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statesmen, and independent thinkers and scholars. Politicians are weak and yield to public opinion ; but we must have something fixed, something which will not yield to the currents and eddies of opinion; some fixed mark, which can look on tempests and not be shaken.
It is hard to speak the truth in love ; hard to know when to speak the truth and when not, when to give way to sympathy and when to refuse. James Walker preached a famous sermon on the text, “Thou shalt say No.” It is often
very hard to say no, when it seems so easy and simple and good-natured a thing to say yes. But we must have the courage to do it.
This conflict between truth and love is sometimes presented to us as a problem in ethics. If a robber asks me which
way his victim has gone, shall I tell a lie and deceive him, or not? Shall I tell a lie to an insane person or a sick person for his good? Is it right ever to deceive? These questions, when put in abstract form, cannot always be answered. But the practical answer comes to us if we have learned to live in truth and love. When these are united in our character, they will not be divided in our speech or our action. We shall not tell any lies from good nature, but we shall be taught in the hour of exigency what to do and say. The promise of Jesus will be fulfilled: “Take no thought what ye shall say, for it will be given you in that hour what ye ought to say.” If we live in the whole, a united life; we shall not act partially or in a one-sided way. The Lord will help us in each exigency, to say and do the right thing, not sacrificing truth to love or love to truth. Life often teaches us that way which logic fails to find.
The only live work, too, is that which has both truth and love in it. We must love our work, to do it well ; we must also believe in it, to do it well. The lowest drudgery
becomes a fine art when we put our mind and heart into it: a fine art becomes mere drudgery when we practise it only to make money or get reputation out of it. Work is very hard when we do it only because we must ; it is very easy when we have faith in it and love it.
I know men and women in every kind of business who contrive thus put love in what they do, and it makes it very interesting. I have seen two such persons very lately - one is the man who invented the machine by which the Hoosac tunnel has been bored through. He made very little by his invention, though those who bought it of him have made a great deal, and the State of Massachusetts has saved millions by it. But this man did not look at all unhappy. His joy was found in making the invention, and in mechanical processes of delicacy and difficulty. Lately, I saw a lady who. is a teacher of little children. She told me she had never seen one bad child ; never had one really bad child. Though educated a Calvinist, she does not believe in infant depravity. Of course, some of the children inherit faults from their ancestors. They are careless, passionate, stupid sometimes, cross sometimes, they tell little fibs occasionally, they tease each other, they fret, they get angry and cross. All this, but they are not bad. That is because she loves them. Her love sees something good below the evil. Love always does. My friend may be clear-sighted and see all my faults; but he sees something in me more real than my faults, which will outlast them and redeem me from them. So Jesus loved Peter, seeing his faults, and knowing that Peter would deny him thrice, and yet calling him the rock in his faith, on which the church should stand. So God loves us, though all our sins are naked and open to him ; but he sees something in us beside our sins. I know that this teacher, who had never seen a bad child, must be a good
teacher, and doing a good work. The atonement of Christ consisted, as it seems to me, just in this—that in him were perfectly united these elements of truth and love. mercy and truth met together : they were made at one that was the atonement. He could abhor sin, and yet love the sinner. He could see the faults of his disciples, and yet have faith in them and hope for them. His was no soft good-nature; no mild submission to evil. He stood up and rebuked the Rulers and Pharisees, and exposed, in awful severity, their hypocrisy. He pardoned sin, when it was confessed and repented of, but the hardened sinner he judged with the divine light of perfect truth. So he baptized men with the Holy Ghost and with fire. He showed how, in God, justice and mercy could be and were always one. He showed how God could be just, and yet justify those who repent and trust in him.
Jesus was the son of God, and if we are willing to be led by the Spirit as he was led by it, we, also, can become the sons of God. In our joy and our grief, in our doubts and difficulties, in light and in darkness, we may still believe that mercy and truth can meet together. If we live in that spirit, we shall also walk in that spirit. If our inward life be united in love and truth, our outward actions will easily follow the same rule. If we mean always and strive always to be both true and also loving, this spirit will flow out into our life.
NO TEMPTATIONS BUT WHAT ARE NATURAL:
“THERE HATH NO TEMPTATION TAKEN YOU BUT SUCH AS IS
COMMON TO MAN; BUT GOD IS FAITHFUL, WHO WILL NOT SUFFER YOU TO BE TEMPTED ABOVE THAT YE ARE ABLE, BUT WILL WITH THE TEMPTATION ALSO MAKE A WAY TO ESCAPE, THAT YE MAY BE ABLE TO BEAR IT.”
T is well known that the same Greek words in the New
also mean "trial,” and “to try.” A temptation is a trial; a trial is also a temptation.
Every machine made by man which has important work to do, must be tried or tested. Steam engines are tested, cannon are tested, watches are tested, the compasses of sea-going vessels are tested, to see if they are able to do the work which is to be confided to them. Government inspectors are appointed to test and try such articles as food, fire-arms, hay, leather, milk, before they can be offered for sale It would be well if this inspection were carried further, and no buildings were allowed to be used for public meetings till they were inspected and found to be strong and safe ; no bridges or railroads allowed to be used unless all necessary precautions were used against accidents.
In the economy of nature tests are applied to plants and animals. The whole of Darwin's famous system rests on the theory of the survival of the fittest. But there is this difference between the trial of a machine and of an ani
mal. If a rifle or a cannon is tested by having a heavy charge fired from it, though it may bear the strain triumphantly, it is nevertheless weakened a little by that trial. But a tree standing exposed to bleak winds, if not blown down by them, is made stronger by that trial, not weaker. So a certain amount of exposure to hardship toughens the animal fibre, and enables it to resist more cold or heat or fatigue than it could before. Only the trial must not be too severe, but proportioned to the strength. The body must not be tempted above that it is able.
In like manner, that wonderful agent, the human soul, created for great ends, fitted with curious powers, intended for extraordinary work in this and other worlds, needs to be tested in a great variety of ways. The Book of Job tells us that Satan is an angel of God, whose duty it is to apply these various tests in order to detect any latent weakness in the character. What we call temptation is therefore trial — trial which, if borne well, goes to strengthen the character. That is why the Apostle James writes, “ My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations, knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience,” to which the Apostle Paul adds, that “ Patience worketh experience, and experience Hope."
The soul of man, therefore, is exposed to trials and tests in order that its weak places may be discovered and seen by the man himself, to whom is committed the task of correcting them. When it is the moral nature which is tested, then the trial is called a temptation. When the test is applied to see whether the soul has the power to resist an allurement to wrong, an invitation to evil, power to resist the lower desires in the interests of the higher nature, power to control the appetites, the passions ; which, when controlled, work for good, when allowed to govern, lead to evil ; when these tests are applied, they are so critical,