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am speaking now solely of the human side.
We do not know what Christ achieved in His



The Chuech a Society of Saviours. 145

relation to God or to the government of the
universe. Speaking, therefore, only of what
we know concerning His work, we ask, How
did He treat individual sinners? Among His
first disciples was a publican named Matthew,
who was chosen not only to be a disciple, but to
put into words the Gospel story and send it
down the centuries. Publicans, almost to a
man, were extortioners, cruel, heartless. One
day Jesus saw this man, and, so far as we know,
simply said to liim, " Follow Me." The mag-
netism in the Master gave wings to His words.
He entered into no argument, and not a word of
denunciation was spoken. The only explanation
of the effect on Matthew is that he heard some
one speaking to him who had sympathy for
him.

At another time He was in the house of a
rich publican, who probably had invited Him
for purposes of amusement, when a poor woman
crept up behind Him as He reclined at table,
broke a box of precious ointment upon His feet,
and then in passion and misery, as hot tears
followed the ointment, grasped her long hair
and tried to wipe them away. The men who
looked on treated the scene as men usually do.
One said, " Now we know what sort of a man
this is, since He allows such a woman to be
familiar with Him." Another — Judas — said,
" This is a waste ; why was not this ointment
sold and the money given to the poor ? " But

10



146 The Church a Society of Saviours.

the Master, looking behind the act, and think-
ing only of the loneliness and longing in that
woman's heart, gave her His blessing, and in
tones of wondrous pathos said, " She hath done
what she could."

Peter had declared that though all others
should forsake the Master he never would, and
yet when the first stress came, quickly and with
an oath he denied that he ever knew Him.
That was the kind of sin that arouses indigna-
tion. Jesus passed Peter soon after the denial,
and knowing his peculiar temperament, without
speaking a word simply looked at him. The
two did not meet again until after the resur-
rection, when the Master appeared to him, and
asked three times the question, " Lovest thou
Me?" The human way would have been to
say, " When Peter makes amends for his wrong
he will be welcomed back, but it is for him to
take the first step." Instead, however, the
familiar voice, in tones which he could never
forget, in which were pleading and pent-up love
and infinite desire, asked, " Lovest thou Me ? "
In His dealing with sinners the Master never
once had a word of reproof for those who were
weak and longed for something better. Only
for Pharisees who paraded their obstinacy as if
it were a virtue did He have quick and sharp
rebuke. The true way to reach one who has
done wrong is by the path of sympathy, to see
in the man something better than his act-



The Church a Society op Saviours. 147

When Michael Angelo was called to Florence
by the Medicis, he was given a block of marble
at which another artist had worked and which
he had thrown aside ; but Angelo saw in that
stone possibilities of glorious beauty, and from
it chiselled an immortal statue. Jesus saw in
sinning men possibilities of virtue and happi-
ness, and His voice thrilled with sympathy as
to the sleeping manhood, to the unconscious
child of G-od, He called and bade him come
forth.

We have asked, How did Jesus work with
shiners ? Let us go farther and inquire, How
did He sacrifice for them ? Remember we have
nothing to do with any relation which His
death may have had to the Deity or the Divine
government. How did He sacrifice ? By enter-
ing fully into the condition of those whom He
would reach. That can be explained only by
analogies. No one really understands what it
is to enter the condition of another, but we may
get hints from illustrations.

A millionaire is desirous of reclaiming a
human wreck whom he sees drifting alone: the
streets of some great city. Every effort he
makes is repulsed. At last he says, " That
man must really know how much I love him,
and he cannot while I am in comfort and he is
in misery. I will give up my wealth, be poor
as he is, even be a tramp by his side. I will
eat where he eats and what he eats ; I will



148 The Church a Society of Saviours.

sleep in the places which he haunts ; his com-
panions shall be my companions." That would
be something like the sacrifice of Christ.

In the old days of slavery it was easy to tell
the slaves that they ought to be Christians, but
how could they believe in God when they saw
their families torn asunder and sent east and
west, north and south ? How could a mother
believe in God when she saw her child torn
from her amis by those who professed to be
religious ? How could the child believe in God
when he saw his father chained to a hundred
other slaves and sent out of his sight? How
could a husband believe in God when he saw his
wife beaten until her back was raw? But
suppose the love of Christ had really gotten hold
of one of those old planters so that he felt for
those poor creatures the same compassion that
Jesus felt ; suppose that when he conversed
with them they had said, " Oh, it is very well for
you to talk to us about God ; you have a splendid
house, and a beautiful family which nothing can
harm except death, but how can we believe in
Him ? " Brooding over these things at length
the planter says, " There is no way in which I
can make these men believe in the God who is
my Father and their Father except by becoming
literally one of them." And so he sells his
house, leaves his family, and becomes a slave to
work in the field, to endure privation, to be
whipped without cause, to suffer the ills of



The Church a Society of Saviours. 149

slavery. At last he can go to the slaves and
say, "What you suffer I suffer, and I still
point you to Him who bears griefs and carries
sorrows ; who is smitten and afflicted for us."
That would be a sacrifice something like
Christ's. He came into the human condition —
not to homes of wealth and refinement, for
then He would have had no power over the
common people ; but He became a mechanic, a
working man ; He had no home that He could
call his own, was lonely ; those about Him did
not appreciate Him — probably called Him
" crank " and all sorts of hard names. The
endurance of opprobrium was part of His
sacrifice. He went to the bottom of humanity.
Those who follow Him are called to have the
same spirit. If men are reached they must be
found, and they cannot be found where they
are not. The Society of Saviours is composed
of those who when they realise their privilege
sympathise for all who sin, and are willing to
follow the example of Him who became poor,
who entered into sorrow that He might relieve
it, who was willing to be a slave and be beaten
until His back ran blood if so be He could save
the souls of slaves.

I understand well the questions which may
here arise. You cannot ask them more
intensely than I have asked them. How is it
possible to realise the fulness of this thought ?
It is not possible ; we cannot comprehend it ; all



150 The Church a Society of Saviours.

we can do is to submit to Him who is the Life,
and who, growing in us, will some time get
entire possession, so that we shall walk the
earth no more ourselves, children of corruption,
with desires reaching downward and binding to
unholy things, but we shall walk as children of
God, with the breath of heaven upon our brows,
with the love of God and the vision of Divine
opportunities ever before us. And we must not
be discouraged by the greatness of that to
which we are called. Let us imagine a dialogue
between the winter sun and the sleeping grass
and flowers. The sun says : " Come forth ; it is
time you were beginning to make beautiful the
earth. The landscape must have a carpet of
green, and the gardens and hillsides be
embroidered with lilies and roses." And two
or three little spears of grass which have just
managed to get above the surface of the cold
soil reply : " How can you expect that we will
ever fill this great world with beauty ? There
is no fragrance in us, and there are only two or
three of us all told ; we can hardly protect our-
selves from the chill of this wintry air." But
the sun pours upon the ground its warmth and
light, and by-and-by the two or three spears of
grass are multiplied a thousand and a million
fold, and almost before they realise it the land-
scape is green, and the gardens and hillsides
blossom with beauty. It has. come from the
warmth, the light, and the falling of rains. If



The Chuech a Society of Savioues. 151

we ask how we can take up and carry on the
work of Christ in saving the world we may be
discouraged. We cannot do it, but we can hold
our hearts open to the insj)irations of God, and,
as the splendour and energy of the sun palpitat-
ing across the ab} r ss of nearly a hundred
millions of miles focus themselves upon tiny
bulbs and single blades of grass until the whole
earth is transformed, so the love and power of
God will reach even the humblest of humanity,
and entering all open hearts make individuals
holy and beautiful, and through them will
regenerate the world. What has been will be.
The purest have been chosen for loftiest
ministries. Matthew the publican became a
biographer of the Son of God ; Peter the fisher-
man, who was at one time a traitor, became an
apostle, and will live for ever in the world's
gratitude. Luther, the miner's son, the beggar
boy, revolutionised Europe and the world.
Wesley, the son of an obscure preacher, was
the inspiration of "the evangelical revival."
General Booth, who was no longer desired in
his own church, led in the formation of new
activities which are well called "the Holy
Army." There are drudgery, sacrifice, mis-
understandings, contumely, defeat, death, but
what are these in comparison with the joy that
is set before us? What Christ was men are
intended to be ; not simply bundles of passions
and frailties bound to things unworthy, but



152 The Church a Society of Saviotjks.

men in whom Divine life will for ever grow.
This message thrills its way down the centuries
— we are to be fellow-workers with the eternal
Father, with those who dwell in spheres of
light, with the Master whose holy feet walked
the valleys and trod the hills of Palestine, with
the prophets and martyrs of all ages. He was
the world's Saviour ; according to their ability
and opportunity all His followers will be
saviours. To all men, all women, all children,
everywhere, who make a place in their hearts
for the Master to dwell, come the great words
of our Lord : " As the Father hath sent Me into
the world, even so send I you." " Receive ye
the Holy Ghost,"



X.
THE GOAL OF THE CREATION.



X.

THE GOAL OF THE CREATION.

"Till -we all come .... unto a perfect man, unto
ihe measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ."

Eph. it. 13.

A child can ask questions which a philosopher
cannot answer. The humblest often have
thoughts which take hold of the prof oundest pro-
blems. Great thinkers have no patent on great
ideas. Philosophy is only an extended study
along lines of thinking which tradesmen and
artisans are pursuing quite as eagerly as pro-
fessors and preachers. Mothers are the first
philosophers, for to them first comes the con-
sciousness of the solemn mystery of life.
Socrates and Kant elaborated in the sphere of
thought ideas which long before came to
millions of mothers through their affections.
Among the questions which will never cease,
and which keep thrusting themselves on our
consideration, is one which we will make the
theme of our study — What is the goal of the
Creation? To what are all things tending?
Plato held that back of visible objects are
abstract ideas, and that things which come to
pass are only the expression or manifestation of



156 The Goal of the Ckeatiox.

something which had pre-existence in abstract
thought. If we could see God's thought con-
cerning the Creation what should we behold ?
Who has not asked, Will things always remain
as they are, or is the Creation itself a continu-
ous process not yet complete ? The doctrine of
evolution points toward a far-off golden age;
and we ask. What will be the condition of
things when evolution is finished and man has
reached his final state ? Thoughtful men can
never be content with things as they are, but
ever inquire concerning what is to be. This
tendency is illustrated in the world's literature.
The great poets have had visions of a future in
which the processes now at work will be com-
pleted. Philosophers have dreamed of ideal
states which were only their conception of what
the race will some time attain. The Bible is as
full of this thought as is any other book. The
prophecies of Isaiah thrill with ideals of a time
in which swords shall be beaten into plowshares,
spears into pruning-hooks, and in which there
shall be none to hurt or destroy in all God's
holy mountain. The Epistles of Paul throb
with prophecies of coming glory. In Romans,
Ephesians, and Corinthians they appear again
and again ; while the sublimest chapter in the
New Testament — the seventeenth of John —
gives to them the sanctity of the Saviour's
prayer.

In his vision of i( the crowning race " Alfred



The Goal of the Creatiox. 157

Tennyson closes " In Memoriani " with a strain
of the same music :

Of those that eye to eye shall look
On knowledge ; under whose command
Is earth and earth's, and in their hand
Is nature like an open book.

This stanza contains Tennyson's answer to
the question, What is the goal of the Creation?
In it he gives his idea of what the crowning
race will be. What is that idea ?

Eye to eye they shall " look on knowledge "
— that is, then men will not have to go through
processes of study to learn, as we do, but will
be so alert and pure in thought that they will
see into things, and know them as soon as they
see them.

"Under whose command is earth and earth's"
— that is, there is coming a day when men will
actually be master of the forces of nature ; will
be able to speak to the winds, the waters, the
unseen forces, and be obe} T ed.

" In their hand is nature like an open book "
— that is, they shall read the strata of the rocks
and the stars of the heavens as now we read
poems, and the reading of the one will be no
more difficult than that of the other.

" No longer half -akin to brute." Human
passion, sensuality, desire for low and base
things will be left behind as a butterfly leaves
the chrysalis behind, and the man will be free
— a pure spirit.



153 The Goal of the Creation.

God will be the law, the element, and the end
toward which things will for ever move. What
a state that suggests ! Man so near to G-od
that he will be impelled by His wish — no other
law. God will be " the element" — what earth,
sky, atmosphere, are now ; and into the fulness
of this, now inconceivable reality, man will for
ever keep advancing, because to God there is no
limit and no bound.

Let us now turn to our Bible.

The Bible represents the Creation as in an
imperfect condition — in a process toward some-
thing better. " The whole Creation groaneth
and travaileth in pain" — not only those who
have not seen Christ, but, Paul goes on to say,
"Even we ourselves groan within ourselves
waiting . . . for the redemption of the
body." The present condition is imperfect;
the end is not yet realised.

Begin with individuals. Within each man
two forces, one evil and one good, contend for
mastery. No man is at peace with himself, and
no one fully adjusted to his environment. The
more we think and the farther we see, the more
intense the battle becomes. The finest spirits
have been made fine by tribulation. The fight
is with tendencies to sensuality, envy, jealousy,
and almost all that characterises animals. It is
a contest between the animal and the man. The
human body is a cage in which are a wild beast
and a pure spirit. Each life to-day is occupied



The Goal of the Ckeation. 159

with determining which shall go down — the
animal or the spirit. The contest is not
finished, although far more frequently than
ever before the spirit is the victor.

In society the same condition exists. Indi-
viduals are arrayed against each other. Selfish-
ness is rampant. Every man for himself, has
been the principle since the world began. The
weak are the slaves of the strong ; the poor of
the rich ; the ignorant of the wise. In old days
the great man was the physical prodigy; the
fellow who could dare and do most became
chief. The form of the fight has changed, but
the same old battle is waged. Now it is capital
against labour; blue blood against common
blood ; wealth against poverty ; and all regulated
by competition, which many times is supremely
selfish. But things are not as they were. A
better day is dawning. The strife is terrible —
but not endless.

The same conditions exist among states. The
nations are armed to the teeth ; if there is no
war it is because every one is afraid to begin.
The smaller powers are being pulverised beneath
the wheels of the larger ones. The ingenuity
of inventors is taxed to devise instruments of
butchery. The industries are impoverished to
support those who are trained in the art of war.
The words of Paid are as true now as when
first spoken — "The whole creation groanetli
and travaileth in pain together." There is a



160 The Goal op the Creation.

tint of light on the horizon, but the gloom is
dense and the struggle terrible.

But the Apostle was no pessimist. He never
believed that the devil is stronger than God. If
he spoke of the dark facts, it was to point to a
time when the shadows will flee away. He
said : " The creature itself also shall be delivered
from the bondage of corruption into the glorious
liberty of the children of God." Then he refers
to the time when the body, or the animal
nature, shall be redeemed. This is exactly
Tennyson's thought concerning " the crowning
race " — a race no longer " half -akin to brute."
What is the goal of the Creation? One
element is the elimination of that which is
brutal, bestial, in humanity. We are like
thrushes condemned to live in cages. Our
aspirations soar to the skies, but our better
natures are broken against bars of sensuality
and passion. This is an old battle. Think of
Augustine, with his princely personality, the
companion of the dissolute and vile until his
best years were wasted. Think of Goethe, of
genius almost divine, now singing like
a seraph, and now dragging through the homes
around him an influence vile as a serpent's
slime. Think of Byron, with pinions like an
eagle, with an eye which could look into the face
of the sun, conquered by his lusts. Think of
Poe, whose short life was a continual conflict
with animalism. But why enumerate? The



The Goal of the Creation. 161

picture is too pitiful ; it is not good to look at it
too long lest we shall think that the sensual
may as well win as be conquered. What says
our Bible to all this ? It points to the redemp-
tion of the body ; when the lower nature will be
mastered by the spiritual. Some time the brute
inheritance will be eliminated. It is not strange
that men fight and are vicious. Our ancestors
were worse. The farther back you go, the
more you find human beings like animals in
tastes and habits. They lived in forests, and
tore meat with their fingers. Now they live in
houses, think high thoughts, fight against their
evil inheritance, and look for ultimate victory.
That vision of the crowning race is full of
inspiration. But if a better day ever dawns,
will it be this side of the grave ? History will
help us here. Historical scholars are never
pessimists. Those who look from century to
century always discover progress. Remember
what conditions existed when our ancestors
roamed the forest of Britain. Remember
society as it was when robber barons held the
common people in practical serfdom, and when
pillage and bloodshed devastated all lands.
Read the historical books of the Old Testament,
and contrast those times with our own. Go
back even one century, mark the changes which
have been wrought, and then ask if a veritable
millennium is altogether incredible. It is the
tendency of heredity to perpetuate good inherit-

11



162 The Goal of the Creation.

ance for a thousand generations ; it is equally
the tendency of heredity to perpetuate tenden-
cies to vice, crime, and disease only a few
generations. If history is prophetic, if the
revelations of science are of value, the race may
anticipate a day our eyes will never see, when
the brute will never more master the man.

Tennyson speaks of the crowning race
" under whose command is earth and earth's."
That points to the dominion of man over the
physical universe. The same thought is found
in the first chapter of Genesis — " And God said,
Let us make man in our image, after our likeness :
and let them have dominion over the fish of
the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over
the cattle, and over all the earth." That points
to a time when humanity will reach the measure
of the stature of the fulness of Christ. One
power our Master had in perfection, and that
was sovereignty over nature. He healed
diseases, cured madness, put His commands on
winds and waters. St. Paul in the Epistle to
the Ephesians teaches that some time all men
will have power over nature as Jesus Christ had.
Because He could do what men never had done,
it does not follow that He did what they never
will do. Scripture teaches that eventually the
race will reach the measure of the fulness of
Christ ; then those living will be able to do
what Christ did, and what we now call miracles
will be the common achievement of the common



The Goal of the Creation. 163

people. This is the teaching of Scripture.
There are already hints of the approach of
such a time. By the discovery of ansesthetics,
physicians have been given power over many
diseases. They need to do hardly more than
our Lord did when He made clay of spittle and
j>ut it on a man's eyes, before they can operate
painlessly, giving sight to those who otherwise
would remain blind. They have devised ways
by which they can look into the ear, and by
almost destroying it restore hearing. The ex-
periments with electricity and with the X rays
are full of prophecies. Messages are now
carried quick as lightning — by the lightning ;
and not only that, we make the same force
propel our cars, light our houses, and are
assured that soon it will carry our portraits a
thousand miles and more. Every time we ride
in an electric car we are propelled by a flash of
lightning. The same force that zigzags the
summer heavens, and sends the thunder rever-
berating among the mountains, is harnessed and
made to take the place of horses on city rail-
roads. And all these things men do as calmly
and authoritatively as our Master commanded
the waves to be still. Already there are exhibi-
tions of power over nature which, if they had
been done by our Lord, would have seemed as
wonderful to onlookers as what they did see.
We have solar engines by which papers are
printed ; the sun is made to paint our pictures,



164 The Goal of the Creation.

and even to flash our messages. By the phono-
graph books can be read into a tube, caught on
tiny cylinders, and put away for the future to
hear. This is not the same world in which the
fathers lived. Think of a steamer flying five
hundred miles a day, directed by a compass,
impelled by steam, lighted by electricity, and
carrying with ease a thousand and a-half of
passengers along a pathway of which the people
in our Lord's time had never heard ! We pass
the light of the stars through a prism, and can
tell what kind of fuel is burning in those far-
away fires. And each day the marvel increases.
Science speaks positively of a time, which no
one can intelligently believe to be very far off,
in which the race, in its power over nature and
physical force, will reach the fulness of
Christ. What may then be realised we may
not even imagine; but it will be a great and
glorious thing to enter into the liberty of the
children of God ; to be no more hampered by
matter, space, or force than Jesus Christ was.

Thus have we been led to the thought that
our Lord was the typical man. He was our
Saviour, He was also our Brother. In Him we
see not only God in manifestation, but also man


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