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Just so the strongest church is the most magnanimous church. Christ struck this chord at the beginning, and 1+ reverberates down the centuries. He did not say to lose Twelve, Look well to your own things first, then take
of Jerusalem ; afterwards attend to Judæa ; then think, p.
haps, of Palestine, and pause there. No; he rolled up the
ant globe, as it were, and laid it right on their hearts.
1. whole race to pull at their heartstrings :
Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every
'reature." And so “they went forth, and preached every
where,” and with such power as has never been equal,d ; for every personal interest was lost in the grandeur end and aim as they moved on, holding Christ
in the heart and God by the hand.
Strong ever in unselfishness! And thus the mis.conary spirit, in the broad sense, is the test of the po
'ver of Christ's Church. If the spirit of prayer is its tl, mometer, the state of the missionary feeling is
ts barometer, telling of the density or the levity of t air it breathes. Thus, in imitation of the Master,
it has been the policy of the wisest guides and almone of bounty in his kingdom to encourage no body of by lievers, however feeble, to concentrate all its energies & home; but they urge that the 'church that is in part supported itself by charity shall bear its part in the great charities of the age. It is the chief hope of life and power in store. Not seldom has such a starving association, whose workings and plannings and contributions, if not its prayings, were tied up to itself,
struck off into independence when it has struck out for other objects. I have known a poor city church that turned the cold shoulder to all charitable appeals because it was so poor, with difficulty procured its transient pulpit supplies, took its weekly collection for its current expenses, and in its Ladies' Circle with needle and thread mostly sewed up its sympathies at home I have known such a church spring into strength when it heard Christ say, “Stretch forth thy hand,” and it stretched it forth whole; when its members had learned to put God's cause above all private interests and to open their ears to the calls of the great multitude poorer than they, when some of them even mortgaged their own houses to build God's house, and all sprang to the work of beneficence in every available form then came the era of strength, deliverance, growth. Strong, because there was in it the spirit and power of Him who gave himself for the world. And any body of so-called Christians that becomes chiefly intent on its own comfort and greatness and glory, on its fashion, its architecture, its style, its artistic arrangements and performances, its magnitude of numbers, or whatever else of the kind, that church, though it contained a thousand members, and every member a millionaire, would be poor and weak; for it would have forgotten the first principles of its mission and its power. And when from these semblances of Christian life we look forth and view that type of thought and character which sets itself in deliberate antagonism to the great verities of God's revelation to man, nothing could more effectually show its dreary and ignoble nature, whatever its specious glow and foamy sparkle, than its utter dearth of any beneficent enterprise to gladden the sorrow or remove the moral degradation of one dark spot on the wide earth. For any fruitage of spiritual blessing to the degraded nations, or even of spiritual help and hope to fallen individuals, its whole history has been one interminable moral Sahara ; and by this token, if no other, it stands known and condemned. All the benign movements which tend to illuminate the darkness and lift the heavy burdens of fallen races and men have been fed by the thoughts and themes of God in his glory, of Christ and his work.
Here then we see, first, the remedy for our human infirmities, and the secret of growth. It is found in inspiring affinities and upward aspirations. We grow, not negatively but positively, by the force of an inner heaving life; a life that will itself close up the wounds and slough off the excrescences of our sin. How much idle breath is expended in mere fault-finding with children; how much baffled effort put forth by men in the purely negative struggle to break off their own faults ! The child will never be cured by carping, but by cheering The man will never starve out his vices, except as he feeds up his virtues. We must be drawn from above, not pushed from below; drawn by “the cords of love and the bands of a man.” We want the inbreathing of a vital power tending evermore upward. What volumes lie wrapped up in that phrase, “the expulsive
power of a great affection”! When some thoroughly magnanimous purpose takes possession of a man, how often it steadily purges away the meaner qualities of bis character! How it makes the boy a man, and the girl a woman, and steadies them in all the whirl and giddiness of youth! And when the spirit of Christ, with all its high motives, enters a soul and takes possession, what a legion of devils it can cast out! The distance between the crabbedness of Jacob's youth and the serene beauty of his old age, between Saul and Paul, between Kapiolani sunning herself all day naked on the beach of Hawaii and Kapiolani transfigured and toiling with womanly dignity and power all the remainder of her life for every good and noble thing – how infinite! And what made it ?
We see, further, the remedy for our human littleness. It is found in binding fast these little lives to the things that are great and good, that we may share all that greatness and goodness. In this Babel of a world how small are we! In this great onflow of time, how our life dies out like a ripple on the Mississippi ! Ages ago the psalmist had the same thought when he exclaimed: “What is man, that thou art mindful of him?” But he learned to answer his own questioning : “Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.” Yea, there are alliances which carry us higher than the angels, influences in our power as deathless as the life of God. When a woman ceases to be heir and successor of a dead silkworm and keeper of crystals of carbon, and
diffuses heaven-kindled warmth and brightness and blessedness through the home and through all social life, so that Quincy Adams feels for fourscore years the hand of his praying mother on his head, or Neander labors grandly on under the watchful care of a sister's love, or Ann Haseltine not only lives on in her husband's adamantine toils, but transmits the memory of all her queenly qualities to the daughters of the future, this indeed weds mortality to eternity, earth to heaven. When the man ceases to live as the highest, or the lowest, of the animals, or to fulfill the function of the chilled-iron safe whose combination lock death will force open; when he lives to bless his fellow men and honor his God with all disinterested labors, kind offices, and kindly affections; when in private life Harlan Page and Hedley Vicars draw men upward and Godward, or Bunsen and Wilberforce give talent and culture to the establishment of truth and righteousness, or when the Phillipses and their kindred spirits and successors devote the mighty power of wealth to the transmission of hallowed and benign influences that work on when the body crumbles to dust, - and all for Christ's sake,
this is indeed to magnify and multiply our little life; and so “ as trailing clouds of glory do we” go to “God who is our home.”
Young Gentlemen of the Graduating Class : You have reached the point where ponderings and questionings press heavily on many of your minds. It is a sober time when a man passes from the state of pupil