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be the destruction of the Holy City of the Old Covenant. Those who look back on the close of that age with the spiritual insight of Christian faith can see that the epoch proved itself a momentous one in the divine government of the world, and that it was not unfitly described by the prophetical imagery under which it was foretold. But the anticipations of what then came to pass, which have so large a record in the New Testament writings, have not been exactly suited to the spiritual condition of those who have lived in the subsequent ages, and the devout use of the Scriptural language of expectation has given birth to some difficulties of belief. We have little direct guidance of any kind in forming ideas as to what will happen to the world in future ages or to human beings when they die. It is impossible for those who believe that Jesus Christ revealed the Eternal Father to look forward without hope; it is impossible to contemplate Christ as risen from the dead without taking for granted that there is a future life for men; it is impossible, we must add, to think of the Christ of the Gospels as ruling the world without associating the thought of judgment and punishment with the triumph of his power. But it is left to the faith and hope and fear of the believers in Christ to create for the most part their own imagery of what the world of the future and the life beyond the grave will be. And many Christians of our day find the traditional imagery of the Church failing them, as not suited to modern knowledge, without being moved by a common imaginative impulse vigorous enough to clothe the spiritual substance of their expectations in acceptable forms.

Most important of all the inferences which must in the nature of things be drawn from the acknowledgment of Christ's mission, are those which bear upon the spiritual relations of men with God. No single term sums up more adequately the purpose of Christ's coming than that which declares him to be the way to the Father. If anything will be admitted to be certain as to the purport of his teaching, it is that he invited men to trust in God by assuring them that he was a Being in whom they might reasonably trust, that he encouraged them to pray to him, and that he declared the will of the Father to be the ground and rule of all duty. His disciples repeated this teaching, and reinforced it by their proclamation of their Master as a Son of God who had gone down into human death and been raised to the Father's right hand. The old agnostic contention that praver is made irrational by the fixed order of the universe has been modified by Professor Huxley into the admission that prayer may be rational if there is a Being who can hear it and who cares for those who offer it, together with a challenge to believers to show that prayer has in any instance been demonstrably efficacious. Christians may be preserved from giving unwise answers to this

challenge by remembering two principles which have authority to dominate any theory of prayer. In one of the Prayer-book Collects we are taught to address God thus: "Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, who knowest our necessities before we ask, and our ignorance in asking." And this acknowledgment rests upon what was laid down by Jesus when he was teaching his followers how to pray: "Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of before ye ask him." The other principle is stated in words dear to all English Christians:

"Prayer is the soul's sincere desire,

Uttered or unexpressed;

The motion of a hidden fire

Which trembles in the breast."

The two principles are combined by St. Paul when he says that we know not what to pray for as we ought, but that the Spirit in our hearts intercedes for us in unspoken sighs. Surely the contention that, if a Christian would like something, the act of putting it into the words of a petition and addressing the petition to the Almighty will be a means of obtaining it, is alien to these principles and is forbidden by them. The logical comment on them might be that prayer is made irrational by Christ's teaching, more decidedly than by the fixed order of the universe. If desire unexpressed is prayer, and if we have a Father who knows better than we do what we want, why, it may be asked, should we do anything so futile as to put our desires into words, and address them to God? Yet Christ and his apostles taught men to pray. They taught men to place themselves as dependent, desiring creatures at the feet of a perfect heavenly Father, and to utter in simple human language the aspirations which the belief in such a Father might stir in a childlike nature. Prayer is for those who have become as little children, not for philosophers engaged in estimating mechanical forces. We shall continue to pray trustfully and devoutly, so long as we believe through Jesus that we have access to the Father, and shall decline controversy about the mechanical efficacy of calculated requests. "To labor is to pray," said the ancient Christian maxim, and it is certainly truer to regard prayer as the spiritual breath of labor, of voluntary effort, than to imagine that it can be utilized as a substitute for effort. Work or action, also, according to the Christian revelation, must look to God, and make his will its law and end: he has an absolute claim on all that we can do; there can be nothing better for us than to please God. "Under its theological aspect," as Mr. Huxley says, "morality is obedience to the will of God." Duty means what the heavenly Father can claim from his creatures and children. That is a reasonable and satisfying explanation of the word; no other does justice to its power over the

universal mind. We speak, it is true, of duty toward God and duty toward our neighbor; but duty to man is included in and sustained by duty to the Father and Maker of men. "Morality is obedience to the will of God," and the will of God is to be learned from any modes in which it has pleased or shall please him to make it known. To one who believes in a Divine Ruler of the world, no knowledge or criterion of duty is more valid than that which is obtained from the testimony of general experience, pointing out by what affections and acts the well-being of mankind is promoted.

I have distinguished between the conclusions of agnosticism and those of agnostics. In no one's case is it more necessary to do this than in that of Mr. Darwin. He has little of the Christian in him who can read without an emotion of reverence that statement of his: "The safest conclusion seems to me that the whole subject is beyond the scope of man's intellect; but man can do his duty." Duty is a word without meaning, or rather implying a delusion, to pure scientific agnosticism; but Mr. Darwin's attitude was that of a man humbly veiling his face, in conscious ignorance, and yet in recognition and trust, before a Power of righteousness and love to which he felt himself bound. No one speaks sincerely of duty without implying such a Power and a relation binding man to it. And to recognize the imperative authority of righteousness and love is to believe in God. A Christian who professes that he knows God with his intellect, knows nothing yet as he ought to know. The only promise of knowing God which we can claim is that which is made to faith and hope and love.

It is a mysterious condition of our human existence-a manifest part of the discipline, as Christians would say, by which we are trained that our understanding is brought up against insuperable difficulties, like the invisible wall which stopped Balaam's ass. Any scheme of philosophy which professes to evade contradictions or to solve them convicts itself of superficiality. Our intellect gets unceremoniously buffeted by contradictions whenever it makes excursions into the world behind the senses. If, for example, there is one thing which the principle of evolution seems to make evident, it is that there is no beginning of things: it is, indeed, impossible for us to conceive an absolute beginning. But it is equally, or almost equally, impossible to us to imagine an absence of beginning. And evolutionists, quite naturally, however unscientifically, talk of the primordial atoms of the universe. It is not merely that we are made aware of things lying beyond our knowledge, but that contradictory conclusions seem forced upon our understandings. Space and time ought, one might have imagined, to be simple things, but the consideration of them leads us into insoluble problems. So we have to confess ourselves to be helpless before the problems of pre

destination and choice of action, of the existence of evil in the universe, of a good Power from whom all things proceed, of the nature of spirit, of the clothing of infinity with the finite, and the like. St. Paul held that human conceptions of things beyond the senseworld are no better than the mental attempts of young children, and may hereafter similarly make us smile. The frank apprehension of the inadequacy of our conceptions and of their transitional character will render it easier to acquiesce in traditional religious terms or statements which may not be quite to our mind, as well as in formally contradictory propositions. When we try to discover a purpose in this perplexing discipline, we are led to the conclusion that we are intended to learn a distrust of our reasoning faculties, as of instruments, useful and necessary indeed, but stamped with inferiority and inadequacy. We follow our best Christian teachers in holding that, with regard to the greater things of life, the mind or spirit which trusts and hopes and loves is the superior organ of knowledge, and that human beings are put to the test whether they will be guided by the superior organ or the inferior.

It is to these affections, of faith and hope and love, that the revelation of God given in Christ appeals. It assumes that in each man there is a spiritual need, of which it seeks to awaken a disturbing consciousness. This communication has the power-and no theory of life which does not profess to come from God can claim a like power-to move human nature to its depths and to raise it to its proper worth. What gracious or animating sentiment is there which it does not call forth? By its declaration of the good purposes of God it creates hope, and nurses its vivifying warmth under any depressing discouragements. By its display of condescending divine tenderness it softens the heart, and opens its pores to the best influences. By its assurance of a fatherly mind in God it constrains men to have confidence in the Supreme Power. It teaches them to blame themselves, as they look upon the goodness against which they have sinned and the standard of purity and love exhibited in the Son of Man. By presenting the Son of Man as divine, it makes every man sacred and dear to his fellow-men. It gives an entirely satisfying law of life, a sure basis of duty, a universal and progressive morality. It so far explains the sufferings and trials of life as to induce men to bear them with a refining patience. It holds out a light from beyond the grave which dispels the gloom of death. It opens a fount of joy too deep to be exhausted. If by the decay of Christian faith all these stimulants of the higher life should lose their power upon human souls, what could compensate to mankind for the loss?-REV, J. LLEWELLYN DAVIES, in The Fortnightly Review,


A FEW persons in different parts of the world are engaged in the work of gathering special collections of books; but there ought to be thousands engaged in it instead of dozens, as now. I do not refer to the collecting of books because of their age or binding, or to gratify any particular taste, whim or fancy of the collector, but to the making of collections that shall be of positive and very important service to the world. I have in mind a long and a very elaborate article in a large encyclopedia. For certain reasons I do not wish to mention the subject of that article. In it the writer has referred to a great number of books as his authorities. I will say that I have read the article more than once, and made a list of the books referred to; hence I know whereof I speak. Now if I wished to write an article on the same subject and refer to the same books, or if I wished simply to verify the references of this author, there is not a library in America which contains the necessary books, and, furthermore, not all the libraries in America together contain the books necessary for me to do this work. But supposing that twenty or thirty years ago some one had begun to collect books on that subject, he would have by this time all that the writer in question referred to, and no doubt many more on the same subject.

In an old bookstore in Germany I saw a large pile of books, and was told that they were to be sent to America, and that they all pertained to pearls and precious stones. The collector wished to collect everything that existed in any language on that particular subject. Such a collection will be invaluable-a kind of pearl of great price. I know a person who is collecting editions of Virgilcopies, reprints, illustrative essays, etc., which, as the collection approaches completeness, will be more and more valuable, not especially or solely to himself, but to the world. The reader can have no difficulty in understanding what I mean by collections that will be of service. We are getting farther and farther away from the time when printing began. Early printed books have nearly all gone to the paper mills, or to the dogs. Many books and pamphlets that were printed in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries it is now exceedingly difficult to find. To save the books that have been printed and still exist, and to collect others that are now being printed or that may be printed on any given subject, and to have

* Dr. Merrill desires us to say, that as he wishes to follow up this matter; he will esteem it a favor if any one who is making a special collection of books or pamphlets, in any department, or upon any subject, will communicate with him by letter. His address is, Andover, Mass.-ED. LIB. MAG.

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