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forth thirty, sixty, a hundred fold, until at last this moral desert "shall blossom as the rose."
And now, I submit, what person who ever lived has exerted such a wide-spread, deep-felt influence as this crucified peasant of Galilee? Socrates, the wisest and best of the heathen philosophers, is little known, but to the students of ancient history. Solomon, the boast of the Hebrews, lives but in the records of his fame. And even Moses, the greatest of ancient lawgivers, is now revered mainly as the precursor of another prophet.
Not so with the meek and lowly Jesus. The religions of all the nations of the civilized world bear the name of the once despised Nazarene. Potentates and princes vaunt themselves the defenders of his faith. Large classes of men in every Christian country devote themselves to the ministry of his word. The most magnificent edifices that the genius of man has reared are dedicated to him. The largest building in every village in Christendom is called his church. The volume which contains the simple records of his life has been republished oftener, and multiplied by more copies, than any other book, I had almost said than all other books, in the world. The name of Jesus is now exalted above every name but that of God Almighty. Indeed, by many he is identified with Jehovah. Millions of the Christian world profess to revere and worship Christ as equal in power and glory with God; and we who do not so regard him are denounced as heretics and infidels.
But there is much more and better than all I have adduced, to show this signal triumph of goodness. The contemplation of the life of Jesus, his fidelity to all right
eousness, his devotion to truth, his steadfastness under the severest trials, his piety, his benevolence, his entire self-sacrifice in the cause of God and humanity, — the contemplation of these has animated thousands, in all ages since, to stand fast for the true and the right, undismayed by all that the enemies of God and man could do to them. Women no less than men have forsaken all, and yielded up their lives to cruel and ignominious deaths, rather than deny their convictions of truth and duty. And when fastened to the stake, surrounded by blazing fagots, the name of Jesus, or the sight of a cross, has been enough to reanimate and cheer them in their agonies.
So deep was the impression made by the character of Jesus on his immediate disciples, those who heard hist word and witnessed his life, that nothing could separate them from him; nothing could make them renounce his principles, or deny their faith in him, — “neither tribulation, nor distress, nor persecution, nor famine, nor nakedness, nor peril, nor the sword." They even "counted it joy to suffer" in his cause. Their fidelity enkindled a like faith and love in those to whom they proclaimed "the truth as it is in Jesus." These again, by the manifestation of the same spirit, produced the same effect upon others after them; and thus from generation to generation has been transmitted that "faith, hope, and charity," which are yet to redeem the world. These graces have not indeed always, nor perhaps often, been conspicuous in the visible church. But they are the graces which alone in any age have made men truly members of Christ's body. They are the graces by
which only men can ever be saved. And they have survived in the midst of the superstition, false doctrine, idle ceremonies, and corrupt practices, which have been palmed upon the world for religion; and "faith, hope, and charity "have effected all the real good that has ever been done in the name of Christ. They have changed, in some measure, the morality of Christendom ; have modified some of the oldest customs; unsettled the foundations of many generations; and the cry for reform is louder now than it ever was.
Those who have themselves seen the light of Christ's life, those who have felt the power of his love, may well wonder and lament that he has had so little influence on mankind. And yet, I again submit, what other man who ever lived has exerted an influence at all comparable to his ? Much more, very much more, is to be effected by Christ; but whose words have even now sunk so deep into the common heart of humanity? Whose life has enlightened so many?
Thus have I attempted to answer some of the questions that were suggested in an early part of this discourse. I have showed you in what way I believe Jesus has done what he has done for the redemption of mankind; how he has wrought upon their minds and hearts; how he has given to any the power to become the sons of God, heirs of the kingdom of heaven. It now remains for us to consider in what way our Saviour will give us the power to become the sons of God, what we are to expect from him, what we must do for ourselves, - what we ought to do for one another, and for all mankind. These are inquiries of the greatest
moment. According as our belief may be on these points will our faith be life-giving or dead, and our religion a form of superstition, or the daily practice of godliness.
How, then, I ask you to consider with me, how will Jesus give to any of us the power to become the sons of God? What are we to expect from him? I answer, he will do for us, if we receive him, the same that he has done for others. Strictly speaking, he has imparted no new powers to men, and will impart none. Those who have ever received him he has quickened, those who shall now or hereafter ever receive him he will quicken, to exercise aright the powers that were given them by their Creator. All human beings have the capacity for benevolence and piety, for true righteousness of life and heart. To this Jesus appeals. He appeals to it not in formal exhortations, or elaborate arguments; but as one who knows the heart of man, he presents the true, the right, the good, in the assurance that they must commend themselves to us. And they do commend themselves. As grateful as beautiful forms are to the eye, as delici as sweet sounds are to the ear, so grateful is a just principle, a right action, a benevolent or pious affection, a noble sentiment, to the moral sense of man. Some of the peculiar, distinctive principles of his morality, Jesus imparted to his hearers, not in distinct, direct statements, but in the inferences they were left of themselves to draw from his parables. Their own perceptions of what would be true or right in the cases he supposed revealed to them the moral principles he wished to inculcate. Men's moral vision may be obscured by ignorance, or
perverted by prejudice, or distorted by passion ; but whenever they are able to take a clear view of a course of conduct, or a single action, they will decide as readily that it is right or wrong, good or bad, as they will whether an object be white or black, crooked or straight. Now to this intuitive power of perception Jesus continually appealed, and that, too, although he addressed himself to a generation that were emphatically dead in sin. "Why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right.” The same appeal he makes to all men. He made it then, he makes it now, still more by his life than by his words. We learn what Christianity is, not so much from what Jesus said, as from what he was. "He is the true light, and he lighteneth every man that cometh into the world." We all see and feel that every action of Jesus, every thought he expressed, every feeling he manifested, was what it ought to be. There is something in man that responds to every thing Jesus said or did, that it was right. We approve every part of his conduct, we admire every feature of his character. Not the educated alone, but the uneducated, — ay, the latter often more readily than the former, perceive the excellence, the moral beauty, the perfectness, of Jesus. Go where you will, into the most benighted regions of the earth, and if you can so communicate to the people the narrative we have of the life of Jesus that they clearly apprehend it, you shall receive from them an approval of him. Missionaries confess that they have sometimes been led to discern a deeper meaning in some portions of the Gospel, by the simple comments of their heathen converts. When the Siamese twins were in New England, it chanced that