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more attractive by becoming more reasonable. It is a "reasonable service"-a true spiritual worship, we are taught on high authority, that Almighty God demands from His creatures. He would be no wise man who would wish to return to the bondage of superstition for the sake of escaping the possible perils of scepticism. There is a safe escape from these perils-perils which I admit to be real, not imaginary. The peril would be past, if only the spirit of inquiry were penetrated by a larger measure of " reverence and godly fear."

Indeed, how can we better express the feelings which must more or less touch all hearts to-day than in that exquisite "Invocatio Christi," in which the poet who best interprets the spirit of this yearning age sums up his hopes, and faith, and fears :

"Strong Son of God, immortal Love,

Whom we that have not seen Thy face,
By faith, and faith alone, embrace,
Believing where we cannot prove;

"Thine are these orbs of light and shade ;
Thou madest life in man and brute;
Thou madest death; and lo! Thy foot
Is on the skull which Thou hast made.

"Thou wilt not leave us in the dust;

Thou madest man, he knows not why;
He thinks he was not made to die,
And Thou hast made him: Thou art just.

"Thou seemest human and divine,

The highest, holiest manhood, Thou ;
Our wills are ours, we know not how,
Our wills are ours, to make them Thine.

"Our little systems have their day,
They have their day, and cease to be ;
They are but broken lights of Thee,
And Thou, O Lord, art more than they.

"We have but faith; we cannot know;

For knowledge is of things we see ;
And yet we trust it comes from Thee,
A beam in darkness: let it grow.

"Let knowledge grow from more to more,
But more of reverence in us dwell,
That mind and soul, according well,
May make one music as before,

"But vaster. We are fools and slight,

We mock Thee, when we do not fear;
But help thy foolish ones to bear,
Help Thy vain world to bear Thy light.

"Forgive what seemed my sin in me,

What seemed my worth, since I began ;
For merit lives from man to man,
And not from man, O Lord, to Thee.

"Forgive my grief for one removed,

Thy creature, whom I found so fair;
I trust he lives in Thee, and there
I find him worthier to be loved.

'Forgive these wild and wandering cries,
Confusions of a wasted youth;

Forgive them when they fail in truth,
And in Thy wisdom make me wise."

Sermon (abridged) preached in York Minster before the British Association, September 4, 1881.

XVI.

THE GIFT OF PROPHECY THE SUPREME NEED OF OUR AGE.

"Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse."-MALACHI iv. 5, 6.

A STRANGE, weird figure is that of Elijah the Tishbite, suddenly projected on the page of history, a unique personage with a unique mission!

There had been prophets before-Samuel, Nathan, Gad, Shemaiah, Ahijah, and others; but Elijah is as of a new order. He covers a larger space, speaks and acts with greater authority. He becomes a type of the man of God, speaking to men as the messenger of the Lord of Hosts. St. John the Baptist was one of his spiritual successors-his greatest; Athanasius another; Martin Luther another; John Wesley, perhaps, another; or at least these latter have been like Elishas, catching up his mantle, baptised with a portion of his spirit.

They have been the men who have accomplished

the great moral and spiritual revolutions of the world; each according to the needs of his age, and with weapons suited to the need: rough, earnest, strongwilled men, most of them, not given to mince their words or to stand upon courtesies; but they have been the men to keep alive the flame of religion, and to prevent its dying out.

Mark their ages: Elijah's an age of coarse, brutalising idolatry. That old worship of Baal and Molech and Ashtaroth was accompanied with the foulest sensuality and cruelty. It was not for a phrase or a dogma that Elijah contended: the contest between Baal and Jehovah reached deeper issues than that. It was whether the springs of the moral life of the nation should be tainted at the source or not. Idolatry of this coarse type disappeared after the return from Babylon.

The next Elijah was he who came in the wilderness of Jordan, by the preaching of repentance preparing the way of the Lord. It was an age of cold and deadly formalism; all the more perilous because men who were blind thought they saw, and attempted to guide others, hardly blinder; with what result our Lord has told us.

And when the simplicity of Christian doctrine in the person and nature of Christ was in danger of being clouded, and lost, in the mist of oriental subtlety, the great Alexandrian bishop set the faith of Christ, once more, firm on the doctrine of the Incarnation of the Son of God; and built up the creed of Christendom in the form which the great Council of Nicæa proclaimed

to be the faith which had once for all been delivered to the saints.

And, once again, in the fifteenth century, when a darkness of superstition that could almost be felt was settling down on the nations of Europe, and the Church of Rome with her priestcraft, and traffic in indulgences, and claims to a universal supremacy— which one of her greater popes had said were the claims of an anti-Christ-was setting up an intolerable tyranny over the consciences of men; the great German reformer, with his iron hand, burst the bonds, and taught men that their souls were free, and that neither pope nor priest could shut them out from heaven by an arbitrary will, or bar the right of access that each might claim through Christ to God.

And, yet once again, in England, but little more than a century ago, another prophet rose in like power and spirit, and, when the Church seemed-like Sardis and Laodicea to have merely "the name of life when it was dead," and a fatal lethargy kept down all high spiritual aspirations, touched the deepest founts of the religious life, and bade men arise from a sleep which was like the sleep of death, and Christ should give them life.

Whatever spiritual gifts may have been necessary or profitable to the Church in other times, I am sure that the gift of prophecy is the most necessary and profitable now. "Christ sent me not to baptise," says the Apostle-others with lower gifts could do that" but to preach the Gospel" and he adds, "I preached it, not with the enticing words of man's wisdom, but in

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