Isaiah 40:28
Do you not know? Have you not heard? the LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will never grow faint or weary; His understanding is beyond searching out.
Sermons
God in Relation to Earth and OceanT. De Witt Talmage, D. D.Isaiah 40:12-28
God Weighing the MountainsT. De Witt Talmage, D. D.Isaiah 40:12-28
Nature Ministers to the SufferingF. B. Meyer, B. A.Isaiah 40:12-28
The Grandeur of GodJ. Saurin.Isaiah 40:12-28
The Great God in His Relation to Heaven and EarthT. De Witt Talmage, D. D.Isaiah 40:12-28
The Greatness of Israel's GodF. Delitzsch, D. D.Isaiah 40:12-28
The Incomparableness of the Great GodHomilistIsaiah 40:12-28
The Transcendent OneHomilistIsaiah 40:12-28
Why Sayest ThouF. B. Meyer, B. A.Isaiah 40:12-28
The Impiety of ImpatienceW. Clarkson Isaiah 40:27, 28
A Challenge to Despondent UnbeliefR. Macculloch.Isaiah 40:27-31
Despondency ReprovedE. Johnson Isaiah 40:27-31
Doubt and EncouragementProf. S. R. Driver, D. D.Isaiah 40:27-31
Faith in the Living GodJ. Baldwin Brown, B. A.Isaiah 40:27-31
God the Comfort of His PeopleH. Wonnacott.Isaiah 40:27-31
My Way Hid from the LordT. Leighton.Isaiah 40:27-31
ProvidenceW. Patten.Isaiah 40:27-31
Spiritual DespondencyE. L. Hull, B. A.Isaiah 40:27-31
The Attributes of God: a Reply to UnbeliefT. Scott, B. A.Isaiah 40:27-31
The Unbelief of the Jews ReprovedIsaiah 40:27-31
Unbecoming SpeechF. B. Meyer, B. A.Isaiah 40:27-31
When the Way Seems HiddenHomiletic ReviewIsaiah 40:27-31
Energy and WisdomJ. Parker, D. D.Isaiah 40:28-31
God Never Grows WearyIsaiah 40:28-31
God's Moment the Perfect Miniature of His Everlasting DayT. G. Selby.Isaiah 40:28-31
God's Power the Comfort of His PeopleJ. Parker, D. D.Isaiah 40:28-31
Heartening Conceptions of GodBishop of Chester.Isaiah 40:28-31
Profitable Reflection in Dark HoursF. B. Meyer, B. A.Isaiah 40:28-31
The Inexhaustible Energy of GodHomilistIsaiah 40:28-31
The Inexhaustibleness of the Divine PowerHomilistIsaiah 40:28-31
The Unwearied God and Wearied MenA. Maclaren, D. D.Isaiah 40:28-31

I. THE COMPLAINT OF THE PEOPLE. They feel themselves, or are tempted to feel themselves, forsaken of God. Their "way" seems to be hidden from him. The "way" is a figure for the course and condition of life. And is it not said in the first Psalm, "The Lord knoweth the way of the righteous"? There are times when this cannot be realized. The truth of a providence over the national and the personal life - what more consoling? "Thou art with me;" "Thou God seest me:" what might is there hot, in such thoughts to "warn, to comfort, to command"? There are other moods, and thoughts of another complexion. We suffer, and God seems indifferent. There is a sense of the injustice of the world, and God does not defend us. "Our right has been let slip by our God." He has living oracles for others, nut for us. We gaze into his words; luminous to others, they radiate not their meaning upon us. Who and what is that God in whom we have been taught to believe? A name, and nothing more? These are, indeed, dark moments. "Passed and passed my turn is," says a modern poet, in describing the "fears and scruples" of the drooping and despondent soul. The worst is that the weakness which is subjective, in ourselves, we are tempted to throw out of ourselves - to project on God. He must be growing weary and faint, and something less than God. This mood the prophet meets (cf. Isaiah 49:14; Job 27:2).

II. THE REPLY OF THE PROPHET.

1. He appeals to their intelligence. "Hast thou not perceived?" Look away from self and its restriction within the bonds of present distress; look at others who are expatiating on the "large places" of Jehovah's goodness. Look at the silent heavens with their "goings on;" the march of the seasons; the recurrence of seed-time and harvest; consider the breath which stirs the souls of men to progress in wisdom, culture, peace, civilization. Contemplate as a whole and in its parts the marvellous mechanism of the human world. Divert thy thoughts from the little self-world to the immense universe. Listen as well as look - to the immemorial tradition; to the oracles that have lived and cannot die; to the deep voice of prophets and the music of psalmists; to the simple accents of the babes and sucklings. One immense harmony starts upon the ear and the heart; the loving and eternal God its central theme. "Oh, my brothers, God exists; believing love will relieve us of a load of care." Intelligence and conscience combine with the sacred unbroken traditions of the race, to assure us that he is what he was and where he was.

2. The attributes of Jehovah. An everlasting God. Mortality means fickleness and caprice. His Name means constancy, faithfulness. His covenants are irreversible. In the English Testament of the Jews, that grand Name, "the Eternal," is preserved. He is "Creator of the ends of the earth;" i.e. of the "whole earth from end to end." Babylonia, then, the seat of the exile, is not beyond Jehovah's empire, as if he were only "the god of the hills of Palestine" (Cheyne). Creation infers providence. If God made the world, he governs it too. Men are dependent on him, and in their dependence is safety and bliss. He has no human infirmities: faints not, nor is weary. He works for his world both day and night (Genesis 1:5, etc.; Exodus 13:21; 1 Kings 8:29; Psalm 121:4). His unfathomable intelligence. (Cf. Job 5:9; Job 9:10; cf. Isaiah 34:24; 36:26.) Therefore there was a "wise purpose" in all this present procedure of providence, so dark as it seemed. We look upon the wavering ripples on the surface of the river; but the sunbeam strikes upon them with directness and certainty. And "God's hand is as steady as his eye." His self-communication. "Man's weakness, waiting upon God, its end can never miss." For he is self-imparting; and if there be a void in us, it is that he may fill it; a weakness in us, that his strength may be seen consummate in it. "Unto the powerless he maketh strength to abound."

3. The wisdom of waiting. Waiting! How much is included in that word! Faith, and hope, and endurance, and strength. Take the most vivid image of strength: the youth in his athletic vigour - the agile wrestler, the nimble runner. Is he strong? Nay, he shall stumble, while the stationary, waiting one "gathers fresh force." He seems to be on the wane, to be losing the dew and brightness of his youth. 'Tis but the moulting of the old eagle of fable - he will put forth fresh feathers. With "ages on his plumes," i.e. will still be travelling on. These waiters ate the stayers in the race. They may appear as stationary as earth itself; they roll on by the same momentum, they are the agents of the same force. Exertion without God: what more impotent? impotence touched by God's breath, God's hand: what can it not do? "Wait, I say, on the Lord." - J.







The Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not.
For nations and for individuals in view of political disasters or of private sorrows, the only holdfast to which cheerful hope may cling, is the old conviction, "The Lord God omnipotent reigneth."

I. ISAIAH'S APPEAL TO THE FAMILIAR THOUGHT OF AN UNCHANGEABLE GOD, AS THE ANTIDOTE TO ALL DESPONDENCY, AND THE FOUNDATION OF ALL HOPE. "Hast thou not known; hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? "To whom is he speaking? The words of the previous verse tell us, in which he addresses himself to Jacob, or Israel, who is represented as complaining: "My way is hid from the Lord." That is to say, he speaks to the believing, but despondent dent part of the exiles in Babylon. There is wonder in the question, there is a tinge of rebuke in it. The prophet takes his stand upon the most elementary truth of religion. His appeal to them is: "What do you call God? You call Him the Lord, do you not? What do you mean by calling Him that?" The life of men and of creatures is like a river, with its source and its course and its end. The life of God is like the ocean, with joyous movement of tides and currents of life and energy and purpose, but ever the same, and ever returning upon itself. "The everlasting God's the Lord; and Jehovah, the unchanged, unchangeable, inexhaustible Being, spends, and is unspent; gives, and is none the poorer; works, and is never wearied; lives, and with no tendency to death in His life; flames with no tendency to extinction in the blaze." "He fainteth not, neither is weary." Here is a lesson for us to learn, of meditative reflection upon the veriest commonplaces of our religion. There is a tendency among us to forget the indubitable, and to let our religious thought be occupied with the disputable and secondary parts of revelation. The commonplaces of religion are the most important. Everybody needs air, light, bread, and water. Meditate, then, upon the things most surely believed, and ever meditate until the dry stick of the commonplace truth puts forth buds and blossoms like Aaron's rod. We all have times, depending on mood or circumstances, when things seem black and we are weary. This great truth will shine into our gloom like a star into a dungeon. Are our he.arts to tremble for God's truth to-day? Are we to share in the pessimist views of some faint-hearted Christians? Surely as long as we can remember the name of the Lord, and His unwearied arm, we have nothing to do with fear or sadness for ourselves or for His Church or for His world.

II. THE UNWEARIED GOD GIVING STRENGTH TO WEARIED MAN. "Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall." Earth knows no independent strength. All earthly power is limited in range and duration, and, by the very law of its being, is steadily tending to weakness. But though that has a sad side, it has also a grand and blessed one. Man's needs are the open mouth into which God puts His gifts. The low earth stretches, grey and sorrowful, fiat and dreary, beneath the blue arched heaven, but the heaven stoops to encompass — ay! to touch it. "He giveth power to the faint, and to them that have no might He increaseth strength." Notice the preceding, words, "Lift up your eyes on high," and behold who hath created these things, etc. In the simple astronomy of those early times, there was no failure, nor decay, nor change, in the calm heavens. The planets, year by year, returned punctually to their place; and, unhasting and unresting, rolled upon their way. Weakness and weariness had no place there, but, says Isaiah, God's power does not show itself so nobly up there as it does down here. It is not so much to keep the strong in their strength as to give strength to the weak. It is much to "preserve the stars from wrong," it is more to restore and to break the power into feeble men.

III. THE WEARIED MAN LIFTED TO THE LEVEL OF THE UNWEARIED GOD, AND TO HIS LIKENESS. "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength." That phrase means, of course, the continuous bestowment in unintermitting sequence of fresh gifts of power, as each former gift becomes exhausted, and more is required. That continuous communication leads to the "perpetual youth" of the Christian soul. According to the law of physical life, decaying strength and advancing years tame and sober and disenchant and often make weary because we become familiar with all things and the edge is taken off everything. My text goes on to portray the blessed consequences of this continuous communication of Divine strength: "They shall run and not be weary." That is to say: this strength of God's poured into our hearts, if we wait upon Him, shall fit us for the moments of special hard effort, for the crises which require more than an ordinary amount of energy to be put forth. It will fit us, too, for the long, dreary hours which require nothing but keeping doggedly at monotonous duties — "They shall walk and not faint."

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

I. THE DIVINE BEING AS POSSESSED OF INFINITE ENERGY. "He fainteth not, neither is weary." His most stupendous works are rather the "hidings of His power," than the manifestations of His might. The fact of God's possessing infinite energy supplies us with four guarantees —

1. A guarantee of the regularity of the physical universe.

2. A guarantee of ability to fulfil His promises. Of what avail are promises if there be no executive energy?

3. A guarantee of His power to realise His threatenings.

4. A guarantee of Christ's final enthronement. Feeble instrumentality is no argument against this view. Nor is the guilty indifference of the Church.

II. THE DIVINE BEING AS POSSESSED OF INFINITE MENTAL CAPACITY. "There is no searching of His understanding." In God, therefore, there is a combination of infinite strength and infinite mind: power is under the government of intelligence! The universe is an embodied idea. Its minutest members are parts of one glorious thought. The infinite understanding of the Divine Being furnishes —

1. An assurance that the darkest providences are under the direction of infinite wisdom.

2. That no plot against His government can succeed.

3. That His plan of salvation is alone sufficient. Possessed of an understanding that is infinite, God knew the exact necessities of the human race, and provided that economy which alone could satisfy the cravings of human nature.

4. That He understands the peculiarities of every case. "Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed over from my God?" These words rebuke the idea that anything can escape the Divine notice. Christ knew all the springs of life, He saw the maladies which tainted the blood and crippled the faculties of man, and at the issue of His fiat the most malignant affection retreated as if in haste and shame!

5. An assurance of eternal variety in the study of His nature. "There is no searching of His understanding." The eldest born in eternity may at this moment employ this same language; for those who have seen most of the Divine glory, confess most loudly the infinitude of His resources. Application —

(1)What is your relationship to this all-glorious Being?

(2)If you are out of sympathy with this all-glorious Being, what is your hope for eternity?

(J. Parker, D. D.)

Homilist.
Power is a faculty for producing changes and performing works. There are three kinds or manifestations of power — physical, intellectual, and moral. I go into St. Paul's Cathedral when some grand religious service is performed, the choral part is of the highest order, the sermon is delivered by the grandest preacher of the day. Here I receive an impression of three manifestations of power. The bringing together and adjusting the stone, marble, iron, timber that compose the enormous structure, impress me with physical power-power to act on material bodies. In the architectural symmetry of the whole I am impressed with the intellectual power — power of planning and contriving so as to give utility, stability, and beauty to the whole. In the sacred music that floats around me and the eloquent sermon that is addressed to me, my nature is brought under the influence of moral power — power that rouses the conscience, that stirs the deepest sentiments of the soul. Out in open Nature these three kinds of manifestations of power appeal to man. God's power is inexhaustible in all these phases.

I. HIS PHYSICAL POWER IS INEXHAUSTIBLE. This will appear if we consider —

1. The nature of His work in the material department. He is the Originator of all.

2. The effect of His work in the material department.

3. The constancy of His work in the material department.

II. HIS INTELLECTUAL POWER IS INEXHAUSTIBLE. Intellectual force is as visible in nature to a thought. ful eye as physical. Science shows that everything — the minute and the vast, the proximate and the remote, is formed, sustained, and directed according to plan. "In Thy book all my members were written." Think of the boundless variety amongst all the flowers and trees that have ever grown. Amongst all the men of all the generations that are gone, have there been two in face and figure exactly alike? Here is intellectual fertility! The little intellectual force of contrivance possessed by the bee or the bird is very soon exhausted, Man, too, soon reaches a culminating point in inventive skill. But not so with God. But in the creations of the spiritual world the same inexhaustibleness of intellectual energy is displayed. Each spirit involves something of a new plan. On this little planet fresh souls appear every hour.

III. HIS MORAL POWER IS INEXHAUSTIBLE.

1. Look at His moral power in nature. Nature is brimful of the moral power of God; power appealing to the souls of men.

2. Look at His moral power in the Gospel. What is moral power? "Truth and grace."

(Homilist.)

Homilist.
I. HIS ENERGY IN THE SPHERE OF CONTRIVANCE IS INEXHAUSTIBLE.

1. Look at His contrivance in relation to matter. The rushing currents, the surging sea, the furious tempest, the revolution of planets, and the recurrence of the seasons — all give us the impression of power. But to the thoughtful, the intellectual force is as clearly developed in nature as the material, nay, is implied in the material.

2. Look at His contrivance in relation to spirit. Observe —

(1)Unceasing creation of new spirits.

(2)The government of spirits.

(3)The moral restoration of human spirits. What contrivance is here!

II. HIS ENERGY IN THE SPHERE OF EXECUTION IS INEXHAUSTIBLE. His power of working out His plans is equal to His power of invention.

1. It is so in the material. In the material realm God seems to develop His plans in two ways — directly and indirectly; without means and by means.

2. It is so in the spiritual. Let us look at His power to save. What is moral power? It is the power of truth. But the Gospel is the most powerful of any truth —

(1)Because it is moral truth.

(2)Because it is remedial truth.

(3)Because it is divinely embodied truth.Example is stronger than precept. The truths to be deduced from the whole are —(1) That the delay of punishment must not be referred to incapacity.(2) That the urging of difficulties against the fulfilment of Divine promises is an absurdity. There are two classes of promises against which we urge this. One relates to the conversion of the world. The other to the resurrection of the dead. It is not only possible for these promises to be fulfilled, but impossible for them not to be.(3) That if we are immortal we shall witness new manifestations of Divine power for ever.(4) That the interest as well as duty of every man is to cultivate friendship with God. You are safe if you have God as a refuge.

(Homilist.)

Was it a true thing these exiles said? They suggested that they had worn out the Divine patience. They were ready to admit that He had been the God of their fathers; but He had now withdrawn from His covenant relationship, and would be favourable no more. That, they said, was the reason why they were allowed to languish year after year on the plains of Babylon. They spoke as though they had never known nor heard some of the most rudimentary facts about the nature and ways of God. "Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard?" In our dark hours we should revert to considerations which have been familiar to us from childhood, but have of late ceased to exert a definite impression.

(F. B. Meyer, B. A.)

The terms by which God is described are not what may be termed the gracious designations which are often employed to describe Him; it is not the Father, the Redeemer, the Gentle One; it is the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, as if Divine comfort were not a sentiment only, as if Divine comfort did not come only out of the Divine emotions, but poured itself down upon us from all that is majestic, dominant, mighty, immeasurable, royal, and grand in the Divine nature.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

s: — It is said to be the property of a crystal to assume precisely the same form into however many fragments it may be broken up. The infinitesimal particle, for the study of which a magnifying glass must be used, is a precise facsimile of the parent crystal from which it came. If we could take God's eternity and break it up into aeons, if we could take the aeons and break them up into ages, and the ages into centuries, and the centuries into years, and the years into days, and the days into hours, and the hours into moments, we should find each separate moment of God's life to be just as resplendent with benignity, compassion, redeeming grace, and helpfulness, as His sublime eternity itself.

(T. G. Selby.)

A story is told of a little girl whose faith in God may teach us a lesson. The lamp had just been put out, and the little girl was rather afraid of the dark. But presently she saw the bright moon out of her window, and she asked her mother, "Is the moon God's light? Yes, Ethel," the mother replied; "the moon and stars are all God's lights." "Will God blow out His light and go to sleep too?" she asked again. "No, my child," replied the mother, "God's lights are always burning." "Well, mamma," said Ethel, "while God's awake, I'm not afraid."

There is no searching of His understanding
How to reconcile the approving verdict of creative wisdom, "God saw that it was good," with that condition of things of which St. Paul speaks as the whole creation groaning and travailing in pain together; how to reconcile the idea of Almighty goodness with the existence of universal and apparently aimless conflict and struggle for destruction, is a question that, in itself, would seem incapable of exaggerated statement. It is the old, old question, which we shall see solved in the day, and not before the day, when He, the Son, the Creator, shall have put all things under Him; the question between life and death. Still if wisdom is to be justified of her children, we cannot bear as her children not to try to justify her; and although we know that we shall not attain to the answer, we cannot help hearing and thinking of the question. We look first at the possibilities which lie in what God has not revealed, and secondly for the particulars which, in developing His message and expanding our power of receiving it, and in regulating our conduct under and in consequence of it, it has pleased Him to make known to us about Himself. We may without presumption, certainly with nothing short of the most timid tentativeness, approach such mysteries as the travailing of creation, the gradual character of Divine revelation, the delay of the consummation of the mediatorial work, the agency of external and previous influences on the will, the conduct and the responsibility of human beings. All these four matters are of vivid and universal interest, ancient questions, older than Genesis, older than Socrates, older than Archimedes, older than Enoch; questions that no new theories can answer, problems that admit of constant new illustrations, but lie in the very incunabula of human thought. Take them in order.

1. In that beginning of which the first verse of the Bible speaks, the Creator, Almighty and All good, called matter into being: the material world, in that conformation which science reveals to us, may be the result, not only of immensely long periods of energy, but of immensely varied methods of agency; when it comes within our ken it is seen to be the result of operations into which pain and death largely enter, and in which, so far as we can see, they are still, with no traceable connection with mankind, actively at work. In our contemplation of pain and death in human morals, we trace back both to the effect of sin, and sin to the depravation of the free will at the fall of man. What hinders us from conceiving that the existence and continuance of such measures of pain and death as are found anterior to the existence of man, and external to the operation of his moral agency, are the results of a freedom granted to pre-existent, or continued, perverted, and fallen agencies, about which we have no other knowledge? It may surely be as likely that the creation or developing of man on earth, for the vanquishing of evil and the working out of blessing in redemptive and restorative work, may, mixed as are its effects now, be a step in a very gradual victory, by which pre-existent and continuing evil, arising from a pre-existent and continuing perversion, is being brought under the feet of the Only Begotten of the Father? Interminable cycles of the years measured by the revolutions of the earth, by the working of our system, and by the cosmic movements of the universe, might be required, but what obstacle does such a calculation place in the way of such a possibility with an Agent Infinite and Eternal? There is the evil, there is the slowness of the working of law, but there is eternity before and behind. Who shall say to Him, What doest Thou? There shall be no more pain: but it shall be when the former things are passed away.

2. Then, the slowness of revelation and its gradual character? We can either account for that by the reason of law that works so, or by the absolute necessity, the terms and conditions of the situation being such that it should be so; that is, we may either assume the law or justify the law. We have no more right to lay it down, as an axiom, that the perfect God could or would reveal Himself entirely by one act of revelation, than that He would give men free will and always keep it in conformity with His own will. The revelation, to be a part of the victory, must be a revelation that would expand with the expansion of the receiving minds, giving them the choice between light and darkness, and suffering and enabling them to rejoice in the light rather than the darkness. It must have a beginning: the words of revelation must be spoken in the language that the receiver can comprehend; must be weighted with elements that will hold them fast in his mind; must be seasoned with a stimulus that shall provoke his appetite for knowledge. And now that, in the fulness of time, grace and truth are come by Jesus Christ, and in Him, the brightness of His Father's glory and the express image of His Person, we recognise the perfection of the revelation by which He guides many sons unto glory, we yet are warned that the guide of our life is faith; and heaven itself, in which we trust to know more, and love more, and be conformed to the likeness more, in wonderful growths of the finite into the knowledge, love, and likeness of the Infinite, shall be a perfection of revelation, but even so a revelation of new vistas of perfection, of knowledge, love, and likeness. But glorious as this prospect is, and humble, prostrate, as we lie now on the threshold of the vision, we know that we have not come so far as we have come, but by a long series of dispensations and disciplines; a method, a law of enlightenment, that ages and generations, rising and falling nations, tested and discarded philosophies, have exemplified. God could have revealed the plan of Redemption, could have redeemed the world as soon as Adam fell, as He might have kept him from falling, or stayed the propagation of evil in the first generation: but He would overcome evil with good, and bring out the victory in His own way, preparing the world by the experience of vanity, disciplining the world by the struggle against the causes of misery, and at the last sending His Son.

3. How about the twilight, and those who wandered in it to their fall, before the Daystar arose? How about those who are sitting still in darkness? Does not He care? Are they not safer in His contemplation than in our perplexed hearts? But now that grace and truth are come; — eighteen hundred years ago He founded His Church, and for all that time she has been working; with some drawbacks that she might have overcome, but still working; and three-quarters of the globe are full of heathendom still, and seventy generations of souls have passed away under the cloud of darkness. Is not this strange? Is it all the effect of a neglect that, if it be unmodified by other causes, must be accounted nothing less than a failure of a purpose that assumes to be Divine? Here again we come upon a trace of law that is not to be broken. For fifteen hundred out of the eighteen hundred years of Christianity, one-half of the inhabited world was unknown to the other half; no revelation of God opened up the new world; it was left for discovery to human enterprise, under a guidance, active, certain, but by no means exceptional to the recognised movements of society; and when discovered it was full of strange languages, and of people so framed and disciplined as to have none of the special training by which the old world has been broken up for the reception of the seed of the Word; and when it had been claimed and appropriated and made intelligible and opened up, no part of the process seemed to be overruled for the rapid progress of Gospel light; no new miracles, no new manifestations; all had to be done line upon line, precept upon precept, with lisping voice and stammering tongue. If that ancient strange darkness is indeed evil — and who shall say it is not in the face of the true light? — surely there is some secret in the hand of the Lord that shall justify the delay, and shall vindicate the means in the day of victory.

4. But once more. We are told, and we know it in its measure to be true, that in the course of this world causes and consequences, multiplying and intensifying from generation to generation, do so mould the minds and thoughts of men as seriously to endanger the sense of personal responsibility, and practically to limit anything like free moral agency. We are told, in fact, that we are what our forefathers, our circumstances, our manners and customs, our teaching and religion make us, and scarcely anything more; and so, if we are vicious it is something over which we have no control that makes us so; or, if we are virtuous it is something for which we have no credit; and if we are betwixt and between, we are as God, if there be a God, let circumstances, heredity, the accidents of life, and the stream of family history make us. There is much truth in the statement of facts. There are at least two considerations to modify it: first, the influence of circumstance and cause is not unmixed; there is good as well as evil in the force that impels us; secondly, there is in every one of us, weak, wavering, as we may be, enough of freedom to determine our choice between the good and evil of the circumstance. Each man who has ever lived, and each action of his life, has contributed something; something that of course only the Divine knowledge can discriminate or appreciate, but which is a contribution to the course of this world for good or for evil, and so we have to do the same. God has great purposes to serve, and blesses what little we can consciously do towards the victory of His Son. When we look at the chart of human history, even for the six thousand years that the old chronology delimits for us, and see how great the expanse of ages, in which we know that there were human lives, making experience and influence, and yet whose experience and influence had, so far as we know, nothing to do with the existing conditions of modern society, and see how all that consciously constitutes what we know as modern society falls into a comparatively insignificant section of the chart; and if we take the map of the earth and stretch our compasses across the breadth and length of Christendom, and then look at the heavens, the work of His fingers, and the stars that measure His times and seasons for us, and beyond all that into eternity and infinity of energy; surely we must feel that we cannot limit possibilities or impossibilities, the measure of Goodness and Almightiness, by the line and plummet of our own intelligence. What is man that Thou visitest him? Yet Thou hast visited him, and made him lower than the angels to crown him with glory and power.

(Bishop of Chester.)

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