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that they may be prepared for their holy work by the baptism of the Holy Ghost.

Grant thy blessing to rest upon all the churches of this city, aud upon all the pastors. May they grow in grace and in favor with God and with men.

We pray that thou wilt bless all instrumentalities throughout this land which are for the furtherance of the truth, and for the promotion of intelligence, and morality, and pure religion; and may those jealousies and those irritations which have existed between church and church throughout this land, and throughout the world, pass away, and be gathered among the things of days of twilight and of darkness; and let that blessed time come when men shall see eye to eye, and heart beat responsive to heart, and thy kingdom be one, though there be infinite varieties-one differing from another in love, one in trust and faith, and one in power; and we pray that thus thy name may be glorified in the midst of this people, and spread abroad the light of truth every where to the dark places of the earth and the continents in which night dwells. We pray for all nations. We pray for the ingathering of the Jew and the Gentile for the final glory-for that millennial day when thou shalt reign a thousand years.

And to thy name shall be the praise, Father, Son, and Spirit. Amen.


GRANT, our Father, that we may rest in thee, rejoice in thee, and seek to change these natures of ours from selfishness and from passion, and from all that is low and degrading, into truly divine natures of love, and purity, and peace, and joy, and of righteousness; and in this higher power of a redeemed and regenerate nature grant that we may not only find thee, but that we may make proof that in the wisdom derived from this higher life, all our lower duties are the more easily performed, and that we see more clearly, that we judge more accurately, and that we have motives for more patience in the fulfillment of disagreeable duties, and that we walk stronger and are mightier by reason of the things of the kingdom than we would be if, without that kingdom, we were clothed with all human power.

Grant that we may have this conception, that we may live more and more in thy Spirit, and that we may dispense with unnecessary thoughts and anxieties which spring from fear, and that we may trust God, and be at rest. We ask it through the adorable name of Jesus, to whom, with the Father and the Spirit, shall be praises evermore. Amen.


I shall take for a starting point, in the remarks that I make this morning, the 19th verse of the 2d chapter of the 2d Epistle to Timothy :

"Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his."

The context is this:

"Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure."

We have come in our day into times precisely like those of the apostle, in which there is a great movement throughout the whole civilized world, and a great change of feeling, an apprehension or what is worse, in regard to the stability of the Christian religion.

There are two classes that look upon this matter from very different standpoints. On the one side are those who are devout philosophers in religion, and who hear doctrines which seem to them to be very strange expositions of Christianity-doctrines which they have not been accustomed to. They see the manners and customs of religious institutions or churches very much disturbed; and they have an impression that evil is coming in like a flood, that the foundations are being removed, that the old landmarks are being taken out of the way, that everything is going to wreck and ruin, and that rank infidelity, atheism and anarchy are going to overflow the world.

Then, on the other extreme, there are those who feel that religion is not worth anything at all if it stands on foundations of the past; but that it is like an old stubble-field, that

Preached at the TWIN MOUNTAIN HOUSE, White Mountains, N. H., Sunday morning, August 23d, 1874. Lesson: Gal. v., 1-13. Hymns (Plymouth Collection): Nos. 888, 706, Doxology.

that is in Christ Jesus. Now then, in carrying this out do not fret yourselves, nor worry unduly in respect to externals, bodily comforts, food, raiment and the like. It is not that you are not to work for them, and think of them, appropriately, and that you are not to put such emphasis on them that fear for want of them should take away the comfort of your life. That is not where you live.


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"Behold the fowls of the air; they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and yet your heavenly Father feedeth them." There is an illustration; and how strangely people employ it! They say, "Yes, God feeds the birds and he'll feed us; but did you ever stop to think how he feeds them? Did you ever stop to think whether he does not make them feed themselves? Did you ever see a robin bring up a brood of young robins? Do you suppose a robin gets on the edge of its nest, and says, "O God, feed my little ones. No, it sends them to hunt worms; and out they go, and work in the turf as hard as any creatures of their size should work. When the sparrows are fed by God, he sets them hopping through the hedges where seeds are, and along ways where insects burrow or hide. When he feeds birds he feeds them according to their nature. He has a providence which takes care of them in accordance with the nature of birds. Let us take the next illustration that is given here:

"Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? and why take you thought for your raiment?"

Which of you by worrying can add anything to your stature? Suppose you are homely, and are discontented, and wish you were handsome, can you by worrying grow handsome? Suppose you are short, and are at a disadvantage for that reason, and you would like to be taller, can you by worrying make yourself taller? Who can change an immutable law? Who can change the absolute facts that exist about him?

Then comes another illustration :

"Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin."

That is certain. They do not work at the plow, nor at the anvil, nor at the loom, because lilies do not want the

products of any of these things. But do they not work in their own sphere, and according to their own nature? Is the lily dreamed into existence ? Is not there a bulb? Does it not follow the laws of light and heat? Does it not grow by increment? Are not the stem and blossom the product of natural laws? Although it does not toil as we do, yet, according to its own nature, it toils. As there is a providence that takes care of birds, according to bird-nature, so there is a providence that takes care of grass and flowers, according to their nature. It takes care of them, not in spite of natural law, nor over natural law, but through natural law.

"And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these."

"Now, the point comes still, that although the bird must earn its living, there is no evidence that the bird has the habit of fretting or worrying about it. Birds go to bed at night utterly unconcerned about the future. They have no plans in their little heads. They doze peacefully through the night. In the morning they are up at twilight-before you are. (I state it as a fact, though you will have to take it by faith, as you will never realize it. They sing at half-past three o'clock; but none of you know anything about that.) They rise without any fever of desire, and go to work according to their own nature, and in the use of instruments which are indispensable to them. So God feeds them, and they are happy. These little unburdened folk, if you do not look too closely into their habits, seem almost like ethereal creatures. Yet they are full of monition and instruction in so far as the use of natural laws is concerned; and in their sphere they take care of themselves, without unnecessary friction or unnecessary fretting.

Men are likewise cared for, in the providence of God, according to their nature and within their sphere. Like the birds and like the lilies, they are called to do their own part in this providence; and they do it with the exercise and under the excitement of fear and apprehension. They vex the days with speculations full of pain and distress. And the point of the parable or illustration is this: in attempting

to develop in yourselves the kingdom of God, a manly character, you are under a providence that takes care of you just as it takes care of the birds and the lilies. You are to exert yourselves as the birds and the lilies do; but as they do it serenely, and without unnecessary fret and care, so you are to do it serenely, and without unnecessary fret and care.

This gives you light as to the doctrine of divine providence, of the providence of God, which I believe to be universal, and which I believe also to be special and personal, for the recognition of the minutest circumstances of men's lives. The providence of God is not the supersession of natural law. The moment you take away a man's faith in great natural laws, the bottom drops out of human endeavor. It will not do to take away method and certainty, and substitute for them the vagaries and superstitions of an erratic imagination. All divine help proceeds through divine law; and all special providences are by the use and under the cope of a system of laws. God uses them, we may believe, as we use them.

I am not bound by natural laws; I am not held in captivity by them. When we speak of natural laws we seem to feel that they are certain irresistible forces acting in certain definite lines.

Without attempting to be nice in the definition of the term "law," about which there is much confusion and much variation of statement, we may say that what are popularly understood to be certain divine laws are not coercive. They are not in any sense immutable. They are entirely mutable. They are not inconsistent with an overruling providence. They are the very fountains of an overruling providence.

In other words, you say, "I know the laws of light, of moisture and of heat; I know the laws that govern the soil; I know the relation between the seed or the plant and the soil; and it is because I know that these things stand in such relation to each other, and because I act upon that knowledge, that there is a certain growth and fructification." We make natural laws work in certain physical directions. The intelligence of the mind working through natural laws, and producing given results, is civil

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