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person, and then reaches up to God, into whose affinities and likeness it enters as a partaker. The space between the infant and a mind walking in conscious oneness with God marks a gain so immense, so rich and wonderful, that we cannot measure it. It is from such a stand-point that the value of life is to be estimated, and not from the amount of sorrow and happiness, nor from any failure through evil. What is evil when there is a soul of goodness in all things ? What is sin when it is redeemable? What is a little more or a little less of suffering when such gain is possible? What are toils and what are storms, when such a port is to be reached ? The plan seems almost indifferent to happiness and to evil, utilizing one and contending against the other, while it presses steadily towards this gigantic gain, the growth of a soul from simple consciousness into God-likeness.
It is somewhat the fashion now to derogate from the dignity and glory of life. There is doubt that it leads to anything besides its own end; a weakened sense of God suggests a poor and low estimate of it. “Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die,” is a sentiment that hovers in the air. There is no way to prevent it from becoming the watchword of society, but by a fresh incoming of faith in God as the Father of men and the Ordainer of life with its laws and ends, — facts not left to the waywardness of our human reason, but revealed in a true Son of God who incarnated the full glory and perfection of life, and makes it abundant for every other child of God.
THINGS TO BE AWAITED. “Man is, properly speaking, based upon Hope, he has no other possession but Hope; this world of his is emphatically the Place of Hope." - Sartor Resartus, ii. 7.
“Sleep after toil, port after stormy seas,
Faërie Queen, i. 9. “The preliminary step to following Christ is the leaving the dead to bury the dead, not clamoring on his doctrine for an especial solution of difficulties which are referable to the general problem of the Universe."
ROBERT BROWNING's Essay on Shelley.
THINGS TO BE AWAITED.
"Until the day break, and the shadows flee away." - THE SONG OF SOLOMON, ii. 17.
I do not know the nature of the feeling out of which these words sprang. It may be hard to determine whether it was a human or a divine rapture, whether it enfolded only some Jewish lover, or whether, under such chaste and tender symbols, it uttered the yearning delight of God in his church. It hardly matters which ; a true love is as sacred as a holy church, for the church is but the Lamb's wife. They stand on the sacred page, in their tender beauty, like a golden sunset which to one may be only a “promise of a fair to-morrow,” to another a simple refraction of light, to another a symbol of eternal repose and glory. The meaning of words lies not wholly in the words themselves, but also in us. Whatever the first use and intent of this phrase, it describes a waiting, and a joy to come, a waiting under darkness and shadow, and a joy to come with the light. And so they answer well the purpose of suggesting the truth of which I shall speak, namely, that there are many things in life and destiny that are to be awaited.
Man, in his inmost being, is not keyed to the temporal, but to the eternal. The final solution of life is not to be found in the past, the present, or the future, but in a state named eternity, in which “time shall be no longer,” — a state unconditioned by a material body and by cycles of time, — a state of absolute freedom and of unfettered existence; whatever the man is, that he is perfectly, whether good or bad. I do not mean that he will be perfectly good or bad, but that there will remain on him no condition nor limitation of his character. At present, there are weights and checks on the expression of character ; in the eternal state there are none; it has absolute expression, and works in perfect freedom to its proper end, whether it be good or evil. But here and now man is put into relations of time, and, while character is always mounting towards this eternal state as into a native ether, it is shaped in and by time. Past, present, and future, are realities that we cannot escape. As Carlyle says : “ The curtains of yesterday drop down; the curtains of to-morrow roll up, but yesterday and to-morrow both are.” The maxims that bid us forget the past, and trust the future, and live in the present, while they contain a half truth, hold also an insidious error. We cannot forget the past, and we ought not to forget it; we can be insensible to the future, but we ought not to be insensible to it. It is by the forfeiture of our greatness and essential nature, that we put the main emphasis of life upon the present. All the past is shut up within us, and is a sort of perpetual present. All the future is before us, and though duty is a present thing, it is constructed out of the