This is only the last word of confidence, denoting that the personal worker has won through to the innermost recess of his friend's life, has been privileged to see into the darkened chamber whose door is usually closed and barred, so that he knows his man—way back into the motives and desires that are the roots of all his actions. Through the avenue of confidence we win a man's friendship. Through confession we may win his soul—for Christ. Even where there is abundance of natural confidence, our work may be a comparative failure, because we have stopped short of the ultimate confession that is needed in order to complete penitence and victory. If, as Drummond says, the furniture of a man's inner life can be totally changed in an hour, it is necessary that light should be let into all of the rooms of his soul. The house must be refurnished throughout. Here our analogy of the physician of men's bodies will help us again, though it is only partial since it stops short of the moral issue. The physician's diagnosis cannot be complete until the patient has given him his entire confidence, which may involve certain revelations of his past history or present habits which he naturally shrinks from disclosing. Until the physician is sure that he has all the data, he must continue a verbal probing which may be fully as important as any probing that may later need to be done with instruments. However reluctant a man may be at this point, he is seldom resentful, for he realises how much may be staked upon his making a clean breast. A doctor in China told us that often when he is practically certain that the patient has been indulging in some secret vice, he has found that the simplest, surest mode of procedure is to ask quickly and naturally, naming the suspected practice, "When did you do that last ?" The sick man, taken off his guard, instantly tells the truth.
Every physician knows the importance of probing to the root of the trouble, to avoid the danger of false diagnosis and superficial or harmful treatment, which might even result fatally. Is it any less important for the soul-surgeon with a life-destiny at stake to make certain that he has reached the ultimate seat of the trouble before he seeks to administer the cure? It is well for him to remember that men are living their lives on four levels—spiritual, intellectual, social and physical—and that the diseased spot, the centre of infection that is spreading in all directions, may be in any of the four. It may be that either pride, dishonesty, selfishness or impurity corresponding roughly to the four levels enumerated, is slowly poisoning the entire personality. The trouble with so much of our evangelism, public and personal, is that we are not actually reaching men at the real seat of trouble and temptation. John Krishnaswamy, in his little pamphlet on personal work, uses a telling illustration from Hindu mythology: "In the Ramayana we read how, again and again, Ravana's heads, though momentarily cut off by the arrow of Rama, began to grow one by one in their proper places. Rama was told that Ravana could be killed only if the arrow hit him at the life-centre, and the giant was killed as soon as the arrow hit the life-spot. In exactly the same way misdirected spiritual effort will be fruitless or worse, for, by aiming at random, we not only do not gain the individual but spoil the chances of his being gained afterwards."* It is with a view to finding this life-spot that we are bidden by Sherwood Eddy to. "make the moral test" as the third step in soul-winning.† Those who best know the facts declare that ninety per cent of the ultimate sin around us is on the lowest physical level, to which we penetrate most rarely and with the greatest mal-adaptation in our personal work.
* Krishnaswamy's Personal Work, p. 9. Association Press, Calcutta.
† Mr. Eddy's and Mr. Buchman's helpful '"Ten Suggestions for Personal work," viewed from the physician's standpoint, are the following:—' '.1. Get a point of contact. 2. Diagnose the person's real difficulty. 8. Make the moral test. 4. A void argument. 6. Aim to conduct the interview yourself. 6. Adapt the truth to the hearer's need. 7. Bring the person face to face with Christ. 8. Show the way out of the special difficulty. 9. Bring the person finally to the point of decision and action. 10. Start the person on the new life with simple, concrete and definite suggestions regarding daily Bible study, prayer, overcoming temptation and service for others."
Here, in India, it is our ever-present temptation to seek to argue a man into the Kingdom by dissipating his intellectual doubts, real or fancied, when the seat of the trouble is impurity, which has so coated with filth the window of his spiritual faculty that it is simply impossible for him to see God. While writing this page, a friend, who has had unusual success in Christian work among Indian Muslim boys, was telling me how from one after another he has been receiving confessions of scarcely believable moral dereliction at an early age, which had convinced him of the need in his work of always making the moral test. Unfortunately, it is too often true of our Christian students as well, that there is immorality in their lives of which their teachers are altogether ignorant. Undoubtedly, one cause of the failure of many converts to justify previous expectations, and one reason for the frequent lapses into a former faith, is the fact that an operation has never been performed on the diseased member, through the healing power of Christ being brought to bear right at the centre of infection. A man can have no saving sense of the power of the living Christ, if that power has not saved him from the sin that, in his heart of hearts, he knows lives on, and that is festering and poisoning his spiritual life. It is the easiest way to argue with a man about his doubts, of which he may be half-proud; it is the most difficult thing to evoke a confession of the sin of which he is altogether ashamed. Sherwood Eddy told some of us in Lahore, in December, 1915, about a man who came to him at Yale University during a series of special meetings, asking for help in resolving his doubt of the existence of God. Mr. Eddy gave him all the proofs he could think of and the man went away unconvinced. Later, Mr. Eddy said, Mr. Buchman, who had charge of the interview end of the meetings, came in touch with the same man, found that he was living in gross sin, and was able to bring about his genuine conversion. Recently in an Indian city I met a young man who, I was told, had been six times a Christian, and as many times had reverted to the Arya Samaj, of which he was originally a member. He was full of doubts, which neither the Samaj nor the missionaries could dissipate. A Christian physician to whom he was sent for treatment discovered quite naturally that his trouble was fundamentally not intellectual but moral. Evil habits had undermined his power of volition, so that he was really unable to "make up" what mind he possessed. He had never found Christ on that plane, and was not likely to do so unless the Christian worker with whom he was dealing diagnosed his trouble and prescribed the right treatment.
But there is another side to this subject. Not only is this entire self-disclosure needed in order that the spiritual surgeon may possess all the data for an accurate diagnosis. It is required by an imperious inner law, that will not leave to the sinner a vestige of the old prideful pose behind which he had shielded iniquity. The secret thing must be exposed before it can be dealt with effectually, permitting the repentant sinner to go forward on a new basis of utter honesty, looking the whole world in the face. The clinic of the soul surgeon is, therefore, a very different thing from the confessional of the Roman Catholic priest. Misunderstanding of this fundamental difference brought much sincere criticism upon the head of the American clergyman, Dr. Chas. H. Sheldon (author of the book, What Would Jesus Do?), when he was widely quoted as declaring that every Christian Church should have its confessional, that every clergyman should know how to act as confessor to the sinning soul. If he had used the word "clinic," which is the physician's confessional, he would probably have avoided the criticism. The Roman Catholic confessional is a mechanical device, serving as a means by which the priest can become cognizant of the sins of professing Christians and prescribe the appropriate penance, without knowing the identity of the confessing party. 1 The Protestant confessional is the innermost shrine of Christian friendship, whose essence and glory lies in self-revelation. Nevertheless the Roman Catholic priest, whose experimental knowledge of men often puts to shame the Protestant clergyman, truly understands the value and need of the confession of sin.
One of the finest passages in Principal Smith's biography of Drummond is the following, in the introductory chapter, entitled: "As We Knew Him"; "As we shall see, soon after he had read to his fellow-students his paper on 'Spiritual Diagnosis,' in, which he blamed the 'lack of personal dealing as the' great fault of the organised religion of his time, he was drawn to work in the inquiry rooms of the revival of 1873-75. And in these he dealt, face to face, with hundreds of men and women at tthe crisis of their lives. When that work was over, his experience, his fidelity and his sympathy continued to be about him, as it were the waIls of a quiet and healing confessional, into which wounded men and women crept from the world, dared 'To unlock the heart and let it Speak'—dared to tell the worst about themselves. It is safe to say that no man in our generation can have heard confession more constantly than Drummond did. And this responsibility, about which he was ever as silent as about his own inner stuggles, was a heavy burden and a sore grief to him. If some of the letters he received be specimens of the confidence poured into his ears, we can understand him saying, as he did to one friend: "Such tales of woe I've heard in Moody's inquiry room that I have felt I must go and change my very clothes after the contact"; or to another, when he had come from talking privately with some students: "0, I am sick with the sins of these men! How can God bear it!" And yet it is surely proof of the purity of the man and of the power of the Gospel he believed in that, thus knowing the human heart, and bearing the full burden of men's sins, he should nevertheless have believed (to use his own words) 'in the recoverableness of a man at his worst,' and have carried with him wherever he went the air of health and of victory."*
* Smith: Life of Drummond, pp. 10, 11.
It is encouraging to note how the need for such confessional-clinics as we have been advocating is being realized increasingly in the church in the West. The church news page of a denominational paper told recently of the ministry, just terminated, of a leading Canadian pastor, who had established an office in the premises of his church in Toronto, where he kept daily office hours from nine until four. He received a continual stream of callers, including many young men and women from the British Isles, to whom he gave counsel and help. This he called his "Moral Clinic." No doubt there was a more intimate connection than many would realise between the clinic and the fact stated in another paragraph, that this pastor had "a Sunday evening audience of 1,500." He was telling his people on Sunday the cure for what had been coming to him all the week, of temptation and sin and sorrow, from burdened, yearning hearts.
A more pretentious effort in this direction which emphasises the close connection between physical and spiritual clinical work, has been the original experiment in Emmanuel Church, Boston, which has now passed the experimental stage and proved its pragmatic right to permanency. More than ten years ago the pastors of this church, Drs. Worcester and McComb, determined to appropriate some of the power of Christian science, without its bad philosophy and theology, by bringing into the foreground the figure of the Healing Christ—healer of the sick bodies and minds and souls of men. With surprising rapidity the prayer meeting grew from a few score to many hundreds. Great audiences soon fitted the church on Sundays. The establishment of a week-day clinic was found to be necessary, in which a well-known physician was associated with the two clergymen, who themselves took special training in the treatment of nervous disorders. I visited this famous clinic in 1908. All about the premises of the church (proper arrangement not having then been made) were ailing people, who had come from all parts of the eastern states. I remember talking with one elderly woman, who had been sent from Philadelphia by the famous nerve specialist and novelist, Dr. S. Wier Mitchell. Each patient was directed first to the medical member of the trio for a thorough physical examination. Later he was accorded a searching interview with Dr. Worcester or Dr. McComb, who had already seen the physical diagnosis and could then prescribe treatment based on all the facts revealed. This experiment was watched with great interest by both clergymen and physicians, and has certainly pointed the way to a far closer co-operation between doctors of the body and of the soul in years to come.
Up to this point we have been thinking of the confession that is made to a single friendly ear. We must now consider the question of the public confession, which is sometimes as necessary as the other. Every genuine revival furnishes fresh evidence of the value of this factor in religious experience, and it frequently illustrates also the concomitant danger that the tendency to confession may run to unwholesome lengths. The value of this element, when carefully safeguarded, was repeatedly shown in the early stages of the present widespread movement of personal evangelism in China. 1 was myself a witness of most of the instances of confession given in the following quotation from an article written by Pastor Chang Cheng Yi, secretary of the China Continuation Committee, one of the most attractive and powerful Christian leaders I have met in China or elsewhere: "'At one of Mr. Buchman's meetings a pastor was led by the Spirit of God to make public confession of his failure as a minister of the Gospel. There and then he walked across the meeting hall toward one of the elders of his church with whom he had not been on good terms for the tong period of seven years, and publicly asked him for forgiveness. He declared that while there was wrong on both sides, his was the greater. A church quarrel existed for some years between the pastors of a certain mission. Disagreement in opinion regarding certain things was the beginning of the trouble. Ill feeling, however, grew from bad to worse, and there existed unfriendliness and even hatred. But the warmth of God's love can melt the coldness of men's hearts. After publicly confessing their sins, they shook each other's hands, as a token of restored friendship. A lady missionary with intense earnestness requested her fellow-workers to pray with her for those members of her family who were not yet won for Christ. Her intense passion for souls moved the hearts of all who were present at that hillside gathering. She is a great power, and through her many have been, and are being, blessed. One other young missionary, when inspired by God's Spirit, boldly confessed the failures in his work for Christ. He said that there was no power in his work, and, to use Mr. Buchman's word, no miracles. Why? Because egotism, unkindliness, and other things had come between himself and God. Now he is a keen soul-winner, and is never so happy as when he is speaking to some one about his need of Christ. He is in real earnest, and means business, The Spirit of God was certainly working in the hearts of the seminary students when they stood up and confessed their sins before the whole school. One of the students had been the preacher in a large church in the south for eight years before he joined the college. He carefully prepared a long letter which he intends to send to his former congregation confessing the failure of his ministry. Among other things he frankly tells them that during all those eight years he could not name one single person that was won for Christ through him, and he further declared that he was so deeply interested in institutional and other kinds of work that the spiritual welfare of his congregation was not properly cared for. He, therefore, asked their forgiveness. For a young man to say these things before the whole school and church certainly required an unusual amount of courage."*
The above-mentioned occurrences took place in widely scattered cities of China, in small, quiet gatherings where there was no unnatural excitement—only the manifest working of the Spirit of God. I should like to give one further example of the potential importance of public confession, within the range of my own observation, which made a lifelong impression upon me. In one of the large eastern universities of the United States, one of the most active Christian students, a Bible class teacher and a Student Volunteer, had been struggling vainly for three years to break the bonds of a certain secret sin that held him in a vice-like grip. Several friends, to whom he finally revealed his trouble, joined with him in prayer, daily for a long period, and still he could not gain a complete victory, and the long, losing struggle was having its effect in departments of his life. At his last student summer conference, following graduation, after a trenchant address on sin by Dr. John R. Mott, this man, with many others, determined to claim the power of Christ, once for all, "to break the power of cancelled sin, and set the prisoner free." Then God's Spirit showed him what he must do. At the final delegation meeting of his university, as each man around the large circle rose and told what the conference had meant to him, this man rose, in his turn, and, before the room full of his fellow students, confessed his sin and asked for their prayers that he might be saved and kept from ever again succumbing to its power. It was one of the most morally courageous acts I ever witnessed and can hardly have been forgotten by any man there, and it proved to be the beginning of a life of real victory and power for this man, who is today a very successful missionary in a foreign land.
"Miracles," by C. Y. Cheng, in The Chinese Recorder, December, 1917.
Only God can show a man when and where he must confess; and only He can show the personal worker when he ought to press for a confession. When he is certain that the need for confession exists, the soul surgeon must be lovingly relentless in insisting that the confession be made, when and where it is needed. It is often the kind of drastic, spiritual operation which alone can prevent a superficial repentance and unreal conversion. In New York City, last winter, a university student leader came to talk with Mr. Buchman about entering the Christian ministry. He had just been attending a conference on the ministry, at which the brilliant addresses had interested but had not convinced him. He was full of questions and of longing for the personal interview for which, as so often, the conference committee had made no adequate provision. Mr. Buchman answered his questions on the ministry to the best of his ability, but still the man seemed unsatisfied. They had finished dinner with little accomplished, and Mr. Buchman then invited him to his room for further conversation. In time the student opened up a little more, and said: "I'll tell you why I couldn't enter the ministry. I want my own way too much." "Isn't there anything else ?" Mr. Buchman asked, and the student said "No." Then Mr. Buchman was "told what he should speak," as suspicion became conviction; and leaning forward he said earnestly to the man: "Isn't your trouble ____" The barrier of pride crumbled away, the man burst into tears, and a new beginning was made of a sure foundation, which transformed the young man into a genuine personal worker and decided finally his problems concerning the ministry. As they were walking together to the underground railway, after their talk was finished, the student said (and it is worth remembering): "Buchman, I'd have cursed you tonight if you hadn't got at my real need."
In concluding this subject, it might be well to mention several admonitions which we need to bear in mind.
Take nothing for granted. A man may be president of a Christian Endeavour society, superintendent of a Sunday school, an elder or vestryman in a church—yes, the secretary of a Young Men's Christian Association, a clergyman or a missionary—and still stand in need of moral surgery. One great lack ill what I formerly understood as personal work was, that it dealt only or chiefly with the class theologically known as "the lost," considered in need of salvation. One thought of the world as divided into two classes—the saved and the unsaved—with the boundaries of the first class for the most part coterminous with those of the visible church. One was expected to "do personal work" of a vague, dreary sort with the latter class, who seemed somehow hopelessly inaccessable. That was essentially the accepted division in Jesus' day—the professionally religious people, the Scribes and Pharisees, in one class or caste, and the "Publicans and sinners" in the other. The Pharisee thanked God that he was not like "this Publican," whose prayer was: "God be merciful to me, a sinner." Jesus had in mind this classification when He said to the Pharisees, with scathing irony: "I came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance." Thereupon He showed clearly which of the two classes He considered to be in direct need of spiritual surgery, when He so excoriated the self-righteousness of the Pharisees that the name "Pharisee" has taken its place in our language as synonymous with a canting hypocrite. Certainly the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican is full of arresting significance for those of us today who belong to the professionally religious class, the members of Christ's Church on earth.
There is one infallible test by which we must be judged, and it is indicated by two verses of Scripture: "If any man hath not the Spirit of Christ he is none of His," and "By their fruits ye shall know them." We are told what the fruits of the Spirit are in Galatians 5: 22, 23: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control: against such there is no law." The Spirit of Jesus Christ, we know, was one of redemptive, holy love, expressed in the continuous, faithful effort to bring men, one by one, into vital relation with the living God. If we are not true sharers in His purpose and programme today, can we claim to possess His Spirit and to be worthy of bearing His name? Is it not, then, a fair corollary to the above that if a man's life is not bringing forth fruit somewhere, according to his opportunity, in intensive, evangelistic effort, there is something wrong with his spiritual life, judged by the lofty standards of Jesus? Would we not, therefore, be wise to discard for practical purposes, the old classification of "the saved," and "the unsaved," and divide men rather into the two classes, suggested by the Master, of the morally whole and the morally sick— those that are and those that are not living a normal, glowing, contagious, religious life, owned and inspired by the spirit and passion of Christ? While no one of us dare attempt to judge his brothers, the very emphasis on that truth will bring its own conviction to souls that are not in a condition of radiant health. This, surely, is one of the lessons of the parable of the Last Judgment. The separation of the sheep and the goats is according to a principle that takes account not of the profession but of the practice of Jesus' religion of loving, fruitful service. Our first business at this point is to discover through the lips of the patient whether there is a sin hitherto unconfessed and unforgiven, by which the soul has been insulated from contact with the life-giving power of Christ. Our second task may be to assist in the removal of such a hindrance, however costly and difficult the process shall prove to be.
Never betray an appearance of shocked surprise. Such an attitude will assuredly dry up confidence at the roots, and militate against any continuance of friendly service on our part. It usually results from inexperience on the personal worker's side, for the wider his knowledge of the real world of men and events the less is he likely openly to stand aghast (however deeply pained in spirit) at any of the revelations that may be necessary to lay bare before him the inner life of his patient. Of all men who know sin vicariously and redemptively, the Roman Catholic priest, as a rule, knows it best because the confessional has bared it to him in its widest range and grimmest realism. In Chesterton's detective story, The Blue Cross, the desperate criminal, Flambeau, marvels at the knowledge of the criminal world possessed by Father Brown. The priest asks him: "Has it never struck you that a man who does next to nothing but hear men's real sins is not likely to be wholly unaware of human evil ?"* What about our Protestant confessional of redemptive friendship? Have we felt for ourselves Drummond's experience, quoted above, of wishing to wash our hands and change our clothes, at times, to rid ourselves of the clinging influence of the sickening revelations that have poured into our ears?
Chesterton: The Innocence of Father Brown, p. 19. Cassell & Co., London.
We are charged to be "in the world, but not of it." The trouble with too many of us Christians is that we are neither in nor of the world, but are living an in-growing, religious life in a spiritual hot-house of our own creation, apart from and largely ignorant of the sinning world that Jesus came to save, and sent His followers to leaven. We are too much like the person referred to in the illustration used in India by Professor George Hare Leonard, in 1915-16, in the course of his lectures on Social Service. This individual, on hearing a child crying piteously in the cold, stormy street outside, rose and closed the window—to shut out the sound. Since the suffering of others is troublesome to us, and their sins are revolting, the way of self-indulgence is to shut them away from our ken as far as that is possible. How different was the example of Jesus, who perfectly fulfilled the ideal of the suffering servant of Jehovah, forseen by Isaiah—the ideal which every Christian must seek to make his own: "Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53: 4, 5). The only certain way really to come to know the human life that is surging around us, in all its aspects of light and shade, so as to be lifted above the possibility of betraying disastrous surprise, is through intensive personal work. The confessions we thus receive will give us cross sections of typical lives wherein are involved and exposed whole areas of the life around about us, in which sin and suffering and sorrow are rife.
Be ready to confess your own shortcomings honestly and humbly. Nothing will more surely obviate an appearance of self-righteousness in the spiritual physician than his own confession of where he too fell before the onslaughts of temptation, and found in the power and presence of Christ salvation and security. And often nothing else will break through the barrier of pride behind which the patient is shielding his sin. An illustration of this comes to my mind, which occurred at a conference in China in the summer of 1917. There was present a certain student in a mission college for whom a number of us were specially praying, because of his influence on the other students anI because we had reason to believe that he was guilty of dishonesty in his college work arid needed to confess and make a new start. Yet the confession would not come. Finally it came, and with it penitence and the desire for a new heart, when one of his future professors, just arrived in China, a recent graduate of Yale University, told the student how he had himself once yielded to the temptation of cheating in examinations, and how he had been brought to see the way in which that dishonesty was undermining his moral integrity. It was necessary that the pride of the professor as well as that of the student should entirely melt away. In this way God often uses our temptations, and perhaps our early failures and our ultimate victories, to make and keep us human in these delicate spiritual operations that need to be performed. After a personal work group in a China hill station, one missionary told me how for years he had been hounded and hindered by the memory of dishonesty in his university examinations, a sin which had never been confessed. He had not realized that once he made things right by proper confession and any possible restitution, the very fact of his early weakness could be over-ruled for good by the Divine Hand, in the course of his work among students in China where, as everywhere else, that sin is so common. Men so easily over-exaggerate their sins by dwelling on them, until they morbidly imagine that they are peculiar and unique in the nature and extent of their sins. We do not need to make light of sin in order to show the patient that his case is not unique and therefore hopeless. The student in New York whose fruitful interview with Mr. Buchman was mentioned above, when he had broken down and confessed, sobbed: "You'll never like me again," and he was immeasurably helped at once by being told how many other cases of secret sin exactly like his Mr. Buchman had dealt with that very week. I remember in my own case the feeling almost of elation, after deep depression, that came to me as a student when I sought help from a Christian worker whom I vastly admired, and learned from him that he had fought through my very fight. It spurred me on toward victory as nothing else could have done.
Regarding the use which God can make of our consciousness and confession of our own failures, we have the testimony of Rev. Howard Agnew Johnson, whose Studies for Personal Workers have helped thousands in many lands: "In the Christian the consciousness of limitations will ever tend to prevent boastfulness. The one fact which helps most here is that God expects every man to reveal Christ. By so much as I ask myself how far I am revealing Christ, I am emptied of self-exaltation by the consciousness of a pitiful failure."* "Any intimation of a feeling of superiority on the part of a Christian is fatal to his influence with one who is not, especially in view of the fact that any such spirit is always unjustifiable. To go with a confession of unworthiness is not only consistent, but it tends to disarm criticism. . . . Hence, when approaching him, it is always safest and generally helpful to begin by confessing one's own sense of unworthiness, and then add a confession of faith and hope in Christ as one who is most precious and helpful to you, and, therefore, to all who will accept Him."†
We shall not go far wrong if our attitude toward the man we wish to help is that recommended in Frederick Lawrence Knowle's poem, "The Discipline of Failure":
"Thus believing, I have come to love you,
All who climb with me from self to freedom.
Let me kiss thy lips, 0 fallen brother!
Let my arms enfold thee, fallen sister!
Let me trust and love you back to honour,
Let me draw you to the Great Forgiveness,
Not as one above who stoops to save you,
Not as one who stands aside with counsel, Nay, as he who says, I, too, was poisoned
With the flowers that sting, but now, arisen
I am struggling up the path beside you;
Rise! and let us face these heights together."*
* Johnson: Studies for Personal Workers, p. 37. Association Press, New York.
† Ibid., p. 79.
We need likewise to remember that the value of public (as well as private) confession of sin, when it is in response to the proved leading of God's Spirit, does not only arise from the effect upon the one who thus confesses. There is also to be considered the effect upon those who hear. Many changed lives in China this past year have resulted from the confession by Mr. Buchman, to small groups, of how for a whole year, he did not win one soul to Christ because he was harbouring a feeling of resentment toward a group of men who, he knew, had wronged him. Finally, a sermon that he heard at Keswick, England, moved him to write six letters to the men who had wronged him, asking their forgiveness of his uncharitable attitude toward them. At the top of each letter he wrote the verse:
"When I survey the wondrous Cross,
On which the Prince of Glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride."
* Knowles: Love Triumphant, pp. 92, 93. Dana, Estes & Co., Boston.
We may be sure, then, that if we are honest and humble and truthful, God will keep us human and sympathetic, and may be able to use our very weaknesses and temptations, over-ruled by His grace, to His everlasting honour and glory.
Finally, keep every confidence absolutely sacred. This counsel may seem superfluous because the need of observing it is so obvious; and yet we often do not realise how easily we may let slip a remark about some person into whose confidence we have come, which may reveal to another more than we think. The professional honour of the physician is of the utmost importance here, as every Roman Catholic priest is compelled to learn. Unless people come to feel an entire reliance on our discretionary silence they assuredly will not trust us. Many a potential personal worker is severely handicapped because he (or she) has never acquired this great and costly gift of silence. They may need to pray not now for a new heart, but for a new tongue. Weymouth translates a phrase in the seventh verse of the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians, referring to true love: "She knows how to be silent." It is a noble and rare achievement. The moral surgeon must be one who is the complete master of his tongue, a man of studied silences and large reserves of knowledge. True personal workers must have overcome the insidious temptation to criticism among Christians to which, when they yield, they inevitably wall themselves away from those whom they ought to serve. Our business is not to circulate the salacious bit of scandal we happen to have heard, but to destroy it by tracing out and cleaning up the source. Our business is not the common, destructive one of pointing out to the world in general the weaknesses in our fellow-men, but it is the constructive task of the human engineer—to strengthen and correct, and hence conserve. If men have found that we are accustomed to speak carelessly and ungenerously of others they will not seek us out when in need of confidential help. Truly, as St. James wrote: "The tongue can no man tame; it is a restless evil, it is full of deadly poison" (Jas 3: 7). Weymouth renders "a restless evil" more vividly, "an ever-busy mischief." More specific is the author of the proverb: "A worthless man deviseth mischief; and in his lips there is a scorching fire." and "A perverse man scattereth abroad strife; and a whisperer separateth chief friends." (Prov. 16: 27,28). The "whisperer" will not receive men's confidence because they know he cannot keep it. He can only become certain of keeping it, and hence deserve to receive it, when he has appropriated the power of Christ to master and guide the truant tongue that no one of himself can tame.
When we pause to criticise our own confidence-destroying criticism of others we usually discover that it is, at least presumptively, not altogether true or just. I often find it helpful to call to mind a little verse, learned long ago, of which I never knew the author:
"Could we but draw back the curtains that surround each other's lives,
See the naked heart and spirit, know what spur the action gives—
Often we should find it better, purer, than we think we should:
We should love each other better if we only understood."
When those closed curtains are drawn aside for us by a hand from within, and we are permitted to enter the innermost chanmbcr of another life, we arc sure to find many surprises, and to be rebuked for our former shallow and biased judgments. From that time forth must our lips be sealed by love, and our hearts be bound over to prayer and faith and redemptive friendship. I will close this section with another quotation, of unknown derivation, which I may not give quite correctly. It prescribes the safest attitude for us to assume habitually toward those of our neighbors, past the curtains of whose lives we have not seen: "No one may look across where another soul moves on a quick, straight path and say the way is easier for the other. No one can see if the rocks are cutting his friend's feet. No one can know what burning lands he has crossed to follow, to be so close to his Angel, his Messenger. Believe always that every other life has been tempted, more tried than your own. Believe that the lives higher and better than yours are so, not through more ease but more effort. Believe that the lives lower than yours are so through more temptation, more trial. Believe that your friend with peace in his heart has won it, not happened on it, that he has fought your very fight."