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When God had created the first human pair, no dangers threatened them in Paradise. Neither the elements of nature, nor wild animals, nor climate, nor any disease, exposed them to any 369 risks. All Paradise was with them. It was altogether pleasure without burden. At one point only they were in danger. That was their spiritual estate. In this they were vulnerable. If the soul fell down they were gone; unless God saved them, they were gone forever.

The curse, which came upon the earth immediately after they had fallen, showed at once that pandemonium had been let loose against them, and that the whole creation, as it were, had entered into conclave to destroy them. When we think how absolutely helpless these two people stood, almost without clothing and entirely unfortified, in the face of these unloosed and raving forces of world and nature, we feel at once that absolutely nothing would have come of them, and that they would have met death at once, if only in maw of lion or tiger, had not from the side of God secret, wondrous grace watched over them.

How human life saves itself now need not be asked. We now face the evil and destructive forces of nature strongly fortified in every way, and it is an exception when a flood surprises, a hurricane destroys, an epidemic works havoc, or wild animals carry off human victims. But of all the means of resistance, which are at our disposal, Adam and Eve had none, and they were but with each other. This makes it so wonderful that our race was not at once destroyed, that it maintained itself, that it increased and obtained the upper hand. For many centuries indeed after Paradise had disappeared, man was forced to wage war to the death with the wild forces of destruction, and to this day the names of a Nimrod and of a Hercules are alive in the memory of nations, as 370 of heroes who knew how to restrain the monster of destruction. Most people live upon their common strength. Weaklings live beneath themselves. But there have always been a few, who have excelled themselves. And later generations have honored these heroes as men, who have achieved the superhuman, and who by efforts born from almost superhuman inspiration have left behind a blessing for the entire human race. When difficulty faced them as a wall, and others remained standing before it, they knew how to get over it, and make a way for those who followed after.

When the fight with the monster of elements and forces of nature had so far led to victory, that with much caution and watchfulness, normal human life became possible to a certain extent. Satan set up men against themselves, and an entirely new struggle was born, even of man against man. The evil game of Cain and Abel. To despoil each other of goods, to aim at one another's life, to subject as slave another to oneself. Now pandemonium no longer of nature, but of human evil broke loose in the bosom of humanity itself. The misery that has overtaken our race by this second conflict is nameless. First lust of robbery and murder among each other of man against man, of house against house. And from this, war of nation against nation, of people against people. And then, again, heroes have arisen. Men who excelled others and themselves. A Samson and David, a Prince William and Prince Maurice. Heroes, who, under high inspiration have broken resistance and have delivered their people. Again the Wall, against which every other man dashed his head, but over which they 371 leaped. And thus came about deliverance of the people. And thus the names of these heroes are held in lasting honor. Not by our race as a whole, but by the people whose deliverance they have wrought.

Meanwhile a third struggle had begun. Not against nature, and not against the lust of robbery and murder of a fellowman, but the conflict between the kingdoms of the world and the kingdom of heaven. The grace of God descending, the light of God inshining, in order to bring the children of men to the inheritance of the children of God. And face to face with this, the power of Satan, sin and world, to destroy the cause of God in the earth. And again there have been heroes, who, excelling others and themselves, have stood their ground where others fainted. Again the wall, which inexorably foiled the many, but over which enthusiastically they leaped. A Noah, an Abraham, an Isaiah, presently the martyrs and the Apostles, and after them a Luther and a Calvin. Again this same high inspiration. The wall at last thrown down. And their names held in grateful remembrance, not by a single people, and not by the whole race, but by the generation of all the children of God. At the center of this conflict was the Lion from Judah's tribe; the supreme Leader and Finisher of the faith, the Son of God and the Son of Man, the vanquisher of death in his glorious resurrection. Here God in him, he himself God, and therefore the wall of sin and death forever demolished by him, and the way opened to everlasting peace.

Now consider our struggle. It is threefold. There is the struggle against the forces of nature 372 in sickness and in threatening destruction; the struggle for existence and a living. The struggle against our fellowmen, when they do us wrong, slander us and threaten our rights and liberties. And thirdly the struggle against the powers of Satan, sin and the world, in behalf of God's glory, the cause of the Lord, and the soul's salvation. From the combination of these three powers that are arrayed against us spring all our woes and miseries, all our sorrows and anxieties. Man has a struggle on earth. It is not equally severe in every case, but it frequently appears that with some individuals it is a struggle against hellish powers. In the face of it one stands cowardly and powerless; larger numbers struggle with little more than ordinary effort; but there are always a few who face the fight with the uncommon courage of heroes and they triumph by faith. Again the wall; before which others falter but over which they know how to leap. They do it with their God and in his Name, and leave a blessing behind them for all their house and times.

What is the secret of the courage and power that overcomes in the case of these heroes and heroines? Of course they excelled themselves, that is to say, they knew how to apply a power of will, which really far outreached their own strength. This high power comes not from without, but from within; from their fixed heart, from their soul taking hold of itself, from the spirit that is in them. By comparison one perceives something of this high tension in the man who runs amuck, in the drunkard, in the insane, in the man who is carried away by his passion. Everyone runs out 373 of the way of him who runs amuck, because it is known that no one can face him. He is thrown by a shot from a gun. Three officers of police are unable sometimes to overpower a subject of delirium tremens. It takes the straight-jacket at times to render insane people powerless, which shows what gigantic strength they are able to develop. And in a fit of passion many an excited person has withstood three men and thrown them. All these are exhibits of human misery, but in every one of them, there is gigantic development of strength, because a something within was able to cause such tension of spirit, and through their spirit of their muscles, as passes all measure.

But even as such muscular tension can spring from evil excitement and overexertion of the spirit, so by an inner tension of the Holy Spirit the soul can double its strength, yea, increase it threefold times. Not from human misery this time, but from sacred exaltation for the sake of resisting human woe. Then there is the wall again. The wall of injustice perpetrated against us, of trouble that overwhelms us, of sorrow that can not be borne, of opposition that threatens to undo us, of sin that aims at our descent into hell. A wall that must be demolished, or broken through, except we be lost Then heroic courage must show itself. Not that of wild, ungovernable tension, but the pure, calm, persistent courage of the hero, who never gives in, and in God's strength overcomes. Then we make true for ourselves what the Psalmist sang (18:29): "By my God have I leaped over a wall." And "by my God" does not mean to say by the help of God, or by a Divine miracle, but it signifies: With God in my heart, 374 through this highest inspiration, which the inworking of the Holy Ghost alone can bring about in my soul, I know that it is God's will, and that it must be done. And then it is, if you like, a miracle, for then you do and suffer that which far supersedes your own strength. But the wall yields, it breaks, and you leap over. And on the other side of it you kneel down to ascribe praise and honor to him who has enabled you to do the superhuman.

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