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nal energies of the Godhead. It teaches, therefore, that God does not reveal himself by words, but by deeds; not suddenly, but in the slow development of himself, and of his purpose in action; that planets and suns, miracles and revelations, redemption and providence, are acts in which he is evermore expressing his nature, and evolving his eternal purpose; letters in which he is evermore writing his eternally incommunicable name; that alike the creation and the incarnation, natural events and miracles, the birth of men, and their new birth, all the development of history, all that science teaches, all that inspiration reveals, are parts of the one plan and purpose of God, in which the unity and harmony of the universe are found. Therefore whatever apparent disagreement there may be for a time between science, philosophy, and revelation, they will certainly be seen to agree at last, even in their details, because they do but disclose in their several spheres, the acts of God, in which he develops his unchanging character and his eternal purpose.
Infidelity objects that it is inconsistent with what science teaches of the vastness of the universe, and the fixedness of its laws, that a single individual, so insignificant as a man, should be so prominent in the thoughts and action of God, as Christianity represents ; or even that the earth itself, should have been the theatre of transactions so stupendous. But since the energies of the Godhead move him to express himself in action, every act however minute, can be nothing less than an expression of God, and must therefore bear the impress of his infinitude. When God acts, he must act as God; and therefore the action must reveal the grandeur of God. The mystery encompassing even a blade of grass, or a grain of sand, is the finger-print left on it by the infinite hand that made it. To ripen a grain of wheat, he employs the grandest agencies of omnipotence; the sun is laid under contribution for light, the ocean for moisture, the earth and the air for food; electricity is compelled to lay aside its thunders, and minister to its growth; the power of attraction which binds the universe together, must toil in its little vessels to draw up its juices; chemical affinities elaborate its
nutriment; the mysterious principle of life presides within the stalk, over the toil of these tremendous agencies; and thus concentring the powers of the universe in its service, God perfects the grain of wheat, and yet in all this vast preparation and agency to effect a special and minute result, he interrupts no law of nature, turns aside no universal power from fulfilling its constant and universal ends, but only carries out in the special work the universal law.
It is not wonderful, therefore, that still wider are the range and grander the power of those divine energies, which bring into being, and advance to maturity, the mustard-seed of grace within the soul. God's eternal love is concerned with that soul's regeneration; the Son of God became man, and died for it; the divine Spirit has changed it, and dwells in it; divine revelation guides it; eternity furnishes it motives; the ministry of angels is given it; the action and attributes of God centre on it, as if its salvation were the one work of God's omnipotence, and the one end of his counsels; and yet it all is no interruption of the great plan which embraces all worlds and their destiny, and evolves itself evermore in the steady course of nature and the equally uniform and more comprehensive course of grace.
It is not only in storms that the ocean reveals its strength; but in the calmest day its gentlest swell moves in upon the beach with a majesty which could only have been acquired by traversing the ocean's breadth, and concentrating in itself the ocean's power. So every act of God is majestic with the love and power of the Godhead; whether creating a world or redeeming it, raising or prostrating kingdoms, or bringing in mighty reformations, or giving gracious consolation to the afflicted, or drawing a child to himself, or listening to the sighs of the penitent, it is all the acting of godlike majesty and love, which has swept across the ocean of God's eternal counsels, and gathered into its gentlest movement, the eternal power and love of God.
and love of God. And thus each individual act, like the universal plan in its wholeness, expresses the power which is the eternal source of all, and the love which is the eternal and constantly evolving law of all, and
looks forward to, and advances, the glory of God in the complete and eternal expression of himself, which is the great end of all. The greatness of God's works on this earth, and in individuals, is therefore no argument against Christianity, but an argument for it. It shows the absolute unity and completeness of this plan, that, while God cannot express himself fully short of eternity, yet every act of God is an expression of God; that there shines in it the fulness of the divine; and each divine act in the advancement of his plan, is itself a germ of the whole plan, and reveals microscopically the divine source, the divine law, and the divine end of the whole plan.
1 That there is such a plan, permeating and transcending the causeless and aimless sequences of science, is written in nature as well as in the Bible. While the Bible claims that all material phenomena are subordinate to God's spiritual designs, nature itself discloses the far-reaching thought of God looking through material forms and natural laws to spiritual uses and ends.
Without the recognition of final causes, Cuvier could not have realized the splendid results of comparative anatomy, nor could geologists prove that fossils were not created fossils in the Mosaic creation.
It is their connection with the uses of man which give dignity to the details of science.
The material world shows an evident adaptation to human uses. Light, air, and vegetation are nicely adapted to human functions. The physical formation of the globe determines human destiny. The Greeks could never have attained their civilization on the vast table-lands of Asia, but only in a country surrounded and penetrated by the sea. God's foreordination is written in bays, rivers, mountains, and oceans, as really as in the decrees of his will. The configuration of continents and the history of men reveal the unity of one all-embracing plan.
Both revelation and nature teach that God is wont to work towards the realization of ideals. A rough draught, so to speak, is first thrown off. It is repeated and continually improved till the perfect ideal is at last realized. The Patriarchal church received its more full development in the Jewish, and the Jewish in the Christian; and the Christian church still looks forward to its perfect ideal in heaven. Types of the coming Saviour were produced for centuries before he came. In the lives of men who were themselves saviours, like Moses and David; in the offices of men, like the high priest; in the sacrifices; in the Mercy-scat were types of Christ, of his offices and his work, representations more or less approximating to the ideal which at last was realized in him. Infidels sometimes object to this doctrine of types, as teaching a departure from the uniformity of Lature, and unworthy of God. And yet precisely the same method of procedure appears in nature; types are always thrown off before the archetype appears ; outline sketches before the ideal is realized. Geologists and comparative anato. mists love to trace the gradual elaboration of the vertebrate skeleton through unnumbered forms and unmeasured geological cycles till the ideal is realized in
Thus Christianity satisfies every demand of the mind for system and unity. To do this is the boast of science; but in contrast with Christianity, science is, on this very point, feeble and impoverished; incapable of presenting the elements of a real plan, and bewildering its votaries in the innumerable details which acquire importance only as they are associated with the uses of man, and illustrate the plans of God.
II.? Infidelity bases itself on the want of a religion for man, fitting him for this life and this world. It demands a religion adapted to develop every human capacity and susceptibility, and to fit its subject, not to be winged, and crowned, and clothed in white, and to shine and sing forever, in a sphere entirely future and unseen, but to be a man, presenting, in the veritable duties and toils of actual life, all that is genial, beautiful, and strong, in human nature. Says a German infidel : “ The soul's immortality can have no object in man, nor in his life. It merely holds up the church and religion; and as an honest investigation of nature brings out its untenableness, we may hope soon to see the fall of the whole structure which has been reared on this hollow foundation." So infidelity tests every doctrine by its fitness to man and
man. So is this method carried out that, in the opinion of many naturalists, configurations preserving the type appear in animals in which they are of no use, and for the introduction of which no end can be conjectured, except to preserve the type. Thus nature and revelation disclose the same method of procedure, and the unity of the same plan. Thus both the natural and the spiritual disclose the divine thought continually reaching forward to realize a divine ideal. And we have continual opportunities to see that the ideals of the natural world become the materials and instruments of realizing the higher ideals of the spiritual.
It may be fanciful to add that, although we know not what the spiritual body will be, yet it is an ideal hereafter to be realized, of which the natural body is but a coarse model, an incomplete type. Therefore it may be that one divine plan or thought will yet be traced through all the forms disclosed by the rescarches of science, through the human form which is the ideal of these, up to the realization of a more glorious ideal in that spiritual body of which this is but
"For what if things in heaven to things on earth
Are like, more than on earth is thought.” 1 This division of the subject, and a few paragraphs in the first division, were omitted in the delivery of the Address.
to his life. Hence it claims to be the special champion of human nature and human development; it has much to say of hero-worship; it arrogates to itself the name of “the religion of humanity.” It rejects Christianity on the misrepresenta. tion, that it substitutes faith for virtue, that it proposes as its end, not human perfection, but deliverance from misery ; that it is ghostly, and not human; that in zeal to fit men for death and eternity, it forgets to fit them for life and time; in its zeal to make men divine, it forgets to make them human; and, in striving to make them angels, fails to make them men.
These are legitimate demands, which Christianity must satisfy; but they must be satisfied on the principle of Christianity, not on the principle of infidelity.
Christianity is a system of redemption and faith; infidelity is a system of human sufficiency and virtue. Christianity meets man as a sinner ruined ; it presents to him God the Redeemer of sinners, made known as such in all the acts of redemption, in which God has expressed his own disposition towards sinners, and the inmost law of his Godhead respecting them; and it demands faith in God the Redeemer as the foundation of all human virtue, development, and salvation. Infidelity meets man as imperfect but sufficient, of himself, to his own complete development. Christianity must maintain its position as a system of redemption and faith, or it ceases to be essentially distinguished from infidelity itself. On this position it is sufficient, and it alone is sufficient, to a perfect human development.
It is so because, in the normal state of man, faith in God is necessary to human perfection. Christianity requires man as a sinner to trust in God; but, beneath that, is the deeper necessity that as a man he should trust in God.
I speak, now, of faith in its evangelical sense, as trust in a personal God. I affirm that, in presenting faith, in this sense, as the foundation of virtue and of all complete development, Christianity recognizes a necessity and law of the normal state of man; and that all virtue and development, not springing from faith, are abnormal, and therefore essentially and radically wrong.