Taking our position at the close of the apostolic age, and looking back to its fountain-head and forward to succeeding generations, we cannot but be amazed at the magnitude of the effects produced by the brief public ministry of Jesus of Nazareth, which sends its blessings through centuries as an unbroken and ever-expanding river of life. There is absolutely nothing like it in the annals of the race. The Roman empire embraced, at the birth of Christ, over one hundred millions of men, conquered by force, and, after having persecuted his religion for three hundred years, it died away without the possibility of a resurrection. The Christian church now numbers four hundred millions, conquered by the love of Christ, and is constantly increasing. The first century is the life and light of history and the turning point of the ages. If ever God revealed himself to man, if ever heaven appeared on earth, it was in the person and work of Jesus of Nazareth. He is, beyond any shadow of doubt, and by the reluctant consent of skeptics and unbelievers, the wisest of the wise, the purest of the pure, and the mightiest of the mighty. His Cross has become the tree of life to all nations; his teaching is still the highest standard of religious truth; his example the unsurpassed ideal of holiness; the Gospels and Epistles of his Galilean disciples are still the book of books, more powerful than all the classics of human wisdom and genius. No book has attracted so much attention, provoked so much opposition, outlived so many persecutions, called forth so much reverence and gratitude, inspired so many noble thoughts and deeds, administered so much comfort and peace from the cradle to the grave to all classes and conditions of men. It is more than a book; it is an institution, an all-pervading omnipresent force, a converting, sanctifying, transforming agency; it rules from the pulpit and the chair; it presides at the family altar; it is the sacred ark of every household, the written conscience of every Christian man, the pillar of cloud by day, the pillar of light by night in the pilgrimage of life. Mankind is bad enough, and human life dark enough with it; but how much worse and how much darker would they be without it? Christianity might live without the letter of the New Testament, but not without the facts and truths which it records and teaches. Were it possible to banish them from the world, the sun of our civilization would be extinguished, and mankind left to midnight darkness, with the dreary prospect of a dreamless and endless Nirvana.

But no power can extinguish that sun. There it shines on the horizon, the king of day, obscured at times by clouds great or small, but breaking through again and again, and shedding light and life from east to west, until the darkest corners of the globe shall be illuminated. The past is secure; God will take care of the future.

MAGNA EST VERITAS ET PRAEVALEBIT (truth is great and will prevail)

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