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Χρὴ μέν τοί γε τὸν ἅπαξ παραδεξάμενον τοῦ κτίσαντος τὸν κόσμον εἶναι ταύτας τὰς γραφὰς πεπεῖσθαι, ὅτι ὅσα περὶ τῆς κτίσεως ἀπαντᾷ τοῖς ζητοῦσι τὸν περὶ αὐτῆς λόγον, ταῦτα καὶ περὶ τῶν γραφῶν.-ORIGEN, Philocal.

ΣΩ. ̓Αναγκαῖον οὖν ἐστι περιμένειν ἕως ἄν τις μάθῃ ὡς δεῖ πρὸς θεοὺς καὶ πρὸς ἀνθρώπους διακεῖσθαι.

ΑΛ. Πότε οὖν παρέσται ὁ χρόνος οὗτος, ὦ Σώκρατες; καὶ τίς ὁ

παιδεύσων; . . . ΣΩ. Οὗτός ἐστιν ᾧ μέλει περὶ σοῦ.-PLATO,

Alcib. II.

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Phado, § 60, 61. . . . . Republic, § 427.




ECCLES. III. 14, 15.

I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever; nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before Him. That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been.

THESE words would be sufficiently striking even if they were the language of an ordinary man. Coming from a man pre-eminent for wisdom, and opportunity, and experience, from one whose mind moreover was illuminated by the inspiration of God, our text assumes an aspect of more than common importance.

It is possible, indeed, that to some of my hearers our text may suggest unwelcome thoughts of the fixedness of human individual destiny: you may imagine for a moment that Solomon therein describes man as entangled in the meshes of an iron necessity which he cannot evade; man, not so much the sport, as the victim of his circumstances; man, as playing in his little day his predestined

part, just as other men in their generations before him played their own-for is it not said by the Royal Preacher, "I know that what God doeth he doeth it for ever; that which hath been is now, and that which is to be hath already been"? But I hope to speak to you to-night of an interpretation of these remarkable words truer, and deeper, and more hopeful. True, I shall have to speak to you of permanent, inevitable laws imposed by the Omnipotent Creator upon the very constitution of His creature's being, and on all the various circumstances which surround him or affect him: but then these laws are devised in consummate wisdom, and are executed in unswerving love; these laws of our moral, our spiritual being, are to us the expressions of a holy Father's will, they are the explanations of the scheme of His righteous government; they are to us, and within the limits of our mental powers, the unfolding of the plan on which the creation of mind, and spirit, and matter, was devised and is still sustained.

So far from forging the links of an iron necessity for the thraldom of man, the permanence and invariability of these laws secure the charter of man's liberty of action, they constitute him a responsible creature, they lie at the foundation of his dearest hopes. It is alone because these laws of nature and of being are permanent, that man is enabled to foresee the consequence of his doings;

it is on the security of this ground that he acts with foresight and with confidence, forming and persevering in his plans in the fulness of hope. Nay, your Town is at this time thronged with a concourse of thoughtful and sagacious men, not solely for the interchange of kindly greetings, but to aid and encourage each other in the search for truths which they know are ordained of God, for purposes beyond those of to-day or of to-morrow, and concerning which they know that, "Whatsoever God doeth, He doeth it for ever; nothing can be put to it or taken from it: and God doeth it that men should fear Him."

What I want to show you, or to bring to your remembrance to-night, is this;-I want to convince you, if you need the conviction, that those great cardinal facts, or doctrines as we call them, of the Christian faith, which are made known to us by revelation from God, are analogous to, or I might even say are extensions of, those other ordinary facts or principles, by the application of which it is ordained of God that you and I live our hourly life, and that human society coheres day by day. I do not, indeed, mean to say that, by any stretch of thought, the unaided mind of man could have devised or have conceived a scheme so mighty as that of the redemption of the great human family (for instance) through the agency of a crucified Redeemer; I do not mean to say that man,

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