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By William G T Shedd

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This tradition of the Early Church accords well with the tone and teachings of those three Epistles which were among the last utterances of the last of the apostles. Heavenly charity, after a life prolonged nearly one hundred years, had become the dominant affection of the soul. And how almost impossible it would have been to have ruffled that heavenly temper! How easy it was for him to rule his spirit! How slow to anger must he have become! In the days of his early discipleship, St. John was swift to wrath, and upon one occasion sought to persuade the serene and compassionate Redeemer to command the lightnings to come down from the sky, and consume the Samaritan village that would not receive him.

There are in every man the same inordinate passions, and the same need of a radical transformation. He became a changed creature, the lion was converted into the lamb, through faith in Jesus Christ—by an act of trust and confidence in the Divine Redeemer. His own words are: "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ—is born of God: and whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world, and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.

In what other way than by prayer and meditation can we approach God ? We cannot see him with the outward eye. We cannot touch him with the hand. We cannot draw nigh to him with a body of flesh and blood. " He is a pure Spirit, and that part of us which has to do with him is the spirit within us. And in this mode of existence, the only ordinary medium of communication between the divine and the human spirit is thought and prayer. God, with all the immensity of his being, and all the infinitude of his perfections, is virtually non-existent for that man who does not meditate and who never prays.

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