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THE 
RE AT STEP 



' , '-, ; ;V,' • . 



WIMUH 




THE LIBRARY 

of 
VICTORIA UNIVERSITY 

Toronto 



THE GREAT STEP 



BY 

MAITLAND ALEXANDER 



PRESBYTERIAN BOOK STORE 

Fulton Building 
PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA 



625 



Copyright, 1915 
BY GEORGE H. DOKAN COMPANY 



M. L. A. 

For her interest, appreciation and loving 
sympathy in all my work 



FOREWORD 

THIS little book has been prepared 
especially for my own congregation, 
that those who unite with the Church 
may have a clear apprehension of the im 
portance of the step which they are taking, 
and that those who have been Christians for 
a longer time may be helped in their prep 
aration to worthily partake of the Lord's 
Supper. I have ventured to print several 
prayers, more as suggestions than as forms 
to be used. I have appended a number of 
condensed sacramental addresses for devo 
tional reading before Communion. I hope 
that in addition to its work among my own 
people it may be a help to pastors and ses 
sions in their responsible task of receiving 
into the visible Church such as shall " Con 
fess with their mouth the Lord Jesus." 

DARK HARBOR, MAINE, August, 1915. 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAGE 

I THE GREAT STEP . . .11 

II THE GREAT EXPERIENCE . . 18 

III THE SACRAMENT OF THE LORD'S 

SUPPER 23 

IV PREPARATION FOR THE COM 

MUNION . . . . 27 
V As WE SIT AT CHRIST'S TABLE 32 
VI CLIMBING THE HEIGHTS . . 39 
VII CONSTRAINING LOVE . . 43 
VIII WHEN I SURVEY THE WON 
DROUS CROSS .... 47 
IX THE GOOD SHEPHERD . . 50 
X A GREAT WAY OFF ... 54 
XI SIN REVEALED AT THE CROSS . 58 
XII THE WATER OF THE WELL OF 

BETHLEHEM . . . . 61 

XIII THE PRECIOUS BLOOD OF , 

CHRIST 65 

XIV THE END OF THE DAY . . 69 
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS FOR A 

COMMUNICANTS' CLASS 73 



THE GREAT STEP 

THERE is no more important step or 
any greater crisis in the life of any 
one than that act which we have 
come to call " joining the church." That 
this is not fully realized is often due to the 
fact that the Church is considered a human 
institution, made and conducted by men, 
with many faults and some inconsistencies. 
But the act becomes important when one 
considers the process which admits us to 
the Church and the convictions and beliefs 
which induce us to ask for admission to 
the Church. For this act of "joining the 
church " is only the outward sign of great 
convictions which have come to us through 
careful thinking, and a sincere faith in the 
facts of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus 
Christ and in His teachings. It means a 
readjustment of our whole life and atti- 



THE GREAT STEP 



tude, and any act involving this is always 
a tremendously important step in the in 
dividual's career. 

If you become a Christian it means that 
you are emerging from the shadows of an 
uncertain position and an equivocal atti 
tude regarding Jesus Christ and His 
Gospel into an avowed position and an 
unhesitating obedience to Him and His 
commandments. You are no longer to 
live in the land of the undecided, but you 
are to be a witness before the tribunal of 
the world concerning the things which you 
believe and profess about Jesus Christ. 
You are about to cross a line hitherto un 
crossed by you, which involves a complete 
change in your ideals, standards and mo 
tives. You are about to surrender an old 
allegiance never to resume it. From the 
day when you become a professing Chris 
tian, "Old things have passed away; be 
hold all things have become new . . . and 
all things are of God." 

It is no wonder then that there are those 
who pause and question as to their action 
[12] 



THE GREAT STEP 



and its meaning. Let me state as clearly 
as I can the meaning of this important 
step. 

When you unite with the Church and 
publicly profess your faith, you are making 
a public avowal of that which has been a 
most secret and personal experience be 
tween you and Jesus Christ. The steps 
which led up to that experience began with 
a knowledge of certain historical facts. 
These facts are embodied in the Gospel 
and are a narrative of the life of Christ. 
You have come to know the facts regard 
ing His birth, His life, His death on the 
cross and His resurrection. You have also 
learned the meaning of these events and 
have studied the teachings of Christ as 
recorded in the New Testament. You have 
heard from His own lips that He came into 
the world to save sinners. That He came 
to reveal to men the love of God for them. 
That He died to make salvation possible 
for all who by faith received Him. He has 
declared that sin is hateful to Him and 
ruinous to the sinner. The heart of the 
[13] 



THE GREAT STEP 



Gospel is that Calvary and all its scenes 
is sufficient atonement for human sin. 
The terms of salvation have been declared ; 
namely, that a simple faith in Him saves 
to the uttermost. You have listened to 
His gracious invitations, " Come unto 
Me," "Believe on Me," "Follow Me," 
" Abide in Me." 

With this knowledge the question has 
naturally arisen, "Do I believe these 
things? " You have doubtless believed 
them as history, but you have not believed 
them with the faith that brings devotion 
to the Person of Christ or obedience to His 
will and commandment. 

Then, too, the conditions and needs of 
your own soul have created a longing in 
your heart that you might have a new and 
a better life. The accusations of your con 
science have made you seek some escape 
from sin. Christ's personality has made a 
deep impression on you and the satisfaction 
of soul that comes through the acceptance 
of the Christian life and which you have 
seen in others has made you long for the 
[14] 



THE GREAT STEP 



pardon which comes alone through His 
precious blood, the peace derived from His 
living presence, the hope born of His 
resurrection, and that power that is the 
product of His continual intercession. 
Thus far you look with favour on His 
claims and long perhaps that the benefits 
of His Kingdom might be yours. 

This knowledge and your own need has 
led you to the point of decision. Are you 
willing to comply with the conditions of 
acceptance? You will be compelled to 
translate your faith from the realm of intel 
lectual assent to the facts and teachings 
of the Gospel, to the realm of the assent of 
obedience. You must decide whether you 
will accept or reject Jesus Christ as your 
Saviour. This decision must be made by 
you alone. It is an act of your will. If 
you decide to avail yourself of the offer of 
the Gospel you will say literally or in 
effect: 

" I take Jesus Christ as my all-suffi 
cient Saviour. I cast myself in loving 
dependence on Him. I accept His gracious 
[15] 



THE GREAT STEP 



sacrifice for me. I plead His precious 
blood as the only ground of my hope, and 
the only plea which I can make before a 
righteous God. I promise as His sinful 
but loving disciple to obey Him implicitly 
and confess His name before men." 

So doing you have taken the great step. 
It is this faith and this decision for Him 
and the public confession of Him that is 
the ground for your admission to the 
Church. The outward surroundings of 
your life are unchanged. You will prob 
ably go to school as before, with the same 
teachers and companions. You will prob 
ably engage in the same profession or busi 
ness as before, with the same partners and 
associates or fellow employees. You will 
live in the same home with the familiar 
faces of your family surrounding you. 
None of these things will be changed, but 
you will be changed. 

You are now a self-confessed follower 
of Jesus Christ, a humble but sincere dis 
ciple of the Son of God. You are His by 
that faith in Him which will not be denied. 
[16] 



THE GREAT STEP 



You are His by the public avowal of that 
faith which you desire to make. You are 
His by the solemn pledge which you give 
Him in which you promise to be His dis 
ciple. Henceforth you are not your own 
master but His humble servant. You are 
to be obedient not to your own will but 
His. The promises which you made to 
Him are sealed in His broken body and 
shed blood. Could any relationship be 
more sacred, more binding, or more im 
possible to break? 

Each succeeding Communion only makes 
more solemn, more binding, this act of 
yours, and though it brings greater joy and 
power through each succeeding Sacrament, 
it also lays upon you ever increasing re 
sponsibility. 



[17] 



II 

THE GREAT EXPERIENCE 

IT would be an incredible thing that the 
assumption of such a responsibility as 
that of accepting the Lord Jesus Christ 
as your Saviour and confessing Him be 
fore men, involving as it does a radical 
change in our whole attitude towards life, 
should be without some experience of divine 
grace. The results must surely mean joy 
or sorrow, peace or storm, satisfaction or 
dissatisfaction. 

Yet no one can write of the religious 
experience of another's soul. No one 
should have the temerity to unveil that 
sacred meeting between the sinner and his 
Saving Lord. No other eye or ear has a 
right to see or hear that interchange of 
confidence between the sinner and his 
Saviour, or the broken confession of his 
[18] 



THE GREAT EXPERIENCE 

unworthiness, or the Lord's absolution to 
His restored child. 

The days of pronounced religious expe 
rience seem past; we are not taught to look 
for it. It is not demanded as it once was, 
that part of the evidence of being a child 
of God was to have had " Experience." 
We are afraid of emotion, of the resulting 
action born of our feelings, and so we go 
to the other extreme and pass by that 
inner witness, the sense of forgiven sin 
testifying to us that we are born again 
and are the children of God. 

But the Bible clearly promises those who 
believe and those who repent and those who 
confess the Lord Jesus Christ an experi 
ence rich in its assurance and joy and 
peace. This experience ought to be a 
mighty witness to the truth of your re 
ligion. If you are thirsty and drink of 
a spring, you have the experience of having 
your thirst quenched, and are assured of 
the refreshing character of the spring. 
When a child is tired or hurt or troubled 
and seeks refuge in its mother's arms it is 

[19] 



THE GREAT STEP 



entitled to and receives the experience of her 
love, comfort and help. The man who at 
the hands of a skilful surgeon is relieved 
of almost unbearable pain is entitled to 
and receives the experience of real rest and 
peace. Therefore it is impossible that there 
should not come an experience within our 
selves that is the result of the regenerating 
power of the Holy Spirit and the indwell 
ing of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

First, there is the experience of the lov 
ing reception of the repentant sinner by 
Christ. " Him that cometh to Me I will in 
no wise cast out." This produces a peace 
of conscience hitherto unknown, because our 
sins have been forgiven. There is a sense 
of the Saviour's love and power exercised 
in our behalf which gives a serenity and a 
peace that cannot be disturbed or broken. 
There is a contentment born of the living 
companionship of the Lord which banishes 
loneliness and gives a great and abiding 
joy. There is also the assurance of perfect 
safety in the day of judgment because of 
the atonement of Jesus, which robs death 
[20] 



THE GREAT EXPERIENCE 

of its terror and lets a celestial light shine 
on our daily life. 

Then, too, there are the new experiences 
which we have as students of the word of 
God. The Bible becomes for us an in 
dividual book. There we find pictures of 
our own life, our own needs, are there por 
trayed and its truths and promises are 
made as if for us individually. We can 
not do without it. Its study becomes not 
only a joy but also a necessity to us. 

Prayer takes on a new importance to us. 
It is translated into the very breath of our 
spiritual life. Our every care now demands 
prayer. Our plans, our fears, our griefs, 
our hopes, our sins, all demand that com 
munication with our Father in the name of 
the Lord Jesus Christ, and through these 
prayers we come to know the truth of that 
word, "If ye abide in Me and my words 
abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will and 
it shall be done unto you." 

We are also aware by the experience of 
our own hearts that the burden of sin has 
been lifted and that the power of the 

[21] 



THE GREAT STEP 



adversary has been broken. Our old doubts 
are gone as well, and our fears for the 
future have taken flight. Life is the same, 
but so very different when pervaded by 
the presence of the God of all grace. 

It is these experiences of the Christian 
life that make us confess our faith, which 
give us our most convincing proof for the 
things 1 which we believe, and which consti 
tute our best defence against all the as 
saults of unbelief. " One thing I know, 
that whereas I was blind, now I see." 
" The Spirit also beareth witness with our 
Spirit that we are the children of God." 



[22] 



Ill 

THE SACRAMENT OF THE 
LORD'S SUPPER 

IN partaking of this Sacrament yott have 
before you a great privilege. The 
Sacred Rite or Sacrament of the 
Lord's Supper, established by Jesus Him 
self, is to be celebrated and you by virtue 
of your love and devotion to Him are in 
vited. 

The feast is simple, yet filled with an 
overwhelming meaning. The elements are 
simple, bread and wine, and yet they em 
body the most important truth known to 
man. 

Christians meet and sit together. Bread 
is broken and all partake of it. It signifies 
to those who know the truth and who be 
lieve it that Christ's body was broken and 
His life given for those who receive sal 
vation at His hand. " This is My body 
[23] 



THE GREAT STEP 



broken for you, this do in remembrance of 
Me." 

Wine is poured out, of which all par 
take. It signifies to those who know the 
peace of forgiven sin through the blood of 
the cross that Christ's blood was poured 
out that He might "Redeem us to God 
by His blood," and make full atonement, 
bearing in our stead the penalty of our 
sin and the sin of the whole world. " This 
cup is the New Testament in my blood shed 
for many for the remission of sin." 

This we do in remembrance of the Lord 
Jesus, that His cross may never be forgot 
ten by those who have been saved by it. 
This we do that His disciples may meet in 
loving communion with their risen Lord, 
with the central thought of His love to us 
declared in His sufferings and death on 
the cross uppermost in our minds. 

It is here also that His disciples may 
pledge themselves to Him, to His service 
and to His Kingdom for ever. 

With this meaning attached it is out of 
the question to think of the Communion as 
[24] 



THE LORD S SUPPER 

an incidental thing in our lives. It is a 
most solemn and serious service. It can 
easily be turned into a stumbling block by 
those who regard it lightly. 

Who shall come to the Lord's table? 
No one ought to come to the Lord's table 
who does not love Christ simply and sin 
cerely. No one ought to come who does 
not repent of his sin with that repentance 
which involves the forsaking of it. No 
one ought to come who does not believe in 
the great fact that Christ died for and 
instead of him, thus reconciling him to 
God. 

But on the other hand, if there are those 
who have sinned against the light they have, 
w T ho have fallen from their profession and 
practice, but who cry " God be merciful to 
me a sinner," and who hate the sin that 
made them fall, these may come, nay, ought 
to come. There are those who stay away 
from the table of the Lord because they 
feel themselves unworthy, or who fear lest 
they may be eating and drinking judg 
ment to themselves. Any sinner may stand 
[25] 



THE GREAT STEP 



before the cross, no matter what his sin or 
weakness or failure, and see the body of 
the Lord broken and the blood of the Lord 
shed and in trembling faith appropriate the 
efficacy and power of the atonement. Shall 
the symbol be greater than the reality? 
Therefore, the Communion table is not 
barred to repentant sinners, even as the 
cross of Christ is available to those that 
desire to approach it. 



[26] 



IV 



PREPARATION FOR THE COM 
MUNION 

THAT men may worthily partake of 
the Lord's Supper there should be 
careful and earnest preparation for 
it. This preparation is not for morbid self- 
examination or introspection, but that you 
may know the state of mind in which you 
come. That you may know the facts of 
the death of Christ and the meaning of 
that transcendent sacrifice, and know as 
best you may how to avail yourself of the 
presence of the Lord Jesus in the Com 
munion, that your soul may grow thereby. 

Preparation should be made first by a 
careful reading of the following or similar 
passages from the Bible: 

Psalms 51. Luke 23 : 33-49. John 19. 

Isaiah 53. John 3. Romans 8:31-39. 

Matthew 16:24-28. John 6:53-59. I Corinthians 11:23-29. 

Matthew 19:27-30. John 10:7-16. II Corinthians 4. 

Matthew 26:17-30. John 14. Hebrews 12. 

Matthew 26:36-46. John 15. I Peter 1. 

[27] 



THE GREAT STEP 



Preparation should also be made by care 
ful self-examination. This is in order that 
our own attitude toward sin may be made 
plain. Are we holding some sin and hid 
ing it? Are we willing that all our sins 
should be crucified ? Are we more and more 
living the life commanded by Our Blessed 
Lord? Is our discipleship true or false? 
Are we free from the taint of hypocrisy? 
Are we willing to consecrate ourselves 
wholly to Him and allow Him to exercise 
His holy office of King over our lives? Is 
our intention to serve Him faithfully and 
work for His Kingdom wherever He may 
open the way? Have we an altar of sac 
rifice to Him? What are we willing 
to lay upon it as the evidence of our 
love? 

One of the best means of preparation is 
by prayer. As our self-examination re 
veals our great and many needs we are to 
ask Him whose salvation we have accepted, 
in whom is our only hope and help, to make 
us that which He sees we ought to be by 
the power of His saving grace. 
[28] 



COMMUNION 



The following prayers are given to be 
a guide for those who desire to prepare 
themselves for the Holy Communion: 



PRAYER 

" O Thou Son of God, Redeemer of the 
world, I am unworthy to sit at Thy Holy 
Table, yet Thou Thyself hast bid me come. 
As I contemplate all that it means for me 
to be a communicant of Thy broken body 
and shed blood, I am confronted with my 
sins in all their weakness, unbelief and 
shame. I am conscious of the fact, that my 
imperfect life, my heart, my word and 
works are known to Thee. Thou knowest 
my weak faith, my imperfect obedience, 
my neglect of opportunity, my failure in 
duty. Lord Jesus, as Thou dost know 
these things, Thou dost also know that 
I love Thee, that I bewail my faults and 
weaknesses and long to be like Thee. 
' Create within me a clean heart and re 
new within me a right spirit and may the 
peace of God in my heart tell me that my 
[29] 



THE GREAT STEP 



sins are forgiven because they are cleansed 
in Thy most precious blood.' Amen." 

PRAYER 

" O Blessed Lord, bring me into the 
Spirit of Calvary. Help me as I come to 
the Lord's Supper to forget myself and 
have the vision of the disciples as they saw 
no man save Jesus only. Let me walk amid 
the scenes of Thy sufferings that my love 
may grow, that my heart may be made 
more tender, that I may see what God 
thinks of sin, but above all, that I may 
learn the lesson of Thy Love, immeasur 
able, boundless, full and free. Put away 
from my thoughts, aspirations or longings 
the world, its pleasures, its allurements and 
inducements to forget God. Make me 
humble, teachable and willing in the day of 
Thy power. Amen" 

PRAYER 

" O Jesus, Master, lead me into the school 
of Christian discipleship and help me to 
[30] 



COMMUNION 



learn its lessons with a facility given of 
the Holy Spirit. Teach me the secret of 
prevailing prayer. Help me to see with 
the eyes of faith those things unseen by 
human eyes. May every experience of my 
life be an experience of grace as I apply 
Thy word to each event and govern all 
things by Thy blessed will. Grant, O 
Lord, that in partaking of the Sacrament 
I may feed indeed upon Thy broken body 
and quicken my life by Thy life in the 
wine, the emblem of Thy most precious 
blood, and this through that faith by which 
hearing and sight spiritual alone can come. 
Amen" 



[31] 



AS WE SIT AT CHRIST'S TABLE 

TIT THAT then shall be my thought, 
y y aspiration and prayer as I come 
to the moment of Communion and 
take the bread and wine upon my lips? 
Just as your preparation for the Commun 
ion must be in a measure subjective and 
full of introspection, so must the moments 
of the Communion and our thoughts at that 
time be filled not with self but with the 
great objective fact of the Lord Jesus 
Christ. Your poverty of attainment, your 
doubts and fears, your lack of assurance, 
your sins even, all must be forgotten, and 
the whole horizon of your thoughts be filled 
with Christ. It does not matter what you 
are, but it matters everything that you shall 
see Him dying for your sins, dying to de 
clare his love for you, dying that you might 
have everlasting life, pouring out His blood 
[32] 



CHRISTS TABLE 



that your soul might be made white, ren 
dering the everlasting sacrifice of Calvary 
that you might share with Him the joys of 
heaven. 

Let your meditation be all of Him. 

" I have come to this moment that I 
may meet the Lord Jesus Christ. I have 
come to recall Him on the cross, and see 
His body broken and His blood shed for 
me. I have come to walk with Him in 
His paths of suffering and know some 
thing of His pains, His agony, His loneli 
ness and His cruel death. In all of this 
I recognize my Saviour and feel that no 
sacrifice was ever like His, that no love 
has ever been declared that could compare 
with His, and that such a price paid by 
His life's blood has made me a child of 
God." 

Let your prayers be prayers of grati 
tude, of love, of consecration and for those 
special blessings which you feel that you 
yourself need. 

[33] 



THE GREAT STEP 



PRAYER 

" O Lord, Eternal God, Our Heavenly 
Father, receive my grateful and loving 
thanks for Thy love declared in Jesus 
Christ, Thy well beloved Son. For my 
share in this love I am unspeakably grate 
ful. That I can through the darkness and 
pain of Calvary see the reconciled face of 
my Father makes it for me the place of 
peace. That the precious blood there shed 
cleanses my soul from sin and gives me 
victory over temptation, that the love of 
sin is gone and with it the fear of death 
and condemnation, that God's love working 
through His almighty power is mine and 
for me, for all of these amazing gifts and 
mercies my words are too poor to express 
my gratitude, I can only adoringly worship 
Thee and marvel at Thine unspeakable 
gift. Amen. 3 ' 



[34] 



CHRISTS TABLE 



PRAYER UPON RECEIVING THE BREAD 

" O Jesus Saviour, Lamb of God, I re 
member Thy death. In this bread broken 
I see by faith Thy body broken, wounded, 
dying a shameful death that I might have 
everlasting life. I cannot understand the 
mystery of God dying for sinners, but I 
thankfully and with love and wonder re 
ceive this gift of Thyself. I take Thee, O 
Lord Jesus, for my Saviour, I accept with 
an overwhelming humility what Thou hast 
done for me. At Thy pierced hands I re 
ceive Thy gift of everlasting life. May I 
ever be worthy of such a sacrifice. Amen" 

PRAYER UPON RECEIVING THE WINE 

"O Thou Eternal Sacrifice offered on 
Calvary for me, I remember Thy death. 
In this poured out wine I behold by faith 
Thy precious blood shed for many for the 
remission of sins. It is a price all price 
beyond. It is a gift of transcendent power. 
I plunge beneath its tide that my sins may 
[35] 



THE GREAT STEP 



be washed away; those sins that have 
grieved Thee; those sins which I have 
thought lightly of but which have been my 
condemnation in the sight of God. Lord 
Jesus, teach me the value of Thy death, 
may it constrain me to offer myself to 
Thee; Thou hast bought me, redeemed me, 
saved me. Lord Jesus, by every resolve of 
my heart, by every decision of my will, by 
the power of a loving heart, I give myself 
to Thee. Amen" 



PRAYER OF RENEWAL OF SACRAMENTAL VOWS 

" O Lord Jesus Christ, King over my 
life, I renew my sacramental pledge to 
Thee. For the failures of the past, for 
coldness of heart, for following the world 
instead of Thee, for disobedience to the 
heavenly vision of Thy providence, for 
deafness to Thy call, for missed oppor 
tunities, for indifference and laziness in the 
affairs of Thy kingdom, I do most humbly 
repent. Here at Thy cross I renew my 
vows to Thee and seek the strength that is 
[36] 



CHRIST'S TABLE 



divine, that I may take up with new pur 
pose and endeavour the duties of my Chris 
tian discipleship. Help me to say with a 
true sincerity, 'Lord, I will follow Thee 
whithersoever Thou goest.' May the cross 
which Thou dost bid me bear be my most 
precious privilege. Help me then to walk 
as one of the Children of Light, to pray 
as one who sees God face to face, to read 
Thy Word as one who hears in every page 
the voice of God. Help me to work that 
I may have crowns to cast at Thy feet when 
the sacramental host of God's elect shall 
come to the final coronation of the Lamb. 
Amen." 

PRAYER FOR DEEPER EXPERIENCE 

" Blessed Saviour, as I again come to 
the Sacramental Table, help me to be able 
to say out of experience that nothing can 
shake, c Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.' 
Give me that power of spiritual discrimina 
tion that I may always choose those things 
that please Thee. May the Holy Spirit be 
[37] 



THE GREAT STEP 



my teacher and guide that my discipleship 
may not be in name or in form or in con 
fession alone but in power. Help me more 
and more to see by faith the deeper things 
of Thy Gospel, may my spiritual sight see 
vaster and holier prospects to which I may 
attain. Choose me, Lord, if I be worthy, 
to greater and greater services in Thy 
name. If I be faithful, may I be permitted 
to lift Thy cross higher and higher that 
more may know its saving power, and 
let the light of the world shine on me and 
on my path until it shall merge in the 
morning of heaven. Amen." 



[38] 



VI 
CLIMBING THE HEIGHTS 

EACH Communion has always seemed 
to me to be a resting place in the 
toilsome ascent that leads to Heaven. 

When we make the ascent of some great 
mountain the halting places where we rest 
are always one above the other. We climb 
over a path that is not easy. The joy of a 
mountaineer's life rests in the difficulties 
of the ascent. We climb over rocks, beside 
precipices, sometimes in ice and snow, in 
tent upon the path one step at a time. 
There are falls and bruises, there are fogs 
that hide the summit, there is darkness, 
there are discouragements and wearinesses, 
until sometimes we are ready to say, " Is 
it all worth while? " 

From time to time our guide says, " Rest 
here." We lift our eyes from the path 
that we may look up and down. There 
[39] 



THE GREAT STEP 



yonder is where we stopped last to rest. 
How far below it is! We did not realize 
that we had climbed so far. But how 
much more wonderful the view is and how 
much nearer the summit we are. The very 
air is touched with a breath from the moun 
tains. What would it have been if, having 
toiled and worked, we found ourselves only 
as far as when we began to climb? 

There are some Christians who have no 
greater vision or vista, no greater spiritual 
attainments than when they began their 
pilgrimage. Their life is lived always on 
the same level. Heaven seems no nearer, 
prayer is no easier, the Bible is no more 
precious, the ascent seems just as hopeless 
and discouraging. 

Our Communion seasons are our resting 
places, and also the points when we can 
pause to measure our ascent. How hard it 
has been to many. We have had tempta 
tions that have been battles, we have had 
falls that have hurt us. We have had 
doubts, fears and perplexities that have 
confused us. Sometimes spiritual things 
[40] 



CLIMBING THE HEIGHTS 

have been obscured; we have not had time 
to look up. Sometimes we have felt that 
we have lost our guide. There have been 
hard places as well, griefs and cares and 
injustices, misunderstandings and failures, 
broken hopes and disappointments. We 
have been sorely tempted to go back, but 
we have pressed on. Our ascent has not 
been rapid, but we have ascended never 
theless; and when our Master, Guide and 
Friend has bidden us pause and rest for 
spiritual refreshment along the way, we 
have lifted our eyes from the path to 
Him and where He has led us. 

Back yonder is our starting point. How 
far below us it seems! How much we have 
passed through. How weary we are. But 
we are on heights above those on which we 
have ever stood before and all the journey 
seems worth while to have gained the vision 
and felt the heavenly breezes. The diffi 
culties of the path have made us know and 
trust our guide. The temptations of life 
have made us stronger. Our griefs and 
trials have given us a mountaineer's clear, 
[41] 



THE GREAT STEP 



penetrating vision by which we have been 
able to see through the storm and darkness 
the face of God. 

Each Communion season we should be 
able to say, " I can pray better than I 
could. I can interpret the will of God for 
my life better than I could. My faith is 
stronger, my victory over sin is easier. 
Life is sweeter and more heavenly and my 
rest beside the way has given me purpose 
and incentive to climb until I reach the 
final resting place, and sit down at the 
marriage supper of the Lamb in Heaven. 



[42] 



VII 
CONSTRAINING LOVE 

A [ID the busy activities of temporal 
life there is little time to think of 
spiritual things or of our duty to 
the Kingdom of Christ. There is a motive 
for everything that we do, a determining 
cause that controls our action. We want 
to be rich, educated, fashionable; we want 
to be prominent in society, to advance in 
our profession. Therefore what we do, we 
do with these purposes in mind. We may 
not formulate the motive that is behind our 
business, social and professional life, but it 
is there. What we spend, how much we 
study, whom we entertain, the objective we 
have for our children, — all these things are 
the product of our constraining motive. 

If you should ask me why the spiritual 
life of some men is unfruitful, why religion 
is a burden, why the Christian duties are 
[43] 



THE GREAT STEP 



left undone, why the study of the Bible 
has no fascination for them, why prayer is 
hard and the Church is an incident rather 
than an essential in their lives, I would 
reply, because there is no constraining 
power which lays them under a great 
and lasting obligation. St. Paul discovered 
the dominant power in Christian service 
when he said, " The love of Christ con- 
straineth me." 

When we deal with a subject such as the 
length and breadth and depth and height of 
the Love of Christ we see the impossibility 
of understanding its fulness. We speak se 
renely and somewhat carelessly of the love 
of Christ as something to be taken for 
granted. But the love of Christ to us is 
revealed in things that grieve our hearts 
and shock our insensibility. Christ's love 
is seen in the stable at Bethlehem when the 
Eternal Son took upon Him the limitations 
of our poor humanity. The love of Christ 
is revealed in the sympathy, tears, grace 
and help that characterized His earthly life. 
The love of Christ can be dimly under- 
[44] 



CONSTRAINING LOVE 

stood in Gethsemane as we see Him bear 
ing the sins of the world. Calvary is the 
story of love. The thorns and the nails 
are the pens with which it is written and 
the shed blood is the guarantee of God to 
a race of sinners that His love to them 
broke over the bounds of His love to His 
only begotten Son and offered His all, that 
the wandering children of time might have 
an eternal salvation. As you partake of 
His broken body and shed blood, do not 
have a formal, unloving, unemotional atti 
tude toward Him as you say, " Lord, what 
wilt Thou have me to do? " 

Three men sat at a table together. They 
talked of what this man should do and should 
not do. They discussed their standards 
of living. They told the forces which were 
the most compelling in their lives. One 
man was a lawyer and told of the ideals he 
had in his profession and the standard 
which he had set himself and said that the 
compelling force of his life was to be known 
as a gentleman and refrain from doing 
those things which no gentleman should do. 
[45] 



THE GREAT STEP 



The second, who was a man in financial 
affairs, noted for his probity and upright 
ness, told of the love he bore his mother 
who stood in his life for all that was good. 
The third was a travelling man who lived 
the life of such a profession and knew its 
temptations and its loneliness and its sin. 
He said, " Jesus Christ saved me from 
sin by His death, He loved me enough to 
die for me. His love constrains me to be 
and do all that I can for Him. I have 
promised Him and I will keep it." 



[46] 



VIII 

WHEN I SURVEY THE 
WONDROUS CROSS 

WHEN I survey the wondrous 
cross, what I think of it and what 
I gain from it depends largely 
on what I am as I approach it and what 
I feel to be my needs as I see the Saviour 
hanging upon it. 

If you approach the cross of Christ as a 
technical theologian, interested only in its 
meaning as a part of a religious system, 
your survey will only yield you mystery 
and the significance of the cross will be 
lost to you. 

If you approach the cross as a historian 
to study the greatest of the martyrs, your 
survey will only bring you a feeling of 
pity for the untimely death of a good 
man. 

If you approach the cross as a sociologist 

[47] 



THE GREAT STEP 



looking upon the death of Christ as the 
great example of how a good man can die 
for a reform, your survey will only yield 
you an ennobling impulse th?t you cannot 
equal or imitate. 

But if you come to the cross as a sinner 
asking whether God will have any relation 
ship to you at all; if you come with eyes 
blind with tears and choking throat and 
conscience all aflame, crying, " God be 
merciful to me a sinner," then you learn 
by an undeniable experience the power of 
the cleansing blood and the peace that 
comes thereby. 

When I survey the wondrous cross as a 
believing and loving disciple of Him who 
is there crucified, I see in it the indisputable 
fact that God's love is over me and around 
me always. " God so loved the world that 
He gave His only begotten Son." " He 
that spared not His own Son but delivered 
Him up for us all, how shall He not 
with Him also freely give us all things." 
There are times when afflictions, trials, dis 
couragements and reverses cloud our faith. 
[48] 



THE WONDROUS CROSS 

Does God love me? The survey of the 
cross is the answer. 

When I survey the wondrous cross I 
see in it a mighty salvation wrought out 
by God that His children might be re 
deemed. Here a great price is paid, here 
a great freedom is purchased, here a great 
victory is gained for the humblest and 
vilest sinner in all the world. Here I see 
hope for the hypocrite, the drunkard, the 
thief, the harlot, the proud, the sceptical, 
the self-righteous pharisee. I see hope for 
myself with all my sins, for Jesus Christ 
the Son of God offered Himself in the 
place of every sinner. 

When I survey the wondrous cross I am 
impelled to acknowledge my responsibility 
to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the cross 
that makes real to me His right to my 
love and service, and in the presence of 
His sufferings I make again and again a 
surrender of myself and pray that He will 
entrust me to bear His cross to others. 



[49] 



IX 
THE GOOD SHEPHERD 

/T1HE Lord is my Shepherd. Through 
all the years men have been lifted by 
these words out of the strife of life 
with its monotony, loneliness, cares, re 
sponsibilities, griefs and fears and tears. 
They are far away in a moment from the 
noise and turmoil of the world, and enter 
wonderingly into " The secret place of the 
Most High." The Lord is my Shepherd. 
There never was a sentence which depended 
so much upon its pronoun. My Shepherd. 
Then we are all the sheep of God's pasture. 
Erring sheep it may be; wandering sheep 
perhaps, foolish sheep, but belonging to 
God. Until, however, we can say " My 
Shepherd," we are in the wilderness, a 
prey to the ravening wolves of sin. 

What a calm confidence is begotten of 
the Shepherd's care. How we rest in that 
[50] 



THE GOOD SHEPHERD 

assurance that our life is continually under 
His all-seeing eye. " I shall not want " 
because He is my Shepherd. The green 
pastures of His grace and the still waters 
of His peace are mine. There may be 
storm round about me, but the depth of 
His peace may be mine, made possible by 
the " Blood of the Cross." 

I am dishevelled, weary, starving and 
discouraged. " He restoreth my soul." 
His strong hands support me. His com 
fort reassures me. His touch heals me. 
The music of His voice gives me a song 
in my heart. The wounds of sin are healed 
by the Shepherd. The tears of grief are 
wiped away by His loving touch. My 
weakness is made strength again by His 
everlasting arms. 

I am safe, too, amid the perplexities of 
the ways of the world. " He leadeth me in 
the paths of righteousness for His name's 
sake." In the darkness the star of Beth 
lehem guides me until I feel His hand lead 
ing me and His right hand upholding me. 
I will follow now but one pathway, that 
[51] 



THE GREAT STEP 

on which I see the prints of His own foot 
steps. I see but one prospect, the Heavenly 
Home whither my feet are turned. I have 
but one aim — to walk in His ways and do 
His will. 

Life at best is short and at the end the 
valley. The valley of the shadows has 
become under the Shepherd's care the val 
ley of the morning, for down the moun 
tains between the two peaks of time and 
eternity has come the sun of righteousness, 
driving away fear and darkness and doubt 
and loneliness. " Thou art with me." " O 
death, where is thy sting; O grave, where is 
thy victory." " If death should triumph he 
would slay both the Saint and God." 

But the wonder of the Shepherd's care 
and love cannot be reached in the Shep 
herd's psalm. We must go down the years 
until we come to the Cross. Who is it 
dying there? Who is thirsty, worn and in 
agony? Who is pierced with the thorns 
of the wilderness? Who is in darkness? 
Who enters alone the valley of the shadow 
of death? It is the Shepherd. " The Good 
[52] 



THE GOOD SHEPHERD 

Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep." 
It is thus that we are entitled to all the 
blessings of the fold. The still waters, the 
spread table, the sun in the valley are only 
possible for us because Christ died for us. 
We behold the dying Shepherd, dying that 
the sheep might be safe. From that cross 
and suffering we hear the voice of the Son 
of God, raised against the foes of His sheep, 
uttering that word of triumph which is a 
rock and refuge and fold to all the pilgrims 
of the night, " My sheep hear My voice 
and I know them and they follow Me, 
and I give unto them eternal life and they 
shall never perish; neither shall any one 
pluck them out of my hand." 



[53] 



X 

A GREAT WAY OFF 

IF our Christian life could be maintained 
at its highest point, if there were no 
days of coldness of heart, no hours 
when we longed for the far country, no mo 
ments when we gave rein to our sins, the 
parable of the Far Country need never 
have been written. We all, however, are 
conscious when the time comes for us to 
renew our vows to God that we have a 
great way to return that we may stand in 
the relation of one who abides always in 
the Father's House. There are men of 
business who have drifted away by reason 
of their business methods and practice, 
there are those who have succumbed to the 
temptations of their social life, there are 
those who have separated themselves from 
God because they have not forgiven those 
who have trespassed against them. There 
[54] 



A GREAT WAY OFF 



are those who have been untruthful and 
malicious and unkind, and full of the 
wickedness of temper. There are those 
who have cherished unholy thoughts in their 
minds and fed their appetites on their evil 
imaginations, there may even be some who 
have grossly sinned. 

Again the sacramental season comes 
with its call to the cross. Men stand 
wondering what they shall do. They 
are not worthy to sit at the table of the 
Lord. Their lives have been lived amid 
husks. Yet they are soul hungry. They 
long for a sight of the face of God. They 
would like to return but they are afraid 
of being thought to be hypocrites. 

I venture to ask you to think of your in 
tention and resolve as far as your future 
life is concerned. You cannot eat the 
father's bread and live in the Far Country. 
You cannot serve God and your own sinful 
heart. You cannot say, " Send me the 
bread and let me drink the wine among 
the swine." If, however, your will becomes 
obedient to the call of conscience; if your 
[55] 



THE GREAT STEP 



feet rise and your steps turn away from 
sin to God; if your plea of penitence is 
upon your lips, " I have sinned " ; then re 
turn. " For when he was a great way off 
his father saw him and had compassion and 
ran and fell on his neck and kissed him." 
* I stood on the shore of a fishing village 
one day while the boats were out and a 
rising storm blackened the water with its 
ever increasing flaws of wind. The sea, 
which had been calm, was rising and along 
the beach the old men and women watched 
for the returning boats. One by one they 
came running before the gathering storm 
and strong hands seized them and dragged 
them high up, on the beach. At last all 
had returned but one which was manned 
by two brothers. They had not returned, 
and as the afternoon grew later and the 
darkness began to gather, man after man 
left the beach and went to his own house. 
At last all were gone but one old man who 
stared with strained eyes through the twi 
light. He was the father of the two who 
had not returned. He was deeply anxious. 
[56] 



A GREAT WAY OFF 



The scud began to run in great streamers 
across the leaden sky and the surf had be 
gun to dash with all the malignity of a 
stormy ocean. Suddenly he cried, " I see 
them, I see them." I could not see them. 
I looked and looked and thought that his 
wish gave him the sight for which he 
longed. But after many minutes their boat 
could be seen returning and in through the 
surf they ran on the top of a heavy sea. 
The old man said little, but when breath 
less they came up to him, he said, " I saw 
you when you were a long way off." 

It is marvelous what the eyes of love can 
see. God sees you. The longings of your 
heart are known to Him. I bid you in 
His name arise and return from that point 
in the great circumference of His vision 
where your sins have carried you and at 
the Cross of His dear Son confess your sin 
and abide in His house forever. 



[57] 



XI 
SIN REVEALED AT THE CROSS 



sins of the Christian life are no 
where more evident to the sinner 
than in the presence of the Cross of 
Christ. In that searching light we see what 
we are and what we have done in the light 
of eternal love. 

Sin at any time is terrible, but nowhere 
more terrible than when we stand before 
the Sin-Bearer of the world. Sin in one 
who is not a Christian is a dreadful thing, 
but how much more dreadful in one for 
whom every sin is an offence against a 
crucified Saviour. We sin and the world 
goes on and either does not notice or does 
not care. We sin and there is apparently 
no penalty attached to the sin. We sin and 
soon forget it. But when the Christian sins 
it is an act directly hostile to the Son of 
God. We make the Holy Sacrifice of 
[58] 



AT THE CROSS 



Calvary of none effect. We wound Him 
who was pierced with the nails in His hands 
and feet, in His heart, the seat of His 
affection and love for us. The Bible says 
we " Crucify the Son of God afresh and 
put Him to an open shame." 

At the Communion table we let the light 
of God's love shine in on our life. We 
are in the presence of the world's greatest 
sacrifice, which has been made for all men, 
but individually for us. How hateful our 
life seems to us in the presence of the price 
of sin. Faithlessness, disobedience, im 
purity of thought and life, envy, malice, 
lying, sins of business, sins of social life, 
sins of temper and hatred, all seem directed 
against Him who died to break in us the 
power of sin and atone for sin by giving 
His life. Like the lepers of old, we cry, 
" Unclean, Unclean." 

But the light of Divine Love that re 
veals our sin reveals as well the path of 
forgiveness. " If we confess our sins He is 
faithful and just to forgive us our sins and 
to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 

[59] 



THE GREAT STEP 



Simon Peter grieved the loving heart of 
his Master and under the very shadow of 
the cross let Him die without a word of 
sympathy or comfort or love. But while 
Calvary revealed to Peter the depth of his 
own sin, it also melted his heart, destroyed 
his self-assurance and complacency, and 
fanned his love into a living flame. The 
humble confession, " Thou knowest that I 
love Thee," spoke more than all of the 
knowledge Peter had found beneath the 
cross of Jesus, of himself and his sin and 
the redeeming love of the Son of God. 

Let us then in coming to the Lord's table 
nail our sins to His cross. Let us uproot 
with His help and by His grace the de 
stroying elements in our lives. Let us 
quench the flames of sin in the waters of 
Calvary's saving stream and let Christ and 
His love so fill us that there shall be no 
room save for Him. 



[60] 



XII 

THE WATER OF THE WELL OF 
BETHLEHEM 

DAVID lay sorely beset, harassed and 
troubled on the heights of Bethle 
hem and cried, " O that one would 
give me to drink of the water of the well at 
Bethlehem." It was the well at the city's 
gate at which he had as a boy drunk again 
and again. To him the water of that old 
well was associated with memories which 
were among the most precious things of 
his life. Since that time he had drunk at 
many springs and from great and wonder 
ful fountains. He had held the golden 
cups of the king to his thirsty lips. But 
nothing would take the place of the well 
of his early years. Years when God was 
near, when " The Lord was his Shepherd "; 
years when he looked up into the stars and 
[61] 



THE GREAT STEP 



saw the face of God; years when he was 
good and pure and undefiled and unsoiled 
with the stains of travel and pursuit. Days 
that were passed but which had left a soul 
hunger and thirst which only the well of 
Bethlehem could satisfy. 

We have all longed for the days of our 
spiritual past. We remember with long 
ing the days when we knew experimentally 
the Love of Christ, the Peace of God, the 
joy of service and the forgiveness of the 
cross. We are tired and discouraged now, 
the strife of the journey, the pursuit of 
gain, the bitter waters of sin make us long 
for the water of the well of Bethlehem. 
We wish that we could pray as we used to 
pray. We long for the sense of Jesus' 
companionship that we once enjoyed. We 
wish that we had not stained our garments 
in the mire of the road. We are coming 
perhaps to the Communion table with the 
longing for the better and holier days 
strong upon us. We long as Jacob must 
have longed in the years of his later life 
for another glimpse of the heavenly ladder 
[62] 



THE WELL OF BETHLEHEM 

and the sound of the voice of a covenant 
making God. 

As we turn to prepare ourselves for 
another Communion our hearts are heavy 
with the futility of our longings in the face 
of the failures of the past. It seems per 
haps to be mockery to us. 

It is with great assurance that I bid you 
realize that as the three mighty men in 
David's host broke through the Philistine 
line and brought him the water of the well 
of Bethlehem, so there is one who can 
bring us again the springs of a lost spirit 
uality and cause to spring forth in us a 
well of water to everlasting life. 

The Lord Jesus Christ is the well of 
water that we need and long for. He has 
lost none of His refreshing qualities during 
the days or months or years through which 
we have not drunk of His life-giving power. 
He invites, nay urges, us to come again to 
the fountain of life. He bids you thrust 
down the cup of your trembling faith into 
the eternal spring and drink. 

Men and women who have lost their touch 
[63] 



THE GREAT STEP 



on Jesus Christ may find Him at His table. 
If you are truly longing for a spiritual bless 
ing and spiritual power and a personal con 
tact with Jesus the Saviour of men, He meets 
you there and lo as you meet Him the years 
of dissatisfaction and disobedience and 
>yorldliness are gone and you live again as 
in the days when the Cross first laid on 
you its constraining power and Christ's 
Blood washed all your sins away. This is 
one of the great privileges of Christ's 
Table. Let us therefore come boldly, that 
we may find grace to help us in this time 
of our need. 



[64] 



XIII 

THE PRECIOUS BLOOD OF 
CHRIST 

THIS phrase means much to the re 
deemed sinner as he approaches the 
Table of the Lord's Supper. If the 
Cross means anything it means the shed 
ding of the Saviour's blood for the sinner's 
life. It means the price paid in the work 
of the sinner's redemption. It means that 
the word used signifies the life of the Son 
of God who loved us and gave Himself for 
us. There are those who would take of 
fence at the idea of shed blood, poured out 
blood, a life given for a life when it is in 
terms of Christ and His cross. But there 
is nothing repulsive about the blood given 
for the life of a child. 

In the field hospitals many a woman un 
able to fight has given her blood to help in 
the recovery of a soldier and there has 
[65] 



THE GREAT STEP 



been no criticism. There is nothing in all 
the world as sacred as the precious blood. 
But the realization of sin enables us to 
realize the value of the Blood of Christ. 
Where there is no sense of sin there is no 
need for a remedy like the Blood. " A 
self -palliating iniquity may be cleansed by 
water. But when the soul is thrust down 
into hell by the burden of sin, when the 
mercy of God is clouded by our own 
iniquity, when we are undone, lost, con 
demned, then we can believe only in the 
power and efficacy of the sacrificial blood, 
the cleansing blood, the precious blood of 
Christ." 

The precious blood of Christ is the meas 
ure of God's love to me. I can measure it 
in the world of nature on days when the 
flowers bloom and the sun shines. I can 
measure it in terms of His providence 
when I have bread to eat and clothes to 
wear and friends and joys. But I can 
not measure its length or breadth or depth 
or height except by the precious blood. I 
cannot compute its saving power when I 
[66] 



BLOOD OF CHRIST 



think that it is the Blood of the Son of 
God given for me. Do I know that He 
loves me? There are days when I feel that 
I am undone, that the world is cruel, that 
the face of God is hidden, that grief is my 
master, that sorrow is the largest ingredient 
in my cup. Then I remember Christ's 
dying love, the gift of Himself, the pour 
ing out of His blood, and I am compelled 
to believe that neither death nor life nor 
angels nor principalities nor powers can 
separate me from the Love of God which 
is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

4< Love so amazing, so divine, 

" Demands my soul, my life, my all." 

The precious blood of Christ is the foun 
tain of immortality. It binds all Heaven 
with its many mansions to throngs of 
sinners who stand about the CroSs. It is 
the mark upon the foreheads of those who 
sing the song of the Lamb. We can just 
as well think of Heaven without Christ as 
to think of it without the precious blood. 
The blood is remembered when we shall 

[67] 



THE GREAT STEP 



see the Lamb on His throne. The blood 
is known when we see the garments of 
those who have washed in its crimson tide. 
The blood can never be forgotten through 
all the ages of eternity as the redeemed 
sing their song of triumph, " Unto Him 
that hath loved us and washed us from our 
sins in His own blood." 

What then shall be for us the meaning 
of the sacramental cup as we shall partake 
of the wine, the symbol of His precious 
blood. It is the price paid for us. It is 
the method of redemption made by the 
Lord Jesus Christ. It is the most touch 
ing appeal that love can make. As we feel 
our sins forgiven, as we know the peace of 
the assurance of Salvation, as we hope and 
long for Heaven, we are compelled to say 
with new emphasis, " The precious blood of 
Christ." ' Lord, Thou knowest that I love 
Thee. 



[68] 



XIV 
THE END OF THE DAY 

THERE is nothing more beautiful 
than the declining day except the 
dawn. Behind my summer home 
where I write lie those beautiful hills of 
Maine that come down like giants to drink 
of the waters of the ocean. Their feet are 
bathed in that glorious bay that opens out 
into the sea. On a clear evening the sunsets 
are wonderful things. The wind dies and 
the colours of the setting sun change and 
soften the water of the sea and make the 
mountains stand clear-cut against the sky 
and speak of rest and peace and solidarity. 
Even this dies away and at length amid the 
gray and green of the darkening sky there 
shines the quiet beauty of the evening star. 
As it grows darker still we enter the har 
bour and see the lights of the little village 
come out one by one. We anchor and furl 
[69] 



THE GREAT STEP 



the sail and at length we climb the little 
hill to one particular light which means 
home for us. There we receive the wel 
come always waiting. There we see again 
the children's faces. Night has come, but 
with it has come rest and peace and fellow 
ship and love, and always yonder stand the 
great hills, dim, obscure in the night, but 
there abiding until the beauty of the new 
day shall cover them with an almost fade 
less glory. 

There are those who come to the evening 
of the day of their life and cross the sea 
toward home. For those who can see the 
eternal hills there is no repining. For those 
whose faith discerns the evening star there 
is no fear. For those who can behold 
beauty in the dying day there is that peace 
that passeth all understanding. There have 
been fogs and storms and rough waves, but 
these are passed. Let us look at the hills. 
They stand as the eternal verities of life, 
and God, and His providence and care. 
They are emblematic of the unchanging 
character of His love, they stand as the 
[70] 



THE END OF THE DAY 

Cross stands above the storm, they are 
present as Jesus is present. The ocean of 
life changes, the truths of life abide. It is 
providential that the glows and colours of 
the evening are evident in the end of life. 
The softness and mellowness of a character, 
tried out, the vision that the young never 
see because it is the product of age, lends 
great beauty to everything because the 
eyes that see are the eyes of faith. If it 
grows dark the evening star is shining. 
" Lo, I am with you always, even unto the 
end of the world." The lights of the har 
bour come at last and the knowledge of 
what lies there fills our hearts with joy. 
The ties that aged men and women have 
in Heaven are many and close and one of 
the prospects of the Heavenly Home is that 
reunion which awaits those who live by 
faith in the Son of God who loved them 
and gave Himself for them. 

O then what happy greetings on Canaan's happy shore 
What knitting sundered friendships up where partings are 



no more. 



no more. , 

Then eyes with joy shall sparkle which brimmed with tears 

of late, 
Orphans no longer fatherless nor widows desolate. 

[71] 



THE GREAT STEP 



We sit down at the Table of the Lamb 
slain and we remember those who are aged. 
Some of them sit with us. It is a foretaste 
for them of that heavenly feast, the mar 
riage supper of the Lamb. The night is 
far spent, the day is at hand, and the day 
that is coming, the glory of which may al 
ready be seen by some, is a day where 
there is no night, no parting, no pain, no 
tears, no death — a day of perpetual sun 
rise. 



[72] 



QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS FOR 
A COMMUNICANTS' CLASS 

1. What is meant by the phrase " Join 
ing the Church"? 

Ans. To join the church is an act 
whereby we are received into the visible 
church on the ground of our Faith in 
Christ and our obedience to His will and 
commandments . 

2. Of what is it the outward sign? 

Ans. It is the outward sign of repent 
ance toward God and Faith in the Lord 
Jesus Christ. 

3. Does " Joining the Church " make us 
a Christian? 

Ans. No, but it is outward sign of our 
having become a Christian. 

4. Is joining the church necessary to 
becoming a Christian? 

Ans. No, but it is the Christian's first 
duty. 

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THE GREAT STEP 



5. Is one's public position altered on 
becoming a Christian? 

Ans. Yes, in our avowed relation to 
Jesus Christ and in our public attitude 
toward Him before the world. 

6. What great inward change is in 
volved? 

Ans. We now are Christ's having His 
spirit, His standard of obedience, His aims, 
His definite purpose, summed up in the 
word " Discipleship." 

7. What public avowal do we make in 
joining the church? 

Ans. We avow that repenting from 
our sins and accepting Jesus Christ as our 
only Saviour, we will surrender ourselves 
in loving obedience to His will. 

8. What knowledge is necessary to 
uniting with the church? 

Ans. 1. A knowledge of the funda 
mental facts of the life of Christ. 

Ans. 2. A general knowledge of His 
teachings regarding sin, and the way of 
salvation as contained in the Word of God. 

Ans. 3. A knowledge of the principles 
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QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS 

of the Christian life as Jesus Christ has 
declared them. 

9. What does Christ teach as to the 
meaning of His coming into the world? 

Ans. John iii: 16. John xiv:6. John 
x: 11. Matthew xx: 28. 

10. What is the heart of the Gospel? 
Ans. The heart of the Gospel is the 

death of Christ for and instead of the 
sinner. 

11. What is Faith in Christ? 

Ans. Faith is the acceptance as true of 
the facts of His life and His teachings, a 
resting upon Him alone for salvation, and 
is shown by a loving obedience to Him 
in all things and a changed heart. 

12. What is the difference between be 
lieving with the head and with the heart? 

Ans. In the former we may take as 
true the facts and teachings of the Gospel 
without their having any bearing on our 
life or conduct. 

In the latter we receive and rest upon 
them alone for salvation and therefore we 
love Him and obey Him. 
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THE GREAT STEP 



13. What is the test of true faith? 
Ans. Obedience. 

14. Why is a public profession of our 
Faith in Christ necessary? 

Ans. Romans x : 9. 

15. Does becoming a Christian involve 
any religious experience? 

Ans. It does. It involves a sense of 
forgiven sin. A great desire to please 
Christ. A love of His word and of prayer. 
A desire to serve Him in any way that 
lies in our power or His. 

16. Have we a right to say " I know 
I am saved " ? 

Ans. We have that right if we are 
earnest and sincere in our profession and 
if we are desirous of doing His will; if we 
rely on Him alone for salvation, then the 
assurance which He gives is ours. John 
x: 27-28. 

17. What great blessings does the Bible 
promise to those who accept Jesus Christ 
and become His disciples? 

Ans. Romans x: 9. . John x: 1-5. John 
xv : 7. John xiv:27. 

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QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS 

18. What is the Sacrament of the Lord's 
Supper? 

Ans. A sacred ordinance, instituted by 
Christ in memory of His death, wherein by 
faith we partake of bread and wine, sym 
bols of His broken body and shed blood, 
receiving thereby nourishment and strength 
for our spiritual life. 

19. Who instituted the Lord's Sup 
per? 

Ans. Christ instituted the Lord's Sup 
per on the night in which He was be 
trayed. 

20. What are the elements used? 
Ans. The elements used are bread and 

wine. 

21. What does the bread signify? 
Ans. The bread signifies that Christ's 

body was broken on the cross for us and 
for our salvation. 

22. What does the wine signify? 
Ans. The blood of Christ shed on the 

cross for the remission of sin. 

23. When we say " In remembrance of 
Me," what do we mean? 

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THE GREAT STEP 



Ans. We mean that we are always to 
keep in mind that Christ is our only 
Saviour. That He died in our place and 
stead and that we owe Him our love and 
implicit obedience. 

24. Is the Communion a matter of 
great importance? 

Ans. It is the most important religious 
service of our Christian life. 

25. Are there those who should not 
come to the Communion? 

Ans. No one should come to the Com 
munion who does not repent of his sins, 
does not love the Lord Jesus Christ with 
all his heart, and who does not long to 
follow Him as Master and Lord. 

26. Why should we prepare ourselves 
for the Communion? 

Ans. Because we are told to do so in 
the Bible. I Corinthians xi:28. 

27. How may we prepare? 

Ans. By examining ourselves regarding 
our faith and life. By reading the narra 
tive of the death of Christ. By earnest 
prayer in which we bewail our shortcom- 

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QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS 

ings and seek earnestly to be what Christ 
would have us be. 

28. What should be our thoughts on 
coming to the Lord's Table? 

Ans. At the Table of the Lord our 
thoughts should be of Jesus only. His 
love, His death for us. His power to make 
us good. His comfort, help and grace. 
Nothing of self, all of Him. 

29. For what ought we to pray at the 
Lord's Table? 

Ans. We should be thankful for His 
great sacrifice. Repentant for our many 
sins. We should consecrate ourselves 
afresh to His services, and renew our sac 
ramental covenants. 

30. Ought we to seek to progress spirit 
ually from Communion to Communion? 

(For answer study chapter on " Climb 
ing the Heights.") 



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