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scenery as seen in mountain and valley, forest and river, desert and jungle. We would hear the shout of the isles answer the thunder of the continents." Under your guidance we would leap from pole to pole, and swifter than the electric current, our thoughts would girdle the globe at the equator. The steppes of Asia, the land of the midnight sun, the wastes of Alaska and Patagonia, the mysteries of the dark continent would be explored.
Or, were you a learned assembly of historians, we would be fascinated by the story of mankind as it went forth from its source to people the earth; its migrations ; its vicissitudes of conquest and subjugation, of civilization and barbarism, of glory and shame; the transformation of its primeval unity into a multitude of nations, languages, customs, laws, religions.
Or, were you scientists, and could tell us of the forces of nature, could unfold the hidden powers of the material universe, and inform us of things kept secret from the beginning, but now made known to physical science, we would be pleased to hear you.
Or, were you philosophers, and attempting a more adventurous flight, should discourse of man's nature, of his intellect, his affections, his will, of the true, the beautiful, the good; should be able to tell us what man is in the depths of his consciousness; and should strive to expound the principles of metaphysics, the laws of logic, and the essence of virtue :—we would follow you with alacrity along these inviting, thongh arduous paths.
Or, lastly, were you a convocation of patriots and philanthropists assembled to consult for the welfare of the country and the race; were the problem before you, how evils might be repressed, good morals promoted, the laws of the land enforced, and the customs of society rectitied, you would be entitled to our respect and sympathy.
Were any of these the motive of your meeting, we would gladly welcome you, and would gratefully receive your instructions on these high themes.
But your purpose plumes itself for a yet loftier flight. It is said that the several species of the eagle differ in the elevation to which they attain. Some fly in full sight of man; others can be barely seen as a speck in the sky; others, still, mount beyond our vision; while far above them all, soars the royal bird, and from its supreme height, poised on even pinious, surveys with serene majesty the entire scene of earth and air beneath it. Such is your mission as compared with all the departments of knowledge I have enumerated. Some of them skim the ground, others rise to the upper air, others touch the stars, but you wing your flight to the third heaven. As the imperial eagle spurns the earth, the cloud, the thunder, and fixes his eye on the sun, so do you, in this conference, turn from all lower objects to gaze with undimmed vision upon the Sun of Righteousness. Your theme is greater than all the others because it overlaps and because it transcends them.
The Bible touches all buman knowledge; it has a word to say on each of the subjects just passed under review ; and what it says is the basis of all that man has to say of them. But for the Bible we would know nothing of the origin of the universe. All the cosmogonies that men have invented are puerile conceptions. That God created the heavens and the earth, making all things by the word of His power—this the greatest minds of antiquity failed to discover, This Book, only, unfolds the sublime panorama of creation, in which we behold worlds roll from the plastic hand of the Creator, and begin their mighty revolutions, while “ all the sons of God shout for joy."
The Bible utters the first syllable in the history of the human race. Deprived of its teachings, man is a riddle,
a sphinx, a bafling enigma to himself. Neither human history or human nature can be explained except in the light of Scripture; unless man was at first holy, then fell into sin, and now has a Redeemer, we fail to comprehend how or what he is. Philosophy has stumbled just here: in striving to expound man's complex and tangled nature, she has omitted to notice that he is in an abnormal state; that his soul is disturbed by a malign influence, and "like sweet bells, jangled and out of tune,” no longer gives forth its pristine harmonies.
Apart from the Bible, man knows nothing of his origin. The wisest of the ancients failed to indicate the source of the stream of humanity, but indulged in wild, vague guesses. Some said he came from the beast, some from the gods, some from earth, others from the skies. It is only in this book we learn that God created man in His own image, that his body was formed of the dust of the ground, and that his spirit was the inspiration of the Almighty.
As the Bible speaks the first word about man, so it utters the last. Nowhere else can we learn of his destiny ; whether the soul dies with the body, or is reabsorbed in Deity, or reappears on earth, or vanishes into air, or passes into eternal sleep. No man knows what will come after death but those who have this divine revelation, in which are taught the Alpha and Omega of humanity; that the body returns to earth as it was, that the spirit returns to God who gave it, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, and that the soul and the body reunited shall live forever in happiness or woe, according to the final judgment, as determined by the good or evil of this present state. These truths, so familiar to us, are high as heaven above the thoughts of men: and this leads us to notice that the Bible not only overlaps human knowledge, but also transcends it. This has already appeared,
but we now enter a sphere where the contrast will be still more conspicuous.
God is not only the sublimest, but the most indispensable object of knowledge; yet of God, man is most ignorant. He knows but little of himself, but far less of God. Consider the notions of God held by the greatest of the heathen philosophers. They did not know whether there was one God or many; whether there was a supreme deity who made the world, or whether all the gods were themselves created beings; whether God took care of the world, or held Himself aloof from it in stoical indifference or cynical contempt; whether He was blind fate, or subject to human passions; whether religion and virtue were closely united or entirely separated.
Amid this babel, listen to the clarion voice of the inspired Word, which tells us “there is but one only, the living and true God”; that He made all things for Himself; that Ilis providence is over the works of His hands; that "the first and great command is, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart; and that the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”
Although Gnd had manifested His eternal power and Godhead in His works, and although He had given man faculties with which to discern the tokens of deity, yet “the world by wisdom knew not God.” Admitting, however, that reason acting on the natural manifestations of God can derive some knowledge of Him, what is the extent of that knowledge? We may from these sources learn that God is the First Cause, the Architect of the Universe, the moral Governor of the world, the Arbiter of human destiny; that He is the Creator, the Ruler, the Judge.
But these are only the axioms of the theology of the Bible; the pedestal of the column of divine truth erected in the Scriptures; the foundation of the glorious temple
of revealed religion. It is only in this Volume God proclaims Himself “Merciful and gracious, long-suffering and abundant in goodness and truth; keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin.” Here, only, do we learn that “God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” From nothing but the study of this Book could have been derived the statement that “God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, unchangeable in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth"; and the inference that, as the prismatic colors compose the white light of day, so these attributes combine to form the sublime truth that “God is Love."
Thus it is that God has magnified His word above all His name, or has magnified His name above all things by His word ; that is, God has revealed Ilimself more fully by His word than by any other method. Creation, Providence, and Conscience proclaim Ilis majesty and glory, but the word reveals Hlis inmost heart.
Such is the foundation of your faith, and it is immovable. When the wise man mused upon
the evanescence of human life, when he saw that “one generation passeth away and another generation cometh," he assured himself with the thought that “the earth abideth forever.” Thus, when we reflect with anxiety upon the rapid fluctuations of human opinion, we are strengthened by the conviction that the word of the Lord liveth and abideth forever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass; the grass withereth and the flower thereof falleth away: but the word of the Lord endureth forever."
The Bible is that immortal word of God. Though it may be obscured at times by the mist of human error, by the fog of human doubt, by the storm of human passion,