But think for a moment of the present value of the divine outlook upon life. It brings guidance and deliverance. Set side by side the two expressions ‘eyes unto the Lord,’ and ‘feet out of the net.’ Life is more than a vision; it is a pilgrimage. We see the far white peaks whereon rests the glory of life, but reaching them is not a matter of eyes, but of feet. Here, maybe, the real problem of godly living presents itself to us. Here our Christian idealism lays a burden on us. It is possible to see distances that would take days to traverse. Even so we can see heights of spiritual possibility that we shall not reach while the light holds good unless we foot it bravely. And it is not an easy journey. There are so many snares set for the pilgrims of faith and hope. There are subtle silken nets woven of soft-spun deceits and filmy threads of sin; and there are coarse strong nets fashioned by the strong hands of passion and evil desire. There are nets of doubt and pain and weakness. But think of the man whose eyes were ever towards the Lord. He came through all right. He always does. He always will. He looked steadily upward to his God. When we get into the net we yield to the natural tendency to look down at our feet. We try to discover how the net is made. We delude ourselves with the idea that if only we take time we shall be able to extricate ourselves; but it always means getting further entangled. It is a waste of time to study the net. Life is ever weaving for us snares too intricate for us to unravel and too strong for us to break. God alone understands how they are made and how they may be broken. He does not take us round the net or over it, but He does not leave us fast by the feet in the midst of it. He always brings a man out on the heavenward side of the earthly difficulty. Look upward and you are bound to go forward.
THE SAFEGUARDED SOUL
The Lord shall keep thee from all evil;
He shall keep thy soul.
Ps. cxxi. 7.
One of the great offices of religion is to help men to begin at the beginning. If you wish to straighten out a tangle of string, you know that it is worth your while to look patiently for one of the ends. If you make an aimless dash at it the result is confusion worse confounded, and by-and-by the tangle is thrown down in despair, its worst knots made by the hands that tried in a haphazard way to simplify it. Life is that tangle; and religion, if it does not loosen all the knots and straighten all the twists, at least shows us where the two ends are. They are with God and the soul. God deals with a man’s soul. We cannot explain the facts of our experience or the fashion of our circumstance save in as far as we can see these things reflected in our character. The true spiritual philosophy of life begins its inquiry in the soul, and works outward into all the puzzling mass of life’s details. And the foundation