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the course of the channel across the bar may be seen in the distance near the shore. For over forty years Capt. Benjamin Ellsworth was the faithful keeper of the light, and when he died in 1902, at the advanced age of eighty-nine years, he was the oldest keeper in the Lighthouse Service. Beautiful effects are produced by the wind as it sweeps over this wide stretch of fine loose sand. It piles it into hillocks, through which it soon cuts deep ravines. Although the wiry beach grass strives to preserve a permanent outline, yet the surface is constantly changing.

On the Essex River side of the beach, possibly an eighth of a mile from the lighthouse, is the once fertile Lakeman farm. A few years ago the sand blown from the eastward had nearly covered the apple orchard in the rear of the house, and in reality, one could walk among the branches of the trees, but more recently by some strange caprice or unnatural law, the sand has been blown away, clearing the surface nearly to the original soil. Near at hand is the smooth, hard beach, on which the ocean beats with measured roar. Off from the shore the white lines of surf pound upon the bar, and beyond, Plum Island stands watch and ward guarding the coast from Agawam to Merrimac; and here I leave you, as the river meets the bay, the Bay of Agawam.

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Preached at the Collegiate Church of St. Nicholas, on Sunday, December 20, 1914, by the Reverend Malcolm James MacLeod, D.D.


"Herod feared John."-Mark vi, 20.

And it is a fair question to ask why. Why should Herod fear John? Outwardly there seemed no reason in the world why Herod should fear John. It would seem much more reasonable to read that John feared Herod. For Herod belonged to an illustrious family. He was the son of Herod the Great. Indeed, he was great himself, as the world reckons greatness. He was tetrarch of Galilee. He was a very rich man, and like his father lavished large sums of money on public institutions. He lived in regal magnificence. He reigned three and forty years. He even went to Rome to see if he could not secure the title of king. He was a successful administrator and diplomat. Soldiers stood armed at every exit of his palace, on tiptoe to do his will. He was one of the judges before whom our Lord appeared at his trial. Surely he was a man to be consulted and regarded.

And John! Who, pray, was John? Why, John was
He was what the world would call a nobody.

a poor man.

He grew up in solitude. He had no friends, no influence, no pull. His dress and his diet were of Spartan stuff. He was simply a wild wilderness preacher. I am tempted to call him the first Puritan. He was in prison, shackled, at the time to which these words refer, and the headsman was at the door with the axe. Yet, notwithstanding all this, the record goes on to inform us that "Herod feared John."

Now, this evening, I would like to look with you, if I may, into the roots of this courage and this timidity. What is the explanation of it? Why should Herod fear John? Let us see if we can find some answer to this seemingly unwarranted disposition.

It has been noted how every nationality has its own peculiar trait. The Irishman is witty, the Britisher is slow; the German mind is dreamy, the Welsh mind is religious; the Slavic type is heavy, the Latin is mercurial, the Mexican is lazy, the Yankee is shrewd. The Scotchman who went to hear an Episcopal service, where they had a splendid organ, came away saying: "It's a' verra bonnie, but it's an awfu' way of spending the Sabbath." He touched the stern, strict Scottish heart.

Judaism is no exception to this rule, and John the Baptist was a Jew. And I think, if we look into his Jewish blood and his Jewish training, we will understand a little the secret of the man's unflinching fortitude. Trainers of wild animals tell us that the elephant is afraid of a mouse. Grotesque as it may seem, this great mountain of beef shrinks from a mouse. The insignificance of the little thing and its tantalizing gyroscopes baffle his conception of warfare. But John the Baptist was no insignificant man. We do not know what he looked like, but tradition says he was a big, stalwart fellow. So does Art. Donatello and Titian depict him as a giant. There was fire in his eye and thunder in his voice. His tread is that of a conqueror. I can see him striding across the desert like one of the old Norse gods. He hits out right

and left. He has no beautiful phrases. His periods were not the periods of Edward Everett. In every sinew and ligament are written, "this is a man of power." With his gaunt, big-boned, burly form wrapped in a coat of camel's hair and bound with a leathern girdle, his dark eyes flashing from behind those shaggy brows, his voice rumbling like artillery down the Jordan, he was not a man. to be trifled with.

But after all, this cannot be the secret. The secret must be a good deal deeper than this. The physical in its last analysis is always a minor matter. Some of the biggest men have been far from being the bravest. John Knox was a little, frail, delicate man. His power was not the power of avoirdupois. It was a hidden thing. It was the power of the old Hebrew prophets. I think, unquestionably, the secret of John the Baptist's dauntless daring was that he was a man of God. I mean by that, he believed in God-in a personal God; in a living God. He knew himself to be the spokesman of the Almighty. The glory of the Hebrew people was their faith in the authority and sovereignty of Jehovah, the one living and true God. Indeed it was more than a faith with them; it was a passion.

Now it has been noted that the story of the Puritanism of New England is largely the story of ancient Israel. Its laws were Hebraic. There was the same sense of Jehovah's sovereign control. New England was patterned largely on the model of the Old Testament. The whole impulse of the Mayflower movement was religious. It was the logical outcome of that insurrection of the human conscience which we call the Reformation. That which conscience demands no power, political or imperial, can ever withhold. The will may be bent, the heart may be broken, but the moral sense of mankind is irrepressible. Whatever these people forgot, one thing they never forgot: they never forgot God. They did not start out to make money as the end of life, but to serve God; to "join themselves

into a church in the fellowship of the gospel." They put eternity above time. Their aim was not to swim comfortably through existence for a few brief years, but to seek God, to hear His voice, to win His favor; to lay hold on the things that are abiding. Their religion was not an emergency brake or an insurance against accident. It was a living, everyday communication with God.

There is no man in history more intensely religious than John Winthrop, the first Governor of Massachusetts. The story of his spiritual life is one of the choice passages on the page of English Christianity. And he carried over here the spirit of that faith which represented the purest and the best life of the old land. Of course, there were among them men false and unworthy. That is true of every circle when it grows to any considerable dimensions; but I speak of the great majority who suffered for their principles in those dark days, and I repeat that the characteristic note of Puritan piety was its consciousness of God. It was not a piety of holy places or sacred rituals, but a personal affair. It was something that each man transacted alone. It was a covenant between spirit and Spirit. That's what made these men resolute and fearless. Loss of home and liberty meant nothing. The voice of God to the soul was the commanding thing. For this they lived. For this they labored. For this they suffered. For this they died.

I had the privilege of being present at the time of the inauguration of President Lowell as president of Harvard. It was certainly an illustrious occasion. It seemed as if all the scholars in America were present. And I think the thing that thrilled me most was the singing of the 78th Psalm. Think of it! That psalm was composed several thousand years ago. Its theme is the presence of God and the continuance of His covenant with His people. The boys sang "Fair Harvard," but the old Hebrew psalm was far more thrilling. It was a song of Jehovah and His wonderful doings among the children of men. They tell me it has always been sung at Harvard

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