THE NEARNESS OF GOD

This entry is part of 21 in the series article 27

"That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after 
him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us." 
ACTS xvii. 27. 

THE surprise of life always comes in finding how 
we have missed the things which have lain nearest to 
us ; how we have gone far away to seek that which 
was close by our side all the time. Men who live 
best and longest are apt to come, as the result of all 
their living, to the conviction that life is not only 
richer but simpler than it seemed to them at first. 
Men go to vast labor seeking after peace and happi- 
ness. It seems to them as if it were far away from 
them, as if they must go through vast and strange 
regions to get to it. They must pile up wealth, 
they must see every possible danger of mishap 
guarded against, before they can have peace. Upon 
how many old men has it come with a strange sur- 
prise, that peace could come to rich or poor only 
with contentment; and that they might as well 
have been content at the very beginning as at the 
very end of life. They have made a long journey 
for their treasure, and when at last they stoop 
to pick it up, lo ! it is shining close beside the 
footprint which they left when they set out to 
travel in a circle. 

So we seek to know our fellow-men, and think 
that the knowledge can be gained only by long and 
suspicious experience and watchfulness of their be- 
havior ; but all the while the real power of knowl- 
edge is sympathy, and many a child has that, and 
knows men better than we do with all our cautious 
ness. And so we plot, and lay our schemes, and 
go long ways about to make men like us, it may be 
to be famous, when their liking lies right at our 
feet ; to be ours certainly any moment when we 
will just be simple and true, and forget ourselves, 
and genuinely care for other men, and let them see 
that we care for them in frank and unaffected ways. 
We try to grow powerful by parading what we think 
that we can do, by displaying the tools of our power 
before men, by showing them why they ought to 
feel our influence. Only gradually we learn that 
power lies as close to us as work lies, that no man 
can really do real work and not be powerful. 

It is a vague sense of all this, I think, that makes 
a certain confusion and perplexity and mystery in 
life. The idea that there is much more near us than 
we understand or know, that we are every hour on 
the brink of doing things and being things which 
yet we never do or are, this is what gives to life a 
large part of its restlessness, and also a large part of 
its inspiration. We seem to ourselves, sometimes, 
like men who are walking in the dark up and down a 
great, richly furnished house, where tools for every 
kind of work and supplies for every want are lying 
on every hand. We find rich things, we taste de- 
licious meats, we recognize the fitnesses and the 
care that have provided most ingenious comforts; 
but all the while we are not sure but there is some- 
thing even richer, more delicious, more ingenious, 
which we have almost touched but passed by in the 
dark. 

There comes in life to almost all men, I suppose, 
a certain sense of fumbling, a consciousness of this 
vague living in the dark. And out of it there come 
the everlasting and universal characteristics of hu- 
manity, which are in all men of every age and every 
time, which belong to man as man, the ever reap- 
pearing and unquenched hope, the sense that nothing 
is quite impossible, the discontent with any settled 
conditions, the self-pity and pathos with which men 
always regard their own lives when they are thought 
ful, and the self-reproach which is always lying in 
wait just under the surface of our most complacent 
vanity. All of these and all of them belong so to 
human life that the man who has not any of them 
is an exception all of them come from that condi- 
tion in which men vaguely know that they are always 
missing the things that they need most, that close 
beside them are most precious things which they 
are brushing with their robes, which they are touch- 
ing with their fingers, but which, lying in the dark, 
they cannot see. 

And now suppose that it were possible for any 
being, standing where he could look at man, apart 
from him and yet in fullest sympathy with him, to 
watch his fumbling with a sight that could see 
through the darkness. What would his feeling be 
about this humanity that he saw forever missing 
the helps and chances that it needed, missing them 
often only by a finger's breadth? How solemn his 
sight of man would be ! Right by the side of our 
thinking race to-day lie the inventions and dis- 
coveries of the years to come. This seer, to whom 
the darkness is no darkness, would discern them all. 
He has always seen how man has missed the nearest 
things. He saw how for ages the inventions which 
the world has already reached the quick-hearted 
steam, the eager, trembling, vocal electricity, the 
merciful ether that almost divinely says, "Be still! " 
to pain, how all these lay unfound just where the 
hand of man seemed to touch them a hundred times, 
and then wandered on unwittingly to play with 
trifles. He saw how a continent lay hid for ages 
from the eyes of men. He saw how hearts came 
and went in this world, always just touching on, 
just missing of, the great comforting truths of a 
personal immortality, till Christ with His Gospel 
brought it to light. He has seen how single souls 
have gone through life burdened, distressed, per- 
plexed, while just beside them, so close that it 
seemed as if they could not step an inch without 
seeing it, so close that it seemed as if they could 
not move without finding their hot and tired souls 
bathed in its rich waters, flowed the comfortable 
faith they wanted, the river of the Water of Life 
which their death was crying out for. 

What must be the feeling of such a being about 
human life? Pity and awe. A blended sense of 
what a vast endowment man has, what a vast thing 
it is to be a man, and at the same time of what a 
terrible thing it is to miss so much, the feeling 
with which even the weakest child of Gaza looks at 
the blind giant Sampson, helplessly feeling for the 
great columns of the house. "O Jerusalem, Jeru 
salem, how often I would have gathered thy children, 
but thou wouldst not" Jesus, the Saviour, was 
having just that view of human nature when He 
cried out so. And who will say that there was 
not a reverence for Jerusalem mixed with the pity 
for Jerusalem in the Lord s heart? And when it is 
not Jerusalem, but you or I, who is not exalted and 
solemnized when he is able to rise up and believe 
that there is not merely pity for the sinner who can 
be so wicked, but reverence for the child of God 
who might be so good, blended into that perfect 
unity of Saving Love with which Jesus stoops to 
lift even the vilest and most insignificant of us out 
of his sin? 

And now, after all this, let us come to our text. 
St. Paul is preaching on Mars Hill to the Athenians. 
We hear a great deal about the eloquence, the skill, 
the tact of that wonderful discourse; of how St. 
Paul, with exquisite discrimination, said to those 
men of Athens just the right thing for them. That 
is putting it too low. The power of his tact was 
really love. He felt for those men, and so he said to 
them what they personally needed. And he was, 
as regarded them, just where the looker-on whom I 
was picturing is with regard to the men stumbling 
and fumbling in the darkness of which I spoke. 

Never were people on the brink of so many of the 
highest things, and missed them, as these Athen 
ians. They felt all the mystery, the mysterious 
suggestiveness of life. They built their altar to the 
unknown God. The air around them was all trem- 
ulous with power. They were always on the brink 
of faith, without believing ; always on the brink of 
divine charity, yet selfish; always touched by the 
atmosphere of spirituality, yet with their feet set 
upon the material and carnal. Of such men there 
were two views to be taken by one who looked in 
upon their darkness from a higher light. Easy 
enough it is to be contemptuous; easy enough to 
cry out "Hypocrite!* to condemn as hopelessly 
frivolous and insincere this life which always walked 
on the brink of earnestness, and yet was never 
earnest ; to condemn, as the sweeping critics of all 
modern doubt are apt to do, every altar to the 
"Unknown God "as if those who had built it cer- 
tainly cared more about and worshipped more the 
"unknown" than the "God," delighted more in His 
uncertainty than in His Divinity. Easy enough it 
is to do this, but possible, at least, it is to do some- 
thing very different from this, possible to be im- 
pressed as St. Paul was with reverence and pity that 
left no room for contempt, reverence for the men 
who came so near to so much, and pity for the men 
who missed it so sadly. Oh, be sure, my friends, 
that whenever you see a poor bewildered thinker, 
or a puzzled youth feeling about vainly for his work, 
his place, his career in life, there are those two 
thoughts for you to have about them both, the 
thought of contempt and the thought of reverence 
and pity ; and be sure that the first thought is mean 
and unworthy of a fellow-man, and that the second 
thought is the thought of the best and wisest and 
divinest men, the thought of St. Paul and of Jesus 
Christ. 

And now, what makes the difference between 
these two kinds of observation, these two men with 
their different sight of a human life? It is not hard 
to see. Is it not simply that the man who looks 
upon his brother's puzzled life with reverence and 
pity is the man who sees God there behind the life 
which he is looking at? The man who looks at his 
brother's restless life with contempt, is the man who 
sees no God there, to whom the everlasting human 
restlessness is nothing but the vain and aimless toss- 
ing about of a querulous dissatisfaction. If there is 
no God whose life and presence, dimly felt, is mak- 
ing men toss and complain, then their tossing and 
complaining is an insignificant and a contemptible 
thing. It would be better if they could be calm like 
the beasts. If there is a God to whom they belong, 
from whom the thinnest veil separates them ; whom 
they feel through the veil, though they cannot see 
Him; whom they feel through the veil even when 
they do not know that it is He whom they feel 
then their restlessness, their feverish hope, their 
dreams and doubts, become solemn and significant, 
something which any thoughtful man may well de- 
light to study, and may well rejoice if he can at all 
help them to their satisfaction. 

And this is just what St. Paul tells the Athenians. 
He says, "You are restless and discontented. You 
are always seeming to be near something which yet 
you do not reach. Your feet are always pressing 
the brink of a knowledge which you never come to 
know. You are always half aware of something 
which you never see. I will tell you what it means. 
Your restlessness, your impatience, your discontent, 
however petty be the forms it takes, is solemn and 
not petty to me, because of what it means. It 
means that God is not far from every one of you." 

Oh, what a revelation that was ! What a preach- 
ing that was that day on Mars Hill! It was as if 
one came to a blind child, sitting in a room where 
he thought himself alone, and wondering at the 
restlessness which would not let him settle down to 
quiet thought and work, and said to him, "I can 
tell you what it means. You are not alone here 
though you think you are. Your father is here, 
though you cannot see him. It is his unseen pres- 
ence that haunts you and disquiets you. All these 
many disturbances which your mind undergoes are 
really one disturbance, the single disturbance of 
his being here. It is simply impossible for you to 
sit here as if he were not here. The only peace for 
you is to know and own his presence, to rise up and 
go to him, to make your whole thought and life 
centre and revolve about the fact that he certainly 
is here, to quiet your disturbance in the bosom of 
that presence, known, out of which, unknown, your 
disturbance came." 

And that is what Christianity reveals. What St. 
Paul said to the men of Athens, Christ says to 
everybody, to you and me and all these multitudes. 
He comes to you, and says it: "You are restless, 
always on the brink of something which you never 
reach, always on the point of grasping something 
which eludes you, always haunted by something 
which makes it impossible for you to settle down 
into absolute rest. Behold, I tell you what it 
means. It is God with you. It is Emmanuel. 
His presence it is that will not let you be at peace. 
You do not see Him, but He is close by you. You 
never will have peace until you do see Him and 
come to Him to find the peace which He will not let 
you find away from Him. Come unto me, and I 
will give you rest." That was the revelation of the 
Incarnation. Listen, how across all the centuries 
you can hear the Saviour giving that revelation, that 
interpretation of their own troubled lives to multi- 
tudes; now to Nicodemus, now to the Samaritan 
woman, now to Pontius Pilate, and all along, every 
day, to His disciples by what they saw from hour to 
hour of His peace in His Father. 

Listen again. Hear Christ giving the same reve- 
lation to-day; and ask yourself this: "If it were 
true, if God in His perfectness, with His perfect 
standards in Himself, with His perfect hopes for 
me, God in His complete holiness and His complete 
love, if He were here close to me, only separated 
from me by the thin veil of my blindness, would it 
not explain everything in my life?" There is the 
everlasting question, my dear friends, to which there 
is only one answer. What else can explain this 
mysterious, bewildering, fluttering, hoping, fearing, 
dreaming, dreading, waiting, human life, what but 
this, which is the Incarnation truth, that God from 
whom this life came is always close to it, that He is 
always doing what He can do for it, even when men 
do not see Him, and that He cannot do for them 
all His love would do only because of the veil that 
hangs between Him and them? "Not far from 
every one of us! " there is the secret of our life 
weak and wicked because we will not live with God ; 
restless, unable to be at peace in our weakness and 
wickedness, because God is not far from us. 

But it is time for us to take this idea of God very 
near us, and giving Himself to all of us just as fully 
as we will receive Him, and follow it out more in 
detail. God is to men wisdom and comfort and 
spiritual salvation. See how our truth applies to 
each of these. 

I. And first about God s wisdom. I can conceive 
of a humanity which, up to the limits of its human 
powers, should understand God. No cloud should 
come in anywhere. It should know everything 
about Him which it was within the range of its 
nature to comprehend. Then I can conceive of an- 
other humanity which should not understand God 
at all, to which God should not even try to com- 
municate Himself, which He should govern as He 
governs the unintelligent planets, without an effort 
to let them know His nature or His plans. Now 
which of these two is this humanity of ours? Cer- 
tainly, neither of them. Certainly not the humanity 
which knows God perfectly, for see how ignorant we 
are! But certainly, upon the other hand, not the 
humanity that knows nothing of God; for behold 
how much we do know, how precious to our hearts 
is what we know of Him ! 

What then? I look back over all the history of 
man's acquaintance with God, all the religions, all 
the theologies, and it seems to me to be all so plain. 
Here has been God forever desiring, forever trying, 
to give the knowledge of Himself to man. There 
has been never anything like playing with man s 
mind, like leading men on to ask questions and 
then wilfully holding back the knowledge which 
men asked for; always God has been trying to 
make men understand Him. Never has He turned 
and gone away in anger, and left man in his ignor- 
ance. He has hovered about man s mind with an 
unbroken presence. Wherever there was any chink, 
He has thrust in some knowledge of Himself. Thus 
man in every age, in every condition, even in his 
own despite, has learned that God is just, that 
God is merciful, that He governs the world in 
obedience to His own perfect nature, that He there- 
fore must punish and that He must reward. These 
are not guesses about God which man has made. 
They are not beliefs about Him which men have 
reasoned out from their own natures. They are 
the truths about Himself which God has been able 
to press into the human understanding, even through 
every veil which man drew between himself and God. 

I love to think of this ; I love to think that there 
is no man so ignorant, so careless, so indifferent 
about what God is and what God is doing, that God 
is not all the time pressing upon that man's life, and 
crowding into it all the knowledge of Himself that 
it will take. As the air crowds upon everything, 
upon the solidest and hardest stone, and on the 
softest and most porous earth, and into each presses 
what measure of itself each will receive; so God 
limits the revelation of Himself by nothing but by 
the capacity of every man to take and hold His 
revelation. This is not hard to understand or to 
believe. Into a roomful of people who differ in 
natural capacity and education, comes one man 
whose nature is rich, whom to know is itself a cul- 
ture. The various people in the room do know him, 
all of them ; but one knows him far more intimately, 
takes him far more deeply into his understanding, 
than another. All grades of knowledge about this 
newcomer are in that room, from almost total igno- 
rance to almost perfect intimacy ; but it is not that 
he has nicely discriminated and determined to whom 
he shall give himself, to whom he shall deny him- 
self, and just how much he shall give himself to 
each. He has given the knowledge of himself just 
as bounteously to each, just as far into each, as he 
could. 

I love to think that that is true of God. The 
blindest, dullest heathen is pressed upon by that 
same knowledge of God, eager to give itself away, 
that presses on the wisest saint. The heathen does 
not wait till our missionary comes to him. You 
are not kept waiting until all your doubts are settled 
and your fogs dispersed. At this moment, on 
every soul in this wide world, God is shedding that 
degree of the knowledge of Himself which the con- 
dition of that soul will allow. Is not that where 
what we call the false religions come from? They 
are imperfect religions. If they are religions at all, 
as indeed they are, it is because of what they know 
of God. Our missionaries must go to them with 
our religion as the elder brother goes to the younger 
brother, speaking of the father, of whom they both 
know something, out of the fuller knowledge which 
has come to him, but with sincere respect and rever- 
ence for all that his brother has been able to learn 
already. 

Remember, God is teaching you always just as 
much truth as you can learn. If you are in sorrow 
at your ignorance then, still you must not despair. 
Be capable of more knowledge and it shall be given 
to you. What hinders you from knowing God per- 
fectly is not God's unwillingness but your imperfect- 
ness. Grow better and purer, and diviner wisdom 
shall come to you, not given as wages, as reward, 
but simply admitted into a nature grown more 
capable of receiving it. Here is our old text again : 
If any man will do his will, he shall know of the 
doctrine." Here is Christ's old promise again: 
"Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any 
man will open unto me, I will come in and sup with 
him." 

2. But see again how true our truth is when we 
think of God as the giver not of wisdom, but of 
comfort. Two men are in deep suffering; the same 
great woe has fallen upon each of them. They 
need, with their poor bruised and mangled souls, 
they both need some healing, some strength which 
they cannot make for themselves. What is the 
reason that one of them seems to get it and the 
other fails? Why is it that one lifts up his head and 
goes looking at the stars, while the other bends and 
stoops, and goes with his eyes upon the ground? 
Is one God s favorite more than the other? Is God 
near to one and far off from the other? We dream 
such unhealthy dreams ! We fancy such unreal dis- 
criminations and favoritisms! We think that one 
soul is held in the great warm hands, while the other 
is cast out on the cold ground ! But then comes in 
our truth: "He is not far from every one of us." 
From every one of us! The difference, then, cannot 
be in God and in His willingness; it must be in the 
souls. 

What, then, can we say to any soul that seems to 
be left comfortless when other souls all around it 
are gathering in comfort plentifully? There are two 
things that we may say, I think ; and oh, that I 
could say them to any of your souls that need 
them ! The first is this : God is comforting and 
helping you even when you do not know it. Do 
not let yourself imagine for a moment that God s 
help to you is limited by what you can feel and 
recognize. Here is a man upon whom one of the 
great blows of life has fallen. He is not embittered 
by it. He is not proud and sullen. He goes to 
God and knows that his only help is in Him. He 
goes away and comes back to the same mercy seat, 
and goes away and comes again; and always he 
seems to himself to be carrying his whole burden. 
He cannot feel it grow any lighter on his shoulders. 

But all the time he goes about his work. He does 
his duty. He will not let his sorrow break down 
his conscience. Do not I know something about 
that man which he does not know about himself? 
Do not I know that God is helping him when he 
thinks himself most unhelped? Do not I know that 
his burden is a very different thing from what it 
would be to him if there were no God? Believe 
and remember that, I beseech you, about your own 
suffering. If you are really looking to God for 
help, He is sending you help although you do not 
know it. Believe it also about your temptation. 
If you are really asking strength, He is giving you 
strength, although you do not feel it. Feeling is 
not the test. Your soul is feeding on it, though 
your eyes may not see it, any more than they can 
see the sweet and wholesome air by which you 
live. 

And then, when this is said ; and when there still 
remains the evident difference in the nearness of two 
men s souls to God which this cannot explain; re- 
member then that the difference must be in the men. 
In something that you are, not in anything that 
God is, must be the secret of the darkness of your 
soul. Do not let yourself for one moment think or 
feel that God has turned His back upon you, that 
He has gone away from you and left you to your 
fate. Don t ask yourself, if He had, who are you 
that you should call Him back? Who is He that 
He should turn round at your calling? That way 
lies despair. No, "He is not far from every one of 
us." He is not far from you. It is you that must 
turn to Him ; and when you turn His light is already 
shining full upon you. What a great truth it is, 
how full of courage, this truth that man may go 
away from God, but God cannot go away from man! 
How God loves His own great character of faithful- 
ness ! He cannot turn His back upon His child. If 
His face is not shining upon you, it must be that 
your back is turned on Him. And if you have 
turned away from Him, you can turn back to Him 
again. That is the courage which always comes to 
one who takes all the blame of life upon himself, 
and does not cast it upon God. In humility there 
is always comfort and strength. 

3. But we must not stop here. Where is the God 
who brings the spiritual salvation, who makes a man 
know his sin, and gives him the blessing of forgive- 
ness and the peace of the new life? Is He, too, 
near to every man, ready to help, always trying to 
help all men to be deeply and spiritually good? 
This, it seems to me, is what a great many men find 
it harder to believe than they do that the God of 
wisdom or comfort is near His children. Many men 
believe that they can understand God and lay claim 
to His consolations, who seem to hold that His 
spiritual presence, the softening, elevating, purify- 
ing power of His grace, belongs to certain men only. 
Indeed, is it not the growing heresy of our time that 
what we call the Christian character, the beauty of 
self-sacrifice, devotion, spiritual duty, is possible for 
some men, but for other men, perhaps for most 
men, is impossible ? That Christian character is not 
denied ; its charm is felt. But it seems to belong 
to certain constitutions, and to be quite out of the 
power of others. 

Ah, how the human mind swings back forever to 
a few first ideas, and holds them in some new form 
in each new age, but does not get beyond them ! 
This feeling about the few men who are supposed 
to be capable of Christian experience is but the 
naturalistic statement, in a naturalistic age, of the 
same idea which in a legal and governmental age 
was stated as the doctrine of election. The man 
who, two hundred years ago, would have seen his 
brethren around him coming to Christ, and have 
sat down in submissive or sullen misery, saying, 
"Well, there is no chance for me. Others are called, 
but I am non-elect," that same man now, catch 
ing the tone of the age, looks round upon the pray 
ing and believing multitude, and says more or less 
sadly, but with no more real self-reproach than the 
soul which recognized its reprobation: "Religion is 
a thing of temperament, and I am non-religious." 
Against them both, protesting that both are false 
and shallow views of this solemn human life of ours, 
against them both, whether souls are hiding in 
them as excuses, or crushed under them as burdens, 
there stands the everlasting simple Bible truth of 
the universal nearness of God: "He is not far from 
every one of us." 

And just as soon as men really get below the sur 
face, and have broken through the superficial look 
and current theories of things, and really have come 
to real study of their own spiritual lives, I believe 
that it is absolutely true that they always find that 
there is nothing which so meets the story of their 
lives, nothing which can so explain themselves to 
themselves, as this ; which you may call at first an 
hypothesis if you will, but which verifies itself to us 
as all hypotheses must verify themselves, by the 
way in which it meets the facts which have to be 
explained ; the hypothesis of God present with and 
always trying to work upon our souls, to make them 
good, pure, strong, true, brave; unseen by us, but 
always close to us; and, because He is God, always 
working, always hindered by our ignorance, our 
obstinacy, our wickedness, but never discouraged, 
never turning away, doing all that .omnipotent Love 
can do upon unwilling human souls to make them 
live to Him. 

If that were true, what would our life be? Think 
it out ; think how a being would live, how he would 
feel, that was thus ever touched and pressed upon 
by a God he did not see, trying to persuade him to 
holiness, trying to convince him of sin; and then 
run back over the life you have been living ever 
since you can remember, and tell me if they do not 
perfectly match and coincide. Restless, self-accus- 
ing, dreaming of goodness which you never reached ; 
fitfully trying tasks which all your old experience 
told you were impossible ; haunted by wishes which 
you dared to laugh at, but did not dare to chase 
away ; with two sets of standards about right and 
wrong, one which you kept for the world, the other 
which you hid deep in your heart and were more 
than half ashamed of; what does all that corre- 
spond to but the life that a man must live who is 
surrounded and pressed upon by an unseen God? 
God-haunted our lives are, until they give them 
selves to God, as the brain of a sleeper is haunted 
by the daylight until he opens his eyes and gives 
himself a willing servant to the morning. 

Or a beast lies tangled in a net. Some kind hands 
try to unsnarl the cords and let him go. The crea- 
ture feels them tugging at the strings, and writhes 
and struggles all the more, and twists himself into 
a yet more inextricable snarl. But by and by he 
catches in his dull soul the meaning of the tugs and 
pulls that he feels, and he enters into sympathy with 
his deliverers. He lies still while they unbind him, 
or he moves only so as to help their efforts, and so 
at last he is free. That is the way in which God 
sets a soul free from its sins. And therein the soul 
freed from its sins sees the explanation of all its 
struggles which have gone before. 

This, then, is the story of the present God. What 
is the meaning of the Incarnation? We picture 
Christ coming from far, down through the ranks of 
angels, down from the battlements of heaven; far, 
far beyond the sun, we picture Him leaving His 
eternal seat and "coming down " to save the world. 
Then we picture Christ s departure. Back by the 
way He came, beyond the sun again, once more 
through the shining hosts, until He takes His ever- 
lasting seat at the right hand of God. There is truth 
in such pictures. But have we not caught more of 
the spirit of the Incarnation if we think of it, not as 
the bringing to us of a God who had been far away, 
but as the showing to us of a God who had been
hidden? It is as if the cloud parted and the tired 
and thirsty traveler saw by his side a brook of clear, 
sweet water, running along close by the road he 
travelled. Then the cloud closed again, but the 
traveler who had once seen the brook never could 
be faint with thirst again. He must always know 
where to find it and drink of it. Christ was not a 
God coming out of absence. He was the ever- 
present God, revealing how near He always was. 

And so of the new life of Christ in man. It is 
not something strange and foreign, brought from 
far away. It is the deepest possibility of man, re- 
vealed and made actual. When you stand at last 
complete in Christ, it is not some rare adornments 
which He has lent from His Divinity to clothe your 
humanity with. Those graces are the signs of your 
humanity. They are the flower of your human life, 
drawn out into luxuriance by the sunlight of the 
divine Love. You take them as your own, and 
"wear them as the angels wear their wings." 

This is what Belief means, then. Not the far-off 
search for a distant God, but the turning, the look- 
ing, the trusting, to a God who has been always 
present, who is present now. This is what Belief 
means. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and 
thou shalt be saved."
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