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men through their opinions and principles. He has in part withdrawn his troops from their formal encampment and scattered them through the fields of literature and science to poison the wells and fountains. His advocates lift their voice in the places of assembly with flattering words about ancient superstitions and the progress of the age. Innuendoes and bold assertions, sneers and commiserations, railings and wailings are among their weapons. Many an unproved assumption demands hospitality. Many an old crippled heresy sits by the wayside and begs for charity. Many an error dismembered in fair fight on the battlefield is limping round its wooden legs and shouting “ Bigotry!” But be not deluded. There is plentiful new light which is but old darkness. The eternal truth will always be ancient bigotry to the enemies of righteousness. No progress of the age will supersede the teachings of the Holy Spirit, or abate one jot or tittle from the claims of God. Then "buy the truth, and sell it not. For it is not a vain thing for you ; because it is your life.” And let the Lord Jesus Christ be to you and each of you "the way, the truth, and the life.”
HIGH MORAL ALLIANCES.
BACCALAUREATE SERMON, JUNE 22, 1879.
And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. - NEHEMIAH 6: 3.
THE true chameleon that takes the hue of the limb
he hugs is the human being. It is spoken in proverbs, it is recorded in history that his companionships determine and define the man. “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise."
But have we not a free will ? Yes; and we use it largely by submitting ourselves to the forces that eddy round us and bear us on. Commonly we do not raise ourselves or change our whole course by the mere dead pull. We push forth our light bark into the current that sweeps by, and with it we too are swept along. Perhaps we choose the maelstrom ; and then we go round and round in narrower and narrower circles, and disappear in the vortex. It may be we drop into the still stream at Chippewa ; and we hurry down the rippling waters, shoot the rapids, then leap the breakers and plunge the cataract. Or we can surrender to the grand equatorial current and the breath of heaven, to be borne over the ocean of life to the haven of God.
In the midst of these great rushing streams of influence it makes all the difference to us with which of them we associate our lives. The old patriot who speaks to us this morning was firmly held by the
greatness and nobleness of his environments and his enterprise. He stood by the wall of his fathers and the temple of his God. Faithful and God-fearing men were around him. He was aglow with high schemes. He was building for the centuries. And when his enemies invited him to a rendezvous, thinking, he says, “ to do me mischief," he replied: "I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down.” And he adds : • They sent unto me four times after this sort; and I answered them after the same manner." The greatness of his purposes, pursuits, and principles withheld him from harm and held him to success. work has passed away, but his greater words are borne to us this morning with an imperishable significance. From his own experience he speaks to us of
THE ENNOBLING INFLUENCE OF HIGH MORAL AND
I. See it first in the elevating power of a full and constant contact with great principles. Truth, divine truth, is the native aliment of the human mind. There is no earthly force like a great ideal vitalized in human souls. It is a magazine of combustibles which you may imprison, if you please, with the weight of the Andes. When the spark reaches it, it will crack the Andes and blaze forth in Chimborazos, or lift the whole coastline from its ancient level. Principles, which men have defied as abstractions or denied and decried as doctrines, have always shown a power over men proportioned to their breadth and depth. “Liberty,
equality, fraternity” in France were three abstractions, and the Marseillaise Hymn a bit of poetry; but by what truth there was in them they made a prodigious upheaval, and by their perversion a terrible overthrow. Personal liberty for the African in America was once a fanatical abstraction, while the coffie and the lash were realities; but the abstraction did its work well, and the great fanatic with a bounty on his head died victorious. The old starred and striped banner was once to most of us a very dim thing, a piece of bunting that lazily drooped over some useless fort or arsenal, or streamed over some gasconading orator on “the Fourth.” There came a time when suddenly we saw that its whole broad expanse meant liberty and law, that every star was a star of hope to the human race, and each crimson stripe blushed red with human wrongs.
And then those ancient abstractions struck with a million strong arms, shouted huzzas from many million tongues, and rained tears of joy from a nation's eyes.
You and I now venerate that flag for the grand principles it emblazons, and on Decoration Day we say from the heart : “God bless the old flag!”
It is contact of the human soul with thoughts and themes and objects commensurate with its high capacity which develops its capacity and expands its powers. And thus we often make the mistake of terming certain men uneducated, when, though little taught in the schools, they have had the noblest training — in contact with minds, thoughts, and events of the highest order. So was Cromwell marvelously devel
oped. So was Washington rounded up. So the noble Lincoln who from his boyhood, grasping after clear truth and broad principle, and early expanded by professional responsibilities, yet never developed so gloriously as when the great issues of American destiny were forced upon his mind and tongue, and then upon his daily life. Many a self-taught man has thus had the highest education. He deals with influences that are greater than schoolmasters. A revolution may have rocked some young Napoleon in its cradle. He may have been the companion of great generals and statesmen, and a father's influence may have been the legacy of the young Hannibal or the young Quincy Adams. The “wee modest crimson-tipped flower " may whisper long and earnestly to the soul of a Burns. The gloom and grandeur of the Highlands may have poured themselves into the heart of some veritable Ossian. Or in his nightly solitude the psalmist hears the blue heavens telling the glory of God, and sees the firmament showing his handiwork; he-meditates on the “marvelous things” of that “law,” and from that stirring contact he sings a song so sweet and pure and high and loud that age after age has caught up the strain, and it will never die till the "new song " begins.
The quality of the nourishment, the themes on which our minds and hearts feed determine the thews and sinews of our souls. Strong men must have solid food. It is well for young men to associate with their superiors. It is often the bane of our children that