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past, and runs endlessly into the future. We thus have the past with its memories, the present with its duties, and the future with its anticipations, — one for wisdom, one for action, and one for hope, a trinity of temporal environment holding man until he is ready to be let into eternity. Eternity now is, but we enter its fullness by the path of futurity, and so, in common speech, we treat as one the eternal and the future worlds.
Despite the brave assertion of the present as the only field of action, and so, by narrow inference, of thought, the future plays a large part in life and character. “One world at a time,” is a motto for a brute and not for a man. To stand before the future world as before a dead wall, is an attitude to which we are not called; we are not made after that fashion, but are keyed to anticipation and hope; and if so, then we are keyed to a world in which hope has fulfillment, and not to a world in which it is a steadily dissolving illusion. Anticipation and hope are not mere features of a religious faith, but essential conditions of true living, hands and feet by which we travel towards, and lay hold of, our destiny. Hence there are many things that belong to us which are put into the future, and are therefore to be awaited ; and since we are put into this relation of waiting, we must not fret because we do not have them, nor strive to get them before they are due.
We can speak confidently of such things only as we now know in part, beginnings that here have no completion, germs that come to leaf and bud, but not to fruit, in the soil of this world; processes that have promise of great results but are cut short of them, desires and aspirations that now have no full satisfaction.
1. We wait for rest. If the question were raised : is man made for toil or for rest? the answer would be a mixed and qualified one. He is appointed to toil, he is destined to rest; one is his condition, the other is his end. If man is made in God's image, he is made to share in God's condition; and both Christian revelation and heathen conjecture unite in conceiving of Deity as in repose, eternally acting yet in eternal rest. This is no contradiction, but a simple necessity when the powers are infinite and harmonious. Ruskin, in one of his most thoughtful passages, has aptly touched the truth : “As opposed to passion, changefulness, and laborious exertion, repose is the especial and separating characteristic of the eternal mind and power; it is the 'I am' of the Creator opposed to the • I become' of all creatures. The desire of rest planted in the heart is no sensual nor unworthy one, but a longing for renovation, and for escape from a state whose every phase is a mere preparation for another equally transitory, to one in which permanence shall have become possible through perfection.” As we grow in this image and pass beyond its early limitations, we approach this eternal rest; it remains for the children of God. If it be said that man never attain this repose because he can never reach the eternal perfection and power, it may be answered that it does not depend upon the propor
tions of the being, but upon the harmony of his powers and upon his adjustment to his external condition. One whose nature has been reduced to perfect harmony may have perfect peace within, and also without, if also he is in a world entirely adapted to him. But we have not this rest at present except in some foretaste of it in our spirit. Unceasing toil is the largest feature of human life. It is divinely appointed, but it is painful ; it is a blessing, but also a suffering; an evil thing, but with a soul of goodness in it. It is wise, for, if remitted, vice creeps in, but it is no less a bond that chafes, a burden that weighs down, a trial that wearies the spirit. It walls in virtue and undergirds character, yet it is the most pathetic feature of human society. As the sun journeys about the earth, it summons the greater part of those it shines on to hard and heavy toil till its setting dismisses them to brief rest. And this rest is chiefly found in sleep, the nightly death to life, as though rest were no part of man's conscious life. Let us not regard as fancy this hint thrown out by the order of nature. When man would rest, he is taken out of this conscious world into one, how unlike! but because unlike to this, like to some other in which rest is the main feature. If we die, in a sense, to this daily life of toil, to get rest, and thus go off into a world of freedom that is revealed to us by fragments of chance-remembered dreams, how surely is it an intimation that the other death ushers us into a world of absolute freedom and repose; for freedom and repose are correlatives. Weariness does not come from action but from restraints put on action. There is a spiritual vis inertiæ. As a world moves with tireless motion in a void, so the mind may act in perpetual vigor and freshness when the resistances of time are taken off. Hence “there is no night there;" hence He “neither slumbers nor sleeps.” To all else, to bird and to beast, the sun brings joy, but to man only toil. How much weariness, how much ache of body and disease, how much lethargy of mind and cramping of powers, how much vain longing and bitter complaint and sullen endurance and despair, it yields, it were impossible to tell. But no feeling heart can dwell on it a moment, and not break with unavailing sympathy. And yet, in itself, it is the great blessing of this life. “Thank God for work,” is the cry of every wise heart.
wise heart. As society goes on, it will lessen its severity and take away some of its sharpest stings, but it will never eliminate the fact. The moment toil is exchanged for leisure, a gate is opened to vice. When wealth takes off the necessity of labor and invites to idleness, nature executes her sharpest revenge upon such infraction of the present order; the idle rich live next door to ruin. How strange a condition! Made for rest; made in the image of Him who dwells in eternal repose, yet when we stretch out our hand for the likeness, the fiery sword that guards this tree of life scorches us with deadly flame! How shall we explain it ? Here is toil, our lot, our necessity, wrought into the human order, our safeguard against evil, but full of essential pain, uncongenial, out of keeping with
what is deepest in us, at odds with conscious destiny; how shall we carry the conflicting elements in our mind? I answer, that rest is something to be awaited in God's own time. To unduly seize it, is ruin; it breaks the mould in which our life is cast. To patiently wait for it makes toil endurable, and assures us that our external lives are not a mockery of the hopes wrought into us. Some morning, this shadow will flee away. In the church of St. Nazaro in Florence is an epitaph upon the tomb of a soldier, as fit for the whole toiling race as for his own restless life: “ Johannes Divultius, who never rested, rests, - hush!” We
say dead, “ they rest from their labors." Whatever the future world may be to us or require of us, it is not clothed in the guise of toil, but offers seats of eternal rest; it is the contrast of earth, the other side of mortal existence as spirit is the other side of matter.
2. We wait for the renewal of lost powers.
However we answer the question, if life is a process of loss or gain, it cannot be denied that real or apparent loss is one of its largest features, even when life is at its best. Is this loss absolute, or do we regain that which seems to pass ? If the former, it puts a hard and almost despairing look upon existence. We come into life dowered with good, — high instinets, noble emotions, graces of person and spirit, faculties divine in their freedom, -imprints that testify to our divine creation. Surely God made us, and his work justifies Him! But all this glory and grace that invest us at the