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thanksgiving and praise.
May those who have, through thy goodness, achieved the ends which they have long sought, rejoice because they can associate thy foresight and guardianship with all the stages through which they have come. May it be a thing to be rejoiced over, that by God's great help we live from day to day and achieve successfully the tasks of life.
Be with those who are in the midst of not unwelcome trials and troubles; be with those who are manfully bearing this world's burdens; performing its duties; venturing the things that are to be ventured. May all acquit themselves as men, gird up their loins, and never faint. Taught of thee, and day by day receiving fresh supplies from thy unwasting Spirit, may they go on courageously in the work which thou hast imposed upon them. May they this day have the divine blessing and impulse resting upon them. We pray that more and more they may be able to consecrate their powers and endeavors to the welfare of men, and to the honor and glory of God.
We beseech of thee that thou wilt draw near to any who are weak; to any who are sick; to any who are in the gloom of trouble. Wilt thou irradiate their room, if they be hindered from coming to the sanctuary. Wilt thou be with them wherever they watch, and wherever they wait. Grant that they may easily open their arms, forth from which are to go God's angels, lent to them for a little while.
Draw near, our Father, to all who are poor and who are suffering from the mischiefs, and cares, and anxieties which befall them. Grant that though they are poor outwardly, they may be rich of heart, and that they may trust in the divine bounty, though they seem withheld from human bounty. May they be sustained, knowing that they are pilgrims and strangers here, and that it will be but a little while ere they will go hence. May their faith not fail them. May they not suffer from double poverty-without and within.
We pray that thou wilt grant thy blessing upon the young. We thank thee that there are so many who are being nurtured in the Lord. Grant that those that are in our midst may grow up to all manliness; to truth; to fidelity; to industry; to frugality; to temperance in all things; to purity of thought and feeling; to all noble ambitions; to the love of mankind; to the love, and reverence, and obedience of God.
Bless our schools. Bless those who superintend or minister therein. Bless the teachers and officers of these schools. And we pray that it may not be the knowledge of the letter alone, but also that knowledge that maketh wise unto salvation, that shall be imparted and received. We thank thee for so much success as has been granted to these little assemblies. May thy Spirit, with its ever-quickening power, abide in their midst.
We pray for thy blessing upon all those who go forth to make known the unsearchable riches of the truth as it is in Christ Jesus, in the waste places, in the by-ways, among the poor and sick, along our wharves, in jails, and prisons, and poor-houses. May those who have volunteered to cheer the unfortunate, and degraded, and desolate, be filled with the very Spirit and with the abundant blessings of the Lord their Master whom they imitate.
Bless, O Lord, the churches of this city, and of our whole land, that are working for thy cause. Be pleased to bless the President of these United States, and those who are joined with him in authority, and the Congress assembled. Grant that all their counselings may be wise, inspired and overruled for the furtherance of thine own purposes. Bless the Legislatures of the different States, the courts, the judges, the magistrates, and all rulers. Grant that the citizens may live obedient lives; that intelligence and morality may prevail; that the hearts of this people may more and more cleave together; and that there may be essential unity throughout the entire nation.
Nor do we pray selfishly for ourselves alone. May thy bounties become universal. May those jealousies cease which have separated nations so long, and those angry passions which have dashed one upon another. May the day come when there shall be the true fellowship of a true brotherhood. May men rise to a higher plane of life. May men seek after the things which shall strengthen, and not for the things that shall weaken one another. May all ignorance and superstition disappear; may the lower feelings cease to rule; may the Spirit of God with all wisdom dwell with all mankind, and this world become as the kingdom of heaven.
And to thy name shall be the praise, Father, Son, and Spirit. Amen.
PRAYER AFTER THE SERMON.
OUR Father, we pray that thou wilt take away from us the shadow which overhangs the bright and blessed valley through which we seek thee. Bring us at last, we pray thee, to some faith in thy truth. O how long shall the heavens drop down upon us promises! How long shall thy words be in our ears not understood? How long to the dumb and to the deaf shall they call from off the walls of heaven, saying, Come? How long shall we believe in things which belong to the body, and not in things which belong to the soul? Blessed Spirit, give to us something of our birthright; something of the vision that belongs to us; and grant that our sorrows, which have so surged about us in the past, may, at the coming of Christ, be assuaged. Grant that our disappointed hopes may seem to be grafted on a better and more enduring stalk in the other life. May we rise up and set our affection on things above, where Christ sitteth, on the right hand of God, and not on things upon the earth. Wilt thou bless us, now, for the rest of this day, and prepare us for its events, and for thy kingdom at last, through riches of grace in Christ Jesus. Amen.
"Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer."-ROMANS Xii. 12.
be called a maxim of life, or a very brief, condensed charter of happiness.
Joy is not a faculty; it is a quality of action, or a mood which may belong to any or to all of the faculties of the human soul. There is a double action, both of the physical organization and of the mental. The nerve that is in health, and is directed according to its own nature, responds pleasantly and joyfully. If it be in unhealth, or if it be directed contrary to its nature, it has the inverse power-that of the infliction of pain. Properly speaking, pain is a quality of the body; suffering is a term which designates pain of the mind.
In respect to the faculties of the soul, in one way their action inspires enjoyment. If they be violated, or if they be wrongly coupled, or apportioned, or dealt with, then they have the power of producing suffering.
Now, pain or suffering, whether it be of the body or of the mind, is not primary. It is not the end for which the body and the mind were created. It is cautionary, alternative, remedial. Pain bears to the body, and suffering bears to the mind, the same relation which medicine bears to the physical system. It is not food. It is that which is taken for the purpose of restoring health where it is impaired. And pain or suffering is either cautionary, indicating that we
SUNDAY MORNING, May 3, 1874. LESSON: Eph. i. 11-23; ii. 1-7. HYMNS (Plymouth Collection): Nos. 217, 922.
who thinks that salvation is all that is to be thought of, and who is satisfied with just escaping damnation.
If I go to Europe on a steamship (as I shall not !), my idea of going on a pleasure voyage there, is to make a prosperous passage right straight across, and wake up some morning, and see the crew gathered together on deck, and see the blue line of the land stretched out before us. The sweetest sight that my eye ever rested on was the coast of old Ireland when I first went toward the shores of Europe. The sea was behind me, and the land was before me, and its breath came off to where I was, and I smelt the summer of the soil. I never knew how good it was before. And I went up the channel, clear round to Liverpool, rejoicing at every head-land and sail, and entered the harbor and cast anchor triumphantly. So one wants, to make a voyage. But if, in making a voyage, one founders off the coast, and the ship goes down, and other passengers go down, and he swims for his life, and is caught up by a fisherman's boat, half spent and almost insensible, and is brought into some squalid fishing station, and is restored to life again, and wakes up to the consciousness that he has had a little bad brandy poured into his mouth, and in his bewilderment asks, "Where am I?" and is told that he is in "la belle France," he says, "Well, it is better to have landed here under these circumstances than not to have landed at all; but it is not exactly as I expected that it would be."
Now, a great many men come to feel about so in regard to getting to heaven. If at last they can be pulled in, so that when the gate is shut they are inside, that is all they care about. If they can get in somehow they will be satisfied. It is a base, selfish, animal desire, just to wish to be rid of pain. There is no inspiration in it. There is no nobleness in it. There is in it no sense of what it is to be a son of God.
Now, I look forward to the other life, and to dying, not as to the putting a screen between me and every possible danger. It is that, and I appreciate it in this lower sense; but it is also that I am to be in the general assembly of the church of the first-born; it is that I am to come into blessed
acquaintanceship and fellowship with the noblest men who have lived on the earth since it had an existence; it is that I am to go where is Father, where is Jesus my elder Brother; it is that I am to be in the presence of the nobility of the universe; it is that I am to stand in that glorious company where my children shall see me, and your children shall see you. My father and mother are there, and your father and mother are there. My brethren and companions are there, and so are yours. A great company from out of this church are there; and how much purer and more worthy of being remembered with a burning memory of love and sympathy are they now than when they were in our midst !
Do you believe in the communion of the saints? Do you believe that the saints above are in sympathy with the great multitude of saints that are on earth? Do you believe that because they have gone out of sight they are lost? Do you think, because they have risen to a spiritual realization of the eternal sphere, that they are no more yours? The sound, the noise, the uproar, of this life is but the world's hand that beats time to us as we are moving on toward the real life, and the real heaven, where God brings together those who are fit to live in all the elective affinities of a true spiritual manhood.
Christian brethren, tear away the crape from your doors. Take the black off from your persons. Look cheerfully upon death. Make the tomb bright and beautiful. All the steps which lead to it are full of hope.
When men know that they are coming to riches, the tokens of increasing abundance do not distress them; and why are you distressed because your hair is white? Why do you mourn because your eyesight is failing? Why are you made unhappy because your hand begins to shake? Why do you lament because old age is creeping upon you? These signs of infirmity all betoken your approach to the blessed land above.
How can the chestnut drop its fruit unless the burr in some way is made to open? And so the frost bites the burr, and lets out the nut, that it may come to life again. And how shall we be liberated from the restrictions and hindrances