Stacks Image 385


CHAPTER VIII.


THE DAY-STAR IN THE HEART.



Preached in the chapel of Harvard College on Sunday evening, May 18, 1873, before President Eliot, the faculties and students of Cambridge University, at the request of Dr. A. P. Peabody, in a series of sermons by representatives of various denominations.



"For we did not follow cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased and this voice we [ourselves] heard come out of heaven, when we were with him in the holy mount. And we have the word of prophecy [made] more sure; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts…." (2 Peter i. 16-19 R.V.)

WE have not quoted this passage of the Scriptures for the purpose of specially antagonizing the mythical theory of the Christian miracles advocated by a recent destructive German critic, David Frederic Strauss. Yet it is worthy of remark that Peter distinctly denies this theory in his declaration, "For we have not followed cunningly devised fables," or to translate the Greek word literally, "myths." We are not here today to construct an extended defense of the genuineness of the four Gospels. On this topic there are erudite, elaborate and exhaustive treatises accessible to you all. Nevertheless, we stand before you in the character of a Christian apologist, as you may infer from the scripture selected as the basis of our lecture.

It is a painful fact that with several classes of men the gospel of our blessed Lord Jesus is practically regarded as a myth. To those who, in utter disregard of the moral precepts of Christianity, wallow in sensual vices, Jesus of Nazareth is a vague and shadowy unreality, and not an authorized expounder of the moral law and its tremendous sanctions. Hence his teachings fail to sway their conduct, beautify their characters and guide their lives. There are others, faultless in moral character, who walk in spiritual darkness, uncertain respecting all religious truth. These, through intellectual pride, disdain a revelation which addresses faith and does not ground itself solely on evidence addressed to the reason. They assert that they would accept the gospel and square their lives by its precepts if it could be rationally demonstrated. For the benefit of both of these classes, and of those who manifest a chilling apathy and a culpable indifference to all spiritual truth as beyond their certain knowledge, we stand up to-day to lift our torch for the illumination of their dark path.

Our errand to you this hour which you have kindly loaned to me is not to demonstrate to you that Jesus Christ truthfully reveals the Father to a race of sinners, for whom he died, and for whom he now pleads as the divine Mediator in his glorified humanity at the right hand of God, but to show you how you may, each for himself, make this demonstration, and henceforth plant your feet upon the immutable rock of absolute assurance of the truth of Christ, so that you will hereafter have no more skepticism respecting his gospel than you now have about the Copernican theory of the solar system, or the beauty of the solar spectrum seen in the rainbow.

It is commonly asserted by Christian apologists that the demand for the demonstrative proof of Christianity is unreasonable, — that such proof belongs to mathematics only and is wholly repugnant to the nature of the gospel, which proceeds from beginning to end on purely moral evidence, and that only a high probability, amounting to a moral certainty, can possibly be reached. But it is the purpose of this discourse to show that the gospel, beginning with probable evidences, leads the candid inquirer onward and upward till it plants his feet on the granite summit of assurance as undoubted as the axioms of mathematics. It is the business of the hour to show how fallible men on earth, encompassed by infirmities and bewildered by false lights, may nevertheless know the truth of Jesus Christ as certainly as they know the truth of the multiplication table. This is just what St. Peter has done in our text. He begins with the lowest species of evidence and rises step by step, till he reaches the culminating point, — the meridian splendor of a satisfactory and joyful certitude.

The lowest evidence is that addressed to the senses. In all ages men have hungered for sensible manifestations of God; they have craved ocular and tangible proof of his existence. They have wished to hear him with their ears and see him with their eyes. Hence, image worship among pagans and paganized Christians is not surprising. It is the natural result of this desire to apply the senses to religious truth. In the dispensations preparatory to Christianity, God often condescended to meet this desire of our unspiritual and sense-dominated nature by assuming a visible form of man or angel in his communications with his chosen people. The eye and the ear of Peter were addressed on the Mount of Transfiguration, when, as an eyewitness of Christ's majesty, he heard such a voice to him from the excellent glory, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

This supernatural manifestation may stand for all the miracles in the Old and New Testaments, certifying religious truth to the senses of the human race. We are not of the class of those who so magnify their own moral judgments and exalt their own spiritual insight as to look down with contempt upon the miraculous proofs of religion. It is customary with such persons to degrade the Christian miracles and to diminish their force by classifying them with the marvels and prodigies of the Greek and Roman mythologies as grounds of. faith in the truth of the religion. The enormous fallacy in this classification is this, that the mythologies produce the prodigies and marvels, while the miracles of Christ underlie the gospel as its corner stone. The prodigies depend for existence on the pagan religion, while Christianity depends on its miracles as its supernatural basis.

Christianity is unique in this particular: it is the only religion which reposes on the supernatural for its corner stone. The purpose of miracles is to call attention to the scheme of truth, and to produce an intellectual conviction of its divine origin. We are certain that miracles never directly regenerated any spectator, but they have induced an intellectual assent to those facts and truths of Christianity, which is the indispensable initiatory step towards spiritual reformation. No person can be born again except by the agency of the Holy Spirit. This is attained only through faith in Jesus Christ. This faith is impossible to one who denies the historical basis of the Gospels. Therefore, there can be no regeneration without an historical and supernatural Christ. Wherever he is denied, the spiritual transfiguration of the soul spoken of by Jesus to Nicodemus is effectually precluded.

St. Peter advances from the sensible evidences of Christian truth to the intellectual, — from miracles addressed to the senses of a few spectators to the written word addressed to the minds of all men of all generations. "We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed." We here rise a step and come to the purely logical proofs, in which there is no mixture of the senses. Prophecy is a miracle of knowledge, as the raising of the dead is a miracle of power. The exact fulfillment of events minutely predicted centuries before, furnishes the premises for a logical inference that God must have been the author of the prophecy. When Jesus Christ came into the world his entire biography, comprising his character, works, teachings, violent death, resurrection and ascension, was already legibly written in the Hebrew Scriptures, and had been for centuries, so that the best proof of his Messiahship could be attained by following his injunction, "Search the Scriptures; for they are they that testify of me."

It is this multitude of recorded testimonies, addressed to the reason, which makes the prophetic word a surer proof of the Messiahship of Jesus than any single isolated testimony addressed to the senses, though it be the voice of the Father sounding out from the most excellent glory. Every seer foresaw Christ, every prophet foretold him. "Unto me do all the prophets bear witness." We fear that not a little of modern skepticism respecting the claims of Jesus Christ arises from a superficial study of that long line of harbingers who heralded his advent in terms so definite that they can be applied to no other person. Sagacious minds may detect tendencies and predict therefrom general results, as the keen vision of the first Napoleon saw only two alternatives for European politics, "Cossack or republican." But how different is this from presenting in advance all the wonderful events in the checkered career of his recently deceased nephew, Napoleon III, from prison to power, from empire to exile.

When Jesus, after his resurrection, would convince the two journeying disciples of his divine sonship and of his resurrection, he turned to the more sure Word, and "beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself," prefacing his exposition with these words of rebuke, as appropriate to modern unbelief as to the weak faith of the disciples, "O fools and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: ought not the Messiah to have suffered these things and to enter into his glory?" To discard the Old Testament when sitting down to a study of the New, is like the folly of burning up the key before you break the seal to read a letter written in cipher containing intelligence of inestimable value. Though Jesus Christ is not a letter written in cipher, but a sun rising on a world of spiritual night, and shining by his own light, yet many, neglecting the prophets, — the morning stars, those heralds of the dawn, — imagine that all is still Egyptian darkness outside of their closed blinds and curtained windows.

But this evidence, important though it be, is the stepping-stone to higher and more satisfactory proofs, even to that promised demonstration at which every sincere and persevering inquirer will arrive. St. Peter exhorts us to give earnest heed "to the more sure word of prophecy, as to a candle shining in a filthy place, till the day dawn and the day-star arise in our hearts." What is this day-star within? What is this new evidence whose splendors eclipse all the preceding proofs, as the sunshine pales the candle dimly burning in a murky atmosphere? It is no outward event, such as the second coming of Christ, or the shaft of death emancipating the spirit from the clay; but it is a subjective change, a light within, a star arising in our hearts. It is the
divine coming into immediate contact with the human, — the Holy Spirit directly revealing Christ to the consciousness, illuminating our spiritual intuitions and calling them into perfect exercise for the first time. For all our intuitions, whether natural or spiritual, are blind till the appropriate conditions of their direct and open vision occur.

The abstract conception of space does not arise in the mind till the eye has gazed upon extended objects in space; the notion of right and wrong starts up only in the society of human beings in whom rights inhere. A hermit, from infancy to manhood, can have no notion of moral distinctions, as is shown in the case of the several wolf-reared men found in India. Each class of intuitive notions springs up only under its appropriate conditions. Hence the power of spiritual perception lies dormant till the illumination of the Holy Spirit affords the proper conditions. Then Christ is manifest to the soul as the dispenser of forgiveness and the revealer of immortality. Jesus ceases to be a mere image of the representative faculty, a mere concept of the imagination derived from the Gospels through the memory, and he becomes a real and personal friend, with whom the soul holds mysterious yet delightful communion. Spiritual truth becomes a solid reality, and material things become shadowy and unreal in contrast.

Assurance of sonship to God and heirship to the rewards of immortal life take the place of former doubt and darkness. Well may this be so, "for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." But how do they know it? By an inference of the logical faculty? By an exercise of natural intuitions? No. "Because ye are the sons of God, he hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." "He that believeth hath the witness in himself." "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God." In all the Christian ages there have been multitudes endowed with this power of spiritual intuition, or rather multitudes in whom this paralyzed power has been revivified by the illumination of the Holy Spirit; for clear, spiritual perception is the natural and normal state of unfallen man. Sin shuts out the light, and spiritual perception ceases till, through faith in Christ, the Spirit is restored and the joy of spiritual vision.

This is the privilege of all who have perfect faith in Jesus Christ. In such the Spirit of truth, who might be denominated the Spirit of reality, because he makes real to the believer's consciousness that which before was vague and unreal, — this Spirit of truth, the promised Comforter,
abides perpetually and is the medium of uninterrupted and full spiritual knowledge. Hence they are said to know God, to know the love of Christ, which passes all knowledge, — all comprehension by the mere intellectual powers, — to know the Comforter, for he shall be in you. The same spiritual apprehension lays hold of immortality. For we know, "that if this earthly house of our tabernacle be dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." "I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed to him until that day." This quotation from St. Paul throws light upon the genesis of this wonderful kind of knowledge. It proceeds upon the maxim of Anselm, Credo ut intelligam, "I believe in order that I may know." As Professor Morse had faith in the electric telegraph before he had knowledge of it, so must we have faith in Christ before we can know him as our personal Saviour. But St. Paul's faith converted into certain knowledge (πίγνωσις) through experience lays the foundation for a higher trust, to eventuate in higher knowledge, so that he is persuaded from his past experience that all his deposit with Christ will be sacredly kept. Thus the maxim of Abelard is verified, Intelligo ut credam, "I know, in order that I may believe." Thus faith begets knowledge, and knowledge in turn begets faith, while the winged soul mounts up this Jacob's ladder from earth to heaven. It is the testimony of all whose hearts are consciously the temple of Christ through the Spirit, that they grasp spiritual truth with a certitude excluding all doubt, just as the reason or faculty of natural intuition apprehends the first truths In mathematics.

It has pleased God not to give this knowledge at the beginning of the search, but to reveal it in the process. "Then shall ye know, if ye follow on to know the Lord." In order to test us in this state of probation, the heavenly maiden, Truth, first appears enrobed in the guise of probable evidence, If we persist in following her till we lay hold of her, we shall be surprised to find her appareled in the faultless white linen of demonstrative proof. We have intimated that this elevation of faith into perfect knowledge takes place only in advanced Christian experience. Hence St. Paul, in Ephesians iv. 12, 13, shows that the Christian ministry is designed for this very end, — the perfecting of the saints, till we all come in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of Christ, — not two unities, but one, in the identity of faith and knowledge, — "unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." The faith with which the Christian life begins is to be merged into knowledge, and that, too, in the present life, for it is to be succeeded by the following results: "that we
henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine."

Hence our Saviour says, "If any man
wills to do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God or whether I speak of myself." There is something for you to do before gospel truth will burst full-orbed upon you, before faith will change into knowledge. You must adjust your will to the divine will. You must cease to exalt your will as the sovereign law of your being, and you must accept God's will as your only rule of action. This gives the soul a new position, a heliocentric standpoint, where, standing in the sun, like the angel in the Apocalypse, the splendid harmonies of spiritual truth burst upon the rapt vision. To change the figure, evangelical faith in Jesus Christ removes you from the outside of the temple of truth to the interior, where you find the wails adorned with masterpieces of statuary and painting, and the windows, which to the external view were meaningless and blank, are filled with beauty and life. In the mellow radiance which streams through them, lo, the form of the Babe of Bethlehem, the image of the Man of Nazareth, the vision of the cross, the agonized visage of the crucified Son of man, and the resplendent form of our risen Lord appear.

To the worshipper within, the radiant Christ is in every window, where the spectators passing in the street saw on the unillumined glass no form, no comeliness, no beauty that they should desire him. Here we see the glaring absurdity of skeptics, who refuse to assume that point of view where the highest proof is seen; who refuse to enter the temple of Christian truth by a personal submission to Christ, and yet continue to cavil and to object to the gospel and to reject its author. Their criticisms on the defects of Christianity, especially. its lack of evidence, are as much to be respected as the criticisms of a group of Sioux Indians standing on Arlington Heights and gazing on the Federal Capitol, and declaring that its internal architecture is unfitted for the purposes of legislation, and that the historical paintings which grace the rotunda are not in accord with the laws of æsthetics.

How beautifully and tersely has the wise Pascal expressed the thought which we are endeavoring to elucidate, and the duty which we would enforce. "The things of this world must be known in order to be loved, and Jesus Christ must be loved in order to be known." Says St. John, "He that loveth not, knoweth not God, for God is love." Christianity is an experimental science. It challenges you to try it. It says, "Test me, prove me." It says to every person, "O taste and see that the Lord is good." To the scornful caviller who asks, "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" it replies, "Come and see." But if he refuse to come, he is most assuredly under obligation to accept the testimony of those who have gone and seen and are convinced of the divineness of the gospel. To multitudes in all the Christian ages Jesus has verified his promise, " To him that hath my commandments and keepeth them, I will manifest myself." It hath pleased God to reveal his Son in them, in their inmost consciousness, disclosing his love and his power to save from all doubt and fear and sin.

What are men who claim to be honest and candid skeptics doing with this vast amount of testimony? It will not do to impeach these witnesses by stigmatizing them as a herd of fanatics, enthusiasts, mystics, quietists, Pietists or Methodists, for among them are to be found the soundest, coolest, clearest, most discriminating intellects, — Chrysostom, Augustine, Pascal, Calvin, Fenelon, Luther, Baxter, Bunyan, Wilberforce, Wesley, Fletcher, President Edwards, Payson, and hosts of men and women equally competent to testify on this vital point. Not only is the volume of this testimony vast, but its character is unimpeachable; it falls from the lips of saintly men, who attest their sincerity by toils, sacrifices and martyrdoms, while heralding through all the world the glad evangel which the Holy Spirit has uttered within their hearts.

On what natural principles is the career of Saul of Tarsus to be explained, — his sudden and marvelous transformation and his heroic life of sacrifice and suffering, running the gauntlet through perils, prisons and stripes, to lay his head on Nero's bloody block, with the swan song on his lips, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; and henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of life, which the Lord will give to me in that day"? Such lives as those of Paul, Madame Guyon, Eliot, Brainerd, Whitefield and others eminent for service and suffering, cannot be explained on the ordinary motives of human action. They had a God-given message to communicate, and they were aflame with zeal to proclaim it to all. It was their own personal experience of the knowledge of forgiveness, of justification by faith, of the reality of the communion of the Holy Ghost, and of the efficacy of the blood of Christ to cleanse from all sin.

This was the secret spring of their heroic actions, and this accordance of the life with the lip ought to convince the most incredulous. Is it candor, or is it a culpable bias against the truth, which receives the concurrent testimony of twelve independent witnesses to a fact addressing itself to their outward senses, and rejects unhesitatingly the testimony of the same twelve witnesses to a fact cognized by their inward perceptions? Will not Jesus, in the day when he will sit as judge of the world, upbraid such persons for their "unbelief and
hardness of heart," — the moral cause of their skepticism, — "because they believed not them which had seen him [with the eye of faith] after he was risen."

It is no trifling sin to reject Christian testimony. It betokens a wicked aversion to the truth. Hence there is no such thing as honest skepticism about Christ in the case of a man who owns a New Testament and is able to read, and is surrounded by witnesses whose lips and lives attest the divineness of the gospel At some time in his life he has willfully neglected the truth and inclined to error; at some time he has turned away from the fight and welcomed darkness, because his deeds were evil.

The truths of the gospel are adapted to produce conviction in every unbiased mind, as infallibly as the truths of geometry are adapted to gain the assent of universal reason. Infidelity springs from moral and not from intellectual causes. "The fool hath said in his heart, no God;" or optatively, "May there be no God." The reason for this wish is contained in the next verse, "Corrupt are they and have done abominable works." On the other hand, let there be heartfelt penitence for sin, and a surrender of the will to God, and a fearless, unquestioning following of the truth wherever it may lead, and that soul, however dark and skeptical when it begins its search, will be led by the divine Guide, the Holy Spirit, to Christ, the light of the world and the life of men.

Not long since an infidel was induced to pray. Determined that his petition should not advance beyond his faith or his unfaith, he knelt down and cried, "O God, if there be a God, save my soul, if I have a soul." This short prayer and shorter creed were the first step in a pathway that shone more and more unto the perfect day; for the day dawned, and the day-star arose in his benighted soul. Let every unbeliever go and do likewise. God is no respecter of persons. "In the day that thou searchest after me with thy whole heart, I will be found of thee." Pray for light. Pray. There are hinges in thy knees, and words in thy tongue, and spiritual want in thy heart. Thus light will arise upon thy darkness. Then follow every ray of light which falls upon thy path. There is no other key to thy unbelief, no other stepping-stone out of the slough of despond.

We have been on our guard against applying to Christian believers on earth the refulgent light, the assurance and certainty enjoyed by the glorified in heaven. There are objects which, so long as we abide in these fleshly tabernacles, we shall see through a glass darkly; but the existence of God and our personal relation to his law and immortal life are not in that category. "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." This relates to the manifestation of God to believers while in the present life. For the next verse asserts this fact, " But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit" (1 Cor. ii. 9, 10). Here, in this office of the Spirit, we find the reason for the strange announcement of Jesus that it was expedient for him to go away in order that the Comforter might come, — expedient that the great miracle-worker should withdraw in order that a higher kind of evidence might be enjoyed, — inward spiritual illumination, in the light of which even Jesus, the divine Logos, whom the disciples had seen and heard, might be manifested to them in his higher nature and mediatorial office. The Comforter "shall testify of me." "He shall glorify me." "He shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you."

Thus we have set before you the gradation of the Christian evidences, the sensible, the intellectual and the experimental, — a staircase leading from uncertainty to full assurance, and wide enough for the whole human family to ascend abreast.

Here we find the law of progress running through the gospel: 1st. The outward evidence of miracles. 2d. The purging of the film from the inward eye by the agency of the Holy Spirit, and the manifestation of the Son of God to the anointed vision. Hence we who live in the dispensation of the Spirit may enjoy a higher certainty of Christian truth than the generation who gazed upon the miracles of Christ.

In this lecture it will be noted that we have widely deviated from Sir William Hamilton, who asserts that the existence of God and kindred primary theological truths are not objects of immediate knowledge, or, as he puts it, are "not facts afforded in the consciousness," but as being matters of inference from other facts, they belong to ontology, metaphysics proper, or to inferential and not to empirical psychology.

All this is true of minds devoid of spiritual illumination, as St. Paul says, "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Cor. ii. 14). But in marked contrast with the natural man, the apostle asserts that "We [all believers in Christ] have received the Spirit which is of God, that we might know the things freely given to us of God. Which things we speak, comparing spiritual things with spiritual," or rather, "explaining spiritual things to spiritual men."

Hence the wide difference between the doctrines of this lecture and those of the intuitional deists of India, of the society called the Brahnio Somaj, and of the advocates of the absolute religion, the American transcendentalists, both of whom claim that in the human soul there is by nature all truth necessary to the unfolding of the spiritual life, and therefore an objective revelation is a superfluity; whereas we teach, that by faith in this revelation the soul climbs up to that summit where, before the anointed eye, the landscape of spiritual truth, in all its entrancing beauty, is unfolded.

"Rejoicing now in earnest hope,
I stand, and from the mountain top
View all the land below.
Rivers of milk and honey rise,
And all the trees of Paradise
In endless plenty grow.

"A land of corn and wine and oil,
Favored with God's peculiar smile,
With every blessing blest.
There dwells the Lord our Righteousness
And keeps his own in perfect peace
And everlasting rest."

We have not gone beyond the sermon on the mount, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." Inward purity is requisite for spiritual vision. This is the work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration and sanctification, and is wrought in him who apprehends Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour by appropriating faith. This faith is only possible to one truly penitent for past sins, and who consecrates his entire being to God and His service. It consists of the assent of the intellect to the truth, the consent of the will to the law of Christ, the law of love, and the movement of the affections, yea, of the whole being, toward him in unwavering trust.

The dogmatic elements of the faith that saves are very few: 1st. I am a lost sinner. 2d. Jesus is the only Saviour, able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him.

Since Methodism is really no narrow sect, but what Chalmers styled "Christianity in earnest," we shall not be blamed for divulging the open secret of the early success of that spiritual uprising, which has quickened the pulse of our common Christianity throughout the world. Listen, and I will disclose that secret, for we have not taken out a patent right, and do not intend to. The secret of American Methodism is not in its doctrines. Arminius had lived and fought his great battle with Calvinism, and died ninety-four years before Wesley was born. In theology, Wesley simply adhered to the Arminian section of the Church of England. Nor is that secret to be found in the unique ecclesiasticism which this spiritual movement took on. The spirit existed before it embodied itself in a form. What is the essential characteristic of that spirit?

A young man of thirty-three, a presbyter of the Church of England, a fellow of Lincoln College and a Greek lecturer at Oxford, in 1736 went to the colony, of Georgia as a missionary. Stepping on the shore at Savannah, one of the first men he met was the Moravian elder, August Gottlieb Spangenberg. Wesley asked his advice how to act in his new sphere of labor. Spangenberg replied, " My brother, I must first ask you one or two questions. Have you the witness within yourself? Does the Spirit of God bear witness with your spirit that you are a child of God?" Wesley was surprised at such questions. They were new to him. He was at a loss how to answer. The Moravian continued, "Do you know Jesus Christ?" This was easier, and the Oxford priest replied, "I know he is the Saviour of the world." "True," said Spangenberg, "but do you know he has saved
you?" This question is the seed-germ of Methodism. For two years it lay germinating in the heart of Wesley as a mystery. "Do you know that Jesus Christ saves you? " Then in an evening Moravian meeting in Aldersgate Street, London, while a person was reading that faith alone justifies, in the preface to Luther's Epistle to the Romans, Wesley experienced an amazing change. "I felt my heart strangely warmed, and an assurance was given me that Christ had taken away my sins, even mine. And I then testified openly to all there what I now first felt in my heart."

Here is the secret. An
assurance of sins forgiven and an open testimony before all. In other words, it is the rising of the day-star in the heart, and the opening of the mouth in confession. It is the immediate contact of the Holy Spirit with the human soul, affording a certainty beyond a doubt of pardon and adoption into the family of God.

This doctrine, written in all the evangelical creeds of Protestant Christendom, but lying dead and inoperative, or taught as the privilege of a select few, Wesley published to the vicious and neglected masses of colliers, sailors, soldiers, operatives and peasants; flying like the angel of the Apocalypse, over England, Scotland and Ireland, preaching Jesus a living, present and conscious Saviour, in forty-four thousand sermons.

This great privilege of the direct witness of the Spirit I gladly proclaim to you. You may each ever have within your own bosom a satisfactory and joyful assurance that Christ Jesus is your personal, present and perfect Saviour. The path to that blessed experience is not made by proud philosophy, but by humble faith. "Said I not unto thee, that if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?"

In conclusion let your preacher say to the glory of the great Master, that he has not brought to you a mere theory. With him it is a Scriptural doctrine, solidified by experience into adamantine fact. He is a witness for Christ as well as an advocate. He has, like St. Paul, testified unto you the gospel of the grace of God. In his own search after truth, he has borne the lamp of the prophetic Word through the dark place, and given heed to that lamp till the day, the blessed day, has dawned, and the day-star of intuitive certainty has arisen in his heart, heralding the sunrise of that glorious state in which we shall see as we are seen; when all the mysteries of the future world will be unveiled and immediately manifested to our clarified spiritual intuitions. To lead some darkened soul, bewildered by the sophistries of modern unbelief, into the perfect day of Christian assurance, is the purpose of these thoughts and the prayer of him who has uttered them.