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Washington to Springfield amid the nation's tears, or when Alexander Duff was borne to his rest at Edinburgh, and beside his bier good men of all classes and confessions lined the way, and magistrate and subject, peer and citizen, student and professor, minister and missionary, and representatives of the Scotch, English, American, and Indian churches trod the funeral march while the deep-toned bell of Barclay church sounded the universal grief, and the heart of Scotland hovered around the grave. It was the answer of soul to soul, the fitting eulogium upon largeness of heart in its highest form.
Young Gentlemen of the Graduating Class : Your work here and our work for you are almost ended. We have done what we could to expand the intellect, to show you at least the continent of knowledge, to cultivate the wide sympathy, and hold up the highest aim of life. The institution from which you graduate has confessedly been characterized by breadth and strength. The company of Alumni you join are a body of stalwart men. There is no shibboleth on their tongues and no petty local stamp on their characters. Largeness of heart has been their standard and eminent and multiform usefulness their achievement. In almost every line of life I might point to you examples, many of them illustrious, of some or all the qualities I have set before you; a noble array of teachers, jurists, statesmen, scholars, business men, journalists, theologians, preachers, missionaries. I will not name them now though the roll-call might thrill your hearts. May you prove yourselves worthy to join that noble company, and honor, I will not say your Alma Mater but your Father in heaven and bless your fellow men. Into whatever sphere of life you go carry a broad, high manhood. Should you enter, as so many now do, upon some form of business life let it not be said of you at life's end,
“ He in a close and dusky counting house
Smoke-dried and seared and shriveled up his heart”;
but so carry yourselves that education shall dignify wealth and the wealth shall bless all things needy and good. Or if, as is more likely, you shall enter on some literary, scientific, or professional career, fill that sphere, small or great, full to overflowing. Be evermore larger than your calling. Be first a man and after that a professional man. Pray, like him of old, for largeness of heart, and a better largeness of heart than his. Your earnest prayer shall be a prophecy. In such a spirit go forth and we shall certainly hear good of you in after life or in the life after. Amen.
HUMAN WICKEDNESS OVERRULED.
BACCALAUREATE SERMON, JUNE 21, 1885.
The wrath of man shall praise thee. — PSALM 76: 10.
"HE same great moral problems meet and puzzle
men in every age. In early times the patriarch complained : “Wherefore do the wicked live, .
yea, are mighty in power?” The psalmist bewailed the atheism of his day. Ecclesiastes dealt with dogged materalism. The oracles of the great prophets were largely a “burden” of reproach for audacious sin. The last of the apostles declared: “We are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.”
Were it not for such facts as these we might suppose the moral complications of the world to be vastly intensified with its age. As the thoughtful young man looks forth on the scene which he is about to enter, it might seem to him at times so filled with moral conflict, confusion, upheaval, and retroversion, as to defy all clear hope and vision. The perplexity of the patriarch is repeated in the college classroom. What does it all mean and what is the outcome? Meanwhile, as some of the worst physical maladies, so some of the worst moral diseases break out amid the stimulants of high civilization. Softening of the brain, failure of the heart, and malignant cancer find their parallel in the materialism of Moleschott, the extinctionism of Clifford and the pessimism of Schopenhauer and Hartmann.
The standing question of the ages has been, With God upon the throne, why so much evil in the world ? Certainly the great God could have kept out all moral evil, for he could have refrained from creating any moral being. But what countless forms of blessedness would have been replaced by an eternal desert! Or he might have annihilated the sinner on the threshold of sin, or bolted fast his free agency in the hour of temptation. But this would have abandoned a moral for a forcible government. Unless we deny or disparage God, we cannot doubt that his universe is on the whole the best that could be. We therefore conclude simply, not that sin is the necessary means of the greatest good, but that it is incidental to the very best system. He did not desire it, but for sufficient reasons chose to suffer it. A father sends his child to the public school, not for the sake of the temptations and hurts he will there encounter, but notwithstanding them; because on the whole it is better for him than a private school or a home training. The evils are not desired, but endured, as incidental to the best system. To the grave question, What shall be done with these moral disorders not forcibly ruled out? Christianity alone makes answer in two utterances. One is : When “I went into the sanctuary of God, then understood I their end” – they shall all be rectified at last. The other is in our text: “The wrath of man shall praise thee." Sin entered the system. It was only evil; must it work evil only? No; contrary to all its tendencies and aims and efforts, God overrules and turns it to account. This heaving, seething universe is like some vast manufacturing laboratory, where all the refuse is by the master's skill wrought over to purposes of use and value. “The wrath of man shall praise thee." In other words,
HUMAN WICKEDNESS SHALL BE OVERRULED TO
I. In a more general way man's wickedness signally displays, by its strong contrast, God's glorious character. When a painter would show some brilliant effect of light, he lays near it on the canvas a heavy shade or even a daub of black. How intensely the lightning streaks down the midnight sky. Even so, from the dark background of an ingratitude that forgets all the day long shines the lovingkindness that remembers every moment; and the anger that flashes up on a single provocation seems to illuminate the longsuffering of our God. When you cast your eye over the annals of the race, and in the endless strifes, cruelties, and wrongs that make up history you read that man has been hate, a new glory invests the page that tells us “God is love.” Did we ever so appreciate the blessedness of Christian society and character as when in some public place or conveyance we have been compelled to witness the conduct of a knot of brutalized men, filthy perhaps in person and manners, foul of speech, and low and beastly in thought and feeling, till