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condition that some one should be punished in their place. These doctrines had hardened their hearts, deadened their spiritual nature, and driven them from God into doubt and . unbelief; for, as love casts out fear, so does fear in turn cast out love. Then they were led by some good Providence to see God in a new light - a being without caprice or self-will, with steadfast laws, always working for the ultimate good of all his creatures, wisely giving, wisely withholding, loving the good, loving also the bad, not willing that any should perish. This benign truth opened their soul, made all nature new, all life new, made a new heaven and a new earth, took away anxiety and fear, and filled their days with bright hope and joy in all work.
So, too, a new love makes all things new. Not merely the love between man and woman, which is the favorite theme of novelists and poets, but new motherly love, the new love between two friends, new-born affections toward nature, art, work, country, the human race — these make of life a different thing. Do you remember the beautiful story of Silas Marner — how a man with no friendships, no affections, living alone in a solitary hut, devoting himself to saving a hoard of gold, was robbed of his money? And then, when he came back to his hut in despair, he found a little abandoned child who had crept into his house and gone to sleep on the hearth, and how this little child stirred the hidden fountains of life in the miser's heart, so that he devoted himself to the infant, and all the world became by degrees to him another world, old fears expelled and new hopes created by the power of this new affection?
In this way Christ makes all things new, and " if any man be in Christ he is a new creation.” Christ gives us a new heart and a new spirit, not by any miraculous or supernatural power, but by the power of the new truth which he shows to us, and the new love with which he inspires us.
After George Fox, the founder of the Quakers, had come into his own solid faith, he
" I had now come up in spirit, past the flaming sword, into the Paradise of God. All things were new, and the creation gave another smell unto me than before, beyond what words can utter. The creation was opened unto me, and the virtues of things revealed." This a frequent experience. After a great revelation of truth and love to the soul, everything, even in the outward world, appears differently. The sun shines more brightly, the air is more soft, the grass more green, the trees more graceful, the flowers more fragrant. A new faith makes all outward things new, also.
We, who have been born into the heritage of Christian ideas, cradled by Christian institutions, taught in the sciences, arts, and literature which have the inherited and consolidate conviction of the Universal Father behind them and below them we, who look forward amid the storms and midnight blackness of the present with the assurance that all things are working together for good, we have no notion, cannot form a conception of the change which may come to one born and bred in a world empty of that Divine presence. Mr. John Stuart Mill, in his melancholy biography, tells us how his father, with a sincerely narrow atheism, shut out from his child's mind all definite religious knowledge. But in a Christian land, and in the 19th century after Christ, you cannot wholly exclude this ethereal influence. You may form an atheistic library, expurgated of all positive faith ; but the divine trust, and love, which have become part of your own life and that of your neighbor, you cannot exclude. Men talk of inherited depravity, but is there not, also, inherited goodness ? Through long generations of ancestors living conscientious lives, fed by Christian truths, supported by Christian hopes, practising Christian obedience, the Son of God enters the very
depths of your heart. You might as well try to shut out the blessed all-healing atmosphere by carefully closing the doors and shutting down the windows, as to exclude Christian faith by rejecting its positive creeds, or abstaining from its public worship.
Not novelty, then, but renewal is what we need. A new life of truth in our minds, a new life of love in our hearts
- these shall make the new heavens and the new earth. We want no better world than this, no better opportunities than we have here. But we need a new spirit of faith and love, in order that God's kingdom shall come and his will be done in this world, making this a heaven. This heaven must begin in our own hearts, or it will be no heaven to us. That is why it is said, “Unless a man be born again” (or, rather, “ be born from on high")“ he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Put him in an outward heaven, and he will not see it. Surround him with hosts of angels, and he does not see them. Fill his ears with songs of seraphs, and he knows nothing of that divine melody. Until he allows the spirit of truth and love to enter his own soul and make an inward heaven, no outward heaven can do him any good.
Now this new heaven and new earth, full of righteousness, peace and love, belongs to us all: that is the gospel ; that is the good news. The grace of God, which brings salvation, has appeared to all men. Christ has died for all men, and the manifestation of the spirit is given to every man to profit withal. You need not wait till some miracle has converted you, or till some vast change has taken place in
you. You have already the seeds of the new life in you by the Christian truths you have been taught, and the Christian influence under which you have lived. All you have to do is to walk in, through the open door, into the love of God and man. Believe you can do it, and you can do it.
I was told by a friend that, when at the Centennial Exhibition this summer, he was accosted by a family who were walking about the grounds, who asked him how much it would cost them to go into all the buildings. “Why," said he, “it will cost you nothing. You paid at the gate when you entered the grounds, the whole price.” So I see pergo to church
year, and yet stand outside of Christianity, not enjoying the love of God, or the protection and friendship of Jesus; not having any confidence of being forgiven their sins; not having any assurance of a blessed immortality; not opening their souls to the Spirit to receive its peace. They stand outside of all these divine comforts and hopes, and do not take hold of them, because they think they have no right to do so. To them I say, “Go in at once, and take all you need. When God led you through the gate into Christianity the price was paid. You will not probably, it is true, become great saints at once. It will be, perhaps, some time before you get rid of all your evils. But you can begin now to receive God's help, God's power, God's inspiration, and the hope of the gospel. Nothing is necessary, but to go in. Nothing more is to be paid. No profession of faith ; no subscription to a creed ; no promise or pledge. Only one purpose and one desire : the purpose of always choosing right, not wrong ; and the desire to be helped by God always to do right and not wrong. It is a great thing to feel one's self inside of Christianity, and not outside of it. The sense of safety, when we know that we belong to God, and that he belongs to us, is a source of strength. And do you remember what Jesus said to his disciples : “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.” God has chosen us to be his children ; we did not choose him to be our Father. He has chosen us to be born in a Christian land, taught by Christian parents, instructed out of a Christian Bible. We did
- for they
not select this for ourselves. What he has begun to do for us he will continue to do, and complete — if we will accept his blessings. We have merely to go in. Modern Christianity has often inverted the methods of original Christianity. The modern method is to call on men to repent and believe and be converted and obey, in order to be saved. But Paul called on men to repent and believe, and be converted, and obey, because they had been saved. The Corinthian and Roman Christians to whom he wrote were no better than we are probably worse had the blood of many generations of heathen ancestors running in their veins, and we have the blood of many generations of Christian ancestors in ours. They did not know as much of Christian truth as we do, for they had no Bible, no Sunday school, and no religious books. But Paul said to them: “ If ye be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above." Forgive one another, even as God in Christ has forgiven you.” “ Lie not one to another, since ye off the old man and his deeds."
“ Walk worthy of your calling."
“ Put off the old man.' the new man.” “ Be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” And all this not in order to be forgiven, but “because God, in Christ, has forgiven you."
Thus God makes a new heaven and a new earth, wherever the truth and love of Jesus go. The new heavens first; the new earth'afterwards. First, the inward convictions;
then the outward life. First the seed, then the plant; the fruit last of all. We are not to try to do our duty that God may love us ; but because God loves us therefore let us do our duty. We are not to try to be good in order to go to heaven; but be in heaven now, by faith, submission, gratitude, patience, hope, love ; and then we shall easily grow up into all things. In order to grow, plants need sunshine. In order to any mental, moral,
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