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time and space, outside of all immediate relation to God, of all spiritual lift above the dead level of sense, and never existing by virtue of its inward commerce with infinite Goodness and Truth.

But the opulence of man's nature is such, - it is so veritably grand and august, so filled with inward being, so woven upon the substance of God, that when we throw off nature as we drop our garments from us at night, and all other things find their ending, our distinctive human life only finds its true beginning. This interior life of man is spoken of by Jesus in his Gospel under various names, as " the treasure laid up in heaven, which neither moth nor rust can corrupt;" as the "pearl of great price,” to purchase which a man “sold all that he had;" as the “one thing needful ;” as the “ kingdom of Heaven," or the “kingdom of God.” Jesus declared that a man must be “born from above," — that is, he must be born into this kingdom, before he can see it, or enter it, or possess it.

And this announcement, like so many other of his teachings, is not the deep and impenetrable mystery that theologians would make it, but the concise presentation of a simple, well-understood, and universal law. It is not even a figurative statement, but a literal fact.

It is the utterance of a great truth in harmony with, and illustrated by, the method and manner in which we gain all our knowledge. Any great division of things, or any large system of truths, is called in common language a kingdom. Thus the three great divisions of natural forms are termed the mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms. sometimes speak of the great kingdoms of the atmosphere, the ether, the electric and magnetic auras, or the denser forms of solids and Auids. We speak of the kingdoms of sound, of light, of odors, of taste, or of touch, On turning from the material world to the mind, we may consider the trades, the arts, the professions, the sciences, each as kingdoms. And rising yet higher, we may in Scripture phrase

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term all that superb field of spiritual relations which link us to God in a nearness more profound than to our own bodies, as "the kingdom of God."

Now how do we enter any of these kingdoms? Is it not by being “ born” into them? Is it not by having some sense or faculty, corresponding to the kingdom and capable of receiving impressions from it, developed out of the germ state into formation, birth, and life ? A man can only enter the kingdom of light through that part of his nature which is fitted to receive impressions from the light, — through the sense of sight, - through the organism of the eye. If that sense has never been born into actual formation and life, the man can never enter the kingdom of Light.

Of all that mighty ocean of sunshine which on a long summer day floods the earth miles deep with its solar tides, the blind man has no more sensation than the rock upon our coast of the ocean's tide and surge. He stands without that kingdom, for the sense by which alone he enters it is unborn within him. We can only enter the kingdom of sound, with its boundless and inestimable wealth of human speech and many-voiced harmony, through the sense of hearing, by which sounds reach and impress us. And he in whom that sense is wanting and unborn cannot enter the kingdom of sound. So we enter the kingdom of odors, of taste, and of touch, through the birth and growth of those senses in us which can receive impressions from those kingdoms, and only thus.

The same law applies to the kingdoms of mental truth. The peasant or the clown travels up and down over the surface of the earth; he sees beneath him the steadfast soil, and above his head the mighty westering arch over which the sun is slowly rolling. The same divine handwriting is unrolled before his unobservant eyes that meets the exploring gaze of Liebig, Lyell, or Agassiz. But he cannot enter the wondrous kingdoms of chemical, geological, and astronomical truth. His scientific mind is unborn; he has no faculty formed and

active within him that can commune with this class of truths, and see their varied relations and revelations. He cannot map and measure the blue dome above him.

The solid substances of nature will not fly apart at his uninstructed touch, and reveal the secrets of their affinities. Nor will the hardened leaves of the earth's crust yield up to his rude questioning the hoary secrets of geologic history. There is no way for him to enter the varied kingdoms of scientific knowledge, but by the birth and growth of that part of his nature which corresponds to those kingdoms and is fitted to commune with them. The kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom. It is composed of all those spiritual and celestial influences which form the wealthy bond of angelic union, which are the life-blood of heaven, and which will make man the image and likeness of his Divine Original. He is fitted to possess and enjoy this heavenly inheritance - this kingdom of God - as fully as he is fitted to possess and enjoy the lower kingdoms of matter and of mind. He has spiritual powers within him fitted to receive impressions from the “ kingdom of God,” as the eye, the ear, the taste, the smell, the touch, are fitted to receive impressions from the kingdom of matter, or as the mental powers are fitted to receive impressions from the varied realms of scientific truths. And as your senses must first be formed and

your scientific faculties be developed before you can enter the respective kingdoms to which they lead, so your spiritual powers must be born, and grow into habitual and controlling use, before you can pass into the kingdom of God. You cannot see it, nor enter it, without being “born from above."

The kingdom of God is not a realm far off in space, to which the event of death shall introduce us.

Death only brings us into the spiritual world, and then, if our higher faculties are unborn, we shall still stand outside of God's kingdom, as a man blind from birth may grope painfully over this broad earth in a rayless and endless night, never entering the kingdom of light, though it lies all about him, pouring its warm influence upon him, and bathing the world with grandeur and beauty.

Jesus, then, in declaring the solemn and irrevocable conditions of our entrance into the kingdom of Heaven, stated no single and arbitrary fact, but a universal law, confirmed by our experience of the manner in which we gain all our knowledge.

Man can only receive what his open, living faculties fit him to receive, — what his developed powers can bring him into free and open relation with. This, and only this. Thus we see that there is a fixed law, rooted in human nature and human life, that we must be born into every kingdom of Truth, whether of matter, of mind, or of heaven, or we cannot enter into it. Do you ask now how this birth from above can be accomplished by us? How can those sweet and awful senses within us be opened, through which as through a channel the finite human bosom is brought into perfect accord and oneness with the infinite Divine Love, making even our despised bodies the adequate and ample temple of God, and gathering up with every throb of our natural lives the infinite forces of Deity, as wheat is gathered up in a sheaf?

Jesus answers this question in words so clear and so concise that all men can treasure them up and walk by them forever. “Except a man be born from above, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God," — thus he states the law. “ If thou wouldst enter into eternal life, keep the commandments,” - thus he points out the way.

. of the commandments are included in this, Thou shalt love the Lord with thy whole heart and thy neighbor as thyself," — thus he shows us what is meant by the commandments. He covers the whole infinite sphere of religion, of Heaven, and of God by the one word, Love.

The law of Love is the sure entrance and the only entrance into eternal life. If we with hearty consent and

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co-operation strive to keep this law supremely, in least and in greatest things, — if, undeterred by frequent, nay, incessant defeats, we still struggle on, rising, like David, with new energy after every fall, and clinging closer to the Lord's outstretched arm, - we shall find Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, and the kingdom of God, becoming more and more blessedly and thrillingly real to our consciousness. Little by little our selfish aims and ends will be rooted up and cast out, and we will find the work of the higher birth — the work of the soul's regeneration - going gradually on to its blessed completeness.

Day by day, while walking and working on the earth, and fulfilling every duty of the natural life with a more finished faithfulness and a fuller fidelity, we shall feel that we are living in two worlds, mingling with men, and communing with Heaven. And when God's band of angels shall close round us, and at the touch of death the frail walls of matter that now shut us in shall fall away, our

open

and our feet shall stand amid the unveiled and lustrous and unimaginable glories of the kingdom of God!

O my brother and my sister, perplexed about many things, the slaves of selfish habits, drawn hither and thither at the will of hurtful and worldly lusts, gazing at Religion afar off, as at some mysterious and unapproachable thing, look up! There is yet hope for you and for me. to that most Blessed Life written all over with Heaven's great Law of Love; who left his shining home above, and clothed his radiant head with weeds of misery, and drained man's brimming cup of shame, and gathered in his arms the harlot and the outcast, and warmed on his own heart the sobbing and prostrate souls of the lost. Look to Him and strive to keep his Law. Though innumerable times we fail, and our feet stumble and fall in the deeply worn paths of selfish habit, let us but strive the more. Though seventy and seven times in a single day we falter and fail, let us

eyes shall

Look up

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