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sciences now sing, to the Power that was and is and is to be, and that organizes its august purposes and high behests in the rational and moral consciousness of man?
A similar ground for amity may be found for bringing together the old disputants in the Christian Church about the doctrine of incarnation. The affirmation of God in human nature is, as we have seen, only a statement, in the more familiar phraseology of religion, of the scientific doctrine. that the Eternal Energy, working its way upward through various orders of organic life, finally produces and embodies itself in the organism of man, in whose capacities of rational thought, of moral perception and volition, and of disinterested love, it reveals its own purpose and secures a finite helper of its own kith, in the execution of its aims. And this is, essentially, the doctrine of incarnation. Man is the offspring of the Eternal Power in a larger, higher sense than are the lower creatures which have come from the all-producing Energy. Man is the moral offspring of the Eternal Power, and revealer, therefore, of its moral nature. Man can thus legitimately claim conscious sonship and heirship to Deity. The rational and moral character in him, since it can have no other source, is of the same substance and character with the Eternal Power whence it proceeds. Not all men, indeed, give evidence in their lives of this great fact of legitimate kinship to Deity. They who give high and full evidence of it are very few.
But the germinal possibilities of moral character are in the human race and, in a measure, in all individuals. It is but natural, however, that those who have incarnated in their lives most of the Eternal and Divine should have been regarded in ages of the world's simplicity of thought as having been miraculously endowed and born. So we even speak to-day of exceptionally great intellects as "godlike." And thus the doctrine of incarnation as a process exceptional and supernatural arose. In Christendom it was only Jesus that was the Son of God; in a large part of Asia, only Buddha. But science to-day is teaching a larger fact, that comprehends all exceptions and belittles all alleged miracles, the fact that man, in his mental and moral capacities, is the veritable incarnation and responsible vicegerent of Eternal Power on this. earth. "The history of Jesus," as Emerson said, becomes in this view "the history of every man, written large."
Still again the various religions, with their conflicting claims and bitter contentions, may find terms of peace in the recognition of religion itself as the affirmation of God in human nature. Now the religions each have their founders and prophets and scriptures, each claiming to reveal the one true God. But the one true God is not provincial, but universal; not tribal, but of all races and nations; not now and here, but everywhere and of all time. When science says that the Eternal Energy has embodied itself in humanity and disclosed necessarily
its own character and purpose in the rational and moral faculties of human nature, it points to the path of reconciliation among the now antagonistic religions of the world. They all claim rightly to be in legitimate connection with the Power Eternal and Divine. They all claim rightly to have some revelation of that Power, which, though they may claim for it supernatural origin, has actually come to them through the natural utterances of the rational and moral consciousness of human nature. Here then is their ground of unity. They are but different developments and manifestations of the same Power, branches from one common root, or, as Paul phrased it, "There are diversities of operations, but it is the same God who worketh all in all."]
But it is more than time that I turned to what I named as the second division of my topic,— the practical application of the definition of religion as the affirmation of God in human nature to individual and personal needs, or its reconciling power in the actual struggles of life. And I touch here a subject, a central and fundamental truth of religious life, let me say, so momentous in its bearings, so solemn in respect to the responsibilities it devolves upon every one of us, that I know I can only treat it very inadequately. Though I have touched it or treated it scores of times in the course of my ministry, I have never yet been able to treat it to my satisfaction in the depth and breadth and height with which it some
times presents itself to my mental vision. subject, the Life and Power of God in the Soul of Man, was the subject of the first sermon I ever wrote; and, if in the last sermon I shall ever write, I could rightly deliver the message on this great theme toward which my thought aspires, I should deem it the highest crown my life work could receive. Here in this truth I am convinced. is the gospel which this doubting, troubled age most needs, this age of material prosperity and ambitions, this age of many threatening and perilous evils, but of noble moral and humanitarian aspirations. Amid these conflicting aims, here is the mediatorial motive needed for guidance, health, safety, and genuine progress. Could it be given to me to go through our land to proclaim with adequate power this gospel, I could ask for no higher mission. Here is the reconciling, atoning, saving religion of the future, - the gospel that is alike. needed in the marts of trade, in the halls of politics, in the industries and professions, in homes and churches and social life.
Religion as the affirmation of God in human nature; religion as the proclamation of the veritable incarnation of the Eternal Power, with its attributes of intelligence and moral purpose in the human faculties, not by supernatural, exceptional inspiration, but naturally and inherently there in the very substance, fibre, and organism of the faculties themselves; religion as the organized presence, power, and life of God in the human
soul,— how can any one of us so bring this truth before ourselves that we may actually comprehend it and behold it and feel it in all its mighty import? That capacity within you to discern truth from error; that mental loyalty to truth which will not let you betray her when the highest motive controls you; that conscious drawing of your hearts toward the highest rectitude, which only gives you ease and joy when you follow it; that sense of moral purity which shrinks instinctively from all uncleanness of thought and conduct; that impulse of disinterested love which summons you humbly to serve rather than selfishly to enjoy; your gifts of reason; your abilities to overcome difficulties, to transform nature's blind forces into benefits, to conquer vice and triumph over sorrow; your aspirations after knowledge; your domestic affections; all your noble enthusiasms for right and duty; the law laid upon all your faculties to do the utmost service with them for human good,these are all not merely channels into which the Divine Life flows as if from an outward source, but they are the very energies themselves of the living power of the Eternal, vitally organized in the very substance of your being, and energies that are ever striving through you and in you and in all human beings toward the production of nobler forms of character and life, and of social welfare. This is the momentous import of our doctrine that religion is the affirmation of God in human nature. With this sovereign majesty of responsibility for