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only, but scores of thousands, living to-day and living always, to know whom is to get some fuller knowledge of the Prince of Glory, and whose deeds of mercy and words of truth and love keep alive the spirit of the Man of Galilee.
Christian missionaries go to other lands and find among their peoples a kn wledge of truth, corresponding in a measure with Christian truth. When they bring to others the lofty message in regard to God, they find that other faiths speak of Brahma and Allah and Shangti and Manitou, the Supreme Spirit of Heaven and earth. Hinduism has its Trinity and the Moslem has his Bible which speaks in no uncertain praise of our Christian Scriptures. The Parsee points to his sacred Zendavesta, full of spiritual sublimity, while the sacred Books of the Hindu, the Buddhist, and the Confucianist far surpass the Christian Scriptures in number and extent. Other religions have their prophets and sages, as numerous as those of the Hebrew and Christian tradition, their sacred cities, their temples, almost equaling the grandeur of St. Peter's, their priests, their propitiations, their incarnation, their doctrines of Heaven, Nirvana and Hell. The missionary goes to a world pre-occupied by religion ; but the reason that he has in many lands made such progress, though heralded by no blare of trumpets, and confronted by immemorial priesthoods and prejudices, and hindered by the divisions of Christendom, is that he has been able to show that all the truths of other religions are found in Christ's Gospel, and found there in completer and purer form; aud, because, supported and ivspired by the Holy Spirit, he has been able to show that in Jesus Christ, who lived among men and died for our sins, iu a Saviour who is the Son of God illustrating every human virtue and glorifying our earth by His sinless and holy presence, there is lodged a divine power and love, able to save, as one has said, “unto the uttermost ends of the earth, to the uttermost limits of time, to the uttermost periods of life, to the uttermost lengths of depravity, to the uttermost depths of misery and to the uttermost measure of perfection.”
Thoughtful men in India perceive in Christ the reconciler of the religions of the world, and have rendered the race a service by fastening the mind on one truth, that all the great faiths find in Jesus their fulfilment. As Christ blends in Himself “all race-marks and illustrates in Himself all essential human capacities,” and as by His death on the cross He has given to Jew and Gentile, to Greek and barbarian, to bond and free, to man and woman, the one central, shining object of moral sublimity, as by His teaching of love and neighborhood, of humanity and of mercy, He has made Himself the brother of all men, so the world may discover in His perfect faith, as another has said, “all that is good in all other religions, the symbolism of India, the aspiration of Egypt, the estheticism of Greece, the majesty of Rome, the hopefulness of Persia, the conservatism of China, the mysticism of India, the enthusiasm of Arabia, the energy of Teutonia, the versatilities of Christendom.”
As we look around the world to-day, we discover no universal Church having one outward organization. But there is unity in Jesus Christ. All claim and worship Him. To Him the Greek Catholic Church, rich in the memories of Clement,
en, Chrysostom, bows in adoration. To Him the Roman Catholic Church, starred with great names, Ambrose, Fénelon, Bossuet, Xavier, Newman, renders divine homage. The Anglican Church in all its wide constituency builds on the Christ a main hope of the reunion of Christendom. To that Christ the Lutheran and Reformed Churches and all their progeny give loving worship as to the Son of God, in whom dwelt the fulness of the Godhead bodily. There are many words of fear and doubt
rattling in the throat of our dying century,” but one brave word of faith rings out as never before, Christ, Christ! I see agitation, unrest, progressive movement in all the denominations, among all peoples, in all social organisms; there is no quiet anywhere, and all seem to be looking toward one goal. T'here is movement among Baptists and Presbyterians and Congregationalists and Lutherans and Methodists and Roman Catholics and Episcopalians. Some of them are losing their hold of cherished dogmas and practices. Some are feeling unrest on account of the barriers which keep them from uniting more perfectly with other disciples. A new age is being born out of the gestation of our times. And what a stir we begin to discover in the camps of the non-Christian systems. They look forward to impending changes. They feel the contact with Christendom and are absorbing Christian ideas as if they were aboriginal truths of their own philosophies. And what means this wide social restlessness, men seeking a fairer heritage, a larger place, a fuller share of this world's opportunities, except that the Christian idea of manbood and its worth, of brotherhood and its claims, is gaining ampler acceptance ? In all these bodies the lines of movement are forward; but strange to tell the lines are not parallel, but convergent, and they all bend toward the teaching and the person and the work of Jesus Christ, who is the one bond and the one goal. All the light of human hope gathers more and more about Him, and the closer men get to each other, the closer they get to their King. “If,” says Dean Fremantle, “the human race is one and is to be drawn into unity, it is impossible that there can be ultimately different religions.” He declares that "the recent Parliament of Religions in Chicago has widened our knowledge of other faiths and our sympathy, and has done much to remove the antagonisms of theology and to bring men to apply the great general principles underlying all religions, but of which the character of Christ is the supreme expression, to bear upon the general life.” Truly Christ is the meeting-place of humanity. Who can ever forget that in that great assembly out of which this lectureship sprang, who can forget, as another has written, “that amid all that was said, there was one name that towered conspicuous in its sublimity. We criticised not only the theology, but the motives and characters of Buddha, of Confucius and Mohammed, but not one voice from the far-off East breathed one word against the character of Him, who is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords."
His kingdom is yet to come ; the uttermost parts of the earth shall be given to Him for His possession. The prayer which He taught is yet to be fully answered. For the estaba lishment and expansion of His Empire have been the on-goings of history. For this the Word was given, the Lord speaking to prophets and training a chosen nation; for this the light which enlightened every man has been shining in human hearts the world over, so that Greek philosophy and Mosaic legislation and Buddhistic thought and Roman law and Hindu doctrines of theincarnation and nineteenth century science, may all of them be seen at last to be schoolmasters leading to Christ. For this the heavens brokeopen and revealed, in the Universal Man, "in man at his climax,” the saving God. For this the Son of Man descended into the gloom of Gethsemane, and offered Himself on Calvary a propitiation for the sins of the whole world. For this the Holy Ghost was given on that Pentecostal day when Parthians and Medes, Africans and Jews, Arabians and strangers from Rome, received the glad tidings of forgiveness aud reconciliation. For this were the missionary toils of the Apostles, and the martyrdoms of Ignatius and Perpetua, and the long, agonizing conflict which destroyed the ancient paganism and placed the Cross on the standards of Constantine. For this have been the revolutions and triumphs of the waiting and suffering ages. All the achievements of modern invention, all the accumulations of wealth and the enterprises of commerce, the building of great universities, the extension of the empire of science, the rehabilitation of old nationalities, are significant and luminous as they contribute to the fulfilment of the prayer, “Thy Kingdom come.” Emancipation in America is seen to have connection in the mind of Providence with Evangelization in Africa. The pen which wrote freedom for the slave, God shall change into the sword that is to destroy the degrading spiritual bondage of the African Queen. The Universal Man shall yet be the Universal King; He shall yet stand upon the earth, while many crowds from many lands, with many stars, the emerald splendors of the Pacific and Indian seas, the lustrous coronet of Ethiopia, and the impearled and priceless glories of the gorgeous Orient, shall be laid at His feet, and the nations, having wrought out the divine purpose, shall be no more, for the kingdoms of this world shall have become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign for ever and ever.
THE HISTORIC CHARACTER OF CHRISTIANITY AS CONFIRMING
ITS CLAIMS TO WORLD-WIDE AUTHORITY.
There is no other form of art which is so inwrought with human history as architecture. In the adornment of a great building, the choicest work of the sculptor and painter may find a congenial place, and by such a structure man illustrates his conquests over Nature and over Time. By means of it he endeavors to show that he has a perpetuated life on the earth. By means of it he tells to after generations the story of his thought. But when the building is meant to embody the idea of worship, when it is so constructed as to lift the heart in hope and aspiration heavenward, when it is so massive and stately as to “fill the mind with awe and shut the soul up in tranquillity," and when it is so linked with the life of a great people as to be the symbol of national unity and power, then it becomes an object of grandeur over-topping the Appennines and the Alps. Such a building pre-eminently is the now finished Cathedral of Cologne, the noblest monument of Gothic architecture in the world, its two completed spires stretching their long shadows in the evening twilight across the Rhine.
I would have you look upon this Cathedral as a majestic but yet inadequate illustration of the historic character of Christianity. The Christian religion is a religion intertwined in its life and teachings with a prolonged and impressive historic development, It has a great past.
It is not the creature of a day. Into it the nations have brought of their glory and honor. It is associated with prophets, apostles, kings, sages, saints and martyrs. The story of war and of conquest, of sin, of agony, disappointment, delay, hope, aspiration has been woven into its essential life. Its history has proceeded on a divine plan toward a divine consummation, and its records are revelations, its events are truths, its miracles are parables radiant with the golden light of celestial love. Alone of all the religions of the world, in a sense which I shall hereafter explain, it is historic.