O Majesty throned, O Lord of all Light, Shine down on our spirits and scatter the night; As Adam received his life-impulse from Thee, Endued with all fulness, we quickened would be
Let all that we know—love, learning, and power— Melt down in Thy Presence, and flame in this hour; Anoint us and bless us and lift our desire And grant us to speak as with tongues touched with fire!
Life flows as a dream—its pleasures are dear: The world is about us—temptation is near; Oh, guide us, and shew us the pathway to God The feet of the prophets aforetime have trod!
The bells cease their chime,—the hosts enter in: May many be purged of their sloth and their sin! Cheer Thou the despondent, the weary, the sad, Rouse all to rejoicing, that all may be glad.
And when life is o’er, and each must depart In quaking and silence,—abide with each heart; The songs of Thy saints then caught up to the skies, As waves of great waters shall thunderous rise!
ANNA ROBERTSON BROWN LINDSAY
In Malory’s Morte d’Arthur there is the legend of the Sword of Assay. In the church against the high altar was a great stone, four-square, like unto a marble stone. In the midst of it was an anvil of steel, a foot high, and therein stood a naked sword by the point. About the sword there were letters written, saying, “Whoso pulleth out this sword of this stone and anvil, is righteous king born of all England.” Many assayed to pull the sword forth, but all failed, until the young Arthur came, and, taking the sword by the handle, lightly and fiercely pulled it out of the stone! By this token he was lord of the land.
Each man’s life is proved by some Sword of Assay. The test of a man’s call to the ministry is his power to seize the Sword of the Spirit: wield the spiritual forces of the world, insight, conviction, persuasion, truth. To do this successfully at least five things appear to be necessary: a sterling education, marked ability in writing and in public speaking, a noble manner, a voice capable of majestic modulations, and a deep and tender heart. These phrases sound very simple, but perhaps they mean more than at first appears. Have we not all met some one, in our lifetime, whose acquaintance with us seemed to have no preliminaries?—some one who never bothered to say anything at all to us, until one day he said something that leaped and tingled through our very being? This is the power that a minister ought to have with every soul with whom he comes in contact: his word should quickly touch a vital spot. No one to-day cares much for mere oratory, literary discussion, polemics, or cursory exegesis; “marked ability in writing and in public speaking” means that grip on reality which makes people quiver, repent, believe, adore!
Sincerity is the basis of such power. At heart we worship the man who will not lie; who will not use conventions or formulas in which he does not believe; who does not give us a second-hand view of either life or God; who does not play with our conscience because it is not politic to be too direct; who does not juggle with our doubts, nor ignore our hopes and powers; who also frankly acknowledges that he, too, is a man.