1 Pet. 1:25.---' The word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.'

There are those who deny that we are to look for any progress in the interpretation of Christian truth, and who assert that in this respect there is an impassible gulf between theology and all the other sciences. But such a contention cannot be maintained for a moment. In one sense none of the sciences is progressive. The facts which are the subject of investigation by the sciences have been the same throughout the ages. The relation of the heavenly bodies to each other, their nature, magnitudes, motions, distances, of which astronomy treats; the ultimate atoms of which, apparently, all things are composed, their bulk and weight, complex movements, and various combinations, into which chemistry inquires; the earth and all that relates to it, which forms the subject of geological research; the silent processes that are going on year after year in the formation of leaf and stem, of flower and fruit, with which botany has to do; the properties and relations of quantities, which form the subject of mathematical investigation---these remain the same as years and centuries roll by. In this respect there is no progress. But the marvelous progress which has been made in man's knowledge of these things there is abundant proof. Similarly with regard to theological science. The great facts and truths which are subject of its investigation remain unchanged and unchangeable. The great God of whom it treats in His nature and perfections is from everlasting to everlasting the same. And the stupendous facts with which it has to do---the incarnation, the life, the death, of the Lord Jesus Christ; sin, responsibility, redemption---are similarly unalterable. But surely the whole history of the Church of Christ proves that progress is the law of the apprehension and interpretation of these facts. Tertullian argued that our conception of God is inaccurate unless we conceive of Him as clothed in bodily form. Augustine repeatedly asserted that the unbaptized infant is lost. For centuries it was commonly held in the Church that the death of Christ is a payment made to the devil, on the ground of which he is obliged to release those who through sin had become his captives. These are but illustrations which are by no means exceptional, so true is the often quoted language of the pilgrim father, "The Lord hath yet more light and truth to break forth from His word."

Take the truth of the Divine Fatherhood. This constitutes the whole of our Lord's theology. That, according to the accounts given us by the four Evangelists, He insisted upon it more copiously and strongly than He did upon any other truth cannot be doubted by anyone who bases his answer upon the words of Christ which they have recorded. He asserted distinctly that the whole of His life was one unveiling of the Father. The statement that when we speak of God as the Father we are only using a metaphor with which human relationships supply us is in deadly opposition to the teachings of our Lord. According to those teachings the word expresses the relation arising out of the very nature which He sustains to men, a relation, consequently, which is as unchangeable as Himself. He pointed to the human relationship between father and child as a dim reflection of the relationship of God to us. Where the human relationship is seen in its purest, holiest, tenderest form, there is seen most of the Divine. If we obtain our knowledge of God from the teachings of Jesus Christ, then we shall not have one thought of Him dissociated from this central idea. Whether as the object of worship, as the God of providence, as giving us all things richly to enjoy, as filled with a glowing hatred against sin, as expressing that hatred in indignation and wrath, as Love or as a Consuming Fire, God is unalterably, from everlasting to everlasting, in His very nature, the Father. That truth is the foundation of the theology of Jesus Christ. And, happily, it is becoming more and more the foundation of the theology of the Church of Christ. God speed the day when it shall occupy the same place in every section of the Church and in every Christian's heart and life that it occupies in the teaching of Christ.

Again, Christ taught us that God the Father is immanent in all things, and is the Source of all that is good, and true, and beautiful, and lovely in the world. He did not teach us to think of God as seated on some far-off throne, looking with indifference on all that transpires here. He did not teach us to think of Him as having endowed the world with mysterious forces that work apart from Him. The notion that God's relation to this world is like the relation between the watchmaker and the watch has no place among the teachings of Christ. He never spoke of any impersonal agency, any blind force, any mere tendency---call it what you will---at work in this world apart from God. The sun rises each morning at an hour and a place that can be foretold with exactness; but, says our Lord, 'He causeth his sun to shine.' The rain falls, and doubltess in harmony with laws which will one day be formulated; but these are the mere modes of His working. 'He sendeth rain upon the just and the unjust.' The sparrow, ruthlessly destroyed, lies lifeless at our feet. 'Not one of them falls to the ground without your Father.'

We may trace the same progress in the truer conception that is becoming prevalent of the meaning of personal salvation. There is an indissoluble connection of God and the meaning we attach to the word 'salvation.' If we think of God as outside the world rather than immanent in the world; if the mental picture that the word 'God' calls up before us is that of a Throne, a King, a Judge; and if His Fatherhood recedes into the dim background, then the word 'salvation' will be suggestive chiefly of deliverance from the consequences of sin, escape from the punishment of sin, salvation from wrath to come, rather than salvation from that which causes wrath, salvation from sin itself. That sin entails terrible consequences is patent enough. That men by willful disobedience do 'treasure up for themselves wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God'; and 'that to those who obey not the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there shall be wrath and indignation, tribulation and anguish,' is undoubted. But God's attitude towards sin, and consequently the true nature of sin, its exceeding sinfulness, and its terrible consequences, can be rightly understood only in the light of the truth that God is the Father. Correlative to the thought of God as Judge is sin as a violation of the right of others. Correlative to the thought of God as a King is sin as rebellion. But correlative to the thought of God as the Father is sin as baseness and ingratitude. We have to do not with a mere judge, whose function is to pronounce sentence of condemnation, not with a mere king, of whom, in common with countless others, we are the subjects; we have to do with the Father, the intensity of whose love for us is the only gauge of the intensity of His hatred of sin. He Himself shows His determined, changeless, vehement hostility to all sin in punishing. 'He makes the ways of transgressors hard.' We speak of God's laws of retribution. What are they but the sure, invincible modes of His working? He is in all the pain and vexation and bitter shame and disgrace which overtake the sinner, always wooing us to be toward Him, and thus shows what an evil thing and bitter it is to sin against Him. In all these things He is showing the fierceness of His wrath against sin, in other words what sin really is. There is no suffering of any kind whatever within the range of His resources which He Himself will not inflict upon us in order to destroy sin in us. Were it possible that we should be free from the consequences of sin, while still under the power of sin, it would be no great thing at all. But happily it is impossible. Thank God that He punishes until He destroys sin. The salvation that the sinner needs is salvation from sin. The only Savior who can meet the necessities of the sinner is that Savior of whom it is written, 'His name shall be called Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins.

We can trace progress also in the wider recognition of the truth that Christianity is coextensive with everyday life. The teaching has received its death-blow which makes the essence of Christianity consist in the observance of days and months and seasons, in the endeavor to cherish certain emotions and perform certain duties at certain specified times. But never was it more widely felt among Christian men and women than it is today that the pretended distinction between spiritual things and secular is utterly without foundation. The division rests entirely on principles of heathenism. The language in which the Apostle Paul gathered up the teaching of our Lord on this subject---'Whatever ye do in word or deed, do everything in the name of Christ'---well sets forth the aspect of Christianity which is coming more and more to the front. However punctuous he may be about religious duties, the man who slanders his neighbor does not follow Christ. The loudest zeal for orthodoxy is not an off-set against the absence of that charity which thinketh no evil. The Christian man is a Christian alike in the house of prayer and in the house of business; in speaking to God and in speaking to his fellow-man; in what he says or what he refrains from saying. More and more widely the truth is being recognized that only hypocrisy separates between Christianity and everyday life; that the Christian, whether as a domestic servant sweeping a room, a merchant prince employing thousands of his fellow-men, an ardent student of science searching after the truth.

The universal brotherhood of man is also assuming a place in the creed of the Church which is a further indication of the progress we are tracing. This truth is but the complement of the essential Fatherhood of God. Where one is accepted the other cannot be ignored. If there is one God and Father of all, then, of course, all are brethren. Surely, if slowly, the truth is being learned that God's attitude towards His children---who, through exposing themselves to His wrath instead of rejoicing in His smile, are children still---was truly represented by our Lord, who, when publicans and sinners crowded around Him to hear Him, spoke to them the parables of 'the lost piece of silver,' 'the lost sheep,' ' the prodigal son.' Christ opened up to us the very heart of God, as it yearns over the lost, when He sat down and conversed with the woman of Samaria, when He received sinners and ate with them, when He wept over Jerusalem, when He died, the just for the unjust, that He might bring them to God.

And, happily, with the clearer recognition of such truths as these today, keener interest than ever has been awakened in the question, "What can be done to seek and save the lost?" As the outcome of modern grappling with the difficult questions which estrangement from God and virtue presents, in a great variety of ways unchronicled for the footsteps of Him who went about doing good, and are endeavoring to tread in them. In our factories and our workshops, in our workhouses and our prisons, among all sorts and conditions of men, by all the means which thought and experience suggest, the attempt is being made to cause the reality of the Divine Fatherhood and human brotherhood to be seen and felt. Faithlessly to stand by and tremble for the ark of God, uttering loud laments which only discourage others, is unworthy of the followers of Christ. Little we may be able to do, but let that little, whatever it is, be done with a fidelity and enthusiasm inspired by the conviction that, while 'the grass withereth and the flower falleth away, the word of the Lord abideth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.'

There is one motto which is more Christian than Mr. G. F. Watts saying, "The utmost for the highest," and that is "the utmost for the lowest." Life's biggest and bravest duties are, according to the teaching of Jesus, owed to 'the least of these my brethren.' While most are all applauding the sentiments that God helps those who help themselves, and one outstanding Christian teaching is that God helps those who cannot help themselves; and that when Christ thrust into the foreground of His program the weak, the helpless, the morally, spiritually and economically insolvent, and told an astonished world that the last shall be first, the least should be greatest, and the lost should be found, He was 'setting the pace' for all who aspire to follow Him.

In Christ, timothy. maranatha