The Comfort of the Universal Presence
George H. Morrison
In the library of our University are certain old and interesting maps. They have all the charms of a geography which knows no limit save imagination. In modern atlases, where there is ignorance, such ignorance is handsomely acknowledged. In older atlases, on the contrary, it is curiously and cunningly concealed. And so we read upon these dusty parchments over territories unexplored the fascinating news that here be anthropophagi or satyrs and sundry other goblins. All that has vanished from our ken1 today, but there is one thing which is left us still: it is that across the map, to the remotest boundary, we can write with full assurance, Here is God. If I ascend to heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, thou art there; if I follow the beckoning of rosy-fingered morn, I am still in the keeping of the eternal Father. Do you and I dwell as we should on that? Do we know the comfort of God's omnipresence? I want to handle that a little, when so many dear to us are far away.
First, then, I ask you to consider that the universal presence is an arresting thought. There is nothing on earth, when we are tempted sorely, so quietly arresting as a presence. There are times of temptation when the wisest counsel is swept from us like leaves before the gale, times when everything we have resolved upon is broken like a thread of gossamer. And how often, in such times as these, when the wisest counsel has been powerless, we have found restraining power in a presence. It may be the presence of actual proximity. It may be only the presence of the heart, the presence of someone who, for many a year, has been sleeping under the grass of the churchyard. But love is mighty in resurrection-power, and eyes which once we loved are on us still; only God in heaven could tell aright how men have been helped by them when they were tempted.
You remember the story which I have often told you of Frederick Rob ...
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