MACLEOD

THE TRUE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY


BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

Norman Macleod, the eminent Scotch preacher, was born at Campbeltown, in Argyleshire, in 1812. In his preaching he departed from the rigid conventionality of the Scottish Church. His large vision and broad culture gave unusual distinction both to his writings and to his pulpit oratory. He was conspicuous for philanthropic efforts, and frequently held evening services for workingmen. He distinguished himself by his popular Christian writing and by his pulpit oratory. He was practical and manly, of godly nature, with extreme adaptability, and greatly esteemed by Queen Victoria, who made him her chaplain in 1857. He died in 1872.

Lewis O. Brastow, D. D.


MACLEOD

1812-1872

THE TRUE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.—John xvii., 20, 21.

"These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come!" The hour was indeed come for which the whole world had been in travail since creation, and which was for ever to mark a new era in the history of the universe. The hour was come when, having finished the work given Him to do, He was to return to His Father, but only after ending His earthly journey along the awful path on which He was now entering, and which led through Gethsemane, the cross, and the grave. At such a moment in His life He lifted up His eyes in perfect peace, from the sinful and sorrowful world, to the heavens glorious in their harmony and soothing in their silence, and said, "Father!" One feels a solemn awe, as if entering the holy of holies, in seeking to enter into the mind of Christ as exprest in this prayer. Never were such words spoken on earth, never were such words heard in heaven. I ask no other evidence to satisfy my spirit that they are the truth of God than the evidence of their own light, revealing as it does the speaker as being Himself light and life, who verily came from God and went to God.

But let me in all reverence endeavor to express a few thoughts, as to the general meaning of this prayer, with reference more especially to that portion of it which I have selected as the subject of my discourse.

The one all-absorbing desire of our Lord, as here exprest—the ultimate end sought to be realized by Him—is that God might be glorified as a Father, and that by the world seeing His love revealed in sending His Son into the world to save sinners. "God is love," but "In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only-begotten Son into the world that we might live through him"—a love which, when spiritually seen and possest by us, is itself life eternal; for "This is life eternal that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent;" but "He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love."

All "religion" accordingly, all good, all righteousness, peace, joy, glory, to man and to the universe, are bound up in this one thing, knowing God as a Father. Out of this right condition of love to God, must necessarily come our right condition towards man, that of love to man as a brother with special love, the love of character, to Christian brethren. Such a religion as this was never possest as an idea even by the greatest thinkers among the civilized heathen nations; far less was it realized by any. Whatever knowledge many had about God, they knew Him not as a Father to be loved and trusted, and therefore obeyed. When St. Paul addrest the Athenians, he could find such a thought exprest by a poet only, who had said, "We are also His offspring." It is only in the line of supernatural revelation of God to man, as given to and received by Abraham, "the friend," and perfected by Christ the Son, that this knowledge of God has been possest by man. But even among those to whom this true revelation was given about God, how few truly knew Him!

The want of this religion, whatever else might exist that was called by that name, was the complaint made by God against His people of old, "They do not know me!" "They proceed from evil to evil," He cries, for "they know not me, saith the Lord." "Through deceit they refuse to know me, saith the Lord;" and again: "Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches; but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord." (Jer. ix., 23, 24.)

This was the sorrowing cry of Christ, "O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee!" This was His joy, "I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me!"

But if Christ desired that His Father's name should be glorified, how was this to be accomplished? By what medium, or means? Now I would here observe that God's method of revealing Himself to man has ever been to do so by living men; and the Bible is a true record of such revelations in the past. Christianity is not the philosophy of life, but life itself; and is a revelation, not of abstract truth, but of the living personal God to living persons as His children, whom He hath created to glorify and enjoy Him for ever. The first grand medium of this revelation is the eternal Son of God. The very essence of God's character being love, He did not exist from all eternity with a mere capacity of loving, but without an object to love; like an eye capable of seeing light, but with no light to see. The object of His love was His Son, who from all eternity responded to that love and rejoiced in His Father. This eternal Son, when manifested in the flesh, revealed His Father directly, so that He could say, in all He was, and in all He did, and, in a true sense, in all He suffered, "He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father;" and men could say of Him, "We beheld His glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth;" "The glory of God" was "in the face of Jesus Christ." Again, He had also, as the Son of Man, glorified His Father; and, by His reverence for, confidence in, and obedience to, Him, and by His joy in Him, had indirectly revealed what he knew God to be to Him and to all as a Father. "I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do." Such was His finished work. But something more was yet to be accomplished. Ere He descends to Gethsemane, He desires anew to have the joy of revealing a Father's heart by revealing to the world His own heart of love as a Son to that Father. Hence His prayer, "Glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee." He does not prescribe the new circumstances in which His long-tried and perfect filial confidence and love as a Son were to be manifested. With the absolute consecration of true sonship He leaves these circumstances to be determined by His Father. Now, as on the cross, He commits His spirit, as a little child, into His Father's hands. He desires only that in any way, by any means, He may have the joy of showing forth the reality, the endurance, and the triumph of His Sonship. His Father may fill His cup according to His own will, the Son will drink it. The Father may permit a crown of thorns to be placed on His brow, and every conceivable horror of great darkness from the hate of men and devils to be cast over Him like a funeral-pall; He may be rejected by all His brethren and by the Church and by the State—"Amen!" He cries. Let His body be broken and His blood shed, He will give thanks! One thing only He prays for, "Glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee!" As a further end to be accomplished, He prays that He may have the joy of making others share the same divine love and joy, and therefore adds, "As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."

But while He as the Son was to be the first revealer of God the Father, He was not, therefore, to be the only revealer. He was the firstborn of many brethren in whom the same love was to be reproduced, and by whom the same high duty was to be performed. If the light of the glory of God shone directly in the face of Jesus Christ, that light was to be transmitted to those who were to shine as lights in the world, that others seeing them might glorify the same God. For now, as ever, God in a real sense manifests Himself in the flesh. Hence our Lord's desire that His brethren should, as sons, reveal the Father, like Himself the Son. He says accordingly, "As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world." Sent whom? Not apostles only, but those also who should believe through their word; not ministers of the Church only, but members also; all, in short, who were qualified to convince the world that God was a Father, by convincing it of this truth, that God had sent His Son to save sinners—the "faithful saying, worthy of all acceptation."

But the question is further suggested, What is this qualification? What is this which men must possess in order to accomplish Christ's purpose of inducing the world to believe? What is this evidence of Christianity which they are to present to the eyes of unbelieving men, by seeing which these are to know and glorify God as their Father in Christ? We reply, it is the oneness of those who are to be ambassadors from God and fellow-workers with Christ. "I pray for them," He says, and not for them only, but "for them also who shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me."

Now this leads me to consider more particularly the nature of this oneness which is essential for such a successful mission as will convince the world of the truth of Christ's mission from the Father. What is meant by this oneness, or this union?

We are guided in our inquiry by three features which characterize it. First, It is a oneness such as subsists between Christ and God; secondly, It is a oneness which can be seen or appreciated; thirdly, It is a oneness which is calculated from its nature to convince the world of the truth of Christ's mission.

Now there are many kinds of union among men, which, however wonderful or excellent, may be set aside as obviously not fulfilling these conditions, and not such, therefore, as Christ prayed for. There is, e. g., the unity of an army which marches as one man, implicitly obeying its commander even unto death and without a question. Yet, however grand this is, and however illustrative of the character of good soldiers of Jesus Christ, it does not fulfil the conditions specified. Nor does the wonderful unity of a State, which makes and imposes laws, proclaims war or peace, administers justice, and executes its judgments. In neither case is there any union such as subsists betwixt God and Christ; nor such as is in any sense adapted to convince the world that God has sent His Son to save sinners. The same may be alleged of any outward and visible unity of a body of men which might be called a Church. Its organization might be as wonderful, and its members as disciplined, and its power as remarkable, as those of an army; it might be held together like a state by its laws and its enactments, its rewards and punishments, and might energetically advance until it possest the dominion of the world, and attracted such attention as that all men might marvel at it; its members might assent to all the details of a creed however large; the same rights and ceremonies and modes of worship might be repeated throughout all its parts; and it might be able to continue its organized existence from age to age,—yet it would by no means follow that any such system, however remarkable, possest that inward spiritual unity desired in Christ's prayer, no more than the compact unity of Brahminism does, nor the still more extraordinary unity of Buddhism, with its temples, its priesthood, its creed, its rites and ceremonies, continuing unchanged during teeming centuries, and dominating over hundreds of millions of the human race. May not all these and many similar unities be fully and satisfactorily accounted for by principles in human nature, altogether irrespective of the fact of a supernatural power having come into the world to which their origin or continuance is owing? For there is a oneness in the churchyard as well as in the church. There might be a oneness of assent amongst a deaf multitude with regard to the beauty of music, because determined by the fiat of authority, but not as the result of hearing and of taste; and the same kind of oneness of judgment as to the beauty of pictures, on the part of those who were blind. Unity alone proves nothing, apart from its nature and its origin.

There is but one kind of unity or oneness which fulfils the specified conditions, and that is, oneness of character or of spiritual life—in one word, the oneness of love;—for this is the highest condition of a personal spirit. It is such love as God had and has to Christ; "That the love wherewith thou has loved me may be in them;" such love as the Son has to the Father, and such as He manifested to His disciples that very evening when, conscious of His divine glory, and "knowing that he was come from God, and went to God," He girded Himself with a towel and washed His disciples' feet. Hence the declaration, "The glory," that is, of character, "which thou gavest me I have given them, that they," through its possession, "may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me." Hence again His saying, "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world;" and His prayer, "I pray not that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from the evil." Such love as this, when in the soul of ordinary men, does not originate in their own hearts, however naturally benevolent or affectionate these may be. Our Lord in this prayer recognizes it as inseparable from faith in His own teaching, and from personal conviction of the truth which they themselves were to preach; for they had received His words, and had "known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me"; and so He prays, "Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth."

Now, if we would divide, as with a prism, this pure light of love, we might discern it as being composed, as it were, of at least two colors, or features—first, love to God, exprest in the desire that He should be known; secondly, love to man, exprest in self-sacrifice that all should share this true love. But these very features we discern as first existing in God the Father and in Christ the Son; for God desires, from the necessity of His own nature, that He should be known, and that all His rational creatures should see the glory of His character, and, in seeing it, should live. God has also manifested His love, according to the law of love, by giving and by self-sacrifice, inasmuch as He "spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all." In like manner, the Son desired that His Father might be known, and to accomplish this He became incarnate. He has manifested His love also in the form of self-sacrifice, in that His whole life and death were an offering up of Himself as a sacrifice unto God, and as an atonement for the sins of the world, in order that all men might be made partakers of His own eternal life in God. This, too, is the "mind" of the Holy Spirit, for He glorifies the Son, that the Son may glorify the Father, and glorifies Him in and by His true Church. Hence, wherever true love exists in man, it will manifest itself in these two forms; it will ever desire that God may be known, and will never "seek its own," but sacrifice itself that this end may be attained. In such oneness as this of mind, spirit, character—in one word, love—there is realized the first condition of that oneness for which our Lord prayed.

Secondly, This unity of character fulfils the second condition in its being such as the world can in some degree see and appreciate. Blind as the world is, it can see love in the form of self-sacrifice at least, seeking its good, even tho it may not at once see in this a revelation of such love as has its origin in the love of God to man. The world's heart can perceive more things and greater things than can its intellect. The child of the statesman or man of science may not be able to comprehend the world-politics of the one or the scientific discoveries of the other; but it can see and feel the love revealed in the glance of the eye, in the smile on the lips, or in the arms that clasp it to the bosom; and in seeing this, it sees an infinitely greater thing than the politics of the one or the scientific discoveries of the other. It sees, too, in this, tho unconsciously, the love of the Father's heart which fills the universe with glory, even as its eye, when opened to a little light, sees the same light which illumines a thousand worlds. And thus can the world see the light of love. Those who are in prison, in nakedness, or in thirst, are quite able to see and to appreciate the love that, for Christ's sake, visits them, clothes them, and gives them drink. The wretched lepers in the lazar-house, into which no one could enter and ever return to the world, could see and appreciate the love of the Moravian missionary who visited them, and who shut the door for ever between him and all he knew and loved, that he might share and alleviate the horrors of his wretched brethren whom he loved more than all. Blind as the world is, it can see this or nothing; bad as it is, it can appreciate this goodness or none.

Thirdly, Such a character is calculated also to convince the world that God has sent Christ to save sinners. Observe again what is our Lord's idea of the mission which was to convert the world; it is this, that those whom He sends, even as God had sent Himself, whether as apostles or as disciples, should give to their fellow men what they have first received from their living Head, Jesus Christ. They were to give "the words" which they received from Him, and which He had received from God—they were to give "the truth" which they received from Him, and which He Himself had glorified in His life and death, that God had sent Him to be the Savior of the world. They were also to manifest that life which they had received from Him, and which He had received from God, and which in them was the necessary result of their faith. Now, it is in the seeing of this life in those who proclaim the truth that the truth itself appears worthy of all acceptation, and that God verily, who has sent His Son to save sinners, is love. It is thus, you perceive, that the mission of the Church, whether of its ministers or its members, is not only to preach glad tidings, but to show their reality in their actual results; not only to preach salvation, but to preach it by saved men; not only to preach eternal life, but to preach it by those who possess it; not only to preach about a Father, but to reveal also that Father through His regenerated sons, who themselves know and love Him. Further, the idea of a Church is that of a society whose members are united through faith in the same truth, and are in possession of the same life. Such a society necessarily springs out of faith and love, and its members cannot choose but unite outwardly because united inwardly. Our Lord assumes its future existence and provides for its continuance. A Church realizing Christ's ideal would, therefore, possess, as its creed this, at least, of believing Christ's words, and the truth that "God had sent his Son to be the Savior of the world." For "every spirit that confesseth not that Christ hath come in the flesh is not of God." "And whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God." Its initiatory sacrament, that of baptism, does but express the nature of this society—viz., that its members are the children of God the Father through Christ the Son, and by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit—their character being a spiritual baptism into the possession of "God's name," which is "love."

Another characteristic of it is their possession of that eternal life which is exprest as well as maintained by the "communion" in which its members meet together as brethren, their bond of union being a common union with God in Christ and one another, through the constant partaking of Him, the living bread; eating His flesh and drinking His blood—that is, His whole life of self-sacrifice and love becoming a part of their very being. Worship in spirit and in truth is also necessarily involved in the idea of such a society; and I might add, worship, not from a command merely, but as a necessary result of spiritual character, becoming in a true sense "infallible" as to religion; but religion in this sense,—that of knowing God because of its members being able to say, "We know that he dwelleth in us, and we in him, because he hath given us his Spirit, and we know and testify that he sent his Son to be the Savior of the world." Such a Church would likewise, in a true sense, have an apostolical succession—that is, a succession of teachers and members who had the apostolic spirit, or the oneness as described by our Lord; for it would be able, from its possessing the Spirit of God, to discern those who were like-minded, and to select such as were specially fitted for the work of the ministry. This is the ideal of the Church.

But has such a Church been realized? Has there ever been a visible organized body of men who carried out this sublime purpose? Once, indeed, there was. For we perceive, more or less clearly, all these features in the early Church when it had received the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, and when its members met together and "had all things in common," and manifested such sonship towards God, and brotherhood towards each other; and sent forth everywhere its public minister and its members also to bring men into the same blessed unity. But supposing the ideal had no more been realized since that time than God's ideal as described by Moses had been fully realized in the Jewish Church;—yet must the ideal, nevertheless, be ever kept before the spiritual eye. For we do not produce high art by keeping a low rather than a high standard before the artist; neither can we reach to great things in the Church unless we keep a high standard before its members. It is unnecessary here to inquire how it came to pass that the Church, to such a great extent, lost this ideal as one visible society, and became so corrupt as to substitute innumerable vain appearances of spiritual realities for that which alone could satisfy a true and righteous God. But as things now are, the "Church" is broken up into various "churches" or societies, striving more or less to realize the ideal. Each society does so just in proportion as it is able to carry out our Lord's purpose as to its ministry being one in faith, believing Christ's words, in its knowing truly that He came from God to save sinners, and in its seeking, from love to God and man, to make all men know their Father, in the knowledge of whom is salvation.

But to confine myself to our own particular duties, let me remind you, fathers and brethren, of our high calling as profest ministers of Christ's Church. The cry of earnest souls, weary of their many burthens, unsatisfied with their husks, conscious of being in a distant land, and finding nothing which men can give to allay their hungering and thirsting, is this: "Show us the Father, and it sufficeth us!" Now supposing an earnest spirit, seeking after the Father, comes to us as His profest ministers in order to discover the truth of what we preach, he might very naturally say, "You preach to me a Savior who came a long time ago into the world professing to save sinners, and you tell me that He is coming again at some future period to judge the world and to bestow salvation upon many; but I want to know whether there is a Savior now; or is it all empty space between that past and that future? You tell me about salvation from the suffering of sin; I ask, 'Is there salvation from sin itself, without which I feel there can be no deliverance from suffering'? You tell me about a medicine that is an infallible cure for 'this ineradicable taint of sin,' and describe the terrible consequences of the disease to me if I be not cured, and the blessed results of joyous spiritual health and peace; but 'Can you show me any person who has actually been restored from disease to health by this divine medicine'? Is all this preaching a mere idle theory of life? Or if not, where is the life itself? Art thou thyself saved? If not—'physician, heal thyself'; for until then thou canst not cure me." But suppose, further, that this same person comes into close contact with the mind of the preacher, and that the more he sees and knows it the more he discerns in the man such thoughts regarding God, such a knowledge of Him, such a love to Him, as convince him that here at least is a reality and not a pretense; suppose that the more he discerns his whole inner life, the things which give him pain and joy, the things which he desires and loves, with his whole feelings towards his fellow-men—feelings expressed in a life of action, which, in spite of infirmities and shortcomings belonging to all human beings, the questioner cannot but recognize as a kind of life he never saw before—a life, too, which commends itself, from what it is, as being the most real and the most satisfactory to reason, conscience, and heart: can anything, I ask, be more calculated to convince him of the account which its possessor gives him as to its origin, when he says, "The life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." "It is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the chief." What then? What else must be the result of such a vision of true life than the conviction that God is our Father and that God is love, because it is evident from observation as well as from testimony that He hath sent His Son to save men, not in the past only, but to save them now—not to save only those who are called "good," but to save those who are the chief of sinners? If a man truly believes all this, then does he know God, and in so doing possesses eternal life. But more than this, how will his convictions be deepened if, in searching for others who may have the same life, and if, tho failing to discover any one visible body of Christians that show it forth in the unity of the Spirit and in the bond of peace, he is yet able to satisfy himself that there have been, during the last eighteen centuries, and that there are now, in every church, in every land, among all races of men, among those of different temperaments, different culture, and amidst a variety of all possible outward circumstances, men with like passions as himself, who have faith in the same Lord, and are thereby possest of a true love of God and of one another—how will this, I say, deepen in him the conviction that God is a Father, because a Savior, who "gave his Son, not that any should perish, but that all should possess everlasting life?" Will he not be thus led to "believe the record that God has given us eternal life, and that this life is in his Son?" I am persuaded that a man of the highest intellectual culture and the greatest learning, earnestly searching after God and Christ, and the truth of Christianity, would be more convinced of the love of the one as manifested in the truth of the other, by coming into contact with one true soul which, without perhaps intellectual culture or learning, yet truly loved God and man, than he would be by all the volumes on the evidence of Christianity ever written, without such a spiritual vision of a holy life.

On the other hand, supposing that no such evidence of the truth of Christianity could be discovered in the preacher of Christianity; nay, if his character contradicted his preaching; if, while he preached love to God and man, he manifested neither, but indifference, to say the least of it, to both; if, while he preached the necessity and the excellence of the Christian life, he himself revealed its very opposite—what effect would this have upon an earnest spirit, but that Christianity was a mere ideal system unsuited to the world, a philosophy of life that might be believed in, but not a life itself that might be possest?

This want of personal character, however imperfect, yet real, may account for the want of success in the mission of the Church to convince the world, whether at home or abroad. We may give religion but not godliness; the means of grace, as they are called, but not the grace seen and exprest in the living man. We would thus hear of Christianity without seeing it; hear about the love of God, and the love of Christ as a Savior, without being convinced even by those who send missionaries to India, who, altho they may individually reveal this life, yet how often are looked upon as mere official teachers; while the "Christians" from "Christendom" may, in coming into contact with the heathen, show by their denial of Christianity that it is a matter for the priesthood, not for all men; a book theology, but not an actual power working in humanity: and of such persons it may be said that they have profaned God's great name among the heathen.

And this, too, may also account for the secret of success by many a minister of whom the world knows nothing: "For greatest minds are those of whom the noisy world hears least." They may not be great in the ordinary sense of the word—great as thinkers, great as orators, or great in the possession of any remarkable gifts; but they are nevertheless great in the kingdom of heaven; great because little children—great in meekness, in patience, in humility, in love of God and man, and who carry this music in their heart, "through dusky land and wrangling mart." What is the secret of their power? What but an eternal reality! the reality of a godly, godlike life obtained from God, and sustained by God, and seen in the eye, felt in the hand, heard in the words—a light of life which shines beside many a dying bed in many a home of sorrow, as well as in the pulpit. This is a kind of life whose biography will be written with the tears of the grateful orphan and widow, and of many a saved soul which remembers its possessor as its spiritual father. Such a ministry as this can no more fail than the love of God which gives it birth. Let us thank God, therefore, that such a secret power as this is within the reach of us all. We may not be men of talent, and for that we are not responsible; but we may be good men because little children towards God, and for that we are responsible: "I thank thee, heavenly Father, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and revealed them unto babes."

And now, fathers and brethren, such is our high calling, to proclaim the glad tidings that God has sent Christ into the world to save sinners. Our chief authority for doing this is that we know it to be true; and if so, no one can deprive us of the high privilege and joy of proclaiming it. A glorious work is thus given us to do; we are ambassadors for God, beseeching men to be reconciled to Him, and we are fellow-workers with our Lord Himself. But this involves a great responsibility, corresponding to the greatness of our calling. For it is at once a glorious and a tremendous thought that Christ perils the chief evidence of the truth of Christianity, not upon what we say, but more upon what we are; and what we are is neither more nor less than what God knows us to be. Our preaching may, nevertheless, fail in some cases to convince the world, as it has done before; for the glory of Christ Himself was not seen by Judas. Indeed the light of life, when it shines, requires the single eye to see it. But in so far as the ministry of men, as an instrumentality, can convince the world, let our ministry be such as is calculated according to Christ's purpose to produce this result. Let it consist of those who can say, "We know whom we have believed." "We know and believe the love that God hath to us." "We testify that he sent his Son to be the Savior of the world."

But I must bring my sermon to a close.

Pardon me, my brethren, if I have appeared to address you in any other spirit than that of one who would with you confess his sins and shortcomings, and lament with shame and sorrow how much time and power have been lost never to be regained; how many gifts and noble opportunities have been neglected and perverted through unbelief and sloth, which might have been used for our own good and that of our fellow-men. Verily the day is far spent with many of us, and the night is near in which no man can work. Whatever our hands find to do must be done now or never. Let us pray that the living Spirit of God, given to all who seek Him, and whose work it is to glorify the Son, may take of His things and show them to our souls, and open our spiritual eye to see the glory of God in the face of Christ, so that we may be changed into the same glory. May we strive to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, and be enabled so to preach and so to live that the world may be convinced, by what it sees and hears, of the reality of the love of God the Father in giving us and all men eternal life through Jesus Christ His Son! May He who makes us sons of God enable us, as sons, to be glorified in the perfection and revelation of our characters, so that with our elder Brother we may glorify His Father and our Father!

And now, to Father, Son and Holy Ghost, one God, be glory, dominion, and praise for evermore. Amen!