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degrees! This is the reason why it is so good for us to read of saintly and heroic lives, of golden deeds, of noble sacrifices gladly made for truth and righteousness. For if these examples do not summon us to braver things, if the music there is in them does not lift at our feet so that they are weary with forbearing, and they cannot stay, but must take the forward path, however steep and they verily our accusation and our shame. inestimable advantage of such a book as the New Testament, or rather three such early pamphlets as the first three Gospels, telling the story of the life of Jesus in such a way that not all the integuments of the mythologists can so disguise his actual proportions that we cannot see what a true life was here, what a true poet, what a great loving heart, 'what a passionate sympathy with all sorrowful and sinful folk, what an honest hatred of self-righteousness and hypocrisy! It is true that the New Testament is like the sun and air. We are so habituated to it that we take it for granted, and we make good the wisdom of Goethe: Words often repeated ossify the organs of intelligence"; for with words often read it is the same. It was a devout Episcopalian who told me that she had put her New Testament out of reach for a whole year, and then came back to it with a new sense of its importance. And I know another lady who went the round of nearly all the great religions, dabbled in Brahminism and Buddhism, knew all about Atma and Karma and that sort of thing, or as much as anybody, and then woke up one morning and discovered - the New Testament, and found it wonderfully sweet and good.


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"She had wandered on the mountains, mist bewildered;
And, lo! a breeze came, and the veil was lifted,

And priceless flowers, which she had trod unheeding,
Were blowing at her feet."

I have often thought how wonderful the New Testament and the life of Jesus would appear to us if we could come upon them in an entirely fresh and natural way. I never

read my dear friend Samuel Johnson's sympathetic studies of Brahmanism and Buddhism and so on without wishing that he might have come to the study of Christianity just as he came to them, not tired of hearing Aristides called the Just, Jesus called perfect man and perfect God, but with unbiassed mind and heart. But all this is by the way; and I must hasten back into the main road of my discourse.

For it is not as if God's intercessors with us, by whose lips and lives he is forevermore beseeching us to make our lives some better, holier thing, were all dead and buried, all men and women of the past. They walk the earth to-day; their tender shadows fall upon us as we, lame from our birth, lie at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful; their words encourage us; their actions shame the dull inertia and the sordid selfishness of our habitual lives.

"Whene'er a noble deed is wrought,

Whene'er is spoken a noble thought,
Our hearts in glad surprise
To higher levels rise."

And, if we do not content ourselves with "feeling good," as people say, or with feeling bad,— i.e., with the luxury of self-accusation and contempt, as many do,- but straightway go about to practise some obedience to the heavenly vision, then for that time, at least, God gets an answer to his prayer: his beseeching has not been in vain.

Consider also how the happiness of a good conscience, the pains and penalties of an evil conscience, are, or should be, of such potency with us that here also it is as if God did beseech us to choose the straight and narrow and avoid the broad and crooked way. That wickedness is the pursuit of pleasure is a doctrine that from first to last gets much unfavorable comment from the course of things. The wicked people are often miserably unhappy. Perhaps the wickedest are not. It may be with them as it was with those whom Swedenborg saw, or imagined that he saw, in hell,-as happy there as were the good in heaven. Not punished, there

fore? Nay, because "they that are in sin are also in the punishment of sin." But, however it may be with the wickedest, with those whose conscience is not dead the way of the transgressor is hard. Truly, they make their bed in hell; and, if God is also there, it is to stir the fire. They cannot read of any fault akin to theirs, and not flush hot with burning shame or feel a sudden coldness at the heart. A nobility contrasting with their shame has much the same effect. Hardly can they take up a novel that it does not seem written about them, or go to see a play that does not seem as obviously prearranged to catch their conscience as Hamlet's was to catch the conscience of the king. Then all the powers of the imagination league and lend themselves to make the misery more keen. The most unsuspecting visitor is awaited as a messenger of doom; and they are as if they rode in spiritual nakedness, their every sin exposed, while every key-hole had its peeping Tom, a witness of their shame. And, then, upon the other hand there are the visions of a pure and honest life; and they stand abashed in their presence, and feel "how awful goodness is, and virtue in her shape how lovely,-see and feel their loss." To think of these things seriously—and how can we think of them at all, and not think of them seriously and solemnly?— is to wonder that more people, if they are not enticed into the right way by the beauty of holiness, are not scared from every other by those shames, regrets, and agonies which are the portion of the man or woman who, knowing what is best, chooses the poorer and the worst.

Once more, God makes the voice of others' pain and misery his voice, pleading with us to remember those whom he seems to have forgotten. Among all the golden deeds of history, what one do we remember with more admiration than that of Sir Philip Sidney dying on the disastrous field of Zutphen, and foregoing the cup of cold water because another's necessity was greater than his own? There is a battle raging which has centuries for its hours, and races for its regiments and battalions, whose incidents are revolutions,

reformations, here the initiation of a new religion, there the emancipation of a race. And in this battle we are soldiers each and all; and, if sore wounded now and then and craving a cup of water for our thirst, behold some fellow-soldier hurt more cruelly, and, if we have the knightly temper, there is no other thing for us to say but, "His necessity is greater than mine," no other thing for us to do but to put the proffered cup aside. But this is not the most common situation. The most common situation is that some have all they need of water, wine, and every sweet and precious thing, and some have none of all these things; and the necessity of these is not to those as it should be,— as if God did beseech them out of their abundance and excess to give the fainting brother, be he friend or foe, that which shall stanch his wound, and, if it cannot save his life, so touch his death with human pity that he may say as one did say in a soldier's hospital at Washington, as he felt the strong embracing of the nurse's arms about him, "Underneath me are the everlasting arms."

As if God did beseech you! O friends, it is not as if his prayer to us were this or that. It is the boundless whole. It is all worlds and times, all men and things, all literature and history, all art and song, all exaltations of triumphant love, all agonies of shame and sin, all blessed memories of those who have expected us to be good and true, all tender hopes of some day meeting them again and being with them where they are. "As if God were entreating you by us." To-day, if you have heard his voice, harden not your hearts.


THERE has been a great deal of talk of late concerning Christian unity; and various conferences and churches have proposed bases of belief and form on which, it seemed to them, all Christians might unite in cordial fellowship. The Roman bishop whom we call the Pope,- an ugly transformation, the Italians, very prettily, Papa, and the French Le Pape, has earnestly expressed a wish that there should. be one fold and one shepherd,— his Church the fold, and he the shepherd, and, encouraged by the remarkable approximations which the English Church has made to the Roman in matters of doctrine and ritual, has invited it most cordially to reunite itself with the Church from which it schismatically separated three centuries ago. Not to be outdone in courtesy, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Primate of the English Church, answers the papal letter, and invites the Roman Church to join the Anglican, that there may be one fold and one shepherd,—the fold his Church, and he the shepherd. Then, too, there have been certain Grindelwald conferences arranging terms of mutual concession; and the Congregationalists at their convention took a similar course. But the scheme of unity which has been most talked about is the famous "Lambeth Quadrilateral," by which is meant the proposals for unity issued by the conference which met at Lambeth, the palace of the English Primate, in 1888. It was a conference attended by the bishops of the whole Anglican communion, and the four propositions were:

A. The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, as containing all things necessary to salvation, and as being the rule and ultimate standard of faith.

B. The Apostles' Creed as the baptismal symbol, and the

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