Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Jesse Halsey: Teacher of Men

McCormick Speaking |Vol. VII | March, 1954 | No. 6

By William N. Colwell, ‘50
Minister of Immanuel Presbyterian Church | Yonkers, N.Y.

“I give you the end of a golden string;
Only wind it into a ball—
It will lead you in at Heaven’s gate
Built in Jerusalem’s wall.”

With these words of Blake, Professor Halsey offered to us all the distillation of a more abundant life, that our lives might be as full as his.

As a teacher in the classroom, “this noble ensample to his sheep he yaf, that first he wroghte and afterward he taughte.” He was most eager to teach by good infection and by capturing the spirit of being in his Master’s call. He did not expect verbal agreement or theological unity. He longed instead to instill something far deeper than these, a sense of spiritual harmony forged in the love of his Lord.

As a genial host in his home, Dr. Halsey could not be matched as he read his beloved Ian Maclaren and John Bunyan, because he had seen in his soul and heart what they saw and were trying to describe; and by his voice he linked us with them in mood and sense.

As a true bishop in our field work, he exercised patience over our impatience, and he opened our eyes to the personal color in our own work. Then he pointed out for us the lessons of every crisis and every problem solved.

As a pastor and friend, “Uncle Jess” was a Christian artist at listening, for his silence was never impatient or impersonal. It was a mixture of real concern for us and a remembrance that deep plowing may tear up the present garden of happiness but may bring far more lasting loveliness to the surface. No hour was too late, no distance too great for him to link his best Friend with his friends in loving prayer. And more often than not, as we left to follow the path he let us take, Jesse Halsey’s footprints were in his Lord’s ahead of ours.

“Another Christian Athlete
Gone forth for Thee, O Christ,
Claimed for Thee the victory,
Asks of Thee his crown.”

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