As drops make the ocean and molecules the mountain, so man, the individual, makes up the myriad-aggregate of national life. A nation is what its people are, just as the earth is what its atoms are. We are lost in the haze of vagueness the moment we lose sight of this guide-post principle. Didactics are dull and unprofitable, except as you sharpen them to personal points. Preaching has power as proportioned to its individual application. Teaching is efficient only as you adjust it to the measure of each capacity, or the scope of each want. There is no moral life to a nation to which we can address reproof or instruction. There is no character to society which we can mould or modify. These things are but the myths of theorists and visionaries. We must know a nation only in its citizens. We must know society only in its members. The whole matter is a question of units, of what each man has and is. It is a question of personal endowment, personal opportunity, personal influence and responsibility, and last, but not least, of personal accountability to God. When, then, as upon this day of National Thanksgiving, the Ministers of Christ are invited by the recognized authorities to lead the people in [3/4] grateful devotions, and speak to the nation a word in season I feel that I can neither in the one case nor the other, attempt the discharge of the duty thus devolved, except as I go from heart to heart, from ear to ear, that love may be kindled and conscience be quickened.
What the Bishop of Ephesus, by inspiration, wrote to Gaius, Christ writes to the world full of souls equally "well beloved." And what Christ writes thus in behalf of the soul's weal, I proffer as a word in season to the men and women who make up this great Commonweal. I hail my country on this Thanksgiving Anniversary with the Gospel salutation that she may prosper and be in health, even and only as her children prosper in personal holiness. This is God's guage of individual welfare, and God forbid that we should offer the nation other standard than this. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation,--and we are ignorant of any other righteousness than that of Christ, imputed to or acquired by each separate soul. It is sin that is a reproach to any people,--and we know not of sin except as it has its spring in the heart, and its play in the life of each separate man. Between these extremes we are to find the oscillation of what is called National Character. Upon this antithesis the moral status of a nation has its foundation. "Let the people praise Thee, O God! yea, let all the people praise Thee;" then can it be said of us, that we are a people "fearing God and working righteousness." Let the people be given up to the delusion of their own hearts, honoring God neither in substance nor in speech, and then, on the contrary, shall we be justly known and described as a "Nation of evil doers," "a people that do err in their hearts," "a generation of transgressors;" and then shall "Ichabod" be written in letters of flame upon the Nation's frontlet. "We [4/5] have no alternative but to mark the swing of the stern pendulum as it vibrates from the point of approval to the point of vengeance, while the dial of the great century clock reveals the crisis hours when prosperity ends and decadence begins, or again, when anarchy has run its course and order is again enthroned. If we accept this to be the true philosophy of national life, as it is connected with religion and religious responsibility,--if there be a God in history, and a divine hand reached forth in the Providential direction of national as of personal events, does it not become us, in the light of this teaching, seriously to inquire upon, a day like this, what are the true constituents of national health, and whether we have held them in the organism of our body politic; and furthermore, whether we may auspicate well of the future in view of the present religious aspects of our American community? We may indulge no auguries of the Nation's prosperity until we are well informed of the condition of the Nation's moral health. During the past year we have been spared the desolation of war, the ravages of the pestilence, and the horrors of famine. To-day, we bless God for the sweets of peace, and the prevalence of physical health, for the "barns filled with plenty," and the "presses bursting out with new wine." We thank the Glorious Giver that we are again enriched with "the fruits of the earth" as well as the "other blessings of His manifold providence;" recalling, as we do, the time-long pledge that "seed time and harvest shall not fail." But in view of the fact that there is another seed-time and another harvest,--a sowing and reaping not conditioned upon the revolving seasons, not limited to the boundary of months or even years,--a sowing and reaping, which, in their success or failure, are to gladden or sadden, not for the twelvemonth's speedy round, [5/6] but for the calm and unending march of the eternal life, let us confer together upon this grander theme, that under the guidance and God-speed of the Holy Spirit, we may help to make sure the succession of grateful years,--so that the anthems of to-day shall richly reverberate down the glad aisles of the future and have their final echoes lost in the trumpet calls of the summoning angels. For God's word "standeth sure," and centuries hence, as now, as centuries ago, the truth is the same to the individual and the nation, that prosperity and health are conditioned upon fidelity.
Since time began, Idolatry and Lying have been the world's scarlet sins. As they have most madly rioted in the heart and dominated in the life of individuals,--as a consequence inevitable, we have seen them furiously rampant in national life Age after age has rehearsed the story of the birth, growth and monstrous development of these sins,--of which men are forewarned, against which society passes resolutions of exclusion, and which the schools of morality blackballed; sins which the Bible describes in terms of anathema, which the Church excoriates in the dogmas of doctrine and the decrees of discipline,--sins at which God thunders from the cloud canopy that floated above the Ark, from the dazzling peaks of Sinai, from the lurid darkness of Calvary, in the mad battle cry of men who make so many fields the arenas for Divine vengeance, and in the belching artillery whose thunderous diapason is but the commingling of the sin-voices of earth with the wrath-tones of God,--and yet, and yet, men bow to stocks and stones, worship self, sense, gold, power, until the nation, inoculate with the poison that infects the life of her citizens, finds in her councils and in her administration nothing but policies of [6/7] aggrandizement, and schemes of extended empire, and plans of oppression,--all the product of the sins which have been born and bred in the heart and household of the citizen. In like manner has history disclosed to us the culmination in national crime of the deceit which men foster in the seclusion of the inner life, hug up in the secret embrace of their individualism, and bring forth for the over-reaching of friend or brother, or for the common practice or occasional exigencies of business life. As men lie to each other in the senseless parlance of fashionable interchange, in the counting room, on the hustings, or in the average commerce of the street, parlour, and office, so is the nation taught to lie. And what have we for result? In wars, he who can best deceive is the ablest strategist. In diplomacy, he who has in finest exercise the art of the double tongue, or that reticency which makes the suppressio veri accomplish the equivalent of the assertio falsi, is hailed as the first of ambassadors. In politics, he who best manipulates the masses, by whatever means, is the Talleyrand of the hour, most regarded because most availing and available. In legislation, the privileged oligarchy make laws, which propose the greatest good to the greatest number only as a mask to the greed and corruption which fatten and fester in secret.
These are national sins which follow in the wake of personal indulgence in idolatry and falsehood. To the shame of our race let it be said, that these sins have not been confined to barbaric eras and savage nations, but on the contrary, seem to have a larger development as we approach the highest forms of civilization. Idolatry, involving infidelity to God and a derogation of His dignity,--lying, involving an insult to the Divine command and a direct contravention of the whole [7/8] system of Gospel morality, ah, how often have these been the precursors of ruin to nations and to individuals,--nay, more, to Churches, whose office in chief is the enhancement of God's glory in worship, and the propagation of His truth in practical Evangelism! In no spirit of terrorism, but that the truth may be plainly told, it must be confessed that our people and nation are justly obnoxious to the charge of both idolatry and falsehood. They are the vices of society and the state. The church is invaded by idolatry. The press and the platform are poisoned with untruth. The old oracles have lying lips. The generation that is now growing to maturity scarce know what to believe or whom to worship. Old land marks are torn down. Old beacon lights are extinguished. The traditional teachers are silenced. Venerated truths are boldly controverted. Standards are scoffed at. The most sacred shrines are defiled and altars to unknown gods are reared alike in the temples of religion and mammon. I appeal to every calm student of the times, to every thinking moralist, to every earnest evangelist, to check me if I overstate the criminality of the crisis. Historic Home never knew a more enervate luxury than that which now caters to the idolatry of sense in this American land. A greater recklessness of moral obligation than that which now conditions the extravagance of our community has never been known in the history of civilization. Lying, under the softening epithet of misrepresentation, enters as a part of the daily discipline of those callings which have the most flattering prestige of success. Can such things be, and still God be our God? Can this Great Nation expect to prosper and be in health, while thus outraging the very conditions upon which the God of Nations pledges prosperity and health? We are proud of this patriot's [8/9] patrimony, stretching its broad leagues from ocean to ocean, deep calling unto deep in the commingled echoes of our midland mountain ranges, and sending up to God the glad chorus of praise. We are proud of our splendid inheritance of liberty, proud of our magnificent resources, of our rapid increase, our growing strength, our privileges of culture, our athletic enterprise, our teeming millions, and our religious freedom. As we look upon our star-gemmed flag, and upon our heroic history, the pulse quickens and the heart-beats high. But as we look again upon our people bowing before golden calves, upon our Churches infested with error, upon our Godless councils and our Christless society, upon the enthronement of falsehood and the overthrow of truth, we can but cower in the awful dread of that coming justice which shall sweep away the "refuge of lies," and "utterly demolish the idols," and with them, the idolaters. "No weapon formed against thee, O God! can prosper;" and therefore it is that men who mail themselves in the armor of the world should be warned by those who profess to have put on "the armor of God." Therefore it is, that in this great centre of our national life, standing in the midst of its squalor and its splendor, looking upon the panorama of magnificence and misery, with gaunt want and plethoric opulence, bitter blasphemy and zealous piety, grouped in contrasts at once touching and terrible,--looking again upon the idols set up at the street corners and in church chancels, the desperate deceit that parades the pavements, grimly grinning behind its mask of gauze,--therefore it is, that we can do no other than, Jonah-like, lift up our voices and prophesy against the wickednesss of this modern Nineveh.
We of this nineteenth Christian century have an accumulated inheritance. We have the riches of the past and the [9/10] ten-fold greater wealth of the present, all combined in the spiritual endowment of the generation to which we belong. Shall this supremely favored race and country be known in history, be known in the record-book of God, as pre-eminently the Prodigal of Nations? As consequents upon the sins to which I have adverted, even the shallowest observer can see that we are not advancing in religious life as in political power. Business enterprise and activity far outstrip evangelic effort. The great wave of emigration that is flowing westward has its foaming crest but faintly gilded with flashes from the Sun of righteousness. In our new cities they build houses for all classes, but no home for the missionary. On the thronged silver mountains and in the golden gorges, there seems but little place for him of whom it is written, "How beautiful upon the mountains,"--more beautiful than the glittering ores of Nevada and California, more beautiful than "the cattle upon a thousand hills,"--"how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace."
To say nothing more of the comparatively feeble aggressiveness of evangelic effort, we have to mourn that religion even in its strongest entrenchments, is suffering from the upas-shade cast over it by the towering sins of the times. That it may perchance be more popular, it is made more sensuous. That it may be more attractive, it is made more spectacular. That it may satisfy the morbid craving for novelty, it is associated with hot-house errors, planted and forced into false vitality and maturity to meet instant exigencies. So that today the household of every Church in this land has guests whom our fathers would have spurned as traitors to the Holy Faith. Holding fast to our franchises as citizens and to our [10/11] freedom as a Nation with firmer grip and more heroic resolution as the years roll by,---is there any so blind as not to see that we are holding with loosening grasp to the "Faith once delivered to the saints," and giving up little by little our adhesion to those redeeming truths which alone have elevated the race and decorated the pages of its history? With the souls of the great majority of our people fed upon the mere husks of truth, may we not hope that the time is near when the Prodigal shall "come to himself," and under the lead of a giant, conviction shall arise and return to the Father. As we cannot, dare not, hope or pray for the continuance of "prosperity and health" while outraging the conditions upon which alone God gives them, shall we not, with an uplook to the Giver and an outlook to the future, humbly and heroically resolve to eliminate these black and blasting sins, and return to our fidelity under the Covenant,--having "judgment begin at the House of God," making "the tree good" that "the fruit may be good," purifying the fountain that the overflow may be clear and pure and refreshing, cultivating personal holiness that we may have "lively stones" for the architecture of national truth and righteousness.
But let us turn from the contemplation of the body stricken with disease to the more grateful office of ascertaining the remedies, that we may have at least before us the spectacle of ideal health, awaiting in prayer and work the glad hour of perfect moral renovation. What are then the essential elements of national prosperity and health? That these are moral rather than material, it is scarcely worth while for me to debate in the audience of a Bible-believing community. In the noble and oft-quoted verse of one who wrote from a secular point of view, the state is not a thing of "high-raised [11/12] battlement, thick wall, and moated gate," but an aggregate of "men, high-minded men, men who their duties know." This introduces us to the first constituent of civil health viz., the knowledge of duty in order to its performance. Where shall this be learned? In the "thin diluted mixture" of philosophy, or in the incongruous compounds presented in the schools of morals, can we receive the infallible teachings which are to educate and discipline the man and the Nation? When we have a divine and omniscient Teacher, shall we prefer one who is human and imperfectly informed? The Bible is given for the education of the world, to be known not through the humanly-authorized interpretations of its meaning, but through the illumination of the Holy Ghost, whose office it is to "lead into all truth," and show us the glory of it. The man who reads the Bible most, and in the atmosphere of prayer, is the wisest man of his generation. God is his teacher, and he is being educated for two worlds. He is above controversy and doubt, for he lives and learns in the vestibule of the Church triumphant. Give me a nation of such men, and I will realize before you the ideal of national prosperity and health. If then we accept God's guage, we must begin by being a Bible-loving and a Bible-learning people.
Again, God made this world for His glory--"the world and all that therein is." If we honor Him not by the honest confession of our lips, if we give not to Him of "the first fruits of all our increase," if we do not make His name and His cause paramount, if we be not jealous for Him as our chiefest friend and everlasting King,--we rob God, we give His glory to another, we become idolators, we are worshippers at other shrines,--and we are, for such cause, engloomed in the reflections [12/13] of His frown. There is no escaping this unchanging ordination of the High and Holy One. God must he lifted up in our hearts, in our families, in conversation, in trade, in Cabinet and Congress, and in pulpits where now we have but Christless sermons,--or heated harangues, whose only Gospel is the text on which they are apologetically suspended. If we are ashamed of God, He will be ashamed of us. We cannot hope to have for our friend one whose association we avoid, whose interests give us no concern, and whose name we are reluctant to take upon our lips. The question comes to this people as to God's people of old, "Choose ye this day whom ye will serve." But remember, if we elect the service of God it must be according to the Bible code. It is the only statute book for the race and for time. O, that the minds of our people would this day accept its prime law for the rule of life--"I am the Lord thy God; thou shalt have none other Gods but me"!
If men would take the Bible for a daily teacher, and adopt a noble stand in the habitual honoring of God in practical life, one might well assume that the end was reached. But there is one thing further. It is true, that it is a consequence upon what has already been submitted; still as it involves a reduction to practice of what so many merely hold in theory and as it moreover shifts our meditation from our obedience to God to our brotherhood with man, it therefore becomes entitled to distinct and emphatic mention. This last constituent in national prosperity and health is the fair dealing of man with man. As you walk along our crowded thoroughfares, and bethink you that the majority of those you meet are occupied in some scheme or business which purposes in some degree, greater or less, the deception of a neighbour,--as you gaze [13/14] upon the streaming masses, and see so many hands ready with blinds and so many arms prepared to stiffen in angry or artful antagonism, does not the head drop and the cheek redden with shame, and does not conscience at once inform the mind that here we must have pause, and check, and correction. The antidote to this great evil is only to be found in a sworn fidelity to truth. The relation of man to man is a matter of eminent import in all social and national compacts. All government is for the mutual protection of its citizens. We are therefore false to the conditions of citizenship the moment we begin a course of deception and overreaching. Prisons are provided for the great offenders, but human laws cannot compass the petty and nameless, or the secret and exceptional cases. As different hands may plant the separate trees that make the forest, so different men, in their individual conduct in this regard, sooner or later make up the character which a nation shall wear before God and the world. Nay, the peccadillos of the boy become the crimes of the man, and so the conduct of the individual is projected into the career and makes the character of the official, and thus the temper of the state is toned. Then comes the reflex influence upon the people, and the radiating influence upon the outside world. Every man must "speak truth with his neighbor," if we are to have a national character to be proud of. The evil of which we speak is colossal, as it is hideous. The great poet, who, three centuries ago, apostrophized the fatal fact that this world was so giving to lying, would now stand dumb before the hydra-headed life and the serpent-like activity of this petted offspring of him who is best described as the "Father of Lies." Now, as the antagonism to all this, we must cultivate and [14/15] incorporate a high-toned fidelity. The duty is with each man for himself. It is moreover a duty for the Parent, the Teacher, the Employer, the Voter, the Official. "What a halcyon day, when we can look into each others's faces, and know that it is not a mask, but a man that we see, when every man's word will be better than his bond, as the freedom and nobility of truth are better than the slavery and narrowness of pledges! What a day for the Nation! What a guarantee of the endurance of our popular liberties, which nothing but the craft of politicians can ever subvert! What an enobling of our humanity! What dignity, what true power, what beneficent influence will it give to our Nation, making it not so much the "land of promise" to the later generations, as has been already claimed, but rather the land of benignant and abundant realizations for the humanity of the future!
I have spoken of what must be regarded as the blatant sins of our time and country,--the sins that damp the ardor of our Thanksgiving,--the sins that blemish our escutcheon even as they are known to have more to do than aught else in the damaging of personal character, and the crippling of the church. Recoiling from them, we find in their proposed correction distinctly displayed the true constituents of national prosperity. Looking at the disease and then at the antidote, we bring out to view and apply God's guage of national health. We deem such a discussion a word in season upon a day like this, and moreover, beg to present it as in association with our Thanksgiving, that we may indulge a wise discrimination when we come before God to thank him with unfeigned lips. We have much to be grateful for, and much to mourn over. Let the one be as a foil to the other, that our worship be wise and that our meditation be profitable. Let it not [15/16] be understood that I despair of the Republic or despair of the Faith. I believe in the triumph of both. Ephraim "joined to idols" was "let alone." But he was not deserted forever. Left for a time, that he might know the chastening of a hidden God, the hour came when Ephraim said "What have I any more to do with idols?" Even now, arguing from what Heaven has already showered upon this fruitful land, may we not fondly indulge the thought that the good and forbearing God is speaking to us as to His people of the, olden time, "How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, Israel? how shall I make thee as Admali? how shall I set thee as Zeboim?" "But the divine purpose, however benign, finds its accomplishment through the administration of an even-handed justice. What tribulations we shall endure as a church and a nation, before the day comes "when there shall be no discordant note in our paeans of thanksgiving, is known only to Him who sitteth in the Heavens. But that these possible trials be mercifully modified or wholly forefended, depends upon our promptly, prayerfully, hopefully, obediently, accepting God's guage of personal and national prosperity and health.
If New York would but give to God its gains for one day, if the churches would vindicate the true unity of the Faith they hold, and teach by one year of concerted prayer and preaching, and hearty work for the souls outside the fold, if the men who vote would give up for one year the cramping bias and bitter prejudice of party, and resolve to make honesty and capacity the tests of candidateship,--we might inaugurate a moral emancipation that would "make glad the city of our God," rending the shackles of spiritual slavery, robing the nation in garments of righteousness, and enthroning God in the hearts, and homes, and councils, of our people.
 And now, my brethren, for our libation of thanks. We praise God for our Country, and bless him that we have a land and a liberty that excite within us the true patriot emotion. We thank God that dove-eyed peace has perched upon our standards. We are grateful for the privileges of popular education. But we cannot be grateful for public schools where the Bible is shut out. We cannot heartily welcome a peace which is charged with an unrelenting bitterness, and upon which the red eye of war looks with fierce discontent. We cannot be profoundly thankful for a country, however magnificent in resource, which does not contribute adequately to the glory of God in the propagation of His truth, for a freedom whose franchises are not made subsidiary to the liberation of the race from the slavery of sin.
We are here to thank the Head of the Church for the Bible, and for the blessed Family of the Faith. And with our notes of gratitude we mingle our solemn protest against those who derogate from the majestic office of the one as the sole rule of faith and practice, and the Catholic constitution of the other as embracing all lovers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
As Protestants we lift up our hearts to God in the glad re-affirmation of Gospel truth, disentangled from the glosses and distinctly severed from the idolatries of Rome. We rejoice in the glorious successes of Protestantism, and have only a word of pity for the men who, seeking for the proofs of its failure, find them only in their own treason to the cause they are sworn to defend.
We thank our bounteous Father for the affluence of the harvest, and for the many blessings of increase which have followed upon industry and enterprise. But we can but deprecate the unfaithful stewardship which turns the key upon [17/18] the barns of plenty, while the cry of the poor comes wailing upon the ear.
We are here as citizens, just at the close of a great political canvass, and we have to bless God that law has been vindicated and order preserved, but we have no words of righteous indignation sufficiently strong to characterise the fetid pollution through which the car of state is dragged, as it passes from one official management to another.
We are assembled to-day as Christians struggling on and up to the better land, and our voices mingle in sweet acclaim to Him who has given us the largest religious liberty,--an unshackled ministry and a free pulpit. Can we, however, be ignorant of the fact that this liberty upon occasion degenerates into license, and that a free pulpit becomes at times the platform where men broach unchallenged the gravest errors or the wildest vagaries? Do we not see it widen into an arena for the debate of merely moral and semi-secular issues, or still again for the more passionate displays of political pugilism.
We are met under the rooftree of our Church home, and as Churchmen we desire to record our gratitude for a reunited Church, which now, as formerly, has its one standard planted in every section of our wide spread land. Upon us blessings have fallen as the dew upon Hermon. God has been with us in the preaching of the Word and in the prayers of our people; and this anniversary should be signalized by hearty thanks for the gift of the Comforter. That we, like other Churches have had to observe within our borders the exhibition of new phases of Faith, is not to be concealed. That there is a mighty movement of the mind of Protestant Christendom away from the old moorings has become a patent fact. There is a tide setting towards Individualism. There is a tide [18/19] towards the free-thinking of the German Schools. There is a current towards Rome. Again, there is an eddy in which many are whirling who are dissatisfied with what they have and are, and yet know not what to adopt or whither to drift. The individualistic tendency has its logical conclusion in ecclesiastical anarchy. The German movement has for its goal, universal salvation under the tuition of the inner light. The drift towards Rome involves the inane attempt to reconcile a paradox for a time, and the final acceptance of the dogmas of the Vatican without limit or condition,--Infallibility, Transubstantiation, Mariolatry and a calendar of idols. We cannot thank God for such developments, nay, rather should' we not add a suffrage to the Litany and pray. "From these and all like departures from the Faith, Good Lord, deliver us." Still we know not but that God has some grand design in permitting this uprooting of old trees. In their place may he not give us some exotics from His own garden, which in this, new soil shall have a bloom and a fruitage that shall honor Him more. Meantime and until we see the arm of the Lord made bare, let us "tread the old paths" and "stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free," and "hold to the form of sound words," and "contend earnestly for the Faith once delivered to the Saints."
We have but just begun, as Long Island Episcopalians, an independent Diocesan existence. That the creation of this new Diocese should be to us occasion of thanksgiving has been matter of pleasing anticipation. We hail the newly born Diocese, and invoke for it the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Here is a distinct domain, where the Church may have its largest development even as here it has now its full integral existence. Shall the Church of Long Island begin and continue its [19/20] career by a policy of narrowness and literalism, of unchristian exclusiveness and pharasaic arrogance, or, while faithful to our traditions and true to our conservative temper and obedient to law, shall it not prove the reality of its catholicity, and its love for the communion of saints, and its devotion to the true principles of Christian unity, by proffering the cordial hand of fellowship to all men of prayer, and by inscribing kindly words of welcome upon the lintels of its church doors. God grant that here we may have a Church that shall, while zealous for Christ, let its "moderation be known unto all men!" God grant that here we may have a Church from which all extremism and all partisan bitterness, and all party tactics and drill, may be for ever excluded; that here may be a household of the Faith, where Bishop and brethren may live and labor together in Christ, in all the sweet sympathy and gushing confidence of those who have a common aim in the glorifying of God through the salvation of His children! God grant that all error and strange doctrine may be driven out and kept out! As loyal churchmen let us maintain our stand upon ground that is distinctly Protestant, and oppose an unwavering front to the rank treason of the hour, as displayed in the preaching and posturing of Sacramentalism--in the atrocious und unblushing effrontery of attempting to force a Romish Ritual upon a Protestant Church. God grant that the soil of Long Island may give place to no such foundations, and the Churchmen of Long Island extend sympathy to no such treachery to the simple Faith of Jesus! For a Diocese and a Church after the Christly, Primitive and Reformatory models we do now and always lift up heart and voice in grateful ascription. We do not know how to thank God for less than this; we dare not thank Him for less than this.
To you, dear people of St. Ann's, I offer the benediction of [20/21] the Text. With thanksgiving for the past, should always be associated resolves of richer returns in the future. This is the reduction of ideal gratitude to earnest reality. As God has been beneficent, by this token let ns be braver, more energetic, more prayerful. Now, with one foot resting on the threshold of the future, let us turn heart and eye and hand to God, and crown and cover our sacrifice of praise with the pledges of a holier life; accepting each one for himself the guage which God has established far the individual and the Nation, and opening up the heart to the wise and discriminating salutation, "Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayst prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth."
There is one ascription of praise which we can all make to the lavish and loving Giver, without the modifications which sinful hearts and human responsibility at times so sadly impose. There is one source of gratitude which has no admixture. There is one Rock of rejoicing where all can stand emancipate--fearless, robed and radiant in the hope that maketh not ashamed. And now, my brethren, lift up your hearts, yea, lift them up unto the Lord. Let us join, in the strength of our faith, in the warmth of our love, in the sweetness of our communion together in Jesus, and send heavenward to-day our grateful greeting to the Captain of our Salvation,--and oh! that we could rend the skies with our glad chorus of praise, "Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift."