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will be stopped. All men will be forced to recognize the things which are not seen, and which are eternal, in order to account for the phenomena which the life of the church will present. This general union, in filling up what is behind of Christ's sufferings, will make it impossible for the world not to confess that he proceeded and came forth from the Father.
Almost all our reliance, in meeting the doubts which scientific or speculative thinking may from time to time generate, must be on this leaven of sincerity and devotion to good works in the mass of Christ's followers; a power which we shall get only as we have Christ formed within us, and as we put on Christ day by day, so that the life which we live in the flesh shall be the life of God manifested through us.
To reveal him is the sublime office of all those who make up the one visible church. If we cherish a friendly feeling towards the science and philosophy of our time, that favor should be for this supreme
object. If we give our godspeed to every genspirit of Christ is to
uine charity, that sympathy should be for one
and the same purpose. If we preach the doctrines of the gospel thoroughly and with all our might, that faithfulness should have no less an end than to declare the Father's name. All our studying, all our toiling, all our self-sacrificing should be to show forth the excellency of Him who has called us; to make men see that the gospel, reproduced in the lives of Christians, is the wisdom and power of God; to prove, by the all-loving spirit which animates us, that any form of unbelief which seeks to displace Christianity is a thief and a robber. Let the Christ-like spirit of all who believe, compel men to
see that infidelity is an imposture which bodes them only evil; that if admitted amongst them it would put cursing for blessing, darkness for light, corrupting selfishness for holy and heavenly charity. If we choose to be identified with one school of theology rather than another, it should be clear to all that that preference grows out of a higher consecration. Not as partisans, but the better to seek and save the lost, should we strive to organize the truths of the gospel into a compact doctrinal system. Why need we care what human name is stamped on our weapons, or from whose armory they came, if so be that they are of celestial temper, and we find them mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds? And any denominational likes or dislikes which we may happen to have, should grow out of the same high aim as our other differ
They should be our instrumentalities, not our ends; chosen not for their own sake, but as the harness in which we can work most easily and effectually for Christ. In this view the variety of Christian denominations is a great advantage to the universal church. They are to be rejoiced in, so long as they do not usurp the place of the objects of the gospel, since they enable every believer, whatever his natural peculiarities, to find some place of service which shall be congenial to him. David can have his sling and stones, and Saul's mighty men their heavy armor; and thus Israel shall not divide, but greatly increase his strength against the hosts of the Philistines. Whether it be a question of theology, or of ecclesiastical polity, all should be free to choose under Christ, with the utmost charity and confidence towards each other. Souls hungering for the peace of God will be drawn to us by seeing that we have no party zeal, no wish to build up this or that branch of the church for its own sake, or at the expense of some other branch, — but make it our supreme concern, through whatever special fellowship we may choose to be in, to save and bless mankind. This spirit Nothing but Christianity has ever given to peculiar to Christianity. the world such a service as this. There were faint foreshadowings of it in ancient times, and in some pagan lands men have shown a capacity for it, within certain narrow lines; but to find another Jesus of Naz areth, or another such mission of love as he founded, would be as impossible as to put another sun in the heavens. That kingdom of love and suffering, through the weakness of those to whom it has been committed, may at times have seemed untrue to its lofty tone and standard; and thus doors may have been opened for the incoming of religious error; yet under its broader aspects, and as judged by its acknowledged spirit, it has proved itself to be, all along through the Christian ages, the light and the life of men. And if we take up this kingdom in our turn, and carry it. forward in the all-sacrificing spirit of the Lamb of God, any unbeliefs that may be lowering about us will swiftly disappear. It is the advancing sun that makes the snow and ice melt, the light shining in beauty that causes the darkness to flee away. Men will recoil from the arts of the infidel, in the presence of a church thus in earnest; and will hasten from him to be under its covert, instinctively choosing life rather than death, that which quickens rather than that which chills and dwarfs their noblest powers. They will turn to it as the imprisoned plant turns to the window; they will flock to it as birds fly from winter to a warmer and brighter clime.