Luke 14:10.---' Friend, go up higher.'

There is a climbing instinct in man which makes him love to go up higher. The great popularity of Longfellow's poem, "Excelsior," is due, in part, to its touching this much-loved note. To go to the top of high places is attractive. Therefore, in our travels, we love to ascend spires, towers, and mountains. To mount even a few hundred feet above the earth seems to lift us for a time above its cares. We look down upon the hurrying crowd with a certain angelic composure, and wonder at its impatience. Its hurry and haste appear quite unnecessary. To us, in our sublime elevation, bathed in the circumambient air, life has suddenly become calm, and our soul is serene.

Much more is the case when we attain the summit of a mountain. A deeper calm comes over us, and we pass into the region of nobler thoughts. In that lofty realm of silence, amid pure airs and snows, amid rocks piled by the hand of God, and untouched since the morning of creation, the soul within us is also lifted, also purified.

Many of the Psalms become doubly precious to us in days of crisis and trouble. Some of them seem to have been written just for such days, so very appropriate are they. They seem to enter with fullness of understanding into our case. And among the most precious, the 121st will find a place: ' I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills '---to the things that are big and high. But if we interpret the message of Jesus aright, we shall find that it is a call to something more than this. He desires us not only to gaze upon the hills from afar. His word rather is : ' Get thee up into the high mountain.'

All this is but the type and image of moral climbing. Ought not we all to climb mentally, morally, and spiritually to loftier and still loftier heights of excellence?

There are some of us who never get beyond the first step of Jacob's ladder. In taking that step we make the transition from death to life; but we are content with mere life---the life of an infant's breath. We are always talking of what we have been saved from in the past, we are always exulting in our liberation from the state which lies behind us. It is indeed beautiful to be grateful for the breath of existence, but have we considered what the breath of existence means? It means the introduction to boundless possibilities.

Go up to the Rock. ' Lead me,' says one of the Psalmist, ' to the rock that is higher than I.' For the idea behind this we shall not be wrong in taking the picture in another Psalm---the picture of a man who felt himself sinking into a fearful pit and being engulfed in miry clay. Or we may think of that picture which is on the wall of some of our homes, of a person struggling in deep and stormy waters that are like to overwhelm him, and clinging for dear life to a rock which is ' the Rock of Ages.' The Master is ever seeking to draw our attention to the rock that is higher than we. Nobody will deny the deep waters today. Nobody will say that there is no flood sweeping down on human life, with a power in it to overwhelm. If we have never been caught in it ourselves, we have only to look around us to see how others, our fellow-mortals, have been so. They are in deep waters. The flood of a great sorrow has swept down on them; or the flood of perplexity and anxiety---dark, forbidding waters, these, with an overwhelming strength in them. And what have we to say to them? Perhaps we have nothing to say. We stand by with sympathy in our hearts, but feeling our powerlessness to help. Perhaps, if we say nothing, our inner thought is that they must measure their own height and their own strength against the stream; that they will need all their courage and patience and endurance. It is their own height and their own strength we think of as battling against the floods. But do they not need something higher than themselves, something stronger than their own strength, something more steadfast and reliable, while the torrents rushes down on them with such terrific force? ' Something higher than I !' cried the Psalmist, ' something stronger than I, for the floods are deeper than my height and the torrent is stronger than my strength. Some rock that rises, firm and steadfast, higher than I, and higher than the floods !' Some rock ! And the Psalmist knew of such an one: ' From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower.' And when the Master beholds us plunged in waters too deep for us and in a current that is too strong, He comes to us and says, 'Friend, go up higher '; nay, He comes and offers His hand to pull us up and set us upon that Rock which is above the floods of time---the Rock of Ages.

Most pure is the happiness which may be ours if only we will; a bliss without a shade of sorrow. There are no thorns now in the hidden life of Christ; no chill, no blemish in its gladness. All things, ever the best, below God, have a canker somewhere, and the taint of a fallen world is on them. Not so the life which is with Christ in God. It is as peaceful as it is pure; high above the reach of all perturbations. They that live in Him have their dwelling in God; they look out of Him as out of an everlasting shelter, and look down on the wide weltering sea of this world's troubled life.

Take a look into the second Psalm for something else. There you have human plans and purposes in full swing, and evidently meaning to sweep everything before them---the kings of the earth setting themselves and the rulers taking counsel together, and not for any good. And it is not a pretty sight. It appears as though the game were pretty much in their hands. But, look ! The curtain is drawn aside and we are bidden to go up higher to see that something else has to be taken into account. What is it? ' He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.' So God has plans and purposes too? Things are not all in men's hands. Of course, God has plans and purposes, and He has never abdicated in favor of anybody. He is Sovereign Lord, and His will and purpose are sovereign over all. When we look around us in life, there are times when there appears to be nothing but confusion-purposes and cross-purposes, a struggle and a scramble in the dark. ' Friend, go up higher.' It is not all a question of our ways and our thoughts. There is One on high who has His ways and His thoughts; and it is His purpose that is going to stand.

But there is something else that is high, and of it, too, the Master would speak and say, 'Friend, go up higher.' Paul speaks about ' the height of the love of Christ.' There is a loneliness of soul where human love cannot help, but the love of Christ can. There is a shadow of death where human love must hold back, but there the love of Christ is found. There is a sorrow of heart which nothing but the love of Christ can comfort. There is a burden of sin on the soul which nothing but the love of Christ on His Cross can lift. ' To know the love of Christ,' said St. Paul, as though the solving of life's problems lay there. And so it does. And to all the lonely and burdened and sad and penitent the Master is saying, ' Friend, go up higher.' The love of Christ will meet you with a power to help and to heal like no other power in all the world.

Paul speaks about our ' high calling.' Here we find a correction to any impression that our human life is low and mean and base. It can be made low and contemptible enough. It is not meant to be so. It is a high calling. And surely when we look upon our own lives, at the low levels at which we have been content to live them, at the absence of anything really high in our motives, our desires, even our prayers---surely we hear the Master saying to us, ' Friend, go up higher.' Life was meant to be a higher thing than we are making it. It was not meant to be all a thing of the earth earthly. The vision of the eternal was meant to beckon us, the love of Christ was meant to constrain us, His Spirit was meant to lead us, whither? To the heights---to the heights of consecration and service, of Christ-like-ness and holiness; yea, to the heights of heaven. And the Master is pointing us to the heights now, seeking to shake us out of ease and lethargy and contentment with what is low and unworthy, saying, ' Friend, go up higher.'

The best way to escape many difficulties which beset us on a lower plane is to go up to a higher one. It is sometimes easier to go up than to stand still where we are. In climbing a precipitous rock, if you stop, you may grow dizzy, and be in danger of falling; but if you push upwards you are safe. So, sometimes, if you find it hard to do your duty, try to do more, not less. Adopt a higher standard, go up to a higher ground. Then you have more motive, purer air, better inspiration. If it is hard to be a moderately good Christian, try to become a better one; you will often find that easier than to halt between two opinions. When you try to compromise between right and wrong, to be moderately just, to be truthful to a certain extent, and religious without ceasing to be worldly, it is a hard matter. But if we say, ' We will do whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are noble,' it simplifies the matter amazingly.

One thing which caused Christianity to triumph over Judaism was that it was a higher religion, demanding more, but also giving more. The old Jewish system was a heavy work, a task work, a routine of duties and ceremonies, ' which,' says the Apostle, ' neither we nor our fathers were able to bear.' But Jesus made it easier to do this by giving them more to do. He did not say, ' I am come to give you rest, by giving you less to do '; He said, ' except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.' He said that not a jot or tittle should pass from the law until all of it was fulfilled. It is hard to do our duty, when duty is a task, a drudgery, so much to be done every day. But when it is a spirit inspiring all of life; when it is the love of God and man; the love of all excellence; joy in fighting a good fight; the happiness found in making others happy; when it thus takes in all of life, then it becomes at once a great deal more, and a great deal easier.

In Christ, timothy. maranatha