The Lighthouse In The Storm -- By: Charles F. Wishart

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 085:339 (Jul 1928)
Article: The Lighthouse In The Storm
Author: Charles F. Wishart


The Lighthouse In The Storm

Charles F. Wishart

THEY who are called to minister in these stirring times have little cause to hope for a life of cushioned ease, or to fear a life of ennui and monotony. A great door and effectual is opened, and there are many mutual adversaries. All along our theological coasts the storm signals are flying. Serenity and ease and “cloistered aloofness” may once have lured men into the Christian ministry. But that day is of the rapidly receding past. Such serenity of soul as the contemporary clergyman possesses must be a hardy flower, nourished almost wholly from within, able to withstand many biting frosts, and cultivated in the midst of alarums. It must have about it the fine subjective quality of Hotspur in Shakespeare’s “Henry the Fourth,” “He that kills me some’ six or seven dozen of Scots at a breakfast, washes his hands, and says to his wife, ‘Fie upon this quiet life! I want work.’ “This condition of affairs, which no longer classifies the ministry among the sedentary professions, should not be a deterrent to any but consciously inferior souls. Storms are at their worst perhaps preferable to stagnation. Hardy gentlemen with a love of intense intellectual activity and a wholesome spirit of adventure and sufficient epidermic protection should find it a supreme privilege to study and work, to preach and write, at a time when the theological world is being shaken by seismic disturbances akin to those which scientists tell us have occurred at periodical intervals in cosmic development from a gaseous to a solid condition.

The chief difficulty is manifestly to understand what is really going on. Cyclones do not lend themselves to calm perspective. Individual introspection is always sufficiently delicate and dangerous. But for the social mind to study and understand itself is infinitely more difficult. Even in piping times of peace who can discern the signs of such

times? And when the sun is overcast by storm clouds, how can we compute our dead reckonings?

In fact, a glimpse at the social and moral and political status of. the world will at the first bring only confusion worse confounded. Old Hans Sachs, in Wagner’s Meister-singer seems right when he sings of a world gone mad. Ten years ago we were concerned because we felt unprepared for the shock of war. In fact, we were far better prepared for that than we have been for the shock of peace. Under the first impact we stood man fashion, with high idealism and sacrificial courage. Under the second the trumpets which had sounded the fanfare of Armageddon began once more to blare the raucous notes of self-interest. While the war was fought in the spirit of a new and better world for which m...

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