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very serious difficulty as to the meaning of
sacrifices in the Old Testament times. The Crea-
tor knew the necessities of our nature better than
the theorists know them, and he met those
necessities in the appointment of the mosiac

But human nature is the same now as then. It
is conscious of sinfulness. The consciousness is
nlways a troublesome one ; it may even be acutely
painful ; yea, it may become positively agonizing.
li has never been satisfactory to any but torpid
souls to issue simple, general declarations of the
Divine mercifulness. And, especially, when
mercifulness is made to mean easy good nature,
which does not much discern the difierence between
good and evil, and does not much care for the
diflference. Any man who thinks, perceives that
on this earth the most selfish, the most useless,
and the most unreliable people in any community,
are these easy good-natured people who don't care
how things go, so that they are not disturbed.
To take the idea of mercifulness which belongs to
these, and transfer it to God, is to give men a
Deity for which the most earnest among them


cannot feel even respect. Men have in them the
intuition that the nature of God must contain,
that which is represented to us by the words,
Justice and Kighteousness. They have an intuition
that He cannot be man's enemy, for He preserves
him in life, and loads him with benefits. They
have also a distinct recognition that a Righteous
Being — a Just Being, cannot move down from his
Eighteousness and Justice — cannot compromise
it, cannot be ashamed of it, can do nothing to
deny it. He must be at unity with Himself.
Abraham felt all this when he exclaimed, " Shall
not the Judge of all the earth do rigid. Job felt
it when he said, *'I know that my Redeemer
liveth." Paul, too, when he exclaimed, '' Let
God be true though every man be a liar. "

The question forces itself upon every earnest
man's soul, sooner or later — How shall this
Righteous, this Holy God, who cannot change
from his holiness, be still just, and yet enter into
fellowship with his men and women w4io are all
confessedly sinners and rebels? He loves their
humanity, for he is the Author of it. But He is,
and must ever be, at war with their sinfulness.
There is the problem. It is too deep for you and
me. Man has free-will. It cannot be forced.
How shall God and man be made one again ? We
cannot look into the profundities of this question.
The theories of the theologians as to Atonement


and Expiation all fall short of a full explanation.
That being so, is it not wise to take the simple
revealed facts, and leave the theories alone. No
one but He who can look into human life, and all
life, as it is from the beginning of the Creation,
till now, and on endlessly ; no one but He who can
see our relation to other beings, and other worlds,
can fathom the theme. But Scripture has taught
me this — and I am sure that I have been willing
to learn ; I am sure that I have been w^illing to
have no opinions of my own, and no views that
might intercept my clear recognition of what it does
teach, it has taught me that it was necessary that
Jesus should offer Himself as a sacrifice in order
that He might deliver us from * * the captivities
of evil. " It was nQcessary that Jesus should
offer Himself as a sacrifice in order that the gov-
ernment of God should be so administered that
there might be no stain on the Divine purity, and
yet the man who turns God ward might have full
and free pardon and deliverance from the evil
which is in him, and its consequences. It has
taught me that it was necessary that Jesus the
Christ should put Himself at the head of our
humanity and be its Representative and do for us
completely and perfectly what w^e can do only in
a very imperfect and rudimentary way.

It has taught me that He came not to alter the
will of God — not to set it aside — but perfectly


to do it — and that no one but Jesus has done that
will perfectly on this earth. It has taught me,
that when the Eternal Father of our Spirit, saw
his will perfectly done on this Earth, He made
the One who did it the custodian of all who could
not do it — gave them into his hand — made them
his possession and his heritage — and so we are
Christ's. We belong to Him. We are his people.
And neither can the sins of this world slay our
immortal spirits, nor can the terrors of the dark
side of the other world touch our real life, if w^e
cling to Him. That much Scripture has taught
me. And my heart is satisfied. My conscience
is satisfied. And if my intellect refuses to be
satisfied I don't care. It has never yet been
satisfied and probably never will be — because we
can know only in part.

But the intellectual light of to-day will disap-
pear before the intellectual light of to-morrow, as
the stars disappear when the sun rises, swallowed
up in the brighter light. Man is not all intellect.
There is something more precious in him than
intellect, although this proud, haughty part of his
nature, like an ill-bred and unrefined man, is ever
asserting itself as supreme. Religious teaching,
which is simply addressed to the intellectual in
man, may make disputants and controversialists
and conceited sectarians, ''ever learning and
never coming to the knowledge of the truth," but


in order to wake the whole of our nature into
healthy life, w^e need no diminished Christ, no
Christ reduced to the stature of a ftillen man, a
man w^ho w^as not here yesterday and will not be
here tomorrow. We need something else than a
candle, yea, than a thousand candles of man's
manufacture, if we are to make the flowers sfrow
in our gardens, the trees to be bright with foliage,
and heavy with fruitage, we need the full orbed
Sun. And so too, if w^e are to have in our
churches. Christian men and Christian women, not
simply religious controversalists and religious
wranglers, we need the full-orbed Christ ; He who
spake, as never man spake, to the Intellect ; He
who whispered to the Conscience and it ceased its
upbraidings ; He, who in the might of His unbend-
ing integrity, stood before Pilate and Herod the
world's Judges, and even they found no fault in
Him ; He, who on Calvary, mutely appealed as
none other ever did or ever will to the human
heart, and that heart wept in penitence and joy
and gladness. For w^e cannot refuse to recognize
this, that those who think only of the Sacrifice
which Jesus made of Himself as a manifestation of
the Love of God, may only too easily come to
rely on that Love without responding to it. In
that case, so far as the individual is concerned, the
greatest of all facts ever revealed to the human
mind is outside of us. It is something looked at.


not appropriated. Every unappropriated good
necessarily becomes a condemnation. The soul,
not capable of responding with its love to God's
love, is in a lost state now, and must, by whatso-
ever discipline and affliction God may send, be
brought into another state before it can see the
Kingdom of God.

I do not wonder that the great soul of the
Apostle of the Gentiles should test the condition
of every man by this simple but all-sufBcient test.
Does the love of his heart respond to the wondrous
love which Jesus has shown towards men ? I do
not wonder that the holy indignation within him
should glow and burn until it voiced itself in
these w^ords, *'If any man love not the Lord
Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema P'

You and I, brethren, need not concern ourselves
about Adam and his sin, and its consequences,
that is all done and done with. The question for
each man, to whom the gospel of the grace of God
is preached, is this, *' why is there no loving re-
sponse in my heart to the love which is in Christ
to me?" If there be one truth taught in the New
Testament more clearly and more frequently than
another, it seems to me to be this — that Jesus
Christ came into this world to put away sin by the
sacrifice of himself. Is it not enough? Is it not
what we need? In this turbulent world, this
world of strife, this world of bitter enemies and


false friends, this world of uncertainty and change,
this world in which we know not what a day may
bring forth, this world in which so many prefer
the fellowship of devils to the fellowship of God
and good men, it must surely be a necessity for
the heart to have some centre where it can rest
and find peace. For if the heart beat rest the
man is strong and brave in trials and afflictions
which ruffle the outside. That centre is given us
in Ilim who has taught us all of our Father God
we know. And it seems to me our true attitude
is that expressed in the words of the hymn: —

**My faith would lay her hand

Ou that dear head of thine.
While like a penitent I stand

And there confess my sin.

My soul looks back to see

The burdens thou did'st bear.
When hanging on the accursed tree.

And trusts her guilt was there.

Believing, we rejoice

To see the curse remove;
We bless the Lamb with cheerful voice

And sing his bleeding love.'*


And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Com-
forter, that He may abide with you for ever. — John^ xiv : i6.

OUR thoughts this morning are all contained
in the one thought of the '' Divine Helper."
In speaking within such limitations as are forced
upon me, I have preferred that general title, for
the Holy Spirit of God to others, because it keeps
closer to the meaning of the original word, than
any other. The word used by the Apostle John,
to designate this Divine Helper, is translated both
in the Authorized and Revised Versions of the
New Testament as Comforter, Literally the word
means '' One called alongside for help." Bearing
in mind that this is the radical idea, I propose to
ask your attention to a few considerations which
may be of some practical service to inquirino-
minds. Only suggestions can be made. A long
course of sermons would be necessary for anythino-
like a respectful expounding of the Scriptures,
which bear on this theme. And even then the



dimly perceived but unspeakable would still be
the greater. For, in order to growth in knowledge,
and growth in spirituality, we have to force our
proud intellectuality to its knees — yea, if in true
Eastern fashion, it lies prone on the earth biting
the dust, the attitude is far more becoming than
that of erect self-willed ignorance with its innocent
absurdity, "I don't believe in anything that I
cannot understand," the only fitting reply to
which innocent absurdity is, '' Then you believe
nothing at all, not even your own existence,
for most assuredly you do not understand it."
When the nature of that Source of life, from which
all spiritual life comes is the theme, we bow our
heads and listen to anyone who can teach us as
much as we are capal^le of receiving, and there is
but One who is competent to teach us authorita-
tively. If we have humility enough to sit at His
feet, and learn of Him, we shall eventually arrive
at such perceptions as are necessary to enable us
to live a life of practical Christian usefulness.
That is all that our God requires from us.

The first thing we have to recognize, when we
think on a theme of this kind, is that man. has a
body and is a spirit. Therefore he is capable of
thought on spiritual things — things above the
material. If he were not a spirit, he would not be
capable of such thought. As the Rev. E. H.
Sears, in his helpful book, *^The Fourth Gospel


the Heart of Christ," says, ^* Man is natural and
supernatural. By his natural organs he is placed
in open and necessary relations with time and
space. By his immortal faculties he is placed in
necessary relations with a supersensible world.
* * * All men have intuitive notions
of spiritual and Divine things. Into every soul
comes an influx of the supernatural, and breathings
from the Lord which are deeper than all human
teachings, and without which all human teachings
were in vain. Were it not for these inspirations,
the eternal life might as well be preached to trees
and animals as to human beings." We have to
recognize that we are taught from within as well
as from without. We have to recognize clearly
and distinctly that our life is not self-originated
and self-derived ~ that we are not independent,
but dependent beings— -that we live because
it is God's will that we should live — that
underneath our mind, supporting and sustain-
ing it, is the Divine Mind — that our personality
needs to account for it another personality — that
thus our life is permissive and not entirely or
chiefly in our own keeping. These truths have
to be recognized before we can touch this theme.
Now, would it not be an altogether strange and
unaccountable thing if the Author of our Being
had so closed it up that He could gain no entrance
to it ? Would it not be a strange thin^ if He had


SO made us as that we could really exist altogether
cut off from Him ? Would not that indicate that
He made us in sport? That we w^ere mere toys,
to be thrown aside after a while? That He
created us for some other reason than that we
might hold fellowship with Himself, and enter
into the uses, and joys, and delights of His
Universe ? Would not the Creator have volunta-
rily destroyed the unity of his Creation if he had
made us so that we could exist independently of
Himself? In the light of these and such like
considerations the revealed facts of inspiration and
spiritual influence become not probable simply,
but necessary.

The idea of the olden time, ** There is a spirit
in man and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth
him understanding," is in agreement with what we
see must be.

Now when in the development of revelation as
given us in the Scriptures, we find a Trinity in
the Godhead, it naturally starts discussion and de-
bate, because at' first it seems to militate against
the idea of the Unity of the Godhead. And that
idea seems to us very necessary and very precious
if we are to be kept from going in the old heathen
direction of polytheism. But the more we think
of it the more we perceive that a mere solitary
oneness is not unity. Unity implies and demands
something of variety. The unity of our own na-


ture demands it ; the unity of Creation demands
it. The idea of Trinity in Unity disturbs us.
And so, instead of accepting the fact, and culti-
vating a modesty and reverence which forbids us
to dogmatize on facts beyond our reach, we begin
to try and get the fact put into some form in
which we can understand it. And so in time,
human speculations and opinions come to occupy
the place of Divine Eevelation.

I acknowledge that it is natural for men to
reason and argue and speculate and form opinions.
A living mind is full of movement and activity.
And the movement and activity within it are suf-
ficiently accounted for only by the recognition of
a Power external to the mind moving it. Does it
not, however, become us to recognize that great
spiritual truths, which out-measure the capacity of
all human minds, have never originated in them
and are not to be explored by them? And no
controversies have been more useless, certainly
none more irreverent, than those in which mere
debaters have occupied themselves in settling the
nature of that Trinity which is revealed as in the
Godhead of the Creator.

I do not propose to be drawn into this theme as

a controversalist. My business is very simple

to make such suggestions as shall help inquirers.
In prosecuting that business, I would ask you to
recognize that the human mind needs for its own


satisfaction the revelation of an Original Source
of Life, corresponding in its powers to that which
is objectively infinite. It needs that that Original
Source of Life should so limit itself that it can
be known.

It needs further that being known under limi-
tations, it should still be able to so distribute itself
that all can be visited, directed, helped. There
cannot be any doubt of this triune necessity. Is
it not provided for, in the revelation of the nature
of Godhead — in the three terms used as express-
ing Deity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?

I admit that there can be no analogies in the
material creation to illustrate this great fact.
Material nature is too unelastic, too stiff, too for-
mal to be used in this connection. And yet is
there not something which looks towards this
truth in what we know of light? Men sometimes
have thought that they had the laugh on the old
historian and legislator, Moses, because in the
book of Genesis the record intimates that light
was created before there was any sun in the
heavens. Accordingly all superficial minds, from
Voltaire, the genius of sarcasm, down to many of
the knowing youths of our own day, have made
merry over this remarkably ignorant old world
hero. Unfortunately, however, for Voltaire and
those of his disposition and temper, science pa-
tiently marching on from fact to fact, has event-


ually arrived at the conviction that light is in its
nature entirely independent of the sun. *< It is a
vibration of the ether in which the sun is in our
time, no doubt, the chief agent, but which may be
produced by the action of many causes." And so
•of other discoveries which tend to show that Moses
knew what Science has only recently found out.
How he knew it is a question to which we wait for
an answer.

Now take these facts about light. First, it was
diffused, then gathered up, as far as our world is
concerned, into the sun, and yet, by the sun, it is
distributed everywhere, so that every flower gets
its portion and every spring blossom is what it is
in beauty and fragrance because of the influence
upon it, of an orb more than ninety millions of
miles away. To my mind there is something in
this fact which looks as though it might be used
to help us in our thought on this theme. I do not
call it a simile or metaphor or any kind of an illus-
tration, only a helpful suggestion in the region of
material things.

Still, if it be a fact of our every day life, a fact
so common as to lose its wonderfulness to all but
the most reflective and thoughtful minds, that
every tiny bud and flower all through the earth
is what it is because of the influence on it of an
orb more than ninety millions of miles away, are
we asking you to receive anything absurd, any-


thing impossible or improbable, when we aver
that it is revealed that every soul of man every-
where, owes its best thonghts, its purest impulses,
its noblest aspirations to the influences of the
Spirit of God upon it? And as personality in
man demands and proves personality in God, s(t
these influences of the Spirit of God upon the soul
are personal. They are such influences as a
person produces on a person. Silent as the light,
they are none the less powerful because of their
silentness. In the quietude of the soul that Holy
Spirit of God is operating, as our Lord taught us,
convincing of Sin, of Righteousness, of Judgment,
creating within us, that is to say, a sense of Sin, a
sense of Righteousness, a sense too that the pres-
ent order of things is not to last forever, that
there is a period when the great decision will be
made, that there shall not continuously be this
present confusion of Sin and Righteousness, of
Truth and Falsehood, the Bad often lauding it
over the Good. There is in us all a sense that
this cannot last, that it must come to an end.
And this sense of sin in us, this sense of Right-
eousness, this feeling that there must be a judg-
ment which shall reveal and deliver, is the sign of
the action of the Holy Spirit of God on our

Who of us does not see how much of dignity


and worth is added to this life of ours by this
revelation that the spirit of man is ever open to
the influences of the Holy Spirit of God ? Why
can man think thoughts that never occur to an
animal ? Why can he write books like Milton's
Paradise Lost, Dante's De Coelo et Inferno, that
wondrous book of Job, those ever-mspiring
Psalms of David, Tennyson's In Memoriam,
Longfellow's Psalm of Life, uncounted volumes
on a life above the material life ? Because he is a
spirit. Because being a spirit, the push of the
Eternal Spirit is ever on his, moving him, stirring
him into thought and feeling, making him aspire,
suggesting prayer, which is only devout aspiration.
This is why. We all of us have done our best to
sink into the animal life and find our satisfaction
there and have failed. We have failed because
our God would not let us succeed. By the
influences of His Holy Spirit He has been brooding
over us, moving in us, keeping our conscience in
life, stirring up our feelings. The reason why the
sap in all the trees is being vitalized just now and
sending out bud and leaf, is because the beams of
the sun are in more energetic operation within.
And the reason why any of us have at any time
been stirred into religious thought, and devout
aspiration, is because the energetic influences of
the Spirit of God have gained access to our minds
and hearts. The light has been poured into us


from an unseen hand. It is because of the
undying energy of this Holy Spirit of God that
we have any devout thoughts, any filial feelings
God ward, any disposition to pray, any delight in
praise, any faith Christ ward, any love to our
fellow-men. It is not our doing ; it is His,
«' Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,
saith the Lord." What have we that we have not
received'^ What have we oris^inated? Xothinoc
but sin. Everything else has its root in the Holy
Spirit of God. Our ability of perceiving that
Jesus is the Christ of God is of God. No man
can call Jesus Lord, but by the Holy Spirit. Of
all gifts of God, this practically is the greatest.
There is nothing good in human nature that is not
traceable to it.

Now, this era in which Tve live, is peculiarly the
dispensation of the Spirit. The New Testament
seems to indicate that while there is a general,
wdiat W'C may be allowed to call a natural, creating
and sustaining energy of the Spirit of God, for all
men, in all places and times, according to their
ability of receiving it, there is in this era since the
coming into this world's life of the Christ of God
a much more copious exercise of Divine energy
upon the soul of man, so much so that *' where sin
abounded, grace did much more abound." No
one can doubt this, that since the advent of the
One who stands before us as God's Christ, the


world has had new energy in it, new movement,
new life, purer ambition, loftier aspiration.
That** power from on high " which was promised
to the Apostles of Christianity, and which made
itself specially felt at Pentecost, was not an
exceptional gift to them. It belongs to all who
could receive it. I believe that we should under-
stand this truth more if we were less self-dependent
and less dependent on material things, than we
ever can understand it in the present condition of
society. The greatest as well as the best man, is
he who has the largest receptivity. An Apostle
speaks of the old man and the new man. The
new man is the Christian man. The old man is
the mere selfish materialist, the man who is the
centre and circumference of his OAvn world.
When a man is brought to act from new motives,
new principles, and aims at a new and higher life,
when his own birth and death are not the bounds
of his horizon, but he perceives the necessity for
Eternity in order to develop the larger life which
is in him, and of which he is conscious, is he not
a new man ? Is it not clear that he is born from
above ? There is nothing in the flesh to account
for these new views and aspirations. There is
nothinor in the animal to su<ro:est to his mind the
spiritual. There is nothing in the finite to suggest
the infinite. Why has he these thoughts and
feelings, these cravings and aspirations, these


dissatisfied longings, these soarings beyond and
above the terrestrial ? He has them because of the
visitings to his Spirit of the Holy Spirit of God.
And if he does not yield to them, if he resists them,
if he puts them among dreams, if he tries to rid

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