you never heard God's call to atten-

1 Encye. Brit. ‘ Army,
122 Edges and Wedges



tion? The word means to stretch out towards.
Is that your attitude towards Christ? Luke
tells us that the people were very attentive to
Jesus, or, better, as in our Revised Version,
they ‘all hung upon Him, listening.’ Is that
true of the boys of the Brigade? Christ is the
true Captain, alike of officers and men, and He
speaks to all of you. Do you stand at atten-
tion to Christ ?

‘This is the happy warrior, this is he
Whom every man at arms should wish to be.’

When you stand in rank, side by side, a good
deal of
DRESSING

goes on. If I were speaking to girls, they
would think I was referring to hats and jackets,
or others might suppose I alluded to what
makes a salad savoury. But you know what
it means, and how necessary it is to keep in
touch and in line with each other. Is not the
cause of much of the envy, jealousy, and
quarrelling at home and school, in the Church
and in the world, to be found in the refusal to
correct alignment and consider one another ?
Take heed, boys, to your dressing, elsewhere
than in the drill hall. A small company of
trained soldiers is superior to an armed mob,
The Drill of Life 123



because of their ingrained habit of mutual con-
fidence and perfect co-operation. They hold
together like one man. See that you learn the
lesson well in your company drill. Wait for
one another. JAZind your dressing.

A great deal of drill, both squad and com-
pany, consists in

MaARcHING

of different kinds,—slow, quick, double, right
turn and left, and wheeling. Now the Bible
speaks of life asa march. There isn’t a finer,
simpler, grander idea of life than walking with
God. And the walk isa march. It begins at
the cross, where we get free pardon and enlist-
ment into Christ’s service, and goes on to the
throne. I want you to think of your own life
as a march,—steps measured, and stride strong,
steady and springy.

The most beautiful feature of good marching
is the way in which you go slower, quicker,
turn, and wheel, without ever stopping or
missing a step or getting into confusion.
There are a great many changes in the march
of life. As we older people look back on the
way we have gone, it seems very zig-zag, with
strange turns and wheelings. But this is true
of the whole of life’s march.
124 Ledges and Wedges

You have to leave school, learn a trade, go,
perhaps, from one to another, but you are
marching on all the while according to the will
of God. If you are obeying His word of
command, you may sing as you go and never
despair.

The first exercise you should learn well is

MarkinG Tre,

raising each foot, as your sergeant tells you,
three inches above the ground without advanc-
ing, but still repeating the movement. That is
hard, but you should learn it well, for there is
a great deal of marking time in store for you
in the world. It is a severe test of character
when you continue pegging away without ap-
parently making any progress.

Mark time over your lessons, when you are
learning your trade, when bad tempers and evil
habits are overcoming you, when you are suffer-
ing unjustly. I read the other day a fine in-
stance of marking time, of waiting patiently
till the truth came out, as it always does at the
last.

There was a boy at a public school who was
charged with stealing money from the clothes
of his schoolfellows. He bore a good char-
acter, but the evidence against him seemed
Lhe Drill of Life 125



quite plain. The theft was committed while
the boys were in the playground, and the stolen
money was found in this boy’s pocket. Now
all the masters in the school felt certain that he
was not guilty, and the headmaster told him
that he was quite assured of his innocence; and
he recommended him to stay on at school and
face all suspicions until the matter should be
cleared up. The brave boy agreed to do so.
But he had a sad time of it with the other boys.
They sent him to Coventry and refused to
speak or play with him. Only one thing kept
him up: it was a daily letter from his mother,
who, knowing her boy was having a hard fight,
resolved to keep close to him all the time.
One term after another, and one year after
another passed in this silent suffering, until, at
the beginning of the third year, one of the
other boys of the school was taken ill and died;
and on his death bed he confessed that he had
stolen the money, and had put it, for spite, into
the pocket of the boy who bore so good a
character in the school. And as Dr. Horton,
who tells the story, rightly says: ‘This indeed
was fortitude. One brief moment of courage,
however splendid, cannot be compared with the
dreary days in which there was no active con-
test, but only the long, sickening, deadening
126 Edges and Wedges

endurance of averted eyes, scornful faces, and
muttered reproaches.’

Of all parts of your drill there is, perhaps,
none you have more need to practise in life
than the one I now mention, which, just be-
cause they know nothing about it, many fancy
they could easily execute. I mean the com-
mand to

TAT ae!
It is not so easy as it appears, and at the
inspection your efficiency is tested not only
by the way you step out, but by the way you
come to a halt.

It is a call often heard in our own hearts.
The voice of conscience, the voice of our God
and Saviour comes to some boy here to-night
who is going astray with bad companions, or
beginning to tamper with what is forbidden.
What would you think of the soldier who con-
tinued to advance even a few paces after the
order to halt was given? Yet have not some
of you been disobeying for years the call to
halt of the great Captain of your soul? You
are not fronting truth, duty, heaven and God.
Flatt, and then right about! (For the old
command ‘Right about turn’ has been reduced,
I believe, to the short, sharp syllable bout’).
There lies the beginning of salvation, of eternal
The Drill of Life 127



life, and you can do it now. Change your
direction. Turn your back on your old evil
ways. Obey the call of Christ; Fotrtow Him.

War is a terrible, devilish thing. But what
a noble instinct of obedience and devotion to
duty is shown when, at the word of command,
a body of soldiers turns right about into the
ground where shells are bursting and a deadly
hail of bullets is raining! My lads, will you not
right about to-night at the call of Him who
died for you?—’dout to love God, hate the
devil, fight all evil, and give your life up to the
service of Christ and the good of your fellows.

I can mention only one other part of your
drill which must be very grateful to you after
an evening of marching, turning and wheeling.
It is the only part which I think I could per-
form :

STanD Easy!

This is part of a soldier's drill, to move the
limbs freely without quitting the ground ; and
it is part of the drill of life. Christ, our Cap-
tain, tells us to stand easy as well as to guzck
march and mark time. One day, as the old
tradition has it, a huntsman found St. John
playing with a tame partridge, and could not
help expressing his surprise that the venerable
apostle should thus amuse himself. But the
128 Ledges and Wedges



holy man, pointing to the huntsman’s bow,
asked him if he always kept it bent. ‘No,’
was the reply; ‘that would be the way to
render it useless.’ Then aptly answered the
apostle, ‘May I not unbend my mind for the
same reason that you unbend your bow?’ So
you have your gymnasium, cricket and swim-
ming bath. I wish you to remember that God
wants you to enjoy your games. You may
have Christ as your Companion when playing
cricket as well as when singing hymns or help-
ing a lame dog over a stile.

But the law and limits of amusements are
thus made very plain. You may not find your
pleasure in what the Captain disapproves of.
That can be no real enjoyment on which you
cannot ask the blessing of Christ. Remember
that when you stand easy you do not quit your
ground, and your left foot remains on the line.
Thousands of young men and women are ruined |
every year by a mad passion for pleasure. It
is the only thing they think, or talk, or care
about. Even when you are standing easy you
must not lose your position.

Only if we work can we know the sweetness
of rest. You must earn your game of cricket
by honest and earnest labour. The Com-
“mander of the faithful never dismisses His
Lhe Drill of Life 129



servants. Even when standing easy you must
be ready for His next call.
One last word on your weapon,

Tue RIFLE.

It is the chosen weapon of the soldier. Now
I want you to remember that the chief purpose
of the drill, by which you come to know and
use your rifle till it seems to be part of yourself,
and almost a living thing, is to help you to
employ better the implements of your trade,
and all the instruments by which you are to do
your appointed work in this world.

I had no idea until I examined your officer’s
manual that there are twenty different parts in
your rifle, each with its own name. Could you
repeat them? What a lot of things you have
to do with your rifles! It must be very difficult
surely to distinguish between them all—order,
shoulder, support, port, slope, trail, ground
arms, and then I should think you must be
glad to vest arms. The soldier comes to love
his rifle as a part of himself. You are not
going to be soldiers, nor is this the object of
your drill. But if you will thoroughly learn the
use of what is now your weapon, you will get
the habit of mastering whatever God afterwards
puts into your hands—the carpenter’s saw, the

I
130 Ladges and Wedges



painter's brush, the clerk’s pen, the student's
books, the doctor's stethoscope, the preacher's
sermon. One often hears the complaint that
tradesmen don't know the right use of their
own tools, that they scamp their work or leave
it half done. Now, that ought never to be said
of any member of the Boys’ Brigade. Learn
to handle your gun thoroughly, and you will
be helped to wield aright things of greater
importance.

Jesus worked at a carpenter's bench, Peter
was a fisherman, Paul a weaver. It is not what
you do, but how you do it that is the main
thing ; and every time you take up your rifle
I wish you would hear the great Commander
Himself say to you, ‘Be thorough.’

A medical missionary from China, Dr. Ander-
son, was lately addressing a number of ministers,
of whom I was one. He told us how, after a
day of hard and trying work among the sick
and the suffering in hospital, his Chinese assist-
ant was asked to pray, and in the course of
his prayer the worn and weary man said: ‘O
God, I thank Thee that there is no sickness in
heaven, and that there are no doctors there.’
You know what he meant. There are no
doctors in heaven, just as there are no soldiers,
captains nor ministers; for the life hereafter
The Drill of Life 131



will bear fruit in other and different offices,
‘such as suit the full-grown energies of heaven.’
But there wz be there men and women, boys
and girls, all who, whatever their calling in this
world, whether they have wielded sword, shovel
or sceptre, have been loyal to duty and faithful
to God.

You have been preparing for your annual
inspection by an officer of Her Majesty’s forces,
but do you think of, and are you preparing for,
the inspection that will surely come of each one
of us by the Captain of our Salvation in the
presence of His holy angels? What a march-
past that will be! What shame and woe it
were then to be dismissed from the ranks for
disobedience, cowardice, unbrotherliness! And
what honour and joy to receive stripes for long
and faithful service, and medals for bravery and
devotion from the Commander of the faithful,
by whose grace alone we have lived, laboured
and overcome !

‘Exercise thyself unto godliness.’

‘Endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus
Christ.’
THE PARABLE OF THE CRICKET FIELD
FOR ELEVENS OF ALL AGES

‘So run, that ye may obtain.’—1 Cor. ix. 24

needful lesson from games which He, per-

haps, played when a boy, and which He
observed with kindly eye as He walked in
street and market place. His missionary apostle
made the same good use of his knowledge of
the Greek games when addressing those who
had often witnessed, if they had not engaged
in, them. The boxing match and, still more,
the foot race helped him to explain his own
manner of life and to urge upon others those
habits of self-control and perseverance without
which no crown of victory can be won either on
earth or in heaven.

Doubtless, if our conditions of life could have
existed in Paul’s day, he would have used the
cricket field as freely as the stadzum, in the
illustration of truth and enforcement of duty.

132

ESUS once taught the people of His day a
The Parable of the Cricket Field 133



For cricket has long been and will, I hope,
continue to be, the national game of English-
men. There's surely somewhat amiss with the
boy who does not take kindly to bat and ball!
As far back as the thirteenth century the love
of this pastime had gained such hold of the
people that even the iron hand of law tried in
vain to suppress it in the interests of archery.
It has grown with the growth of our national
character, and in the combination of physical,
mental and moral qualities which the practice
of the game requires and develops—broad and
open shoulders, stout arms, quick legs, cool
nerves, patient, calculating temper, self-repres-
sion, prompt execution and staying power,—
you have the chief features of the typical Eng-
lishman. 5

Nor is it the least happy outcome of the
game that on the cricket field, and in their
simple ‘ whites,’ peer and peasant, the soldier
and his officer, the tradesman and his customer
meet on equal terms and in friendly spirit. I
would like also to believe that, despite its
glorious uncertainties, cricket still keeps singu-
larly free from the debasement of betting, and
that to cheat at cricket, if not at cards, makes
a man a moral leper.

The lion-hearted Paul, as I have said, finds
134 Edges and Wedges



his aptest illustration in the boxing contests
which he had witnessed. He does not hesitate
to use the technical term for the most damag-
ing blow which could be delivered. I have,
therefore, apostolic sanction for using the lever-
age of our national game to urge upon you
who have handled the willow some of the
truths which go to make a bright, brave, man-
ful, Christian life.

The cricket field, then, is before us and the
game is in full swing. Let me hoist on my
telegraph board my first watchword—

DECISION.

If cricket means anything, it means fixed
choice, settled purpose, a clear, consistent and
persistent end in view. No one can be on a
cricket field for ten minutes while play is going
on without perceiving that there are just two
sides, to one or other of which every player
belongs, and that one increasing purpose rules
every action of the game. It may seem to the
ignorant and unlearned much ado about nothing,
but at least there is plenty to do. And the
energy isas decisive as it is sustained. What, I
wonder, would be the fate of the unlucky wight
who didn’t know on which side he was playing,
or who thought that he might belong both to
The Parable of the Cricket Field 135



the zzs and outs! Yes, cricket means choice
and decision. You know what you have to do,
and you mean to do it.

Now I must pause to ask whether you show
the cricketers earnest and patient resolve: in
-your work at school or college, in your com-
mercial training, in your religious well-being ?
How comes it that so many who are manly
fellows otherwise, are content to be so un-
manly in the highest reaches of life? Why
should indifference, laziness, cowardice be held
intolerable on the cricket field, and excite no
scorn when shown in the search for truth, the
struggle after righteousness, obedience to Christ
and the service of others?

This is the very plea of the apostle with his
flagging converts, whom he urges to manifest
the decision and tenacity of purpose in reaching
the true issues of their Christian calling, which
the runner in the foot race exhibits in speeding
to the goal. Boys and lads, have you made up
your minds about your lives? What do you
mean to do with them and by them? Have
you taken sides in the unending battle that
rages around and within you between truth
and falsehood, good and evil, self-pleasing and
self-denying, the cross of Christ and the ambi-
tions of this world? Have you fought the
136 Edges and Wedges



battle of purity in your class or counting-house
in as grim earnest as you have followed on to
prevent a single innings’ defeat? Have you
ever sought to ‘win Christ, with the fixed and
unalterable purpose which has won many a
match? You wear the whites and show the
colours of your school or club. Why do you |
shrink from the badge of Christian disciple-
ship? Why are you not as openly Christians
as cricketers ?

Another truth of life which we learn from the
parable of the cricket field, and which I would
put high upon our telegraph board, is

ORDERLINESS.

In this game there is a place for every one, and
every one must be in his place. The posts are
various, from wicket keeper to long stop and
long field, point and cover, off and on: but all
are indispensable to the right playing of the
game, as it is regulated by the Marylebone
Code of forty-seven separate rules.

Now, the question I am minded to ask those
who know anything about the game is this:
Are these fixed places and definite laws opposed
to the free and full enjoyment of the game?
Are they not, on the contrary, indispensable to
its proper play? Would any captain tolerate
The Parable of the Cricket Field 137



the man who thinks he may stand where he
pleases and do as he likes? Would not his
comrades send him quickly to Coventry who
resented their laws as an infringement on his
liberty of action? The very freedom of the
play depends upon obedience to its objects and
rules. Is that the kind of liberty which you
are seeking for your young, capacious, wilful
manhood? If you cannot do as you please
with bat and ball, you are surely not less
limited in your use of your time, money, in-
fluence? Have you taken upon conscience and
heart the awful truth of the stewardship of
life? Trustees. hold responsible posts. Are
you holding your bodily powers, mental facul-
ties, spiritual capacities in trust for purity, truth,
love and the fear of God? Heedlessness, wil-
fulness, and obstinacy, what the Americans call
‘pure cussedness,’ often spoil a good game.
Alas! they are enough also to ruin a promise-
ful life. I could wish that Keble’s line was a
frequent refrain in your memories,—

‘The curse of lawless hearts, the joy of self-control.’

Many a cricket match has been won, not by
the brilliant play of one man, but by the rare
cohesion and co-operation of the whole team.
The true cricketer never grumbles at the post
138 Edges and Wedges



assigned to him, although he may have nothing
to do for many an over, and may get no chance
of distinguishing himself throughout the game.
From the parable of the cricket field, with its
ordered freedom and personal subordination,
let us learn that our true liberty consists in
‘acting without hindrance according to the
highest law of life,’+ which, for us Christians, is
the law of Christ, and that our true nobility lies
in our loyalty to the trust committed to us.
There are long stops and cover points in the
game of life as well as bowlers and wicket
keepers. All are needful to the end in view,
and all, therefore, will share in the rewards of
victory.

‘Choose not thy task, but choose to do it well.’

But I must now recall my friends of the
cricket field to the central and dominant feature
of the game viewed as a parable of life and
duty. Let me put on the telegraph-board as
my third watchword,—

TEMPTATION.

It is around the ball that the interest of the
game gathers. In its rude beginnings there
were no stumps, but in their stead a circular

1 Liddon.
The Parable of the Cricket Field 139



hole in the turf, out of which it was the aim ou
the striker, with his ‘cvze’ or crooked stick, to
keep the ball. The game is won by the side
which makes the highest aggregate of runs,
but all the runs must be made off the ball
which is used to dislodge a striker at the
wickets.

You make your score and win your game by
means of the instrument which is employed to
bring about your defeat. Is not this a parable
of life? What the ball with its proper pace,
pitch, and twist is in the game of cricket,
temptation in its varying moods is in the divine
plan of human life.’ As the batter makes his °
score off the ball, so you are to win the crown
of life by means of the inevitable element of
temptation with its under side of seduction to
evil and its upper side of confirmation in right-
eousness and goodness. ‘Why comes tempta-
tion,’ asks Browning in his manly, heroic spirit,
‘but for man to meet, and master, and make
crouch beneath his feet, and to be pedestalled in
triumph ?’

What would be thought of a cricketer who
ran away from the ball because it was swift and
twisty, or who shrank from a catch because it

1] am indebted for this thought to a remembered
address to boys by Professor Marcus Dods, D.D.
140 Edges and Wedges



was difficult? The ethics of the cricket field
are enough to condemn the pitiful excuses of
many young men for their mean and miserable
failures in life. Granted that the force of cir-
cumstances, the power of habit, and the in-
fluence of an evil example, are all against you,
but these are the very conditions of your life
without which you cannot attain to your highest
and best. It is a poor thing to have a’ duck’s
egg after your name when the day’s score is
published. Are not some of you in danger,
through your unworthy ease, selfish indulgence,
and moral cowardice, of being declared ciphers ?

The wise old Greeks always represented
Hercules on their coins, who was their ideal of
a virtuous and heroic manhood, as covered on
head and shoulders with the shaggy skin of the
Numezan lion whose slaughter was the first of
his twelve great labours, and which he accom-
plished alone in the dark and by a grip of the
throat. They were right. Would that all my
young readers remembered that the victory
over their first temptation, the lion of their
own besetting sins, is the mother of all victories.
It will cover your head in every other battle,
and be a harbinger of success in every future
labour.

The young cricketer delights to read the
The Parable of the Crecket Field 141

achievements of the masters of his craft. In
Bible biography you will find most helpful in-
struction about both the right and the wrong
ways of dealing with the ball of temptation in
its varying deliveries. There are temptations
to what is foul and dishonest, which you must
block hard and sharp; instigations of another
kind, which you may slip or cut to good
account, for a soft answer turns away wrath,
and silence will sometimes put to nought the
unclean jest. There are full-pitch onslaughts
of evil, which you may even run to meet in
God’s name, and drive quite out of the field.
What a score did Jesus make in the wilderness,
if we may with reverence thus speak, off the
Devil’s own bowling, until He exhausted for
a season all his devices, and was left upon the
field, zo¢ out /

Thus we reach the last feature of the game
viewed as a parable of life, which I may sig-
nalise by a fourth watchword,—

LovaLty.

Loyalty all round, but especially to the captain.
Chosen by the team for his proficiency in the
sport and general fitness for leadership, the cap-
tain is entrusted with the entire management
of the game, and his authority is unquestioned.
142 Edges and Wedges



Sometimes it is he who gathers the eleven;
they bear his name, and are led to continued
success by his superior generalship. It is but a
pastime after all, and should be nothing more
for most of us, if we are not to defeat the
wholesome purpose of the game. But none
the less does it give ample opportunity for the
magnetism of personal influence and self-forget-
ting devotion to a common end. A flavour
of hero-worship will not injure a young man’s
sturdy independence. To be loyal to your
leader, even when playing a losing game, will
put grit into your character and make you of
more account in conflicts of a sterner kind.

But, if you need a captain even to ensure
success in a cricket match, do you not infinitely
more require a Leader as you face the solemn,
alternative issues of life and destiny—-One who
is worthy to be King in your innermost being,
and has the power to conform you to His own
image? After nineteen centuries the world
knows no such Leader and Lord as the strong
Son of God, Immortal Love. In this friendly
talk on our noble game as a parable of life and
duty, I have been thinking mainly of boys who
are fast becoming young men. And for your
large, needy, responsive natures our Christian
Gospel should have an irresistible attraction
The Parable of the Cricket Field 143



because it claims your trust and devotion for a
living Person, human and divine, who stands
close to each of you, heart to heart and soul to
soul, and whose plea with.you is this: ‘I gave
Myself for thee; give thou thyself to Me.’
Ah! it was with single wickets He had to play.
None could be with Him when the triumph of
truth and right and love, the salvation of the
world, hung upon His success. But with the
strength of God and the sympathy of a man
He lived, laboured, suffered and died. He is
with us now, to. save us by His blood, renew
us by His grace, guide us by His example, con-
strain us by His love, and transform us and life
_and duty and drudgery by His companionship.

There is a gospel for the cricket field, the
schoolroom, the office, and the wide world.
Christ, the Leader of salvation, makes His own
team, calls them by their names.and leads them
out, and they follow Him. They know His
voice, trust His guidance, love Himself.

You who would scorn to be unfaithful to
your captain of cricket in the hour of trial, can
you bear to be disloyal to the Captain of salva-
tion before the face of the world? ‘The game
is safe with him,’ is the highest praise a captain
can give any of his team. I wonder if Christ
can say as much about you to whose keeping
144 Edges and Wedges



He commits His name, His cause and His
honour? He taught men by parables when He
lived among them. Surely He has led me to
make this use of the cricket field if you now
respond to His call, surrender to His sway and
fall at His feet with the confession of him who
once doubted most: ‘My Lord and my God.’

The game goes on from day to day, from
hour to hour, through life’s swiftly-passing
years. All the score has to be made now by
daily decision for truth and right and God; by
free obedience and the co-operation of service ;
by resistance to evil and victory through temp-
tation ; by loyalty to Christ. But the score has
to be read out in eternity, and it will make your
eternity. ‘So run that ye may obtain.’ ‘Be
thou faithful unto death, and thou shalt inherit
the crown of life.’
ma








IN THE HAYFIELD,
146
TEE (CHIR SE (ONE (GOULD)

Rev. xxi. 18

GREAT poet, who was also a good man,
ft has told us in lines which we learned
S at school, that he would rather die
‘than cease to feel his heart leap up when he
beholds a rainbow in the sky. And all that is
best in us must be chilled to death if we feel no
heart-leap as we read, even if we do not quite
understand, the pictured story of battle and
victory and of the glorious City of God with
which the Bible closes. For God keeps His
best till the last.

The little child whose heart leaps up at rain-
bow and sunset, at noble deeds and loving
sacrifices, will get better at the meaning of the
picture-words, through which we are to learn
what God is preparing for them who love Him,
than the learned commentator whose heart has
grown as dry and dead as his own old books.

There is all the difference in the world between
147 ‘
148 Edges and Wedges



being childish and child-like. And if the grey-
haired Rabbi had to learn that only as a little
child could he enter the kingdom of heaven,
the youngest of my readers must take care that
through pride and wilfulness he does not lose
the child-heart, without which he can never see
the Palace Beautiful, nor play in the streets of
the City of Gold.

Most of my young readers can tell me the
names of the great cities of the world, past and
present. Try, now, how many you can men-
tion. For the cities of the world have made
the history of the world. When you gather
primroses by the spring hedgerows, or play
with the haymakers in the meadow, or look at
the happy autumn fields, you may feel with the
quiet-loving Cowper that God made the
country, if man made the town. But it is in
the city that life is at its fullest, and man at his
greatest, and finest feelings and noblest habits
can be cultivated as they cannot be in solitude.
So, while the tragical story of our race begins
in a garden, it ends in a city. And when God
wants to tell in the last pages of His book of
truth and love all the good that comes to us
through His dear Son’s cross and crown, He
uses the image ofa city, a royal city. For, not
the eonthy but the town, not the garden but
The City of Gold 149



the city, speaks of security, peace, permanence,
ordered freedom, common interests, manifold
services, social intercourse, the presence and
the glory of the King.

But there never was a city like that which is
painted for us at the end of the Bible. Its
foundations are laid in the truths taught us
by God’s apostles and prophets. There is no-
thing of exaggeration and distortion in it, for it
stands foursquare to every wind, and its length,
breadth, and height are equal. Its jewelled
walls give it the fresh tints of the morning, for
nothing in it grows old and outworn, nor does
dark night ever fall upon it, since God is both
its Sun and Star. Its twelve open gates look
north, south, east and west, for it is open to all
comers, and unless we are missionaries at heart
we have never breathed the air of the City of
God.

But, more wonderful still, the city is ‘of
pure gold like unto clear glass.’ What does
this mean? I will try to tell you, as far as I
know. But behind God’s picture-words there
are unfathomed deeps of grace and truth, like
the blue that stretches far and away beyond the
fleecy clouds of the summer sky. Of all the
precious things of this earth, none is so univer-
sally prized as that ‘ yellow thing,’ which is the
150 Ledges and Wedges

meaning of the commonest name for gold in
the languages of men. The precious metal is
so rare and durable, may be beaten and drawn
out to such a marvellous extent, and has such
power of resisting the action of the atmosphere
and growing purer by passing through the
hottest fires, that from the earliest times it has
been the chosen emblem of all that is most
precious, sacred, and divine. When gold was
first turned into coin, not the head of king or
emperor, but the image of some god was alone
thought worthy to be stamped upon it.

Now, if you will ask your own hearts, you
will be able at once to tell what is really the
most precious thing in earth and heaven—that
which makes your mother and your friend, and
is the light and sweetness of your own happy
lives. J¢ zs love. The city of gold which
comes down out of heaven from God is the
focus and home of love ; and its streets are said
to be of pure gold, because all its ways are
ways of love, and all its citizens are busy on
errands of love.

‘O merchantman, at heaven’s mart for heavenly ware,
Love is the only coin which passes there.’

Do not think that because you can’t see this
The City of Gold I51



city of gold, as you can see London or Paris,
-it has no real existence. It is as real as love,
and love is of God. An old prophet saw it:-to
be full of boys and girls playing in its streets ;
and Jesus was angry with a holy anger when
His disciples stood between Him.and the little
children who belong to the kingdom of heaven.
He is the Door into all its blessedness. - Yes,
you may now belong to the City: of Gold, and
live in it and for it. For all the gold of the
city is just another name for the love that
suffers long and is kind, beareth all things,
believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth
all things, and never faileth.

Not seldom as I visit among the poor and
the sick does the light of this city of gold radiate
from their looks and words and ways. When
gold was first discovered in Australia, every
second or third person caught the gold fever
and was ‘off to the diggings.’ It was in too
- many cases a wild, insatiable, debasing passion.
But there is a gold fever of a nobler kind with
which I could wish that you and I were mightily
seized. Alas! that so few seek after the gold
of heaven and are ambitious of growing rich
with the riches of God. Does any of the pure
gold of the city show itself in your life and
character P
152 Edges and Wedges



For I must now ask you to take special notice
of a peculiar property of the gold that goes to
make the city of God. -If you hold a gold
sovereign before your eye, can you see through
it? No. It is too dense and opaque. It shuts
out everything beyond itself and will blind you to
the fairest scenes on earth and all the splendour
of God’s blue heaven. This is the evil which
the gold of this world is doing everywhere.
People can’t look beyond it and don't care
much for anything beside it. There are so
many in Christian England whose real and
only God is their gold.

But the gold of the city of God is not dense
and dark. It does not shut you up within
itself. As the glorious vision of the city
dawned upon John’s inward eye, the gold of
which its streets were made was lustrous and
transparent, like pure glass. For true love is
self-forgetting, self-sacrificing. It is always
going out from itself and giving itself away.
As the most golden of all the golden texts of
the Bible tells us, ‘God so loved the world that
He gave His only begotten Son.’ There is a
gold coin belonging to the reign of Edward
III. which has the cross of Christ engraved
upon its face with the motto : ‘It shall be lifted
up in glory.’ Our forefathers did their best, if
The City of Gold 153



this was their purpose, to make the most pre-
cious thing of earth speak of the most precious
thing in all the universe of God—the love of
Christ which passeth knowledge. And _ this
gold is like unto pure glass. When you look
at it, think about it, believe in it, you are forced
to say, ‘He loved me and gave Himself up for
me.’ And this love, wherever it comes and is
welcomed, makes all things like itself. Love
the gift becomes love the debt. In the faith
and fellowship of Christ, you learn the secret of
turning everything into purest gold. Thus
the city grows and spreads, and will be glori-
ously complete when Jesus comes.

I want you all to be members of a heavenly
Goldsmiths’ Company. If you will keep in
touch with Christ, catch His spirit and obey
His great law of love, you will fill your young
lives with the pure gold of heaven,—the gold
of truth, kindness, helpfulness, self-sacrifice.

What a noble ambition to lay up treasure in
heaven and increase the gold of the City of
God! There are nuggets to be found in every
rock of difficulty and golden grains in the
rubble of daily life. It will cost you toil and
trouble. You will have to work upon your
knees, and you may have to defend your trea-
154 Edges and Wedges



sure with shield and sword. But think of the
end. Remember the reward.

‘Sweet thrill the harpstrings of the heavenly choir,
Most sweet their voice, while love is all they tell;
Where love is all in all, and all is well,

Because their work is love, and love their hire.

All robed in white and all with palm in hand,
Crowns too they have of gold, and thrones of gold;
The street is golden which their feet have trod,

Or on a sea of glass and fire they stand:

And none of them is young, and none is old,
Except as perfect by the Will of God.’?

1 Christina Rossetti.
THE GATE OF PEARL

Rev. XXi. 21

y this picture-word, so attractive in itself,
B the rapt seer of Patmos tries to tell us
% how we get into the city of pure gold, or
the city of self-forgetting love, which is the
only city that really is, and ever shall be ; for
God is love, and he that dwelleth in love
dwelleth in God, and God in him. John of the
eagle eye saw all round the city. It had gates
facing north, south, east, and west, so that
none had far to go who wished to enter. But
while there was endless variety within the city,
there was absolute sameness about the way of
getting into it. The gates on the north were
quite the same as the gates on the south.
Everybody, as soon as he gets his eyes opened
to see it, finds the gate of the city fronting him.
But each one of the several gates was a single
pearl. You might go round the city and you

wouldn't find any other way of entrance. You
155

}

oe
156 Edges and Wedges



can't come to the perfect home of love, nor
share in all the good which it is in the heart of
God to give us, unless you enter by the gate of
pearl. Let us try to learn the meaning of this
divine emblem.

You can, perhaps, take a look in passing ata
ring or brooch in which some sea-born pearl is
set. But the same material (which is just the
lining of a shell) is found in any real mother-of-
pearl button or stud. For the pearl, which
some put at the head of all precious stones,
both for beauty and value, owes its origin, as
many of you know, to some foreign substance
getting between the mantle and the shell of the
oyster or mussel. This intrusion troubles the
little creature, just as a stone getting into your
shoe, or a thorn into the quick of your nail
would trouble you. But it at once begins to
cover the intruder with a thin, smooth layer of
shelly matter, which puts an end to the irritation.
And thus the oyster turns his trouble into a
pearl. You have read, I daresay, how the
divers, off the coasts of India and Ceylon, carry
on their pearl fishing ; and when the pearl is
without speck or flaw, of a round shape, a clear
white colour, with the hues of a rainbow play-
ing upon it, it is of very great value. There is
a pearl in the South Kensington Museum
The Gate of Pearl 157



which weighs three ounces, and is four and a
half inches in size.

Such, then, being the story of the pearl, let
us see why it is taken as the emblem of the
only way of entrance into the city of pure gold,
that is, into all the good which God can bestow,
or man.can receive now and for ever.

1, Unlike all other precious stones, the pearl
owes nothing to the skill of man. It may
be neither cut nor polished, but must be used
just as itis found. The gate into the city of
love is a single pearl, and the pearl is perfect.
It is altogether of God. For Jesus is the Way
to the Father, and the Door into all the blessed-
ness of earth and heaven.

There is plenty for each of us to do here and
hereafter within the City of God. For it is
love’s business to turn everything into the gold
of heaven. But whether young or old, wise or
simple, we can gain the rights of citizenship
and catch the spirit of the city and obey its
laws and labour for its triumph only by yielding
ourselves to its King, entering by the gateway
of our heart’s trust in Jesus, who, when He had
overcome the sharpness of death, opened the
kingdom of heaven to all believers. The way
is so perfect and precious that it makes any and
every wayfarer acceptable to God and free of
158 Edges and Wedges
His heart and home. It takes a long time to
learn all the marks of a pure pearl. But who
has discovered all the excellencies of. Jesus?
Up in heaven they are making fresh discover-
ies every day. Have you made a beginning ?
2. But the pearl, though untouched by
human tools, comes from deep, dark seas and
is the child of pain. With its milky white-
ness through which the light of heaven comes,
and with its changing rainbow hues, it tells of
triumph over trouble and of perfection through
suffering. The gate into the City of God is
a single pearl. We may not know, we cannot
tell in what depths of suffering and sorrow, of
love and sacrifice, our pearl was perfected.
But it is by the blood of Jesus that we have
boldness to enter into the Holiest. There
never was a way so free to all, which yet tries
every entrant so sorely. You can't get your
pride, self-will, and love of sin through the
gate. Somehow we get changed in the spirit
of our minds as the sheen of the pearl falls
upon us. And it is when you are saying ‘No’
to the tempter, are battling with the evil of
your hearts, feeling real sorrow for all your
naughty moods and ways, and turning right
" away to God that you may know that you are
passing through the gate of pearl,
The Gate of Pearl 159



You cannot get into any kingdom of God
except by a gate of pearl. Every good
thing is difficult, and without pain there is no
gain.

Is it easy, do you think, to become a musician,
a painter, a scholar? Every apprentice has to
pass through a gate of pearl to the mastery of
his craft. The last beatitude of the Bible is
pronounced upon those who enter by the gate
into the city. But how are they distinguished
from others? In this way. They make it the
real business of their lives to wash the robes
of their souls,—all their thoughts, affections,
aims, and ends, in the love and blood of the
Lamb.

No master of his art or science regrets that
he had to enter his kingdom of music or
medicine, or. commerce, by the low and narrow
door of difficulty. Nor does any one who
belongs to the City of God, which is the City
of Love, begrudge his pain at the Gate of
Pearl. If we find it very hard to be a Chris-
tian, is it not also very glorious? Per aspera
ad astra is a fine motto to translate into the
language of your own life. What was once
only a cause of trouble and irritation to the
oyster is now a pearl that graces the Queen's
crown, Our best treasures come out of green
160 Ledges and Wedges



seas of tribulation. Trial will one day spell
triumph. Every cross has in it the making of
acrown. The City of Pure Gold is entered by

the Gate of Pearl.

Tue Enp.

Butler & Tanner, The Selwood Printing Works, Frome, and Lenden.

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