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destiny ; that is not my mission. I would rather go and humbly say to the holy prophets of ancient and modern times, -Come and help me and my fellowsinners in India. And I would ask my God to send to me the help of all His chosen prophets. Surely, then, I am not worthy of a place in the category of prophets. I tremble at the idea of being associated with those heavenly saints. Can I say, I am not worthy to unloose the latchet of Jesus' shoes ? Will that sufficiently indicate my humble position ? It would not. It would be no humiliation, but an honor to be able to say so.
For did not John the Baptist use such language with reference to Christ, and would I not be claiming the Baptist's honors ? Will it, then, do for me to say I am unworthy to unloose the latchet of John the Baptist's shoes? That, too, is an honor beyond my reach. Can I use these words with reference to Luther, to John Knox, to Gooroo Nanuk of the Punjab, to Kabir, to Tukaram ? Verily, I am unworthy to touch the shoes of the least of the world's prophets. Here, then, am I. Judge me and my character. I have said the plain truth, and now the phantom of India's prophet passes into thin air. It is a dream and an illusion. The so-called prophet of Bengal going forth to save Bombay and Madras and all India is a pure fiction, and it at once vanishes into nothingness. Then what am I, if I am not a prophet ?
I am a singular man. I am not as ordinary men are, and I say this deliberately. I say this candidly, I am conscious of marked peculiarities in my faith and character. My singularity began when I was fourteen years of age. I then learnt to abstain from animal food. That was no doubt a small thing considered in itself. But it was a momentous change considered in the light of what followed.
My life was destined for asceticism and abstinence, for the simplicities of faith and life. I was to be debarred from the luxuries of the world. That even at least showed which way the wind' was blowing. I was constrained by the Spirit of God. Within a few years I felt more and more this constraining influence. What was it that made me so singular in the earlier years of my life? Providence brought me into the presence of three very singular persons in those days. They were among my soul's earliest acquaintances. As I was walking along the path of my life, I met three stately figures, heavenly, majestic, and full of divine radiance; and who where these? A wild-looking man, John the Baptist, was seen going about,—not exactly in the midst of the gloom of night, but in the morning twilight-in the wilderness of India, saying,“ Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” I felt he was speaking to me as I am speaking to you here. I confronted his spirit, I heard his voice in the soul. It was real ; it was clear—" Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Those words stirred me. The man's raiment was of camel's hair, and his meat was locusts and wild honey. I fell down, and I learnt contrition and repentance at the feet of John the Baptist. Why came he to me? Did he really come to me? Yes, he did come to me—he whose voice was heard in Judea several centuries ago. And he came to me because God sent him to me for my benefit, and I heard his words, and profited greatly. He passed away, and then came another prophet far greater than he, the prophet of Nazareth. Standing on a high hill, he addressed to me these solemn words-words which
even more touching and thrilling than those of John the Baptist-" Take no thought for your
life,” said Jesus to me, “ what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, or what ye shall put on. thought for the morrow.” These words of Jesus found a lasting lodgment in my heart, and have ever since continued to influence me. Hardly had Jesus finisbed His words, when came another prophet, and that was the travelled ambassador of Christ, the strong, heroic, and valiant Apostle Paul. And what did he say to me? He gave me but one lesson, and that was enough. He said
" Let them that have wives be as though they had none;" and these words came upon me like burning fire at a most critical period of my life. I was then about to marry, or had just got married. It was my impression at the time that marriage was the gate to worldliness, and I was glad to find a response in Paul's Epistles. Verily, verily, as Paul says, those that have wives try to please them. They think of the things of this world, and not of the things of Heaven. They are worldly-minded
Therefore, those that have wives ought to be like those who have none ; in other words, they should discharge their household duties, but should love the Lord above all things ; they should not be immersed in carnality and worldliness. I entered the world with ascetic ideas, and my honeymoon was spent amid austerities in the house of the Lord. From that time I was determined never to sink into worldliness. The temptations and allurements of the world were hateful to me, and I said-Heaven save me from these treacherous snares ! Paul's words flashed like lightning across my whole heart and soul, and I began to realize my destiny more vividly from that hour. I was to live in the midst of the world and do my work, and fulfil my mission there, but I was not to be gathered amongst worldly
minded men. I was destined to be a man of faith. I was destined and commissioned by God to be a spiritually-minded, and not a worldly-minded, man. Having thus spoken to me through these eminent prophets, and taught me self-denial and asceticism, the Lord took nie away gradually from the world, and gathered me into His fold and into His church in the spirit-world. And He said unto me"I am thy church and doctrine, I am thy creed and thy immortality, thy earth, thy heaven ; I am thy family and thy habitation, thy food and thy raiment, thy treasure here and in heaven. Believe in Me." This "I Am” was a strange God to me in those days, for I was not accustomed to such teachings, to such direct inspiration. You all believe in the One True God, and I, too, believe in Him. But I say unto you I beliered in a singularly jealous Divinity in those days, and I still cling to a singular Theism. For if you have faith in God, you have faith also in a distinct heaven, in a distinct and elaborate creed, and you have also a distinct system of ethics to go by. But all these, you should remember, were taken away from me.
The Lord said I was to have no heaven, but life in Himself; no doctrine, no creed, but a perennial and perpetual inspiration from heaven. Thus the freedom of my reason was completely overcome, and I lost my self-will. At three places had I to sell my
freedom. I had to sell my freedom to my country, and then to my Church, and all that was left-the residue of my independence was swallowed up by the all-conquering and all-absorbing grace of God. Thus was I sold for ever. I had no life of my own to lead, no doctrine of my own to teach ; I had no right to feel, think, or do as other independent minds did. When the Lord said, “No independence,"
He used no qualifying terms ; there was no vation; I had to make an unconditional surrender of myself, and become a vassal. I was bound, chained, and fettered at the feet of the Lord. My doctrines were taken away ; my Church and my house were taken away, and my “self” was destroyed. I was a slave, a prisoner beneath the throne of Heaven. For days and months together there was no smile on my face. It was all solemn, all dark. The Lord had caught me by the hairs of the head, and had thrown me headlong into the valley of sorrow and tribulation. There was none to advise me or show me the right path; there was none to say to me, “Read this or that." There was no one to say,-"Go to Jesus,”—“Go to Paul.” I was left to myself. Single-handed, I was to work against tremendous odds, to conquer my weaknesses and sins. Prayer was my only shield and buckler, and faith the only key which I had in my hand to open the portals of heaven. If I was gorry, I had only to go to my God and say—"Lord, shall I continue to weep?" If I was burdened with iniquity, I had only to cry for help unto the merciful Father day after day, and month after month. But the Lord's mercy, which cometh to all, came to me also, and promised all things. He said unto me, that He would give unto me not only the truths and joys of heaven, but also all earthly comforts. Seek the kingdom of God in the first instance, and all other things shall be added unto you. I wanted nothing else but the kingdom of heaven, but I soon found I had got everything necessary for my temporal as well as spiritual welfare. This singular faith in a singularly jealous God of heaven brought me day and day nearer to Him, and further and further from worldliness, Months and years rolled