Courage Through Companionship





THE world is full of lonely people--people who keep to themselves,

turning away from every approach of others, from all invitations to come

out of retirement. They persist in living alone, thinking their own

thoughts, pleasing only themselves.



"I can have no place in my life for friendship," one of these

unfortunates says.



"I can't be expected to devote myself to my family; it is all I can do

to make a living," is the complaint of another.



"I live in the present," says a third; "the past has no interest for me,

and the future holds nothing but worries."



"Live more out-of-doors, you say!" is the word of a fourth. "Why should

I bother about Nature when Nature does nothing but thwart me?"



"Make God my friend?" a fifth asks in surprise. "Talk to me in rational

terms. God doesn't bother about me; why should I bother about Him?"



Is it any wonder that the lives of so many everywhere are empty? It does

not occur to them that by their determination to isolate themselves they

cut themselves off from the surest road to courage, both received and

given--the road of companionship with the people and things most worth

while.





I



COMPANIONSHIP WITH FRIENDS



There are those who say that friendship is a lost art; that modern life

is too busy for friendship. "Why don't you pause long enough to call on

B----?" a father asked his son; "you used to be such good friends." "Oh,

I haven't time for that now," was the careless reply; "if I am to get

ahead, I feel I must devote myself only to those things that can be a

decided help to my advancement."



The mistake made by that son is emphasized by the advice of a keen old

man, spoken to a business associate: "If I were asked to give advice to

a group of young men who wanted to get ahead in business, I would simply

say, 'make friends.' As I sat before the fire the other night I let my

mind run back, and it was with surprise that I learned that many of the

things which in my youth I credited to my ability as a business man came

to me because I had made influential friends who did things for me

because they liked me. The man who is right has the right kind of

friends, and the man who is wrong has the kind of friends who are

attracted by his wrongness. A man gets what he is."



Possibly some will think that advice faulty in expression, for it seems

at first glance to put friendship on a coldly calculating basis, as if

it urged the maker of friends to say before consenting to try for a

man's friendship, "Is there anything I can get out of such a friendship

for myself?" Of course it is unthinkable that anyone should estimate

friendship in that way; friendship that calculates is unworthy the name,

and the calculator ought to be doomed to the loneliest kind of life.

But, evidently, what the adviser had in mind is the spirit that makes

friends because it is worth while to have friends for friendship's sake,

that never counts on advancement through the efforts of others. Such a

spirit is bound to be surprised some day by the realization that for his

success he owed much to the friends whom he made without a thought of

self.



One beginner in business decided that he must find his friendships in

serving others. There were those who told him he was making a mistake,

but he went calmly on, devoting hours each week to service with an

associate in a boys' club. Nothing seemed to come of this but

satisfaction to himself and joy to a group whose homes were cheerless.

Yet, there was something more--the pleasure of friendship with his

associate. One day he was surprised by an invitation to call on the head

of a large manufacturing concern. "You don't know me," the man said,

"but I know you, for you have been teaching with my son down at the

boys' club. For a long time I have been on the lookout for a young man

who can come into this business with a view to taking up the work with

my son when I must retire. From what I have heard your friend, my son,

tell of you, you are the man I have sought."



It is impossible to count on a thing like that as a result of

friendship, and the man who is worthy of such a friendship never thinks

of reckoning on anything but giving to his friend the best that is in

him as he enjoys the comfort of association with him.



Many years ago the author of The Four Feathers wrote of such a

friendship between two men:



"It was a helpful instrument, which would not wear out, put into their

hands for a hard, lifelong use, but it was not and never had been spoken

of between them. Both men were grateful for it, as for a rare and

undeserved gift; yet both knew that it might entail an obligation of

sacrifice. But the sacrifices, were they needful, would be made, and

they would not be mentioned."



It has been well said that "Love gives and receives, and keeps no

account on either side," but that is very different from deliberately

using friendship for selfish ends.





II



SUCCESSFUL COMRADES



For days two men had been together, tramping, driving, boating, eating,

sleeping, talking. And when the time for separation came, one said to

the other: "Will you please give a message to your wife? Tell her for

me, if you will, that she has made her husband into a real comrade."



That man would have been at a loss to tell what are the elements that go

to the making up of a good comrade. In fact, he intimated as much on the

last day of the excursion. "You can no more tell the things that go to

make up a real comrade than you can explain the things that make a

landscape beautiful; you can only see and rejoice."



Just so, it is possible to see instances of good comradeship and

rejoice.



In order that there may be real comradeship between two individuals it

is not at all necessary that they shall belong to the same station in

life. One of those to whom John Muir, the great naturalist, proved

himself a true comrade was a guide who many times went with him into the

fastnesses of the high Sierras of California. "It was great to hear him

talk," the guide has said. "Often we sat together like two men who had

always known each other. It wasn't always necessary to talk; often there

would be no word said for half an hour. But we understood each other in

the silence."



Nor is it essential that people shall be much together before they can

be real comrades. Theodore Roosevelt and Joel Chandler Harris knew one

another by reputation only until the red letter day when Uncle Remus

entered the door of the White House, in response to an urgent letter of

invitation in which the President wrote: "Presidents may come and

presidents may go, but Uncle Remus stays put. Georgia has done a great

many things for the Union, but she has never done more than when she

gave Joel Chandler Harris to American literature." When the two

animal-lovers finally came together there was real comradeship. That the

reporters understood this was evident from the wire one of them sent to

his paper: "Midnight--Mr. Harris has not returned to his hotel. The

White House is ablaze with light. It is said that Mr. Harris is telling

the story of Br'er Rabbit and the Tar Baby." But the Georgian's own

colloquial account of the memorable session with his comrade at

Washington was more explicit:



"There are things about the White House that'll astonish you ef ever you

git there while Teddy is on hand. It's a home; it'll come over you like

a sweet dream the minnit you git in the door.... It's a kind of feelin'

that you kin have in your own house, if you've lived right, but it's the

rarest thing in the world that you kin find it in anybody else's

house.... We mostly talked of little children an' all the pranks they're

up to from mornin' till night, an' how they draw old folks into all

sorts of traps, and make 'em play tricks on themselves. That's the

kinder talk I like, an' I could set up long past my bedtime an' listen

to it. Jest at the right time, the President would chip in wi' some of

his adventures wi' the children.... I felt just like I had been on a

visit to some old friend that I hadn't seen in years."



When Robert Louis Stevenson and Edward Livingston Trudeau spent days

together at Dr. Trudeau's Adirondack sanitarium--the one as patient, the

other as physician--they proved that true comradeship is possible even

when men's tastes are most unlike. It was possible because they knew how

to ignore differences and to find common ground in the worth-while

things. "My life interests were bound up in the study of facts, and in

the laboratory I bowed duly to the majesty of fact, wherever it might

lead," Dr. Trudeau wrote. "Mr. Stevenson's view was to ignore or avoid

as much as possible unpleasant facts, and live in a beautiful,

extraneous and ideal world of fancy. I got him one day into the

laboratory, from which he escaped at the first opportunity.... On the

other hand, I knew well I could not discuss intelligently with him the

things he lived among and the masterly work he produced, because I was

incompetent to appreciate to the full the wonderful situations his

brilliant mind evolved and the high literary merit of the work in which

he described the flights of his great genius."



Yet these two men were great companions, for in spite of differences as

to details, their hopes and ambitions and ideals all pointed to the best

things in life. After the author's departure, he sent to the doctor a

splendidly bound set of his works, first writing in each volume a

whimsical bit of rhyme, composed for the occasion.



Though all of these men were real comrades, there is a higher

manifestation of comradeship than this. This was shown in the relation

of Daniel Coit Gilman, later President of Johns Hopkins University, when

he wrote to a fellow student of the deepest things in his life:



"I don't wish merely to thank you in a general way for writing as you

did an expression of sympathy, but more especially to respond to the

sentiments on Christian acquaintance which you there bring out. I agree

with you most fully and only regret that I did not know at an earlier

time upon our journey what were your feelings upon a few such topics. I

tell you, Brace, that I hate cant and all that sort of thing as much as

you or anyone else can do. It is not with everyone that I would enjoy a

talk upon religious subjects. I hardly ever wrote a letter on them to

those I know best. But when anyone believes in an inner life of faith

and joy, and is willing to talk about it in an earnest, everyday style

and tone, I do enjoy it most exceedingly."



Theodore Storrs Lee cultivated the relation of a comrade with his fellow

students that he might talk to them, without cant, on the deepest things

of life. His biographer says: "Many a time did he seek out men in lonely

rooms, bewildered or weakened by the college struggles. Many a quiet

talk did he have as he and his selected companion trod his favorite

walk. No one else in college had so many intimate talks with so many

men.... On one occasion, when he was urging a friend to give his life to

Christian service, he seemed to be unsuccessful--until, on leaving the

man at the close of the walk, he made a genial, large-minded remark that

opened the way to the heart of his friend." ... "It was only natural

that I should try to meet him half-way," the friend said later, in

explanation of his own changed attitude. He had been won by real

comradeliness. "It was this devotion to the men in college that led him

into the holy of holies of many a man's heart," wrote a friend, "causing

many of us to feel in a very real way the sentiment expressed by Mrs.

Browning:



"The face of all the world is changed, I think

Since first I heard the footsteps of thy soul."





III



COMPANIONSHIP WITH THE PAST



What, courage from companionship with the past? The pessimist says,

"Impossible! The past was so much better than the present. See how the

country is going to the dogs!" and they point to the revelations of

dishonesty in high places. "There were no such blots on our records when

the country was young."



A public man gave an effective answer to such croakers when he said:



"As we go on year by year reading in the newspapers of the dreadful

things that are occurring; wicked rich men, wicked politicians and

wicked men of all kinds, we are apt to feel that we have fallen on very

evil times. But are we any worse than our fathers were? John Adams, in

1776, was Secretary of War. He wrote a letter which is still in

existence, and told of the terrible corruption that prevailed in the

country; he told how everybody was trying to rob the soldiers, rob the

War Department, and he said he was really ashamed of the times in which

he lived. When Jefferson was President of the United States it was

thought that the whole country was going to be given over to French

infidelity. When Jackson was President people thought the country

ruined, because of his action in regard to the United States Bank. And

we know how in Polk's time the Mexican War was an era of rascality and

dishonesty that appalled the whole country."



It is a mistake to look back a generation or two and say, "The good old

days were better than these." In the address already referred to the

speaker continued:



"Only thirty years ago, on my first visit to California, I went with a

friend to the mining district in the Sierras. One summer evening we sat

upon the flume looking over the landscape. My friend was a distinguished

man of great ability. In the distance the sun was setting, reflecting

its light on the dome of the Capitol of the state, at Sacramento, twenty

miles off. He turned to me and said suddenly: 'I would like to be you

for one reason, that you are thirty years younger than I am, and they

are going to be thirty of the greatest years the world has ever seen.'

He is dead now, but his words were prophetic. He and I used to talk

about how we could send power down into the mines. An engine would fill

the mine with smoke and gases, and yet we must have power to run the

drills, etc., using compressed air. How easy to-day, just to drop a wire

down and send the power of electricity! At that time there was but a

single railroad running across the continent, which took a single

sleeping car each day. Look at the difference now, with six great trunk

lines sending out more than a dozen trains, and more than a hundred

sleeping cars each day."



Students of American history know something of the fears of early

adherents of the United States Government lest the republic prove a

failure, and of the threats of doubters and disaffected citizens to do

their best to replace the republic by a monarchy. But comparatively few

realize how great were the fears, and how brazenly the prophecies were

spoken.



An examination of "The Complete Anas of Thomas Jefferson," the

collection of private memoranda made by the patriot when he was

successively Secretary of State, Vice-President, and President,

discloses the fact that some of the gravest of these fears were held by

those high in authority, and that the prophecies of evil came from men

who were leaders in the nation.



On April 6, 1792, President Washington, in conversation with Jefferson,

"expressed his fear that there would, ere long, be a separation of the

Union, that the public mind seemed dissatisfied and tending to this." On

October 1, 1792, he spoke to the Secretary of his desire to retire at

the end of his term as President. "Still, however, if his aid was

thought necessary to save the cause to which he had devoted his life

principally, he would make the sacrifice of a longer continuance."



On April 7, 1793, Tobias Lear, in conversation with Jefferson, spoke

pessimistically of the affairs of the country. The debt, he was sure,

was growing on the country in spite of claims to the contrary. He said

that "the man who vaunted the present government so much on some

occasions was the very man who at other times declared that it was a

poor thing, and such a one as could not stand, and he was sensible they

only esteemed it as a stepping-stone to something else."



On December 1, 1793, an influential Senator (name given) said to several

of his fellow Senators that things would never go right until there was

a President for life, and a hereditary Senate.



On December 27, 1797, Jefferson said that Tenche Coxe told him that a

little before Alexander Hamilton went out of office, he said: "For my

part I avow myself a monarchist; I have no objection to a trial being

made of this thing of a republic, but, ... etc."



On February 6, 1798, it was reported to Jefferson that a man of

influence in the Government had said, "I have made up my mind on this

subject; I would rather the old ship should go down than not." Later he

qualified his words, making his statement hypothetical, by adding, "if

we are to be always kept pumping so."



On January 24, 1800, it was reported to Jefferson that, at a banquet in

New York, Alexander Hamilton made no remark when the health of the

President was proposed, but that he asked for three cheers when the

health of George III was suggested.



On March 27, 1800, the Anas record: "Dr. Rush tells me that within a few

days he has heard a member of Congress lament our separation from Great

Britain, and express his sincere wishes that we were again dependent on

her."



On December 13, 1803, Jefferson told of the coming to President Adams of

a minister from New England who planned to solicit funds in New England

for a college in Green County, Tennessee. He wished to have the

President's endorsement of the project. But "Mr. Adams ... said he saw

no possibility of continuing the union of the States; that their

dissolution must take place; that he therefore saw no propriety in

recommending to New England men to promote a literary institution in the

South; that it was in fact giving strength to those who were to be their

enemies, and, therefore, he would have nothing to do with it."



One who reads bits like these from Jefferson's private papers

appreciates more fully some of the grave difficulties that confronted

the country's early leaders; he rejoices more than ever before that the

United States emerged so triumphantly from troubled waters until, little

more than a century after those days of dire foreboding, it was showing

other nations the way to democracy; he takes courage in days of present

doubt and uncertainty, assured that the country which has already

weathered so many storms will continue to solve its grave problems, and

will be more than ever a beacon light to the world.





IV



COMPANIONSHIP WITH NATURE



"Look at the World," is the advice David Grayson gives to those who

follow him in his delightful essays on Great Possessions--possessions

that cannot be measured with a yardstick or entered in the bank book.

This is his cure for all the trials and vexations that come in the

course of a busy life. For how can a man remain unsettled and morose and

distressed when he is gazing at the broad expanse of the sky, studying

the beauty of the trees, or listening to the mellow voices of the birds?

How can the wanderer in field and forest forget that God is love?



Some people think that to drink in the glories of nature they must go to

the mountains, or seek some other far-away spot. Mistake! The place to

enjoy God's world is just where one is, and the time is that very

moment. This was the lesson taught so impressively by Alice Freeman

Palmer, when she described the little dweller in the tenements who

resolved to see something beautiful each day, and who, one day, when

confined to the house, found her something in watching a rain-soaked

sparrow drinking from the gutter on the tin roof. And this was the

thought in the mind of Mr. Grayson when he said:



"I love a sprig of white cedar, especially the spicy, sweet inside bark,

or a pine needle, or the tender, sweet, juicy end of a spike of timothy

grass drawn slowly from its sheath, or a twig of the birch that tastes

like wintergreen."



Hamlin Garland, in "A Son of the Middle Border," has told the story of

his boyhood on an Iowa farm. He knew how to enjoy the sights to which so

many are blind:



"I am reliving days when the warm sun, falling on radiant slopes of

grass, lit the meadow phlox and tall tiger lilies to flaming torches of

color. I think of blackberry thickets and odorous grapevines, and

cherry-trees and the delicious nuts which grew in profusion throughout

the forest to the north. The forest, which seemed endless and was of

enchanted solemnity, served as our wilderness. We explored it at every

opportunity. We loved every day for the color it brought, each season

for the wealth of its experiences, and we welcomed the thought of

spending all our years in this beautiful home where the wood and the

prairie of our song did actually meet and mingle.... I studied the

clouds. I gnawed the beautiful red skin from the seed vessels which hung

upon the wild rose bushes, and I counted the prairie chickens as they

began to come together in winter flocks, running through the stubble in

search of food. I stopped now and again to examine the lizards unhoused

by the shares, ... and I measured the little granaries of wheat which

the mice and gophers had deposited deep under the ground, storehouses

which the plow had violated. My eyes dwelt enviously on the sailing hawk

and on the passing of ducks.... Often of a warm day I heard the

sovereign cry of the sand-hill crane falling from the azure throne, so

high, so far, his form could not be seen, so close to the sun that my

eyes could not detect his solitary, majestic, circling sweep.... His

brazen, reverberating call will forever remain associated in my mind

with mellow, pulsating earth, spring grass and cloudless glorious

May-time skies."



Henry Fawcett lived at about the same period in a rural district in

England. He, too, delighted to ramble in the fields. One day, when he

was out hunting with his father, an accidental gunshot deprived him of

his eyesight. But the boy would not think of shutting himself away from

the joys of nature which meant so much to him. "I very soon came to the

resolution to live, as far as possible, just as I had lived before....

No one can more enjoy catching a salmon in the Tweed of the Spey, or

throwing a fly in some quiet trout stream in Wiltshire or Hampshire."



In the story of the life of John J. Audubon an incident is told that

shows how the greatest joy can be found in what seems like one of the

most ordinary things in the life of the forest--the nesting of the

birds:



"He became interested in a bird, not as large as the wren, of such

peculiar grey plumage that it harmonized with the bark of the trees, and

could scarcely be seen. One night he came home greatly excited, saying

he had found a pair that was evidently preparing to make a nest. The

next morning he went into the woods, taking with him a telescopic

microscope. The scientific instrument he erected under the tree that

gave shelter to the literally invisible inhabitants he was searching

for, and, making a pillow of some moss, he lay upon his back, and

looking through the telescope, day after day, noted the progress of the

little birds, and, after three weeks of such patient labor, felt that he

had been amply rewarded for the toil and the sacrifice by the results he

had obtained."



When a boy David Livingstone laid the foundation for the love of the

open that helped to make his life in Africa a never-ending delight.

"Before he was ten he had wandered all over the Clyde banks about

Blantyre and had begun to collect and wonder at shells and flowers," one

of his biographers says.



Not far away, also in Scotland, Henry Drummond spent his boyhood. He,

too, knew the pleasure of wandering afield. He liked to go to the rock

on which stands grim Stirling Castle, and look away to the windings of

the crooked Forth, the green Ochil Hills, and, farther away, Ben Lomond,

Ben Venue, and Ben Ledi, the guardians of the beautiful Highland lochs.

He was never weary of feasting his eyes on them. In later years he would

go back to the scenes of his boyhood, climb to the Castle, and, looking

out on the beautiful prospect, would say "Man, there's no place like

this; no place like Scotland."



Bayard Taylor first made a name for himself by his ability to see the

things that many people pass by, and to describe them sympathetically.

But he, also, in boyhood days learned the lesson that paved the way for

later achievements. He was not six years old when he used to wander to a

fascinating swamp near his Pennsylvania home. If the child was missed

from the house, the first thing that suggested itself was to climb upon

a mound which overlooked the swamp. Once, from the roof of the house, he

discovered unknown forests and fresh fields which he made up his mind to

explore. Later, in company with a Quaker schoolmaster, he took long

walks, and thus learned many things about the trees and plants. When he

was twelve he began to write out the thoughts that came to him in this

intimate study of nature.



In far-away Norway Ole Bull had a like experience. At an early age he

began to be on familiar terms with the silent things about him. The

quality of his later work was influenced by the grandeur of the scenery

in which he lived. To him trees, rocks, waterfalls, mountains, all spoke

a language which demanded expression through the strings of his violin;

he turned everything into music. His biographer says:



"When, in early childhood, playing alone in the meadow, he saw a

delicate bluebell moving in the breeze, he fancied he heard the bell

ring, and the grass accompanying it with most exceptionally fine

voices."



John Muir, who later wrote of the great Sequoias of California and the

glaciers of Alaska, when a boy of ten found delight in scenes of which

he wrote as follows:



"Oh, that glorious Wisconsin wilderness! Everything new and pure in the

very prime of spring, when nature's pulses were beating highest and

mysteriously keeping tune with our own! Young hearts, young leaves,

flowers, animals, the winds and the streams and the sparkling lake, all

wildly, gladly rejoicing together."



There is something missing in the life of one who cannot enter into the

feelings of a boy like Muir or Taylor or Drummond. And when such a boy

grows up, the gap in the life will be more conspicuous than ever.



Think of the poverty of the stranger to whom a traveler, feeling that he

must give expression to his keen delight in the autumn foliage, said,

"What wonderful coloring!" "Where?" came the reply. "Oh, the trees!

Well, I'm not interested in trees. Talk to me about coal. I know coal."





V



COMPANIONSHIP WITH GOD



Some people insist that it is impractical moonshine to speak of making a

companion of God, that folks who talk about such things are dreamers,

far removed from touch with the cold reality of daily life.



Then how about the nephew of whom Dr. Alexander MacColl told at

Northfield? He was surely a practical man. For four years he had been in

the thick of the fighting in France. Yet at the close of one of his

letters to his uncle he said: "I hope when the war is over that I may

be able to spend a month somewhere among the hills. I often think that

if more people in the world had lived among such hills as we have in

Scotland there would have been no world war."



"When I came yesterday afternoon, and saw again the glory of these

hills," was Dr. MacColl's comment, "I found myself sharing very deeply

in that feeling of my good nephew, and wishing that more people in the

world had known what it is to commune with God in the silences."



That fine young Scotchman would have known how to take a college student

who, while having a country walk with a friend, was explaining the

reason for his belief in God and his trust in Him. As he concluded his

message he pointed to a large tree which they were passing, saying as he

did so, "God is as real to me as that tree."



He had a right to say such a thing, for he not only believed, but he was

conscious that God was with him, his Companion wherever he went. This

being the case, prayer became for him the simplest and most natural

thing in the world. God was by his side; then why should not he talk to

God, by ejaculation as well as by more formal utterance? Yet his talks

with God never became formal. They were always intimate and

confidential--like the approaches of Principal John Cairns, the famous

Scotch minister. His biographer tells of a time when he was at the manse

of a country minister in whose church he was to preach next day. The

minister's wife withdrew to get a cup of tea for the old man, leaving

her little boy there. By and by she heard a strange, unaccustomed sound,

as it seemed to her under such conditions. And as she listened and

looked, she saw that the old man was kneeling with the boy. It had

seemed to him the most natural thing in the world to speak to his Great

Friend about his little friend.



Dr. Arthur Smith was like that with God, and his son Henry took after

him. One January day in 1905 the father reached New York from China and

sought his son. They went to a hotel room to bridge the time of absence

by "a tremendous lot of back conversation," as the son wrote to the

mother. But before they had any chance to talk of other matters the

father said, "Come, boy, let's have a prayer." "Wasn't that just like

him?" Henry asked his mother.



A minister who was spending his vacation in the northern woods was

called in to see a dying lumberman. Before leaving the visitor prayed

with the sick man, and suggested that he pray for himself. The objection

was made that it was useless to pray--God understood a man's trials, and

He knew what was wanted before a request was made. The minister asked

him if he didn't know what his children needed before they asked him, if

he didn't know they were disappointed or troubled; yet didn't he wish to

have them talk over these things with him?



The man thought a moment. Then he said, "Do you think that would be

prayer--just for me to lie here and tell God what He knows already--how

it hurts, and all my disappointment, and my anxiety for the future of my

children and my wife--and everything--just to tell Him?"



"I think it would," said the minister. "I think it would be prayer of a

very real kind."



One who had learned that prayer is not a mere formal exercise, to be

dreaded and postponed, has said:



"Pray often--in bits, with a persistency of habit that betrays a

childlike eagerness and absorption. Rise up to question God as children

do their earthly parents--at morning, noon and night and between times.

Ask Him about everything. Be with Him more than with all other persons.

Acquire the home habit with Him. Be a child in His hands. Do not fear

lest He be too busy to listen, or too grown up to care or to understand.

Just talk to Him, in broken sentences, half-formed with crude wishes; in

foolish chatter, if need be. Make the Heavenly Father the center of your

life, the source and judge of all your satisfactions. Be sure to let Him

put you to bed, waken you in the morning, wait on you at table, order

your day's doings, protect you from harm, soothe your disquiet, supply

all your daily needs."



Such a prayer is good, not only when one is sick, but when one is well

and busy with the affairs of daily life. A clergyman has told of a visit

to London during which he called on a merchant whom he had met in

America. At the business house he was told that he could not see the

merchant, as it was steamer day, and orders had been given not to

disturb him. But when the card was taken up, the merchant appeared, his

face beaming with pleasure. After a moment's greeting the visitor

offered to go away, but the merchant took him into his office, and said:



"I am very glad you have called. I would not have had you fail. I am

very busy, but I always have a moment for my Lord. I have a little

place for private prayer. You must come in with me, and we shall have a

season of prayer together."



Busy, but not too busy for prayer, longing to see his friend, but eager

to spend the ten minutes of the call in prayer with that other Friend

who made the brief visit worth while!



In telling this incident, one writer on the subject of prayer has said:



"Several, perhaps many merchants in one of our large cities have fitted

up for themselves dark, narrow, boxlike closets, whither, each by

himself, they are wont to retire for a few minutes at times, during the

pressure of the day's business, for the refreshment of soul, which they

find they really need in communion with God. One of these men is

reported to have said: 'On some days, if I had not that resort, I

believe I should go mad, so great is the pressure.'"



Dr. Purves once told an incident of the distinguished scientist,

Professor Joseph Henry, as given him by one of Dr. Henry's students. "I

well remember the wonderful care with which he arranged all his

principal experiments. Then often, when the testing moment came, that

holy as well as great philosopher would raise his hand in adoring

reverence and call upon me to uncover my head and worship in silence,

'because,' he said, 'God is here. I am about to ask God a question.'"



To Mary Slessor of Calabar, whom the Africans learned to love devotedly,

prayer was as simple and easy as talking to a friend in the room. "Her

religion was a religion of the heart," her biographer says. "Her

communion with her Father was of the most natural, most childlike

character. No rule or habit guided her. She just spoke to Him as a child

to its father when she needed help and strength, or when her heart was

filled with joy and gratitude, at any time, in any place. He was so real

to her, so near, that her words were almost of the nature of

conversation. There was no formality, no self-consciousness, no

stereotyped diction, only the simplest language from a quiet and humble

heart. It is told of her that once, when she was in Scotland, after a

tiresome journey, she sat down at the tea table alone, and, lifting up

her eyes, said, 'Thank you, Father--ye ken I'm tired,' in the most

ordinary way as if she had been addressing her friend. On another

occasion in the country, she lost her spectacles while coming from a

meeting in the dark. She could not do without them, and she prayed

simply and directly, 'O Father, give me back my spectacles!' A lady

asked her how she obtained such intimacy with God. 'Ah, woman,' she

said, 'when I am out there in the bush, I have often no other one to

speak to but my Father, and I just talk to Him....'"



"I just talk to Him!" There is the secret of getting and keeping close

to the Father, the most worth-while Companion we can possibly have with

us on country walk, on vacation excursion, amid business perplexities,

in the desert or in the thronged city street, when the days are crowded

with burdens, or when the time of rest after work has come.



Try Him and see if it is not so.





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