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"When I consider thy heavens . . . what is man?" — Psalms viii. 3, 4

We invite you to-day, beloved hearers, to range with us through all the philosophies in quest of a correct foot-rule with which to measure man, and determine his rank in the universe. He must be an enigma to himself till his true measure is found and his relative rank is ascertained. For the same reason all social and educational systems must be erroneous, and all ethical precepts must be defective, so long as man's true position in the scale of being is unknown. Hence Revelation is as much needed to disclose man to himself as it is to reveal God.

The most obtrusive, clamorous, and superficial philosophy is what is called by Carlyle "Dirt Philosophy." This baneful system is widely prevalent in modern times, especially in America. It degrades and discrowns man. The fact that his nature is composed of the same kinds of matter as the brute creations tends to lead man to a low estimate of his rank in the universe, and to a denial that he is destined to a possible superiority to the archangels before God's throne. Depressing indeed is the doctrine of the materialistic evolution of animals and men from the same original cell or protoplasm, man being in his anatomy classified as a vertebrate animal, of the sub-class mammals, of the division bimanus, and of the species homo.

Now, because man's body fits into this series of animals, the inference is that he is only an animal which has stepped a little ahead of his less fortunate brethren, that he is of no more importance than they, and that at death he sinks with them into the nothingness from which he sprang. This conclusion is strengthened by the fact of man's physical inferiority to many orders of animals in certain qualities. The ox is stronger, the deer is more fleet, the eagle has a more piercing eye, and the hound a keener scent, while nearly all the brutes can endure greater hunger and thirst, heat and cold. The babe is the most helpless of all the young animals. Man sickens and dies after a few years, and, with the inferior orders, turns to dust. In such materialistic researches we fail to find any clue to man's true greatness. We are still more perplexed and depressed in our estimate of humanity when we consider the actual condition of our race as a whole, their brutish lives and groveling aspirations, ambitious only —

"To devour the cattle, fowl, and fish
And leave behind an empty dish."

The savage condition of vast masses of men in paganism, the squalor, rags, gluttony, drunkenness, licentiousness, and all conceivable moral leprosies, which blot the highest civilizations to which men have yet attained, eclipse the glory of man from the materialist's point of view.

Stanley found in central Africa a tribe so degraded that he said he would give any one a half a dollar to prove that they were not human. The cheapness of human life, and the ignoble uses to which despotisms, wars, and slavery have put man, making him, all along the ages, a thing, a chattel, a gory stepping-stone to a throne, bewilder us and falsify any high estimate of his dignity, worth, and destiny. The false standards which society sets up burning incense to successful villainy and scorning humble virtue, complete the illusion.

Philosophical Materialism has its origin on this wise. In the study of the varieties in nature there is in all minds need of classification, grouping individuals into species, and species into genera. Thus the apparent chaos of nature is reduced to order, and science which is classified knowledge emerges. The tendency is very strong to carry this process of classification up to unity. This is Plato's definition of philosophy — " the reduction of the many to one." What is this one thing? The answer to this question determines the character of the different philosophies. If you say with Anaxagoras that mind is the origin of all things, your system is a spiritual, theistic philosophy. But if you say that matter is the first principle of the universe you become an atheistic materialist, denying the substantive existence of spirit or mind, and make it an attribute of matter. The foremost modern champion of this philosophy was Tyndall. Hear his confession of faith not in Christ, but in matter as the impersonal source of all beings, "Abandoning all disguise, the confession that I feel bound to make before you (a scientific association) is that I prolong the vision backward across the boundary of the experimental evidence, and discern in that Matter (properly capitalized), which we in our ignorance, and notwithstanding our professed reverence for its Creator, have hitherto covered with opprobrium, the promise and potency of every form and quality of life." This is the seed of the theory of materialistic evolution which we will examine to find whether it exalts or dwarfs man. This theory of which the nebular hypothesis of La Place — though not necessarily atheistic — is a part, when pushed to its logical outcome, introduces man on the earth by the invariable necessity of physical law with no direct action of a creator. All the assumption with which this theory sets out is the existence of a mass of attenuated fire-vapor or star-dust possessed of all the properties of matter with the addition of self-motion. Now without the interposition of any external agency or force, this Matter alone, "containing the promise and potency of every form and quality of life," under the reign of law, will unerringly develop suns, planets, satellites, vegetables, and animals in geologic succession; and at last it will grind out man with all his intellectual, moral, and spiritual furniture and all his history, Alexander and all his conquests, Demosthenes and all his orations, Plato and all his dialogues, Shakespeare and all his dramas, and Jesus and all his parables and miracles. Does this astonish you? Still greater surprises await you. The half that this impersonal magician, law, can blindly do without intelligence and design has not yet been told. A personal God presiding over creation moves forward in a straight line, not being compelled by necessity to repeat himself, always having power to make new orders of beings, and to cause new events in history. But natural law, with no personal lawgiver behind it, moves forever in a circle repeating the same effects since there is no variation in the impersonal cause. Hence man and all his sinful and sorrowful history, the same race, and the same individuals, will come into existence again and again, forever under the reign of inflexible law. After the lapse of some vast cycle of millions of years, perhaps, Adam and Eve will well appear again in Paradise, be befooled again by the lying serpent, eat the forbidden fruit, and hand in hand with lingering steps and slow through Eden's gate take their solitary way into a world of toil and trouble. The scenes of murdered Abel, of Noah and the Flood, Moses and the Decalogue, of Joshua commanding the sun, and of the Roman army destroying the temple in Jerusalem, will reappear at intervals followed by all the villainies, tyrannies, butcheries, and leprosies recorded in history, the same Herod executing his own soils, the same Nero murdering his mother and standing on the neck of the world, the same Judas betraying the same Jesus, and the same Pilate nailing to the cross the King of the Jews. All this is because without intelligence and design an automatic machine is always blindly grinding out uniform products like coin from the mint. Evolution of the atheistic sort will eternally accomplish invariable effects, since there is no personal intelligence to throw the band off the wheel and stop the machine. According to materialism thought and feeling are excited by a little shaking of the brain, producing vibrations in the whitish half-fluid substance. Hence, sooner or later, perhaps to-morrow or millions of ages hence, under the reign of uniform and invariable law, you will all be present to hear him who is now addressing you. He will speak on the same theme, without any improvement in his style because like causes produce like effects. Says Hartley, "Precisely the same thought and feeling will exist wherever a similar motion can be excited in a similar substance." So you see that I am bound to appear again and again on the same platform as often as the great wheel of this material universe comes round to a certain point and jogs my brain in the same way, and you, for the same reason, are bound to accompany me again on the same ramble through the philosophies in search of a correct mirror in which to get a full length view of man. But according to the same philosophy I have already been here a thousand times in the vast revolutions of former ages, for like causes have been producing like effects through the illimitable æons of the past.

But what kind of a being is it that goes into the hopper of the mill of inexorable law in the form of fire-mist and drops from the other end of the machine a finished man? Has he the godlike attribute of freedom? Has he an ethical nature? Can he spontaneously choose his moral acts? Is he a cause uncaused in the creation of moral character? Herbert Spencer shall answer: "I take it to be demonstrable that it is utterly impossible to prove that anything whatever may not be the effect of a material and necessary cause, and that human logic is utterly incompetent to prove that any act is really spontaneous. Such an act is absurd. The progress of Science will gradually banish from all regions of human thought what we call spirit and spontaneity." Here we have what we might naturally expect from this atheistic philosophy, machines the product of machinery, and not free moral agents the crowning work of an intelligent Creator. You cannot get from this mill of iron law a personal, free, responsible moral agent. The outcome of the Spencerian philosophy, the deification of law, is the degradation of man from being a cause uncaused in his moral acts to a simple cog in a wheel acting only as it is acted upon. What is the value of such a product of sovereign law? Like all the products of machinery man is a very cheap fabric, a mere incident in the course of unintelligent, designless nature as she rolls round her ceaseless orbit to attain her unknown and unknowable end. Therefore, if we turn to natural science to find a foot-rule to measure the altitude of man we will surely meet with a sore disappointment. The magnitude of the material universe dwarfs and depresses him by the contrast. We live in an age of amazing discoveries, enlarging the domain of matter to dimensions which stagger thought and baffle imagination. By means of our fifty-inch telescopes we are able to look through that cluster of universes, of which the milky way powdered with suns is the rim, into the empty space beyond. The estimated diameter of this cluster is from 20,000 to 30,000 "light years" — years which it takes light to move at the rate of 180,000 miles in a second of time. This gives us some conception of the "mileage and tonnage" of one cluster of the vast whole of the worlds in infinite space. By the testimony of the spectroscope to the earthly elements blazing in the most distant fixed star feebly glimmering through the thousands of "light years," we are impressed with the unity of the material universe as well as its unthinkable vastness. Man, who in contrast seems like a microbe clinging to that floating speck of dust called earth, is correspondingly minified. Modern Science overpowers us as we gaze at the old rolling heavens through our telescopes and crushes us into nothingness. We seem to find our proper place with the insects and animalcules in the dust beneath our feet. Even in ancient times, before human vision was aided by the telescope invented by Galileo, the thoughtful spectator of the starry dome above us was humbled at the thought of his own insignificance, and turned away from the sublime yet depressing vision exclaiming, "What is man that thou art mindful of him?" But the ancients in regarding the earth as the immovable center of the universe looked upon the heavens merely as the bespangled drapery of his couch, both earth and sky ministering solely to the happiness of man. Hence the celestial magnificence was in truth only a reflection of his greatness. We need travel backward only ten or twelve generations to find ancestors who gazed upon the heavens as an immense hollow solid, or
firmament, a vast crystalline sphere revolving daily over their heads — all the fixed stars being firmly imbedded in that glassy vault — as passengers in a coach look up to the brass nails in the canopy. All this magnificence awakened in the bosoms of our ancestors emotions of sublimity, but it did not overwhelm them with a sense of their nothingness. It rather exalted them as God's favorite children "for whom all nature stands, and stars their courses move." For not only did the sun and moon and planets with a real translation travel daily over their roofs for their well-being, but the fixed stars imbedded in the solid concave sky whirled over their heads with an inconceivable velocity every night to please their eyes and to shed their mystic influence upon mankind. All this is now changed by the disclosures of Science. We can no longer flatter ourselves that we are the only intelligent citizens of this vast material domain, and that for us all this magnificence exists. We have found out that the earth is a sand-grain whirling through the heavens. The millions of suns, centers of systems of worlds unveiled to our wondering eyes, in the nebulae which cloud the nightly sky, suggesting the existence of countless orders of moral intelligences, thronging these heavenly spheres and sharing the love of their Creator against whom possibly none of them have ever rebelled, take us down from the pedestal of a monopoly of the Divine regards, and seemingly degrade us to the rank of the emmets which toil for one poor grain. Again the inference from Geology of innumerable æons of time through which our earth has passed, while race after race of animals have flourished and become extinct, leaving their bones as so many letters on the stony page, depresses us with the thought of our own ephemeral life, and awakens the suspicion that mankind must disappear, and be succeeded by some superior beings who will dig up the fossil homo, and speculate on his habits and history as we gravely theorize on the bird or animal which has left its tracks in the Connecticut red sandstone.

Nor do we find the desired proof of man's greatness in that new phase of material philosophy called Positivism. This is a systematic assault on man's true nobility, since it involves an open denial of his spiritual nature, his immortality, and the possibility of a super-sensual philosophy. It destroys human freedom, annihilates conscience, and the atonement for human sin, regeneration by the Holy Spirit, the day of Judgment with its eternal sentences, as the exploded errors of an outgrown era of religious superstition which darkened the childhood of our race. Positivism deals only with physical phenomena, discards causation as beyond our faculties, and asserts that the universe is a ship with no clearance papers, adrift on an uncharted sea, with no pilot but fate, no chart but conjecture, and no destined harbor but chance. It assumes that only matter exists, and that thought is its attribute or product. The purpose of man's existence is a mystery too deep for this philosophy to fathom. It is busy only with uniform phenomena which it calls natural law. It deals with appearances and shadows, and ignores or denies realities and substances.

Among philosophers the Positivists are the exact antipodes of Plato, who could construct his system only on realities, eternal, changeless archetypal ideas, discarding the ever-changing phenomena of matter which is in a perpetual flux. Positivism sneering at Plato's spiritual, immutable forms, because they do not address the five senses, believes only in what can be weighed and measured. Since it finds electricity the most subtle manifestation of matter or the most energetic of imponderable agents, the electrometer is its highest test of truth. It boasts that it can reduce all there is of man to a gas. It looks with proud contempt upon both mental philosophy and theology, prates of mankind passing through the babyhood of theology or fiction, the youth of metaphysical philosophy or abstraction into the glorious era of scientific certainty or positivism. Its object of worship is no invisible being, but collective humanity. Every element of man's true greatness, his speculative reason, moral freedom, ethical and æsthetical faculties, spirituality, and immortality, are all cast aside as rubbish by this philosophy. Here we search in vain for the true measure of man's greatness. He is a bubble seen for a moment on the stream of phenomena and then totally disappearing forever.

Before proceeding to our next field of research, we wish to set up a safeguard against the erroneous inference that we slight and undervalue natural law. We believe in the sovereignty of law, but the personal God is the sovereign, and law is his uniform mode of working. The laws of Nature have been aptly styled "God's habits." Dr. Joseph Parker felicitously describes them as "God's police force intended to keep fools in their places and help honest men do their work in security." This is the Christian view of the reign of law, the expression of the will of the Divine Lawgiver. But recent philosophies would attribute power to law itself, and would imprison the impersonal lawgiver in a tomb from which there is no possible resurrection to create a world, authenticate a revelation by a miracle, to answer prayer, to redeem a world, or pardon a penitent.

We turn now to American Transcendentalism to find an infallibly correct measure of man's greatness. This philosophy has created a literature filled with the dignity and worth of man. It is Unitarianism gone to seed, a religious cult which speaks charmingly of the sacredness, yea, the divineness of humanity. It must be therefore that it will exalt a man to the very apex of the universe. The long word transcendentalism comprises those truths and principles which transcend the senses and the process of logic, and experience, and are grasped immediately by intuition as self-evident. In addition to this quality, they are also incapable of analysis, being simple; they are also necessary and universal. They may be apprehended, but they cannot be comprehended. The following are specimens, cause, space, time, right, and wrong. You can close your eyes and conceive of the non-existence of this building in which we are, but you cannot conceive of the non-existence of the space it occupies. Up to a certain point we are all Transcendentalists; but we stop before we have gone so far as to say that revelation is superfluous, since the human mind intuitively grasps all truth necessary to its highest well-being, such truths as God, sin, righteousness, and immortality. But its concept of God is not that of the personal Jehovah, but that of an impersonal, nondescript force, styled by Emerson "The oversoul." Sin is only an ephemeral aberration, a necessary stumbling of an infant taking its first independent steps from the cradle to the mother's knee; a child's disease like the mumps, or chicken-pox, or measles, which maturity will outgrow. Righteousness is doing rightly towards our fellowmen. The first command, love to God with our whole being, this philosophy ignores. Its doctrine of immortality is absorption into the impersonal oversoul, as water floating in a bottle in the ocean is mingled with the ocean when the bottle is broken. This philosophy is really pantheistic. God is confounded with the universe. Spirit is viewed as the only substance, and matter is one of its attributes. The other form of pantheism is that matter is the only substance and spirit is an attribute. Both imprison God in the laws of the universe, denying his transcendence. The attempt to marry these two forms of pantheism by Professor Huxley as the officiating clergyman, using the formula, "Matter is a two-faced somewhat having both spiritual and material attributes," is a signal failure. The parties, matter and spirit, refuse to be pronounced one. This philosophy is best represented in its practical bearings by Theodore Parker. Its subtle, fascinating, and deadly errors are most thoroughly exposed by Joseph Cook. It pours its sublimated poison into our higher literature under the name of agnosticism. It has subsidized some graceful and charming pens. It infects some brilliant intellects, inspiring them for the indirect overthrow of Christianity by undermining its foundations. Like the deadly water-gas used in Boston, it gives no intimation of its presence in the atmosphere to warn its unconscious victims. Glorified by the resplendence of genius it mounts the pulpit and steals the words of Christ's evangel for the disguise of its falsehoods fatal to spiritual life. Insidiously it pervades the minds of our youths, and prevents the revival and spread of experimental and vital godliness in our most ancient seat of learning, and the city which has been called the Athens of America.

But what has this to do with our inquiry to-day? Does this philosophy magnify man? It does so apparently but not really. It represents him as the highest personality in the universe. It asserts that God comes to consciousness in man, that his intuitions are God's utterances, God thinking with his faculties. His acts are the actions of Deity also. Hence his moral freedom and responsibility are unreal, his character, his virtues, and his crimes are illusions. Sin is a good in the process of making. Every moral downfall is a step of progress. Says the sage of Concord, "Mankind, whether in the brothel or on the scaffold, is tending upward." There is in this theory no such thing as absolute evil, for we are all a part of God, who cannot be at loggerheads with Himself. There is no punishment of sin, for God will not punish himself. Does such a system magnify man? It degrades him inconceivably. It annihilates his capacity for that independent causality of his own moral acts which is the basis of moral character, by regarding him as a scrap of God. The philosophy which begins with denying the personality of God ends with discrediting the personality of man. It saps the very foundations of ethics and makes religious worship impossible, unless, with Emerson, "we go to our mirrors and with reverent bow say good-morning to ourselves."

The conclusion of our search among the principal philosophies is this, that there is no radical error which does not degrade man. The systems that discrown God by divesting Him of moral attributes, or spirituality, or personality, discrown man also, the image of God.

There is one more system to be examined, which the world has not dignified as a philosophy because it has not wisdom enough to fathom its depths and discover its divine harmonies. It can know its beauties only by being assimilated to its spirit. In the Gospel of the lowly Nazarene let us search for the adequate measure of man. It is a scheme of salvation based upon the deepest and highest philosophy. The very fact of a Revelation of God to man magnifies him as an object of special regard. Does not the peasant to whom the Emperor speaks a kindly word, feel that he is ennobled by the condescension of his sovereign? Does he ever after employ his reasoning powers in constructing sophisms to disprove this honor? Does he mystify and stultify himself by magnifying the antecedent improbabilities arising from his own insignificance and the greatness of his ruler? Rather does he not sacredly treasure up this proof of his sovereign's regard as an intimation of his own personal importance? There were good grounds for the boast of the Hibernian hod-carrier, "The King spake to me to-day." "What did he say?" inquired his friend. "He said, 'Get out of my way.'" There was cause for self-gratulation in even such an address to him. For speech implies a correspondence of faculties in the person addressed with those of the speaker. The Irishman had been treated as a man, not as a beast or a post. The King had complimented him by assuming that he had faculties responsive to his own. We never see a man exercising his ingenuity to disprove that the King of kings has spoken to him in the Bible without exclaiming, "Here is a man who is deliberately attempting to destroy his own patent of nobility." For if God has not spoken to man in Revelation, he takes rank with the microbes which find infinite sporting-place in a drop of stagnant water.

But if the fact of Revelation dignifies man, the contents of that Revelation enhance that dignity. On the very first page of the Bible is a declaration of man's superiority to all other creations. In calling into being the vegetable and animal kingdoms the Creator employed secondary causes by giving a miraculous fecundity to the waters and by fructifying the soil: "Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life. Let the earth bring forth cattle and creeping things." But when man was to be created we have no such wholesale production by secondary agencies. Nature does not supernaturally spawn men, as she did the fishes, reptiles, fowls, and beasts. The personal God puts forth his hand to the direct creation of man with a dignity and deliberation which bespeak the greatness of the being to be created, the sacredness of the king about to be crowned: "And God said, Let us make man after our own image and let them have dominion." The value of this fact of man's similarity to God cannot be overestimated. It is the hinge on which the important practical question hinges, Can man know God and commune with him? By the assurance that the mind is made in the image of God we are certain they both alike have rational powers for the perception of truth, for comparison of values, for choosing ends, and for planning to attain them. They alike perceive the distinction between right and wrong, approve the one and condemn the other with the same pleasant or painful emotions. Hence benevolence, justice, holiness, and truth in man are just the same in the Divine character. Hence by knowing the human mind we have the ability to recognize the moral attributes of God, when they are revealed in the star-light of Nature or in the noon-tide of Revelation. As moral character in God implies his freedom as a Cause uncaused of his own acts, so the moral constitution of his created fac-simile implies that in respect to his own moral choices he is a first cause, itself not caused by any decree or chain of antecedent causes.

How this enhances man's greatness. He is the creator of character, the only thing really valuable in man, the only thing that he can carry out of the world, the only thing on which eternal happiness is conditioned. In these modern times, when pantheism in various forms is widely prevalent, the conscious personality of man stands as a refutation of" this fundamental error. This is the logic of this matter: If there is personality in the constitution of the creature there must be personality in the Creator, unless the effect contains an element not existing in the cause. No pantheist can adjust human freedom, — a conscious, free, created personality, to his fatalistic philosophy. Says Dr. Samuel Johnson, "I know that I am free, and that is the end of it." It is the end also of the theory which makes me a fragment of God, determines my moral acts not by my own free will, but by a blind irresistible force moving me to action. The only alternative for the pantheist is the assertion that "we are created capable of intelligence in order to be made the victims of delusion; that God is a deceiver, and that the root of our nature is a lie." —
Sir William Hamilton.

The greatness of man is seen in his endowment with a moral sense which grasps and holds fast the principles underlying immutable morality, principles held in common by both Creator and creature, and principles essential to communion which implies something in common between two minds. The convictions of the human mind as to personality and the axioms of ethics lie at the basis of both theology and moral science. If right and wrong are not the same with God and man, he must be forever unknown and unknowable. The moral principles imbedded in the mind of man are the most important in the universe. There can be no morality and no true theology without them.

How the doctrine of a particular Providence over man exalts and ennobles him. Hear Jesus Christ's estimate of him: "Behold the fowls of the air; for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?" Again, "How much better is a man than a sheep?" We brand as a deistical falsehood that verse of the poet Pope in which he attempts to magnify the greatness of God by destroying his discriminating interest in the affairs of this world, and especially his superior valuation of the being who bears his image:—

"Who views with equal eye a hero perish and a sparrow fall."

Thus the bard dwarfs his own species in his vain attempt to exalt his Creator. Could a Boston merchant with equal interest see two of his vessels sink, the one a mud-scow with its scavenger cargo, and the other a majestic ship returning from the East Indies laden with his own inestimable ventures? When a sparrow falls, God sees an ephemeral animated atom perish; but when he sees a man eternally wrecked upon the hidden rocks of sin, he sees his own capacious argosy founder, freighted with all manner of priceless treasures too costly to be replaced. That guardianship of man which esteems him so highly as to number the hairs of his head, is not designed to conduct him to nothingness, but to a destiny of inconceivable grandeur and blessedness.

Another truth of Revelation with more than trumpet tongue proclaims to the wondering universe man's inestimable worth, the incarnation of the only begotten Son, styled by St. John "The only begotten God" (i. 18,
R. V., margin, and Westcott & Hort's text). This amazing fact sets man in the Divine regard above all other creatures, angels, archangels, cherubim, seraphim, thrones, and principalities. "For he took not on him the nature of angels, but the seed of Abraham." We have said that the magnitude of the universe as we sweep the heavens with fifty-inch telescopes dwarfs us into nothingness. But the condescension of him by whom the worlds were made, the Divine Logos, to array himself in the soiled robe of fallen humanity, shading the intolerable splendor of his Godhood with the opaqueness of a tabernacle of clay — this amazing fact lifts me from the dust, and invests me with worth above all the vastness and magnificence of the material universe. Says the late Dr. Dale: "I am greater than the planets, I am greater than the sea; they are subject, I am free. My own conscience assures me of this, and it is confirmed by the voice of God. From behind and above the forces of the material universe there reaches me a word which recognizes my unique prerogative, isolates me from all material things, imposes on me the responsibility of my moral action. The living God who is above nature declares that I, too, am above nature, and must give an account of myself to him. It is this conception of our moral relationship to God that invests human life with dignity and grandeur which the obscurest and the most illustrious of our race share alike." This "unique prerogative" is brotherhood to the eternal Son of God through his assumption of my nature. This truth of the Gospel, almost too glorious for belief, reassures me when I have no strength to stand erect in the presence of the immense and immovable order of the universe, and am awed and silenced by the vast range and irresistible action of material forces. On this pedestal, the God-man, the indissoluble union of Divine nature and the human nature in the Person of Jesus Christ, rests not only man's redemption, but his significance. So long as my feet are firmly planted on this pedestal my rank in the scale of being will never be endangered by any advanced scientific discoveries, or any new triumphs over regions before unknown. By assuming my nature the Almighty Creator has imperialized me, and invested me with the insignia of regal rank, foreshadowing my conditional coronation and enthronement with my elder Brother, the Son of God. Let the astronomer multiply a million-fold the space-piercing power of his great telescope, resolving into solar systems the faintest nebula in the nightly sky, what has he done but to gather fresh garlands for the kindred of him who founded this boundless kingdom and with a human hand sways over it his eternal scepter?

My New Testament is a wonderful and supernatural book. I have scarcely begun to recount its revelations of the greatness of man. The atonement even more than the incarnation magnifies him. Calvary is a step of condescension lower than Bethlehem; the cross is lower than the manger, for ignominy is worse than poverty. Hence the mockery of Golgotha more emphatically heralds to the universe the preciousness of that object which requires so costly a ransom as the lifeblood of the Son of God. As long as the doctrine of the death of Christ as a conditional substitute for the punishment of the sinner shall stand as the central truth of Christian theology, there will be a sufficient counter-balance to all the causes which would belittle man. On a theme which constitutes so large a portion of the inculcations of the evangelical pulpit we cannot longer dwell, though strongly inclined. For in the cross of Christ, to which we are conducted to-day in our researches, we find the object of our long search, the measure of man's greatness. But the New Testament contains many strong corroborations of the same fundamental truth.

Consider for a moment the fact that under the atonement I am not saved unconditionally, by mere force, as a bale of goods is rescued from a burning warehouse. I am saved not as a thing, but as a man, the arbiter of my own destiny. Here is respect shown by God himself, who earnestly desires that I shall be conformed to the image of his Son. But he does not impress that image upon me with an almighty trip-hammer, against my will, as the head of liberty is stamped on our federal coin. He sacredly respects my free agency in the formation of my character. He treats me, if you will allow the expression, as an associate creator, a brand new cause in the universe, the first cause of my own character and destiny. God saves sinners, but only such as so believe on his Son as to receive him in loving obedience to all his commands. The study of the Bible discloses an admirable symmetry in its revelations respecting man. He is not great in one place and small in another, a giant here and a pygmy there. Jesus Christ is represented as a real man, not a phantom in human form, but bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh, the climax of humanity, the leader of the procession of believers up from the slimy pits of sin to the sunlit heights of holiness. All the great transitions in his earthly history from the manger to the throne, all the tests and contests, all the uplifts and victories of his fife, will be repeated in the history of every persevering believer. He experienced the humiliation of the tomb. We in common with all the living creation shall descend into that darkness. But here man parts company with all the orders of animate life beneath him. Jesus said to his disciples: "I am the Resurrection, and the Life: he that believeth on me, though he were dead, yet shall he live." Then he proved the truth of this amazing declaration by arising on the third day according to his own prediction. In him as our file-leader, we, that entombed part of the human family called the just, arose to a glorious immortality, "they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of condemnation." The resurrection of the unjust teaches not conditional immortality, but inherent, constitutional, non-forfeitable immortality. It eloquently proclaims that man is too great for annihilation. The same truth is proclaimed by the sentences pronounced by the Judge of the quick and the dead, those on the right hand to α
ώνιον (aionian), everlasting life, those on the left hand to αώνιον (aionian), everlasting punishment. It is evident that Jesus, the truth, designed to teach that these opposite sentences are of equal duration. The wicked are not too great to be punished. They are too great to be blotted out of existence.

The ascension into heaven of our Elder Brother and processional leader, with soul an body eternally united and glorified, exalts our race in dignity and rank beyond all conception and expression. A man sits enthroned in power supreme over all created beings. Does not that exalt humanity to the summit of greatness. I look upward with the eye of faith and see him there. What is he doing? He is beckoning me to come up and sit by his side clothed in the dazzling radiance which he reflects on me his brother confessed. I hear him say, as he grasps my hand in warm welcome, "To him that overcometh will I grant to set with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am sit down with my Father in his throne." Whenever I attempt in thought to scale the height of this tallest promise ever made to man, my head swims while I struggle to climb to that Alpine summit of heaven whereon Jesus sits, and to which he has by his sufferings and intercessions hewn a stairway broad enough for the whole race of man to go up abreast. It is enough. I need no further argument. This apocalypse of the greatness of my species in God's eyes, and the exalted destiny possible to every child of Adam, reassures and refreshes me after my tedious and despairing search through all the belittling philosophies. I suddenly grew from a pygmy to a titan when I came to the mount called Olivet, and saw two men in white apparel pointing upward to that heaven into which the ascending Jesus has just passed to prepare a place for me for whom he has left the door open behind him.

"He rose! He rose! He broke the bars of death!
O the burst gates, crushed sting, demolished throne,
Last gasp of vanquished Death! Shout, earth and heaven,
This sum of good to man; whose nature then
Took wing, and mounted with him from the tomb!
Then, then, we rose; then first humanity
Triumphant pass'd the crystal gates of light."

No more shall the vastness of the universe, ponderous orbs flaming in the skies, destroy my self-respect, and overwhelm me with a sense of my littleness, and tempt me to regard my acts, whether good or evil, of no consequence to myself or to my Creator. He who formed those shining globes, and guides them through the shoreless oceans of ether with troops of worlds, perchance freighted with intelligent moral agents, this Mighty Monarch, amid all the cares of his boundless empire, "has magnified man and set his heart upon him;" yea, he has eternally wedded humanity to his own divinity. I will no more think meanly of myself after this full-length view of myself in the Gospel looking-glass. I will no longer soil with sin that manhood endowed with aptitudes which transcend in worth the whole firmament filled with worlds.

"I hold a middle rank 'twixt heaven and earth,
On the last verge of mortal being stand,
Close to the realms where angels have their birth,
Just on the borders of the spirit-land.
The chain of being is complete in me;
In me is matter's last gradation lost;
And the next step is spirit, Deity.
I can command The lightnings and am dust,
A monarch and A slave, a worm, a god."

My hearers, my demonstration suggests important lessons and imperative obligations. We have endeavored to awaken in you a consciousness of capacities which mere material good, however vast and varied, can never satisfy. Cravings always outstrip accumulations and argue a capacity for eternal progress. Alexander Von Humboldt, after proposing to describe "the contents of space" and actually completing his enormous task in his Cosmos, writes thus in his Introduction to that great work: "Thus besides the pleasure derived from acquired knowledge, there lurks in the mind of man tinged with a shade of sadness an unsatisfied longing for something beyond the present — a striving toward regions yet unknown and unoccupied."

This honest testimony to the unsatisfying nature of mere knowledge from a scholar who could write five volumes descriptive of the universe without hinting that it had a Creator, is, as Shakespeare says, "a confirmation as strong as proof from Holy Writ" that

"Man has a soul of vast desires
Which burns within with restless fires."

Having conducted you to the Cross as the only measure of man's amplitude of being, let me exhort you to admit the Paraclete in the fullness of his indwelling, as the only satisfaction of your infinite craving after happiness. I am glad that I have a nature which the whole universe is too small to fill. An infinite desire implies that I was created for loving an infinite Being and receiving his infinite love in return.

If men and women sink into the slime of sin, it is because they have no conception of their greatness and worth in God's estimation of values, the only true standard. They are low-lived because they set a low price upon themselves. Hence the way to elevate them is to fix their eyes on heaven's measure of man's worth, the Cross of Jesus Christ. Their minds should be filled with the truths of his Gospel. The upward path is found in the diligent study of God's Word, wherein man's dignity and value are revealed in their true proportions. It is said that a thoughtful son of a king, as a safeguard against conduct unbecoming his regal rank and future coronation, was accustomed to carry with him everywhere amid the temptations of his father's court, a miniature portrait of his father, and in the hour of allurement to sin he would take it out of his bosom and look intently at it in order to strengthen himself against the power of the tempter.

Let the image of King Jesus be enstamped on your nature as a safeguard against allowing your soul to be tarnished by any moral impurity. Become by the new birth, the sons of God in the Gospel sense, and you will ever hear the voice of "the Spirit of adoption crying in your heart Abba, Father." With this voice warbling in your ear, you will not only be kept from sinning when the sirens warble in your ears, but also you will be incited to heroic endeavors to attain moral excellences corresponding to your great destiny, a crown and a throne.