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Great Three in One! Now from above
Lord, let thy work to us appear,
Patrons and benefactors bless
To teachers, students, give success:
After Prayer by Bishop PAINE, the Doxology was sung, in Old Hundred:
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
The Benediction was pronounced by Bishop DOGGEtt.
IN the afternoon, at three o'clock, the congregation reässembled, and after a voluntary by the Choir, Hymn 771 (tune, Howard) was sung:
How shall the young secure their hearts,
Thy word the choicest rule imparts
When once it enters to the mind,
'Tis like the sun, a heavenly light,
And through the dangers of the night,
Thy word is everlasting truth;
How pure is every page!
That holy book shall guide our youth,
And well support our age.
Prayer was offered by the Rev. CHARLES F. DEEMS, D.D., Pastor of the Church of the Strangers, New York.
The Lesson was read by Bishop WIGHTMAN.
Hymn 794-being a part of a Hymn written by Charles Wesley for the Kingswood School, founded by John Wesley in 1748—was sung in Creation, as follows:
Come, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
To whom we for our children cry;
To train and bring them up for heaven.
Unite the pair so long disjoined,
Knowledge and vital piety:
Learning and holiness combined,
And truth and love, let all men see,
Then came the Sermon by Bishop WIGHTMAN, as follows:
CHRIST THE CENTER AND BOND OF THE UNIVERSE.
“By Him all things consist."” Col. i. 17.
The context fixes, beyond doubt, the meaning of the word "Him" in the text: it is, and can be, none other than the Lord Jesus Christ.
"Consist" is a word transferred from the Latin to our tongue, from the Greek equivalent of which we derive the word system; the idea in both being that of a "standing together"a mutual dependence, one part upon another, each for all the whole scheme pervaded by a controlling idea giving law to the arrangement. The conception of the text seems to be that Christ is the great center of unity and bond
of connection between the grand departments of universal being; or, as Bengel long since expressed it, "all things in him have come together into one system." As Mediator, God manifested in the flesh, he is the nexus between the mighty objective whole and the unseen, infinite, eternal Father.
This system embraces Nature-the whole region of necessitated things, controlled by cause and effect-the realm of the conditioned.
It embraces, also, Humanity, as in part supernatural, because a spiritual, immaterial essence-the soul-is united to a material organism-the body. This is the sphere of the rational, ethical, immortal.
It comprehends, also, the realm of purely spiritual intelligences, of which revelation gives us distinct intimations in angel and archangel, principalities, dominions, and powers. This is the scope of the all things in the text.
This universal whole, in the verse preceding the text, is affirmed, distinctly and peremptorily, to have been created by the Son, who is the image, the visible manifestation, of Deity. Since he is Creator, so this universal whole has in him subsistence, consistence. Hence his own sublime affirmation, "I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last."
Look at Christ in the sphere of nature.
As the Son of God, he created this planet that it might be part of his vast scheme of order, might be the fit platform for the training of man, of mind, for a glorious future immortal destiny. For man's use, not he for its, were formed its soils and ores, its coal-fields and forests; for him are its atmosphere, its light, its waters; for him its laws were established, its wheels roll. All its arrangements are but means, never ends. It is, and ever must be, unintelligent showing forth the glory of God, but never compre
hending its own purpose; eternally thing, never person; to be used by intelligent mind, itself forever unconscious.
Into this world came the Son of God, taking upon him the condition of man-"born of a woman, born under the law, that he might redeem" the fallen race. His object was, by coming down into humanity, to lift humanity to God. It has been nobly said that "it is the especial glory of our race that it should have furnished that point of contact at which God has united himself not to man only, but also through man to his own universe, to the universe of matter and of mind."
He is in the sphere of cause and effect in nature; but is it wonderful that at his birth a great company of angels. sang, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will toward men?" Is it wonderful that at pleasure he controls the wheel-work of nature, creating food for thousands, turning water into wine, walking the foam-crested waves of the sea, healing diseases by a touch, saying to stormy winds, "Be still," and by the mandates of his will plucking the prey from the grasp of death? Well might nature, so to speak, have come and fallen at his feet, and confessed him its absolute Lord and Master!
Behold him in the sphere of the human supernatural! The true man, according to St. Paul, is the inner man. The spirit belongs not to the region of nature's cause and effect; it is not subject to nature's fixed necessitations: it moves in the sphere of spontaneity, and is autonomic and freethe will capable of originating action-above necessity, by reason of the power of self-determination vested in it.
Its law is not the law of cause and effect in nature, but the "moral law"-that moral law within which, with the starry heavens above, are the two things which Kant, the greatest of German philosophers, said overwhelmed him. with astonishment and awe. This spiritual essence, as free
and ethical, is capable of knowing the right and doing it; yet it feels a strange proclivity to the wrong. Fallen from original rectitude, depraved man acknowledges, nevertheless, the imperatives of duty. Conscience is his dread prerogative. He may be that terribly magnificent thing, a sinner; hence the strange discords within him, partly angel, partly demon, with capacities wonderfully lofty, with tastes as wonderfully sordid-a lost Pleiad, broken loose from the heavenly attractions. Under sin, manifestly; listen to the groan which now and then breaks from his agonized spirit: "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me?"
Into this region Christ comes as a Deliverer. His vicarious, sacrificial death has solved the problem how God can be just and justify the ungodly. Even as he unites in his own person the manhood and the Godhead, he is mighty to suffer, and "mighty to save." "When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son." In Christ's redemptive-work behold the great, stupendous consideration of reconciliation! The love of the Father to the Son, who thus bore the malediction due to the sinner, is an ineffable, unfathomable love; it goes into all the provisions of redemption, into all the plan of salvation. Redemption once accomplished, there needs, indeed there can be, no other altar, no other blood, no other priest-none, none—to come between the sinner and his Saviour. The way is open to the holiest by the blood of Christ.
Now, beyond cavil, this is supernatural work for the element in humanity which is above nature's fixed necessitations. It is God that justifieth, not man working out some such result by self-development. And so is the gracious work wrought in man. To them who receive Christ, who believe on his name, "he gives power to become the sons of God." This power renews the soul; this power