I conclude by calling attention to the comprehensiveness of Christ’s authority. After His crucifixion and resurrection—in His last conference with His followers—He announces His boldest claim to power universal and perpetual (Matt. 28):
... All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Here is a Gospel intended for every human being; here is a code of morals that is to endure for all time; here is a solution for every problem that can vex a heart or perplex a world, and back of these is all power in Heaven and in Earth.
The word all is used four times in a few sentences. There is nothing in reserve. We have the final word in religion—Jesus Christ for all, and for all time—“The same yesterday, and to-day and forever.”
THE ORIGIN OF MAN
When the mainspring is broken a watch ceases to be useful as a timekeeper. A handsome case may make it still an ornament and the parts may have a market value, but it cannot serve the purpose of a watch. There is that in each human life that corresponds to the mainspring of a watch—that which is absolutely necessary if the life is to be what it should be, a real life and not a mere existence. That necessary thing is a belief in God. Religion is defined as the relation between God and man, and Tolstoy has described morality as the outward expression of this inward relationship.
If it be true, as I believe it is, that morality is dependent upon religion, then religion is not only the most practical thing in the world, but the first essential. Without religion, viz., a sense of dependence upon God and reverence for Him, one can play a part in both the physical and the intellectual world, but he cannot live up to the possibilities which God has placed within the reach of each human being.
A belief in God is fundamental; upon it rest the influences that control life.
First, the consciousness of God’s presence in the life gives one a sense of responsibility to the Creator for every thought and word and deed.
Second, prayer rests upon a belief in God; communion with the Creator in the expression of gratitude and in pleas for guidance powerfully influences man.
Third, belief in a personal immortality rests upon faith in God; the inward restraint that one finds in a faith that looks forward to a future life with its rewards and punishments, makes outward restraint less necessary. Man is weak enough in hours of temptation, even when he is fortified by the conviction that this life is but a small arc of an infinite circle; his power of resistance is greatly impaired if he accepts the doctrine that conscious existence terminates with death.