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The Leonard Library 



iff e College 

Toronto 

Shelf No. B-.\/.&/..0. / 

Register No. . 




19 



STUDIES IN SOUL 
TENDING 

OR 

PASTORAL WORK IN ITS RELATION TO THE 
INDIVIDUAL 



BY THE LATE 



F. J. B. ALLNATT, D.D., D.C.L. 

CANON OF THE CATHEDRAL OF THE HOLY TRINITY, QUEBEC 
HARROLD PROFESSOR, AND DEAN OF THE FACULTY OF DIVINITY, 

BISHOP S UNIVERSITY, LENNOXV1LLE, CANADA 
AUTHOR OF "THE WITNESS OF ST. MATTHEW" 



EDITED BY 

G. ABBOTT-SMITH, D.D. 



/JLe\\-f)(T(i) ael vftcis viro/uLt^vfjcrKetv irtpi rovruv, Kalirtp ftf>6Tas, 
s ff T^ irapoi-ffr) a\TiQ(ia " 2 ST. PET. i. 12. 



LONDON 

SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING 
CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE 

NEW YORK AND TORONTO : THE MACMILLAN CO. 
1922 




TO THE MEMORY OF 

THE AUTHOR S VALUED FRIEND 

J. M. P. 



FOREWORD 

THE literature of Pastoral Theology has grown 
apace of late and, with the addition of some 
recent works, begins to approach a completeness of 
treatment which the growing sense of its importance 
more and more insistently calls for. There is still 
room, however, for special presentation of particular 
aspects and departments of the subject, such as the 
care of the individual soul, including that of the 
priest himself, with which it is the aim of this short 
treatise to deal. 

On the subject-matter of these Studies, the 
author was peculiarly well fitted to speak from a 
long experience both as Parish Priest and Lecturer 
in Theology. In both of these relations, within the 
sphere of his influence, he occupied a position almost 
unique in Canadian Church life during the greater 
part of the last half-century. 

In these pages the judicious reader will observe 
an independence of treatment which, if in part 
removed from some of the more prevalent currents 
of present-day thought and practice, reveals a rich 
spiritual experience, a profound knowledge of human 
nature, and a fine insight into " the deep things 
of God." 

The editor s labours have been reduced to a 
minimum by the work already done on the 



vi FOREWORD 

manuscript by the Rev. R. J. Shires, B.D., sometime 
tutor at Bishop s College and a former pupil of 
Dr. Allnatt s. As a labour of love, Mr. Shires 
undertook to type the whole work, most of it at 
the author s dictation, and it is due to the pains 
taking care which he has given to its arrangement 
that the manuscript appears in a fairly complete 
form for publication. The fact that the work was 
unfinished accounts for the abruptness of its con 
clusion, and also for the form of some of the 
sentences which appear just as they were dictated, 
but which would doubtless have been somewhat 
recast by the author with his accustomed care and 
exactitude. 

It had been Dr. Allnatt s intention to complete 
the work himself in the summer of 1920, but God 
willed otherwise, calling him to higher service, and 
it remained for other hands to give it some finishing 
touches and send it forth as a small memento of a 
singularly rich and fruitful life, and as a last message 
to those who knew and loved him as well as, it is 
hoped, to a wider circle, from a faithful priest and 
servant of the Lord, who herein "being dead, yet 
speaketh." 

G. ABBOTT-SMITH. 



MONTREAL, 

Easter, 1922. 



PREFACE 

THE suggestions which are embodied in the fol 
lowing pages are the outcome of many years 
of intimate association with divinity students and 
young clergymen during their period of preparation 
for the priesthood. The "Studies" are in great 
measure founded upon lectures delivered upon the 
subject of Pastoral Theology in some of its depart 
ments. Their publication in the present form is 
the result of kindly pressure on the part of valued 
friends, who were of the opinion that there was 
something about them which seemed to promise a 
possibility of their meeting certain needs incident 
to the earlier stages of the priestly life. 

As their title implies, they make no claim to be 
regarded as a complete or connected system of 
direction on the subjects with which they deal ; nor 
do they profess to include the whole range of aspects 
under which any particular subject is capable of 
being regarded. They amount, in fact, to not much 
more than certain haphazard suggestions with refer 
ence to various features of clerical life and work 
which happen to have been brought to my attention 
as subjects of inquiry, or which have suggested 
themselves to me as seeming to call for special notice. 

This explanation may account for what might 
otherwise appear to be inexplicable omissions, as 



viii PREFACE 

well as for the comparatively slight treatment of 
subjects, of which a fuller consideration would 
perhaps be expected. 

If some of the suggestions appear trite, my plea 
is to the effect that reasons for their introduction 
have been found in the fact that, in some form or 
other, they have been brought before my notice as 
calling for attention. 

On the other hand, if some suggestions appear 
novel, and open to objection on that account- 
possibly also as intrinsically of a character at vari 
ance with current thought I may in this case plead 
that my purpose is to offer suggestions with refer 
ence to provision for serious needs, or to promote 
important ends, which perhaps are not at present 
fully provided for. And while I am far from pre 
suming to insist upon the superiority of my own 
proposals to those which might be made, I would, 
nevertheless, offer them for consideration with a 
view of inviting the suggestions of others which 
may possibly be better worth adoption. 

The consideration of the Divine Immanence, or 
the Real Presence of God in the Person of the 
Logos, as manifested in the external world of nature 
in relation to the place which this consideration 
should take as a factor in the formation of the 
devotional habit is a subject which, I think, has 
hardly yet received the attention to which its im 
portance would seem to entitle it, and which the 
advanced stage of thought which characterises the 
present day would appear to demand. I have, 
therefore, offered a few suggestions on this subject, 
and trust that they may not be regarded as out of 
place in this connection. 



PREFACE ix 

In all their incompleteness, and with all their 
defects, I commend these " Studies " to the members 
of the Divinity Classes, among which albeit so 
imperfectly, yet taking it all in all, so happily I 
have so long been privileged to labour. 

F. J. B. A. 



CONTENTS 

PART I 
THE PRIEST S CARE FOR HIS OWN SOUL 

PAGE 

INTRODUCTION ... ... ... ... i 

PRAYER IN GENERAL ... ... ... ... ... n 

FASTING ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 20 

FASTING COMMUNION ... ... ... ... ... 25 

MEDITATION ... ... ... ... ... 29 

INTERCESSION ... ... ... 35 

SCHEME OF PRIVATE DEVOTION ... ... ... ... 40 

THOUGHTS OF DIVINE IMMANENCE IN WORSHIP ... ... 51 

PART II 

THE PRIFST S CARE OF THE SOULS UNDER 
HIS CHARGE 

THE PRIEST S RELATIONS WITH HIS PEOPLE "... ... 63 

UN THE PRACTICE OF AURICULAR CONFESSION ... ... 66 

THE TREATMENT OF INDIVIDUAL SOULS ... ... ... 72 

THE SICK : i. GENERAL ... ... ... ... ... 112 

2. EMERGENCY CASES ... ... ... ... 118 

3. USE OF VISITATION OFFICE ... ... ... 127 

4. INFECTIOUS DISEASES ... ... ... 139 

CARE IN PREPARATION FOR RECEPTION OF THE HOLY COM 
MUNION ... ... ... ... ... ... 141 



PART 1 

THE PRIEST S CARE FOR HIS OWN SOUL 

His nurture of it, to sustain its capacity for the nurture of others. 

"TaGra /iteAera, eV row-rots t<r9i, 
iva. ffov T) irpoKOirrj tyavepa rj irnffiv, 
<reauT<f, ical ry Si$a<rKa\iq. 



TOVTO yap iroiwv Kal (reaurbv <Tt6(res Kal rovs anuifovrds crov." 

i Tim. iv. 15 1 6. 



STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 



INTRODUCTION 

A TREATISE upon pastoral work can hardly enter 
upon its subject without a word by way of 
emphasising the warning so often repeated and 
apparently so obvious as to seem almost superfluous 
against the danger on the clergyman s part of under 
taking to help others to do what he has not yet done 
for himself. 

That a man who has never experienced the love of 
Christ (the first requisite), as his own possession, should 
take upon himself to do Christ s work, and be the means 
of instilling that love into the hearts of others, must 
unavoidably imply a life actuated by hypocrisy of the 
most serious kind. Unavoidably, because the very 
fact of his undertaking the charge of others in this 
respect is necessarily understood by them as implying 
the assurance that he is himself in the condition into 
which it is his avowed purpose to bring them. Were 
it otherwise they would simply scout the idea of his 
occupying the position which he has assumed. 

It would be difficult to find a passage of Scripture 
expressive of such utter sadness amounting almost 
to a wail of despair as that in the Song of Songs : 
They made me keeper of the vineyards ; but mine 



4 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

own vineyard have I not kept." 1 It may be well, 
therefore, at the outset of our subject, to suggest a 
few thoughts with the view of aiding the young clergy 
man in his efforts to " make his calling and election 
sure." 2 For that purpose a brief summary of the main 
features of an act of self-examination may be helpful 
as representing his first duty, namely, that of seeing 
to his own soul before venturing to deal with the souls 
of others. Such a form of self-questioning may pro 
ceed somewhat as follows : 

Is my life really and truly dedicated to God s 
service, given up to the guidance of His Spirit, actuated 
by the love of His Son as its dominant principle ? If 
this be the case, I am necessarily in a state of salvation 
in its twofold sense ; that is to say, I am in a state 
of deliverance (if not wholly, at all events in a certain 
real sense and degree) from the bondage of sin, first as 
to its guilt, and secondly as to its power. 

(1) The Guilt of Sin. Am I in a position to assure 
myself that the sin of my life past so far as my utmost 
efforts can enable me to realise and sum it up has 
been brought to Jesus Christ, has been repented of, 
forsaken, and submitted to be cleansed away in His 
Blood, the continual presentment of which (or the act 
of death it represents) is the means whereby recon 
ciliation is made for me with His Father from Whose 
love that sin had separated me ? Have I accepted 
that reconciliation by an act of faith on my own part, 
relying upon the Father s promised acceptance of the 
atonement through the mediation of His Son ? 

(2) The Power of Sin. Have I been enabled through 
the grace of the Holy Spirit to battle against, and in 
an advancing degree to overcome and to keep under, 

1 Song of Songs i. 6. 2 2 St, Pet, i, 10. 



INTRODUCTION 5 

those sinful influences by which my life in its natural 
condition would be actuated ; and am I now faith 
fully and diligently carrying on the conflict against 
those influences, and, notwithstanding many short 
comings, succeeding on the whole ? 

Salvation is a negative word ; it represents the 
negative side of Christianity, that is, the side which 
has relation to the annulling of sin, its influences, 
its effects. Hence it only represents one aspect of 
the Christian life, namely, that which is concerned with 
sin in its effect as the means of separation from the love 
of God, the condition which is the starting-point of 
man s natural life, and which, in the deepest and fullest 
sense of the term, is one of Death. Salvation consists 
simply in the removal of this bar of separation, and 
is the process of restoring man to a condition of, and 
capacity for, the possession of the Divine love. 

Our inquiry proceeds now to the positive aspect of 
the spiritual life, in some such form as the following : 

(1) Have I taken as the ruling motive of my life 
the object of seeking and carrying out God s will at 
all costs, and at any sacrifice ? Am I daily presenting 
my body, " a living sacrifice," striving to make it 
" holy, acceptable " unto Him ? l 

(2) Do I love God with all my heart and soul and 
strength ? Or if not so much as this, do I at all events 
love Him, and is it my great desire and effort to love 
Him more ? 

(3) Am I " working out my own salvation with 
fear and trembling " ? 2 that is to say, building up my 
spiritual life by those means which God has appointed 
in His Church, and especially by the regular and 
effective participation of the Body and Blood of Christ 

1 Rom. xii. i. 2 Phil. ii. 12. 



6 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

in the Sacrament of the Holy Communion, and in those 
various subsidiary means upon the due observance of 
which this effective participation in great measure 
depends ? 

(4) Have I deeply at heart, and bound up with my 
dearest life interests, the welfare of others temporal 
and spiritual and especially of those who are in any 
sense committed to my charge ? 

Even the faithful and diligent priest is in danger 
of neglecting the care of his own soul while earnestly 
labouring for the souls of others, and thus imperilling 
the shipwreck of both interests so far as his own part 
in them is concerned. It must, therefore, be his daily 
care to acquire and maintain in his own person the 
disposition and character which it is the declared aim 
of his life to cultivate in others. This can only be 
brought about, on the one hand, by constant union 
with his Lord ; on the other, by watchfulness for the 
principles and motives which govern his own conduct. 
Otherwise, there is danger of his work becoming 
mechanical, perfunctory, lifeless, unconsecrated, and, 
hence, devoid of the character of service. This is surely 
a melancholy condition of things. 

The practice of private devotion is, of course, the 
only fuel which can maintain the fire of the Divine 
Life in the soul, and can thus cause its outcome in the 
form of external activity to be an offering acceptable 
to our Lord and Master. The young minister must 
keep his own vineyard in due order, cultivated, watered, 
weeded, pruned, and fruit-bearing, if he would be a 
fit keeper of other vineyards. It is not enough that 
the results of a man s labour should be good and 
beneficial in themselves. This is the case with all 



INTRODUCTION 7 

action on the part of evil men as well as of faithful 
labourers so far as regards its ultimate results. Our 
Heavenly Father s disposal of events causes all things 
to work together for good, 1 whatever may be the 
motives which actuated the production of each particu 
lar event. But the workers are judged, not by the 
results which follow their work, but by the motive 
which actuated it. Hence, the result which amounts 
to failure, so far as appearances go, following upon any 
course of action, may be as fully productive of rich 
blessing to the worker as though his efforts had been 
crowned by the most evident success. It is by the 
motive of love as an energetic principle the love which 
is fostered by close communion with his Lord that 
the blessedness of the worker is measured. 

If the priest s attention is distracted by multifarious 
duties which appear as though they could not be 
neglected without serious detriment and hence he 
is tempted to cut short his period for private devotion 
let him remember that the accomplishment of God s 
work which he is endeavouring to effect will be brought 
about anyhow ; by some other instrument if not by 
himself : but that the nurture of his own soul can only 
be accomplished by his own exertion. After all, a 
man s first duty is that of working out his own salva 
tion. The mistake lies in setting this object (his own 
personal gain or advantage) before him as a leading 
motive of action, in keeping this object in view as the 
ultimate purpose to be attained by his efforts on behalf 
of others, in forgetting that his main thought is to be 
for others, not for himself. Herein lies the difference 
between Christianity and Buddhism, with all the 
beautiful and Christ-like grace of self-abnegation 

1 Cp. Rom. viii. 28. 

B 



8 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

and altruistic self-sacrifice which the latter system so 
eminently exhibits. The Buddhist practises the 
denial of selfish propensities, the performance of good 
offices towards his fellow-creatures, with a view of 
promoting his own attainment of Nirvana, or freedom 
from the domination of passion and sensation. In 
other words, with an ultimate view to his own self- 
interest. Christianity teaches the denial of self 
practised simply as an offering of love to a loving 
Lord the practice of doing good to others from the 
motive, pure and simple, of love to them, and the desire 
to promote their welfare without the ulterior motive of 
gaining blessing and benefit to one s self thereby. This 
is, at all events, the ideal principle which the position 
of the follower of Jesus Christ demands as the motive 
of conduct, even though it be not carried out with 
absolute perfection. Man works out his own salvation 
by going out of himself, by throwing forth his affections 
and interest, first towards his Lord, and secondly, 
towards his fellows for his Lord s sake. In the very 
first place, therefore, he is bound to take measures for 
maintaining unbroken, and ever on the increase, his 
own condition of close and active communion with 
his Master in all departments of his life. And this will 
call for active effort. Prayer is no mere routine duty, 
but the actual putting forth of spiritual power ; for 
this to be accomplished effectively it is necessary that 
in that department of his life, perhaps more than in 
any other department, the Christian minister s work 
should be done systematically. The framing of his 
devotions must occupy a most important place in 
the apportionment of his life-work. 

One essential point to made sure of is that the 
amount is sufficient the amount of time bestowed, 



INTRODUCTION 9 

the amount of spiritual and intellectual activity 
exerted. 

Another important requisite is that the range of 
subjects included within these devotions be sufficiently 
comprehensive to include the various departments 
of worship, which may be roughly stated as seven in 
number, namely : 

1. Confession and absolution. 

2. Praise. 

3. Thanksgiving. 

4. Self -oblation. 

5. Supplication for things needful. 

6. Deprecation from evil in its various shapes. 

7. Intercession. 

The use of manuals may be all very well, but when 
it comes to the choice of a manual I think it will be 
a matter of difficulty to find any one among the many 
in existence which will really supply what is needed 
in this department. It would be much better that the 
priest should frame his own system, including all the 
various forms of need of which he is conscious, and 
putting it into such shape as best suits his own judg 
ment. This should be done in writing, written and 
rewritten, with additions, modifications, and alterations 
such, as are suggested from time to time in the course 
of the regular use of the forms thus drawn up. 

The subject of public worship does not fall within 
the range of our present consideration. Its place in 
the priestly life is, of course, a matter of the utmost 
importance, but it may not be treated as in any sense 
a substitute for private devotion. 

One point which needs to be ever kept in mind is the 
fact that prayer, to be really effectual, must be specific 
in its character. The worshipper must have clearly 



10 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

in mind the nature of the gifts of which his conscience 
teaches him the need, and must learn to seek their 
supply definitely and categorically. Vagueness and 
lack of particularity are oftentimes the cause as well 
of deficiency in vigour, as also consequently of 
absence of effect in praj^er. " We have not because 
we ask not." l Hence, the worshipper cannot afford 
to depend on mere general expressions in offering his 
petitions at the throne of grace. The priest, should 
learn, not only by self-examination, but also by keeping 
an outlook on the requirements of his position at 
all points, to include in his regular devotions every 
form of need, every subject for thanksgiving or praise 
which belongs to his daily life as an individual and as 
a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He should 
leave no loophole for the entrance of evil unguarded, 
no form of blessing unremembered, no kind of need 
unthought of. 

I have urged that the priest should plan out his 
own system of private devotion, and should have it 
in writing, in such form as to suit his own require 
ments, instead of depending upon manuals which are 
the work of others. It has occurred to me, however, 
that it might possibly be helpful to some of my younger 
brethren were I to suggest for their consideration a 
specimen of such a scheme as I here recommend, in 
the shape which it has taken in the course of years in 
my own case. An outline of this kind will, therefore, 
be found as an Appendix, on p. 40. 

1 St. Jas. iv. 2, 



PRAYER IN GENERAL 

T^RAYER is to be regarded not only as a means 
L of effectual approach to our Father s presence, 
and of rendering service, but also as an instrument 
capable of attaining definite results. As such it is 
imperatively necessary that we should learn to use it 
ourselves, and also to teach others to use it, for the 
capacity for turning to account this means of grace 
will not come of itself. Its acquisition demands 
careful study and diligent practice. The constituent 
elements of prayer may be stated as follows : - 

(i) Confession and absolution, (2) Thanksgiving, 
(3) Self-oblation, (4) Praise, (5) Supplication for supply 
of needs, (6) Deprecation from evil, (7) Intercession. 
Its forms and methods are, of course, varied according 
to the character of the various occasions for which it 
is used. They may be roughly expressed as follows : 

1. Stated daily prayer; twice or oftener, and cer 
tainly not less than three times a day for clergymen and 
candidates for Holy Orders. 

2. Special or occasional prayers ; in any of the 
above-mentioned forms, arising from any special needs, 
or from a call for any special object. 

3. Ejaculatory or unpremeditated prayers ; the 
result of momentary thought as in the cases of 
Nehemiah 1 and Jacob. 2 

1 Neh. ii. 4 ; perhaps xiii. 14, 22b, 31. ? Gen. xxxii. 9. 

11 



12 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

4. Meditation. (See special section dealing with 
this practice.) 

With regard to the allotment of periods for prayer, 
it is not my purpose to suggest any rules. These are 
best arranged by each man for himself, to fit into the 
plan of his daily duties. I would remark, however, 
that, in my view, the late evening is the least favour 
able time for prayer considered as active mental and 
spiritual effort. At the end of the work day (and for 
him every day is more or less a day of work) the priest 
ought to be too tired to be in a condition for giving 
his best energies to any such effort. The condition of 
mental activity and excitement of which the priest 
is often conscious at the close of Sunday, or any other 
day of unusual mental strain, is something abnormal, 
and indicative rather of an inflammatory condition 
than one of healthful vigour. What is needed at such 
times is rest, not work. The inclination towards the 
latter which is often present under these circum 
stances should, therefore, be restrained in the interests 
of health. The prayers used immediately before 
retiring for the night should be brief and comprehen 
sive, otherwise they are apt to be looked forward to as 
a task. This is fatal. Note that the earlier in the 
day the hour chosen for devotion, the better for its 
life and effectiveness, and the better you will enjoy it. 
For although the pleasure to be derived from the prac 
tice of prayer and praise may not be regarded as a 
suitable motive for such actions, or as an object to be 
sought for its own sake ; and although, again, much 
effectual prayer is doubtless offered under circum 
stances which render such offering a matter of almost 
painful effort, where any sense of pleasure is entirely 
absent yet there can be no doubt that where prayer 



PRAYER IN GENERAL 13 

is a reality its observance cannot but be accompanied 
with much of spiritual enjoyment. This is especially 
the case with reference to that department of worship 
which is known as Meditation. In fact, the reality 
of prayer as such may often be tested by its presence 
or absence, though it should be remarked that one 
great reason for the absence of sensible pleasure in the 
practice of prayer is that of the brevity of our ordinary 
acts of private worship. To be productive of spiritual 
enjoyment the act of prayer must be leisurely, so that 
the mind may dwell on each point as it comes up, and 
fully grasp its significance. Prayer, to produce a 
sensation of pleasure, need not be extemporaneous ; 
the devout utterance of a psalm, with the soul fully 
alive to the poetry as well as to the inner significance, 
will often have the effect of an elevation of soul amount 
ing almost to rapture. There can be no doubt that 
private prayers, as usually practised, are too hurried, 
although without the least consciousness that such is 
the case. The question may be asked : " How can 
time be found for such prolongation of the act of private 
worship as is here contemplated ? " I would answer this 
by two suggestions, both of which I have found most 
effectual in the course of a very busy life. 

The first is that of the utilisation of odds and ends 
of time. We see the Roman clergy saying their Office 
as they sit in the railway carriage, hereby setting us 
an excellent example. Why should we not utilise 
the time occupied in our walks and drives, and even 
that which is spent in waiting for the train at the 
railway station ? Of course, the objection will at once 
be raised of the distracting effect of external objects 
under such circumstances. The answer will be ex 
pressed in the second suggestion to which I refer, 



14 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

namely, that of acquiring the habit of concentration of 
mind. Until this habit has been acquired no doubt 
the difficulty referred to will appear insuperable ; 
but I can, from my own experience, bear testimony to 
the fact that the habit of deliberately concentrating 
the mind upon any subject which may seem desirable 
may be acquired by patience and perseverance, so as 
to be effective under almost any ordinary circum 
stances that can be mentioned. The priest, therefore, 
should make the acquisition of the power to do this a 
definite object of effort, and should persevere until he 
has acquired it. Some men may attain their object 
more quickly than others, but there is no question that 
every man is capable of attaining it if he only gives 
sufficient time and degree of attention to the matter. 
It will, in fact, be found, I think in all cases, that 
the exercise of devotional thought, prayer, and medita 
tion is carried on more effectively, and with greater 
satisfaction to the worshipper, while walking whether 
to and fro in a church or other building, or continuously 
in the open air than in any other bodily position or 
attitude. I have, myself, found that when engaged 
in the exercise of meditation (or even ordinary prayer) 
in the attitude of kneeling, any new access from any 
cause of earnestness or fervour would invariably be 
accompanied by the impulse to rise and walk to and 
fro ; and that the exercise resumed in this condition 
of movement would be carried on more effectively than 
in the attitude of kneeling or any other stationary 
position. Nothing is more conducive to spiritual 
activity, or to life in the practice of devotion, than a 
walk in the woods, or some quiet spot, where the wor 
shipper feels his capacity for devotional activity 
enhanced by the companionship of nature. 



PRAYER IN GENERAL 15 

EVENSONG IN THE WOODS. 1 

" Hush, let us say Our Father, in this wood, 

And through bare boughs look up into the sky, 
Where fleecy clouds on autumn winds go by. 

Here, by this fallen trunk, which long since stood 

And praised the Lord and Giver of all good, 
We ll sing Magnificat. With curious eye, 
A squirrel watches from a branch on high, 

As though he, too, would join us if he could. 

" Now in our Nunc Dimittis/ soft and low, 

Strange woodland voices mingle, one by one ; 

Dead songs of vanished birds, the sad increase 
Of crumpled leaves on paths where rough winds go, 
The deepening shades, the low October sun 

Lord, let Thy servant now depart in peace. " 

Another consideration which may be noticed as 
helping to meet the difficulty in respect of the time 
occupied by prolonged devotional exercises may be 
thus expressed. It will be found that the habit of 
mental concentration, the cultivation of which has 
been so strongly recommended, will have the effect 
of stimulating the capacity for thought in such a way 
as to enable the worshipper to follow out intelligently 
any train of thought or spiritual action with a rapidity 
which, before making the matter a subject of study, 
would be thought incredible. I have already referred 
to the injurious effect of hurrying our devotions, this 
being certainly one of the most serious of the dangers 
to be guarded against. But the term " hurrying " 
implies the lack of due and full consideration of the 
matter which is being dealt with. The persevering 
practitioner of the method here under consideration 
will find that there is such a thing as rapidity of thought 
without hurrying. The latter evil may be avoided if 
you make a practice of keeping in mind the necessity 

1 "Poems," by Frederick George Scott (Constable & Co., 1910). 



16 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

for concentration of thought throughout the whole 
period of the devotional exercises. The effort to do 
this will soon become unnecessary, as it will be found 
that when once the mind has been definitely made 
up to the maintenance of this habit of concentration 
it will soon work itself automatically ; to the effect 
that as soon as the thoughts begin to drift into another 
channel, the mind will recognise the fact instinctively, 
and bring the train of wandering thought to a stop. 
Wandering thoughts are the great trouble in every 
form of devotion, and the tendency to them will never, 
I suppose, be wholly overcome. Yet it may be kept 
in great measure under control by simply making it 
a habit to stop short as soon as the drifting tendency 
is recognised, and to continue the act of devotion with 
renewed life. The rapidity with which thought can 
travel, while still maintaining a full grasp of the sub 
ject with which it is engaged, is certainly wonderful ; 
and the acquisition of the capacity for this concentrated 
and rapid thought will, as has been remarked, form to 
a considerable extent the solution of the difficulty 
comprised in the amount of time necessarily occupied 
by effective private devotion. 

Yet, with all this, it is certain that for the due 
performance of this duty, especially in the case of the 
priest, a considerable portion of time must necessarily 
be assigned to it. I suppose it will be universally 
admitted that the very sinews of spiritual war may be 
said to consist of prayer. Hence the cutting down of 
the period spent in prayer, for the sake of the claims 
of active work, below the limit of time which is really 
necessary for its effectual observance, will certainly 
be fatal to the satisfactory performance of that work, 
as well as most injurious to the spiritual life of the 



PRAYER IN GENERAL 17 

worker ; and the apparent necessity for such cutting 
down will certainly vanish if only the practice of due 
economy of time be intelligently followed out. The 
amount of effective and energetic worship which may, 
by such measures, be compressed within the limits 
of, say, two hours per day, would certainly surprise 
the man who has never systematically set about the 
work of making his devotion in method as well as 
matter a thing of definite system. 

The duty of observing the practice of definite 
system must surely be recognised as almost the first 
requisite for the successful fulfilment of the course of 
duty which belongs to the priestly office. In other 
walks of life this duty is generally to a great extent 
forced upon a man ; he has certain objects before him, 
the accomplishment of which is made absolutely 
necessary, and the systematic allotment of his time so 
as to ensure their successful performance is either 
arranged for him by those who have the direction of 
his work, or is demanded from him by the necessity 
of the case. While he is a curate this may be to 
a great extent the case with the young clergyman, 
and the multifarious requirements of a town parish 
may have a similar effect ; l but the country clergy 
man, in the great majority of cases, has no such 
check upon the economical employment of his time. 
His duties, apart from the merest, official routine, are 
of his own devising and arrangement. His time is 
almost wholly at his own disposal, and it is usually 
possible for him to go through a course of occupation 
which may seem to himself, and to others, to represent 
fully the due employment of his time, when, as a matter 
of fact, the strict observance of definite system would 
1 But this is by no means always the case. 



18 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

make it plain that the amount of time expended was 
altogether disproportionate to the amount of work 
done within its limits. I am writing from my own 
experience as a parish priest. I know what it is for 
a man to be, if I may so say, busily idle, and to have 
his time apparently full up, whereas the amount of 
work which is done within a certain period might 
easily have been compressed within a small fragment 
of it. I have already spoken of the importance of 
utilising odds and ends of time, especially that which 
is spent in travelling, driving, or walking. The time 
has been when, from the multiplicity of affairs in which 
I happened to be engaged, it became absolutely neces 
sary for me to turn to such account all periods of this 
sort, including even the use of the time spent in waiting 
for the fulfilment of an engagement by some defaulter 
in this respect. It was by such experience as this that 
I became aware of the vast importance of economy in 
the use of time, and of system, as the only method of 
securing such economy. No doubt the best and most 
effective means of learning is that of a consideration 
of one s own mistakes, and most of the suggestions 
which I am offering for the consideration of my brethren 
in this present little work have this as their foundation. 
Of course, the practice of private devotion, which 
is all that we have in view in this treatise, should be 
suitably distributed over the day s course. Each 
individual clergyman no doubt is the best judge of the 
method to be observed in his own case. It should be 
remarked, however, that the period say of fifteen or, 
perhaps, twenty minutes immediately preceding the 
midday meal and thus easily borne in mind and 
set apart for the purpose naturally occupies a very 
important place in the day s devotional system. Our 



PRAYER IN GENERAL 19 

manuals of devotion assign certain subjects for the 
period of Sext, with which the period we are now 
considering may roughly correspond. But, however 
this may be, it is surely manifest that this little period, 
dividing the day, as it were, into halves, should be 
turned to account by a brief act of retrospect which 
recalls to the mind the manner in which the day s 
first half has been spent, and of prospect, seeking 
grace and guidance for the due use of that portion 
which still remains. 



FASTING 

THE exercise of fasting serves other purposes than 
that of spiritual discipline. When observed 
judiciously in moderation, and not followed by the 
reaction of over-eating, it forms a change which is by 
all physicians recognised as beneficial to the general 
health. If there be cases in which the practice has been 
found injurious this is generally owing either to its 
being overdone, whether as regards length of time or 
degree of abstinence, or, on the other hand, to lack 
of judgment in its method, e.g. when prolonged 
abstinence is accompanied by active exercise or other 
form of physical strain. 

Fasting gives a man clearness of brain and suit 
ableness of frame for mental or spiritual activity, and 
more especially for such exercises as meditation and 
prayer. In order that prayer may be offered to the 
best effect, the mind should be in its freshest and most 
vigorous condition, and to this condition fasting, when 
properly conducted, is distinctively helpful. 

You sometimes hear the remark made : "I have 
tried fasting and find that its effect is only that of 
making me sleepy and stupid and unfit for any real 
spiritual effort." Such an assertion embodies a sad 
admission, namely, that the speaker has never yet 
set himself to give a fair trial to this most important 
religious exercise. It is certainly true that fasting, 

20 



FASTING 21 

when taken up as an occasional or sporadic action, 
usually carries with it the effect just described. 
Undertaken in this manner the practice may be rather 
a hindrance than a help to spiritual life ; may be 
productive of irritability and peevishness, and dis 
inclination for any sort of effort. It is a duty which 
can be successively and beneficially observed only 
after suitable training both of mind and of body. 
The man must not attempt too much at first, nor 
should he allow himself to be discouraged by failure 
in his earlier efforts. The body needs to be trained by 
gradual deprivation of ordinary nourishment to the 
extent of bringing about a feeling, not of hungry 
craving, but rather of indifference to animal appetite, 
a state of physical quiescence as it were. The stage of 
hunger and sleepiness will in any case if the abstinence 
be prolonged probably be followed by a condition 
such as this. 

The following form of experience is probably a 
common one. At the ordinary hour for meals the 
appetite will usually assert itself, and a certain measure 
of self-control will be requisite in order to subdue the 
tendencies towards apathy and irritability. When 
that time has passed these sensations will, of their 
own accord, subside, and the body will return to its 
state of quiescence and the mind to its condition of 
capability for devotional activity. In referring to 
my own experience I am not limiting the subject to 
its devotional aspect. On one occasion while on a 
canoe expedition in the wilds north of the St. Law 
rence, we had fallen short of provisions, and it became 
necessary to limit our meals to two during the day, 
that is to say, a morning and an evening meal. The 
important place taken by each meal in the strenuous 



22 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

life which a journey of this sort implies is familiar 
to all who have taken part in such life. On the first 
day of such abstinence, when the time for the ordinary 
midday meal arrived I was overcome by a sense of 
utter exhaustion, and the labour of doing my part 
in the work of paddling seemed almost too much for 
my powers of endurance. I was naturally filled with 
consternation, wondering how I should hold out during 
the privations which lay before us if I broke down at 
the outset. But I was happily reassured when, the 
meal hour having passed, I felt my strength returning, 
and the sense of inner emptiness and exhaustion 
having passed away, I was able to continue my portion 
of the day s work without serious discomfort. 

The body having been reduced to the state of 
quiescence just referred to, a condition follows which 
as regards sensation (or rather diminution of sensation) 
may in some measure remind us of the progress towards 
Nirvana which is the aim of the Buddhist s life. 1 
The mind is set at liberty to carry on its exercises 
unimpeded. No doubt some of the most pleasurable 
forms of sensation of which life is capable are to be 
found in the practice of contemplation when the mind 
exercises itself under the influence of fasting, when it 
is practically untrammelled by the feelings of the body. 

One leading aim in the practice of fasting is that of 
bringing the bodily, as well as the spiritual, system 
into harmony with the character of God. So far its 

1 The Buddhist s idea is that the cause of evil is sensation, be 
it of pleasure or pain. The idea of happiness is that of abolition of 
sensation. So a man by training brings himself to a condition in 
which he is no longer conscious either of pleasure or pain. This 
is attained by self-denial, living on the simplest kind of diet, and at 
the same time overcoming the tendency to self-indulgence and 
self-seeking by seeking to benefit others. His aim is that of sub 
duing in himself anything which tends to produce pleasure or pain. 



FASTING 23 

resemblance to Buddhism holds good. The difference 
between Buddhism and Christianity consists in the 
further motive, which is really the highest and the 
principal motive, namely, that of simple love for God, 
and the giving forth of the soul to Him in the use of 
means which are calculated to promote the approach 
thus aimed at. The desire for nearness to God, and the 
capacity for doing His will because He wills it, apart 
from the ulterior desire to acquire benefit, whether 
spiritual or otherwise, for one s self, this is the motive 
which stands alone as the noblest and the highest of 
which creature life is capable. In Buddhism the motive 
for self-denial is simply that of self-development, 
self-improvement ; in Christianity it is that of love 
only ; love first towards God, and secondly, towards 
mankind for God s sake, as being made in God s image. 
This is, then, the great motive to be aimed at in the 
practice of fasting, as in all other religious exercises. 

As we have already seen, the effects of fasting on 
the intellect, even as a mere physical exercise, are 
decidedly beneficial. Those who have given the 
practice a fair trial will certainly bear witness to the 
wonderful clearness of brain, as well as the sense of 
inward calm and superiority to incidental cares, 
which is the natural consequence of the bodily con 
dition thus induced. This is accompanied by a sense 
of mental vigour and capacity for spiritual thought. 
Fasting, almost of itself, has a purifying effect on the 
mind and an elevating effect on the spirit. One 
reason for this probably lies in the physical fact that 
the energies are not being absorbed in the work of 
digestion. 

Of course, the thing may be overdone, and it is, 
therefore, necessary to regulate this practice carefully 

c 



24 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

in accordance"with its evident operation on body, mind, 
and spirit. The Christian s duty, undoubtedly, in 
cludes the nurture of his body as the instrument given 
him for working out the glory of God, the well-being 
of man, and his own salvation. The charge of this 
instrument calls for his most careful attention in order 
to keep it in full and effective working order ; this 
is to be borne in mind as an aim to be kept in view, 
although subordinate to the higher motive of pure, 
unselfish love towards God. A remembrance of the 
object which he has in view in so doing will guard him 
against anything like indulging or pampering the body 
as such. At the same time it may be observed that 
the practice followed by many saintly persons 
although, perhaps, seldom to any serious extent in 
these present days of macerating and enfeebling the 
body by an undue and exaggerated observance of the 
exercise of fasting, is clearly a contravention of the 
purpose, just considered, for which the body was 
given us, namely, to be made the temple of the Holy 
Ghost, and an instrument for the active promotion of 
the glory of God. 

It is, therefore, an unquestionable duty to keep the 
body in a state of fitness and readiness, fully equipped 
at all points, for the fulfilment of this object. " Mens 
sana in corpore sano " must be the priest s maxim as 
regards his attention to his own personality in its 
mental and physical aspects. 



FASTING COMMUNION 

THIS expression is, strictly speaking, a mis 
nomer, since what is signified by it does not 
necessarily imply the practice of fasting considered in 
its true sense of deprivation of ordinary food. When 
the Communion is made, as is usually the case, early 
in the morning, there is no question of fasting in the 
true sense of the term. It would be better, therefore, 
that the practice should be designated by some other 
term. 

With regard to the practice itself, no doubt the 
leading principle upon which it is founded is a good 
one, whether considered as implying the idea of rever 
ence, or that of fitness for the Sacrament in the sense 
of mental and spiritual receptivity. This principle 
appears to require that on the ground of reverence 
it is manifestly proper that provision should be made 
for a due vacancy in the physical frame for the reception 
of the sacred Body and Blood. Further ground 
on which the practice would seem desirable is that 
of the suitable mental frame thus induced, the faculties 
being certainly clearer and more vigorous when a cer 
tain interval has elapsed after a full meal. Again, 
the spiritual condition thus promoted, of calm, quiet, 
and self-control, is always to be considered. So far, 
then, as the practice implies the interposition of an 
interval sufficient for reverent reception as well as for 

25 



26 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

mental and spiritual fitness for the apprehension of 
the benefit, the practice would appear to be not only 
right and seemly, but actually called for by the needs 
of the case. 

The question next arises by what rule the inter 
position of this period or interval is to be regulated. 
The prevailing view is to the effect that the starting 
point of the abstinence should necessarily be not later 
than the hour of midnight, whatever may be the hour of 
the day following at which the Communion is made. 
This view of the case is, of course, very widely followed, 
and has been the rule from a very early period. But it 
may be questioned whether it has not acted to a certain 
extent as an obstacle to the very practice which it is 
designed to enforce. If we bear in mind simply the 
twofold object which the practice would appear mainly 
intended to promote, the question would arise whether 
its due observance does not depend rather upon the 
nature and length of the interval between the act of 
Communion and the last preceding meal, than on the 
assignment of any particular period from which the 
time of abstinence is to be reckoned. 

For example, supposing one man should take a 
late supper and communicate very early the next 
morning, say five or six o clock ; and that another 
man should take an early breakfast, say at seven or 
half-past seven, and that in his case the act of Com 
munion were to be about midday (probably after that 
time if the Communion were a choral one), the physical 
effect, as regards bodily preparedness, would most 
likely be more effectual in the latter case than in the 
former, as the process of digestion proceeds much more 
rapidly during waking hours than during hours of 
sleep. 



FASTING COMMUNION 27 

This suggestion would no doubt be met on the 
part of many with indignant dissent. 1 The view that 
it is seemly that the Sacrament should be the first 
food entering the system on the day of Communion 
is certainly worthy of full consideration, but, after all, 
is a matter of sentiment only. And it is a question 
whether it is a sufficient reason for making the practice 
of so-called " Fasting Communion " a hard-and-fast 
rule to which no exception shall be allowed. Surely 
the first point to be considered in dealing with such a 
question is that of the due preparedness of the system 
for the reverent and effective use of the Sacrament. 
Obviously, this condition of due preparedness cannot 
be said to exist during the process of digestion immedi 
ately following a full meal ; nor on the other hand, 
can such a state of reverent fitness be predicated 
when abstinence from food has been prolonged to the 
extent of producing a disordered state of the digestive 
organs. The long period of abstinence involved in the 
usual -practice of abstaining from food from the night 
of the previous day until after noon on the day of the 
celebration must, in most cases, be felt as a tax upon 
the physical energies. This is evidenced by the fact 
that some priests endeavour to meet it in some degree 
by lying late in bed, a practice most surely to be 
deprecated. Even when this is not the case, prolonged 
fasting under circumstances of active movement and 
expenditure is generally followed by a somewhat 
disordered state of the digestive organs, productive of 
a condition the reverse of that which reverence would 
seek to ensure as suitable for the solemn repast we are 

1 This view has been criticised as objectionable. But is it not 
an unquestionable fact that physical conditions in the hygienic 
sense have a distinct effect, advantageous or disadvantageous, on 
spiritual exercise in its various forms ? 



28 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

considering. Surely the question is not one of hours 
of the day, but of the effect to be produced ; and what 
ever may best conduce, even in a physical sense, to a 
suitable effect is necessarily the first point to be aimed 
at, even though it may involve the departure from 
stereotyped rules. 



MEDITATION 

MEDITATION may be regarded as in a sense 
the highest form of private devotion ; perhaps, 
also, the most difficult. It demands, and implies, a 
condition of actual nearness to the life of Christ, as 
well as direct and effectual consciousness of His 
Presence. The practice of this form of devotion is, 
perhaps, one of the surest means of testing the reality 
of one s spiritual life. It may be said with truth that 
there can be no live Christianity without the exist 
ence of this practice in greater or less degree. No 
diligence in other forms of devotion can make up for 
the want of this one. It is in itself necessarily extem 
poraneous. Stated prayers naturally crystallise into 
fixed forms of words, and no doubt it is best that this 
should be so ; the exercise of prayer may even gain 
in force and intensity by the use of this method of 
worship, the use, that is, of forms probably of one s 
own composition and stereotyped by continual practice : 
the effort to use varying language often distracts the 
mind from the substance of the object sought for. 
Meditation, however, is necessarily extemporaneous, 
and the idea of its nature is probably best arrived 
at by consulting the models of meditation which the 
Church has given to us in her earliest and simplest 
years. The typical instance which at once rises to 
our minds- is that model of this species of composition, 

29 



30 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

St. Augustine s Confessions a work which for nearly 
a millennium and a half has stirred the hearts of multi 
tudes as, perhaps, no other work, outside the Scriptures, 
has ever done. 1 St. Ambrose, St. Anselm, as well 
as The Imitation of Christ (in its meditative portions) 
are also models of this form of exercise. The study 
of these works will provide a plain answer to the 
question : "In what does meditation, considered 
as a religious act, consist ? " It may be defined as a 
dialogue between the soul and its Lord. Herein 
consists its difference from a mere act of reflection ; 
in the fact, namely, that there are always two per 
sons engaged in it. Hence, in the models to which 
reference has been made, meditation always takes the 
shape of direct address to God : " Magnus es Domine 
et laudabilis valde," begins St. Augustine s Confessions. 
A dialogue means a conversation between two, and the 
dialogue in this case consists in the fact, which every 
really successful effort at this form of exercise will 
bring about, that the man who habituates himself in 
this manner to address his inmost thoughts directly 
to God, will soon discover that the very act of so doing 
has the effect of introducing into his mind, as responses 
to his own utterances, thoughts which are certainly 
not originated there ; thoughts deeper and higher 
than any of which he would be capable by his own 
personal mental efforts. It is not that anything in the 
shape of direct and consciously recognised response 
is to be expected. The worshipper is addressing to 
God, as they occur to his mind, what would appear to 
himself to be his own thoughts. He will find, however, 
that these thoughts, as they shape themselves in his 

1 Compare St. Paul and St. John, on the one hand, with 
St. Augustine and Thomas & Kempis on the other. 



MEDITATION 31 

mind and find expression in words, are by degrees 
coming to be the expression of new ideas which are 
certainly not his own, of deeper purport than his own 
unaided mind could have conceived of itself. He will 
be conscious of a certain sense of inspiration, his soul 
kindled with a sense of nearness to his Lord, and per 
sonal contact with His Presence. 

It will generally be found most natural to address 
your meditation to the Lord Jesus, His humanity 
being your point of contact with the Godhead, His 
humanity being wholly sympathetic with your 
humanity. In some cases, perhaps, it may be found 
more helpful to address the utterances directly to 
the Father, ever bearing in mind and leaning upon 
the mediation of the Son. An essential to meditation 
is the remembrance of the fact that there are two 
parties to it. The soul in addressing itself to its Lord 
does so in the distinct expectation of a response on His 
part which will, as it were, convey itself to the man s 
mind through the medium of the mind s own current 
of thought. It* is this view of the subject which 
affords the key to the effective performance of this 
form of worship. 

Now comes the question of how to conduct it. 
As a practical observance this form of exercise has 
been much hindered by making it a subject of rules 
and regulations such as those which are laid down in 
ordinary manuals. To enjoy the full advantage of 
the exercise the worshipper should be advised to keep 
clear of manuals. Avoid formality. Do away with 
the physical tedium which naturally attends per 
severance in any single attitude for any length of time, 
as this certainly detracts from the life of the exercise. 
The attitude of kneeling is generally not desirable, and 



32 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

it is worth while remembering that ambulatories and 
cloisters were constructed with the object of affording 
opportunity for ambulatory prayer. Walking to and 
fro in church or chapel, or in a quiet spot out of doors, 
will generally be found most conducive to the exercise 
of meditation. Outside, indeed, the objects of external 
nature will generally become a help rather than a 
hindrance to the exercise of meditation, assisting the 
worshipper to recognise and appropriate as his own that 
Real Presence which pervades the universe. 1 

In the practice of meditation two difficulties may 
be mentioned which naturally present themselves : 
(i) the difficulty of attaining anything like a distinct 
realisation of the presence of our Lord ; (2) that of 
giving definite and practical shape to the exercise of 
meditation, and so making it really profitable. The 
first difficulty will soon yield to earnest endeavour. 
You have only to make the Presence a reality to your 
self by treating it as a real thing, even though you may 
not at once attain that fuller sense of reality which 
is the object you are striving after, and which will 
come in due time. Even though this sense of con 
scious perception of the Divine Presence should be 
slow in making itself clearly manifest, do not worry 
about it. Though your eyes are for the time holden, 
it does not follow that your Lord is not truly present 
with you as truly present as He was with the travellers 
on the way to Emmaus, for even they were not certain 
until almost after the event present, listening to you 
and even answering you through the medium of your 
own thoughts, even as He directed the current of the 
thoughts of Cleopas and his companion. 2 The great 

1 See notes on Divine Immanence appended to Scheme of 
Prayer, p. 51 ft. 

9 St. I*"ke xxiv. 13-35. 



MEDITATION 33 

secret of success is that of treating Him as actually 
present, only making sure that you are genuinely 
striving towards the realisation of that actual Presence, 
and not allowing yourself to be disturbed either by 
failure in realising it or by absence of fervour or warmth 
of feeling at first. 

The second difficulty, that of giving practical shape 
to the meditation itself, calls for careful consideration, 
and must be explicitly dealt with. Meditation to be 
of any use must be a practical thing ; mere devout 
dreaming is not the thing you are aiming at. The 
practice of this exercise with any degree of real benefit 
is no light or easy matter. It calls for steady and 
strenuous effort. Much depends upon the selection 
of your subject ; this must be something clear and 
definite, something which you feel to be essential to 
your soul s requirements. It may be a particular 
form of need, of difficulty, of sin, of infirmity, of 
sorrow, of perplexity, of anxiety, of joy or comfort, 
of thankfulness or praise some thought or question 
calling for an expression on your part, and seeking an 
answer on the part of your Lord. 

A text of Scripture may oftentimes be selected as 
a starting point, and it is desirable to supply yourself 
with material for following up any thoughts which may 
occur. The Bible and Greek Testament will be 
essential, and a small Greek Testament Concordance 
will also be very helpful. It is very necessary to have 
a distinct and practical purpose before you, something 
definite to be kept in view, or there is a danger of 
degenerating into devout dreaming. You must take 
heed that your subject follows a definite line of thought, 
and does not diverge into by-paths. To avoid this 
latter you will need to preserve your recollectedness, 



34 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

your consciousness of the presence of Him Whom you 
are addressing, as well as the attitude of attention, 
as expecting, looking for, a response from Him, to be 
borne in upon your mind in the form of luminous and 
elevating thoughts. 

This practice of meditation will be found to acquire 
a character of fascination belonging to no other form 
of mental or spiritual exercise. The worshipper will 
be surprised by the manner in which, apparently by 
the sole process of his own thoughts, difficulties will 
clear themselves away, while doubt and uncertainty, 
trouble and despondency, and mental disquiet, will 
give place to a sense of peace and comfort, and even 
joy. But in order that this happy result may follow 
it is necessary that plenty of time should be allowed. 
Anything like haste will be fatal to its profitable 
observance. It should never be undertaken unless 
under circumstances which will afford sufficient time 
for the deliberate expansion of thought in which the 
essence of this exercise consists. 

One very suitable subject for meditation would be 
that of hindrances to the spiritual life, in those special 
forms which most beset the worshipper at that particu 
lar time. The treatment of these f ^enerally conducive 
to a sense of comfort, and , , r hich is one of 

the usual accompaniments w .as exercise. 



INTERCESSION 

THE scheme for the Office of Worship, which is 
given in the Appendix, does not, it will be 
observed, include the important feature of inter 
cession. The pastor s devotional system must include 
a most careful and sufficient arrangement of this form 
of duty, or his position as a pastor must necessarily 
be utterly ineffectual. The various objects which 
call for the exercise of spiritual energy in this respect 
will have to be carefully arranged and apportioned to 
their different departments, and the frequency with 
which each object takes its place in his act of inter 
cession will have to be carefully adapted to its neces 
sities and claims. 

One fundamental requisite underlying the whole 
subject of prayer is that of a clear assurance of ob 
jective answer to it. The view of a mere subjective 
effect on the mir^ * *oul of the worshipper is utterly 
subversive of v an v / in the worship. When we 

find a man occupying a, position which may be called 
that of an outside thinker the position of up-to-date 
scientific thought, as ib the case with Sir Oliver Lodge 
never finding ny difficult in the idea of an objective 
answer to prayer, surely the Christian priest must be 
regarded as woefully falling short of the demands of his 
position should he allow himself to entertain any doubt 
on the subject. I only refer to this point because it 

35 



36 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

is unquestionable that such doubts have existed and 
have found expression even on the part of those who 
consider themselves Christians. There must be the 
clear persuasion that all real prayer must have its 
objective answer, although it may not be in the actual 
form in which the prayer is expressed, or which the 
worshipper contemplates. Without this persuasion 
it will be impossible to exercise the force and fervour 
in the act of prayer which alone can make it an actual 
power for bringing about definite results. 

The priest s intercession must be carefully planned 
so as to include all such objects as have a right to claim 
his assistance in this respect ; the Church at large, 
the nation (and the various leading cases of need in 
each, with more special reference to cases which call 
for special note for the time being) ; missions and mis 
sionaries should, of course, have a special place in their 
due order ; and so with many other objects which may 
be included in the term classes. But, of course, a just 
proportion of the work of intercession is that which 
is included within the priest s own special sphere of 
labour : "the flock, in which the Holy Ghost has 
placed him as overseer, to tend the Church of God 
which He acquired by His own blood." * Each 
department of his work of parish organisation must 
have its proper share in his prayers regularly, and with 
such proper frequency as each case may seem to call 
for. 

As regards the intercession for individuals, the 
exercise of much judgment and discretion will be 
required in the observance of this department of the 
work. In the first place, it is manifestly impossible 
that the number of objects included in this form of 

1 Acts xx. 28. 



INTERCESSION 37 

supplication should be unlimited. A certain measure 
of selection will, therefore, have to be exercised in the 
choice of those whose names will be included in the list 
of persons for whom special prayer is to be offered. 
Those whose claims may seem to be the most imperative 
are, perhaps, those who themselves would least desire 
or appreciate the benefits. The erring, the fallen, the 
negligent, wanderers from the fold, those under pres 
sure of present special need, the sick, the sorrowful, 
the bereaved, and so forth, will also have their special 
claims. 

One important point I would commend strongly 
to the consideration of my brethren, namely, that the 
case of each individual should be distinctly isolated ; 
that all that is desired on behalf of any person should 
be asked on his behalf as a separate act ; that is, that 
one should not pray for individuals in groups, the same 
petition including a list of names, simply because the 
needs of all are practically the same. To make prayer 
a real act of force for the benefit of any individual 
it would seem that the whole prayer should be offered 
for him separately, even though it be necessary to re 
peat the same petition word for word for each of a 
large number of individuals. I have, in my own case, 
found this necessary to impart any consciousness of 
efficiency to prayer considered as an act of power. 

Distinction has to be made in the matter of prayer 
between classes and individuals. Classes are, of 
course, to be dealt with as such, and each to be dealt 
with as a unit. If the case of any member of a class 
calls for separate consideration it will naturally be 
considered separately. 

Objection will probably be raised to the length of 
time which would be necessitated by the observance 



38 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

of this rule. This difficulty may in great measure be 
met by the consideration, already referred to, 1 of the 
acceleration of mental capacity which is the result of 
cultivation of the habit of mental concentration. 
The priest will, no doubt, provide himself with a 
formula including the general range of need applicable 
to all persons alike, and will simply, by an act of men 
tal apprehension, isolate each case as it comes, and 
apply to it with energy and vigour the various items 
of supplication ; his knowledge of the individual 
imparting the element of freshness and variety to 
each application of the one form of words. 

In the department of intercession the pastor 
should seek for assistance and co-operation from those 
members of his flock who are capable of rendering such 
assistance ; and this would plainly be specially the 
case with those who are themselves laid aside from 
active life by sickness or infirmity, and who possess 
the qualifications of spirituality and devoutness. 
These lay helpers must be given to understand that a 
real and definite result is expected by way of answer 
to their prayers. It may be well to provide them with 
a definite formula expressing fully the nature of the 
needs for which their prayers are invited ; though 
in some cases the priest may feel it sufficient to leave 
to the helpers themselves the work of putting their 
petitions into shape. Those whose aid is thus invited 
are themselves benefited to an incalculable degree, 
in addition to the value of their services in rendering 
aid to others. Thus they may be rendered conscious 
of the significance of those memorable words at the 
close of Milton s sonnet : 

" They also serve, who only stand and wait." 
1 Page 15. 



INTERCESSION 39 

In giving directions to those whom you wish to employ 
in this manner it will be necessary to enlist their 
interest in order that they may enter heart and soul 
into the work which they are undertaking. For this 
purpose it will be desirable to give them such particu 
lars with reference to the case which you are entrusting 
to their care as may enable them to picture to them 
selves the object which they are to have in view with 
sufficient distinctness. It may not be necessary to 
give them the names of the persons for whom their 
prayers are asked, but it will be necessary to give 
them such a sufficient description of the circumstances 
with reference to which their prayers are needed as 
will enable them to make their prayers a living reality. 
Vagueness, dimness, and uncertainty in the object to 
which attention is directed must necessarily render it 
practically impossible to regard it with any living 
interest. 



D 



OUTLINE OF SUGGESTED SYSTEM 
FOR PRIVATE DEVOTIONS 

GRANT, we beseech Thee, merciful Lord, to Thy 
trustful servants pardon and peace, that they 
may be cleansed from all their sins, and serve Thee 
with a quiet mind : through Jesus Christ our Lord. 
Amen. 

Lord, have mercy upon us. 
Christ, have mercy upon us. 
Lord, have mercy upon us. 

Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be 
Thy Name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in 
earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily 
bread ; And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive 
them that trespass against us ; And lead us not into 
temptation, But deliver us from evil. For Thine is 
the kingdom, the power, and the glory, For ever and 
ever. Amen. 

Psalm 104 

1. Praise the Lord, O my soul : O Lord my God, 
thou art become exceeding glorious ; thou art clothed 
with majesty and honour. 

2. Thou deckest thyself with light as it were with 
a garment : and spreadest out the heavens like a 
curtain. 

3. Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the 

40 



SYSTEM FOR PRIVATE DEVOTIONS 41 

waters : and maketh the clouds his chariot, and 
walketh upon the wings of the wind. 

4. He maketh his angels spirits : and his ministers 
a flaming fire. 

5. He laid the foundations of the earth : that it 
never should move at any time. 

6. Thou coveredst it with the deep like as with a 
garment : the waters stand in the hills. 

7. At thy rebuke they flee : at the voice of thy 
thunder they are afraid. 

8. They go up as high as the hills, and down to the 
valleys beneath : even unto the place which thou 
hast appointed for them. 

9. Thou hast set them their bounds which they 
shall not pass : neither turn again to cover the earth. 

10. He sendeth the springs into the rivers : which 
run among the hills. 

11. All beasts of the field drink thereof : and the 
wild asses quench their thirst. 

12. Beside them shall the fowls of the air have their 
habitation : and sing among the branches. 

13. He watereth the hills from above : the earth is 
filled with the fruit of thy works. 

14. He bringeth forth grass for the cattle : and 
green herb for the service of men. 

15. That he may bring food out of the earth, and 
wine that maketh glad the heart of man : and oil to 
make him a cheerful countenance, and bread to 
strengthen man s heart. 

16. The trees of the Lord also are full of sap : even 
the cedars of Libanus which he hath planted ; 

17. Wherein the birds make their nests : and the 
fir trees are a dwelling for the stork. 

18. The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats : 
and so are the stony rocks for the conies. 

19. He appointed the moon for certain seasons : 
and the sun knoweth his going down. 



42 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

20. Thou makest darkness that it may be night : 
wherein all the beasts of the forest do move. 

21. The lions roaring after their prey : do seek 
their meat from God. 

22. The sun ariseth, and they get them away 
together : and lay them down in their dens. 

23. Man goeth forth to his work, and to his labour : 
until the evening. 

24. O Lord, how manifold are thy works : in 
wisdom hast thou made them all ; the earth is full 
of thy riches. 

25. So is the great and wide sea also : wherein 
are things creeping innumerable, both small and 
great beasts. 

26. There go the ships, and there is that Leviathan : 
whom thou hast made to take his pastime therein. 

27. These wait all upon thee : that thou mayest 
give them their meat in due season. 

28. When thou givest it them they gather it : and 
when thou openest thy hand they are filled with good. 

29. When thou hidest thy face they are troubled : 
when thou takest away their breath they die, and are 
turned again to their dust. 

30. When thou lettest thy breath go forth they 
shall be made : and thou shalt renew the face of the 
earth. 

31. The glorious majesty of the Lord shall endure 
for ever : the Lord shall rejoice in his works. 

32. The earth shall tremble at the look of him : 
if he do but touch the hills, they shall smoke. 

33. I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live : 
I will praise my God while I have my being. 

34. And so shall my words please him : my joy 
shall be in the Lord. 

35. As for sinners, they shall be consumed out of 
the earth, and the ungodly shall come to an end : 
praise thou the Lord, O my soul, praise the Lord. 



SYSTEM FOR PRIVATE DEVOTIONS 43 

Glory be to the Father, and to the. Son : and to 
the Holy Ghost. 

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall 
be : world without end. Amen. 



Psalm 145 

1. I will magnify thee, O God, my King ; and I 
will praise thy Name for ever and ever. 

2. Every day will I give thanks unto thee : and 
praise thy Name for ever and ever. 

3. Great is the Lord, and marvellous worthy to 
be praised : there is no end of his greatness. 

4. One generation shall praise thy works unto 
another : and declare thy power. 

5. As for me, I will be talking of thy worship : 
thy glory, thy praise, and wondrous works ; 

6. So that men shall speak of the might of thy 
marvellous acts : and I will also tell of thy greatness. 

7. The memorial of thine abundant kindness shall 
be shewed : and men shall sing of thy righteousness. 

8. The Lord is gracious and merciful : long- 
suffering and of great goodness. 

9. The Lord is loving unto every man : and his 
mercy is over all his works. 

10. All thy works praise thee, O Lord : and thy 
saints give thanks unto thee. 

11. They shew the glory of thy kingdom : and talk 
of thy power ; 

12. That thy power, thy glory, and mightiness of 
thy kingdom : might be known unto men. 

13. Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom : and 
thy dominion endureth throughout all ages. 

14. The Lord upholdeth all such as fall : and lifteth 
up all those that are down. 

15. The eyes of all wait upon thee, O Lord : and 
thou givest them their meat in due season. 



44 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

16. Thou openest thine hand : and fittest all things 
living with plenteousness. 

17. The Lord is righteous in all his ways : and 
holy in all his works. 

1 8. The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon 
him : yea, all such as call upon him faithfully. 

19. He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him : 
he also will hear their cry, and will help them. 

20. The Lord preserveth all them that love him : 
but scattereth abroad all the ungodly. 

21. My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord : 
and let all flesh give thanks unto his holy Name for 
ever and ever. 

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son : and to the 
Holy Ghost. 

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall 
be : world without end. Amen. 

Glory be to God on high, and in earth peace, good 
will towards men. We praise Thee, we bless Thee, 
we worship Thee, we glorify Thee, we give thanks to 
Thee for Thy great glory, O Lord God, heavenly King, 
God the Father Almighty. 

O Lord, the only-begotten Son Jesu Christ ; O 
Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, that 
takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us. 
Thou that takest away the sins of the world, receive 
our prayer. Thou that sittest at the right hand of 
God the Father, have mercy upon us. 

For Thou only art holy ; Thou only art the Lord ; 
Thou only, O Christ, with the Holy Ghost, art most 
high in the glory of God the Father. Amen. 

1. Praise the Lord, O my soul : and all that is 
within me praise his holy Name. 

2. Praise the Lord, O my soul ; and forget not all 
his benefits, 



SYSTEM FOR PRIVATE DEVOTIONS 45 

3. Who forgiveth all thy sin : and healeth all thine 
infirmities : 

4. Who saveth thy life from destruction : and 
crowneth thee with mercy and loving-kindness. 

5. The Lord s Name be praised : from the rising 
up of the sun to the going down thereof. 

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son : and to 
the Holy Ghost. 

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall 
be : world without end. Amen. 

PERSONAL THANKSGIVING 

Thanks and praise to God for His mercies eye 
sight, hearing, reason, activity, and health of body 
and powers of mind, worldly means and provision for 
temporal needs, friends, His forbearance and long- 
suffering, but chiefly for the knowledge of Himself 
and for eternal life in union with His Son through the 
Holy Spirit. 

SELF-OBLATION 

Offer myself to God. Acknowledge that I am 
unable, unworthy to offer, unfit for His reception. 
Pray that He will accept, and forgive, and subdue me 
to His will, that I may be His in body, soul, and spirit. 

CONFESSION 

I. My besetting sin, with careful thought and sor 
rowful acknowledgment of the various aspects in 
which it is manifested in the day s life. 

II. Bloodguiltiness. (i) Those to whom (by 
example, influence, direct suggestion offensive to Thee, 
or failure of duty) I may have in any way been the 
means of at any time leading into or encouraging in 
sin, and whose blood cries against me from the 
ground. 



46 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

May the precious Blood of Jesus, which speaketh 
better things than that of Abel, plead for me to 
Thee and to them ; plead for me and for them ; 
save me and save them ; and deliver me from blood- 
guiltiness. 

(2) Those whom I have injured by neglect, and 
whose blood, etc. 

May the precious Blood of Jesus, etc. 

(3) Those towards whom I may have shown myself 
untrustworthy, and whose blood, etc. 

May the precious Blood of Jesus, etc. 

(4) Those whom I have injured by thought, word, 
and deed ; by doing and leaving undone, and whose 
blood, etc. 

May the precious Blood of Jesus, etc. 

III. Presumption against Thee. (i) Let me con 
sider my action in taking upon me this ministry, 
whether I may not in so doing have been guilty of 
presumption against Thee. 

May the precious Blood of Jesus cleanse me, for 
give me, and save me, for Thy mercy s sake. 

(2) That I have denied it by wilful sin. 
May the precious Blood of Jesus, etc. 

(3) That I have taken Thy Holy Name in vain. 
May the precious Blood forgive me, and grant me 

grace to worship Thee in spirit and in truth. 

(4) That I have grieved Thy Holy Spirit. 

May the precious Blood of Jesus cleanse me, for 
give me, and save me, for Thy mercy s sake. 

IV. My Selfishness and Self-indulgence. (i) May 
the precious Blood cleanse me, forgive me, and grant 
me grace to take up my cross and follow in the 
Saviour s steps. 

(2) My self-seeking. 

May the precious Blood cleanse me, forgive me, and 
grant me grace to seek Thy glory and the good of Thy 
Church. 



SYSTEM FOR -PRIVATE DEVOTIONS 47 

(3) My self-will. 

May the precious Blood cleanse me, and grant me 
grace to bring into captivity every thought to the 
obedience of Christ. 

Grant that I may trust in Thee with all my heart, 
and lean not to mine own understanding : in all my 
ways acknowledge Thee ; and do Thou, O Lord, direct 
my paths. 

(4) My self-conceit and pride. 

May the precious Blood cleanse me, and grant me 
grace to abhor myself, and to repent in dust and 
ashes. 

(5) My self-assertiveness and evil temper. 

May the precious Blood cleanse me, and grant me 
grace to be gentle and kind and forbearing. 

(6) My timidity and fear of men. 

May the precious Blood cleanse me, and grant me 
grace to be faithful, fearless, and courageous in these 
respects. 

(7) My censoriousness, judgment of others, and 
uncharitableness. 

May the precious Blood cleanse me, and grant me 
grace to treat others, and think of others, and speak 
of others, as better than myself. 

(8) My unsympathy. 

May the precious Blood cleanse me, and grant me 
grace to be moved with compassion, and to spend and 
be spent for others. 

(9) My impenitence. 

May the precious Blood cleanse me, and grant me 
grace to repent, and confess, and turn from my sins. 

(10) My unfaith. 

May the precious Blood cleanse me, and grant me 
grace to embrace and hold fast the blessed hope of 
everlasting life in our Saviour Jesus Christ. 

(n) My ingratitude, and want of love to Thee. 

Lord, I am unfit, unworthy to love Thee. May 



48 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

the Blood of Jesus Christ cleanse me. And may Thy 
Holy Spirit cleanse the thoughts of my heart that I 
may perfectly love Thee, and worthily magnify Thy 
Holy Name. 

(12) My unfaithfulness to duty. 

May the precious Blood cleanse me, and grant me 
grace to be as faithful as Moses in all his house. 

(13) My untruth. 

May the precious Blood cleanse me, and grant me 
grace to know the truth and to walk in the truth, that 
the truth may make me free. 

May the Blood of Jesus cleanse me from all sin, 
and deliver me from its power. Though we be tied 
and bound with the chain of our sins, yet let the piti- 
fulness of Thy great mercy loose us, for the honour 
of Jesus Christ our Mediator and Advocate. 

O Lord, grant me Thy Holy Spirit. 

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a 
right spirit within me. 

Cast me not away from Thy presence, and take not 
Thy Holy Spirit from me. 

O give me the comfort of Thy help again, and stab- 
lish me with Thy free Spirit. 

Grant me light that I may know Thy will. 

Grant me fear ; lighten mine eyes that I sleep not 
in death. 

Grant me power ; crush down within me the prin 
ciple of evil. 

O Lord, Thou knowest that the way of man is not 
in himself : it is not in man that walketh to direct 
his steps. 

O Lord, correct me, but with judgment : not in 
thine anger, lest Thou bring me to nothing. 

Grant me power : work in me to will and to do 
for Thy good pleasure. 

Order my footsteps in Thy word, and so shall no 
wickedness have dominion over me. 



SYSTEM FOR PRIVATE DEVOTIONS 49 

Make me to do the thing that pleaseth Thee, for 
Thou art my God. 

Let Thy good Spirit lead me in the paths of 
righteousness. 

Grant that I may work out my own salvation in 
fear and trembling. 

Strengthen me with might by Thy Holy Spirit in 
the inner man, that Christ may dwell in my heart by 
faith. That I, being rooted and grounded in love, 
may be able to apprehend with all saints what is the 
breadth, and length, and depth, and height ; and to 
know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge : 
that I may be filled with all the fulness of God. 

DEPRECATION 

Save me from the devil. Grant that I may resist 
the devil and that he may flee from me. For I flee 
unto Thee to hide me. 

Save me from my evil heart. For I flee unto Thee 
to hide me. 

Grant that I may keep my body and bring it into 
subjection. For I flee unto Thee to hide me. 

Save me from temptation and through temptation. 
Grant that I may resist and that I may watch and 
pray that I enter not into temptation. For I flee 
unto Thee to hide me. 

Save me in all my dealings with men. For I flee 
unto Thee to hide me. 

Grant that I may follow peace with all men, and 
holiness without which no man can see the Lord. For 
I flee unto Thee to hide me. 

Save me from the world s temptation. For I flee 
unto Thee to hide me. 

Hold up my goings in Thy paths. For I flee unto 
Thee to hide me. 

Hear me, O Lord, for Jesus Christ s sake. 



50 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT 

I. Grant that by Thy Holy Spirit s grace my heart 
may be 

(1) Awakened. 

(2) Enlightened. 

(3) Moved. 

(4) Subdued. 

(5) Drawn. 

(6) Opened. 

(7) Enkindled. 

II. Grant me the spirit of penitence, a broken 
and a contrite heart, that I may (i) repent, (2) confess, 
(3) turn from, my sins. 

Grant me the spirit of faith that I may embrace and 
hold fast the blessed hope of eternal life in Christ Jesus. 

May the Blood of Jesus cleanse me from all sin. 

May I know the love of Christ that passe th know 
ledge, that I may be filled with all the fulness of God. 

III. Save me from a spirit of 

(1) Self-indulgence. 

(2) Self-seeking. 

(3) Self-conceit. 

(4) Self-will. 

(5) Untruth. 

(6) Uncharity. 

(7) Self-deceiving. 
TV. Inspire me with 

(1) Love for Thee, and a shepherd s love for 

souls. 

(2) Zeal for Thy glory, and faithful diligence. 

(3) Wisdom, judgment, discretion. 

(4) Self-denial and self-abnegation. 

(5) Faith, courage, and steadfastness. 

(6) Gentleness, meekness, and humility. 

(7) Knowledge : 

(a) Open my heart that I may seek Thee. 



SYSTEM FOR PRIVATE DEVOTIONS 51 

(b) Open my eyes that I may see Thee, and 

see wondrous things out of Thy law. 

(c) Open my understanding that I may 

understand the Scriptures. 

(d) Enlighten my mind that I may know 

Thee, the only true God, and Jesus 
Christ Whom Thou hast sent, and in 
this knowledge find life for my soul. 

(e) Grant that I may stand in Thy temple 

and speak to Thy people the words of 
this life. 

(/) Purge my lips with a coal from Thine 
altar. Kindle my lips with a coal 
from Thine altar. Put Thy word into 
my lips that it may be as fire, and as 
the hammer that breaketh rocks in 
pieces. 

(g) Open the hearts of Thy people that they 
may attend to me, and receive with 
meekness the engrafted word which is 
able to save their souls. 

(h) Prosper Thy word in my lips, and Thy 
work in my hands, that it may be 
blessed for Thy glory 

(1) In winning souls. 

(2) In feeding Thy flock. 

(3) In unity. 

(4) In healing. 

(5) In correction. 

(6) In pulling down. 

(7) In building up. 



it will be observed that in the foregoing office a 
conspicuous position has been given to certain selected 
psalms, and it may not be out of place to offer a few 
suggestive thoughts on the subject of the devotional 



52 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

use of the Psalms in an aspect which, perhaps, has not 
received hitherto the attention that, doubtless, will 
be given to it in the future ; I mean that which sets 
forth the Immanence of Jehovah throughout the 
universe in the Person of the Logos. 

This glorious truth found expression in the writings 
of the early Greek Fathers, especially Athanasius, but 
was lost sight of throughout a large portion of the 
Church s life. It seems to pass almost out of view 
during the Middle Ages, and does not reappear in any 
measure in what may be called the modern systems 
of religion. Of late years its realisation has been 
revived (and it will probably take an important 
place in the attention of the religious world), and there 
is every prospect of its being restored to its due position 
in the attention of the religious world in the immediate 
future. There can be no doubt that the full appre 
hension of this truth must have the effect of imparting 
life and interest and gladness to the practice of devotion, 
such as would hardly be attainable from any other 
source. It is a truth which is now beginning to find 
expression on all sides of us. 

The part taken by the Logos, first, in the work 
of creation, and secondly in the act of sustaining and 
developing the object thus brought into being, is 
beginning to take its place in the spiritual life, and one 
result of this consciousness takes shape in a new 
feeling of admiration for natural scenery in a degree 
far surpassing what that feeling could be when actuated 
by any lower consideration. The thought that every 
object of beauty and order which the senses are capable 
of perceiving is a presentment of some quality or 
attribute in the character of God, and more than 
this that it has this quality from the fact of the 



DIVINE IMMANENCE IN WORSHIP 53 

actual and literal presence of the Divine Logos, which 
presence imparts to it the character it thus manifests, 
is one of the most inspiring which the mind is capable 
of conceiving. As Dr. Liddon says, " He (the Logos) 
does in a real sense Himself exist in each created object, 
not as being one with it, but as upholding it in being. 
He is in every such object the constituting, sustaining, 
binding force which perpetuates its being." l Light- 
foot, in his Commentary on the Colossians, speaks of the 
Logos as the sustaining principle which keeps every 
object in creation in its present condition of cohesion : 
"He is the principle of cohesion in the universe. He 
impresses upon creation that unity and solidarity 
which makes it a cosmos instead of a chaos. Thus, 
to take one instance, the action of gravitation which 
keeps in their places things fixed, and regulates the 
motions of things moving, is an expression of His 
mind/ 2 

This is the vast truth which pantheism gropes after 
and only fails to reach because it stops short with a 
half-truth, making its Logos an impersonal principle, 
immanent, but not transcendent. When once the true 
view of the Divine Immanence has been distinctly 
apprehended, and a man realises that the landscape 
which delights his system of physical sensation is a 
combination of objects, each of which is a setting forth 
of the real presence of the Logos in one of those aspects 
infinite in number which go to make up His 
glorious beauty ; and that the scene as a whole pos 
sesses a unity and completeness of its own, arising from 
the fact of the prevailing Presence ; the contempla 
tion of Nature has for him an effect of elevation of 

1 Liddon s Bampton Lectures, 1866, 5th Ed., p. 265. 

2 Notes on Col. i. 17. 



54 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

soul, and a possibility of delight, far exceeding any 
thing which it can inspire when regarded from any 
other point of view. The same would be the case with 
separate objects, the tiny flower, the lofty tree, the 
flake of snow, the massive precipice. The contempla 
tion of the various aspects of Divine beauty thus 
pictured in corresponding presentments of natural 
beauty would no doubt prove the most fascinating 
and inspiring exercise of which the mind was capable. 

It may seem strange to say so, but it is none the 
less certain that anything like a real apprehension of 
the beauties of natural scenery is a very rare thing ; 
that is to say, anything more than a mere vague sense 
of unintelligent admiration, or admiration which is 
devoid of intelligent appreciation of those features in 
which the beauties of the scene or object in question 
really consist. The study of Ruskin s works would 
be an unfailing means of convincing any reader of 
this fact. The taste for natural scenery is one which, 
like most of the more elevating forms of taste, needs 
cultivation for its development. And in the view be 
fore us, its cultivation would tend as well to the realisa 
tion of the love of God as to the increase of the joy of 
life, in a degree greater possibly than can be attained 
by any other branch of study. 

The idea of the immanence of God is the leading 
principle underlying Hebrew poetry, and in that sense 
peculiar to itself. The idea is not so much that of an 
invisible power energising the various operations of 
nature, as that of a vast Personality, human in its 
character, and carrying on its operations (the 
phenomena of the natural world) by means of human 
actions, effected by human limbs and human organs. 
The idea pervades the whole Psalter, but nowhere finds 



DIVINE IMMANENCE IN WORSHIP 55 

expression more vividly and with greater variety of 
imagery than in the lo/j-th Psalm, in which a general 
view is given of all the various operations of the 
physical universe instanced as effected by direct 
human -like action on the part of God, and their result 
as the setting forth of His glory and the manifestation 
of His own joy. In response to this we have the 
attitude of the creature as contemplating with uplifted, 
enraptured soul these manifestations of the Divine 
glory and Divine love, and thus making himself a 
sharer in the Divine emotion. " My joy is (not shall 
be) in Jehovah." The mastering of this particular 
psalm is in itself a distinct and definite step to the 
sensible realisation, in a devotional sense, of God s 
presence, all-mighty and all-loving, in the varied 
phenomena of the natural world, and of the creature s 
joyous and loving response to the address that is made 
to it by that Presence. 

It begins with an apostrophe to the Divine Nature 
" Praise Jehovah, O my soul." We address the 
Divine Being in the view which, in the exhibition of 
His works, He impresses upon us of His glory and 
beauty. Then we go on to the picturing of a series of 
Divine actions manifested in the operations of the 
world of nature. The subject of this psalm is not that 
of the personal Word of God in His relation to the 
personal man, nor to the Church as His kingdom ; it is 
simply an enraptured utterance of the spirit of natural 
religion. We see Jehovah, as it were, an infinite man 
engaged in carrying out His operations in the natural 
universe. 1 We begin with light, the curtain interposed 

1 A common view taken by critics is to the effect that Jehovah 
was regarded by the Israelites merely as their own national god, 
His dominion limited to His own peculiar nation, occupying a similar 
position to that ascribed to Moloch and Baal over the nations which 

E 



56 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

between the observer and the Personal Source of all 
light. (The writer was not thinking of the world as a 
globe, nor as an object holding a minor place in the 
scheme of creation ; the world was to him the " be-all 
and end-all " of the universe, a level surface of im 
measurable extent with the heavens as a dome-like 
canopy reaching over it.) Next is pictured to us the 
peopling of the world by the animal creation, and also 
the world of vegetation provided for its sustenance 
and comfort. " The earth is filled (perhaps satiated) 
with the fruit of Thy works." Those creatures are 
included whose dwelling is in uncultivated wastes, the 
mountains and craggy rocks, which are beyond man s 
reach and dominion. The climax is reached in the 
appearance of man himself, and the outburst of praise 
for which this forms the signal " O Jehovah, how 
manifold are Thy works ; in wisdom Kast Thou made 
them all, the earth is full of Thy riches." 

The early Hebrews had no other Bible than the 
Book of Nature. It was their converse with nature 
which inspired within them the realisation of what 
Jehovah was in His essential Personality, as well as 

owned allegiance to them. This view is probably true as regards 
the earlier periods of Hebrew History : Jehovah was, indeed, all 
in all to His own people, only because He was their God and Champion 
as against the gods of other nations. This, however, is far from 
being the view taken by the Hebrew poets. In this psalm, for in 
stance, Jehovah is contemplated as nothing less than the God Who 
created and controls the whole universe. He deals first with light 
as a source of all being, then proceeds to the firmament and to the 
reservoirs in the upper waters from which the rain comes. The 
Omnipresence of Jehovah is recognised throughout. (We are 
reminded of the wonderful presentment of this fact exhibited in 
the chariot of the cherubim described by Ezekiel, the four-faced 
zoa with their attendant wheels as the means of bearing the Divine 
Presence with lightning speed in all directions over the whole uni 
verse. Ezek. i. 4-25.) At every turn the Divine Being is spoken 
of as performing the operations of physical nature with a human 
like action. Jehovah is treated as the Great Artificer. 



DIVINE IMMANENCE IN WORSHIP 57 

in His relations to themselves. They were brought 
near to God through their nearness to nature. It is 
possible that the most effective result of the study of 
the Psalms, as regards its practical application to the 
exercise of the devotional life, may be found in this 
spontaneous yet deliberate recognition of the real 
presence of the Divine Logos in the external world 
of nature. The practice of this spiritual converse with 
nature as a direct factor in the exercise of the devotional 
habit has hitherto, no doubt, received but little 
attention. Possibly indeed it belongs to such an 
advanced period of intellectual thought as that upon 
which the world appears to be entering at the present 
day ; and yet it is no new principle of devotional 
thought. The Hebrew poets, as we have seen, realised 
the Personal Presence of Jehovah everywhere through 
out creation ; and not only as a Presence, but as an 
active, operating influence, and as inspired by a spirit 
of conscious benevolent interest in the phenomena of 
nature, and causing these phenomena by the direct 
action of His own will. 

As a reason for the introduction of this subject in 
connection with that which is now before us the 
formation and maintenance of the devotional habit 
I would remind my readers of the fact of the remarkable 
approach which is being made nowadays between the 
material world on the one side, and the intellectual 
and spiritual world on the other, as one of the results 
which are being brought about by developments in 
the study of popular science. We may, perhaps, 
predicate that this tendency of study is promising 
to bring about the restoration of the great world of 
external nature, and the Bible which it represents, to 
its due place in the spiritual life, in spiritual education, 



58 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

and in worship. The principle which underlies this 
tendency is that to which I have referred as the thought 
of the Real Presence of the Divine Logos in every 
object of beauty, symmetry, and order that presents 
itself to our senses in the external world. The thought 
to be realised is that of the Divine Presence, as it were, 
looking forth out of every such object ; speaking forth 
out of it ; nay, more, giving itself in one of the corre 
sponding aspects of its own beauty to the ready 
observer. 

This view of the Divine Presence is, of course, 
realised by the Christian student in a much deeper and 
fuller sense than was the case with the Hebrew poet. 
It is the fact of the Incarnation which brings about 
this closer touch, this fuller apprehension, leading the 
observer to recognise the Divine Presence not only 
as presiding, ruling, operating, but as actually taking 
into union with itself the universe of nature, and so 
bringing about a living touch with the seeker, and one 
of closer character than could otherwise be effected. 
Through our Lord s union with humanity He has taken 
the whole world of nature into contact with Himself. 
It is for us to look for, and admire, each object through 
which He looks, speaks, gives Himself, and to realise 
what in His Person what special aspect of His 
beauty it pictures for us. It is for us to adore Him 
Whose presence and Whose love towards us it depicts, 
and so to make each such object a means of living 
and loving personal contact with Him. 

This spiritual study of the presence of Christ 
pervading the world of nature in such a manner as to 
convey itself in living communion to all who devoutly 
seek Him there naturally leads up to that aspect of 
this Real Presence which forms the supreme act of 



DIVINE IMMANENCE IN WORSHIP 59 

contact between itself and the true receiver, namely, 
the Sacrament of His Body and Blood, wherein the 
all-pervading Presence finds, as it were, its focus. The 
Presence is as real, as literal, when considered as 
disseminated in the various departments of its operation 
throughout the universe as it is in the Sacrament, but 
in the latter we find that Presence, so to speak, in its 
fulness ; that is to say, presenting Itself in such a 
form as to communicate not some one or other of His 
innumerable qualities of grace and love as in other 
features of His immanence, but His whole Self in the 
entire complex of all those constituent qualities and 
graces which belong to the Divine Humanity. Here 
we have the climax of the grand idea of the Real 
Presence of the Logos in His creation. 



PART II 

THE PRIEST S CARE OF THE SOULS UNDER 
HIS CHARGE 

Kai iravrl T<f iroi/j.t>icp, . . . 



Sta rov afyiaroy rov /St ou." 

Acts xx. 28. 



THE PRIEST S RELATIONS WITH 
HIS PEOPLE 

ONE object to be aimed at by the priest is that 
of placing himself on terms of personal 
relationship and confidence with every individual in 
his parish. This may seem an ideal to be aimed at 
rather than a result to be attained with any probability, 
except in small congregations ; yet it must be aimed at 
and striven for might and main. For example, the 
priest should never lose an opportunity of speaking 
pastorally to any member of his flock who may chance 
to come his way. In his visits to homes he must often 
miss the men, since they are so frequently absent from 
various causes : yet they must be the chief object of 
his attention. Never, therefore, let him lose the oppor 
tunity of an interview, and let him see that every 
opportunity is properly utilised to the effect that 
something is said which is likely to be of real benefit. 
Care must be taken also not to repel by anything like 
abruptness or a dictatorial manner ; his part is to win 
souls, angle for them, entrap them : 



fffrj fayp&v" St. Luke V. IO. 
"oAieTs avepdircav" St. Matt. iv. 19. 

We are often told that the parson s society is rather 
avoided by the average male member of his flock, and 
especially by the young men. He must make it the 

63 



64 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

first care to do away with the possibility of such a 
feeling in those who belong to him ; his efforts for 
their good will certainly be neutralised if this state of 
affairs is permitted to exist. And let the priest assure 
himself that if such a sentiment of repulsion does exist 
the fault lies with himself. In very few cases will 
even the shyest and most apparently impracticable 
member be able to resist the advances made in the 
kindly, open-hearted, affectionate manner which is the 
outcome of a true, heartfelt, loving interest in the 
individual. He should, of course, avoid anything like 
preaching or laying down the law in his manner towards 
the members of his flock. Let him acquire the habit 
of entering so fully into the personal interests and con 
cerns of his people that he may always find something 
to say to each individual which will enlist his interest 
and good will. At the same time, while such overtures 
will generally, in the first place at least, deal with 
temporal concerns, he must never lose sight of the fact 
that his attitude is to be always that of watching for 
souls. In every conversation this object should be 
kept in view, and the opportunity sought or made for 
the introduction of some element of spiritual guidance 
and admonition. This is especially needful in the case 
of those whom he is likely to meet but seldom, whilst 
in these instances particularly special care is necessary 
to avoid anything likely to have a disconcerting or 
repellent effect upon them. Make it a rule, if possible, 
never to send a man away with a feeling of displeasure 
towards you, but let him leave you in such a frame of 
mind that he will be glad to see you again. Even in 
cases in which rebuke has to be administered it does 
not necessarily follow that such a friendly parting is 
impossible. Be loving and gentle in your reproofs and 



PRIEST S RELATIONS WITH HIS PEOPLE 65 

then you can generally be as severe as you like. Com 
bine the authority of a priest with the sympathy of a 
fellow creature and the humility of a fellow sinner. 

Be specially careful to know the children and to 
gain their confidence. Learn and bear in mind their 
names separately, so as to be able to address them 
personally ; this will be found a great means of winning 
not only their regard and trust, but also that of their 
parents. Teach them to come to you and talk to you ; 
let them have a considerable share of your direct 
attention. Be sure to make inquiry with reference to 
their practice of saying their prayers, attendance at 
Sunday School, or other important duties. 



ON THE PRACTICE OF AURICULAR 
CONFESSION 

IT is an unquestioned fact that a strong and very 
general prejudice exists against what is known 
by the term "Auricular Confession." Nor is this 
prejudice altogether ill-founded. We cannot afford to 
decry or even ignore it. The thing which it contem 
plates and which represents its idea of the practice in 
question is certainly objectionable. In any case there 
are very serious dangers attending the practice we shall 
now consider, namely, that which we may describe as 
Sacramental Confession. 

As ordinarily practised it is altogether too slight a 
thing, conducted too hurriedly, and therefore super 
ficial. This is rendered inevitable from the fact of the 
numbers who have to be dealt with, and possibly in 
some cases by the frequency with which it is observed. 
In most cases, however, it is the rarity rather than the 
frequency of observance which tends to neutralise any 
benefit which might otherwise attend its use. The 
idea of compressing the acknowledgment of a year s 
sin and the presentment of the comprehensive view 
of the soul s condition as arrived at in that period, 
together with the admonition and direction which 
would necessarily arise as its result, all within the 
space of say half an hour, or even an hour, involves a 

66 



PRACTICE OF AURICULAR CONFESSION 67 

self-evident absurdity. The truly discreet and learned 
priest will generally find more than one interview 
necessary for the purpose. The various avenues 
through which the central principle of sin finds its 
vent, and the various concrete forms which it takes 
in so doing, will have to be traced and dealt with 
separately ; then the various aspects which the central 
principle of " love-motive " will have to assume in the 
work of correcting the mischief in its different shapes 
must also be set before the penitent fully and distinctly. 
This will require time for thought and for the initia 
tion of act. Hence the practice of sacramental confes 
sion for any individual, in such a degree as to promise 
real benefit, must necessarily be occasional and com 
paratively infrequent. 

Another danger connected with this practice is 
that of leading the penitent to place too much depend 
ence upon a human mediator, more especially in the 
act of Absolution. It is therefore most essential that 
the priest should clearly explain his position as that 
of a mere agent, whose office is simply that of leading 
the penitent to recognise and address himself to the 
Real Presence of the one great Confessor, Absolver, and 
Director, Who is invisible. A fearful responsibility 
rests upon the officiating agent in this respect. He 
must bear in mind the tendency in weak humanity to 
turn aside from the invisible to the visible, to depend 
upon earthly props and supports ; he must remember 
the danger of hindering rather than helping the work 
of salvation by assisting to deflect the penitent s view 
from the One Object, the contemplation of which 
brings life. He must make absolutely sure that 
throughout the whole course of this sacramental 
proceeding the penitent has his eye fixed upon the 



68 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

invisible High Priest, and that in every act which he is 
called upon to perform whether it be confession, 
renunciation, or loving trust it is Christ Himself 
Whom he is addressing, while the earthly priest stands 
aside as it were, and simply leads and points the 
penitent to the true Personal Object of every spiritual 
endeavour. 

Again, there is the danger of arousing the spirit 
of prejudice to which reference has been made, and so 
repelling the penitent, and incurring the loss of influence 
in a general sense. The priest should bear in mind the 
fact that prejudice, though unreasonable, may not be 
despised or disregarded ; it is one of the most serious 
hindrances to the priest s influence for good ; it should 
therefore be his care, and the object of strenuous effort, 
to allay or disarm it. He cannot fight it down, that 
is certain. He must be patient with it, treat it as a 
disease, and above all things treat it with gentleness 
and kindness. If he cannot allay or remove it let him 
assure himself that the fault must be to a great extent 
his own. Remember St. Aidan " Was it their 
stubbornness or your severity ? Did you forget the 
Apostle s command to feed them first with milk and 
then with meat ? " l There are, however, few instances 
in which the parish priest need get to loggerheads with 
his people if he can only bring himself to act as St. 
Aidan acted. So with confession ; the most desirable 
method of conducting it is, no doubt, in the Church, 
the priest habited in cassock, surplice, and stole. But 
supposing that the practice in this form should be 
objectionable to a portion of his flock, simply because 
they associate it (and not unreasonably) with methods 
of conducting it which he himself would probably 
1 Wakeman, History of the Church of England, yth edit. p. 24. 



PRACTICE OF AURICULAR CONFESSION 69 

allow to be open to serious objection, he would show 
himself to be an unwise pastor by persisting in con 
ducting it with those particular adjuncts. He would 
find no difficulty in gaining his point as regards the 
true nature of the sacrament if he could only bring 
himself to dispense with what cannot be regarded as 
in any sense essential features. 

It is true that many of his people, especially those 
who need it the most, would object to yielding their 
confidence to their clergyman on the subject of their 
inner life. This is a difficulty of an entirely different 
character, and is to be overcome only by the exercise 
of personal influence of such a kind as to invite and 
win their confidence through the manifestation on 
the priest s part of a character worthy of being admitted 
to such inner relations. 

But when all is said and done, the great obstacle 
to the profitable exercise of this all-important priestly 
function consists in too many instances in the lack of 
qualification on the priest s part for that exercise. 
Rome has its cut-and-dried method in which its clergy 
are fully instructed. They know exactly what they 
have to do, and they do it accordingly. To us their 
performance of this sacramental ordinance may appear 
lamentably inadequate, but that is their business, not 
ours. With our fuller light as we are taught to regard 
it we could not dare to enter upon the practice of 
sacramental confession on the same lines as those 
which they follow. We realise the necessity for 
going deeper and riding higher, and this being so, we 
forego it altogether and leave our young members to 
flounder along as best they may ! Brethren, this 
ought not so to be. Then why is it so? Simply 
because the due observance of the practice entails 



70 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

qualifications which are not possessed in sufficient 
kind and degree by the average parish priest. Such 
qualifications are : 

(1) A knowledge of human nature attainable only 
by careful study and by experience founded upon 
watchful observations, digested by mature judgment. 

(2) The main requisite of personal knowledge of 
our Lord Himself, in His character as Example, and in 
His relation to humanity as a Lover of souls. 

Training in the former respects should form a con 
spicuous feature in the preparation of candidates for 
Holy Orders, and although the shortness of the time 
ordinarily allowed for such preparation would make 
it impossible to carry out this form of study with any 
degree of thoroughness, yet the instruction given in 
this subject should have the effect of giving the student 
a start in the pursuit of this all-important branch of 
study. The young clergyman in his Diaconate and 
early Priesthood should make it one of the most 
emphatic objects of his study and efforts to carry 
on the work of training himself in this branch of his 
duty, and this not necessarily by the use of books 
on this special subject, which are often misleading. 
Better means are those of self-examination, careful 
observation, meditation, and the practice of the 
Presence of our Lord. Careful observation, not of 
course in the sense of prying or espionage, but open 
and above-board, such as will infallibly be attained by 
the habit of spiritual conversation with all sorts of 
people, and with each one in that particular manner 
and tone which individually suits him best. The 
young priest cannot be too cautious in the matter of 
entering upon the discharge of this branch of his 
functions. The very greatest mischief may be the 



PRACTICE OF AURICULAR CONFESSION 71 

result of his taking it up with " prentice hand." The 
human soul is a frail and delicate piece of texture to 
handle, and the work of operating upon it calls for the 
surgeon s hand a symbol which represents the ideal 
of the priestly art firm, unshrinking, unshaking, 
strong, decided yet gentle as a woman s. 



THE TREATMENT OF INDIVIDUAL 
SOULS 

ONE of the great needs in the training of candi 
dates for Holy Orders is some systematised 
and specialised instruction in the method of treat 
ment for individual souls. The practice of Confession 
is referred to in the Exhortation in the Communion 
Service, as well as in the rubric in the Office for the 
Visitation of the Sick. The priest s duty in this 
respect is a form of pastoral work to his preparation 
for which too little regard has been paid in the past. 
It is to be feared that the systematic observance of 
the conduct of private confessions has to a large 
extent fallen into disuse, or, still worse, has been 
undertaken by those whose capacity for such delicate 
work is more than doubtful. Before venturing upon 
this duty a large degree of acquaintance with human 
nature in its inner depths and in its varied forms of 
development is required on the part of the practitioner. 
Incalculable mischief has resulted from the taking in 
hand of this form of pastoral work by those who were 
inadequately fitted for it. How is this fitness to be 
attained ? 

In the first place the practitioner must study the 
subject in relation to his own soul, remembering that 
in its main features human nature is always the same. 

72 



TREATMENT OF INDIVIDUAL SOULS 73 

The duty of self-examination must be explained 
and strictly enforced. Not only must your instruction 
to this effect be given clearly and wisely, but you 
must watch its results. Beware of false diffidence 
in inviting and urging confidence ; remember the 
absolute necessity for free and unrestrained inter 
course between penitent and priest on the subject of 
the spiritual condition and of spiritual difficulties. 
Be on the watch for indications of a desire to open the 
heart to you, and be on the alert to meet it more than 
half-way ; otherwise you may lose golden opportu 
nities. Better risk repulse than miss the chance of 
saving, or even helping, a soul. 

You will often find that the desire for the relief 
arising from such confidential dealing has long been 
existent in the heart, and only restrained by timidity 
or diffidence. In such cases the penitent is often, 
owing to the priest s neglect, driven to seek relief in 
other quarters, from more faithful if less qualified 
confidants. The attainment of the person s confi 
dence must be regarded as indispensable, must be aimed 
at, planned for, striven for, prayed for. Until it has 
been attained the priest can hardly consider his 
ministrations, so far as regards the case in question, 
as other than a failure. 

The practice of confession may be regarded as 
having two forms. The first is that which may be called 
Plenary Confession, or the confession which is made by 
one who, for the first time in any real and complete 
sense, seeks reconciliation with God, and entrance 
upon the definite practice of the spiritual life. He 
may be a baptised person who has not lived up to his 
baptismal vocation ; at all events, he is one who has 
never yet fairly and definitely sought and attained the 



74 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

condition of reconciliation with God. The second 
form of confession is that which is made by one to whom 
the act of conscious approach to God and of yielding 
up the soul to Him for pardon and grace is not a new 
one, but who has already known what it is to experi 
ence the gift of absolution at former periods in his life, 
with greater or less frequency and regularity. 

In the first of these two cases the penitent is, of 
course, required to look back upon his entire life past. 
He is carrying about with him, unabsolved, the whole 
burden of a life s sin, and must realise that burden in 
its entirety before bringing it to the foot of the cross 
for the double gift of absolution and cleansing. To 
call to mind all the sins of a lifetime, or even any 
considerable fraction of them, is manifestly impossible. 
But it is none the less necessary, by dint of careful 
research and self-examination, to arrive at an idea 
of the general tenor of that special form of sin which 
has characterised the individual s life ; and also to 
call to mind the leading special acts of sin to which 
the conscience testifies as standing out prominently 
in his life s history. This process of research will call 
for the exercise of great care and unremitting attention, 
so as to make the confession sufficiently comprehen 
sive to represent a true view. of the life s sin. Of 
course, the object sought in leading a sinner to open 
out the secrets of his heart to Christ, whether it be 
directly or through the agency of the human priest, 
is not that of (as it were) informing the Lord Himself, 
or even the earthly priest, on the subject. It is rather 
that of bringing before the penitent s own view a suf 
ficiently full and comprehensive idea of his condition 
as a sinner before God, as to awaken within him the 
sentiment of heartfelt repentance, and a fervent desire 



TREATMENT OF INDIVIDUAL SOULS 75 

for cleansing from the guilt of sin and release from 
its yoke. Hence definite and particular confession is 
necessary, whether the confession is made to Christ 
Himself alone or to the priest as His representative. 

As a matter of fact, the disuse of so-called " auricular 
confession," which took place after the Reformation, 
has too often led to the disuse of real confession in 
any sense whatever. A man is satisfied with acknow 
ledging in a general way his condition as a sinner, 
without realising in any true sense what that condition 
means, namely, what those sins are for which he asks 
forgiveness. The omission is a most dangerous one, 
if not even fatal. In the first place, the sinner fails 
in the comprehension of the character and heinousness 
of the sins of which he supposes himself to repent ; 
and hence, it is questionable whether his repentance 
can possess that depth and reality which is needful to 
make it fully effectual. In the second place, the lack 
of self-examination into the various forms of sin which 
most easily beset him will tend to deprive him of that 
knowledge of those sins which is needful to enable 
him to guard against them for the future. Hence, 
fulness and explicitness in self-examination and 
expression of sin is to be carefully enforced from the 
outset. 

The presentment of the sins of a lifetime as an -act 
of penitence before the cross of Christ by one who has 
never definitely performed such an act in the past 
forms a crisis in his life, calling for the most solemn 
attention and care at the hands of both penitent and 
practitioner. The preparation for it must necessarily 
take a considerable time ; anything like haste or lack 
of due deliberation may be fatal. Some amount even 
of delay may be found necessary to enable the penitent 



76 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

to arrange fully and clearly before his own view the 
consciousness of his condition and needs as a sinner, 
and also to make sure of his mind as regards his desire 
for new life, and his purpose to set about it. Yet 
should delay be found necessary, it is imperative that 
there should be no slackening in his efforts after 
attaining the consummation he desires, for such 
slackening will generally mean falling away. The 
penitent should be warned that his sincerity may be 
tried by apparent delay in the inward response made 
to his efforts after reconciliation with God. It is by 
such delay that the winnowing process is effected, 
whereby those who are but half-hearted drop off and 
show themselves unworthy of the gift which they wish 
for and affect to seek. The failure is simply because 
the seeker is not really in earnest. Some response, 
however, in the way of a comforting sense of accept 
ance will always be in some degree vouchsafed. 

The penitent should be taught to distinguish 
between faith and assurance. Faith does not mean, 
nor does it imply, the presence of assurance. Faith 
may be accompanied by much doubt. Faith means 
the acceptance at God s hands of a gift which God has 
promised to bestow on certain conditions. Faith is 
simply the fulfilment of those conditions. Faith is 
an act always, not a feeling. Belief is not faith, nor 
any part of faith, although it is essential to lead a man 
to perform the act of self-surrender in which faith 
really consists. 

As has already been intimated, the priest must 
ascertain from the penitent the scope of the confession 
to be made, whether it should include the whole of 
his past life, or whether it simply looks back to some 
former act of confession which has been complete of 



TREATMENT OF INDIVIDUAL SOULS 77 

its kind, and followed by a full and satisfactory 
absolution. It will, of course, come to the same thing, 
whether this has been done by the aid of a priest, 
or by direct communication with our Lord Himself. 
The latter, no doubt, is by far the best method when the 
penitent is sufficiently nurtured in the spiritual life to 
be qualified to practise it. Moreover, it should be 
the priest s declared aim to assist the penitent in 
attaining such a degree of maturity as will enable him 
to dispense with the services of an earthly practitioner 
in this particular respect. Yet it is most desirable, 
especially in the case of the young (that is, of boys), that 
the practice of direct auricular confession should be 
revived, though in such a form as not to rouse a preju 
dice in those who might otherwise be disposed to take 
alarm. 

The priest should, however, beware of keeping the 
penitent in leading strings longer than is necessary. 
There can be no doubt that the more excellent way is 
that of direct, personal confession to a Personal Christ. 
The practice of retaining a penitent in the observance 
of auricular confession longer than is necessary may be 
attended by three evils. 

(1) It may tend to cultivate an effeminate type of 
life, and hinder the development of the masculine 
qualities of judgment, discretion, and self-control. 

(2) It may be an obstacle to that direct and con 
fidential communion with the Personal Christ which 
is the ideal of the spiritual life. 

(3) Even supposing it were the best way, yet when 
we consider the comparatively very small number of 
priests who are qualified to administer this sacrament, 
one has to take into account the danger accruing to 
the penitent in case of his removal to a place where 



78 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

there is no priest duly qualified for this purpose, 
if his training has made him dependent upon this 
practice for the sustenance of his spiritual life. 

No priest should be satisfied with taking up a case 
which has formerly been dealt with by another priest, 
and following it on the identical lines observed by his 
predecessor, unless his own judgment commends this 
course as suitable and sufficient in the particular case 
before him. Each priest has his own separate respon 
sibility, his own judicial position, for the exercise of 
which he must answer directly to his Master. Sup 
posing one who has been in the habit of regular con 
fession should come to him for this purpose, the priest 
must satisfy himself by careful inquiry that the man s 
spiritual life is in a state suitable for the bestowal of 
absolution, before he consents to pronounce it. If his 
predecessor has been in the practice, only too common, 
of a superficial treatment of souls, the priest must 
beware of confirming his mistakes, perhaps to the 
fatal injury of an immortal soul. Let him beware of 
the condemnation of " healing the hurt of the daughter 
of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace ; when 
there is no peace." 1 He must be deep and searching 
in his inquiries as to the consciousness of sin as a reality 
in its inner depths and springs, as well as in certain 
external exhibitions of a more or less serious character. 
At the same time, let him beware of making the smallest 
shade of reflection, directly or indirectly, on a brother 
priest, for any neglect or incompetence he may have 
shown in his dealing with the penitent. 

The priest must be on his guard against manifesting 
anything like disgust or repulsion, whatever the nature 
of the sin may be. Deepest seriousness, and the fullest 

1 Jer. viii. n. 



TREATMENT OF INDIVIDUAL SOULS 79 

sense of heinousness, may be combined with the 
tenderest gentleness and the utmost kindliness. Re 
member the very fact that the penitent comes to you 
with his offering of humble acknowledgment, that he 
is of his own accord, and so far as he can do so, opening 
his heart to your view, entitles him to your deepest 
personal interest and regard. Let it be seen that the 
acknowledgment of his sin does not repel you from 
him, but draws you closer to him. In any case, you 
cannot judge the relative degrees of criminality ; forms 
which to you may seem grossest, may possibly, in God s 
sight, be less offensive than others which may appear 
to you to be comparatively slight. 

You have invited your penitent to such a degree 
of confidence as he may think well to repose in you, 
or you may think well to seek from him. How closely 
you may press such investigation will, of course, depend 
upon your own judgment, and this will call for the nicest 
discrimination. The question whether he should be 
urged to make a full and complete disclosure of his 
spiritual condition calls for careful consideration on 
your part. You have to satisfy yourself that, if he 
does not commit himself wholly into your hands, he 
is capable of taking care of himself ; that is to say, 
of entering by his own individual efforts into such 
direct and close intercourse with our Lord as his 
Confessor, Absolver, and Director, as will be sufficient 
for the maintenance of his spiritual life. This is ideally 
the best condition which a Christian can attain ; and 
to help him in attaining this is the chief object which 
the priest should have in view. 

Supposing he fails to show any disposition to yield 
his full confidence, and yet you feel that he is not 
capable of taking care of himself, what are you to do ? 



80 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

You cannot force his confidence. The cause of his 
reserve very probably lies in the fact that what is being 
concealed is some very serious form of spiritual disease, 
lying possibly at the very root of his character, and 
calling for full and drastic treatment as essential to 
his salvation. Hence you cannot afford to disregard 
any symptoms which would seem to point to such a 
condition of things, and, leaving these unattended to, 
pass on to deal with other matters. It will generally 
be the case that those features of soul-sickness which 
a man is most indisposed to reveal, are just those very 
features which most strongly call for disclosure for the 
purpose of spiritual treatment. Yet you cannot force 
a man s confidence. 

Bear in mind the two main objects of your 
efforts : 

First, the endeavour by kindly and gentle but 
searching inquiry to ascertain the real condition of 
the man s soul towards God, with a view to leading 
him to ascertain it for himself, and so to recognise in 
himself the nature of that element of sin which is the 
barrier between himself and God. 

Secondly, the endeavour to point out to him as 
the Object of his loving trust, and of his grasp by faith, 
the Personal Christ, as the Forgiver of his sin and the 
Cleanser from its stain. 

The process may be difficult and tedious, but if it 
is set about with serious earnestness, and persevered in 
with the determination not to give up, together with 
heartfelt prayer for guidance, success will generally 
be attained. At all events, the priest will have saved 
his own soul. The great difficulty is that of impressing 
upon the sinner an adequate consciousness of sin. 
How sadly familiar to the faithful priest, in response 



TREATMENT OF INDIVIDUAL SOULS 81 

to his efforts gently to arouse that consciousness, is 
the vague and pointless rejoinder, " Yes, we are all 
sinners " ! This expression in itself may almost be 
taken as a sign of failure hitherto in the effort to awaken 
anything like the sentiment of repentance. It is not 
until a man has been brought to say with the repentant 
king : " / have sinned against the Lord/ l or with 
the publican : " God be merciful to me a sinner/ 2 that 
he can be safely regarded as truly realising the nature 
of sin as affecting his own person. This is one of the 
main reasons calling for explicit ness and categorical 
method in the confession of sin. A man hardly 
realises that he is a sinner, until his conscience points 
out to him what those sins are wherein his sinfulness 
consists, at least in their main features. In fact, 
we may almost say that it is only by contemplating 
instances of sin that the character of sin as a disease 
can be distinctly recognised. 

It is true that there are forms of sin even the very 
glance at which may seem to carry with it a touch of 
defilement, and which must therefore be regarded as 
in a sense exceptions to the above rule. Nevertheless, 
these forms have to be dealt with, and it is in dealing 
with these that the highest degree of skill as exercised 
by a spiritual physician is called for. In dealing with 
women, unless called for by extreme urgency, this 
department should be altogether avoided. With 
men, however, the case is different. It is oftentimes 
in this particular department of temptation that the 
sinner stands in greatest need of help, and in which 
his confidence is to be most anxiously invited. Yet 
even in the case of male penitents absolute particulars 
should be avoided, although investigation should be 

1 2 Sam. xii. 133. * St. Luke xviii. 13. 



82 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

made into the degree and extent of the sin, its fre 
quency of commission, and aggravating circumstances. 
The patient should, of course, be warned not to impli 
cate any other person in his admissions ; he should 
also be discouraged from those efforts at mitigation 
and palliation, or excuse, which in so many cases 
hopelessly neutralise any advance toward true con 
trition. 

Reference has been made to the necessity for con 
templating sin in the form of definite and concrete 
acts in order to convey a distinct idea of its reality 
as sin, and its application to the individual, considered 
apart from the general infection of the human race at 
large. At the same time the priest must carefully 
avoid the very common mistake of allowing a confes 
sion to consist of a mere list of acts of commission or 
instances of omission. One great purpose of his 
investigation is that of penetrating below the external 
surface of the life of action and omission, into those 
inner depths of the soul where lie the springs of purpose 
and motive, and from which those active results 
really proceed. His aim must be, in the first place, 
to ascertain what is usually known as the besetting 
sin, which really means that peculiar bent of character 
which is proper to the individual, and which is the 
source of the good in him as well as the evil ; but which, 
human nature being what it is, more naturally tends 
to evil than to good. Something will be said a little 
later in reference to the different aspects of tendency 
such as are here signified. 

The disclosure by the penitent of the different 
forms of sinful act or sinful omission of which he feels 
himself to be guilty, will be utilised by the priest to 
assist him in arriving at a diagnosis of the system of 



TREATMENT OF INDIVIDUAL SOULS 83 

inward tendency or character which finds expression 
in those acts or omissions. Hence he deals with them, 
not as isolated entities, but as different symptoms of 
one underlying disease ; and his efforts are directed 
towards the disease itself, thus striking at the root of 
the varied results which it occasions. He must bear in 
mind, too, that it is not so much for his own infor 
mation that these researches are being made, as for 
that of the penitent himself. The priest s object is to 
open the penitent s eyes to those sources from which 
proceed the various forms of evil which are tending to 
his ruin. Hence the mistake of simply assigning 
penance as a remedy, which may be more or less 
effectual, for a symptom, while yet the disease itself, 
from which as a plant or weed the symptom grows, 
is left untouched and unregarded. The symptoms 
have, of course, to be dealt with separately. Each 
outcome or aspect of evil needs careful consideration ; 
but that consideration should be based upon the inner 
cause from which all forms of sin, as manifested in 
that particular individual, spring. It must be borne 
in mind that the only true secret of successful conflict 
with sin consists in the substitution of the active 
principle of personal love for a Personal Christ in the 
place of the old principle of self-seeking or self-will. 
It is only by the expulsive effect of a new and nobler 
attachment that any real probability of victory over 
old and inveterate habit can be attained. This new 
love-principle then must be cultivated, and when 
fairly set on foot will be found the mightiest of all 
engines in spiritual conflict. 

The priest should distinctly set before the penitent 
the fact that our Lord Himself, in His Personal Pre 
sence, is the true High Priest, and that the earthly 



84 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

priest s part is only that of assisting the penitent in 
bringing himself into direct communication with our 
Lord. It should be explained that since such official 
human intervention is often helpful, and sometimes 
necessary, you gladly offer yourself in your priestly 
capacity as the outward means for obtaining the in 
ward and spiritual grace. 

Instruct him next to open out his heart to you 
J freely and completely, as a patient his case to his 
! physician, assuring him that you can be of little use 
otherwise; at the same time make it quite clear to 
him that he may depend absolutely upon your heart 
felt sympathy, tender compassion, and inviolable 
confidence. The whole thing should be made as 
solemn as possible, and endued with the character of 
a religious act. 

The attitude of the priest is that of sitting, except 
during prayer, absolution, and benediction. The 
attitude of the penitent is that of kneeling ; this, 
however, may, if it appear absolutely necessary on 
account of infirmity, be deviated from. The attitude 
of kneeling is requisite, because confession is being made 
to Christ Himself as personally present, and in a spirit 
of deepest humiliation. In all such cases regard must 
be paid to freedom from physical strain or uneasiness 
as the result of the posture maintained ; at all events, 
to such an extent as would be likely to hinder the free 
action of mind and spirit. 

The priest will, of course, provide himself with a 
suitable Office for the purpose. He may possibly 
fail to nricTany at present published which will in all 
respects satisfy him. In this case he will have to com 
pile one for himself, including possible extemporaneous 
prayer such as may give expression to the special 



TREATMENT OF INDIVIDUAL SOULS 85 

requirements of the individual and the occasion. 
But if this is done, let the whole Office be carefully 
planned and pre-arranged. He will generally find it 
desirable to begin by prayer for himself, aloud, to the 
effect that the Great High Priest may guide him in 
dealing faithfully, wisely, tenderly, with this member 
of his flock, making him the means of aiding the 
penitent in drawing near to the Good Shepherd and 
opening his heart to His gracious view ; further, for 
the penitent, that he may be moved to open his heart 
fully, freely, and without reserve to him who now acts 
as Christ s unworthy representative ; that he may be 
led to confess fully sins committed, duties omitted, 
actions, words, and thoughts which have offended his 
purity ; that he may grieve for them, may turn from 
them, may cast them from him, may seek and obtain, 
at the Saviour s hands, the gift of pardon through His 
Blood, which may atone for the past. Then he will 
pray for the gift of His Spirit to convey grace and 
power to enable him to shun sin for the future, and to 
take up his cross of duty and self-denial and to follow 
in his Saviour s steps. 

It will be observed that the object at present in 
view is that of avoiding formality, and the observance 
of stereotyped forms and methods, whilst maintaining 
unimpaired the full essence of the sacrament. It is 
not, therefore, thought desirable to insist upon the use 
by the penitent in the act of confession of the ordinary 
cut-and-dried formula ; though if such has been his 
previous custom, there is no reason why he should not 
follow it. In any case, the priest himself may prefer 
that he should be instructed to do so. This, of course, 
is a matter of indifference. The formula should not 
be used if it is likely to arouse unfavourable prejudice 



86 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

on the part of the penitent or others. The priest 
who truly cares for his flock will ever be tender in 
dealing with them, and on his guard against inflicting 
a wound, however slight, and however unreasonable 
be the state of feeling which renders the person sus 
ceptible to it. We will therefore suppose him enter 
ing upon the subject of confession in a kindly but 
serious manner, somewhat as follows : 

" Now let us address ourselves to the subject before 
us. You have come to open out your heart to me, 
who am a sinner like yourself, but to whom God has 
entrusted the charge of watching for and caring for 
the souls which belong to Him. Let me ask you to 
open out your heart to me. Do it as in the presence 
of our Saviour Himself, Who is truly present, and 
Who is the True Confessor. What I say to you I shall 
try to say as though He said it, because I am here as 
His representative, His spokesman. Utterly unworthy 
though I am, and needing, as I do, just what you 
need, try to think of yourself as speaking to Him and 
listening to Him." 

The penitent will need careful assistance in making 
his confession. The priest may begin by asking him 
his own view of his condition as regards the relation 
of his soul to God. (We are now supposing a person 
who is making his first confession to this particular 
priest.) Of course, his first inquiry is with reference 
to any former confession which the penitent may have 
made ; and, such having been the case, the priest 
will have to make further inquiry for his own guidance 
as to whether he is safe in taking that former con 
fession as the starting-point of his own investigation. 
The first thing would be to ascertain the present 
position of the penitent s soul towards God, i.e. 



TREATMENT OF INDIVIDUAL SOULS 87 

whether he may be regarded as living in any real 
sense the spiritual life a life in which the governing 
presence of God is realised, and which is being con 
sciously submitted to that governance. If this is the 
case, it will generally be possible to trace the last full 
performance of a definite act of self-examination, 
confession, and absolution to some definite period, 
which may be taken as the starting-point of the new 
period of investigation. 

The priest must beware of satisfying himself with 
inquiry into specific instances of sin, and overlooking 
the duty which should stand foremost in the work 
he is engaged in, namely, that of ascertaining whether 
the love of God, together with humble trust in Christ 
Jesus, is actively present in the heart of the penitent. 
In other words, is his life a converted one ? 1 

(a) Is the life which the penitent is now leading 
the result of conversion on his part, considered as an 
act of his own or possibly as a course of action ? 
It is of imperative importance that the priest should 
at the outset make sure of the state of things in this 
respect. 

(b) Is the life of the penitent one which is being 
led " in the Spirit," in however imperfect a manner, 
and not " in the flesh," that is, in a state of bondage 

1 This word " conversion " is, perhaps, of all the words in the 
practice of religion, the one most entirely misunderstood ; the 
result, no doubt, of a gross mistranslation of the word where it 
occurs in Scripture. How it has been allowed to pass from genera 
tion to generation uncorrected is inexplicable. It is needful to be 
clear on this point. There is, strictly speaking, no such thing as being 
converted, in Acts iii. 19, the word which St. Peter used in the 
passage rendered in our Authorised Version, " Repent, therefore, and 
be converted," is given in the Greek as tiriffrptyare, a word which can 
mean nothing less than " turn about." Conversion is an action, not 
an experience ; something to be done, not to be asked for ; though 
the grace and power to do it may, of course, be subjects for prayer. 

G 



88 STUDIES IN SOUL BENDING 

to the lower nature ? Plain direct questioning will be 
necessary to elicit the truth on this subject, but it will 
be useless to proceed until this point has been cleared up. 

(c) Is the penitent a child of God who has already 

yielded up his allegiance to God as his Ruler and Guide, 

S or is he only an inquirer seeking after that condition 

< as not yet having attained it ? It is very possible that 

the penitent may hitherto have deceived himself on 

this subject, as well as possibly his spiritual directors. 

His efforts at religion thus far may have been of the 

most superficial character, not having included the 

actual giving up of his heart to the love and service 

of God. 

The question in brief may be expressed as follows : 
Can you say that you are now conducting your life 
with a direct view to fulfilling the will of God in so 
. doing, and of subduing your own will when it is in 
opposition to His ? Is this the set purpose of your 
present life, even though you know it to be hindered 
by many shortcomings and failures ? 

Suppose that the penitent should be able to answer 
in the affirmative, and to satisfy the priest that he is 
justified in doing so, the course of the confession will 
proceed accordingly. But let the priest remember 
the very serious danger, and let me say even proba 
bility, of self-deception on the part of the penitent in 
this respect. The responsibility of his director in this 
point is very serious. The danger of confirming the 
inquirer in his self-deception, and thus hindering 
instead of helping the hope of his salvation, is one 
that may well dismay a spiritual director. He trembles 
as he remembers the Lord s awful saying : " If the 
blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch." 
1 St. Matt. xv. 14. 



TREATMENT OF INDIVIDUAL SOULS 89 

Should the answers have turned out to be really 
satisfactory, the priest s further task is comparatively 
easy ; he will, none the less, need careful and close 
examination to assist the penitent in realising, it may 
be, even the nature of his besetting sin. The degree 
of ignorance oftentimes exhibited on this subject, 
even in those who are really heart and soul Christians, 
is well-nigh incredible. This point will, therefore, 
have to be carefully taken up, and the penitent assisted 
to trace the various developments of the central sin 
in the different forms of sinful act and sinful omission 
which characterise his life. He must be taught in 
all respects to judge himself, to watch himself, to 
maintain a continual attitude of alertness. He must be . 
taught that the universal antidote for every form of 
deflection from the course of duty is to be found in 
the love of Christ, that is, love for Christ. He must 
learn to apply this antidote in its different aspects to 
each department of need, coming to understand how 
various forms and developments of love are capable, 
by varied application, of overpowering corresponding 
forms of evil ; how self-love l is only to be expelled by \ 
bringing against it the application of higher love. 

Let us suppose however that, as will most generally 
be the case, the priest is led to the conclusion that the 
inquirer has not yet converted his life, but is still 
living under the control of his lower nature, even 
though he may sincerely desire to be set free from the 
tyrant s yoke. His first duty is, of course, to set clearly 
before the penitent the object which is to be attained, 

1 The term " self-love," however, it is to be observed, is a mis 
nomer, strictly speaking. Love means outgoing from self. There 
are such things as self-gratification, and so forth, but there is really 
no such thing as self-love. (See 2 Cor. v. 14, and 2 Cor. x. 5 in the 
Greek.) 



90 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

namely, the love of Christ, and participation in that 
life of glory and purity and beauty which is Christ s 
as the result of His Incarnation ; by which latter 
term is meant the act of His taking into communion 
with Himself in His infinite Godhead the nature of man 
in its entirety, in order that by that definite contact 
it might be transformed and infused with His own life 
and restored to mankind in its ennobled and glorified 
condition. Of course this grand and mysterious truth 
is set before the inquirer in such a form, and with such 
a degree of child-like plainness and simplicity, as may 
be necessary in order to enable him to take it in such a 
manner as to assist him to realise its application to 
himself as answering to the deepest cravings of his 
nature. He will generally be slow in grasping this 
aspect of saving truth. The motive most usual in 
bringing a sinner to his knees is that of mere selfish 
fear ; its question is, " What must I do to be saved ? " 
a distinctly selfish motive. Nor, as we may believe, 
is even this selfish approach necessarily rejected. Even 
though the sinner be rather driven to Christ by his 
fears than drawn to Him by his affections, he will not 
on that account be excluded. If the higher motives 
will not suffice to bring him to Christ, a lower one may 
have this effect ; if he cannot go to Him as the Magi 
did, " with the offering of a free heart," at all events he 
may approach Him as " fleeing from the wrath to 
come." l Yet, though self-interest be the first motive 
for the approach, it cannot be really effective in 
attaining its object unless the penitent proceed to the 
further step of seeking Love by an effort which has an 
element of love within it. There is profound signi 
ficance in those words of our Lord, " Her sins, which 

1 St. Matt. iii. 7. 



TREATMENT OF INDIVIDUAL SOULS 91 

are many, are forgiven ; for she loved much." 1 The 
priest s endeavour, therefore, would be to set before the 
penitent, as far as he is capable of receiving it, this 
particular aspect of the work of salvation the 
invitatory attitude of a loving Saviour, rather than the 
mere offer of deliverance from a dreaded penalty. 
This is the ideal method of approach, though, in the 
majority of cases perhaps, he will find the inquirer 
incapable of apprehending it at the outset. 

One great requisite in dealing with a penitent at 
this early stage is that of tenderness and consideration, 
not expecting too much, nor too rapid an advance. 
The priest finds him, at all events, " grieved and wearied 
with the burden of his sin " ; or it may be perhaps 
hardly even " grieved " ; rather oppressed and terrified, 
seeking safety, that is, release from penalty rather than 
release from the power, and cleansing from the stain 
of the sin itself. It is to this latter point, therefore, 
that his attention is first directed, and he will find his 
chief difficulty in the effort to impress upon the inquirer 
a sense of the heinousness of sin as considered in itself, 
and quite apart from penal consequences that may be 
threatened. One who has not taken this form of 
pastoral work in hand can form no idea of the difficulty 
which is often experienced in bringing about the result 
which is now under consideration. The fact of realising 
it as a difficulty to be dealt with, yes, struggled with, is 
perhaps the best means of guiding the priest in fitting 
himself to encounter it. He feels that the whole 
welfare of his undertaking depends upon his success 
in leading the inquirer to make from his heart 
spontaneously the free confession : "I have sinned 
against the Lord " consciousness of doing despite to a 

1 St. Luke vii. 47. 



92 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

Father s love that is the only view of sin which can 
lead to repentance in any true sense. To this point 
therefore, the director is seeking to guide his pupil ; 
how it is to be done must depend in great measure upon 
his own judgment ; his success in so doing will depend 
very greatly upon his own personal interest in the 
matter, his sympathy with the penitent, and his own 
attainment as regards love for the Lord. Intense 
earnestness will be necessary on his own part as a means 
yC of conveying the same sentiment to his hearer. There 
|) is nothing so contagious as real earnestness unless it 
I be real indifference. The priest should bear this fact 
I in mind throughout, in order that it may consciously 
I influence his treatment of his patient. 
/ Nowadays we may recognise a special unwillingness 
/to realise and recognise sin as a serious barrier between 
the soul and God ; it is rather looked upon as a mis 
fortune, as an obstacle to a man s own welfare. Hence 
the necessity of enforcing the conception of the love 
of God as requiring the response of love on the part of 
the creature which is its object. Sin consists in 
wilfully " grieving the Holy Spirit of God whereby ye 
are sealed " 1 sealed with the seal of a Father s love. 
The inquirer should be led to recognise his sin in its 
twofold effect 

(1) That of defilement, making him an object unfit 
for the Father s loving view. 

(2) That of crippling, paralysing his capability for 
effort after good, after carrying out that work of love 
which belongs to his position as a child of a loving 
Father. 

He must be shown that God is " of purer eyes than 
to behold evil," 2 and that evil in any form must 
1 Eph. iv. 30. * Hab. i. 13. 



TREATMENT OF INDIVIDUAL SOULS 93 

necessarily be offensive to the eyes of Him with Whom 
the law of Order which is Love is the law of His own 
Person, and the law of the universe of His realm. Sin 
is nothing more and nothing less than a breach, wilful 
and deliberate, of this universal law which is not only 
God s, but which also is God Himself, namely, that 
perfect order which is love. Sin consists in being out of 
harmony with the All-harmonious. 

It is not proposed that the priest should endeavour 
to instil these particular sentiments into the mind of 
his patient, but rather that his own soul be possessed 
with them and directed by the spirit which would be 
the necessary outcome of a loving consciousness of 
these grand truths. 

Now would come the enumeration of acts and habits 
of personal sin in the way of commission and omission, 
and including sins of thought, word and deed. These 
should be dealt with, as has already been urged, in 
relation to the main principle lying at the root of all 
the love or non-love of God. Hence, as has been 
already intimated, care should be taken to inquire 
into the extent to which each form of offence has been 
practised or indulged, guarding against anything like 
softening down or mitigation. The object, in view is 
that of leading the penitent to a realisation, as full and 
complete as possible, of his condition as an offender 
against the Divine Love ; and further, to a recognition 
of those particular forms of sin wherein his state as a 
sinner mainly consists. 

The inquiry must be searching and explicit, but not 
to the extent of pressing for details such as may be 
offensive in character. Let not the priest fail to exact 
acknowledgment of the kind of sin, and the degree of 
sin the extent to which it has been carried, and its 



94 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

frequency ; whether as an occasional thing or a con 
firmed habit ; how far striven against, and to what 
extent and under what circumstances found irresistible. 
Let him examine the patient definitely as to the forms 
which it takes in its lesser developments, and in any 
approaches to it which may fall short of actual in- 
( dulgence in the sin itself. Let him ascertain, and point 
\out to the offender, the avenues through which the 
/ tempter makes his advances, and which therefore need 
( to be carefully kept in mind and fortified against 
future attacks. Insist on his keeping nothing back 
which may be needful to delineate the sin in question 
in its full extent. Remember that your main object 
is to get at, and open to the sinner s view, the springs 
and sources of his sin, and to show how these find their 
development in definite practice, in action and omission. 
In the majority of cases, perhaps in almost every case 
with which he is dealing for the first time, the priest 
will find it necessary to open the patient s eyes to an 
entirely new view of the character and degree of his 
sinfulness. His own view is almost sure to be a super 
ficial one, or perhaps even an entirely mistaken one. 
What he regards as his leading sins may possibly be 
comparatively slight ones, that is, in comparison with 
others deeper down, of the extent of which perhaps he 
has little or no idea. He may thus have failed entirely 
to learn the real forms of sin for which he specially 
needs pardon and cure. Beware of healing " the hurt 
of my people slightly." 

There are three main aspects under which most 
forms of sin may be grouped, the first two answering 
to two leading forms of temperament 

(i) First there is the sin of self-indulgence in its 
various aspects and developments. 



TREATMENT OF INDIVIDUAL SOULS 95 

This form of tendency is often associated with a 
character of kindness, even generosity, and especially 
with dispositions of easy good nature. A person with 
this type of temperament will be placable, not easily 
offended, and easily appeased. He will even exhibit 
a certain capacity for self-denial (so long as it does not 
touch the true inner springs of his selfishness) for the 
sake of giving pleasure to others, the motive being the 
pleasure thus afforded to himself in gratitude or 
reciprocal good offices. The evil of it consists in the 
underlying motive of self -pleasing. It may go to the 
extent of the foulest vice, or excess in any form, 
depending on the constitution and circumstances. In 
any case, such a one is a lover of pleasure rather than 
a lover of God. Dives is a type of this form of sin. 
" In their lifetime they seek their good things." x 
Such people make this present state their rest, and that 
rest is in creature comforts. What is their sin ? 

It is represented by the second commandment in 
the First Table and by the seventh in the Second Table 
(see Rom. i. 25). St. Paul, in the first chapter of the 
Epistle to the Romans, verses 25 to the end, gives an 
awful picture of the depths of abomination to which 
indulgence in this form of sin may lead. But the extent 
of the sin depends not so much on the grossness of its 
form as in the degree in which the sinner yields himself 
to the temptation as it appeals to his particular case ; 
upon the degree of completeness in which he gives 
himself up to it, in which, in fact, he forsakes God for 
the idol. For example, a man who would shudder 
with horror at the form in which this sin is depicted 
in the passage to which reference has been made, may, 
nevertheless, incur guilt as deep in the sight of God by 

1 St. Luke xvi. 25. 



96 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

his indulgence in what may appear a much less heinous 
aspect of it, simply because this latter happens to be 
the only form in which this kind of sin has an attraction 
for him. 

The symptoms of this class of sin will be shown in 
deflections from duty as well as in positive acts of 
transgression, and especially in sloth or indisposition 
for the fulfilment of duty. The priest will form his 
judgment with reference to the prevalence of this 
class of sin by careful consideration, and by comparing 
the various instances of sinful act or omission which 
the penitent has to confess. He must remember that 
they are only symptoms, and must make it his effort 
to trace them to their source. For example, dis 
honesty, duplicity, i.e. untruth in any form, may often 
be the direct consequences of this form of sin, and the 
cure of these faults must therefore oftentimes be sought 
(in the work of tracing it out to its source and seeking 
( to apply the remedy there. A test question for this 
kind of treatment is such a one as this : 

" In what kind of things do you place your feeling 
of rest ? In what directions do you turn as your source 
of solace and comfort under care and wear and tear ? " 

The opposite of this form of sin antidote and 
substitute is the love of God. 

(2) The second form of tendency is that which we 
might designate as consisting in the spirit of uncharity. 

Its root is pride. It may be accompanied by a 
considerable capacity for real self-denial and a fair 
degree of freedom from tendencies towards indulgence 
in the natural appetites or in the habit of indulgence. 
It is active and energetic ; in fact, one of its symptoms 
is that of contempt for those who are otherwise, for 
the idle, self-indulgent, sensual, One of its leading 



TREATMENT OF INDIVIDUAL SOULS 97 

symptoms, therefore, is that of a spirit of censoriousness. 
Its developments are exhibited in a disposition for 
malice in all its forms and degrees ; it may go to the 
extent which tempts to murder or the infliction of 
other injury, or it may simply take the form of per 
manent resentment. It may exhibit itself in the shape 
of hasty anger (0>juoe) or of settled ill-will (bpyit). 
The extent of the sinfulness would not depend so much 
on the actual degree to which it has been carried, as 
to that degree and form to which the position and 
circumstances of the sinner would tempt him to carry 
it. Hence the impossibility of appraising the degree 
of sinfulness in any case. The varying constitution 
of the sinner and the varying forms of temptation as 
applied to various instances may bring about the 
result that the sin which is intrinsically identical in 
two or more instances of its performance may be 
attended with widely varying degrees of guilt in the 
perpetrators. 

One main characteristic, and at the same time 
most serious form, in which this class of disposition is 
manifested is that of the spirit of unforgivingness. 
This is one of the most obstinate forms of sin ; most 
difficult to eradicate. It may not lead the sinner to 
any overt act, or even language expressive of the 
feeling, but it lies hidden in the heart, making it 
impossible for the sinner to use the Lord s Prayer with 
any reality, and hence, of course, for him to obtain 
pardon for his own sins. The vital necessity for 
special attention to, and drastic dealing with, this 
form of sin is manifest from the fact of our Lord s 
reference to it in this prayer, and also from the corollary 
which follows this prayer in St. Matthew s version of 
it, "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly 



98 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

Father will also forgive you. But if ye forgive not 
men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive 
your trespasses." l 

Men of this class of temperament are generally the 
staunchest friends, whereas those of the first class are 
not to be so depended upon. Johnson realised this 
thoroughly when he said, " I love a good hater " ; yet 
this is not the true fulfilling of the charge, " Love your 
enemies. . . . For if ye love them which love you, 
what reward have ye ? do not even the publicans 
so ? " 2 The achievement of this state of mind may 
appear impossible where grievous wrong has been 
suffered and never repented of ; and, of course, the 
term " love " is not to be understood in the same sense 
in which it is ordinarily applied with reference to 
objects of positive affectionate regard. The " love " 
which is required in this injunction may be regarded 
as amounting, in the first place, to the absence of 
resentment, and in the second place, to that remarkable 
form of sentiment which Seeley so graphically sets 
forth in his Ecce Homo, and which he designates by 
the term " enthusiasm of humanity," i.e. love for 
humanity as such. 

The stress laid by our Lord on the virtue of 
philanthropy treating it as something the existence 
of which in the character necessarily involved the 
possession of all other elements of excellence is no 
doubt the key-thought to the wKole system of Christian 
ethics. He lays it down as the principle on which the 
final judgment of mankind at the end of the world 
will be based : "I was an hungred, and ye gave me 
meat. . . . Inasmuch as ye have done, it unto one of 
the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto 
1 St. Matt. vi. 14, 15. * St. Matt. v. 44-46. 



TREATMENT OF INDIVIDUAL SOULS 99 

me." 1 Seeley speaks of the enthusiasm of humanity 
as " the passion which can lift a man clean out of all 
sin whatever." He takes it to be something more 
than the love of individuals as such, or yet the love of 
a state or community or race which would be a 
passion of the same nature as patriotism for " The 
patriot," he says, " is not by any means above the 
temptation to private injustice or treachery, nor will 
he become more so when his country is the world." 2 
He regards this enthusiasm as " a third kind of love," 3 
" not of the race nor of the individual, but of the race 
in the individual ; . . . the love not of all men nor 
yet of every man, but of the man in every man." 4 
The true view of this form of love is that which recognises 
in it the love for the Ideal Man, that is, the Christ in 
every man. This was one of the great maxims which 
St. Vincent de Paul set forth as the guiding rules of 
his own life, namely, that one of looking for the Christ 
in every_ man, in his dealings even with the most 
unresponsive and repulsive members of his charge, and 
addressing himself to that. 

There are certain sins which are common to both 
classes, and which are to be accounted for by the 
motives which the priest s knowledge of each class 
supplies, for example, disobedience to authority, master 
fulness, arrogance, deceit, fraud, dishonesty in all its 
forms. These two classes will branch into innumerable 
varieties, and will even appear to mingle in the same 
individual. Some persons seem predisposed to deceit- 
fulness and undue secretiveness, but if the scrutiny be 
carried to the root of the character in question, such 
tendencies may generally be traced to one or other of 

1 St. Matt. xxv. 35-40. * Ecce Homo, cap. xiii. 

3 Ibid. * Ibid. 



100 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

the two fundamental principles, those namely which 
stand in contrast respectively to the two leading 
principles of religion, the self-seeking character having 
for its contrast the love of God, the uncharitable 
character having for its contrast the love of 
neighbour. 

What is to be aimed at then is a love of man for man 
apart from any individual claims for love. This may 
perhaps be taken as a good definition of the modern 
term " altruism." The highest motive for this is 
the love of Christ and of all humanity, because Christ 
is in it, permeates it throughout. Our Lord Himself 
teaches us that this is the essence of Christianity. Its 
absence, therefore, must necessarily involve a repudia 
tion of the root principle of Christianity. It is this 
which constitutes the seriousness of the offence, while 
at the same time it is one of the most delusive of all 
forms of sin, because it is free from the grossness which 
imparts a repellent character to other forms of sin, and 
even carries with it a spurious aspect of justice, of dealing 
with others as they deal with you. Very full and care 
ful treatment will therefore be necessary in dealing 
with this subtle and dangerous form of evil. 

It has been said that pride was the root principle 
underlying this class of sin tendency. The pride here 
referred to does not indeed include the form of it which 
is known as vanity, for this rather belongs to the 
former class, that of self-pleasing. The form of pride 
which is now in question has for its outcome the 
tendency to masterfulness, arrogance, harshness on the 
one hand, and disobedience, insubordination, or lack 
of consideration for the claims of authority, respect, 
deference, reverence, on the other. If the first of 
these two classes may be characterised by the term 



TREATMENT OF INDIVIDUAL SOULS 101 

selfishness, the term self-will is perhaps the most 
comprehensive designation of the second. 

(3) There is a third class of sin which may be called 
Satan-sin, and may be said to consist in the defiance of 
God. 

It is no doubt the sin against the Holy Ghost, and 
is that which lies at the root of the Third Command 
ment, being the sin of direct enmity against God. 
Profanity, in a sense, may be regarded as a sin under 
this class, for profanity has its source in anger against 
God. 

The sin against the Holy Ghost calls for special 
attention, for a large proportion of penitents, if not all, 
are at one time or another oppressed by the dread of 
being guilty of this sin, and therefore in a hopeless 
condition. The case to which our Lord refers in 
speaking of this sin should be carefully noted. 1 It 
was after the dawn of conviction began to show itself 
in the hearts of the observers of His miracle of evicting 
a dumb spirit, leading them to cry out, " Is not this 
the son of David ? " The Pharisees at once set them 
selves to stifle this budding life at its outset ; they 
ascribed our Lord s miracle to the agency of Satan 
himself, against whose tyrannous rule it was actually 
aimed. The sin consisted in the fact that the Pharisees 
recognised the budding life as true life, and the work 
of God s Spirit, yet, nevertheless, set themselves in 
opposition against it from motives of enmity against 
Christ as its Giver, If the charge had been actuated 
on their part by mere fanaticism or ignorance it would 
not have been an act of direct and conscious antagonism 
to the Holy Spirit. Hence, blasphemy against the 
Holy Ghost signifies the direct and conscious attempt 
1 St. Matt. xii. 22, 23. Cp, St. Mark iii. 22-29. 



102 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

to oppose His influence for the promotion of life in the 
hearts of others, and is therefore spiritual murder so 
far as regards the will and effort of the perpetrator. 
Moreover, to be really guilty of it a man must neces 
sarily have stamped out within himself whatever he 
had of the Spirit s life or capacity for life ; he must 
have committed spiritual suicide before he can wilfully 
attempt spiritual murder wilfully, for a man may 
even lead others into temptation and sin, and thus 
bring fearful guilt upon his soul, without yet having 
reached the condition of one who has wholly abandoned 
himself to the opposition against God as God, and good 
as good ; and for him there may be hope. His motive 
may have been simply that of self-gratification in some 
form. The penitent who is troubled by fears on this 
subject may be comforted by the assurance that the 
very fact of anxiety on the subject is a strong presump 
tion that the Holy Spirit is still striving with his soul, 
and hence, that the door of hope is still open to him. 

It must be remembered that every form of sin has 
as its natural issue the final result of death death in 
its full and ultimate sense that of utter separation 
from God. Whatever produces wilful separation of 
the human will from God s will, or of the human heart 
from God s love, is soul-destroying, and has death as 
its goal, the death that means hell. x 

1 The question, " What is Hell ? " is better left unanswered, 
except in so far as that it means the horror of great darkness, the 
disintegration of all the faculties, the misery in all departments 
of sensation, which must come about when the cosmos of human 
nature is cast into hopeless and final disorder by permanent separa 
tion from God, by Whose loving presence and operation the Order 
at all points which is man s normal condition (as love from a 
physical, and as happiness from a mental point of view) can alone 
be maintained. " The worm that never dies " ; " The gnawing of 
hopeless remorse " ; " The fire that is never quenched " ; or 
" Passion ever raging, never satisfying " ; " The chains of hamper- 



TREATMENT OF INDIVIDUAL SOULS 103 

There are different degrees in this condemnation 
corresponding to differing degrees in glory, " even as 
one star differeth from another in glory." Sins which 
have their source merely in passion, in the abuse of 
natural faculties and dispositions, are, no doubt, as 
surely fatal to the soul s life as any other form of evil. 
They incur damnation, yet not so deep and so black as 
that which represents the condition of the man who has 
deliberately assumed the position of a satan (an enemy 
to God and good), ranging himself under the standard 
of the great Satan as fighting in the ranks of Hate 
against the Love-principle of the cosmos. This latter 
is, no doubt, the " sin unto death " of which St. John 
speaks as past praying for (if this is the meaning of 
the passage i St. John v. 16.), i.e. sin which has carried 
the soul to the actual consummation of spiritual death. 

We may safely take it as an unquestionable fact 
that no sin is in itself unpardonable if only the will to 

ing constraint " ; are but figures of speech shadowing forth certain 
features of this awful condition. But be it observed, they are all 
self-caused, not God-inflicted, and follow as necessary consequences 
of a course of action of which, in their earlier aspects, they are 
characteristic features. In those earlier aspects they are attended 
with a certain measure of what may be called pleasure, and, no 
doubt, is real pleasure, because not yet divested from the condition 
of things in which good and evil are mingled. (Pleasure, no doubt, 
is in its essence good ; as part of the Divine intention for the happi 
ness of His creatures. Its abuse may be a means of gross sin, as, 
say, the indulgence of our first parents in the forbidden fruit, namely, 
their selection in defiance of the Divine Will of the time and manner 
of their participation of that form of good which God s will had reserved 
for His own.) In their final form, no doubt, the pleasure attending 
such exercises has vanished, and nothing but horror remains. It is 
not God Who punishes ; the punishment is self-inflicted, and con 
sists really in the rejection of those benefits which the loving presence 
of God conveys. 

The question why God permits it, or, in other words, permits 
evil, must remain unanswered while the world lasts. It is not a 
question with which we are concerned, for the state of perdition 
is not one which we need incur. The door of salvation is open for 
us, and for all who are willing to accept the invitation to enter. 

II 



104 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

repent and turn from it be present. Sin which is 
characterised as beyond the reach of pardon is only 
so because the sinner has destroyed within himself the 
faculty for repentance. Sin against the Holy Ghost 
then may be said to represent the climax of a course 
of wilful self-hardening, whereby the will has not only 
extinguished within itself, deliberately and knowingly, 
every invitatory impulse which the Holy Spirit lovingly 
exerts for its salvation, but has definitely placed itself 
in a position of conscious antagonism to the will of 
God as such. The reading adopted in the Revised 
Version for St. Mark iii. 29, " Is guilty of an eternal 
sin/ would seem to represent the true solution of the 
difficulty often alleged in the idea of an infinite penalty 
for a finite sin. The fact is that the sentence is eternal 
only because the sin is eternal, and is actually the 
natural accompaniment of the sin and not an external 
punishment. Repentance can never fail in securing 
pardon. 

It may, however, oftentimes be difficult to make 
sure of the existence of true repentance, of distinguishing 
true sorrow for sin as such sorrow which leads the 
sinner necessarily to turn from his sin, to hate sin as 
sin and not only as the cause of penalty from the mere 
slavish dread of the penalty which is the consequence 
of sin. It is sometimes as difficult for the sinner as 
for the priest to make this distinction, to be really sure 
of the genuineness of his repentance. Many instances 
of clear self-deceiving in this respect might be adduced 
from every priest s pastoral experience, instances in 
which the unreality of the repentance is evinced by the 
disappearance of the sentiment which stimulated it 
as soon as the emotion of fear which was its moving 
cause has been removed. In fact, we may say that the 



TREATMENT Otf INDIVIDUAL SOULS 105 

only safe test of genuineness of repentance is that which 
is found in the witness of a changed life in encounter 
with temptation. What is known as " death-bed 
repentance " must always have an element of un 
certainty about it, although, of course, the principle of 
hope is always to be encouraged. 

The penitent then will, in many cases, need to be 
guided in the detection of his besetting sin, and be 
taught to follow it up into the various departments of 
his life. He must ascertain what special acts of 
offence it may have directly or indirectly occasioned. 
The object the priest has in view should always be 
that of leading the penitent to learn and to keep track 
of the working of these tendencies for himself ; the 
priest s motive being that of getting the penitent to be, 
as soon as possible and as fully as possible, independent 
of external priestly ministration. He must learn to 
be quick at recognising any deflection from the straight 
onward course of dut}^ from the direction of the 
" single eye " fixed on Christ. He is to be guarded 
most emphatically against a superficial view of sin. .- 
This is one of the main dangers incident to the spiritual 
life. Little instances of forgetfulness or indifference 
will often take up in the person s mind the place which 
should be occupied by the thought of deeper sins which 
they are apt to overlook. In all cases where the sins 
confessed are mere peccadillos (and every experienced 
priest is aware how frequent such cases are, even among 
those in the habit of making confession), it is an un 
questionable fact that the penitent is losing sight of 
grave and serious sins which sorely need treatment, 
and to which it is the priest s business to open the 
penitent s eyes. While human nature is what it is, 
grave sin must always be present and more or less as 



106 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

a habit, though it may be striven against and to a 
great extent kept under. Where there is no sign of 
this conscious recognition of real, grave sin, and of a 
steady conflict being carried on against it, the priest 
may feel assured that serious danger exists, to a sense 
of which the penitent needs to be aroused. 

His object then should be that of training the 
penitent in self-examination and self-detection, and 
the priest should not be satisfied until he has led him 
to a true view of the nature of his own peculiar form 
of sin, in such a manner as to enable him to enter into 
and realise that state of feeling on the subject which 
is expressed in the Confession of the Communion 
Service. Let him take this as a test of the truth and 
fulness of the apprehension of his sinfulness in God s 
sight. When once this condition of true apprehension 
of sin is attained, and the penitent has learnt to follow 
out his sin into its various aspects of omission and 
commission, of thought, word, and deed, and has learnt 
to gauge his whole conduct unsparingly by this test, he 
is on the way to fit himself for the higher form of 
confession, namely, that which is made directly to 
Christ Himself without the intervention of a human 
priest. 

The investigation into the penitent s position as a 
sinner having been thus completed, the priest next 
proceeds to set briefly but distinctly and gently before 
the penitent a view of the general form and character 
of the sins which he has confessed, and to instruct him 
to bring them, as a conscious act on his own part, into 
the presence of Christ ; and, as it were, lay them down 
at the foot of the cross. 

He must be taught to realise that it is from the sin 
that he seeks to be free, not the sin s punishment, 



TREATMENT OF INDIVIDUAL SOULS 107 

except in a secondary sense. Hence the necessity 
of renouncing sin as a definite act. When the penitent 
has once succeeded in grasping a true sense of his 
condition as a sinner a consummation which he may 
now be supposed to have fairly attained his part in 
the sacramental act of confession may be said to have 
seven stages : 

(1) That of recalling the sin, realising, recognising 
it as an awful fact. 

(2) The experience of sorrow for sin as an offence 
against the Divine Love. This necessarily implies such 
a recognition of that Love as involves some degree of 
responsive love on the penitent s part. 

(3) The act of will in renouncing the sin thus 
recognised, deliberately putting it from him as implied 
in the work of conversion. 

(4) The act of confession proper, submitting the 
sin for absolution to the great High Priest, laying it 
before him as it were with a full sense of utter culpa 
bility. 

(5) The acceptance by an act of faith of the gift of 
pardon, the gift which, as it were, abolishes the sin, 
and hence at once conveys to the penitent the blessing 
of admission to the Divine Love, from which the sin 
while present had debarred him. 

(6) The act of seeking the grace of the Holy Spirit 
to fortify his soul for its warfare against sin in the 
future. 

(7) The act of setting about the use of that grace ; 
for, no doubt, the effort to this end must follow instan 
taneously on the reception of the gift in order to make 
it effectual. 

As has been urged already, the priest must keep 
before the penitent s view the presence of the Personal 



108 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

Christ, and remind him of the fact that it is to this 
Presence that every word and action on his part must 
be consciously addressed. It may be well, after the 
view of the penitent s sinfulness has been clearly put 
before him, that the priest should address to him the 
question : "Do you now renounce these sins which 
you now confess ? " and that the penitent should 
answer : "I renounce them all." Also, after setting 
before him the view of the great High Priest as the 
Forgiver of sin, that he should address to him the ques 
tion : " Dost thou believe in Jesus Christ as thy 
Redeemer and the Forgiver of thy sins ? " to which 
it will be enough for him to reply by the simple ex 
pression, " I believe." The priest then lays his hand on 
the penitent s head and pronounces the Absolution 
as given in the Office for the Visitation of the Sick. 

It will generally be found desirable, after the 
confession of sin has been completed, and before the 
two questions and answers referred to, that a short 
prayer or collect should be used asking for grace to 
approach the coming sacramental gift in the true 
spirit of penitence and faith. After the Absolution 
will follow one or two suitable collects, concluding 
with the twofold form of blessing in the Visitation of 
the Sick, beginning with the words, " O Saviour of the 
world." 

The almost startling distinctness and positiveness 
with which the action of Absolution is expressed in the 
form just referred to has deterred many devout and 
conscientious priests from its use. And, in fact, the 
responsibility attending its use may well be regarded 
as so awful as to make necessary the utmost searching 
of heart before a man dares to take it into his lips. 
The peril of contributing towards the perdition of a 



TREATMENT OF INDIVIDUAL SOULS 109 

soul by encouraging it in a condition which falls short 
of that which is contemplated in the action, is something 
which may" well appear almost too weighty for mortal 
man to bear. Of course anything like perfection in 
the qualifications of penitence and faith which the 
sinner is supposed to bring to the sacrament is out of 
the question ; but the element of reality and deep 
sincerity must be present, as well as true comprehension 
of what is implied in both. Before taking into his 
lips these awful words the priest must be enabled to 
assure himself that his part in the matter has been 
fully and faithfully fulfilled, and that in his conscience 
he is persuaded that the penitent s part has also been 
fully and faithfully fulfilled to the best of his capacity. 
The spiritual director must bear in mind the 
necessity of warning the penitent of the dangers 
attending thejreactioa which, in the natural course of 
things, will be likely to follow the strain of devotional 
effort involved in the exercise in which he has been 
engaged. The glow of spiritual fervour and exaltation of 
faith by the consciousness of the unspeakable blessed 
ness of the gift which has been received is a form of 
emotion which, from its very nature, must be transient. 
There is danger lest, in the cooling down of the emotion, 
the good results which it has been the means of stimula 
tion may be suffered to fade and die. In any case, the 
cooling down of religious emotion gives the adversary 
the opportunity of which he is never slow to take 
advantage. No doubt this is one of the great tests of 
the sincerity and earnestness of the penitent, of the 
reality of his confession and his acceptance of the 
absolution. The true test of earnestness, reality in 
the work of undertaking, consists not in what the man 
says or does under the influence of excited feeling, but 



110 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

in what he says and does when the excitement has died 
away, when effort has to be made as it were in cold 
blood, and often as it might seem against the grain. 
It may no doubt be said that the most effectual efforts 
of the spiritual life, and those which bring the greatest 
blessing, are those which are made under these circum 
stances, and which are only accomplished by determined 
opposition to the inclination of the time being. Our 
Lord s temptation in the wilderness immediately 
following the outpouring of grace consequent upon the 
descent of the Holy Spirit upon Him by the waters of 
Jordan ; l and again, St. Paul s translation into the 
third heaven followed by the " thorn in the flesh, a 
messenger of Satan to buffet " 2 him, are instances 
evidently intended to warn us of the general rule in 
I spiritual things : after great grace, great trial. The 
penitent therefore needs to be warned at this critical 
moment to exercise watchfulness at the time of cooling 
emotion which is certainly at hand ; warned that his 
sincerity is to be tested, not by his feelings at the 
present time, but by his actions when the present 
feeling of fervour has passed away. 

The question will naturally be raised as to the length 
of time which would necessarily be occupied in the 
process of treatment which has been sketched in the 
preceding pages, and the writer would take advantage 
of this opportunity to express his conviction of the 
necessity of such a prolonged course of treatment, 
especially in the case of those who are novices in the 
realities of the spiritual life, if the treatment is to be 
productive of any permanent effect and is to penetrate 
into the real depths of the man s inner nature. His 
experience would teach him that a man cannot be 
1 St. Mark i. 9-1 3a. * 2 Cor. xii. 2-10. 



TREATMENT OF INDIVIDUAL SOULS 111 

hurried into the possession of spiritual life. The mind 
must be left to " work out its own salvation with fear 
and trembling/ * only guided in so doing by wise and 
kindly direction ; and can only attain it step by step, 
each stage of advance being carefully made sure before 
the next is aimed at. The writer would commend this 
view most earnestly to the consideration of his younger 
brethren. His own experience is to the effect that more 
than one interview, sometimes several, will be found 
necessary before the confession is satisfactorily com 
pleted and the penitent may be regarded as ripe for 
absolution. 

1 Phil. ii. 12. 



THE SICK 

I. GENERAL 

THE sick, for the purpose of spiritual treatment, 
may generally be divided into four classes as 
regards their condition of infirmity 

1. The aged or permanently infirm. 

2. Sickness of considerable duration, but not 
permanent. 

3. Temporary and not immediately dangerous 
sickness. 

4. Dangerous or mortal sickness, again subdivded 
into 

(a) Slow and long continued. 

(b) Comparatively rapid. 

(c) Hurried cases, e.g. where the patient has 

but a few days or hours to live. 

In connection with any of these, special treatment 
may be required for cases in which the powers of the 
mind are affected, whether by way of exhaustion or 
aberration. 

A different and carefully thought-out method will 
have to be undertaken in each of these several classes. 
No extemporary or haphazard treatment should be 
practised. It may be well in each case to have a 
method drawn out in writing, including subjects of 
reading and exhortation, prayers, Offices used, and so 



THE SICK 113 

forth. Of course these will have to be modified by 
circumstances, and by any peculiarities of character 
and disposition which the patient may develop. Under 
the skilful touch of the experienced practitioner the 
patient may develop conditions of soul entirely novel 
and unexpected. 

With regard to their spiritual condition patients 
may roughly be divided into five classes 

1. Faithful and devout Church-people. 

2. The careless, formal, and indifferent. 

3. The manifestly irreligious, Churchmen or other 
wise. 

4. Dissenters, religiously minded. 

5. The sceptical or unbelieving. 

It may be difficult to decide into which category 
his patient is to be assigned, but the pastor must, like 
the physician, carefully note all the symptoms, taking 
into consideration whatever knowledge he may possess 
of his patient s lack of conversion, and form his judg 
ment and regulate his treatment accordingly. The 
best course will usually be to ascertain the patient s 
own view of his condition by direct questions, plain 
and straightforward, yet carefully chosen ; any 
bluntness or harshness, or anything which is likely 
to wound the feelings unnecessarily, being carefully 
avoided. The class to which the patient belongs, and 
the treatment to be pursued, must at the outset be a 
matter of careful consideration and prayer for guidance. 
The pastor must avoid the two opposite forms of error : 
(i) depending on his own powers, (2) neglecting to 
exercise those powers to the utmost, as expecting 
spiritual guidance apart from that exercise. It is said 
somewhere, " To pray without working is presumption ; 
to work without praying is atheism." The man who, 



114 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

instead of exercising careful self-preparation, allows 
himself to approach this duty unprepared has no right 
to expect that the hurried uplifting of a prayer for 
help and guidance, at the moment when it is needed, 
will draw down such spiritual aid as to make up for the 
deficiency caused by his own laziness and negligence. 

As to the length of the visit, better too short than too 
long. Twenty minutes may perhaps as a general rule 
represent a duration which is sufficient without being 
too lengthy. In cases of extremity it will often be 
necessary to cut down the visit to a much shorter 
period, five minutes being sometimes as long as a 
patient s condition will bear. 

The priest must, of course, make a point of keeping 
himself in cordial touch with the doctor. Difficulties 
between the two professions often arise with regard to 
this matter of sick visitation. Such difficulties, how 
ever, as the writer s experience would tend to suggest, 
are in most cases the consequence of lack of judgment 
on the part of the clergyman. Whenever he manifests 
a readiness to place himself in the doctor s hands as 
regards time, the duration and character of his visits, 
he will seldom find much serious objection on the part 
of the latter. In fact, the experienced physician will 
generally recognise that the ministrations of a wise and 
gentle clergyman have a beneficial effect in the way of 
quieting and soothing the patient s nerves, and there 
fore, even when no one else is admitted to the sick-bed, 
the priest s visits will be allowed under proper restric 
tions. In the sick-room the doctor s word is law. The 
priest may indeed recognise his own rights as guardian 
of the soul, as the doctor is of the body, but practically 
speaking, he will not find it feasible to pit himself as a 
matter of right against the physician of the body. 



THE SICK 115 

Hence his only course is to make it a matter of earnest 
effort to establish and maintain friendly relations and 
mutual confidence between himself and the doctor. 

In cases where the patient s condition is not of 
that extreme character calling for special brevity on 
this account, a little general conversation on ordinary 
topics may be a suitable opening for the visit, and may 
tend to do away with anything like stiffness or 
formality. 

In proceeding to the really spiritual ministrations 
it is absolutely necessary to secure the kindly and 
cordial attention of the patient, to avoid anything 
which may have the effect of repelling or irritating 
him. To this end the very greatest patience is requisite. 
The priest should avoid pressing his exhortations if 
the patient appear tired or fretful. He should in this 
case desist with a good grace and in a good humour, 
and let them stand over for another occasion. He 
must himself beware of the very slightest loss of temper. 
At the same time let it be understood that these matters 
are standing over, not abandoned. 

It is a matter of great importance that the priest 
should make a point of seeing the patient alone from 
time to time, especially in his earlier visits. This is 
necessary in order that he may come to an under 
standing with the patient as early as possible, and the 
attainment of this object must be brought about 
carefully and deliberately, and in no wise hurried over. 
Arrangements for his being left alone with the patient 
should be made with the friends before entering the 
sick-room, in order that it may be brought about 
easily and naturally so as to avoid the possibility of 
disturbing the patient s feelings by making the request 
in his presence. It will, however, be desirable that 



116 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

friends should be present during a portion at any rate 
of each visit (except in cases of extreme weakness or 
nervousness), and in general, that the family should 
be present during a brief office of reading and prayer 
with which the clergyman will usually close his visit. 

In many cases it will be found desirable from time 
to time for the priest to pray with the patient alone 
after having attained his confidence as to the needs 
which the prayer should specially express. The main 
reason for being often alone with the patient is that of 
affording opportunities for the reposal of such con 
fidence. The faithful priest will always make it a 
matter of earnest endeavour and careful thought to 
invite and draw out this confidence. He must feel 
that he has not attained his true position as pastor 
until he has won the patient over to speak freely and 
confidentially to him. For the attainment of this end 
he should make it manifest that he regards sin from the 
standpoint of a fellow-sinner with heartfelt sympathy 
for the offender, without censoriousness, and at the 
same time with a deep and awful sense of its ruinous 
character. If, by reason of the patient s weakness or 
disinclination, he drops the subject for a while and 
speaks of other things, he must return to it again at an 
early opportunity (perhaps his next visit, made as 
early as possible for the purpose) with gentle firmness, 
and seek, by a manner expressive of great earnestness 
coupled with loving sympathy, to overpower the 
disinclination to approach a subject so tender, which 
a patient unaccustomed to spiritual things will often 
manifest. 

It is certainly desirable that the pastor should not 
confine himself to spiritual topics in his conversation 
with the patient. He will generally find him ready 



THE SICK 117 

to speak on the subject of his malady ; sometimes 
also on more general topics : but the pastor must 
carefully avoid allowing this kind of conversation to 
take up any considerable portion of the time of his 
visit, unless indeed he is in the habit of paying visits 
more frequently than necessary for spiritual intercourse, 
that is, more than once a day. 

As regards the office of prayer to be used, it may 
be somewhat as follows : 

1. A few introductory words giving the keynote 
to the exercise that follows. 

2. A short reading, followed by some words of 
definite application. 

3. Prayers bearing some reference, if possible, to 

(a) The subject of the reading and exposition. 

(b) The patient s condition and needs. 

4. Some closing form of Benediction. 

The priest should then take his leave at once, always 
making the act of worship the last thing, and not 
allowing its effect to be impaired by subsequent con 
versation on ordinary topics. 

The prayers had better be, in part at any rate, 
extempore. The great value of sound forms of prayer 
should be kept before the view of the flock, and em 
phasised by the pastor s use of them, even though 
meanwhile he includes the use of extempore prayer as 
needful to meet certain objects which are not included 
within the printed forms. 

The priest should see that the patient s friends are 
provided with suitable prayers, and should make it 
one of his first acts to instruct them in the use of these, 
and to urge that use upon them. He should also point 
out portions of Scripture suitable to be read to the sick 
person. 



118 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

II. EMERGENCY CASES OF GREATER OR LESS 
URGENCY 

The priest will naturally provide himself with 
forms of offices to suit all classes of cases, from those 
with reference to whom time is no object to those 
who are in urgent extremity. Some cases may mean 
even minutes, when the priest can hardly do more than 
point to the cross of Jesus. Even in such a case he 
should remember that there are two objects to be 
sought : (i) Confession of sin in the heart of the sufferer, 
i.e. repentance the act of turning from sin; (2) the 
act of grasping the personal Jesus Christ as the Saviour 
from sin. There must be a realising (i) of sin as sin, 
and as separating from God, and (2) of Love, infinite 
and perfect, as the bond of union between Saviour 
and sinner. 

Remember it is not enough, in cases where the 
sufferer is conscious, to pray for him ; the act of 
renunciation of sin and the act of acceptance of Christ 
must be his own, and it is the priest s part to help him 
to make it. Even the case of one apparently uncon 
scious is not necessarily to be despaired of in this sense. 
It will often be found suitable to address a word or two 
to one in this state, such as : " Brother, draw nigh to 
God, and He will draw nigh to you." The priest will 
in such a case frame his prayer in brief, simple phrases 
with perhaps a short interval between each, embodying 
what he realises as the actual need of the sufferer in his 
present position. Let him thus plead for him, at the 
same time wording his prayer in such a manner as to 
make it suitable to be the prayer of the sufferer for 
himself. It would be well that the priest should 
beforehand prepare suitable forms for such an occasion, 



THE SICK 119 

in order that there may be no waste of words, no 
hesitation, no room for regret afterwards at having 
left out something of importance. 

When the time for preparation is longer, but yet 
only a few days or perhaps weeks in duration, or when 
the condition of weakness makes it necessary to lay 
as little strain as possible on the patient s attention 
and feeling, it is important that the priest should 
carefully consider what is the minimum in the way of 
treatment which he is justified in exercising on account 
of the taxing of the patient s powers. Of course this 
will vary almost indefinitely in different cases in 
accordance with the different stages of spiritual con 
dition which the patient may exhibit, as also with the 
patient s capacity for apprehending spiritual truth. 

The actual requirements may perhaps be divided 
somewhat as follows : 

(1) The love of Christ. 

(2) The actual effective presence of Christ, and the 
love of Christ as we are concerned in it, i.e. as shown 
as a love for sinners. 

Hence the patient must be led to realise the fact 
of his position as a sinner as being the point of touch 
between him and the love of Christ as the Lamb of 
God Who takes away sin. And for the attaining of 
this end his sin must be in some way brought clearly 
home to him. If his conscience, unaided by external 
influence, is sufficient to bring about this object, it is 
well ; but this will be the case only in a small minority 
of instances. The natural tendency to put sin on one 
side is one of the most frequent and serious difficulties 
attending the office of the spiritual director to convince 
the ordinary patient of this condition of sin. 

There is danger, no doubt, of offending and repelling 



120 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

a patient to such an extent as to be fatal to the priest s 
influence, but there is greater danger of confirming his 
apathy and impenitence, which is still more fatal. 
The priest must be loving, gentle, humble, ready to 
speak of himself as a fellow-sinner, eager to point out 
to his erring brother the source of peace and deliverance 
which he has already found for himself. Let the 
intensity of his earnestness appear in his manner, but 
let him avoid the smallest approach to harshness or 
impatience. He must beware of wearying the patient ; 
physical weariness is oftentimes utterly subversive of 
spiritual benefit. The priest should if possible avoid 
carrying his ministrations to the point at which such 
a condition begins to manifest itself, unless of course 
time is very pressing and the end very near. He should 
break off the interview with a kindly, pleasant word 
the moment he perceives any approach to irritation or 
impatience on the part of the patient : a watchful eye 
should be kept on the patient s frame of mind and 
feeling, and the treatment adapted accordingly. 

In the framing of the diagnosis the treatment 
would, of course, be modified according to the con 
fidence felt as to spiritual attainment on the part of 
the patient ; but its general principles would be appli 
cable to all. Having thus awakened in the penitent 
a true consciousness of sin, that is, of his own special 
and particular sins, the priest now goes on to set before 
him the duty of repentance ; carefully explaining the 
difference between that sorrow which is the result of 
regret for, or dread of, the consequences of sin and 
which is only a form of selfishness and on the other 
hand, sorrow for the sin itself as being offensive to a 
loving Father, the root of which sorrow is therefore 
love. The next step to be enforced is confession 



THE SICK 121 

clear, definite, explicit, special as well as general to 
be made by the penitent to Christ as the great High 
Priest, Who, although He knows all things, requires 
confession as a condition of forgiveness in order that 
the penitent may fully realise his own need of such 
forgiveness. The act of confession must, of course, be 
accompanied by 

1. An act of contrition. 

2. An act of faith, or acceptance of the pardon 
desired, as effected through the atonement accomplished 
by the Blood of Christ. 

3 . An act of resolution, including the abandonment of 
motives governing the past life, and the adoption of the 
new motive of love of God for the life which is to follow. 

To make these steps effectual the exercise of faith, 
or the reposal of the trust on the Saviour s willingness 
and power to grant what is asked, is an essential 
requirement. The patient, when truly in earnest, will 
often be found to complain of weakness of faith, or 
even of absence of faith. He must be assisted by the 
explanation of the difference between faith and 
assurance, and reminded of the fact that faith may 
often be truly present and effectual even though it be 
hampered and clouded by much of doubt and mental 
uneasiness. He should be taught that it is an act 
which he is to perform, that is, an act of self-surrender, 
and not merely a feeling for him to entertain. He 
should be supported by the declaration that Christ s 
promise is an absolutely sure thing ; that it applies 
to his case as much as to that of any other person, and 
that the only question is whether he is willing to accept 
it and to yield his whole heart and life in return. 
Lastly, the penitent must be reminded of the necessity 
of steady and consistent effort on his own part to 



122 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

carry on the process of grace and " work out his own 
salvation with fear and trembling," remembering that 
such a crisis as this calls forth Satan s strongest efforts 
to counteract the Spirit s influence ; and that on this 
account special watchfulness, instant prayer, and active 
effort will be necessary to maintain and carry forward 
the benefit which has been gained. 

In the application of this method of special treat 
ment it is, of course, most necessary to take into 
consideration the patient s physical condition. The 
priest must avoid wearying him by remaining with him 
too long ; he must be careful not to repel him by the 
slightest note of harshness or severity of manner or 
tone, not to frighten him by abruptness or by a 
dictatorial air. With St. Paul, he must be "all things 
to all men, that by all means he may save some." 1 
He is to angle for souls. His whole bearing must be 
kindly and soothing, avoiding anything like gloom or 
dismalness of aspect or manner. He must aim at 
appearing cheering and sunshiny, yet, with all this, 
his treatment of the patient s soul must be firm and 
decided, avoiding anything like timidity or false 
diffidence. He must sum up his manhood, his sense 
of responsibility, and speak plainly and straight to the 
point. He will find this method of treatment to be 
most satisfactory to the patient, as well as most 
effectual in its results. On first entering upon a case 
it may not be desirable to proceed abruptly to spiritual 
matters, but while exercising his judgment in this 
matter as to what other topics he shall touch upon, he 
must be careful not to waste time and the patient s 
strength should the patient be very weak and unfit 
for much talk or thought. 

1 i Cor. ix. 22b. 



THE SICK 123 

A frequent fault in pastoral visits is that they are 

too long. A visit is better too short than too long. 

It is absolutely essential that the clerical visit should 

be regarded by the patient as something pleasant and 

desirable. It may ^sometimes appear difficult to 

reconcile the attainment of this object with that degree 

of faithfulness and effective spiritual treatment which 

is the main object of all pastoral ministration, and 

possibly there are times when the condition of the 

patient s mind may render it impossible to make the 

visit an agreeable and pleasant thing in his eyes. But 

this unsatisfactory frame of mind may generally be 

avoided by (i) kindly and affectionate gentleness on the 

priest s part, and (2) the manifestation of profound 

earnestness and eager interest in the patient s spiritual 

welfare. Those two sentiments evidenced by the 

priest s manner towards the patient will generally 

be found irresistible in winning his good will and 

securing a welcome on his part for the priest s presence. 

Supposing a visit to be necessarily unwelcome in its 

character, it should be made as brief as possible in its 

duration, and there should be an effort to close it with 

some expression of kindly and affectionate interest 

such as might win the patient s good will for the next 

visit, time having clasped for the present feeling of 

irritation to pass away. It is most important that the 

priest and the penitent should always part at the close 

of such a visit in a spirit of cordiality on both sides. 

One great secret of success in making his presence 
welcome and pleasing to his patient is that of a cheerful 
manner. Carefully avoiding anything like levity, an 
air of quiet cheerfulness, even brightness, of manner 
should always be aimed at. A gloomy manner, even 
without harshness, is always repellent. The writer 



124 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

can never forget an instance which was brought to his 
notice in his earlier years. A parishioner of his own, a 
man who had lived a worldly life, was suddenly stricken 
down by erysipelas whilst on a visit in the course of 
business to a distant city. The clergyman of the parish, 
an earnest, faithful man, was sent for to visit him. 
The wife of the sick and as it turned out, dying 
man described with indignation the manner in which 
he had made his approach to the patient. " Mr. 

," he said, in a loud, harsh voice, " is your soul 

saved ? " The sick man turned his face to the wall 
and refused to listen to, or accept any effort of 
ministration from, the clergyman whose presence in 
the first instance he had desired. And so he died. 

Cases of such glaringly injudicious conduct would 
no doubt be rare, still there is need of constant watch 
fulness to guard against even slighter approach to 
undue severity of manner : suaviter in modo fortiter in 
re (gently in manner, strongly in matter) is a safe 
motto for clerical conduct. The attitude of feeling 
the spiritual as well as the physical pulse, metaphorically 
speaking, is one of the great secrets of success in this 
branch of work ; and the main secret in attaining this 
attitude is the cultivation of personal love towards 
the patient. Remember that love is a thing to be 
cultivated, and not only and solely spontaneous in its 
production. 

Sin, then, is to be viewed, and brought before the 
patient s view, in its relation to the love of Christ Who 
bore sin, and the Blood of Christ, the outcome of that 
love, which takes away sin. The priest must avoid 
the common error of practically appearing to do all for 
the patient, while the patient merely watches him do it. 
His work is a failure until he has led the patient distinctly 



THE SICK 125 

to undertake two acts for himself : (i) renunciation of 
sin, (2) grasp upon Christ. For both, of course, the 
Spirit s power is necessary and must be sought for 
accordingly by the priest for the patient, and by the 
patient for himself. The capability for setting these 
fundamental truths in a plain and practical manner 
before the penitent, and of moving and assisting him to 
act upon them, must necessarily call for diligent and 
careful planning and preparation in the solitude of the 
study. To relegate it to the spur of the moment is 
sinful remissness which can hardly escape failure. 

The above-stated view is, of course, that of the 
fundamental aspect of the object to be sought. But 
the objective point to be aimed at in the treatment of 
the patient must always be the Sacrament of the Holy 
Communion, not as an end in itself, but as a means of 
supplying the end, recognition of which and the longing 
for its supply have already been awakened. 

It cannot be too often insisted upon that the object 
to be kept in view is the love of Christ, rather than the 
dread of judgment. At the same time, due stress 
must be laid upon the fact of Christ s awful purity 
which makes the contact of sin intolerable to Him, 
though not the contact of the sinner longing to be 
freed from it. The case of the leper in St. Mark i. 40 
may be taken as representing the ideal view of the 
approach of the sinner to Christ : "If Thou art willing, 
Thou art able to cleanse me." The reference is not to 
deliverance from the consequences of sin, but to the 
cleansing from sin itself, and the recognition of the fact 
of that cleansing as following necessarily on the touch 
of Christ s personality " Jesus put forth His hand and 
touched him." The personal apprehension of the 
personal, loving, present Jesus, listening, speaking, 



126 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

touching, is the only effective presentment which will 
prevail upon the penitent in his work of conversion. 

A very important point is the aspect of Christ to bq 
set before the penitent. It is possible that he will 
simply view Him as a mere invisible man, differing 
from any ordinary human being only in the fact of 
being invisible and of being specially powerful and 
specially kind. This inadequate view must be guarded 
against. It is Jesus as God as well as man Who must 
be set before the eyes of the penitent, and Who must 
be kept in view as the ultimate Object of his love and 
trust and obedience, as well as the Father as Father. 
It is true that the presentment of Christ may come 
first he who sees Him sees the Father x but this 
should be only a stepping-stone to the view of the Father 
as Father. The penitent must learn to approach the 
Father s presence as brought to it by the Son, the barrier 
between the sinner and the Father being removed by 
the Father s acceptance of the Son s blood-shedding. 
"I go to My Father and your Father " 2 is amongst 
our Lord s parting words. The Father is ours because 
His. He is the Only-Begotten, the Only SON. We 
are sons simply through our share in the single 
sonship of the Only-Begotten, because through the 
Incarnation we are made one with Him, so that His 
life is our life, His sonship our sonship. The Latin 
term " adoption," so often used to distinguish our 
relation to the Father from that of the Only-Begotten 
Son, is altogether misleading, as implying a fiction. 
The Greek term vloOtvia 3 is capable of a much deeper 
sense, that of our transference to the actual condition 
of sonship, not a mere supposition of such relationship. 

1 St. John xiv. Qb. 2 St. John xx. 17. 

8 Eph. i. 5 ; Gal. iv. 5 ; Rom. viii. 15, 23 ; ix. 14. 



THE SICK 127 

The sinner must learn to approach the Father for himself, 
at the same time holding fast to the Mediator Who has 
taken him into union with Himself, and Who is the means 
of extending the Father s love to Himself as Son so as 
to make it the possession of the sinner who has become 
one with Him by His Incarnation, made individually 
effective by the use of sacraments. The Holy Spirit 
must, of course, be kept in view for His work s sake. 
The aid of His energetic operation is requested for the 
purpose of enabling the penitent to turn to due account 
the means of the approach to the Father through the 
Son in which his salvation consists. Such collects as 
that for the Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity and that 
at the beginning of the Communion Service are amongst 
the most suitable for this purpose. 



III. THE USE OF THE VISITATION OFFICE 

There are probably few clergymen who have not 
been conscious of a sense of disappointment on first 
taking up this Office, even while recognising the 
fact that the acts of worship of which it consists 
are, as regarded in themselves, most beautiful and 
suitable. The disappointment arises from the fact 
that it lacks any distinct act of supplication for the 
patient s relief from his present sickness and restoration 
to health. With the exception of the phrases " assuage 
his pain " and (with reference to a sick child) " deliver 
him in Thy good appointed time from his bodily pain," 
we have no definite prayer for bodily relief or recovery. l 
Ancient offices on this subject were well provided 

1 This was written before the revision of the Canadian B.C. P. ED. 



128 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

with acts of intercession of this sort. The following 
beautiful prayer is founded on the Greek : 

" O Lord our God, Who curedst by a word alone 
terrible and deeply rooted diseases, and didst heal a 
fever of the mother-in-law of Peter ; do Thou, O Lord, 
now also heal this Thy servant of the plague which 
afflicts him, Thou Who chastenest in compassion and 
healest in mercy, Thou who canst remove all disease 
and weakness, raise him from a bed of sickness and a 
couch of suffering, laying upon him the balm of Thy 
mercy. 1 Grant him perfect health and soundness, 
for Thou art the Healer of our souls and bodies. To 
Thee we ascribe glory, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, 
now, always, and for ever and ever. Amen." 

The Gospel used in connection with this prayer is 
St. Mark v. 24-34, * ne healing of the woman with 
the issue. 

This deficiency in the matter of direct and definite 
supplication for removal from bodily sickness and 

1 " Laying on him the balm of Thy mercy " there may not be 
any actual reference in this expression to the practice of anointing 
the sick, though it looks somewhat like it. The question, however, 
of the observance of this sacramental ordinance is being revived at 
the present time, and it will probably pass into general use in the 
near future. This is not the place for discussing the general subject, 
but it is the writer s opinion that its use may be found most helpful 
in consideration of the fact that the Church has the deepest interest 
and responsibility in the welfare of the bodies, as well as the souls, 
of its members. And the analogy of our Saviour s own practice 
and that of His Apostles, together with the charge expressed in the 
oft-cited passage in St. James (v. 14, 15), would seem likely to imply 
the Church s duty in taking her part in working for the welfare of 
the bodies as well as the souls of her children. It is not a miraculous 
cure that is sought, or one directly effected by the agency of prayer 
irrespective of external means ; it is rather an act of invoking a 
blessing on the use of those means, and of appealing for their salu 
tary effect. The sacramental use of the outward and visible sign 
thus prescribed will no doubt be most helpful in stimulating the 
faithful recipient at a moment when, owing to physical weakness, 
he may be expected to stand in most extreme need of such assistance. 



THE SICK 129 

restoration to bodily health is a very serious one, and 
if, as is generally suggested, our present Office be taken 
as a model on which to found our method of ministration, 
in this branch of its application it will be necessary for 
the priest, in this respect, to deviate widely from the 
example here set before him. Prayer, clear, definite 
and explicit, for succour in bodily need must form a 
conspicuous feature in ministrations of this kind. 

It is most essential that a sick person should be 
brought to converse with the pastor easily and freely, 
and not that he should merely listen to reading, ex 
hortation, and prayer. The priest cannot feel that he 
has made any satisfactory progress in the work of 
dealing with his patient until he has succeeded in 
leading him to open his heart as to his spiritual condi 
tion. In many cases there will be difficulty in bringing 
this about. The utmost gentleness as well as firmness 
and unconquerable patience will be necessary. The 
patient s reserve of diffidence should be overcome by 
"drawing him into the expression of feeling or opinion, 
not necessarily at first in direct reference to his own 
case, then gently drawing him into saying something 
about himself. The main secret consists in the 
manifestation of heartfelt interest on the priest s part 
in everything concerning the welfare, whether spiritual 
or temporal, of the patient. 

A great help towards giving point and purpose to 
instruction and exhortation, and also towards drawing 
forth the confidence of the patient, will be found in 
making the Holy Communion the preparation for it, 
and the blessings attached to it a leading subject of 
consideration. This should in fact, in the case of 
serious or prolonged sickness, after the diagnosis has 
once been determined, be made the principal topic 



130 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

towards which the patient s attention is directed. Of 
course this subject, the Holy Communion, is only 
applicable to baptised members of the Church. It may 
be said that the subject of the Holy Communion to 
our own people, and baptism or confirmation to out 
siders, will be the key to the regulation of all sorts of 
spiritual intercourse ; and this as a goal in each case 
that is, an embodiment of the means for the attain 
ment of the object to be ever kept in view the love 
of Christ in its constraining effect upon the love of the 
member of Christ. The method of preparation and 
the qualifications exacted must indeed vary according 
to the patient s capabilities and the character of the 
case, its urgency, and the probable duration of the 
sickness. The priest, like his Master, must judge a man 
" according to what he hath," and not " according to 
what he hath not." l He must in each case consider 
how " much has been given " in the way of light and 
capability, and then judge how " much will be 
required." Where there is a sufficiency of time, full 
and careful preparation should be made if present 
readiness is lacking. One form of error, which is very 
generally prevalent, to be carefully avoided is that of 
endeavouring to teach the patient too much at a time, 
or to carry him along too rapidly. Even in the case of 
the most intelligent, the priest must be prepared for 
what will seem to him a considerable degree of obtuse- 
ness on the part of his learner. He must therefore be 
careful to make sure, by conversation, that each step 
of the instruction he is endeavouring to impart is 
followed and apprehended by the patient. Hence it 
is always better to limit the instruction to matters 
absolutely essential. In any case he should satisfy 

1 2 Cor. viii. 12. * St. Luke xii. 48. 



THE SICK 131 

himself that the patient has attained the following 
requisites : 

1. A consciousness of sin, definite and specific, in 
himself personally. 

(a) As a condition of general ruin and disorder. 

(b) As exhibited in definite acts of trans 

gression. 

2. Sorrow for sin, as an outrage against the love 
of a Father. 

3. Confession of sin, both general and particular. 
(The question whether this should be through the 
human priest, or to the Saviour alone, is one to be 
settled according to the priest s best judgment.) 

4. Renunciation of sin as accompanying the act of 
confession. 

5. The possession of faith, that is, faith in general 
such as consists of belief in the facts of the Christian 
system. (For this purpose the interrogatory form of 
the Creed is most suitable, with expansion and possibly 
pauses for audible answers if the priest thinks 
necessary.) 

The priest must take particular care in the matter 
of the examination, as also of exhortation or consola 
tion, lest the patient should be inclined to listen to 
these with a general sense of vagueness and lack of 
definite application. He must avoid the condemna 
tion of crying " Peace, peace, when there is no peace." l 
Many souls have certainly suffered, it may be perhaps 
shipwreck, from their hurts thus being healed slightly. 
The patient will generally be satisfied with the vague 
and indecisive method of treatment referred to, at all 
events, will appear to be satisfied ; for there can be 
no doubt that many, under these circumstances, are 

1 Jer, viii. n. 



132 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

conscious of needs and desires which this superficial 
treatment does not reach, and which, through diffi 
dence or reserve, they are led to repress. In some 
instances this lack of faithfulness on the part of the 
priest is followed by the melancholy (for the Church s 
credit) result that the patient will open his grief to some 
other adviser with whom he feels more at ease, or 
whose greater plainness of speaking has succeeded in 
extracting those expressions of fear, desire, or aspira 
tion, which the pastor has failed to elicit. Many are 
lost to the Church and gained to Dissent in this way. 
Whatever may be the reason, it is certain that con 
versation on directly spiritual subjects is more usual 
among Dissenters than among Church-people ; to our 
shame be it spoken. 

Great plainness and directness of speech, therefore, 
is amongst the first requisites for profitable visitation 
of the sick. It must, however, be chastened by sympa 
thetic tenderness and gentleness, for no doubt some 
have been lost to the Church through harshness and 
abruptness, what may be called " clumsiness " in the 
priest s method of dealing with them. 

As in the treatment of physical disease, each case 
will call for its separate method of dealing. A pastor s 
first duty, therefore, on undertaking a case of spiritual 
visitation, is to make a diagnosis of it on the same 
principle as though it were one of physical disease. 
He must first carefully note and combine the symptoms 
as they are presented to his view, partly by inquiry, 
partly from observation, and partly from his previous 
knowledge of the person. Any inquiries which he 
may make must, of course, be carefully and cautiously 
conducted ; that is, in such a manner as not to repel 
or irritate. It is generally desirable to seek some sort 



THE SICK 133 

of information as regards the patient s spiritual state 
from his friends, say parents or husband, but in so 
doing he must guard against what may appear intrusive 
or impertinent ; good taste must be his guide. His 
method of inquiry must vary according to the patient s 
position in life, habits, education, and so forth. The 
poor will accept and expect much more direct and 
paternal treatment than those in what are termed the 
" upper " classes. Priests are warned to be " wise 
as serpents " 1 to entrap souls, using various kinds of 
" bait," of " play," to land different kinds of fish. 

The priest will find a great secret for success in the 
practice of keeping plainly before his own eye, and the 
eyes of all concerned, his position of responsibility 
and authority which gives him the right of interposi 
tion such as belongs to no other relation of life in 
the spiritual instruction of those under his charge. 
Yet this assertion of responsibility and authority must 
be carefully guarded against any appearance of self- 
assertion. His attitude, so far as regards his own 
personality, must be one of humility, gentleness, and 
unfailing kindliness. Remember that you have to lead 
the patient not merely to place himself in your hands 
(as in the Roman system) for you to manage the work 
of his salvation, but that you have rather to lead him 
to " work out his own salvation in fear and trembling," 
the Holy Spirit working in him " both to will and 
to do." 2 

The priest must carefully ascertain the patient s 
own view of his spiritual condition, and, knowing how 
liable human nature is to ruinous error on this point, 
his manifest duty is to set before him clearly and fully 
the tests on which his act of self -judgment should be 

1 St. Matt. x. 16. Phil. ii. 13. 



134 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

founded. He must especially guard him against the false 
peace which is expressed in such assertions as : " I 
know that I have sinned ; but I am not worse than 
others ; " I trust in God s mercy, and I hope that 
all will be well in the end." The duty of self-examina 
tion must be clearly explained and strictly enforced. 

The question as to how far the priest is justified in 
seeking an explicit confession of sin from the sick 
member is a difficult one ; in deciding it the strong 
prejudice on this subject which is generally current 
among Church-people must be taken into considera 
tion. The Rubric in the Visitation Service seems to 
direct that the priest should not insist upon any such 
confession unless he perceives, or has strong reason to 
believe, that the patient has that on his conscience 
which will render its quieting impossible by any other 
means. It is under such circumstances as we are now 
considering that the priest s possession of that principle 
of tact which is one of the most radically essential of 
all his qualifications for the satisfactory fulfilment of 
his official duties may be effectually tested. It will 
seldom be found difficult to elicit such a degree of 
confidential acknowledgment on the part of the patient 
as may suffice for all essential purposes, without 
exciting the ever-ready suspicion of sacerdotalism, if 
only the priest be capable of exercising wise judgment 
in his manner of dealing with him. It may often be 
found the best course to enumerate the various forms 
of sin one after another, giving sins of omission their 
due place, touching with gentle and firm hand those 
sins of the flesh from the acknowledgment of which 
men usually shrink most of all. This enumeration 
should expressly be made for the purpose of aiding the 
patient in self-examination, and may well be put in 



THE SICK 135 

the form of questions with a pause at the close of each 
inquiry, and the patient be invited to answer each one 
silently in his own heart to God, if not audibly to his 
pastor. Such treatment will not only conduce towards 
the patient s self-acknowledgment, and hence self- 
conviction, but will often have the effect of disposing 
him, either then and there, or later, to acts of con 
fession to the priest as suggested in the Prayer Book. 

The priest should beware of allowing in himself 
any false diffidence in accepting, and indeed urging, 
the direct confidence of his people on such occasions, 
remembering the unspeakable benefit, if not absolute 
necessity, of free and unrestrained intercourse between 
penitent and pastor on the subject of spiritual diffi 
culties, and above all on that of the crowning difficult}/, 
namely, sin. He should be on the alert to watch for 
the smallest indication of desire on the part of the 
patient to communicate to the priest any expression 
of spiritual feeling. Care must be taken, however, 
to avoid any possible substitution of this explicit con 
fession to the priest for the direct and personal con 
fession to Christ, and committal of sin to Him, as made 
consciously by the sinner. This must be kept clearly 
before his view, Christ the true Confessor, the true 
Absolver. Hence the main object aimed at in seeking 
a confession of sin from the sinner should be that of 
leading him to bring his sin not so much to the priest 
as to Christ Himself, to commit it directly to Him, and 
seek from Him the pardon for the past and the grace 
for the future. Otherwise there is danger lest the 
priest suffer himself to be intruded into that position 
of mediator which belongs to Christ Himself, a procedure 
which has been the cause of fatal error in the Church. 
Yet, on the other hand, it is most important that the 

K 



136 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

priest should win the perfect confidence of the patient, 
and should invite and encourage it, and in many cases 
urge it, with all his power. Thus it is most important 
that the patient should clearly understand that his 
confidence will be fully respected, that what he may 
say under this seal of confidence will never be repeated 
without his consent. 

The frame of mind which the clergyman will find 
most generally prevalent amongst those who have 
lived a worldly and unspiritual life is not that of terror, 
or even uneasiness, in the prospect of death, but 
rather that of apathy and indifference. Such persons 
will readily listen to his words of exhortation and 
admonition, to the reading of the Scriptures and to the 
prayers he may offer on their behalf ; yet he will find 
as a general rule that such acts of ministration, although 
they may evidently be attended with a soothing and 
cheering effect on the mind (probably from the impres 
sion, however vague and uncertain, that something 
spiritual is being done for the hearer), nevertheless 
will have little or no effect in promoting any actual 
result of good to the sick person. Such result can 
only be brought about, humanly speaking, by leaving 
the patient to express himself freely to his director on 
the subject of his spiritual condition. Hence the neces 
sity of endeavouring to lead him, by such means as have 
been suggested above, to a definite consciousness of sin, 
and especially of his own particular and personal sins. 

Should the priest always accept the request to 
receive a definite act of confession ? He certainly 
should do so when once he feels himself to have acquired 
the necessary knowledge and experience, for it by no 
means follows that he possesses such knowledge and 
experience simply because he is a priest. He should 



THE SICK 137 

bear in mind especially the case oi those who stand in 
actual need of personal direction, young men or lads and, 
more particularly, converts from Romanism who have 
been accustomed to personal guidance and nurture. 1 

If the priest should find difficulty, from the shyness 
or. reserve of the patient, in deciding in what way he 
may enter upon subjects of this character, he will 
often find the topic of the Holy Communion an 
excellent means for introducing a conversation which 
may bring about the result sought for. He would 
naturally ask whether the patient was desirous of 
receiving the Sacrament, at the same time setting 
forth its special benefits for one in his condition ; and, 
whether his answer should be in the affirmative or 
negative, or simply expressive of doubt and uncertainty, 
the priest would certainly find in it an opening for the 
introduction of the subject so needful at this stage. 

In the case of those who are manifestly strangers 
to the religious life, it is absolutely necessary to ascertain 
that the patient is seriously in earnest as regards under 
taking a new life. When this has been ascertained, 
some kind of mental retrospect (proportionate to 
physical strength and intellectual capacity) over his 
whole past life should be gently urged upon him ; also 
an. .effort at self-examination which may place clearly 
before him a view of his leading sins and habits of sin. 
Unless this is done, the apathy produced by a pro 
tracted course of irreligion or indifference to religion 
will blind his eyes to his sins, and his confession will 
be simply that of the sinf ulness of the race rather than 
the sins of an individual. The priest needs to bear 
in mind the dreadful possibility of confirming a sinner 
in his unrepentant condition by acquiescing in an act 

1 See also notes on Auricular Confession, p. 66. 



138 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

of worship and devotion which is merely formal and 
utterly unreal. In many cases, especially those of the 
most ignorant, specific questions will be found absolutely 
necessary to convey the true recognition of sin. It is 
probably on this particular point that the success of 
our Church as a saving institution mainly depends, and 
on which its failure hitherto (in so far as there has been 
failure) has been chiefly owing. We are afraid oi 
pressing individual confession in its completeness as a 
sacramental act, whilst on the other hand, we are 
hardly provided with anything to serve as an adequate 
substitute -I mean, anything that is direct, systematic, 
exhaustive, habitual. 1 To the lack of this, probably, 
is due in great measure the deficiency of spirituality 
so often lamented in our Church. Of course regard 
must be paid to cases in which such questions will only 
repel the patient owing to prejudice or suspicion of 
Romanising methods. In such cases his confidence 
should be invited by the manifestation of very deep 
and sympathetic interest in his spiritual condition, 
and care should be taken to avoid such terms and 
expressions as would naturally be associated in the 
patient s mind with Romanism or ritualism. It may 
even be found desirable in some cases, as has already 
been suggested, to put the questions without insisting 
on an audible answer, the patient being urged to make 
his conlession to our Lord in the secrecy of his heart, 
under each head, a pause being left for him to do so. 
The Absolution in the Visitation Office is directed to 
be used only if the patient "humbly and heartily 
desire it/ and then only after "a special confession 
of his sins/ 2 The priest must ascertain whether the 

1 See also notes on Sacramental Confession, p. 72 bb. 

2 B.C.P. Rubric. See also section on Sacramental Confession. 



THE SICK 189 

desire exists, and must make himself perfectly sure of 
the patient s repentance and faith. It is clear that the 
Absolution should never be used except after a full and 
explicit confession to be conducted in accordance with 
the priest s own judgment. He must assure himself 
of its completeness by such questions as may seem to 
him necessary for the purpose. The frequency with 
which clinical Communion should be celebrated must 
vary according to the patient s habitual practice in 
this respect, his own sense of need and desire for it, 
the priest s own judgment in the matter, and the 
probable duration of the sickness ; but it should 
certainly be, if possible, at regular intervals. 

IV. INFECTIOUS DISEASES 

Should the clergyman visit all infectious cases ? 
Yes, certainly; even those of young children where 
his instructions and consolation are not needed, and 
of persons in a state of unconsciousness or delirium. 
It is most important that the priest should not 
exhibit any timidity or dread of infection on his 
own account or that of his own family. True he may 
have a family at home, yet let him remember that 
although celibacy is not required by the Church of 
England of her clergy, it is not meet that this relaxa 
tion should be suffered to become a hindrance to their 
usefulness, and thereby place them in an inferior position 
as regards readiness for work to that occupied by our 
Roman brethren. As taught in our Saviour s answer 
to the man who asked leave of absence to bury his 
father, family ties must be disregarded when duty to 
the Church is in question on the other side. 1 The 
least sign of shrinking from the bedside of a sufferer, 

1 St. Luke ix. 60. 



140 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

from personal motives, produces an impression on the 
minds of the sufferer and his friends more unfavourable 
than he who exhibits such a sign can have any idea of. 
He may not take encouragement from the acquiescence 
of the sufferer and his friends, for this will in most cases 
be given without question. He must beware of allowing 
unfavourable comparisons to be drawn between his 
conduct and that, for example, of the doctor. Let 
him feel that his place is where his Master s was, that 
is, wherever sorrow and suffering are, and let him go 
there fearlessly, commending himself to his Master s 
care. Yet, on the other hand, it is not only the part of 
prudence, but of imperative duty, to take every precau 
tion against contracting infection himself or imparting 
it to others. He has no right to expect special or 
miraculous exemption from the dangers which others 
would incur under the same circumstances. He may 
not allow himself in that presumptuous idea which 
some clergy have been known to express that he 
bears, as it were, a charmed life while in the fulfilment 
of his duty. To expose oneself rashly or wilfully and 
unnecessarily to danger must always be regarded as 
directly sinful. The priest should therefore inform 
himself as to suitable disinfectants. He should take 
care not to inhale the patient s breath, and should take 
precaution against carrying away in his clothes 
particles which may be germs of disease. His best 
plan is to have a special coat for the visitation of 
infectious diseases ; after every such visit he -should 
go straight home before entering any non-infected 
house ; he should remove his coat outside, shake and 
brush it well, and then hang it up in the open air. Of 
course his next action would be to wash his face, head, 
and hands thoroughly. 



ON THE NECESSITY OF CARE IN PRE 
PARING FOR THE RECEPTION OF 
THE HOLY COMMUNION BY THE 
PATIENT 

MENTION has been made of the Holy Communion 
as the objective point to be aimed at, so far as 
regards external observance, in the process of dealing 
with a soul which needs pastoral care. At the same time, 
great care and caution will be found necessary to guard 
the learner against approaching the Sacrament without 
due preparation and qualification. A man may be in 
the practice of observing this, and other means of grace, 
without actual hypocrisy ; he may experience a certain 
degree of pleasure and satisfaction in the observance ; 
he may be regular in his prayers and in the performance 
of other religious duties ; he may appear to himself 
sincere in his prayers and to a certain extent earnest 
in their utterance ; his life may be free from gross or 
flagrant sin yet, nevertheless, he may be entirely 
devoid of what may be called real grace : and this 
because his heart and life have never been completely 
given up to God, self in some form or other being the 
ruling principle of his character, and showing itself to his 
conscience at every turn of his life as the ruling principle. 
Such a man will always carry about with him an under 
lying suspicion that all is not right with him, that his 

141 



142 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

religion consists merely in external form and observance. 
He will probably, if he set about the work of self- 
examination, find himself to be living in the allowed 
commission of some form of habitual sin. His life 
has no real conflict in it, or if such a thing should occur 
at all, it is merely occasional, and the real victory is 
always gained by the power of evil, that is, self. 

Dealing with a case of this kind calls for the very 
utmost degree of skill on the part of a spiritual director. 
There is terrible danger of confirming the soul in a 
condition which is on the way to become ruinous. 
The priest, then, is to be on the look out for this subtle 
form of spiritual evil, that, namely, of mere formalism. 
It may appear to some persons a monstrous thing to 
say, yet nevertheless it is none the less true, that in 
many cases there is danger in too frequent Communions. 
Not that Communion can of itself be too frequent, even 
daily Communion, but it may be too frequent for the 
spiritual attainment of the observer. Frequency in 
Communion calls for a high degree of spiritual attain 
ment, spiritual energy and devotion, or it may be a 
positive source of injury by degenerating into mere 
formalism. " Let a man test himself, and so let him 
eat of that bread and drink of that cup." l Clergy 
have been known to urge a man to come to Communion 
with a view to acquiring that, without the possession 
of which he ought not to come at all. Communion is 
meant to feed and sustain those who are in a state of 
grace, not to convert men to that state. 

It is the fashion nowadays to speak of redemption 
as though it represented merely deliverance from sin 
itself, and not from the penal consequences of sin, as 
though when the sin was forgiven those consequences 

1 i Cor. xi. 28. 



PREPARATION FOR HOLY COMMUNION 143 

must still hold on their way unchanged. This surely 
is an error. The consequence of sin is death death in 
its various aspects and stages of moral and spiritual 
disintegration the dissolution of that Order which is 
Heaven s first law. No doubt there are certain con 
sequences which follow the commission of sin in any 
case, and which are not averted by repentance and 
absolution ; but those consequences are not to be 
regarded as penal; they are simply permitted as 
remedial, disciplinary in their character, wholesome 
" chastening " which " yields the peaceable fruit of 
righteousness in them that are exercised thereby " : in 
those, that is, who " endure " it as chastening, in 
accordance with the pleasantly expressed charge in the 
Visitation of the Sick : Take therefore in good part 
the chastisement of the Lord." We may believe, then, 
that in the case of true repentance the consequences 
of sin in so far as they are attended with suffering 
follow naturally to such an extent as they are necessary 
for the prosecution of the course of discipline which is 
requisite for the soul s health. It must frequently be 
the case that while such results of past sin may for one 
person be a means of salutary discipline, and have the 
effect of raising him to a higher level of spiritual attain 
ment and growth in grace, to another individual 
circumstances of similar or practically identical 
character following as consequences of past sin may 
form a stage in his downward career, confirming his 
condition of alienation from the love of God. In one 
case such consequences become " a savour of life unto 
life " ; in the other, " a savour of death unto death/ l 
The actual consequences of sin as sin must be unspeak 
ably more serious than these temporal accessories which 

1 2 Cor. ii. 16. 



144 STUDIES IN SOUL TENDING 

are merely incidental. You will sometimes hear a 
penitent say with regard to such temporary ills, "God 
is punishing me for my sins, and I must bear it, for I 
know I deserve it." He should be taught that the 
visitations to which he refers have a much . deeper 
significance and wider purpose than he as yet realises. 
They are to be exhibited and utilised, turned to their 
due account in the way of promoting the work of 
correcting his tendencies to sin, and aiding his growth 
in grace and knowledge. 



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