Imágenes de páginas


We come to thee, O God, whom we have not seen, but still know, by the mighty lift our souls have had in some great time of discouragement; by the strength that has come, we know not whence, in some moment of weakness; by the patience to bear pain that has come in some great agony; by the wondrous color that plays about our happiness, and the deeper note that is struck in our joy. So we come and know that we are embosomed in some great mysterious and powerful life, that some mind directs, guides and leads us along paths we do not know. There is not one of us but what has been led along an upward and forward way, though so different a way from that which we ourselves would have marked out, or that which we are continually, in our unwisdom, trying to find out for our children.

Our pain and evil have often been our teachers, but there is not one of us that dare ask that in the coming year there shall come evil, or that there shall come pain or sorrow. We are forever praying that there shall be success to every effort; accomplishment for every plan; that there shall be days of happiness and hours of complete uplift; and yet again we look back and see how the world has learned its lessons, has fought its way up, has groped its way on, has risen only to fall again, has struggled on and on, stumbling sometimes confusedly but still has kept its quest continually, and reached the better day. Prophets and saints tell us the same thing, that character is made perfect through discipline, and discipline comes through trials, and trials through temptations and failure.

We dare not take our lives into our own hands. We are not wise enough to guide our little children. We

do not know what to teach them to say nor what to tell them to do. We can only look at the great principles that come out of nature, as the great mountain peaks rise out of the earth, and say, these show the axes of life; the lines along which the human spirit must go. But none of us has ever been able to walk this way unfalteringly; none of us has been able to say that it has been a triumphant passage; that our hopes have been realized; that our plans have been carried out; that the good we wanted to do we did. Who dare say it has been a splendid triumph-this life? If no one else knows, we know the pillow has often been bedewed with tears. Where others congratulate, we, knowing better than any one else, say, "Not to us," as we shrink back from taking credit that is not ours. Life is not a splendid triumphant passage toward a great end; it is a confused, faltering march; a stumbling and a groping walk; now seeing visions, and then walking in darkness; now hearing voices and then in the vast and void silence; sometimes not even knowing whether we are right or not, and then not having the strength to do the right; and yet advancing, seeing more and more of beauty, gaining a little more strength, sweeping a wider vista with our vision and knowing that the end, the house of God, at some time shall come to us.

So we trust thee with our lives, as flowers do, though not so obediently; trust thee as birds do, though not so fully. If we could, life would be a gladder song than it is and of more wonderful beauty. But they lack that which we have, the strength of character. We have had the pain of sin and the joy of its conquest and the sweetness of its forgiveness. It is not that we have done right, but that having done wrong, we have risen to hate the wrong. It is not that our armor is undinted, but that we have conquered. It is not that we

have not made mistakes, but that having made them we have learned obedience and wisdom by the things that we have suffered; and so as we go on, at last we shall come to thee, with body and with face marred and disfigured, scarred and broken, the results of our conflict, but still, as we hope, undaunted in spirit, hating that which is false, and loving that which is good, through Jesus Christ. Amen.



'Having done all, to stand."



"I will lead them in paths that they have not known.”
ISAIAH xlii, 16.


POEM of Browning has very much interested and fascinated me. It is somewhat mysterious to those who read it first, and I suppose it has a different thought for each one who makes it a study. The poets are, after all, our greatest religious interpreters.

This poem of Robert Browning is "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came." The suggestion of it is a line from King Lear, this and nothing more: "Childe Roland to the dark tower came." Who Childe Roland was, where the dark tower was, why he came to the dark tower, what he did when he got there, no commentator on Shakespeare has ever been able to tell. But this mysterious line has a certain fascination, as all mystery has, and was chosen as the subject of Robert Browning's poem. The line of thought that runs through the poem is this: A knight, battered as to his armor, weary and broken, who has some quest upon which he is set, comes to the edge of a plain

« AnteriorContinuar »