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thought and feeling in which he lived, we may come by his experi ence to a better interpretation of his nature and requirements than we can gain from the letter. How poor is any outward representation of him! How imperfect is any mere understanding! Our life continually rubs out what our thoughts indite. We are ourselves dull and unknowing, and in darkness, because we are so low in our life; because we are so unfertile in goodness; because we are so without ingenuity in things which make for spiritual excellence. We are strong in our temper; we are strong in our will; we are strong in our physical reason; we are strong in the hings which build up the visible and the outward in human life; but in all those things which belong to the great realm above, how weak we are and how imperfect! We are children without their simplicity and innocence. We are like them only in ignorance.
And now we pray, O pitying God that dost behold this great human realm where men blindly toil and strive, that thou wilt look down upon us in mercy. O thou that hast had compassion upon the world, and art having compassion upon it, lift us to that sphere of interpretation in which we may see the course of time and the fates of men with the feeling of God. We pray that we may have more of that compassion which brought thee from heaven to earth. We pray that more and more we may seek to help others rather than by our power to compel them to serve us. Grant to us something of the largeness and grandeur of that divine charity which is in Jesus Christ, but which hath been so little imitated among his followers.
We pray that thou wilt spread the spirit of love and the all-healing power of love among the people in all churches. Take away temptations to bitterness. Take away the arrogance of pride, and the domination of selfishness. Take away everything which deprives thy people of that liberty wherewith Christ makes them free. We pray that we may live together as brethren, in coöperative zeal, seeking to surpass each other in bearing, in suffering, in expending our forces for the sake of others. May we have a holy emulation in things which are like unto thee.
We pray that thou wilt raise up those to fill our places who are better able to interpret the truth of God and to exemplify the life of Christ than we have been. We look upon much of it as unworthy of thee and of ourselves. We are ashamed that our purposes have been so short-lived, and that they have been so poorly fulfilled. Having eyes we have seen not, and having ears we have not heard. We have interpreted the coarser things of nature, but the things which belong to the kingdom of God we have not known. We have followed thee afar off. We have sought thee for the loaves and fishes. We have been unworthy of the name of disciples, of pupils, or of children. Lord, thou hast had a slothful, self-indulgent household, hard to bear. We have been fractious, disobedient, unloving and unlovely. How few claspings and how many buffets hast thou had from our hands! How little have we followed thee in the day of desolation and abandonment, and how have we crowded about thee in the day of triumph! We have come in at the eastern gate, shouting Hosanna! and we have let the go out at the western gate amid cries of, Crucify
him! abiding in our places and refusing to bear with Christ, or to go with him.
We pray that thou wilt temper our arrogance by our consciousness of our ill-desert, and of our relationships to thee. We pray that thou wilt grant that the measures which belong to immortality, to the other and endless life, may be substituted for those measures which spring from time and the realm of the world. We beseech of thee that thus we may be imbued with celestial wisdom, and walk with the spirit of the upper life.
Grant, we pray thee, thy blessing to rest on the families of this congregation. Be with any one of them in which is sickness. If any of them are in troubles, bereavements, bitter sorrows, be with them to comfort, and, by the power of the Holy Ghost, to interpret the meaning of thine earthly dealings with thy people; and say to every one, "Whom I love I chasten."
We pray that to those who are bearing the heat and burden of the day amidst cares and perplexities thou wilt grant patience and manliness. May they feel themselves called to exhibit Christ in the way in which they live in human affairs. May they adorn the doctrine of the Saviour by their integrity, by their honor, by their fidelity, by their industry, and by their success.
We pray that thou wilt grant, more and more, to all our households, the spirit of heaven. More and more may the family become as the gate of heaven. We pray that thou wilt remember the little children, and all that are growing out of childhood into manhood. May there be such influences around about them that they shall come up unsoiled and unstained. May they consecrate the dew of their youth and the whole strength of their manhood alike to the cause of truth, and manliness, and honor.
We pray that thou wilt pour out thy spirit upon this whole land. Bless the President of these United States, and those who are joined with him in authority. Bless the Congress assembled. We beseech of thee that the spirit of wisdom may be breathed upon them from on high. Bless the Governors of the different States. Bless all judges, all magistrates, all that are in authority.
We pray that thou wilt make the people everywhere obedient unto the Lord. Take away the distemperature of passion, of conflicts, of collisions; and grant that peace may abide everywhere.
We pray that thou wilt spread abroad intelligence in all this land. Join it with virtue and true piety. Grant that the light may shine in dark places; and that all men, from the greatest unto the least, may have the light of Christian civilization.
And we pray that thou wilt bless not us alone, but all the nations of the earth. May we feel kinship more and more strongly. May we be united in the kingdom of faith as we are in the kingdom of suffering, and in all the mischiefs that have sprung from ignorance and superstition. So may all the nations be united in hope, and in striving after a better day. And we beseech of thee that thou wilt take out of conflict the sting of bitterness, of selfishness, and of hatred; and that a true sympathy may be felt throughout the world, and that the spirit of Christ, the great Civilizer, may come and reign among
men. Let thy kingdom come, and thy will be done on earth as it in in heaven.
And to thy name shall be the praise, Father, Son, and Spirit. Ainen.
PRAYER AFTER THE SERMON.
OUR Father, grant, we pray thee, that we may be drawn more and more away from the conflict of the Gospel, except that which is in ourselves. More and more may we be clothed with the sweetness and fragrance of the Gospel, so that we may win, by patience and gentleness, those who are opposed to thee and to thy truth. Give us more of that knowledge which comes from being like thee. Fill us with all the blessings of God. And we pray that so we may be joined to thee. And may we find others that are of the same mind; and associating ourselves with them, may we be assemblies, congregations, or churches bound together, not by outward bonds, not by man-made policies and laws, which are things of time and earth, gross and sensuous, and full of quarrelings and contentions, leading to all manner of suffering, but by the sweet fellowship of the inward life, wherein joy sings to joy, and peace breathes upon peace. As in the garden are flowers which send forth sweet fragrance; so, as flowers in the garden of the Lord, may we shed sweetness on every side of us. May we bear the fruits of righteousness. May a fellowship of love and symDathy spring up among all thy people. And so may heaven be among men. Hear us, and answer us, through Christ our Redeemer. Amen.
For ye are all the children of God by Faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."-Gal. iii., 26–29.
"Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone; in whom all the building, fitly framed together, groweth into a holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit."-Eph. ii., 19-22.
in both of these passages stands out the same general thought—namely, the highest measure of relationships which is employed in the divine Word. You will observe that one difficulty of interpreting the New Testament consists in this: that it has a subtle, constantly appearing and disappearing, evanescent relation to a higher stage of development; that the manhood which either consciously or unconsciously lies in the mind of the speaker or writer is one which transcends immeasurably the manhood which actually exists here upon earth; and that therefore the teachings of the New Testament are subject to exactly that difficulty which exists in the college, in the school, or in the household, where persons of preeminent culture are endeavoring to convey some idea of a higher stage of knowledge or development to persons of a lower stage.
The study of that one single phenomenon would throw a SUNDAY MORNING, April 26, 1874. LESSON: Eph. 1. HYMNS (Plymouth Collection): Nos. 1298, 816, 1230.
great deal of light upon the general principles of interpreta tion to be established in regard to the New Testament, and would throw a great deal of light, also, upon many of the unsettled passages or knotty questions which exist. Every parent knows, we all know, how hard it is to teach the child things which belong to a stage of growth that lies beyond childhood; we are "put to it" all the time by the child's questions; and the attempt to render into the child's language, or rather into the child's idea, the things which we have come to by years and years of growth and knowledge, builds up a system, not of falsehood (that sounds vicious— it carries the idea of bad motive), but a system of fables, or of things that are not true, put for things that are true. If, in regard to some of the representations which are made of God and of the Spirit-life in the earlier periods of the Book, we say, "They were relative to a past age; they were fables, they are not true;" many people are shocked: because they have an idea that revelation is absolute truth, and that in teaching the world God could not honorably or purely have done other than to tell the exact truth, always. But what if human language, through which, if through anything, revelation is to be made, was fashioned in the earlier and undeveloped period of man's existence, so that it had not the terms which belong to higher developmentas is the fact? What if it were not even now in the power of words to convey ideas for which words have never been found? How are you going to get the higher truths down into lower forms?
Does a mother, when she has grown old, repent herself of the thousand little artifices by which she attempted to get truth into the mind of the child? She reads a fairy story; and the child is perfectly bewildered, delighted, dazzled with it; but, is it true? No, it is not true; and yet it is true: that is, it is not true in the lower realm of fact, but in the higher realm of imagination it is true. It never happened; but then it conveys an idea of happenings of a certain sort. You make up a little fable-that is to say, an untedious noveland rehearse it to your children; and they ask, "Is it true?" You can say either way: you can say, "Well, no; it