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Rev. William Lawrence preached at Appleton Chapel last evening. He took his text from John xx. 27-29. He said that every age has its own appropriate character, but to no age since the resurrection has the character of Thomas appealed as it does to this. Thomas was a doubting character and this is a doubting age. But there is more in the character of Thomas than the incident of the text would lead us to believe, and so, too, the element of doubt is not the principle one in our own age.
Early in the life of Jesus when he would go into Judea to Lazarus, in spite of the dangers Thomas exclaims impulsively, "Let us also go, that we may die with him." His character was an impulsive, mercurial, skeptical one, but when appealed to by a demand for a great service it responded at once. And so now we bemoan the cynicism, indifference and selfishness of the youth of our day, and yet that youth is ready for service, and when appealed to throws aside its indifference.
Thomas' second appearance is at the last supper. When Christ says, "Whither I go ye know, and the way ye know," he interrupts saying, "We know not whither thou goest, and how can we know the way?" Here we have a perfect illustration of the agnostic spirit of this age, a spirit the fault of which is that it is of the intellect rather than of the heart. There is a lack of faith. And so in the last scene in which Thomas appears, the one of the text, there is a lack of faith in all things which the testimony of the senses does not confirm. And this is the gravest fault of this age which is continually demanding a sign.
The choir sang Schubert's Jubilate in B flat Smart's "The Lord is my Strength," and Shelley's anthem "There is a Holy City."
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