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Secret Trust.

Secret Trust.

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Published by glennpease
BY JAMES MARTINEAU, LL.D., D.D.,



JOHN iv. 32.

" I have meat to eat that ye know not of."
BY JAMES MARTINEAU, LL.D., D.D.,



JOHN iv. 32.

" I have meat to eat that ye know not of."

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Published by: glennpease on Apr 17, 2014
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Secret Trust.BY JAMES MARTIEAU, LL.D., D.D., JOH iv. 32. " I have meat to eat that ye know not of." THE sense of dependence, it has been declared, constitutes the essence of religion. At all events, it is an essential condition. A nature perfectly self- possessed and self-sufficing, in equilibrium with the world without, and at rest from the balance of its powers within, would be so rounded off and complete in itself as to float through existence unconscious of the "attractions, untroubled by the resistances, which determine its path. It is when we feel the jar of actual adjustments, that the sphere of the possible bursts open to us ; when we are borne out on the wing of affections which find nowhere to alight, but only floods below and clouds above, that we set our heart on the rock beneath the waters and the light beyond the gloom. And there are such provisions for this experience in the whole constitution of our life, that 141 not even the most robust and limited of men can escape the sense of instability. There are times when we cannot but feel the world too strong for us ; the world u'ith&ut ; when its strain of duty loads us with too heavy a weight ; or the stroke of its laws shatters our reliances and leaves us wounded and alone ; or the tyranny of its opinion baffles in us what is wisest and tortures what is best ; or the brevity of its duration for us brings us at the same hour to the last verge of its
 
opportunity and the full discovery of its scope. or are we less liable to be overmastered by the world' within ; when the will is struck down by the lightning of passion, or moves creaking with the friction of temper, or sinks in the collapse of depression ; and whether we are taken up and borne along upon the storm, or checked by the secret threads that bind us to the ground, we seem to be disposed of against vain remonstrance of our own. Even if the winds were calm without, the floods would roll within ; for in our unstable soul the very bottom heaves beneath ; so that we are tossed between the elements and ride on a surface that never rests. What provision then is there for conquering this uncertain sea ? what means of holding an even way through the fluctuations of impulse and vicissitude ? In the habits of human life, and the resources of human character, there are helps of various degree to this end. To steady us amid the dizzy sweep of 142 Secret Trust. change, it is good to be under a rule of outward necessity, which weights down our. sudden caprices and goads our flagging resolves, and compels us to pace a round of achievement we should else deem it too monotonous to take. Be it only the drill of an army, the discipline of a frigate, the punctual bell and inexorable machinery of a mill, whatever mingles law and measure with the forces of the will, and constrains them to work in rhythm if they work at all, is a beneficent corrector of irresolution and vehemence, and builds up those habits of outward order, in which inward right most loves to dwell. It is still better to pass under the sway of a fixed purpose of our own, \vhjch shall be worthy of our conscience and adequately tax our powers ; to make it the master of our industry,
 
the counsellor of our doubts, the victor of our tempta- tions. And whether it be to write a history, to solve a problem, or to remedy an abuse, whoever has clearly before him such an end in view, sails with his compass alight through the wildest night, and, bearing onward, is heedless of the pelting rain, and unbewildered by the gloom. From all who are intent upon great works, a Luther, a Cromwell, a Clarkson among reformers, a Gibbon, a Humboldt, a Grote among intellectual men, the distractions which weaken life naturally fall away ; and even its griets strike upon them with gentler touch ; and over many a dead lift of obstruction which would bring less concentrated energies to pause they Secret Trust. 143 are carried by a quiet persistency. But neither the service of an involuntary necessity, nor the execution of a voluntary purpose, reaches the ultimate sources of unrest ; and, in order to steady us from the centre outwards, it is best of all to be possessed by a hidden faith, which keeps its tints of beauty and its lines of truth behind the flying shadows, a secret image of what life really is before the verifying eye of God, a preoccupation with its rightful perfectness as seen in the supreme visions of the heart. Once let there be this felt difference between the seeming and the reality of things ; let them carry an inward idea which is moulding them even while they mar it, and which will persevere and emerge through their transient deformities; let the phenomena pass in front of this divine light, while the mind sinks deep into it, and abides there with perfect trust ; then, having the interpreting key to changes which baffle others, it dwells in an element of peace, and identifies itself, not with the discords of the world which are working them- selves off, but with the harmonies that are striving to be. To look upon the scene of things as thus

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