Rev. Brooke Herfort. of Boston, spoke last night in Appleton, taking for his text Ezekiel II. 2, 'Son of man stand upon thy feet and I will speak unto thee."
These words came to the prophet in the first great hour of vision. In it he found that God does not want a grovelling spirit in his worshipers. To the old Hebrews God seemed to be invested with all sorts of awful surroundings-vivid sunset colors and fearful thunder-all of which seems strange to us now. Nevertheless our ideas of the Creator are such that the invitation to stand "up on the feet" before Him does not come amiss.
The great truth of the old vision is that the secret of a righteous life is to stand up. We teach our children to stand instead of leaning and lolling about, not only because it looks better to stand unsupported but because the habit carries a moral lesson. The first thing a recruit is taught to do is to stand straigt, no for looks but because the act of so standing conveys the idea of discipline. And for centuries the word in our language which is the typical expression fro absolute honesty has been uprightness.
In the present day of rapid change and fience attack upon traditional ideas the man who is to maintain the true faith of Christianity must stand upright and face the storm of criticism. Grander visions than were ever seen by ancient prophets are now being opened up by modern science. Everything has now become wonderful; the insignificant pebble contains a page of the past history of the world written indelibly upon it, and the tiny flower gives up to the student the great truths of the universe. It is just as proper to speak of the word of the Lord as coming from Agassiz and Huxley as from Moses and Isaiah. When the great light of modern science came upon the world many were weak enough to think that the old revelations were thrown into discredit; they fell down on their faces instead of remembering the exhortation of the prophet to stand on their feet and face the glory of the Lord. The revelations of today do not controvert, they add to and ennoble the grand discoveries of the past.
There is something greater than the discoveries of science, greater than Providence.- the direct relation of our souls to Gad. In this sense there is also a meaning in the words "stand up on thy feet." The whole teaching of the gospels is to come bravely and humbly for repentance. Fear of God does not need to be a sorlid fear but an honest and inspiring awe. Fear of God is the beginning but not necessarily the end of wisdom. Jesus Christ as well as the old Jews taught a manly religion; "though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him," expresses their attitude toward God.
The choir sang the following selections: How Beautiful upon the Mountains, Smith; O Give Thanks, Jackson; When I View, Barnby.