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the final definition of God. Sunshine striking a teardrop may give us the seven colors of the rainbow; but the seven colors are all one blessed light. God creates, governs, judges, punishes, pities, redeems, and saves; but love is the root of all. It was love that created this wonderous universe, to which science can set no bounds. It was love that created angels, tho some of them rebelled, and were delivered into chains of darkness. It was love that created this human brotherhood, all of whom have rebelled and gone astray. This rebellion was permitted; but was rebellion all the same. God feels it; and has always felt it. Absalom has broken his father's heart; and we are Absalom. The grand old King goes up over Olivet weeping, with his head covered, and his feet bare; and that King is God. Only He is the King Eternal, and His agony over sin is also eternal. This agony of God over human sin is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. God Himself atones, to Himself atones; and so atonement is both eternal and divine.
In that matchless epitome of the gospelthat parable of the Prodigal Son, reported only by Luke--not a word is said, not a glimpse is given, of the father of the prodigal during all that interval between the departure and return. A veil is drawn over all those bitter, weary years. So has God yearned and suffered in the silent depths of His own eternity, waiting and watching for the repentant prodigal. This yearning, grieved, and suffering God is the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; Son of God, Son of Mary. This sinless Child should have had no griefs of His own. His sorrows could have been only those old eternal shadows of permitted sin. The cross on which He died, flinging out its arms as if to embrace the world, lifted up its head toward the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Our hearts now go back to Calvary; and from Calvary they go
up to God.
One word more. This stupendous idea of eternal atonement carries with it the idea of universal atonement. Whatever it was, and is, must needs have been infinite. No magnitude of sin, no multitude of sinners, can bankrupt its treasury of grace. “God so loved the world,” is its everlasting refrain. "He that will, let him take of the water of life freely." “Take” is the word, my hearers.
Let us remember this. There is something for us to do. God Himself can not pardon an impenitent offender. If pardon were offered, it could not be accepted. It is a law of our own being, that we must repent. O Lamb of God, slain so long ago, save us at last, when Thou comest in the clouds; and save us here to-day.
It is one of the revelations of Scripture that we are to judge the angels, sitting above them on the shining heights. It may well
be so. Those angels are the imperial guard, doing easy duty at home. We are the tenth legion,” marching in from the swamps and forests of the far-off frontier; scarred and battered, but victorious over death and sin.1
Ten thousand times ten thousand
In sparkling raiment bright,
Throng up the steps of light;
Their fight with death and sin:
And let the victors in.
1 The following stanza from Dean Alford's grand hymn appears upon the last page of this, the last sermon written by Dr. Hitchcock. By a singular coincidence it was the stanza especially selected to be sung in the burial service at Dr. Hitchcock's funeral, altho in entire ignorance of its existence in the manuscript.