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have risen to a higher morality, and a more disinterested benevolence, it may be time to tell us to do without Him; but that time is not yet.
But, after all, this is no matter for paper arguments. This great debate, which, in one shape or another, has been going on through long ages, and will go on when we are laid to rest, is not to be settled by them. There the great truths are, for us to take or to leave; with us it rests whether the true answer shall be given or not. The real silencing answer is the lives of men, the lives of Christian believers. The world may talk for ever, and talk to little purpose about the reality of religion. The question really rests with us whether our life is governed by such things as we are thinking of to-day; whether, whatever we have to do, the consciousness of this truth is around us like the air we breathe; whether, from believing them, we are more true, more honest, more just, more patient, more pure, more selfdenying, more cheerfully helpful, more resigned and hopeful in trouble. O my brethren, be sure of this, -this, amid the strife of tongues, is the true, and acceptable, and trustworthy way of vindicating the ways of Him who has done so much for us. If only our lives will fairly stand the test which He intended they should meet, we need not fear when we speak with our enemies in the gate. The Eternal Wisdom might, if He had pleased, have stopped for ever the mouths of the gainsayer and the doubter; but He has not pleased to do so. He chose His means
of victory and salvation for us, as for Himself, in the realities of life, in doing and in suffering.—May God forgive us for our miserable attempts to bring the life of faith into the life of work and business. May He forgive us, who accept such great thoughts and hopes, for being content with such poor and intermittent effort. May God help us to remember that we have been made the "sons of God," and to discern the import of those tremendous words,-" Who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made Man."
THE LIGHT OF THE EPIPHANY
"Then spake Jesus, saying, I am the light of the world.”—ST. JOHN viii. 12.
THIS season of Epiphany is the special commemoration of those promises of God, that at last He would bestow on the world the blessing of spiritual light. Out of all the holy days of the year it is the one which reminds us of the light which we have. days remind us of what God has done for us. The Epiphany reminds us, not only of what He has done, but of what He has granted us, even here, to know of Himself and of His doings. It is conceivable that He might have done His great works on our behalf without telling us so much. In former generations of the world, He loved men and watched over them, without their knowing it; He prepared good things for them, without letting them into His counsels. We cannot doubt that what Christ has done and suffered concerns, in some way, even those who have never heard His name. But for us, He has put aside, in a degree, the veil which hides from us on earth the presence and working of God, and has admitted us to know what is of the deepest interest to us,
-partially at least, as they see and know in heaven. This is what we are invited to think of at this time, -of this opening of our eyes to God's purposes and presence, this appearing to us of His very self. Things that, in other ages, neither Jew nor Gentile knew of,-things that many kings and prophets and righteous men desired to see, and died without seeing, -God has made our common heritage. This is our great and real privilege, to know that about ourselves and our relation to God, which we could not have found out, which only in our later ages was made known. Our eyes have seen indeed "the Lord's salvation, which He had prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of His people Israel." "Through the tender mercy of our
the dayspring from on high hath visited us; to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace." So did the expiring voices of ancient prophecy, on the lips of Simeon and Zacharias, pass into the awakening strains of the Gospel. They express the great truth that we are dealt with henceforth not as children but as men; trusted with the amazing secret of our real destiny; not merely meant for a greatness beyond all we can think or know, but told that we have been meant for it, and told of all that God has done to bring us to it. To-day we remember the first steps and stages of that great manifestation, by which we have been brought from darkness to light and that Light was Christ.
It is difficult for us, who are so familiar with the results of that great enlightening, to take in the true measure of it, to take in the true interval between it and the darkness which preceded it, to take in the order and significance of the great process itself. What was that order, as shown in that special manifestation, which gives its name to the Festival of the Epiphany? What did that light spring from which was to enlighten the world, and how was its rise exhibited and shadowed forth?
I. The Wise Men came on their journey from the east, seeking Him who was born King of the Jews. The representatives and figures of Gentile wisdom and Gentile longings, of the thoughts, the anticipations, the deep desires of human kind, were guided to the centre of all their searching, and all their love. Ancient prophecy had promised, with persistent and astonishing confidence, in a long series of magnificent assurances, that the Divine Light should break through the clouds which seemed so impenetrable, and should rise upon all the earth. "Arise, shine; for Thy Light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon Thee. . . And the Gentiles shall come to Thy light, and kings to the brightness of Thy rising." They came and "When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down, and worshipped Him and when they had opened their