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tality, and he is the saint. The nearer to God the surer of heaven.
You remember the story of the old Scottish woman, who was asked by her minister to test her-so great was her love for the Master, so sure was she of His goodness—“ But, Jenny, woman, suppose at the last, after all, your Lord should let you down to hell?” “Ah, weel,” she said, “ be it as it pleases Him: He will lose mair than me.” Goodness has a claim upon God. Goodness is an apologetic for, immortality. Produce a saint, and you produce something far more worthy to live than this world of bricks and mortar, stones and lime, sea and air. Nay, you have produced a faith that it cannot be otherwise, and that it shall live. To have lived with God is the promise that you will live for aye.
“Because I live, ye shall live also." Life, on the authority of Jesus, is one; death is an episode, an event in continuous life. Jesus, the Soul of the universe, has charge of yours.
When Death comes, he is but a messenger to call personality to its
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when He”-or it—“shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”
Moreover, the persistence of personality means the persistence of all the relations that make life glad and good—the persistence of memory, thought, feeling, desire, affection. Morality is pivoted upon personality. Make a noble man, and you take with him to the eternal world the relations that have helped to make him noble. Can the dead, then, forget? No; they wait for the great reunion; "they without us shall not be made perfect.” Shall we see our dead again?” say
some. Yes, you will; they are safe in the arms of
The great Word which makes all things new,
How will the change strike me and you
Oh, I must feel your brain prompt mine,
Your heart anticipate my heart;
See and make me see, for your part,
Some time ago I read a little book on this subject, advocating a different view from that which I have placed before you. One beautiful instance was given in it of a truth that all our hearts will affirm. A little girl had been accustomed always to bid her father good-night in the same words. She was an only child, and loved as only children are.
She used to say, “Good-night, I shall see you again in the morning." The time came when death's bright angel-bright to those who go, dark to those who stay-summoned her to heaven. In her last moments, she called her father to her side, and putting up her little arms, she clasped them around his neck, whispering with her rapidly dying strength, “Good-night, dear father, I shall see you again in the morning." She was right, as the child always is right about the highest things. “Sorrow endureth for a night; joy cometh in the morning."
THE DOCTRINE OF DIVINE LOVE*
The Father Himself loveth you.-John xvi. 22,
HE doctrine of Divine love, we are sometimes
assured, has been preached ad nauseam by
preachers in every evangelical pulpit—in fact, I should suppose in most Christian pulpits in this land. We are sometimes told that the doctrine has been overdone. Perhaps it has. If it has been preached un
. convincingly, no doubt that is the fault of the prophets who have had it in trust, and that occasionally preachers themselves transcend or overleap their own experience in their declaration of a doctrine which, if it be true, ought to have a greater effect upon their lives, upon the power of their ministry, upon the quality of Christian character. All this may be true, and yet the doctrine of Divine love is of the very essence of Christianity; it is that which explicitly or implicitly should underlie every utterance made in the name of Christ. Most fittingly, therefore, do we on His authority go back to it this morning. It may be that we can frankly confess to each other that the Apostle of Love, from whose writings we have taken our text, may not always have retained the ipsissima verba of the Master when he has been writing about Him. In this fourth gospel I believe myself there are places in which
* Preached in Union Chapel, Brighton, Sunday morning, March 8, 1903.
the Apostle has expanded, perhaps even edited, the words of the Master. In so doing he has not made them false, and it matters very little in the cases where this has happened that we may not have exactly the sentence, word for word, which came from the lips of Jesus. Nay, in some places it is difficult to know whether St. John means that he himself is speaking or his Master; he does not tell us where the one leaves off and the other begins. But I never can bring myself to believe that this is true of the last few chapters, and especially from the thirteenth to the eighteenth in this beautiful gospel. Most of us could repeat the fourteenth of St. John without any book at all. It is the classic of Christian experience, and another like unto it is the sixteenth chapter, whence our text is taken. It matters not how John came to remember these words which in a time of great spiritual strain and intensity were given to him to repeat to us. But this is certain: the spiritual man declares—cannot but declare-that these are the words of the Master, the words of eternal life. It is on the authority of the Master, then, with His very sentence ringing in our ears, that we turn this morning to that fundamental of the Christian faith-God is love.
It is fitting to remember, I say, on the authority of the Master, that this is so, for without the Master we could not affirm it at all. Sometimes we are told that without Christ it were still possible for the human heart to affirm that love reigns at the heart of things. I know not how that discovery is made. The Christ is the source of all that we bring to experience when we affirm that love is the name and the nature of God. We cannot read it in the external world. Henry