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its potential goodness, no word of recantation could be drawn, either by the moral agony of which in the Garden of Gethsemane the bloody sweat was the symbol, or by the physical agony of which on the Hill of Calvary the death on the Cross was the reality; the lesson, namely, that the divine love to be found in the heart of Humanity is the witness for a Diviner Love which we can trust for ever and ever, for it is the witness of that “Light which shineth ever out of darkness," " the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."
This, my friends, I dare to say, is the witness which has enabled the poet-seers of all the ages, and not least the poet of whom I have tried to speak to you to-day, to sing aloud above the storm waves of this life their “ Gloria in Excelsis."
“ The best is yet to be,
Our times are in His hand
Who saith a whole I planned,
Youth shows but half: trust God, see all, nor be afraid." And it was because our poet had this optimism, because he had sunshine and love in his heart, because he had grasped so strongly the great Christian idea—the idea of the spiritual ascent and evolution of man–because he was “at one with humanity, and therefore loving, aspiring to God and believing in God, and therefore steeped to the lips in radiant Hope, at one with the past, passionate with the present, and possessing by faith an endless and glorious future,” because, too-to quote his own death-words- he was
“One who never turned his back, but marched breast forward,
Never doubted clouds would break,
Sleep to wake"
that his poetry must ever remain for his countrymen a well-spring of spiritual strength, prompting them to abundant moods of worship and reverence, of deep-seated gratitude and sovereign love.10
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS TO
NOTE I, p. 170.
The two great Christological passages in S. Paul are Coloss. i. 15-20 and Ephes. i. 10–23. They will be found to justify the statement of my lecture, as they do the following passage in Bishop Lightfoot's “ Commentary” :
“S. Paul represents the mediatorial function of Christ as twofold: it is exercised in the natural creation, and it is exercised in the spiritual creation. In both these spheres His initiative is absolute, His control is universal, His action is complete. By His agency the world of nature was created and is sustained. He is at once the beginning and the end of the natural universe. All things have been created through Him and unto Him.' Nor is His office in the spiritual world less complete. In the Church, as in the universe, He is sole, absolute, supreme; the primary source from which all life proceeds, and the ultimate arbiter in whom all feuds are reconciled.
“On the one hand, in relation to Deity, He is the visible image of the invisible God. He is not only the chief manifestation of the Divine nature : He exhausts the Godhead manifested. In Him resides the totality of the Divine powers and attributes. For this totality Gnostic teachers had a technical term—the pleroma, or plenitude. . . . S. Paul asserts, and repeats the assertion, that the pleroma abides absolutely and wholly in Christ as the Word of God. The entire light is concentrated in Him.
“ Hence it follows, as regards created things, His supremacy must be absolute. In heaven as in earth, over things
immaterial, as over things material, He is King. Speculations on the nature of intermediate spiritual agencies—their names, their ranks, their offices—were rife in the schools of JudæoGnostic thought. "Thrones, dominations, princedoms, virtues, powers '—these formed part of the spiritual nomenclature which they have invented to describe different grades of angelic mediators.
Without entering into these speculations, the Apostle asserts that Christ is Lord of all, the highest and the lowest, whatever rank they may hold, and by whatever name they are called (cf. Coloss. i. 16 and Eph. i. 21), for they are parts of creation, and He is the source of creation. Through Him they became, and unto Him they tend. . . . It follows from the true conception of Christ's Person, that He, and He alone, can bridge over the chasm between earth and heaven ; for He is at once the lowest and the highest. He raises up man to God, for He brings down God to man. Thus the chain is reduced to a single link, this link being the Word made flesh. As the pleroma resides in Him, so is it communicated to us through Him. To substitute allegiance to any other spiritual mediator, is to scorn the connection of the limbs with the Head, which is the centre of life and the mainspring of all energy throughout the body” (Bishop Lightfoot on “ The Epistle to the Colossians,” pp. 102-5). Following the passage which I have quoted in my lecture, this frank statement of the Bishop (on page 117) may be noted :-“It will be said, indeed, that this conception leaves untouched the philosophical difficulties which beset the subject ; that creation still remains as much a mystery as before. This may be allowed. But is there any reason to think that with our present limited capacities the veil which shrouds it ever will or can be removed ? The metaphysical speculations of twenty-five centuries have done nothing to raise it. The physical investigations of our own age, from their very nature, can do nothing; for buried with the evolution of phenomena, they lie wholly outside this question, and do not even touch the fringe of the difficulty. But meanwhile revelation has interposed and thrown out the idea, which,
if it leaves many questions unsolved, gives a breadth and unity to our conceptions, at once satisfying our religious needs and linking our scientific instincts with our theological beliefs.”
NOTE 2, p. 170. “ The one absolutely impossible conception of God, in the present day, is that which represents Him as an occasional Visitor. Science had pushed the Deist's God farther and farther away, and at the moment when it seemed as if He would be thrust out altogether, Darwinism appeared, and under the guise of a foe did the work of a friend. It has conferred upon philosophy and religion an inestimable benefit, by showing us that we must choose between two alternatives. Either God is everywhere present in Nature, or He is nowhere. He cannot be here and not there ; He cannot delegate His power to demigods called second causes.' In Nature everything must be His work or nothing. We must frankly return to the Christian view of direct Divine agency, the immanence of Divine power in Nature from end to end, the belief in a God in whom not only we, but all things have their being, or we must banish Him altogether. It seems as if in the providence of God the mission of modern science was to bring home to our unmetaphysical ways of thinking the great truth of the Divine immanence in creation, which is not less essential to the Christian idea of God than to a philosophical view of Nature. And it comes to us almost like a new truth, which we cannot at once fit in with the old.
“ Yet the conviction that the Divine immanence must be for our age, as for the Athanasian age, the meeting-point of the religious and the philosophic view of God, is showing itself in the most thoughtful minds on both sides. Our modes of thought are becoming increasingly Greek, and the flood which in our day is surging up against the traditional Christian view of God is prevailingly pantheistic in tone. The pantheism is not less