Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 39

The Atonement

page break

The Atonement.

The subject of the Atonement is, I suppose, one of the deepest themes that can interest the mind of man, and has been the cause of much controversy for ages past, all, I think, arising from misconception of what the Atonement of Christ really does mean.

The common idea entertained on this subject is, that in consequence of our first parents eating of the forbidden fruit, or, in other words, committing sin, they incurred the displeasure of God, and thus brought down upon themselves and all their posterity, the curse of the Almighty, who, for that sin, doomed them to eternal death. But we are told that God in his mercy devised a plan whereby this curse could be averted; namely, that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head, and that in the fulness of time the promised seed did come, which was the child born, and the son given, whose name should be called Jesus, who was to save his people from their sins; that he should offer himself up as a sacrifice on the cross for the sins of the world, and thus satisfy the demands of divine justice in dying in the sinner's stead; bearing all the thunderbolts of divine wrath against the sinner, and thus quench the flames of an eternal hell that was waiting to swallow up the human race. The sinner is thus set free, and all who believe in him are saved, on account of Jesus' blood being shed, which was offered as an atonement for our sins. All who do not believe in this saviour are doomed, it is said, to everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.

The Atonement, as we understand it, does not mean anything like what we have just named.

The word atonement signifies at-one-ment, or as Cruden has it, reconciliation. The words imply that man is not "at one' with God, but that God and man are two, are at variance, are not in agreement, are not on terms of peace and friendship, but are antagonistic one towards the other. This comes to page 2 pass in the same manner that something comes between two persons and separates them, and until that is removed there cannot be reconciliation or at-one-ment. Two children may be happy together, but something that brings discord steps between them; they separate for awhile; they are no longer one, but twain; and before they can be happy together again that which caused the offence must be removed. The offending one will say, "I am sorry; I did not intend to give offence; I will not do it any more; kiss and make it up." Here is the effect of atonement; they are no longer at variance, no longer two, but one, clasped in each other's arms.

All the grievances of life are removed by atonement, but it costs more in some cases than in others, according to the conditions upon which the injured party is willing to be reconciled or come to oneness. A simple kiss is not always sufficient. There must be penitence on the part of the offender, there must be tokens of sorrow and contrition for having transgressed the law before reconciliation can take place, and a promise of amendment must be given before atonement can be made.

Is your sin against your better self? Then before you can have peace within you must make atonement with your conscience, by putting away that sin which makes conscience cry out: "Away with this vile spot, it stains my garments; I can no longer live with you while you degrade me so." The angel within will not let you rest whilst indulging in any known sin. How can two walk together except they agree? The man of sorrow, acquainted with grief, is within, and when you see that all sins you commit are committed against the Christ within, and that the chastisement of your sins is laid upon him, it is thus, by his stripes, you are healed.

When you see that it is your sin that causes the Son of God within you to bear your sorrow;—when you realize that it is the sin principle that aims its deadly dart at the Christ being born within your soul,—yes, sin, holding council to take away the child's life, the holy child within you that is to grow to manhood, and that can only be your Saviour—that without him you are lost, and that he stands at the door of your heart knocking for admission: there is no less a personage than God your Saviour seeking admission, making atonement with you, and not you with him—making reconciliation with you, and not you with him. It is God in the Christ within you, reconciling you unto himself, not imputing your trespasses unto you, not page 3 charging yon with sin, but as you lie a condemned sinner at his feet, he says: "Go, sin no more."

God never was at variance with any of his children; it is sin in them that is at variance with him. He never alters, he never changes. He is love, perfect love, and cannot be anything else. The atonement on God's part is always made; he is always reconciled to have the poor sinner come home. No sooner does the prodigal say, "I will arise and go to my Father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight am no more worthy to be called thy son, make me as one of thy hired servants," than, when he is yet a great way off, his Father sees him, has compassion, and runs and falls on his neck and kisses him. The atonement is made: they are no longer twain, but one. When Jesus on the cross said: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" he only expressed the sentiments of the Father's heart. No sooner does the prodigal but penitent world come to itself—and its true self is relationship with the Father of our spirits—than it recognises that the Father is waiting and looking for each individual prodigal to come to himself, and as they approach, he runs out to meet them by his spirit, saying: This, my son, was dead, but is alive again; was lost, but now is found. Here is the at-one-ment, here is reconciliation.

Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin. Blood represents the life, for the life is in the blood; so as each prodigal finds that his true life is in his Father's heart, in his Father's house, in his Father's presence, and under his Father's care, he is willing to give up, to sacrifice all his animal life—that which resides in the animal blood. He is willing to sacrifice this animal part for the spiritual, for he knows that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.

Here, then, is the true atonement, and not as some say that Jesus died to pacify the Father's wrath. Nothing of the kind; it was the Father's love from first to last that prompted the work, as is manifest in all the prophets calling upon mankind to come to him; as God our Father is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance, accept at-one-ment, come to reconciliation with his better self and with his God, and come to a knowledge of the truth.

Men perish in so far as they do not live up to those higher principles that are latent within them. The treasure is hid in the field; deep down in the human heart is the pearl of great page 4 price. Yes, the lost piece of silver is there; search diligently and thou wilt find it, and when found thou shalt rejoice, for it will show to thee that that piece of silver is the true coin stamped with the impress divine, which will prove thy true relationship, having the true image and superscription on it. Written on that silver coin of thy soul is, "Now are we the sons of God." Yes, now. Although clothed in mortality, yet the time will come that mortality shall be swallowed up of life. You may say it doth not yet appear. No, indeed, for we see through a glass darkly at present—darkened by sin, darkened by wrong education, darkened by all earthly surroundings. But when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is, and not as we imagine or have been taught that he is—a God of vengeance or a God of retaliation, demanding an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth; a God who is only waiting till death shall terminate our existence here, and then he will cast us into a lake of fire if we do not believe a certain creed.

How can any atonement be effected with such a God? How can there be reconciliation to such a God, who shocks all our better feelings? No wonder men keep away from such a God, who will not be satisfied with anything short of the blood of his own beloved son, which alone will pacify his divine wrath. The thunderbolt of his justice is made to fall upon the head of the innocent that the guilty might go free. But where is the justice in such a procedure? Justice is violated—outraged to the very extreme in condemning the innocent in place of the guilty, Even Charles Peace, the notorious burglar, was obliged to confess to the truth that he committed a crime for which another man was imprisoned. He could not go to the gallows until he confessed that he was the perpetrator of the crime and therefore the man who was imprisoned in his stead ought to be released. God is not such a one as is represented by the churches of the present day; there is no passage in the Bible that will bear such interpretation when seen with an enlightened eye. Let us take a few illustrations of what the Atonement of Christ does signify.

Bear in mind that it is not God who is at variance with the sinner, but the sinner is at variance with God. Hence all the prophets give witness to this fact, which is patent to all but to the most wilfully blind. "Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways, for why will ye die," is God's language. "Let the page 5 wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him turn unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." "He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly before thy God." "Fear God and keep his commandments; for in this is the whole duty of man!"

The Atonement consists in removing out of the way that which separates you from God; and there is nothing can separate you from him but sin. Jesus showed this in his own person, who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth, and this constituted the at-one-ment; hence he could say, my Father and I are one, or at-one-ment, for I always do those things that please him. True fellowship can only exist where there is agreement. Husband and wife to live in harmony must be one—one in purpose and aim; what is the interest of one is also the interest of the ether. If the husband should be given to drink and the wife abhors it, there cannot be oneness until that husband sees his error, gives it up, and becomes a sober man. Then the at-one-ment is made. If a man gives way to any vice, and thus becomes the pest of the neighbourhood in which he lives, before he can be looked upon with respect, and received into the bosom of society with confidence, he must give up those vices that were the cause of his being separated from respectable society; soon as the sin is removed confidence is regained, the atonement is made, reconciliation accomplished. When a person has been insulted, and it is found that the offended and offender have come together again, and you enquire "How is this?" you are informed that the offender made atonement—he apologised, which was sufficient in this case, and thus the at-one-ment was made. When a traveller has received an injury on the railway, damages have to be paid to him according to the amount of injury received before atonement or reconciliation can take place in the public mind; when this is done all parties are satisfied. When a nation infringes upon the rights of another nation, war and blood-shed are likely to take place, unless the rights of the aggrieved nation be respected, and atonement be made, either by arbitration or otherwise. Does England infringe upon the rights of America? The Alabama claims must be met, before at-one-ment can be accomplished, or reconciliation be made. And so we might go on with illustrations of atonement on an page 6 external plane, as touching the affairs of life between men.

But now you want to know in what sense did Jesus make atonement for us. Well, I wish to make the matter as clear as possible, that he who runs may read and understand what he reads. Reconciliation cannot take place between God and the human soul until all sin be put away. Jesus put that sin away in his own person. Every temptation to sin he withstood. As sin presented itself in that body, which he had from Mary, he repulsed every such intruder, drove back every sin, conquered all temptation, and thus overcame all. He was tempted in all points, as we are, yet without sin; he did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth. Thus, he was at-one-ing or reconciling that nature he had from Mary unto God; yea more, God was, in Christ, reconciling that very humanity to himself. Hence, said Jesus; the father and I are one, for I do his will. Herein consisted the at-one-ment between Jesus and the Father; and if we would be like him, and be his disciples, we also must follow in his footsteps, for no man, said ho, can be my disciple except he take up his cross daily and follow me. It is all couched in these two words: "follow me;" so if we would be "at one" with him we must put away sin from us : it must be hated, forsaken, conquered, overcome. Immediately there is the slightest desire to flee from sin, help is sent by his holy spirit: his angels are sent to minister unto us, to help us in this work of at-one-ment, this work of reconciliation.

All power is given unto the Son both in heaven and on earth, and as a son he learned obedience by the things which he suffered in the ascent, or upward march through the animal plane, gaining all power over the earthly nature taken from his mother, and all power in the heaven of his spiritual mind, so that his thoughts were always spiritual and heavenly. So as we begin to realise our relationship as sons of the Lord God Almighty, so shall we begin to have all power over earth, our material nature in which we live, putting sin away from us as we would any deadly thing, and thus make at-one-ment.

Paul tells us Jesus "took not on him the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore, in all things, it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered, being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted." (Heb. ii., 16-18.)

page 7

Mark, Jesus did not come to reconcile God unto us, but he came in our nature to reconcile that nature unto God—to take that nature in union with the Divine, and thus show the possibility of our arriving at the same communion and oneness with God; and only on this ground can atonement be made, thereby reconciling the nature that sinned, subduing and bringing that nature into obedience to the divine within.

God has various methods of bringing the soul into this at-one-ment with himself. Some are atoning for their sin, and in the prison cell promising both God and their soul that when they get their liberty they will live at one with law, and thus prevent their being subjected to further suffering and disgrace in the future. Some there are on beds of affliction, and in solitude, making atonement with God and their souls, resolving that if God, only spare them to recover their health they will henceforth be more careful than ever to walk at one with nature's laws, and thus prevent sorrow to their friends and pain to themselves. In all the varied scenes of sorrow and suffering humanity is passing through may be seen by the discerning eye that at-one-ment—reconciliation—is aimed at by an all-wise providence. The crosses here and the lessons there are all to bring us nearer to our Father God. Behind the dark cloud is the silver lining of the at-one-ment, or reconciling power that makes every prodigal say, I will arise and go—where? To the great and unknowable Spirit of God? No. But I will arise and go to my Father. There cannot be at-one-ment where there is not this recognition.

It is opposed to the truth to represent God at a great distance—as unknowable and unapproachable; as the Great Spirit that sits on some mighty throne, regulating all the affairs of life by abstract law, without any regard to our relationship to him—only as a king would rule his subjects, demanding implicit obedience in all things, without impressing upon the soul the reasonableness of that obedience, and inspiring within its inmost nature that delight spoken of by the Psalmist when he said, "I delight to do thy will, O my God. Yea, thy law is within my heart." The deep-rooted feeling within the heart of the Psalmist was that God was not only the God of Nature—of which he says, "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth forth his handiwork"—but also that this God is our Father, and that like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him, and for why? page 8 Because he knoweth our frame, and remembereth that we are dust. And, let me ask, who is more likely to know our frames than the Maker of our frames? and who can have more sympathy for our nature than he who became incarnate in that very nature in which we live—God manifest in the flesh.

I know of no book that gives so clear a definition of God as the Father of mankind as is contained in the Bible. God, according to some teachers, is incomprehensible, unknowable, and unknown,—never was seen, never will be seen. Of course I shall be reminded that Jesus said, "No man hath seen God at any time. The only begotten which is in the bosom of the Father he hath declared him;" and yet Jesus also says, "he that hath seen me hath seen the Father," implying that God can only be seen by manifestation or by revealment, as he says, "No man knoweth the Father save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him."

The Jews could only see the son of the carpenter, or what people term in these enlightened days, "the gentle Nazarene." If we look at the external relationship we shall never realise the true Christ, the true Messiah, the true Man, the true God. It was the true manhood he came to evolve; the true God and Father he came to express or reveal. Every tender word, every tender look, every gracious act,—in all the varied lineaments of that beautiful and incomparable life was embodied the personal and impersonal character of God. When you behold any outward act of kindness of a friend, you see in that act the welling up of the impersonal nature of that friend which you cannot see, nor for what I know ever will see; yet you can behold from the act brought forth that kindly nature that dwells within the sanctum sanctorum, or Holy of Holies, the Divine light that no man can approach unto, only as it is veiled by the undulating waves of spiritual ether that soften it down, as it were, to our poor capacities, as their receptive faculties are fit to receive it.

Yes, it is a truth, the natural man discerneth not the things of God, neither can he know them for they are spiritually discerned. Man, according to his animal, or, as I would say, perverted nature, is separated from God, but that separation is by wicked works. It is not in the law of the unrenewed man to be subject unto the higher law of God, until quickened by the spirit; for that which is flesh is flesh, of which we must all have better experience more or less. Do men gather grapes page 9 of thorns, or figs of thistles? All animal wants and all animal desires are one, on the animal plane, and may be all right as far as they go, so long as they are kept within due bounds or subordination. The animal instincts in man must be controlled, governed, subdued, and conquered, and finally must die, for mortality must be swallowed up of life; the animal man must give place to the true man, which is the Lord from heaven; the first Adam in us, which life consists of, the animal soul, must give place to the last Adam, which is a quickening spirit: so that what was done by us from the animal plane may give place to the spiritual man who works from a spiritual plane, having spiritual principles and spiritual laws to guide him in all the future career of his existence.

The Saviour came to supply a want that man by nature had not; or, in other words, he came to show man his true relationship, and what latent principles lay hid within his breast. At the time Jesus appeared on the earth darkness covered the earth, and gross darkness the minds of the people. Prejudice, superstition and, priestcraft were everywhere, and true godliness nowhere. The Book of Prophecy had been closed for four or five hundred years. There was no prophet, no medium of communication between the mind of God and the people, until the fulness of time had come when God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law of rites and ceremonies, to redeem them that were under that law; to bring them out of this bondage of sacrifices, this Babylon of blood and slaughter; to show them by a holy life that the sacrifices of God were a pure and spotless life,—to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and to love God with all thy heart and thy neighbour as thyself.

We say that Jesus came to impart life to the dead carcass of the Jewish religion; nay, more than that, he came to abolish the old system of the sacrificial blood of bulls and goats, which could never take away sin; he came to offer himself a living sacrifice, to give his very life, his very blood, to redeem mankind from the darkness, and ignorance, and sin, in which they were steeped. He knew from the first what it would cost him, hence he said: "I have a baptism to be baptised with, and how am I straitened [unclear: till] it be accomplished." How can I, without it, embrace all humanity? My body is too small for my soul. I am "straitened" until this baptism of blood be accomplished, until the shedding of my blood shall tell to nations yet unborn that I died for all, that I died for humanity as a whole; page 10 and thus dying, my arms of love shall be infinitely stretched out, shall be seen and felt in the realm of mind and in the realm of spirit,—clasping all, embracing all, and they shall have redemption through my act. My blood shall be shed; I am willing to give it for the life of the world. Yes, that sacred body was broken that it might become the bread of life to a famished world.

Yes, he gave his flesh for the life of the world, but it was the Divine flesh, the Divine that comes alone from the Divine man within; the outward man perisheth, but the inward man is renewed day by day. But how can it be renewed if it be not fed with divine spiritual substance? You may be unconcious of the fact for a time, as you are ignornant of the process of the involuntary operation of digestion and assimilation. You have no control over the assimilating properties of food: that is God's work. The divine properties, the divine life-giving qualities are hid in the food you eat, hid away from mortal eye, and this is the "Flesh" that Christ spoke of when he said, "My flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed." It was the Divinity within that spoke these words, and speaks them still to every soul of man, though all may not have grown to the conciousness of it; like the babe in the mother's arms unconcious of the mother's love, all it can do at present is to feed and nestle in her bosom. While she says to her child, clasping it to that bosom: drink of me, eat of me, for my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed; the mother's substance is transubstantiated into the form of nutritive milk, and thus the child lives and grows. So humanity hangs upon the material breast of God, in Nature, for all the various kinds of food for the sustenance of life, while God says, through these things, My flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. And as it is in a literal sense that we feed on God in these hidden elements, contained in the food that can only support life, so in a spiritual sense our spiritual man—the inner man—feeds on divine food incarnated in the physical frame, given by the Divine Humanity that visits us in the silent hours of meditation when we hear the still small voice of the Holy Spirit speaking in words of love and sympathy unto us, causing the tears to flow, and joy to bound in the heart, thrilling our very nature from head to foot, making us say, like Jacob, "God is in this place, and I knew it not." It is after the visitor has left that we look back and say, oh that I had known! like the disciples; page 11 they wist not that it was the Lord. He comes in a stranger's garb at times.

Look out my brother, my sister, He is not far from thee, for when thou sittest down to thy daily meal, look at the bread, though it be but bread. It is not bread only, for, within that humble meal, the Stranger is there; for thou could'st not have a more constant visitor, all the strangeness is on thy own part, not discerning the Lord's Body—the Divine substance within that humble meal. Only once discern this glorious truth, and it shall make the most humble meal the richest repast. It shall make every meal a sacrament, in which thou shalt partake of Divine substance, and thus build up thy spiritual nature within. Thou need'st not wait for meal time; this is meal time here and now. Whilst thou readest these words, if they find a place in thy inner-self, thou mayest discern the Lord's Body, the Divine substance. Transmitted through thought and brain, into these very pages, the life-giving element inheres, and thou mayest eat and live, for "he that receiveth my sayings receiveth me, and he that receiveth me, receiveth him that sent me."

As "Adam" was the federal head of all the physical or human race, so "Christ" is the head of all the spiritual race. "The first man, Adam, was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. How be it that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural, and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth earthy; the second man is the Lord from Heaven."

Now, in order that our Lord might become a quickening spirit to our humanity, it was necessary that he should assume our nature, and in that nature be tempted in every possible way that we are, yet in that nature conquer sin, mooting sin upon the open battle-field of human passion, and thus, by constant denial of the animal and entire obedience to the Divine within him, evolve a spiritual body. That is to say, that body taken from Mary became transformed day by day, until at last it was swallowed up, or reconstructed; the old particles being taken away, and new ones put in their place.

The spiritual particles which made up the "resurrection body" were being constructed, or built up, during the earth-life of Jesus, until the final work was accomplished. When this was done, he took Peter, James, and John upon the Mount, and was transfigured before them, fulfilling his promise when be said, "There be some standing here who shall not taste of page 12 death till they see the kingdom of God," which I take to mean that in the kingdom of God we shall have a body like unto the Lord. As it is said: "Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself." And in this consists the at-one-ment. In that kingdom we shall be able to materialise and dematerialise at will; as he on the Mount, as it were, dematerialised his earthly form for the time being, that his disciples might see the true Son of God, the true Messiah, the true Christ. When that was accomplished, he took back again the material elements, which remained in abeyance for the time being, and there stood before them once more the Man of Sorrows in his seamless coat, for we are told "They saw no man save Jesus only."

So we long for the time to arrive when our powers shall be such that, like Jesus, we shall be able, at will, to retire to the mount of communion, and draw the vail on one side, which shall not only introduce us to Moses and Elias, but unto all those who were near and dear to us on earth—our loved ones who are gone before. Not only so, but we shall be able to say, like Peter, "There came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice, which came from Heaven, we heard when we were with him in the Holy Mount."

Yes, that body he had from Mary was put off day by day. The earthly house dissolved, and was clothed upon with a house from above. He could not be put to death by man; it was a voluntary act on his own part to submit or allow his enemies to crucify him. As he said, "No man taketh my life from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again." In all this he was atoning or reconciling us to God in his own humanity. As one grand link in the chain of humanity, he was welding that humanity to his divinity, and thus he took with him from the cross a glorified humanity by the law of evolution. He had changed every particle, every molecule of that humanity until it was transformed into the new and incorruptable man—death swallowed up in victory. Here was the prayer fulfilled: "Thou wilt not leave my soul in Hades, neither wilt Thou suffer Thine holy one to see corruption;" and that body did not see corruption, for it was a glorified body, a resurrection body.

When he cried, "It is finished" on the cross, the last pang page 13 given, the last indignity suffered from the hands, not of his Father, but from the hands of undeveloped man, from the ignorant animal man, with the patience of a lamb praying for his enemies, he established the law of non-resistance in his humanity, and thus was at-one-ment with his Father, who causeth his sun to shine upon the evil and the good, and his rain to descend upon the just and upon the unjust. God himself was in that very humanity of Christ, pulling, as it were, drawing mankind unto himself, atoning, reconciling man, displaying how much love was in his heart for mankind. Jesus brought that nature he had from Mary into one-ness with God, and thus as our representative, is a prophesy of what all the human race shall be. For we are told he "hath made of one blood all nations of men;" and Paul says: "Feed the Church of God which he hath purchased with his own blood—all the blood of tortured humanity on gibbets, on crosses, on stakes, and in the flames of Smithfield—all this innocent blood shed for truth, for principle—this was God's precious blood, shed for future ages. This precious blood in humanity has purchased for us the liberty we enjoy to-day. It was God, in the men and women of the past, that has atoned for us to-day, and made us thus far one with God, that we are determined, God helping us, the fires in Smithfield shall be lit no more to burn humanity. We are at one to fight for truth, for liberty, for love—but not with the carnal sword, but with the two-edged sword of truth. The tears and sufferings of our forefathers make us pray for the time to come when the sword shall be beat into the ploughshare, and the spear into the pruning-hook; when man shall not lift up the sword against his fellow-man, neither shall they learn war any more.

The blood of Inkermann, Balaclava, and Alma has reconciled us to this prayer: Peace be within thy walls, O England, and prosperity be in thy palaces.

All things are being subdued unto him; now the process is going on in the mineral, vegetable, animal, and human kingdoms. All are slowly working upwards from the lowest scale of being up to the present altitude at which man has arrived; the process of reconciling all things to himself may be slow, but is is, nevertheless, certain in its fulfilment: the only perfect divine man has gone to his Father, to his God and to our God. He is the first fruits from the dead, and he stands as a representative of perfected humanity.

page 14

The spirit of Christ is in every breast, by the very same law that the properties which are in one grain of corn are in all grains of corn; and as God has given that corn to have life in itself, so has he given the son to have life in himself. So whatever there is of the Divine in you, must come from the Divine mind, and he who has most of the Divine within him, exerts the grandest and divinest ends; hence it is that the life of Jesus has been and still is the most potent lever to raise mankind from the lowest depths of misery and sin, to the highest position of virtue and of love.

Jesus was and is the survival of the fittest. We have in him a spiritual generation. "He was in the world, and the world knew him not; he came unto his own, and his own received him not. But to as many as received him, to them gave he power to become sons of God, even to as many as believed on his name, which were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt amongst us (and we beheld his glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth." Yes, this was the grand departure from nature's generally-received rule—Christ the spiritual taking a body that was prepared.

The saving principle that is now atoning, reconciling all things unto himself, is in the world to-day, and may be seen extending itself not only to the redemption of man's soul, but to the redemption of his body also. Nor is this the full scope of the work, but it extends itself into every department of art and science, as is plainly seen from the advances these are making on all hands.

If you will not receive the Christ as seen in Jesus, then how will you receive him? Will you receive him in the revelations of nature? For "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard." And this inspiring spirit is bringing into oneness all the knowledge of the planetary worlds to a grand focus, and within the grasp of the mind of man reconciling all knowledge in this department unto himself, that man, with his godlike powers, shall count the stars, tell their names, sound their laws, and go out into the vast fields of space on exploring expeditions for ages yet unborn. The inspiration of God is manifest everywhere in page 15 humanity, gathering all unto himself in humanity. All power in heaven and on earth is given unto the Son. As it is required that fresh knowledge be imparted to the sons of men, so is that knowledge given through the Son of God, as the grand representative of the human race, to the persons most receptive of the particular branch required. Whatever science and art have done for us has been achieved by the one grand spirit of inquiry, the spirit of research, the spirit of inspiration, which is the Spirit of God in the Son, and that Son in the aggregate is humanity as a whole. As Christ was the perfect and rounded-out Son of God, so shall all humanity as a whole be perfected and rounded-out in the ages to come.

We may not see perfection in any one individual man, but go through all the varied virtues and qualities presented in man, collect them together, and place them in one individual, and we shall have a perfect man. But that which is at present spread, as it were, throughout humanity shall, by the Holy Spirit,—the spirit of redemption that is now working in the hearts of men,—ultimately perfect each individual, and thus shall the atonement be made, the reconciliation be completed. When all things are subdued unto the Son, then shall the Son also be subject unto him who put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

Yes, in all the grand improvements of man we can see redemptive work going on. It is the saving spirit in all,—in the learning of the scholar, in the researches of science, in the discovery of worlds, in suns and systems far out in space, in the book of nature, in the geological strata of the earth, in its chemical proportions, in the wonders of the deep, in the power of steam, in the printing of books, in the electric telegraph—annihilating, as it were, time and space—in the telephone, in the microphone, in photography, taking likenesses by the sun's rays, and in all the inventions expressed in mechanics and the brandies of science too numerous to mention. Everywhere the love of God, the wisdom of God is revealed—in the flower of the field, in the tender blade of grass, in the daisy and the buttercup, in the lily and the bluebell, in forest and glen, in the lark that warbles in the sky, in the robin that perches on the window-sill—in all, in all the Spirit of God inheres, exclaiming with a silent voice to the spirit of man, "I am the Lord, and beside me there is no Saviour." In all these things the Spirit of God is expressing itself unto the spirit of man. page 16 God's Book is everywhere. Our picture-galleries are like so many books of God, in which may be seen the Spirit of God, as pourtrayed from the realm of mind, in words that live and thoughts that burn. Our museums, with all their various collections of curiosities, of antiquity, are also books compiled for our wonder and education, and are all the product of the Spirit of God in the individuals inspired to bring those various collections together for our redemption from the ignorance and superstition not only, of the past, but also of the present, age. And when we look at these things with an intelligent eye, can we not see that, as God was in Christ in the objective form reconciling all humanity to himself by the power of love, as exhibited in his life, and now extended in the life of others who live the Christ-life, so also, in proportion as they live that true, devoted life to truth and principle, is God manifest in the flesh now in an objective form; for there is not a grander sight on earth than to look upon a truly great, good, and virtuous man.

Our libraries are all of them various books of God, where the product of mind is seen struggling after Truth in many forms So also in the Bible we have a grand collection of spiritual heroes. Here we come to the higher form of God in humanity. Only let us realise the fact that God is, as it were, extending himself unto us in the voice of Christ—God vailed in humanity, just as God is vailed in the flower in its innocence and beauty; and throughout the whole realm of Nature is God vailed; in all and behind all. From this consideration many derive great comfort, and from Nature many worship Nature's God. But in humanity God comes near unto us, extends himself, as it were, vailed in human flesh; God finited, that we may gaze, and wonder, and adore, Here we may take hold of him by the hand, and in that pierced hand of love see the hand of our Father and our God.

God has linked himself unto us; become one with us on purpose to raise us up to himself. And what is himself? Does not humanity belong to him? Is he not our father? Has he not made us the children, who being "par-takers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same"? Yes, the truth stands thus,—"We are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones." What is there objectionable in all this? Where does flesh and bone come from if they do not come from God? Perhaps it may be said this is bringing God too low, to place ourselves page 17 on that plane of equality with him. But let me say, we do not place ourselves on that plane; it is God's work from first to last. He it was who gave us our existence; gave us these coats of skin covering over the bone, and muscle, and nerve, and artery; enshrining the spiritual man, which is the offspring of God. And if the doctrine be true that God commenced his work of creation from initial points, commenced at the lowest form—the first rung of the ladder of creation, upwards to Man,—then the order of Nature's selection has always been the true order, and the fittest to survive—the highest form—has always taken the lead; and we say man has been, and is, the highest form of created intelligence. But it was the Man Christ Jesus who took that departure from the natural order of carnal generation, and, therefore, had only a mother as to his natural or human body. But God was his Father, as we are informed; "He is made not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life," our great Melchisedec "having neither beginning of days nor end of life." Hence he said to the Jews: "Ye are from beneath, I am from above," and "he that cometh from above is above all." He could well say, "Father, glorify thou me with thine own self, the glory I had with thee before the world was."

From the bosom of the Father came that Christ. Wouldst thou know that Christ, dear reader? He is not far from thee; he is in thy heart; yea, he is the very life of thy being. Open thy soul to his reception; let him have the chief place in thy affections, and he shall prove to thee life from the dead,—joy in thy sorrow, strength in thy weakness, light in thy darkness, the star of hope in thy despair, thy pillar of cloud by day and thy pillar of fire by night, thy bright and morning star, thy son of righteousness, with healing in his wings. This Christ says: "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me, and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hands;" and a good reason why, because we are his hands, his feet.

Humanity, viewed as a whole, redeemed, saved, purified by the life-blood of Christ, the innocent lamb of God, made thug, partakers of the divine nature, our flesh becomes fresher than a child's; it is all tender and full of love—new born. But before this new birth takes place, before we are made new creatures in Christ, the pangs of being brought forth must be felt; the page 18 breaking away from old customs, old prejudices, old sins, and besetments; the breaking up of all the idols, all the false gods within. This causes much bewilderment, much confusion. Oh, the dreadful pangs of having old-cherished views and teachings torn from the soul that had grown with our growth and strengthened with our strength! I suppose, dear reader, thou feelest like poor Laban, who said, "Wherefore hast thou stolen my gods?" or like Mary, when she said, "They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him!" Her affection was laid on the outward form, and therefore was she disconsolate, forgetting that he had said, "It is expedient for you that I go away, for if I go not away the Comforter will not come unto you;" and that Comforter was the Christ-spirit, which said, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Although her Lord and Master stood close by her she did not know Him; she supposed it was the gardener, and said, "If thou hast borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away." Ah, poor Mary, what couldst thou do with a dead body? Poor soul, that would not give thee lasting comfort. Nothing but a living Lord, nothing short of a living Christ, can soothe the troubled breast. "Woman, why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou?" Did he not know, did he not see the anguish of her heart? Then why delay, why not relieve all her fears at once? It was only to bring out the real sentiment of her soul: "Tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away." And so she did take him away, and in a way she never dreamt of. She took the Christ away with her in her heart. When he said to her, "Mary! Mary!" I fancy I see her start, with arms open, wide, ready to clasp him to her heart, saying, "Master! Master!" when she was suddenly, but gently repulsed. Why repulsed? Surely it was quite natural she should run and embrace his feet, with her tears. But no, she must wait, for she is to carry news, the glad news, "Go and tell my brethren, and say unto them I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God." And so she did carry the news unto the disciples, saying, "The Lord has risen, indeed." But they believed her not, and went to see for themselves. The angels said, "Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen;" and so they had to learn to look within for the subjective Christ, rather than the objective form without. "Though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now hence- page 19 forth know we him no more." It was Christ in the spirit that was now to live and reign with each one of them.

This tearing away of all outward props was severe discipline for them, but after the pangs were once endured, and the descent of the Paraclete come into their souls, they could go to prison or to death, knowing they had a better inheritance beyond the grave. The Saviour sympathised with them in all their sorrow, as he did also for the dying thief on the cross. He did not cry out, "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?" until the dying thief had confessed his sin, and said, "Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom." When Jesus cried out, "Why hast thou forsaken me?" he then entered into that man's state and condition. The thief represented a lost world on the cross, suffering for just deserts, and bearing witness to the blamelessness of Jesus, saying, "This man hath done nothing amiss!" and having said so immediately he received inner light of the character of Christ, he cried out, "Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom."

It was the Christ within that bore the sin of,—not sins—but sin of the world. He entered into sympathy with humanity, as a father entereth into sympathy with his own son upon the scaffold. He cannot alter the circumstances that sin has brought us into. The suffering is a natural consequence of sin, and a necessary discipline to rid us of our sin and the love of it. The father does forgive the sin of his son, and would gladly die or suffer in his stead. It is the love in the father's heart that hurts the son more than the sight of the scaffold. He says, "Death is nothing to me—hanging is too good for me: but what hurts me most is unrequited love, love trampled on :" and the soul of the world on the cross of suffering is born again to a higher life, crying, Lord, remember me!

So we say Christ entered into that man's state, and into all other mens' states of a similar kind. It was not Christ in one individual only, but Christ in humanity; he is so related to all, that he cannot help but to feel for all. If one member suffers by the law of sympathy, which runs through humanity, all members suffer with it. He feels for all as one long chain of cause and effect. Take hold only of one end of the chain, the other end will vibrate according to the amount of oscillation whether it be great or small.

Humanity is linked to God in Christ, in one unbroken chain, page 20 all related by the very deepest love and sympathy. Does the' "Princess Alice" go down with her cargo of souls? All England feels the shock, the news is telegraphed to the ends of the world, and all the world feels the shock. So when Christ went down into the abyss of our sin, Nature, we are told, felt the shock. The sun was darkened, the dead arose, and the vail of the temple was rent in twain. Though he did no sin himself, neither was guile found in his mouth, yet by the law of sympathetic relationship he went down for all; and although he was submerged by our sins (for, mind, it was our sin that crucified him, and not God), he bore all the sin put upon him. But it was man that put it on him : he bore our sins in his own body on the tree, he took the scars with him; hence, when he arose again he shewed his hands and his feet, and said unto Thomas, "Reach hither thy finger and behold my hands, and reach hither thy hand and thrust it into my side, and be not faithless, but believing. Yes, this Christ allowed himself to be maligned, traduced, spit upon, crowned with thorns, scourged, crucified, nailed to the cross. He was truly led as a lamb to the slaughter; and as a sheep is dumb before her shearers, so opened he not his mouth. He trod the winepress of sorrow and suffering alone, and of the people there was none with him. As the prophet, foreseeing all this, said by the spirit of Christ : "Is it nothing, to you, all ye that pass by?' Have pity upon me, O ye my friends, "and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow." And yet amidst all his sufferings he offers no resistance, no law of retaliation; but on the contrary, he seems lost to his own sufferings tending to the prayer of a dying thief and comforting him with a promise of accompanying him to his kingdom : "This day shalt thou be with me in Paradise." Amidst all the deepest sufferings caused by his murderers, he exclaimed, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." If this was not God-like, tell me what is? If this was not God manifest in the flesh, what is God manifest in the flesh? His very enemies were compelled to say, "Truly this is the son of God." Peter said at one time, under control, "Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God." Jesus replied, "Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona, for flesh and blood hath not revealed this unto thee, but my father which is in heaven."

The Christ was only seen once before his crucifixion, and that was only by three persons, namely, Peter, James, and page 21 John, when on the Mount of Transfiguration. Plenty could see the Jesus of Nazareth, or the Carpenter's Son, the Son of Mary; and plenty can see in these days what they term the Gentle Nazarene or the Historical Jesus; but few, comparatively speaking, can see him as the Christ, the Son of the living God. And for this we do not blame them, for no man can receive anything except it be given him of God; and what have any of us that we have not received? God forbid that we should boast as though we had not received it; for as the Christ said, "No man can come unto me, except the Father which sent me draw him; neither can any man come unto the Father but by me. All that hath learned of the father cometh unto me, and him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out."

The time is fast approaching when the True Light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world shall be made manifest. That is, at present it may not appear that every man has this True Light: it is hidden within many by animality. Yet the stripping time is coming near when the axe must be laid to the root of the tree, and man's true spiritual condition will be revealed. It will not be then, How many seances have we attended? or, how much phenomena have we seen? but, what use have we made of them all? Are we any better spiritually? Has it made our lives more useful? Have we, as it were, done the hundred-and-one things, and yet left the One Thing Needful undone, namely, learned of the Master who was meek and lowly in heart who went about doing good, who made himself of no reputation, but being found in form of a servant, became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross?

Paul tells us our "old man" was crucified with him on the cross; he represented humanity as a whole. It was in this sense we were crucified with him. Human woe is felt everywhere by human hearts. If one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; if any indignity be done to humanity it is done against you, as you form a part of that humanity. A proof of this is easily seen when you behold a person unjustly illtreating another. Does not your very soul rise up against such treatment? all proving you are related to the injured one.

When the news came to England that Chicago was burnt down, and that one hundred thousand of our fellow creatures page 22 were turned adrift without home and without food, many provisions, and clothes, and wealth were poured in from every quarter to help in that time of need: proving our relationship and that all the world's akin. But where does all this sympathy come from, if not from a deeper sense still, namely, the inner relationship we bear one towards the other, spirit sympathising with spirit and soul with soul? The fountain of Sympathy alone comes from within, and in its objective form was seen in train-load after train-load of provisions for the hungry and clothes for the naked, all along the lines of railroad for miles round Chicago, help sent from all parts.

No man can feel his sins to be a burden, and Christ not feel for that man. Why, we ourselves cannot help but feel for any poor unfortunate fellow who has got himself into trouble and sorrow, especially if we see that the man is a true penitent. So Christ said, "Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." God's spirit in Christ goes right through Humanity in every pore and fibre. Christ-love threads its way like great feelers, entwined into the very network of humanity. How can it be otherwise when in him alone we live, and move, and have our being? Humanity came from God, came from Christ; all things were made by him, and for him and by him do all things exist. We are his offspring, he made us and not we ourselves, and therefore we have as much of the divine, in a finite form, as we can bear, or are capable of receiving. Of his fulness have we received, and grace for grace. Behold, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not appear what we shall be. But when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

This is the at-one-ment, bringing home the sublime consciousness of our relationship to the Divine. It stands thus: "I ascend to my Father, and to your Father, to my God and to your God." Does not a realisation of this fact prove that the seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head? which signifies the lower nature to be under our feet, all inordinate animal passions subdued: when the spiritual seed within shall assert its pre-eminence, take its seat, and rule the whole man. This promised seed, in its subjective form, was in the hearts of the Patriarchs and Prophets of old. As Paul says: "I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that all our fathers were under the cloud, and were all baptised in the cloud and in the page 23 sea, and they all did eat of the same spiritual meat, and did all drink of the same spiritual drink; for they drank of that Rock which followed them, and that Rock was Christ."

A rock represents firmness, stability, durability. Put all the weight on it in the world, and it will bear it up. So God in Christ bears up all things. The stability of the rock represents the firmness of his life: no shifting or moving. He loved us before we had an objective form on this plane; he loves us now we are here. In all our ignorance and sin he loves us, like the mother that loves her child, although it is in the dirt and in the gutter of the streets. She does not love the dirt, but she loves the child. She washes it many a time in the day, and puts it on clean clothes, but still it goes into the dirt, tumbles in the mud, and comes in crying it may be, and again she washes it and puts on a change of clothes, and waits patiently many a long year with no abatement of love, still hoping and waiting until her children have grown into manhood and womanhood, and have learned to walk in harmony with Nature's laws.

So God in Christ is waiting in humanity for His infantile children to grow up into manhood and womanhood, but the law of growth necessitates abstacles to be overcome and difficulties to be removed. We have many a fall and stumble during growth; we may get sadly bruised with the bad conditions inherited from our progenitors, and also from our surroundings. But as the earthly parent says: "Oh, my son will come out all right by-and-bye; he will make a bright man yet." The parent waits patiently for the rough edge of his son's nature to be rounded off, and he prays for divine influence from God and his angel-guides to surround his child; and that prayer is not in vain, for all those divine aspirations fall like gentle dew upon the interior nature of his child, imperceptible to the natural eye. Yet those throbs of soul for the child's welfare fall upon the inner spirit, which makes the God-element within put forth aspiration for power to overcome.

As a rock also represents durability, so the durability of the love of God, the love of Christ, is from everlasting to everlasting. He saw us ruined in the Fall, yet loved us notwithstanding all. It is no good saying man has never fallen, for many of us, if not most of us, have fallen from the innocence of our childhood. We have each taken to ourselves our own way, if we have had to pay for taking our own way by bitter experience. But there is no doubt that all the falls will be page 24 found, in the end, a falling, as it were, upwards : learning by mistakes, doing things wrong first, and learning from that the way to do them right. Our Heavenly Father is very patient, and as it is said in the good old Book, "He waits to be gracious," that is, it shows how good and gracious he is in waiting for us to learn how to live in harmony with Nature's laws, and also to learn how to live in harmony with those divine and spiritual laws within.

We have all very much to learn, and I have no doubt that many who have denied the divinity of Christ will yet learn, and come to see that God was in Christ atoning the world unto himself.

The human form, from all knowledge yet received, both from the spirits of the departed and from whatever other source, is proved to be the highest form of created intelligence. All angels that have ever appeared to prophets or seers on earth or in the spirit-sphere, all have appeared in the human form. Now, if we admit this fact, that God inheres in everything in Nature around us, why deny the possibility, nay, the probability, of him appearing as a God-Man, or as God in Christ, as the highest form of the Divine mind on the physical plane: the embodiment of love in an external form, the form of man being the fittest vehicle through which God could manifest the love of his heart, that it might flow through the mind and soul of a real human being like unto ourselves. For how can we have any idea of sound without ears? How can we have any idea of colour without eyes to see? How can we have any idea of the scent of a rose without the sense of smell? Or how is it possible to feel the firm earth beneath our feet without the sense of touch? Or how could we discern different flavours without the sense of taste? All these external organs are exactly in accordance with the inner organs of he spiritual man within us. Hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, touching, are all senses interwoven in our physical frame by the finer texture of the real spiritual man that stands inside. If that spiritual man wishes to express himself in acts of kindness and love on this physical plane, then he guides the feet on errands of mercy. He leads the hand to raise the fallen, he goes about doing good, and wherever there is a work of commiseration or benevolence, there the spiritual within him leads this external organism to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and do good to all, irrespective of their faith, belief, [unclear: or] page 25 creed. These are questions never asked by the spiritual man within; but the question uppermost is, Do you want me? Can I do you any good? If so, I am your servant. So our blessed Lord made himself of no repute, but took upon him the form of a servant, and being formed after the fashion of a man, humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. He said, "I come not to be ministered unto, but to minister unto others," and was it not truly so? It is said Jesus, knowing that his father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God, and went to God: knowing all this, conscious of the power the Father had vested him with, yet he rose from the supper, and laid aside his garments, and took a towel and girded himself. After that he poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet and wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. This was not the first time he laid aside his garments, for before he took upon himself our earthly nature he had to lay aside the glory he had with the Father before the world was As Paul says, "Ye know the grace or love of our Lord Jesus Christ, who was rich, yet for our sakes became poor, that we through his poverty might be rich."

God is very practical in all his works, both in Nature and in grace. You say there is no use in theorising. Practice practice! Jesus knew Peter would deny him; he knew he would curse, and swear he never knew him. He also knew that they would all forsake him. But this did not prevent him setting them a practical example by taking the lowest place, and becoming servant to them all. And is not this like God in Nature? Is not God in Nature our servant? Everywhere he is working for us. He sends his rain to refresh the earth, and his sun to shine to give light and warmth, beautifying the whole face of Nature. Everything in heaven above and in earth beneath is our servant, all working, ministering to our comfort and our good.

How can I know the love of God if not embodied in some external form on this external plane where man is found? I know his love is written on every blade of grass, which says, to the cattle grazing there in the pastures clothed in green, 'I am your servant and your life." The water that rolls along in the stream says to the fish in sportive play, "I am your servant and your life." The ocean's mighty waves bearing on her breast the freight of immortal souls says unto man, page 26 "I am your servant." God our Father by his spirit inheres in all inorganic forms with mute voices speaking only to the inner soul of man. Nature is dumb, and speaks not with an audible voice to the outward ear. The inner soul may listen to her silent speech, and interpret from that inner soul what Nature doth reveal. Man has to be the mouthpiece for her, as God becomes the mouthpiece for man in the incarnate son of God, revealing by word of mouth to man what was in the Father's heart. How else could we know of love Divine but in this practical form? If you would know of love, then let that love be put in the very best condition for its display. The grandeur and glory of love could only be seen and fully displayed by its very reverse, and where could there be a grander display of that love than God manifest in the flesh? Coming in contact with darkness to give us light; coming in contact with death in us to give us life; coming in contact with ignorance to give us wisdom; coming in contact with impurity to give us purity: like light that gives light, which benefits the darkest and filthiest scenes of earth, yet itself is uncontaminated. So his spirit is now going about from heart to heart in the form of spiritual manifestations,—God manifest in the flesh,—and through the lips of trance mediums is here and now manifesting himself upon that plane of life where man most needs him. God is continually commending his love towards us in different ways to meet every grade of experience in man. What is the trance mediumship of the present day but "God manifest in the flesh"—the incarnation of the spirits of the departed, who, coming back, and for the time being are the manifestation of God in the flesh of the medium. These high and noble self-sacrificing spirits who constantly come, and with the gentleness and patience of angels listen to all our hard questions, doubts, and superstitions, answering them with a meekness and love which bespeaks the origin from which they come: it is through them God speaks with man as man would speak to his friend.

And yet, strange to say, this grand and inestimable blessing is looked upon as being from the devil, and those who embrace these truths and propagate the same are stigmatised with having dealings with Diabolus himself, and therefore are not fit to live. But we can afford to wait as God waits, saying: we know in whom we have believed, and are ready, God helping us, to die for those truths so dear to our souls, for we page 27 know in every act of kindness and love done by us or by anyone else that it is God's love extending itself through the human heart and human hand, and we also know that if a person be persecuted, burnt in the flames, put to death for the truth's sake, that it is God put to death in that very form. It is God in the individual or order of things that bleeds and dies. When any individual is executed for truth, for principle, it is not the individual they wish so much to exterminate, but the God whom that individual represents.* It is the truth he enunciates they wish to destroy, and therefore would destroy the very God of those truths so dear to him. But when the body of the martyr is burned to a black cinder, the soul stands erect and radiant, calmly looking over the black and parched remains, triumphing in the consciousness of eternal life beyond the power of sword or flame.

So with the dear Saviour, the same principle which crucified him would, if it could, have followed him beyond the grave' and have exterminated him altogether. But, thank God, he lives—he lives who once was dead; he lives, my everlasting Head. As Paul says, "He is head over all things in his Church, which is his body—the fulness of him that filleth all in all." Every blow lifted against his followers is lifted against him, as head and members go together. When Saul of Tarsus was on his way to Damascus with letters of authority to take all to prison who were believers in Jesus, he breathing out threatening and slaughter, Jesus met him on the way. So he tells us, the spirit-light, brighter than the sun at noonday, overshadowed him, and the spirit-voice came to him, saying, "Saul! Saul! Why persecutest thou me?" And Saul said, "Who art thou, Lord?" And the Lord said, "I am Jesus whom thou persecutest." The sufferings of Christ's followers are felt by Christ himself, by the same law that the mother feels for her daughter in the flames, or the father feels for his son who is about to be executed.

God alone knows the pangs in the father's heart. The father lives in the son by the potency he has transmitted to his off- page 28 spring; so God lives in all by the potency of the life principle imparted to his offspring, and injury done to those who believe in Jesus he takes as done unto himself. An earthly parent who sees the child being illtreated in the streets will run between the two, and say, "If you want to fight, then fight me, but let my child alone." So Christ stands as sentinel between sin and the holy seed within: the incorruptible seed, which liveth and abideth for ever; our life hid with Christ in God, where sin can never find nor hurt it. He says of those who love him, "He that toucheth you toucheth the apple of my eye. Take care that you do not injure one of these little ones that believe in me, for it were better for that man that a mill-stone were tied round his neck, and that he were cast into the middle of the sea than he should wilfully injure one of the little ones that believe in my name." So must all persons find who wilfully persecute and try to put down God's work, in whatever shape or form that work may be, for in fighting against that work of truth they are fighting against God, against law, and as the car of progress goes on, if persecutors do not get out of the way, they will most certainly be ground to powder by this car of truth.

All who are now fighting against this spiritualism at the present day are aiming all then shafts against the God of the Spiritualists—God once more manifest in the flesh through mediumship; God expressing himself through writing mediums, clairvoyant mediums, physical mediums, prophetic mediums, inspirational mediums, trance mediums; by spirit-hands, spirit-faces, spirit-forms. Perhaps you say, Much of this is perverted. Granted; we believe all that, but that does not alter the fact of spirit-communion. God has opened the gates, and as he has opened, no man can shut. Jesus says, "I am he that liveth and was dead; and behold I am alive for evermore, and have the keys of Hades and of death: I open, and no man can shut; I shut, and no man can open." If spirits make bad use of this gate being opened, and if mankind make a bad use of this gate being opened, that is their fault, and not God's. God opens the gate that we may make the best use of these means both for ourselves and the spirit-friends who may communicate with us.

In everything God is doing the very best for each individual that can be done: atoning, reconciling us to himself as he did in the days of old in the case of the three Hebrew chil- page 29 dren. God was manifest there in the flesh when they answered the king who wished them to bow down to his god. They said, "We are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so that our God, whom we serve, is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee that we will not serve thy gods, neither will we worship the golden image which thou hast set up." And so these Hebrew children were delivered out of the furnace without a hair of their heads being singed, or the smell of fire being found upon them. And why? Because there was One with them of whom it is said, "The form of the fourth was like unto the Son of God." Have this Son of God with you, my brother Spiritualists, and you shall go through floods and flames without the smell of the orthodox fire to be found upon you.

Let me give another example of God being manifest in the flesh, and that was as God was seen in the martyr Stephen. When under his inspirational address he said to the Jews: "Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which have showed before of the coming of the Just One: of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers; who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it. When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. But he being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, and cast him out of the city and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God and saying, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.' And he kneeled down and cried with a loud voice, 'Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.' And when he said this he fell asleep." Was not this God-like? Was not this "God manifest in the flesh?" This was God in Stephen, atoning, reconciling them to God, trying to bring them to love him by this example of love, the same law that Jesus carried out on the cross: "Father, forgive them." No sooner did Stephen tell them what he saw by clairvoyance than they set on him with one accord, and page 30 stoned him to death, because the spirit-world was open to him, and he told the truth of what he saw. So there are plenty nowadays who would, if they dared, exterminate both Spiritualism and Spiritualists from the land.

Now, if a man reject the teachings of Christ, if he reject those holy precepts which he has laid down, and shut out the light wilfully, then he shuts himself out from the only thing that can redeem him and save him; as in those teachings are the very elements of the Saviour himself. If a man receive those words of Christ as the very words of God, which they are; if he receive them in his very soul, then he receives in the words Christ himself, just as a man who writes a book imparts to that book a part of himself. He gives you his thoughts, thoughts that come from his very soul, magnetised with his life-elements. While you read you can feel there is life in the very words that make your soul all of a glow as you peruse the pages: the man lives in his book. So Christ lived in the prophets; they thought about him, lived for him, preached for him, prophesied of him, wrote about him, suffered and died for him. So through the four gospels you will find the matchless beauty of the Saviour's character, both in word and deed. The more you read of him the more you love and admire, and your love becomes more intense towards him. Though he did not write the literal gospels himself, yet he wrote those gospels on the men's hearts, who wrote them in their lives, and they, as writing mediums, transferred them to pen and parchment: and though the gospels may have been mutilated and passed through much trouble and sorrow in many translations, yet thank God that after all the blood that has been shed and the fires that have burned, the opposing powers have not been able to deprive us of one of the greatest and noblest mediumistic books the world has ever produced. Thanks to our God and his Christ for it; thanks to the legion of angels whom Jesus said he could command. No doubt angels, friends, apostles, prophets, and martyrs have had a hand in pre-serving the Book of God. Yes, there is life in the Book, and how else could it be? for it talks more of angels' visits than any other book of ancient times.

Thank God we are having other books published at this present day which are also Books of God. All books that contain spiritual truths are Books of God. It is true, in page 31 those books that are published, there are many things that seem to militate against the mediums of the present day, as there are also things in the Bible that seem to militate against both the writers and the book itself. But are we therefore on that account to say we are better without the book? Where is there a Spiritualist in the world who would wish to destroy all our spiritualistic literature because we have had mixed up with it the faults and failings of some of our mediums? In the Bible we have the faults of the mediums of the past penned down to show us they were men of like passions with ourselves, that we might not be discouraged. We have also the good qualities of others written down that we may be inspired to emulate them in every good word and work. And so also with all the researches of science and art. As far as they go to ennoble and raise man and lead him unto the admiration and love of God in all his work—in so far as they do this they also are Books of God, atoning, reconciling, bringing man unto God, bringing him at-one-ment. In every instance, in the Bible and in all things around us, to the spiritual discerning eye we can see that man is the unreconciled, and not God. All through the Bible it is God inviting, suing, entreating man to come to the at-one-ment, to be reconciled. God is going out after man, and man running away from God. In all the printing of religious books, in all the preaching in-doors and out-of-doors, although it is mixed with much error, yet is God going after the sinner saying, "Turn ye, turn ye, for why will ye die?" Yet God is patient, waiting, watching for the prodigal world to come home.

And now is come in these last times, or later times, the sign or the Son of Man in the heavens; not the Son of Man himself, but the sign of his coming. He shall come with ten thousand of his saints and all his holy myriads with him. The sign is come first: the angel friends are here,—they are here now right amongst us, and the religious world rejects this coming. When the Son of Man comes, shall he find faith on the earth? Faith in what?—faith in his coming. Think me not fanatical, dear reader, if, in the fulness of my soul, I exclaim: "Bless his name, Amen. Come, Lord Jesus, and come quickly." Can you not discern the signs of the times? The fields are white for harvest, the Master hath sent his angels to gather out of his kingdom all tilings that offend. page 32 and the controls of trance mediums are about to take a higher tone. They are taking out of the kingdom those offensive doctrines that have hindered the progress of the Gospel of Peace.

In every possible way is our glorious Christ atoning, reconciling man unto himself. Is not God appearing on earth amongst us again by the spirit of the departed? Is he not rolling away the stone from the mouth of the sepulchre, yet Humanity and the Church reject the act? Well did he say, "Publicans and harlots shall go into the kingdom of God before you"—that is, those who are looked upon as publicans and harlots—the very lowest, as the Spiritualists are looked upon by the Church,—these very outsiders, who go to no church, own no creed, enter into this very kingdom, while the churches are thrust out. But they thrust themselves out; the churches are saying, Where is the sign of his coming?—like the Jews of old, while he stood and preached in their very streets, and they know him not, because he did not come and set up a temporal kingdom. The churches of the present day are making the same mistake, for they are expecting him to come and establish a kingdom on the earth for them, and send the rest of mankind to hell.

The atoning blood of Christ was not to pacify an angry God, but to pacify angry man; it was not to satisfy the justice of God, but to satisfy man's injustice. Yes, his blood was shed to satisfy us that God loved us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us; that by that very death of suffering on the cross he tried to find a way to our heart, to prove in every possible way that he had nothing against us but everything for us: arms of love open wide ready to receive us and not impute even our trespasses against us, not one rebuke. Only—Come Home, is the message of all the dear angel-bands that are now overshadowing the earth. There is nothing in heaven above or on earth beneath to prevent us from coming home to our Father's House, our Father's Arms, only sin. Immediately you say, "I will arise,"—nay, before you have done that, while you are yet a great way off, he sends out his angel-messengers, inviting you to the feast; and if invitation be not sufficient, he has authorised his angels to go out into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in, "that My House may be filled." Come Home! Come Home! Weary Soul, Come Home!

page break

Will shortly be published, Crown, 8vc. "Jesus who is called Christ." BY THE SAME AUTHOR.

* We know that Deity in his eternal essence cannot die, but it was the God element in the martyrs that laid down the outward life for the love of truth. Truth must be established in this earth, and love must triumph, but it can only do so through death, for it is the very enmity in man as a dark background that shows up the super abounding love of God in non-resistance on the cross.