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signs that we are trying to do this in some of our new possessions. The low races have been sometimes regarded “as weeds in the human garden.” They may not be weeds, even if botanically they are different from ourselves. Those who live among them come to like them; to find virtues, and possibilities on their own plane. The few cultured men and women who are giving their life to them count that life well bestowed.
As things are now they have no better helpers than those we call by the good name Missionary. We should learn to estimate more correctly the nations carelessly regarded as in all things our inferiors. There is much in the agricultural system of the Asiatics, in their engineering, and in their architecture which we do not surpass. Many of the arts have reached an enviable excellence. We admire their works while we fail to do justice to the workmen.
In their philosophy, and even in their religion, is much which deserves our study. Here are regions well-nigh inexhaustible waiting for the traveller who is seeking new fields. When the venturesome man escapes from the throng and finds his way into these unfrequented lands, and to these unknown races, he may learn new lessons, and widen his thoughts and purposes.
Travel would not lose its interest in becoming useful. The young man who thus extends his knowledge may with it enlarge his life.
We cannot travel beyond the earth and come back to it. Yet perhaps the portions of the regions about us which are set with sun and stars are not so vast as we have imagined. It is suggested now on high authority that our sun is at the centre of the planetary system. If this be so, we are living near the centre. If it be true that there are no signs of intelligent life on any of the other worlds, the earth rises in importance, and to be a man is a greater thing than we supposed. We shall range the heavens with our optic glasses, and travel along the milky way with stations at the stars. But we may well be more content to live
upon the earth, to wander over it, to know its history, to enjoy its riches, to do the work which can only be done upon it. It will not be long and we shall emigrate. We know the way. I close abruptly with familiar words.
“Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man.” To which I venture to add,—Travel a broad-minded and a contented man.
HIS is not a Sermon. To anyone who has
been patient enough to read these pages it
may seem superfluous to have a chapter with this title, inasmuch as there have been frequent allusions which have a religious tendency. I have seen no reason why these should be avoided when they were in my way, and it would have been affectation to turn aside from them. I am glad if they have been noticed. Still it is fitting that here at the end there should be a presentation of the religious life more specific and systematic.
It is the disadvantage of religion that many of the common ideas relating to it are indefinite and inaccurate. The word has a meaning of its own which has distinct boundaries, and we shall not think less of it if we keep within these. There is need of clear thinking and definite statement. It will do much towards securing these, if we bear in mind that Religion is a personal term. It belongs to men, and to each man; but it always refers to God. It is a word of the spirit, before it is anything else. In it are involved the man's
knowledge of God, and the reverence and obedience which are due to Him. There may be a life which for its excellence is called religious, but which is not religion. It has virtues which religion requires, but these are for other reasons and do not of themselves have visible connection with the Father in Heaven. We gain nothing by confusing terms. We can admire the life without giving to it a quality which it does not possess. Religion, then, is between God and
It denotes the relation of man towards his Maker, and the feeling and conduct which grow out of this relation. Very much as patriotism needs the country, and friendship the friend, and a child the parent, does Religion for its completion need God.
We know that there is one God, and that God is one.
He is Eternal. We cannot compass with our thought a life which has no beginning; but we cannot pause at any point when we look backward, nor think of a time when there was no life. The whole matter of eternity is beyond our finite thought. Yet it is a reality, and it means a great deal to us that we are able to feel its truth. There was one life and from that has come the life of all that lives. It is in the angel, and in the lily which art places in his hand. It is the life of man. It is given to him as to no other being upon the earth. He shares the life with the things which live; but he ex
ceeds them; with higher faculties whereby he knows himself, and knows and uses the forms of life around him. We are learning many things about life, of its method and process; but life itself cannot be defined in terms which make it clearer. We still repeat the words of In Memoriam: “Thou madest man,” but we are not held to the remainder of the line: He knows not why.” We may not give all the reasons, but we know that he was made to possess the earth and to enjoy it, and that the Creator might have here those whom He could love, and who could respond with love. We can hardly conceive of the Creator as content until He had crowned all his work upon the earth with one superior to all, who could understand the other works, and could know and love his Maker, that is his Father. The Father-nature, which is eternal, must needs have one who would be the child; hence the man. The language was Oriental, but the wish of Abigail, the beautiful wife of Nabal, was not beyond the possibility when she assured David, "the soul of my Lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with Jehovah thy God.” Perhaps the Westminster teaching is as good as any: “Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever."
“He thinks he was not made to die;
And thou hast made him: thou art just." The earliest and best record which we have of