This entry is part of 21 in the series article 27

"Man goeth forth to his work and to his labor until the eve- 
ning." PSALM civ. 23. 

WE all suspect, far more than we know, how the 
beauty and significance of the most familiar things 
is hidden from us by their familiarity. If we could 
only see for the first time what we see for the ten 
thousandth, it would be so different to us ! We are 
sure that we should really see it then. And one of 
the most significant of things, certainly, if we could 
see it in such freshness, would be the constant alter- 
nation of day and night in the natural world, with 
its suggestion and indeed its requirement of a 
corresponding alternation of work and rest, of occu- 
pation and leisure, in the life of man. But age after 
age, the days have gone on shining through their 
golden hours, and then sinking into the coolness and 
dark of the evenings ; and generation after genera- 
tion of mankind has had the characters of all its men 
and women shaped and colored by this perpetual 
ministration of nature, this mixture of labor and re- 
pose. Though men have become so possessed with 
the passion of work that, if they could, they would 
have had a never-setting sun, though they grudged 
the hours of rest as if they were hours of waste, the 
sun has had no consideration for their extravagances ; 
but when the working hours were over it has shut 
down its gate of darkness and turned the over- 
zealous mechanic out of his workshop, and the 
overzealous farmer out of his field, and has com- 
pelled each of them to rest in spite of himself. 

On the other hand, men have grown tired of work 
and loved overmuch the dark and quiet hours in 
which they could give themselves to contemplation ; 
but once a day always the sunlight has broken in 
upon their dreams, and the stir and current of a 
world springing to work in every part of it has 
dragged them to the labor that was better for them. 
Nature is so healthy ! such a wise mother of us all ! 
With her quiet, persistent hands she is always press 
ing on each man's morbidness, and urging it back 
to health. Our modern civilization invents its gas- 
lights and its tireless machineries and tries to turn 
night, both for its pleasure and its labor, into day. 
And then comes the opposition, the protest of 
laboring people insisting that eight hours or ten 
hours are enough to work. But, after all, however 
men may fix their exact rules and regulations, it is 
nature and the God of nature, it is the Maker of 
light and darkness who has finally decreed the gen- 
eral proportions of toil and rest that man shall go 
forth to his work and to his labor until the evening, 
and then come home to his repose. 

Our subject, then, is Work and Rest and their 
relations to each other, which are thus typified and 
secured by the perpetual dispensation of the natural 
world. I am sure that every thoughtful man will 
have suspected at least that there is nothing that 
has had a stronger influence in bringing his character 
to be what it is, than the proportions and relations 
which work and rest have had to each other through 
the course of his life ; and as he surveys the people 
about him he sees hardly any cause that has con- 
tributed so much to make the differences among 
men who may be considered to have started pretty 
much alike, as this same thing the different pro- 
portions of labor and leisure in their lives. If this 
is true, then these two parts of life and their relation 
to each other must be well worth our study. 

And let us speak first of work, the daytime labor 
of men, that by which they get their living. The 
strangest thing about work is the way in which all 
men praise it, and yet all men try to get away from 
it. There is no subject so popular as the blessedness 
of work. There is no theory so universal as that of 
the wretchedness of not being compelled to work. 
You may tell any audience that the worst legacy a 
father can leave to his child is the opportunity of 
idleness, and all your audience, rich and poor, work- 
ers and idlers together, will applaud. There is no 
live man who does not feel a certain excited sense 
of admiration, a certain satisfaction, a certain com- 
fort that things are right, when he stands where 
men are working their hardest, where trade is roar 
ing or the great hammers are deafening you as they 
clang upon the iron. Everywhere, work and the 
approval of work ! and yet everywhere the desire to 
get away from work! Everywhere, what all these 
men we see are toiling for, is to make such an ac- 
cumulation of money that they shall not have to 
toil any longer. Everywhere, while the laboring 
man has his contempt for, he has also his envy of, 
his brother man who owns the easy fortune and lives 
the easy life. The dream of his own heart is to 
reach that same privilege for himself. 

Now, this double sense, this value of work and 
impatience with work as they exist together, seems 
to me to be the crude expression in men's minds of 
this conviction, that work is good, that men de 
generate and rust without it, and yet that work is 
only at its best and brings its best results, is most 
honorable and most useful, when it is aiming at 
something beyond itself. This is the feeling which 
lies at the bottom of all men's endeavors to escape 
from the labor which yet they know and will main 
tain to be honorable and beautiful, the feeling that 
every work ought not to be satisfied with mere con 
tinuance, but ought to seek some attainment, ought 
not to expect merely to go on forever, but ought 
to expect to go out sometime into a rest and repose 
in which its true excellence should be attested. 
And everybody will bear witness that this is the 
healthiest feeling about any work that we have to 
do; satisfaction and pleasure in doing it, but ex- 
pectation of having it done some day and gradu- 
ating from it into some higher state which we think 
of as rest. Take the first of these away, and work 
becomes feverish and discontented. Take the second 
away, and it becomes dull and deadening. 

The real pleasure that legitimately belongs to the 
doing of work (a pleasure which it would be sad to 
think that any of us whose lot in life it is to labor 
in any way did not often feel as we plod on about 
our business) this pleasure is capable of being 
analyzed into various elements. I will mention 
three, which, though we may not have given them 
our thought, must have often helped and lightened 
the doing of our work. The first is the pleasure of 
the mere exercise of our powers. It is a noble 
thing. I do not know where there is any broad, 
patent fact which makes us more realize that Love, 
somewhere, in some heart, had something to do 
with the putting together of this life of ours, than 
the great fact that whatever a man is made to do, 
he primarily does with pleasure. Other things may 
come in that make him hate to do it, but he starts 
out with this, that the power being in him, it is 
a joy to him to send it out into action. And it 
is wonderful how many mighty and exceptional 
achievements there are, and how much of the even, 
steady flow of action there is, of which it is really 
impossible to give any other account than this, that 
it is a pleasure to human nature to exercise any 
power of which it feels itself possessed. There are 
plenty of merchants who are working hard every 
day, not to make money, for they have enough, but 
because there is in them a business faculty which it 
is a pleasure for them to exercise, just as it is a 
pleasure for a fish to swim, or for a bird to fly, or 
for a child to run with the vitality that he feels in 
every limb, or for an artist to paint with the skill 
that he feels in his active brain and his subtle fingers. 

There are men at Washington and at our State 
House whose pleasure in governing is purely in the 
use of the governing capacity of which they are 
conscious. In our war, as in every war, there were 
soldiers who went to the field not for the cause, but 
for simple joy in doing what they knew they could 
do that is, to fight and perhaps command. There 
is an impatience in an unused power. It is cramped 
and distressed and inflamed within us. It is a joy to 
exercise a power or a talent. It is not the highest 
or most reasonable joy, but how deep and universal 
it is! how it springs up instinctively! There is a 
healthy pleasure in doing what each power that God 
has given us was made by Him to do. 

But this is not all. One must see or believe that 
there are results of his work; or it is not in any 
reasonable man to take permanent pleasure in doing 
it. And there comes in the second element in the 
attractiveness of work. It may seem at first as if 
there were very little for us to gather up here. It 
may seem that much of our work went by and mani- 
fested no results, so few special and prominent things 
there are to which, after we have worked for our 
twenty, or thirty, or forty years, we can point con- 
fidently and declare that but for us they would not 
have been. 

And yet, I am sure, there are two convictions 
that grow in the mind of every watchful man as he 
gets older: first, that the amount of effect that has 
been produced in the world by men's work has been 
enormous, the face of nature enormously altered, 
and the condition of humanity enormously changed ; 
and, secondly, that this enormous effect has really 
been produced not by the great efforts of a few great 
toilers, but by the continuous, innumerable labors 
of innumerable little workers just like himself. This 
seems to me to be the source from which a common 
man is really able to believe that his work does 
something, and so to take pleasure in his little labor 
because of its indubitable results. The coral insect 
sees the great reef breasting the sea, which millions 
of little creatures, with no greater gift of size than 
he, have built; and so he creeps up and lays his 
stiffening frame upon the pile, sure that even such 
a bulk as his will not be lost. The worker in some 
branch of charity sees that the great condition of 
the human race has risen on the whole; whole 
ledges of humanity that used to be under the water 
now stand out in the sun ; and he sees that it has 
not been done by one or two giants giving one or 
two great lifts, but by the constant help of insignifi 
cant man by insignificant man all through the cen 
turies ; and so he knows that he is doing something 
when he lays down his life or some part of his life 
for his brethren something that will show, although 
he shall not see it ; something that will tell, although 
he shall not hear it. Sometimes we feel how little 
men have done in the world; but oftener we feel 
how much they have done, and rejoice in adding 
our grain of sand to the great pile that is forever 

The third element of reasonable pleasure in work 
is the change and advance which it brings in our 
knowledge of ourselves, and in our own characters. 

If there were not something of this kind, I do not 
think any reasonable man could go on working day 
after day and be contented. Work would grow stale 
and disgusting. Merely to exercise powers that re- 
mained the same after the thousandth exercise that 
they were after the first ; and merely to produce re- 
sults like a machine that is no more perfect when its 
millionth nail is added to the heap than when it 
dropped its second or its third; neither of those 
could satisfy the man conscious of a character, con- 
scious of himself. It is in the blessed power of work 
to make a man first know himself, and then grow 
beyond himself, that its great attractiveness for all 
the best sort of men must lie. I go to work proud 
and confident ; I find how weak I am and I grow 
humble. That is itself, or ought to be, a joy. The 
new joy of humility alas, for the man who never 
tasted it ! It is a coming home to facts. It is a 
getting rid of delusions. I have found the blessed 
strong footing of humility. I have got the hard, 
barren rocks away, and have got down to the soft 
rich ground in which good seed can grow. It is rare 
to see a really working man who is proud, and rare 
to see a really idle man who is not proud. And I 
am not theorizing. I am only speaking the truth of 
multitudes of experiences when I say that for a real 
man there is no joy in life so great as getting rid of 
the false conceits, concealments, and necessities of 
pride and coming down to the frank, solid, free 
ground of humility. 

These, then, are the legitimate sources of pleasure 
in work. I do not say that these are what make all 
men work, and keep them from idleness. Lower 
compulsions come in. In a community like ours 
the two first things that keep men at their labor are 
necessity and shame. Men cannot afford to be idle 
where wealth so easily changes hands, and where no 
one will give them a living which they do not earn 
for themselves. And men have not the face to be 
idle where this universal necessity has established a 
universal esteem for work. I do not despise either 
of these compulsions. Better that any idle hands 
among us should be set to toil by necessity or 
shame than that they should lie always in the lap ; 
but if your work is to be anything more than a task 
to you, somewhere or other these three things must 
come in to lift it : It must really call out your 
powers ; you must be able really to think of it as 
effective and useful, and you must see out of it some 
fruit of humility and character in yourself. 

I am glad to preach to a congregation of men who 
work; I should not know how to preach to any 
others. Every morning your house doors open to 
let you out either from the luxury or from the 
poverty of your home, into a day of labor. Every 
morning these men refresh the old experience of 
David's Psalm and with light heart or heavy, with 
joy in it or hate of it, "Man goeth forth to his work 
and to his labor." It makes one's heart almost 
ache as he thinks back how long this has been going 
on. It seems as if it were terrible that so many 
hundreds of thousands of millions of men have lived 
and worked ; and yet we, coming onto the earth at 
this late day, have rushed in at once, with the old 
instinct grown strong with hereditation and never 
relaxed necessity, have scrambled among the graves 
of our fathers for the tools they dropped beside them 
as they stepped down wearily into them, and have 
gone to work as freshly as if we were the first gen- 
eration that ever discovered what a grand working 
place this old world is! It is terrible to think of 
all this if we remember what multitudes of those 
workers hated the work they did, loathed it, and 
were crushed by it, got neither pleasure nor culture 
out of it, and died killed by their work in soul as 
well as body. "Therefore I went about to cause 
my heart to despair of all the labor which I took 
under the sun," so wrote the despairing soul in the 
Ecclesiastes, and many another despondent heart 
has taken up his dreary words. 

But yet, if we are right, if work has in it these 
sources of joy, real, pure, untainted with anything 
of evil, then the terror of it is gone for any worker 
that can truly find these fountains. Then we are 
not entering into an entailed curse of our fathers 
when we come out and find work waiting for us just 
as soon as our hands are big enough to hold the in- 
struments of labor; we are rather coming into a 
garden of blessing, broad, open, rich, which was 
stocked with all culture for them, and is now offering 
its pleasures freely to us their children. The sky 
with tireless benevolence, and the ground with pa- 
tient welcome, see us coming so late with the same 
old monotonous demands, and are as cordial in 
their greeting and as kindly in their care for us as 
they were to Adam and Seth and Enoch, and the 
others who came to them when they were fresh and 

I wish that I could make the young men whose 
lot it is to be workers know and believe that work 
is not necessarily pleasant nor necessarily drudgery. 
Your work has in it great, deep, inexhaustible sources 
of delight, if it is capable of giving broad play to 
your good human powers, and of leading to some 
true solid results, and of making you humble. Dis- 
trust no work because men call it "low " ; but dis- 
trust any work, however high men call it, that will 
not do these three things for you. Distrust and 
dread any work which cramps instead of letting out 
your faculties, or which brings out your meanest 
faculties and leaves your noblest ones untouched, 
or any work which you are sure can add nothing to 
the sum of good in the world. It is not the size but 
the solidity of the contribution that you must look 
to ; a single grain of sand is as solid as a mountain. 
Distrust also any work the doing of which makes 
you proud, and so, blinding you to yourself, makes 
you weak. A pleasure in using our powers, a belief 
in results, and a growing humility, these are the 
sanctifications and salvations of work, and may make 
the life of the hod-carrier or the street-sweeper bright 
and elevating. 

These are our thoughts of work and of its privi- 
leges. And now, as we look around upon the world 
we live in, we see how all of nature is built to co- 
operate with these great purposes of labor, and to 
bring out the pleasure which legitimately belongs 
to every act of faithful work. The delight in the 
sheer exercise of powers finds sympathy in every 
attempt of nature, by her resistances and discourage- 
ments, to bring those powers out to their fullest. 
The desire to produce results is helped by a ready 
nature always ready to submit to and be acted upon 
by man. And the self-culture of work is aided by 
every rebuke with which nature convinces the work- 
ing man of his limitations and his littleness. This 
outer world, with all its helps and hindrances, is 
saying to man, "Work, for there is happiness and 
growth in working. It is good. It is what you are 
here for. I will help you. For this the daily sun- 
light rises in the east and shines through all its 

But now we come to the other part of our subject. 
If we look to the arrangements of Nature for indi- 
cations of what man's life is meant to be, we see at 
once that, bravely as she has provided for his work, 
she has not thought of him only as a working being. 
She has set her morning sun in the sky to tempt 
nay, to summon him forth to his work and to his 
labor, to make him ashamed of himself if he loiters 
and shirks at home ; but she has limited her daylight, 
she has given her sun only his appointed hours, and 
the labor and work are always to be only "until the 
evening." Rest as truly as work is written in her 
constitution. Rest, then, as much as work is an 
element of life. By his rest as well as by his work 
every man may be estimated and judged. Indeed, 
it seems as if a man could be judged better by his 
resting than by his working hours. He is less arti- 
ficial and more spontaneous then, and his character 
has freer play. Who of us does not feel that he 
would know more of a man's real character, of the 
true personal qualities that are in him, if he knew 
how he spent his evenings than even if he knew 
wholly how he was occupied during his days? 

If we pass, then, from talking about work to speak 
of the Divinely appointed, the naturally recurring 
periods of rest in a man's life, we must try to esti- 
mate their value not to the body but to the mind 
and soul. We want to think not of night as the 
time of sleep, but of evening as the time of leisure. 
And here, too, let me make three suggestions of the 
value of rest as I did of the value of work. And, 
first, this daily drawing of the curtain between man 
and his active labors represents and continually re- 
minds us of the need of the internal as well as the 
external in our lives. It brings up to us our need, 
by bringing up to us our opportunity, of meditation, 
of contemplation. For active life is always tending 
to get shallow. It is always forgetting its motives, 
forgetting its principles, forgetting what it is so 
busy for, and settling itself into superficial habits. 
Do we not know that, every one of us? No work 
is so sacred that it can escape the danger. Buying 
and selling, legislating, doctoring, preaching, teach- 
ing, they are all occupations which are capable of 
being done only from the muscles outward. And 
just as God was always taking those Hebrews of 
His, after they had been tossed and beaten about in 
a great war, full of wild, absorbing activity, and put 
ting His hand upon them as it were, and hushing 
their history into one of those calm evening periods 
of which we read in the frequently recurring phrase, 
"the land had rest forty years"; just as He took 
his chief saints, Moses, Elijah, Paul nay, just as 
Jesus Christ went out of activity into silence and 
quiet and retirement ; so God shuts us out from our 
work and bids us daily think what the heart of our 
work is, what we are doing it for. If this is the 
meaning of the evening and no man sees the day- 
light sink away and the shadows gather without 
sensitively feeling some such meaning in it then 
surely we need it. 

It sometimes seems as if, if the whole world could 
stop one hour, and sit still and think what it is 
about, it could start off again so much more wisely. 
There is so much unreasonable work doing. There 
are so few of us who ever do really meditate, who 
ever contemplate the spiritual reasons and conse- 
quences of the things that we are doing ! We put 
that off until we get to heaven, which we idly picture 
to ourselves as a place of endless leisure. We will 
not use the calm and peace, the daily heaven, which 
God has scattered into all our days. We light the 
gas and kill the evening by making believe that it is 
daylight still. 

This we do far too much, and yet we all do medi- 
tate a little ; and it is hard to see how we could ever 
do it at all if life were one broad glare of sunlight, 
never sinking into the dusk where one can not see 
to work and must gather himself together, "recol 
lect," as we say, his scattered life, and look with his 
spirit at the hearts and souls of those things whose 
putsides his hands have been handling all the day. 

The value of the evening comes, of course, from its 
relation to the daylight. The worth of meditation 
depends upon its connection with activity. A world 
all evening would be bad and morbid. The life that 
tries to be all contemplative grows feeble and shal- 
low in its own way. Nature has taught us our true 
culture when she has bound the periods of action 
and the periods of contemplation close to each 
other, and bidden us complete our life out of the 
two together. And the man surely suffers who de- 
spises either. 

And then again, the presence of the evening, or 
the element of leisure in our lives, not merely off- 
sets our working time with a time of thought and 
contemplation, but it also mitigates, even in our 
working hours, the absoluteness with which our 
work tries to rule us. I am sure you business men 
will own that there is danger of a man's being too 
much and too purely a business man. I am sure 
that here, in our city, where we have been and are 
still blessed with the example and influence of so 
many merchants, who, while they have been "not 
slothful in business," have been "fervent in spirit"; 
who have had, that is, burning in their own bosoms 
and have lighted in the lives of others, ardent and 
glowing interest in spiritual things in art, in educa 
tion, in literature, in philanthropy, and in religion 
I am sure that here I may claim and you will 
allow that, for every active business man's best good 
it is desirable, it is necessary, that he should have 
some intellectual or spiritual sympathy outside of 
bis business, which shall be the resource of his life, 
where he can go for the water of refreshment and 
life that will keep him from stiffening into a machine. 

I am sure that we can all see the difference be- 
tween the men who have and the men who have 
not such an interest to resort to ; we feel it the 
moment that we touch their different lives. The 
one life is hard and hollow ; the other is soft, elastic, 
and full. The old Jews used to have (and I do not 
know but they have still) a rule that, however in- 
tellectual or spiritual a child's life might be destined 
to become, he should be taught some self-support 
ing trade, so that, however it fared with the soul, 
the body might not starve. It was a good rule cer- 
tainly. But the other rule would be good, too, if it 
could be observed, that, however material a child's 
life was to be, it should be inspired with some defi- 
nite spiritual or intellectual interest, so that, how-
ever it might fare with the body, the spirit should 
not starve. There is nothing one would want to 
urge more strongly on young men just being swept 
into the intense absorption of mercantile life than 
the necessity of winning and keeping some resource, 
some place of mental resort, some interest or study 
or liberal occupation of some sort, to which his tired 
life may always resort to find refreshment and re- 
cruit its spring. This is the evening element in life. 
There are multitudes of merchants who have turned 
to drudges, and drudged along in a work that was a 
slavery to them, just for the lack of some such re- 
sort, some interest outside of their business, to 
which they could retire. 

To multitudes of people Religion has been just 
this haven of retreat, where the soul put in out of 
the storms of life for shelter and repair. Nobody 
can begin to estimate how much, to our New Eng- 
land ancestors, hard-worked, poor, forced down to 
continual contact with the most prosaic and hard 
details, has been the religion which has always 
filled their lives with softer influence, and renewed 
their courage, and kept the better part of them 
alive. Think of the village and farm life of our 
bleak coast and hills what would it have been with- 
out the softening and elevating and recruiting, the 
letting up of work and letting-in of visions, that 
came from the meeting-house upon the hill, and the 
Bible reading and the prayer and the psalm-singing 
beside the cottage hearth? We may forget much 
that was in their creed, we may learn more broad 
and genial ways of worshipping and thinking, but 
woe to us if we shut up and forget that door which 
they kept open from the life of man into the life of 
God ! Woe to us if we let our work lose the in- 
spiration that comes from knowing that we do it for 
our Heavenly Father, and not for ourselves! We 
stand in danger of letting that knowledge go, be- 
cause work so absorbs us and enchains us by its own 
sheer power; but yet we know that that slavery to 
work, which we are aware is growing in ourselves, 
is not the highest or most noble type of life as we 
behold it in other men. We know that the man to 
whom work is really sanctifying and helpful, is the 
man who has God behind his work; who is able to 
retire out of the fret and hurry of his work into the 
calmness and peace of Deity, and come out again 
into his labor full of the exalted certainties of the 
Redemption of Christ and the Love of God ; to make 
work sweet and fresh and interesting and spirit- 
ual by doing it not for himself, nor for itself, but 
for the Saviour in whom he lives. This is the 
work that "drinks of the brook in the way," and 
lifts up its head under any heat and against any 

There is one other recollection which it is most 
necessary for men to keep in mind, but which it is 
hard to see how men could keep except under some 
sort of arrangement like that in which we live. It 
is hard to see how, were it not for the continually 
repeated, daily stoppages of work, we could remem- 
ber, as we need to remember, the great close of 
work which is coming to every one of us, and may 
be very near. I picture to myself a world without 
an evening, a world with an unsetting daylight, a 
sun with a lidless eye, and with men who never tired 
at their tasks ; and it seems as if death in a world 
like that, the snatching of this man or that man out 
of the ranks of the unintermitted labor, would be so 
much more terrible and mysterious than it is now ; 
when once a day, for many years, we have learned 
that work was not meant to last always, and have 
had to drop our tools as if in practice and rehearsal 
for the great darkness when we are to let them go 
forever. How constant this suggestion has been 
everybody knows. We are sure that it would have 
come into our own minds, if no one had ever hinted 
it, if we had never sung the hymn in which it is 
embodied : 

The day is past and gone ; 

The evening shades appear ; 
Oh, may we all remember well, 

The night of death draws near. 

So once a day our hold on work is loosened, and 
the great setting-free which is to come is prophesied, 
and its power is anticipated to us. 

Some may wonder whether that is a good thing 
for us. I think a great many people honestly doubt 
whether it is a good thing for men, while they are 
alive, to remember that they have got to die. And 
with the cruel, dark, false thoughts of death which 
are so plentiful, which many minds cling to as the 
most religious thoughts, certainly it would be better 
for men not to think of death at all. Such thoughts 
must paralyze them. Better, far better, that they 
should go on and do their work bravely, as if they 
never were to die, than to be so frightened with the 
inevitableness of dying that work should seem to be 
waste, and the hands should drop idle. 

But if a man can think rightly, can think like a 
Christian about death, can think about it as the go- 
ing home of the scholar who has been off at school, 
as the setting free of the partial activity into some 
intense and extensive exercise which it is glorious 
while it is bewildering to think of; then the more a 
man thinks about death the better. He will do his 
work all the more faithfully for every look that he 
takes through that gate which is iron on the outer 
side and golden on the inner. Let me merely point 
out, before I close, two or three of the ways in 
which it will make a man more faithful in his work 
to remember that he is going to die, if he can 
remember it like a Christian. 

In the first place, it will help him to anticipate 
already the judgments of death and eternity. I 
know, you know, that we are all thinking things 
about our fellow-men, which we never can think of 
them when the mere disguises of this life have 
passed away. We are slighting poor men for their 
poverty ; we are honoring rich men for their wealth ; 
we are praising bad men for their smartness ; we are 
holding back our applause from men we know are 
good, because they are unpopular; we are valuing 
men for little useful knacks and tricks that they 
possess, and not for the honesty, the truthfulness, 
the purity of their hearts. We know that these 
judgments of ours are temporary and false ; we know 
that, when we come to die, we shall see the beauty 
that is in some rough shell which we slight now, and 
the baseness that is in some pleasant form to which 
we cringe and fawn. If we saw death coming, it 
would change our judgments. I am sure that, if we 
really felt now that we were going to die, we should 
be braver and more independent. There is a sub- 
lime freedom in death. What does the dying man 
care for the tyrannies of gossip and conventionality 
that have ruled him for his threescore years? Their 
chains drop off him the moment he hears the great 
call. And if we really could live in the anticipation 
of that time of freedom, we might be freer and 
braver now. To some people it seems as if it must 
be dreadful to think much of death, because death is 
such a mournful thing. But there have been deaths 
that have been as triumphant and jubilant as the 
blowing of trumpets, and other deaths that have 
been serene as the opening of a flower ; and if it will 
help to make our death like either of these to look 
at it and remember that it is coming, then the more 
every evening, which is a day's death, can bring it 
up to us, the better. 

And again, the remembrance that we are to die 
some day, by and by, must help us to keep the 
spiritual part of our occupation real and valuable 
before us always. Our occupation, whatever it is, 
is like ourselves, inward and outward. It has its 
body and its soul. Now, to remember that the 
time is coming (and may come to-morrow) when 
the soul in us is to be everything, to see as it comes 
up towards us the day that is to break the power of 
the form over the spirit, the day when, not the 
form, but the purpose and the power of our work, 
is to go with us into Eternity, that must weaken a 
little the bondage that the visible has over us, must 
let us know something of the sublime spirituality 
with which St. Paul said, I look not at the things 
which are seen, but at the things which are not 
seen ; for the things which are seen are temporal, 
but the things which are not seen are eternal." 

And yet, finally, the very fact that the form of 
our work is so shortly to be left behind has, strangely 
enough, another effect upon us, to make us all the 
more earnest to deal with it faithfully while it re- 
mains. We value the spirit of our occupation be- 
cause that is to go on with us forever; we value its 
form because our time to work on it is short. This 
last is the meaning of those golden words of Christ. 
"I must work the works of Him that sent me while 
it is called to-day ; for the night cometh in which no 
man can work." An earnest faithfulness to our 
tasks, and a complete superiority to our tasks, 
these two seem to me to blend only in the character 
of the man who lives in the sight of death and of 
eternity, the man who works all the day, knowing 
that the evening is coming. 

We want to work every day so that we can rest ; 
for work and rest belong together. We want to 
gather, out of every active service of God, deep 
thoughts of Him for our hours of contemplation. 
We want to come to self-knowledge by well-propor- 
tioned labor and retirement. And then, as the day 
of life grows dark, and the light fades in the east 
and gathers in the west, we want to go from time 
into eternity without a fear or a regret; but with 
hearts full of memories and hopes, full of expecta- 
tion of the new service which our Lord has for us 
to do on the other side of the darkness, where we 
shall see Him face to face.
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