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are miraculously transformed and renewed. But our motto says, “That is not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural.” Natural prayer must precede spiritual. Begin by seeing God in nature, in providence, in life; begin by saying, “God help me;" "I thank thee, O Father ;” by saying, “God forgive me;" so a habit of prayer is formed, growing purer, loftier, more constant, more prevailing, more spiritual. It will be pervaded with the spirit of brotherhood, fellowship, and charity. God asks nothing of us that he is not ready to help us do. He asks nothing but what it is good for us to do. And our first duty, under the Gospel of Christ, is not to be afraid of God. Religious teaching, or that which is called so, makes God terrible; but Gospel teaching does not. The power of the Gospel consists in enabling us to say, Abba, Father; when it has taught us to say that, it has done its work. It has then converted us, and made us like little children, and so we can see the kingdom of heaven.
This word Abba, “papa,” the first cry of the dependent infant, is also the last attainment of the highest piety. It needs God's spirit and Christ's gospel to bring us back to that elementary sound, and enable us to say to the almighty and infinite Being this little word, Abba. It requires that perfect love which casts out all fear. It is the simplest state of mind, and, therefore, often the hardest. The word which is very nigh to us, in our mouth and our heart, is the very one we do not find. So we have seen persons looking for that which they were holding in their hand.
“A man's best things are nearest him,
Lie close about his feet." And, lastly, let love begin at the beginning. The law says, “Love God with all the heart,” and many think because they cannot love him so, they cannot love him at all. But does a father or mother criticise the love of their child ? Are you not glad to have your child trust you? You do not wish him to be running up all the time to tell you of it. The child rambles over the house or through the field, about his small affairs all day. But the mother does not doubt his love; one kiss at night before he goes to sleep is enough. God does not doubt our love because we are not all the time telling him of it. No. He wishes us to learn how to love him by loving each other. Love to God and man, Jesus tells us, are the same feeling directed to different objects. There is a text which seems almost to have been forgotten, and thầt is the passage in John, "He that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how shall he love God whom he hath not seen ?" We climb up to the love of God by the love of man. Every pure, generous, unselfish throb of affection and act of good-will toward man lifts us nearer to God. Piety grows out of charity. That love is not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural, and afterward that which is spiritual. Follow the order of Nature. Instead of
making it a task to pray to God and to feel emotion toward hiin, take the first steps toward him by loving and serving man. Forget yourself, my dear brother, my dear sister, - forget yourself in the need of some one else; then you will find yourself coming nearer to God.
A little child said to its mother, “ Mamma, have angels wings?" "Yes, my dear; why do you ask ?” “ Because if they have wings, I do not see why they needed a ladder to come down to Jacob.” But perhaps even angels need ladders; perhaps we all must help ourselves up or down, step by step. We must do the simplest thing first, then take the next step. We have no wings with which to fly up to God and heaven, so we must be satisfied to go a little distance each day. The Christian Church has not yet learned the fable of the hare and the tortoise. It sometimes prefers an occasional revival to a steady growth. But the “ Tortoise Christian," doing with his might what his hand finds to do every day, will be very apt to reach the goal before the "Hare Christian," who waits for a revival.
“It is not to be like a tree