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seems predicted by such signs as these, that the English language is now used in part by more than one hundred millions of people, that the nations speaking the Teutonic tongues are increasing, and that forty-two million square miles of the land-surface of the globe are to-day guarded by Christian powers.
No movement of the century has been more significant than the wide extension of the English-speaking peoples. Christian England has not failed to make her Biblical faith a beneficent power wherever her wide commerce has extended. When we go beyond the British Islands to the greater Britain of her colossal possessions, and watch the course of Christian advance in the many lands over which waves the red-cross flag, when we note the ample Dominion of Canada, the new and wondrous world of Australia, the English mission stations in every corner of the earth, and on the great islands of the sea, and especially when we study this mighty Empire, where, during the Victorian Era, according to Sir Bartle Frere the “changes have been more important than those in modern Europe,” we gain a new impression of the extent of that Biblical dominion, which seems likely to cover the earth. It is certain that the English-speaking nations will soon control the destinies of mankind. England has seven flourishing states in Africa, and who can doubt, asks John Fiske, the American historian “ that the African Continent will be occupied by a mighty nation of English descent, covered with populous cities and flourishing farms ?” He points to New Zealand, “with its climate of perpetual spring, where the English race is multiplying faster than anywhere else in the world, unless it be in Texas and Minnesota." In a century and a half the population in North America will reach seven hundred millions. English colonies will occupy the vast Oceanic, African, Indian worlds, and “the day is at hand when four-fifths of the human race will trace their pedigree to English forefathers, as four-fifths of the population of the United States trace their pedigree to-day." Are not these tremendous facts a prophecy that the coming man is likely to read his books, not in two hundred languages, but in the tongue of Bacon and Bunyan, of Burke and Webster, and have we not here a prophecy, confirmatory of all else that we have discovered that the coming man will find his sacred literature in those Scriptures which “principally teach what man is to believe concerning God and what duty God requires of man ?”
When Queen Victoria on the fiftieth anniversary of her coronation walked the aisles of Westminster Abbey, she crossed the grave of Livingstone on which are inscribed the words of the Christ, “Other sheep I have which are not of this fold.” These words on that heroic grave are surely a sweet great prophecy of the gathering of all nations beneath one spiritual banner. Of that majestic kingdom whose outlines already appear, the Universal Book is the harbinger, symbol, and moulding power, more luminous, attractive and divine, than our present imperfect and divided Christendom. With that Book we go to the Moslem and recall to him that his own Koran pays high and unstinted homage to the Old and New Testaments as the Word of God. With that Book we shall go to China, and holding up a standard which accords with her best political and social ideals, shall reveal to her toughfibred people the true King of Heaven. With that Book we come to India, and, not denying her own deepest doctrine, the omnipenetrativeness of the Deity, declare the God who was in Christ, the incarnate and atoning Redeemer, reconciling the world unto Himself. With that Book we come to all who linger in the twilight of Asia, and flash from these pages the Light of the World—until through the Universal Book men shall see the Universal Man and Saviour, and shall be brought into harmony with prophets, apostles, martyrs, who have kept the sayings of this Book, and now stand robed in white, before Him whom John saw with vesture dipped in blood, whose name is called The Word of God.
THE UNIVERSAL MAN AND SAVIOUR. I am simply speaking demonstrable fact when I say that the one magnetic centre in the world of thought and religion to-day is Jesus Christ. This course of Lectures has brought us to a theme before which I might well keep silent, acknowledging what I profoundly feel, the utter inadequacy of any speech which I am able to offer. I have endeavoured to set forth the Universal Aspects of Christianity, as indicating its ultimate universal acceptance. I have shown some of the World-wide Effects of Christianity, which point to its rightful supremacy and world-wide prevalence. We have considered together the Universal Book, and have seen in Christian Theism a basis for a Universal Religion. It is surely appropriate that we should compare Christianity with the ethnic and the would-be universal faiths. It is appropriate also that we should place the Christian Bible by the side of the other sacred scriptures. But we advance to-day a step further and a step higher. Christendom is great and wonderful, but Christ is infinitely greater. Matched with Him the best golden acres of His kingdom are as moonlight unto sunlight. The Bible is surpassingly great, but He is the Light which flashes from its pages. He is the priceless pearl within its sacred casket. The Bible has well been called only the “Christian's score-book, while Christ Himself is our song, concrete, vital, expressive, rhythmic, universal.” And while we may compare the sacred books of the world with each other, the believer in Christ shrinks back almost from naming his Saviour and King, even in the august company of the founders of other religions. We may compare Moses, Zoroaster, Socrates, Confucius, Buddha, Mohammed among themselves, and with a long list of other great personages; but when we mention before a company of Christians the name of Jesus Christ, who for them has the spiritual significance of God, we feel that worship supplants criticism and comparison, and that an act of homage in praiseful hymn or grateful prayer is the first commanding duty.
We have now arrived at what is essential in Christianity and what is most distinctive. Christianity is Christ. More and more it is identified with its Founder, and the preservation of His life as the supreme historical reality is the final vindication of the Christian religion. If men ask us what is the substance of the Christian belief, we point them to Christ as predicted by the prophets, as disclosed in the Gospels, as interpreted by the Epistles, and as living to-day in the hearts of His people. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning, middle and end of Christian faith. To the believer, He is the Marvel, the Mystery, the Glory, the Explanation of the world, standing out singular, unique, alone. He sustains the most opposite characters as the Sufferer and the Sovereign, the despised of men and the adored of 'angels, the Victim and the King, the Stone of Stumbling and Bright and Morning Star, the Child of Mary, the Son of God. The greatest poetry and a golden treasury of holy hymns have been laid at His feet. There is no form or degree of love which He has not touched. Where else will you find a love which covers and absorbs the whole of life like that which Jesus has called forth? The love which is born of gratitude He certainly has inspired; the love which is linked with perfect admiration He surely has commanded; the love which delights to pour itself out in lyric ecstacy, the love which is filled with pitiful sorrow for great suffering, the love which bows in adoration, the love which inspires men to endure hardships, traverse oceans, brave dangers from savage tribes and wasting pestilence, submit to shame and despise death in its direst forms, all these manifestations of love appear like a band of radiant angels about the Christ. This love to Him has given joy to a faith which persecution could not conquer and has produced those tender confidences between the soul and its Saviour which have marked the lives of some of the wisest and sweetest of our race. It beat with strong pulses through the mighty, generous and oft-burdened heart of Martin Luther ; it was a tender under-song beneath the stern life and iron theology of John Calvin ; it is the ever-burning lamp overhanging the feast of heaven which Thomas à Kempis sets before us in his Imitation of Christ. The great epic poet of England was sustained by it in all the sorrows that covered him, and it burns, not only in the stately grandeur of his poetry, but through the equal majesty of his prose. This is the love which explains the joy of the missionary and the martyr, and which forbade and prevented the betrayal of Jesus in the persecuted Christian of Madagascar, who saw his wife and brethren and children bound and thrown down the rocks and who bravely followed them to death in a sublime confession. This love gladdened the heart of the all accomplished Vander Kemp amid the degraded Hottentots; it moved the soul of Henry Martyn in his life of heroic sacrifice; it cheered the
weary labors of the American scholars who gave the Arabic Bible to the race of Mohammed ; it was the inspiration of Neander, as with incredible toil he unrolled anew the past record of the Church ; it comforted the great heart of Dorner as, in his History of the Doctrine of the Person of Christ, he traced through the centuries the manifold and majestic impression which His august personality has made upon men. But while He enkindles the heart, He equally illumines the mind of the believer, who perceives in Him the goal of prophecy and the turning point of History. In Correggio's picture of the Infancy the light streams from the face of the new-born King in the lowly stable, and Christian faith beholds in it the light of love and truth and hope and Messianic expectation that illumined the sad path-way leading the exiles of Eden out of the lost Paradise. It was the radiance which brought comfort to the father of the faithful in the supreme moment of his life; it was the pillar of light which led Israel out of Egypt; it was the gleam of hope which shone amid the altar fires of tabernacle and temple ; it was the splendor which appeared on the breastplate of Aaron, the high priest, and the crown of David, the king; it was the stellar glory which illumined the souls of prophets, becoming at last the rounded fulness of the Sun of Righteousness; it was the light which five centuries before Bethlehem cradled the King, had illumined the soul of the Indian prince Siddartha who may be classed among those prophets that dimly saw what was yet to fill all the world with its gracious illumination.
And Christian faith has seen in the coming of the Christ the starting-point of the world's greater history. He appeared at a time when peace covered the nations, and there seemed to be a pause in the on-goings of humanity, when His own people were helpless, and craving a Deliverer, smitten from without and torn from within. They had scattered their synagogues over the Roman Empire, little dreaming that in them the messengers of Jesus of Nazareth were to find their first listeners to the glad tidings of a Messiah come. As little did the Romans imagine that along the military roads which they had stretched from land to land, the ambassadors of the Prince of the house of David was to herald a new Kingdom, which