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as I have said, are fulfilled over and over again, and play. so large a part in human history.
The principle is this: that ever and anon, in a nation's or a Church's history, after some great national calamity, after some long-continued ecclesiastical torpor, there comes a sudden and mighty out-flood of the Spirit, stirring a nation or a people to its depths, vivifying an almost dead Church, rousing dull spirits into energetic life, exalting common men and women above their ordinary selves.
On every side at such periods in the world's history there arise prophets and heroes, warriors and preachers, holy and devoted souls.
Five centuries after Joel, when Israel was a conquered and tributary people, its kings no more, its national and church life crushed down, there came such a flood-tide of the Holy Spirit of God, which is the spirit of holy valor, and patriotism, and national righteousness.
You may read the whole grand story in the Book of Maccabees. It was a time when the tameness and commonness went out of life for all men. New hopes and aims, new daring and strength seemed to pass into every heart. Men and women, in their daily task, lived not only for that, but for their country and their God. Old men dreamed dreams, and young men saw visions, and upon the servants and the handmaids was poured out the new spirit of faithfulness and tuth.
Two centuries later the principle was at work again on a vaster scale. The old world was waiting for a new birth. Old religions, old philosophies, old political systems, all seemed to have reached a stage of decrepitude. The power of imperial Rome, the traditional wisdom of Greece, the narrow national cult of the Hebrew,-all seemed to be worn out.
The last element of good seemed to have gone, for hope was dead. The world seemed to have reached
“ That last drear mood
Of envious sloth and proud decrepitude:
But when the hour was darkest there came the new birth, the founding of the Christian Church, the preaching of the Apostles, the fervor of the Martyrs, the wonders of the first Christian age. St. Peter saw the fulfilment of the prophet Joel's words in their fullest sense on the first Whit-Sunday. The chill and gloom of the Crucifixion Day had passed. The little Church of the first Believers had awakened to a sense of its mighty mission, and every member of it felt the glow of inspiration in his earnest heart.
And ever since that time, nearly two thousand years ago now, men have been living under what is called a new dispensation, a new order of things. Ever since that time when the last great crowning revelation of God was made to man there has been in the world a society of men who looked out upon life in a new way.
They looked out upon this matter-of-fact world of ours, and somehow they came to see that it was not only what it appeared to be from outside; they came to see that life, human life, had not only to do with outward things; that they, as men, had not only to obey certain laws of conduct and living, under penalty of punishment from the governor, or the king, or the emperor, whose subjects they were; but they came to see that they were members also of a great invisible kingdom, ruled over by a Lord whose throne was not
upon earth, governed by laws whose sanction rested not in outward things, in penalty or punishment, but lay in a divine compulsion which they felt in their own hearts, in their own inmost spirit, in a conscience, they called it, not a mere outward authority saying to them at every turn. “Thou shalt,” and “ Thou shalt not,” but an inner voice of the soul ever whispering “I ought,” and “I ought not.”
And this new way of regarding life these men came to think was the most important thing in all the world. They gave up everything, they left their secular callings, their business in life, to go abroad everywhere telling people of this new, wonderful way of regarding things. They could not help it. A mysterious divine compulsion was laid upon them. It burned in their hearts as a divine energy, it touched their tongues with a divine fire.
If we could have asked them what it all meant, they would have said, “ It is the baptism of the Holy Ghost and of fire, it is that enthusiasm, that influence, that energy, which our ascended King promised he would send down upon us, his own Spirit, the Paraclete, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth who should guide us into all truth.”
And, full of this divine compulsion, and because of it, they were able to touch the hearts of other men; they got them to see life as they saw it, to obey the invisible King, as they obeyed him, from love and loyalty of heart; they drew men into their brotherhood, into this society of the Holy Ghost, this spiritual kingdom, this Church of the new believers, of the men who thought about life in a new way.
And now nearly two thousand years, as I said, have passed away, and to-day that little society of earnest believers in that far-distant land has become a mighty corporation, having branches in all parts of the world, with a long history behind
it, a record of heroes, and saints and martyrs, and doctors and teachers, the holiest and the noblest of our race, and with a long future before it of beneficence and salvation for the world.
And in that long history, over and over again as the ages went on, the words of the prophet Joel have been fulfilled. For although, alas! it is true that over and over again also the vision has faded and the prophecy has disappointed; that at times even the Church itself has only seemed to be Christian to its own shame and to its Master's dishonor “Christiana ad contumeliam Christi”; that the new heavens and the new earth have never yet fully come; still, still, thank God, there has been progress—who can deny it?progress by periodic movements, flood-tides of the Spirit of God, on which the ark of humanity and civilization and social order, the ark of the Church, has ridden nearer and nearer to the haven where it would be.
“ For while the tired waves, vainly breaking,
Seem here no painful inch to gain,
Comes silent, flooding in, the main.
When daylight comes, comes in the light,
But westward, look, the land is bright." For “when Christ ascended up on high, he led captivity captive and gave gifts unto men": for the individual the gift of true life, for society the gift of prophecy and vision and of dreams. “I will pour out of my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams."
The gift of Prophecy: the power to recognize new truth from God and to speak it forth, to interpret it to mankind in words of fire or deeds of light.
The gift of Vision: the strong, clear grasp of master-ideas, the keen, living sense which a young and generous mind feels for great principles struggling perhaps for life in some mean age of scrambling and selfishness and greed; setting the heart strong and resolute to uphold the cause of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost through the coming years.
And the gift of Dreams: no longer the fantastic vision of minds half-dazed with new light, but the conviction of the old man's dearly bought experience, that what perhaps he may be unworthy to see or bring to pass shall yet surely come, shall yet be a common thing full of blessing for the world, and while his own hopes depart of seeing it, yet suffers not his heart to harden, but passes solemnly in spirit into another age, and sees God surely bringing life to its perfect end at last.
It would be impossible, of course, in a single sermon to characterize fully any one of those great epochal movements in the history of Christian civilization which has made modern Christendom what it is to-day. And even if I ask you to think only of one aspect of that civilization,-the origin and growth of sentiments of international morality and law,-a subject which must be in all our minds at this time, in this place, on this historic soil,—it is impossible to do more now than place a cursory finger from point to point on that marvellously diversified chart which shows the onward progress of humanity toward higher and nobler and more Christlike conceptions of statecraft and government.
It has been said that when Charles the Great knelt by the high altar of St. Peter's, at Rome, and received from the hand of Pope Leo III the crown of the Cæsars, and the shout of the people rang out through the church,—“Karolo