The grand practical lesson, therefore, which is impressed upon us by this fact of the union of man with man, is for each of us to be right, and to do light. Each man is responsible for himself, and for himself only, for what he himself is and does. The secret, then, is a very simple one, by which we can at once receive all the good that can possibly be derived from whatever influences are brought to bear upon ourselves, and do all the good which can possibly be conferred by whatever influence we can exercise upon others; and it is this—to be good ourselves! This is the one centre point of light in the soul, its one germ of immortal life, which must be possessed in order that all light and life may come to us, and emanate from us. Let us only possess the right state of spirit to God and man, and we have the divine chemistry which will convert all we receive and all we give into what will surely bless ourselves and others.
And if it is asked how this secret can be ours, we have but one reply, and it is the old one—Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, live, and love! Jesus Christ is the living Head of the human family. “The Head of every man is Christ.” As the eternal Son, He dwelt among us, and revealed to us the Father and Himself, the elder brother. “He is the propitiation for our sins; and not for our sins only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” He has ascended up on high, and ever liveth for us as Mediator, “to bring many sons and daughters unto God.” He has sent His Holy Spirit to be with us, and to abide in us for ever. That Spirit reveals to all who will receive His teaching, the glory of God our Father in Christ Jesus the Son, our Brother.
Just in proportion as men know God as their Father in Christ, and become true sons to Him, will they become united to each other as true brethren; and thus the real and highest unity of man with man will be realised as the Church of Christ possesses the earth, and her prayer is answered, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven!”
The beginning of the nineteenth century marks an epoch of revival in the Protestant Church. It would be going beyond the limits prescribed by our subject to consider the causes of that remarkable reaction into indifference of life, or of positive error in doctrine, which followed more or less rapidly the stirring period of the Reformation. Such tides, indeed, in the affairs of men,—now rushing with irresistible waves to the utmost limit of the land; then receding and leaving behind but a few pools to mark where the waters once had been; and again, after a longer or a shorter interval, advancing with a deep flood over the old ground,—are among the most striking phenomena in history.