On account of sickness Bishop Doane was unable to preach last night at Appleton Chapel, his place being taken by Dean Hodges, who took his text from St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans, "The night is far spent, the day is at hand."
Every good Christian feels the truth of this. Christ never despaired. He looked the sins and the pains of life squarely in the face, and with it saw the face of His Father and the promise of success in life. By believing in people He helped them to believe in themselves; He never discouraged a person who had sinned. When He sent His apostles out to conquer the world, He looked forward to victory, and yet just at this time His friends were few, while His enemies were constantly increasing in numbers. The night was upon Him but He looked forward to the dawn. It was this hopeful, confidant spirit which the early Christians received from Christ, a feeling that even in the midst of the most abject misery and depravity, if they only waited long enough the morning was sure to come.
The night even now, in the beginning of this new year is black upon us, but the dawn already lights the peaks of the eastern hills; there is more social spirit at work than ever before; more people are today occupied in helping their fellow beings than in any previous year. Men and women are now busily engaged by a desire to reach out and help those who are not so well off as themselves. Mechanical philanthropy is no longer of use. The new spirit of change is marked by the incessant efforts towards the reform of our politics which characterized the end of the past year.
The Church itself feels this influence; it has made mistakes but now looks forward to the time when by the cooperative effort of every religion, it may be helped to relieve mankind of its burdens. Thus victory is certain. In the blackness of the night the day dawns.