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the creation of man is in very realistic terms; but their meaning is plain. “Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Herein he surpassed all which preceded him. He was in the image and likeness of his Creator; for his life was one with the divine life, from which it had been breathed. There is room for all the methods of life-giving and extending which we may discover; but this study has to do with the process rather than the fact. It is in this higher nature, with its godlike reason, conscience, affection, will, freedom, that man has his alliance with his Maker; and it is because of this that Religion is possible. Between the divine mind and man's mind, the divine spirit and man's spirit, there can be that relation which we name Religion. We have evidence of this in our consciousness, and in the general consciousness of mankind. Many reasons are given for the universal belief in God, and these are of weighty interest. But I suppose that with most men the reason which is in our nature, in our consciousness, is the most constant and satisfying. To state this in a very crude way, the portion of the divine life which is our life, is conscious of the whole life in which it belongs, from which it has its being, and by which it is maintained. All that is necessary to our present purpose is to see from what Religion rises, and why it is real and permanent. The man feels the presence of God; his spirit looks to its Maker who is the Eternal spirit; approaches him with reverence, seeks his favour, obeys his will. This is the natural working of man's divine nature when it is pure and free. There is in this more than nature; there is duty, truth, right. The best statement is in the first and great Commandment renewed by Him who best knew God and man. The whole being is to be devoted to God, in its deepest emotion and its fullest obedience. The reasonableness and necessity of this are evident when we think upon our being—what it is, whence it came, and to what it moves. On the other hand God is our Father, with all the love, and care, and life which the name can mean. To speak with uttermost reverence, He is, in a way, pledged to the love and care. The Creator will do right. We have, then, Father and child, and in this paternal and filial relationship Religion lives. To be His true child is to have the religious life. Let me repeat, that this is a personal relation, and also that the knowledge of God and of His goodness and His will may influence those who do not acknowledge this personal devotion. They approve the things which are excellent, but in their approval may be no thought of doing them because God requires them. Even as they may take his blessings without any thought of Him as the giver of them, or of any return they should make in gratitude and obedience. If this relation with Him were confessed, these things would be done and enlarged; while the entire life would have a higher purpose, and more steadiness and more inspiration; more of the courage and comfort and uplift which are needed in this complex world, Religion has the further advantage, that it is the entrance upon the eternal life which we desire. It is good training for the coming centuries. Duty is, therefore, the Sacrament of life. In it we are “partakers of the divine nature," which is made manifest in “ the power of an endless life.”
We are looking down the ages of which these years are an inseparable portion. It is of interest to mark that what is termed Our Lord's death-although in the first instance that word is not used to describe it—was a breathing out of his life, which corresponds to the breathing in by which man became “a living soul.” The life was commended to God who gave it, while it still belonged to Him to whom it had first been given. From the beginning it was the divine gift, to be divinely used; and, when it had finished its work on earth, to be promoted to the larger life of the adjoining world. Everywhere and for ever it was to stand in the thought of God.
I have lingered among these primary truths, because when we consent to them all else is simple and possible. If it be asked what guidance we can have in the life of Religion, it may be answered that we have ourselves. While our nature is pure and guileless, and our intuitions are unhindered, we feel the impulses which are to be obeyed. We have the light in us. We have Reason to show us our path and Conscience to bid us walk in it. As a matter of fact, we are not greatly in doubt upon the principles and motives which should have control. If we are in doubt concerning the duty of to-morrow, that of to-day is not often obscured; and by starting with that which is closest we shall be ied into that which is concealed because it is remote. To begin right is a long way towards the end.
We have more than ourselves. There are · good men whose lives commend their methods,
whose counsel is trustworthy. We have the Bible. We have “The Teacher," who is The Way and the Truth. We can have the Spirit of Truth for the asking and using. It is certain that if the divine guidance had been sought and followed, the history of the world would have been happier, with peace and good will among
It is only through this that the best estate can be attained. We have seen a failure of other ways and means, and this might well turn us back upon the original right. Even prudence dictates this. It is of encouragement to mark that good men are well agreed upon the principles of life. They differ in many opinions, but they are more in harmony upon duties. It is found, also, that when good men agree upon the rules of life, they repeat what Christ has taught, and often in His words, and perhaps,under His authority. Think if there is any maxim or rule approved by the wisest men which is not found in His words. Consider if it has been reasonable and wise to select these, and to leave His other teaching. We have all learned so much, directly and indirectly, from the New Testament it is not surprising that it influences those who do not read it, but who remember the teachings of parents and others who did read it. It is impossible to separate the influence of Christ from the wisdom and good which are in the world. Many are using His teaching who do not confess His name.
As regards knowledge of the right, I should like to submit the inquiry whether we are frequently and for a length of time, in serious doubt regarding our immediate duty; or the principles which should govern us in deciding what we ought to do. Perplexing questions will arise; but do they relate to the motives and methods by which all questions should be determined?
Let us keep this matter by itself and not let it be confused with other things. Suppose we go to the New Testament to learn our duty. There