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truth. For, if I have not failed wholly to express the mind of St. John, I have shown you that it is Life we want; that everything is worthless except that. He denounces those who had separated from them only because they refused the humble life of Jesus, and preferred a proud, self-exalting life of their own. It is the life of a Son, a filial life, which he desires we should all possess; it is a life which does not exclude one human creature from its blessed
That we rise into theology when we seek for this life, I have confessed from the first; for theology means the teaching or word concerning God; and St. John's teaching or word concerning God is, that this loving universal life is His; and that He has made us partakers of it. But if we rise into theology, it is not that we may bring ourselves into a circle of notions, opinions, dogmas; it is that we may escape from them; it is that we may drop the forms and conceits of our mind, as the butterfly drops the chrysalis in which it has been buried. I know that there have been endless controversies about the Unity of the Father and the Son in the Spirit. These controversies have, I think, all served to show what a deep, allembracing unity it is; how it takes up our different thoughts and conceptions into itself; how we enter into it most when we are most seeking for union and fellowship with all our brethren; with the God who in His well-beloved Son adopts them and us as His children. He who is proud and contentious, i.e. whose life is in the wrong, will certainly never acknowledge the Son and the Father as St. John acknowledges them, however accurately he may pronounce the creed respecting them. For he will have another spirit than that uniting reconciling Spirit, to which St. John
THE RIGHT AND WRONG LIFE.
declares that God in Christ has anointed us. And he who is humble and earnest, i. e. whose life is in the right, will find the Father and the Son, and will at last abide in them, however much he may be perplexed about the Articles of the Creed, because the Spirit of the Father and Son has bestowed that true mind upon him, and will guide him into all truth.
HOPE; ITS GROUND, OBJECT, AND EFFECT.
1 JOHN II. 28 29 · III. 1-6.
And now, little children, abide in Him; that, when He shall appear, we may
have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. If ye know that He is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of Him. Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall sce Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law : for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins ; and in Him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not : whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him, neither known Him.
St. John is speaking to his little children as to human beings. He wants them to exercise their proper human privileges. What are these? To eat, to drink, to sleep ? or, to remember, to trust, to hope? The first belong to us as animals ; the others belong to us as men. The first support the life which each of us has apart from his neighbours; the others are exercises of the life which we have
THE DRYING UP OF LIFE.
in common, which bind us as man to man. Are these exercises then to be less habitual, less substantial than those ? Have they not much more to do with our own very selves ? Do they not require as much direction that they may not miss their proper object?
May they not have many objects? May I not remember many friends ; trust many promises ; hope for many blessings that I have not yet? Assuredly, the more memory, the more trust, the more hope the better. The fear is lest they should wither and perish, not lest they should expand too much or find too many outlets. And we know from bitter experience that they do wither and perish, that there is a tendency in us all to forget, to be distrustful, to despair. Disappointments which we meet with from other men, and still more from ourselves, the loss of the spring of youth that was once in us, the presence of petty cares, the anticipation of coming evils, the sense of evils committed, all are stealing away hour by hour something of our human life. You have seen, perhaps, a man surrounded by all possible outward comforts and luxuries; he has grown old in the midst of them; they have become necessaries to him, of which he does not think, but complains bitterly if he misses any of them. You have seen him girt round by comforts, yet he is altogether without comfort; his heart is dried up within him; his countenance exhibits a vague, vacant longing for something that he has not; everything that he has is weariness and vexation to him ; he cares for nothing and no person. The man seems to be gone. Yet he had a mother, who nursed him and watched over him ; sisters; perhaps a wife, and children. He may even have friends, who remember him as a cordial companion, full of merriment, intelligence, wit; and who still cleave to him, now that he is only the shadow of what he was. Such a man is a spectacle and a warning to us all.
There is nothing in us which there was not in him ; he may have had more glow of heart, more of benevolence and geniality than we can boast of. Medical men, who meet with a multitude of such cases, often ask how we can reconcile them with our belief in man's immortality ; 'for do we not
see here,' they say, 'an end, not of the body's life, but of * the soul's life, of all that is worth preserving in this world or any other?'
To such questions I should be unable to make any answer, or to the still more awful questions which present themselves to me, when I think of the spiritual death which I have found in myself, if I did not receive that message which St. John delivered, respecting a Fountain of Life-a divine life from which human life is derived, by which its springs may be renewed, in which it can find its full repose and satisfaction. The words · Little children, abide in Him,' are the simplest encouragement to remember that Christ is this Fountain of Life for every man, to trust in Him, to hope in Him. The word abide' denotes that we are united to Him; but that it is in our power to deny that we are, and to act as if we were independent of Him. In the fifteenth chapter of St. John's Gospel that truth is illustrated with great fulness. Our Lord says to His disciples, as they walk towards the Mount of Olives, after the last Passover, 'I am the Vine, ye are the branches. As the branch cannot bear fruit, except it abide in the vine ; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me.' The branch has no power to sever itself from the vine; but it may be severed by some acci