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we know all that; but we prefer to use the ancient doctrine as a symbol of the modern thought," happy are we if grace is given to us to say, "I pray thee have me excused," or "Get thee behind me, Satan," or words to that effect. the doctrine that Jesus is "the only begotten of the Father" is no more a fitting symbol of the universal sonship of humanity than a brick is a fitting symbol of a house or a unit of a million; and the revelation of God in Jesus is no more a fitting symbol of the revelation of God in humanity than one perfect rose is a fitting symbol of the boundless wealth of June and all the summers that have ever come and gone.

You will think, perhaps, that I have left my story of the kindly potters far behind; but I will return to it for a moment, just to say a word that may not be altogether pertinent, but which I am moved to say, which I am always moved to say, as I have opportunity. It is that those workmen in the pottery were, probably, miserably imperfect men. I have not the least doubt that they drank and swore and did other equally disreputable things. But on this account my faith is in no wise shaken in the goodness of their particular conduct in the case of their companion and his suffering child. As it was there, so it is everywhere. I find few perfect men and women. Some of the most respectable would not bear turning inside out so well as some of the most disreputable. But few, if any, are without some better part, which only waits for the appropriate touch to openly declare itself.

That the laws of health and the laws of disease are the same laws is an old maxim which few, if any, are disposed to doubt. The illustrations of my leading thought come with an equal abundance and impressiveness from the upper and the lower side of life. In little things or great the doctrine holds, To him that hath shall be given. On that ambrosial night when we saw Browning at home, and he showed us the veritable book out of which grew his marvellous poem "The Ring and the Book," he showed us other things that had been sent to him because the senders knew that they were things after his own heart,- a medal of his beloved

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pope, a contemporary picture of the of his wretched Guido Franceschini, and so on. Let a man have any dominant taste or sentiment or aspiration, and it becomes magnetic to the things that nourish it and give it power and scope. I have never forgotten a phrase in one of Mr. Staples's sermons,- he that flamed up where I am standing now, before I came. It was "a fate of good fellows." It was a fate of bad fellows that he meant; for the connection was: "Has a man chosen coarseness? His choice seems at once to embody itself in his companions, who become a fate and fury to him. . . . How many a man becomes fixed in habits of indulgence in this way! Before he is aware of it, his indulgence, at first casual, gets organized into a fate of good fellows who almost force him to his ruin." But, whether good fellows or bad fellows, the law, the principle, is just the same. Given a prurient tendency, and what encouragement it gets from men and books! As for the latter, they seem to shape themselves from out the circumambient air; and those that the cleanminded find innocent enough yield to the baser sort some contribution to their stock in trade, something confirmatory of the fault with which they palter when they ought to strike it down. It is just so with any evil tendency. It is a principle of aggregation that is selective of the companions, the friends, the books, the studies, the circumstances, that will establish and entrench a man in a fortress almost impregnable to the assault of good or ill, according as the dominant, selective principle is one that makes for blessing or for bane.

And the upshot of the whole matter is, Beware! In the early Christian scriptures, not included in the New Testament, there are some pregnant sayings attributed to Jesus; and one of these, "Be ye good bankers," looks as if it might originally have been a part of the parable of the talents which I have read to you this morning, and from which my text was taken, "Be ye good bankers." That is to say, Knowing this universal tendency of life to aggre

gate about a man and in a man such things as are according to his dominant tendencies of mind and heart, beware what you invest. Ask yourselves honestly, Is this or that something that I am willing and glad to have increase till it becomes my fate, my character, my life? For these are those who, not having asked this question manfully, or having failed to act according to the answer given, have gone on from bad to worse until there has seemed to be for them no place for repentance, though they have sought it diligently and with tears. But if we would be good and true, helpful and kind and brave, thank Heaven the world abounds in men and books, in situations and events, with a celestial ichor in their veins, which, if we choose, can be transfused into our own, in order that thereby we may be strong for the upholding of all honorable contentions and the beating of all mean and hateful passions down.

THE POSSIBLE LIFE.

I HAVE had some very pleasant Sunday services in the course of my vacation, but only two or three of them have been of the conventional type. More frequently they have been of that kind the robins and the thrushes institute in their leafy choirs, and which has found in the most quaint of modern poets a felicitous interpretation, thus:

Some keep the Sabbath going to church:

I keep it staying at home,
With a bobolink for chorister

And an orchard for a dome.

Some keep the Sabbath in surplice;

But I just wear my wings,

And instead of tolling the bell for church
My little sexton sings.

God preaches,―a noted clergyman,-
And the sermon is never long.

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So instead of going to heaven at last,
I'm going all along.

One of our best of these out-of-door services was a few Sundays since. Stepping southward, we felt the wind blow as refreshingly upon our faces as if it came from its familiar western cave. And, as we went along, the fields new-mown, or with their scanty rowen softer for the foot, invited us continually to leave the beaten track, and try their possibilities of homely pleasantness. For all the bars were down, as if to say to us, Come in! come in! How could we choose but heed so sweet an invitation? So in we went upon the right hand and the left, and made such beautiful discoveries that we said how foolish we had been to come that way so often, and never turn aside before with vagrant feet to seek a newer

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