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have not, it is not of them that Scripture reminds the Jews, when the heavens and the earth were shaken ; when their own nation and worship were in their death-agony, and all the beliefs and practices of men were in a whirl of doubt and confusion, of decay and birth side by side, such as the world had never seen before. Not of them does it remind the Jews, but of the changeless kingdom, and the changeless King.
My friends, lay it seriously to heart, once and for all. Do you believe that you are subjects of that kingdom, and that Christ is the living, ruling, guiding king thereof? Whatsoever Scripture does not say, Scripture speaks of that, again and again, in the plainest terms. But do you believe it? These are days in which the preacher ought to ask every man whether he believes it, and bid him, of whatever else he repents of, to repent at least of not having believed this primary doctrine (I may almost say) of Scripture and of Christianity.
But if you do believe it, will it seem strange to you to believe this also—That, considering who Christ is, the co-eternal and co-equal Son of God, he may be actually governing his kingdom; and if so, that he may know better how to govern it than such poor worms as we? That if the heavens and the earth be shaken, Christ himself may be shaking them ? if opinions be changing, Christ himself may be changing them? If new truths and facts are being discovered, Christ himself may be revealing them? That if those truths seem to contradict the truths which he has already taught us, they do not really contradict them, any more than those reasserted in the sixteenth century? That if our God be a consuming fire, he is now burning up (to use St. Paul's parable) the chaff and stubble which men have built on the one foundation of Christ, that, at last, nought but the pure gold may remain ? Is it not possible ? Is it not most probable, if we only believe that Christ is a real, living king, an active, practical king,—who with boundless wisdom and skill, love and patience, is educating and guiding Christendom, and through Christendom the whole human race ?
If men would but believe that, how different would be their attitude toward new facts, toward new opinions! They would receive them
with grace; gracefully, courteously, fairly, charitably, and with that reverence and godly fear which the text tells us is the way to serve God acceptably. They would say: 'Christ, so
the Scripture tells us, has been educating man through Abraham, through Moses, through · David, through the Jewish prophets, through ' the Greeks, through the Romans; then through ' himself, as man as well as God; and after · his ascension, through his Apostles, especially " through St. Paul, to an ever increasing under* standing of God, and the universe, and them
selves. And even after their time he did not ' cease his education. Why should he ? How “could he, who said of himself, “ All power is 'given to me in heaven and earth ;” “ Lo, I am * with you always to the end of the world ;” * and again, “My Father worketh hitherto, and 'I work?”
* At the Reformation in the sixteenth century "he called on our forefathers to repent—that is, 'to change their minds—concerning opinions • which had been undoubted for more than a “ thousand years. Why should he not be calling * on us at this time likewise ? And if any answer, * that the Reformation was only a return to the
primitive faith of the Apostles— Why should 'not this shaking of the hearts and minds of 'men issue in a still further return, in a further 'correction of errors, a further sweeping away
of additions, which are not integral to the · Christian creeds, but which were left behind,
through natural and necessary human frailty, by 'our great Reformers ? Wise they were,—good ' and great, -as giants on the earth, while we * are but as dwarfs; but as the hackneyed proverb * tells us, the dwarf on the giant's shoulders 'may see further than the giant himself.'
Ah! that men would approach new truth in that spirit; in the spirit of godly fear, which is inspired by the thought that we are in the kingdom of God, and that the King thereof is Christ, both God and man, once crucified for us, now living for us for ever! Ah! that they would thus serve God, waiting, as servants before a lord, for the slightest sign which might intimate his will! Then they would look at new truths with caution ; in that truly conservative spirit which is the duty of all Christians, and the especial strength of the Englishman. With caution,lest in grasping eagerly after what is new, we throw away truth which we have already : but with awe and reverence; for Christ may have sent the new truth; and he who fights against it, may haply be found fighting against God. And so would they indeed obey the Apostolic injunction,-Prove all things, hold fast that which is good,—that which is pure, fair, noble, tending to the elevation of men ; to the improvement of knowledge, justice, mercy, well-being; to the extermination of ignorance, cruelty, and vice. That, at least, must come from Christ, unless the Pharisees were right when they said that evil spirits could be cast out by Beelzebub, prince of the devils.
How much more Christian, reverent, faithful, as well as more prudent, rational, and philosophical, would such a temper be than that which condemns all changes à priori, at the first hearing, or rather, too often, without any hearing at all, in rage and terror, like that of the animal who at the same moment barks at, and runs away from, every unknown object.
At least that temper of mind will give us