Category Archives: Mysteries of History

Practice the Presence of God

This is a longer excerpt from “The Practice of the Presence of God” by the Very Rev. Edmund S. Rousmaniere in St. Andrew’s Cross, October 1912, pp. 61–64, that talks about prayer.


The Very Rev. Edmund S. Rousmaniere, D.D.

We are to think this morning of prayer as a means of realizing that presence. Prayer is the great wide open door through which every one who will may enter into an assurance of the presence of God in his own soul. Is not this, then, its definition? Prayer we say is communion with God. Now, we fail to remember this very plain fact, that if there is to be communion, there must be two parties to it. Prayer is not an activity of our own souls. Prayer is the mutual life of God and my soul. It is not so important then, that I shall speak to Him, as that He shall speak to me. And so, not to say one word to depreciate those marvelous experiences which men call answers to prayer, I say that whatever else God does for us through prayer, we may well be content with this, that our prayers bring us some word from Him, some new consciousness and assurance of His living presence. The man who rises from his knees and goes out to his daily task unable to discern an answer to those moments of supplication, save a new assurance that God is with him, has answer enough, God has spoken to his soul. He has passed in through the open door and has seen the vision, if it be but for a moment. He has put out his hand in the darkness, and if it be for the briefest second, he has touched the Divine Hand.


If prayer be communion with God—if it be first of all, the opportunity which God seeks (for He seeks it, even when we seek it not)—to speak to our souls, then the first element in prayer must not be speech on our part. It must be silence. Every prayer should begin in silence. Have you ever thought that in many of our prayers we are like children rushing unbidden into the drawing room and teasing their parents with questions? So men rush into the Divine presence, without one thought of Him into whose presence they go with such haste, and without giving God a chance to speak a word, so eager are we to speak ourselves. The Church in her wisdom has preserved for us wonderful moments of silence in her office of the Holy Communion, and more and more is the Church today coming to appreciate those precious moments.

Such moments must be the first element in that communion With God which is prayer. When we fall upon our knees, therefore, let us be silent. Let us only say “Oh God, we come into Thy presence,” and resting there in the thought that underneath are the everlasting arms and about us the immeasurable presence and within us the endless life, “Lord, speak, for thy servant heareth.”


And from those moments of silence, how shall prayer go on? How easily that question is answered! It must go on inevitably to the thought of God. Try it brethren. Be silent in God’s presence for five minutes and then see whether it is possible for you at the end of five minutes to say anything to God about yourself. The first element of spoken prayer is thanksgiving. So it must be with us. The first words of prayer must be a Sanctus, a thanksgiving to God for all He gives, for all He is, for all that He has bestowed upon my soul through the past, and for that which He is, love, friendship, mercy, forgiveness, righteousness and peace.

[1549 Sanctus

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts:
heaven (& earth) are full of thy glory:
Hosanna, in the highest.
Blessed is he that commeth in the name of the Lord:
Glory to thee, O lord in the highest.]


What shall come next in prayer? You can not thank God for His gifts, you cannot thank God for Himself, without unconsciously finding yourself taking His point of view, looking out upon your neighbors as He looks upon them. Intercession follows thanksgiving in the natural order of prayer. You see what I mean. The thought that comes inevitably, after that wonderful thought of God, is the thought of all the children of God whom He calls His own and whom He loves.

Oh, how difficult we make intercession. How little we think of our brother’s needs. How our minds wander off to our own needs and to our own selfish plans and our great hopes for God’s blessing upon them. It is because we have not begun with thanksgiving. We are not taking God’s point of view. As soon as we look upon our fellow men as God looks upon them, with unselfish love, then we must pray for them.

Our Needs

And then comes, if there be time, our own needs. I know men and women who never ask for their own needs. I know a devout soul whose prayers, he tells me, are always thanksgivings. But as thanksgiving leads most men who pray to intercession, so intercession leads to prayer for ourselves, for we long to sanctify ourselves for their sakes, to help God in His service of them. When one has been silent and let God speak—when he has uttered his words of praise and thanksgiving—when he has looked with the eyes of God out upon the needs of his fellows and prayed for them, surely then shall he be filled with the spirit of the Lord’s own prayer in Gethsemane, and can say “Thy will not mine, be done.”

Pray in the Spirit

God will listen to whatever we say. God will in His own way answer all the prayers we utter. But God looks to find behind all petitions, of whatever character they are and for whatever they are uttered, the spirit of the Lord. Pray for whatever you like, if only you pray in the spirit of our Lord, Jesus Christ. I have not endeavored to urge upon you long prayer. I have said or have tried to say that into every prayer these elements should enter. And I have said it in the conviction which someone has expressed in the words “He who loses his time in prayer, finds it in abundant blessing and power.” And even when you walk along the street, it is possible to be silent before Him and to utter a word of thanksgiving to Him and to pray for your neighbor at your side, and possibly only three minutes have passed, and you have really prayed, and possibly in that three minutes, you have seen that Face of which we were told so beautifully last night, and have felt the benediction of the Lord.

We are bidden this morning to think of the practice of the presence of God especially through consecration.

We were thinking yesterday of prayer as the way to the realization of God’s presence, for we believe that as God’s children we are made to catch more than fleeting glimpses of our Father; we are made to have a deep and abiding consciousness not only of His presence, but of His companionship.

Prayer is one door, but there are days in which prayer is impossible; there are moods in which although we may utter words we do not really pray; there are times in which at the end of a long and weary day we can only say, if we can say it truly, what the German Saint said at the end of his day of toil, “Lord, it is the same between Thee and me as it was yesterday.”

Our Work

Another door into the Divine Presence is our work. I want to read you a few lines written by a dear friend of mine whose experience, I think, you will read between the lines, telling you that he found the assurance of God’s abiding presence not only through prayer but also through the other door of work or consecration to the Father’s will. I dare not speak his name. He is still living. He calls these lines the “Creed of a Soldier.” He was a gallant officer in the defense of the Southern cause, and from the end of the war unto this day his life has been given, in spite of disappointment and pain and poverty, to the service of God’s little ones, the helpless and needy. He calls these words the “Creed of a Soldier.”

He asked for strength that he might achieve; he was made weak that he might obey.

He asked for help that he might do greater things; he was given infirmity that he might do better things.

He asked for riches that he might be happy; he was given poverty that he might be wise.

He asked for power that he might have the praise of man; he was given weakness that he might feel the need of God.

He asked for all things that he might enjoy life; he was given Life that he might enjoy all things.

He has received nothing that he asked for; all that he hoped for.

His prayer is answered. He is most blessed.

There have been ages in the Church’s history possibly when the door of prayer was exalted over the door of service, but surely we do not live in such an age today. Today men emphasize the entrance into the Divine presence by means of work and service, forgetting altogether, regarding as unnecessary and impractical and somehow apart from the world’s work, the door of prayer. Now if there is one thing as loyal Christian men and women we must stand for in our generation it is this: that there is no antagonism between prayer and service. They are like the double-leaved gates that welcome the students into this university. They both fly open in order that the seeking minds may be satisfied. It is through the double gates that you and I must enter into the presence of God. Therefore, surely, it is wise that the Committee on the Programme have asked us to remember this morning that not only by prayer, in the hours of meditation and in the hours of worship, does the peace and assurance of God come to us, but also in those hours which men call commonplace and weary and monotonous, in the times of service, we are opening the door into the Divine Presence.

But that can be so only when we think of our work in the right way. As members of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew we are making today a new consecration. What is it? Is it not simply this, to make known to our fellow men that they are sons of God and therefore heirs of everlasting life? That is the work to which God has called us, the work which He has set us to do. We go further than that, and say that when in the smallest, slightest way we make any fellow man more conscious of his relationship to God we are workers together with God.

I want this morning to ask you to take one step further. Even though it seems possibly to you a venturesome step to take, and to say that whenever we do this service in our Brotherhood to which God has appointed us, we are for the moment not simply working with God, lofty as that opportunity is, but we are living for that moment the life of God.

Have you ever sat with a great teacher, not necessarily a man who knows all that is to be known, but a man who has that mysterious power which great men have of putting his mind so close to you when he talks with you that he does not seem to teach you; you are not the pupil and he the teacher, but you are thinking his thoughts with him.

Do you not see then how not only is the great word of Kepler’s true, that a man studying the laws of the universe is thinking God’s thoughts after Him, but that it is also true that whenever a man goes out to serve his fellow man he is thinking the thoughts of God with Him. How wonderfully merciful, how wonderfully loving to permit poor blundering creatures of His own not simply to go out and do the business that He sets them; not only to walk by their side upon the common errand, but actually to let them for that brief moment live His life and through that living of the life of God receive the assurance of His presence with the same certainty and vividness as through prayer and worship.

This is true again of what we call our religious life. Not only to our work as brethren of St. Andrew; not only to our larger work as men, obedience to the will of God in conscience and in heart, do we consecrate ourselves again today, but to the love of our blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and when for one brief moment we love Him, when we can honestly say as we look into our minds and hearts “Jesus, I love Thee,” though the next moment may be a moment of degradation and of forgetfulness, we are sharing in the life of Him who said, “This is my beloved Son.” We are doing what the Father does when we love Jesus Christ, and through that sharing of the Father’s mysterious love, the Father Himself becomes our assured Companion, Friend and Lover.




Creed of a Soldier

I came across this beautiful prayer and wondered who wrote it:


He asked for strength that he might achieve;

He was made weak that he might obey.

He asked for health that he might do greater thing;,

He was given infirmity that he might do better things.

He asked for riches that he might be happy;

He was given poverty that he might be wise.

He asked for power that he might have the praise of men;

He was given weakness that he might feel the need for God.

He asked for all things that he might enjoy life;

He was given life that he might enjoy all things.

He has received nothing that he asked for;

All that he hoped for. His prayer is answered; he is most blessed.

– Anon.

From <>


The first appearance I found was in an article, “The Practice of the Presence of God” by the Very Rev. Edmund S. Rousmaniere in St. Andrew’s Cross, October 1912, pp. 61-64.

P. 63, “Another door into the Divine Presence is our work. I want to read you a few lines written by a dear friend of mine whose experience, I think, you will read between the lines, telling you that he found the assurance of God’s abiding presence not only through prayer but also through the other door of work or consecration to the Father’s will. I dare not speak his name. He is still living. He calls these lines the ‘Creed of a Soldier.’ He was a gallant officer in the defense of the Southern cause, and from the end of the war unto this day his life has been given, in spite of disappointment and pain and poverty, to the service of God’s little ones, the helpless and needy.”

“He calls these words the ‘Creed of a Solder.'”


The author of the prayer was a friend of Rev. Rousmaniere, but the reverend wouldn’t give his name!  But I knew that he was still alive as of 1912.

[“Edmund Swett Rousmaniere, the son of John Easton Rousmaniere (1813-1876) and Abigail Whitmore (Swett) Rousmaniere (1820-1895), was born in 1858. In 1890, Edmund married Sophie Knight (1865-1944), the daughter of Robert and Josephine Louisa (Webster) Knight. Edmund Rousmaniere graduated from Roxbury Latin School in 1879 and received his A.B. from Harvard in 1883. He graduated from Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge in 1886. His first call was at the First Parish Church in Pontiac, R.I. then Grace Church in New Bedford, Mass. followed by the Grace Church in Providence, R.I. and finally as Dean of St. Paul’s Church in Boston.” (Biographical note from NEHGS,]

St. Andrew’s Cross was a publication of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew,


I found the author’s name and some of his story from, The Young Folks Book of Ideals by William Byron Forbush, Boston, MA,  1916, pp. 515-518:

“Once, purely by accident, I found the footprints of a man, an old Confederate captain, who in the humblest kind of work had wrought a strength and splendour that caused me to revere him.”

“Somewhere I had come across these strange, rhythmic lines:

‘He asked for strength that he, might achieve; he was made weak that he might obey.

He asked for health that he might do greater things; he was given infirmity that he might do better things.

He asked for riches that he might be happy; he was given poverty that he might be wise.

He asked for power that he might have the praise of men; he was given weakness that he might feel the need of God.

He asked for all things that he might enjoy life; he was given Life that he might enjoy all things.

He had received nothing that he asked for, all that he hoped for.

‘His prayer is answered. He is most blest.'”

“They seemed to me to sum up a brave and heroic life story. Having secured the name of the author [Note: He must have contacted Rev. Rousmaniere.], I wrote to him and asked him if he would tell me how he came to write them. And below is what he told me, the story of what I have since called


“Captain R. H. Fitzhugh [Robert Hunter] was born of slave-holding parents in the little village of Port Royal on the banks of the Rappahannock in Virginia. He was reared among slaves on a great plantation, was educated in the school of hard knocks, and became at length a civil engineer.” [Note: His father, George Fitzhugh, was a well-known and extreme defender of slavery,]

“When he was a boy of twelve he was taken, in the summer of 1848, by his father, who was a lawyer, into a casemate of Fortress Monroe, where a court martial was in session. Upon entering the dark, grim, gun-room lit up with candles, his eyes were at once riveted upon a man brilliant in the gold trappings of full military uniform, presiding at a little table upon an elevated platform. The man was wonderfully handsome and with a majesty so serene, so beautiful, that the boy’s interest was at once tempered with awe. He had never seen a man look like that. It might be a king, but kings never looked so good and beautiful. The vision, unchanged but heightened, lingers with him still; for this man who became his life’s hero was Robert E. Lee, then an American captain, later the commander-in-chief of the armies of the Confederacy.”

“Mr. Fitzhugh entered the Confederate army at the outbreak of the Rebellion and in two years had suffered in three northern prisons, when, upon being exchanged at City Point on the James River, he had his first interview with General Lee. The General was alone. He inquired with sympathy for his welfare and that of his family and assigned him to General John B. Hood’s division, which he reached in time to ride beside his commander in the assault on Little Round Top in the battle of Gettysburg.”

“He rejoined General Lee again in Pennsylvania and heard him decline the hospitality of his Northern hosts, because he would not seek shelter under any roof, whether of friend or foe, while his men were lying shelterless. He once worked out for the general’s approval a battle line, to which General Lee objected, because women and children might be in the line of fire. ‘ The population is small,’ said Captain Fitzhugh, ‘and most of them would leave the place before the battle.’ ‘Where would they go?’” asked the general sharply, and then more tenderly he added, ‘Ah, Captain, our people have sorrows enough already; let us strive to spare them all we can.'”

“Since the war, Captain Fitzhugh, like so many of the brave Southerners, has been a servant of the Government against which his hand was raised, in the army engineering corps. He has ‘helped his wife (a little) to bring up a family of seven children (all doing us honor and bringing us great comfort),’ and now, in his old age, nearly eighty, he is the manager of a home in Lexington, Kentucky, for friendless and orphan negro children, ‘trying to give them a better chance in a world to which they don’t seem to be very welcome.’

“What a brave, a stormy, a beautiful life! I thought you would like to hear of the old soldier, and I thought so principally, because of the lines which I have printed.”

“It strikes one with a certain sublimity that this soldier of many battles and prisons should come, in the evening of his life, to give his tender and daily care to the children of the bond-slave, for whom we in the North in our ignorance suppose that the Southerner does not care, providing them shoes and teaching them how to make them, giving them schooling and even sending some of them to Tuskegee, and raising the money to make it possible for them to have somewhere near a white boy’s chance. ‘He asked to rule that he might be great; he was made to serve that he might be greater.'”

“And this is why, for a year, whenever I have been disillusioned, I have whispered over and over to myself the brave old Captain’s lesson: ‘He asked for all things that he might enjoy life; he was given Life that he might enjoy all things.'”

From <>


This prayer is also known as “The Paradox of Prayer.” It is first mentioned with this title in “What Do We Get out of Prayer?” by Rev. Frederick W. Kates in The Living Church, vol. 118, 1/23/49, p. 11

Author is listed as “Col. R.H. Fitzhugh.”[Note: perhaps a Kentucky Colonel?]  And the poem lacks the last line, “He is most blest.”

Obituary for Capt. R.H. Fitzhugh, The Charleston Daily Mail, November 21, 1919, p. 6: “Capt. Robert Hunter Fitzhugh, the last surviving member of Gen. R.E. Lee’s staff, has died at Lexington, Ky., at the age of 83, [Note: born 1836].  After the war he began the work of elevating the negro, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for this purpose, despite the fact his parents were slaveholders in Charlotte county Va., before the war.  It is said that he numbered among his Eastern friends J.P. Morgan, Jr., Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller.”

It is amazing that a man from such an antebellum background would lead the life he did.

Were Terrorists Buried with Pigs in the Philippines, and Was Pershing Involved?

There have been many responses to President Trump’s recent tweet and previous comments regarding John J. Pershing’s supposed treatment of Muslim terrorists in the Philippines during the early part of the twentieth century:

Several fact-checking sites have weighed in on the truthfulness of the tweet.  Politifact gave his Tweet the lowest Truth-O-Meter™ rating of “Pants on Fire!”

While, Snopes rated it as “False.”

On the other hand, Daniel Greenfield, at Frontpage Mag, has written a number of articles castigating the press over sloppy and lazy reporting in ignoring the evidence of pig burials.

Then, there is also President Trump’s rally speech in South Carolina in 2016 where he mentions an incident in which Pershing dips 50 bullets in pig’s blood, has his men shoot 49 terrorists, and lets the 50th man go to tell the rest.

While there is no proof that Pershing executed Muslim terrorists with bullets dipped in pig’s blood, there is little doubt, as described below in contemporary newspaper accounts, that the practice of burying dead Muslim terrorists with a pig was carried out by the U.S. military in Philippines early last century.  The most recent fact-checking on Pershing in the Philippines focuses on the period when Gen. Pershing was Governor of Moro Province after 1909.  Pershing had also served in the Philippines from 1899 to 1903, and there was an episode in March 1902 where Pershing, a captain in the 15th Cavalry, may have been present when a body was buried with a pig.

A photo of Capt. Pershing from this period:


Pershing photograph, link,

In December 1903 American newspapers began to quote an article from the Manila Cable News of disturbances beginning in October on the island of Jolo due to the unorthodox burial methods of Lt. Col. Alexander Rodgers of the 15th Cavalry. [Jolo is southwest of Mindanao.]

The 15th Cavalry, a new regiment, was raised and organized at the Presidio of San Francisco in February 1901.  It was then immediately sent to the Philippines where it was stationed mostly in the south, on Mindanao and nearby islands until 1903.


American Cavalry in the Philippines, 1901


Copy of Bauan, Batangas after fight Troop K 1st Cav Nov 12 1901



This article is from the New York World:

The World (NY), “Wood’s Latest Laurels Due to Pig,” December 8, 1903, pp. 1, 2. “…The Manila Cable News, of Oct. 30, a copy of which was received at the War Department to-day, is authority for the statement that the recent outbreak on the hitherto peaceful island of Jolo was due to the fact that a Mahometan Moro was buried with a pig by order of Lt. Col. Rodgers, of the Fifteenth Cavalry which has just been relieved from garrison duty at the city of Jolo.”

“It charges that the facts were suppressed by the press censor established at Zamboanga by Gen. Wood, and that while Gen. Wood was kept fully informed his reports to Washington were withheld through fear that they would influence the elections.” (Bold in the original.)

“The story as published in the Cable News is that a Juramentado (a man who has taken an oath to kill a Christian) was shot to death on the streets of Jolo after partly disemboweling a member of B Troop, Fifteenth Cavalry.  One of the bullets went through the fanatic’s body and killed the chief bugler of the squadron.”




“Col. Rodgers, with a desire to teach the natives a lesson, ordered the body of the fanatic buried with a pig, which is the greatest insult that can be offered to the pork-hating Mahometans.  They believe that to be defiled in any way by the touch of pork bars them from heaven.”

“The event was widely advertised, and 2,000 Moros, all armed and ugly but quiet, assembled on the plain outside of Jolo.  In the morning the bugler was buried with full military honors.”

“At noon the body of the Juramentado was thrown into a trench over which stood a derrick.”

“A hog was hauled up on the derrick and its throat cut, the blood running down over the body of the fanatic.  The hog was left hanging above the grave all the afternoon.  At sunset its carcass was lowered into the trench, placed alongside the body of the fanatic and both were covered over.”

“During the proceedings a dismounted squadron of cavalry and a battalion of the Seventeenth Infantry guarded the grave.  Each soldier carried 200 rounds of ammunition and a conflict with the sullen Moros, who swarmed over the plain, was momentarily expected.”

“No detail, however, barbaric which it was though would impress their savage minds was omitted from the ceremony.” (Bold in the original.)

“After the troops withdrew the Moros closed in about the city and practically laid siege to it.  They grew more and more aggressive and Gen. Wood finally sent an expedition against them.  The bloody engagements between Nov. 12 and 16 resulted and the Moros were scattered, according to Gen. Wood’s report.”

“This version of the immediate cause of the trouble was subsequently denied and it was to get at the facts that Gen. Wade went to Jolo.”


This action by Lt. Col. Rodgers, later colonel of the 6th Cavalry, caused an uprising, and an article in the Scientific American from 1904 describes the aftermath:

[There is an error in the article where it mentions that the American soldiers wounded and killed in the city of Jolo were from the 17th Infantry.  Rather, they were a trooper and bugler from the 15th Cavalry.]


An article in the New York Times later in December 1903 describes how Col. William M. Wallace, commander of the 15th Cavalry, rather than Rodgers was the officer who had ordered the burial of the body with a pig:

New York Times. “Buried Pig with Moros. / Col. Wallace, who Devised Punishment to Prevent Religious Murders, Is in Washington.” December 22, 1903, p. 5.

“Washington, D.C., Dec. 21. Col. Wallace, with headquarter and four troops of the Fifteenth Cavalry, arrived here yesterday and will constitute the garrison at Fort Myer.  The regiment has been for two years in the Philippines, and has had hard service among the Moros.”

“Col. Wallace is in fact the author of a practice that for a time promised to bring a general war with the Moros.  He instituted the plan of burying a pig in the grave with slain Moros as a punishment.  The natives, who are Mohammedans, regard this as the worst form of insult, and when it is done to a Juramentado they were thrown into a rage that was uncontrollable.  The Mohammedan believes that if his body comes into contact with sort after burial his soul is thereby contaminated and so tainted that he cannot enter seventh heaven.  To the surviving relatives the thought was simply horrible.  Col. Wallace, in the course of conversation, told how the pig-burial punishment of the Moros began.”


When this burial occurred, sometime in September or October 1903, Captain Pershing had already set sail to American in June and so was not present.

Col. Wallace then tells how this type of burial was first tried in March 1902, also in Jolo.  At this time Col. Wallace was military governor of Jolo and Pershing, commander of the 1st Squadron of the 15th Cavalry, was also stationed on the island.

(See “Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the U.S. Military Academy.”)

There seemed to be no overwhelming reaction among the populace to this type of burial until it was tried again by Col. Wallace a year and a half later.

The article continues.

“’It was in March a year ago,’ he said, ‘that we first had occasion to practice this form of punishment on the Moros to prevent the wild outbreaks of their Juramentados, who, protected by religious superstition, were allowed, when the spell of religious frenzy was on them, to run amuck in the streets and murder everybody in sight with their barongs.



“Convictions and punishment of these men seemed to have no effect.  In March of last year there occurred a more than usually atrocious slaughter.  Three of them, flourishing barongs and yelling like wild men, broke loose in the market place of Jolo and killed a man, woman, and a child.  The population was panic stricken.”

“I at once sent a squad of cavalrymen to the market place to arrest the lawbreakers.  Upon the approach of the soldiers the crazed fanatics came rushing at them and struck at them with their barongs.  In the mêlée that followed the soldiers, to protect themselves, killed all three of the Juramentados.  I had the bodies brought to the hospital and there placed them on display, calling on all Moros in the vicinity who cared to do so to come to see the bodies, my object being to identify them.”

“A great crowd gathered where the internment was to take place, and it was there that a dead hog, in plain view of the multitude, was lifted and placed in the grave in the midst of the three bodies, the Moro grave diggers themselves being required to do this, much to their horror.  News of the form of punishment adopted soon spread.  It passed from one tribe to another throughout the island, and was published in Chinese, Filipino, and Spanish in the newspapers.  There is every indication that the method had a wholesome effect, as it has not been necessary to use it again until apparently the latest instance.  I am informed that the same form of punishment was put into effect by the English at Singapore, and had equally effective results.”


With much circumstantial evidence, Pershing’s role in or the witnessing of a pig being buried with Juramentados in the Philippines certainly deserves more research for confirmation.  President Trump may have been incorrect about how execution/burial was done, but it was done.  There was an uprising related to it. And we know that two of his superior regimental officers were directly involved in this type of burial.  Only its efficacy is still open for question.