Rev. E. Winchester Donald, D.D., of Boston, preached last evening at Chapel. He took as his text "And the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God." (Galatians II, 20th v.). The substance of the sermon was as follows:
Life is not a gift, for a gift is something which we can either accept or reject as we please. We must accept life because it is imposed upon us by a will higher than our own. We should thank God, not for life, but for its chances.
When we try to estimate and fathom life, we at once see some prominent qualities which all life possesses. The first is the necessity for universal labor. To every human being is allotted a certain amount of work. If one person fails to perform his share, it falls to the portion of some other man to do, in addition to his own. There are no lands or peoples free from this inexorable condition of toil.
Another quality is the poverty and the pettiness of all human life. We see a mass of objects, not men. Every person is but a passing shadow, one of many similar shadows cast by similar persons. Men die by thousands, but are not mourned by the mass. Their places as objects merely become vacant to be at once and silently filled by others. The death of the venerable elm on the common causes more general sorrow than the little child crushed beneath its falling branch.
The last fact with which we are impressed is the profound mystery hovering about the end of life. It is surrounded with a peculiar interest for all thinking men. In spite of scientific discoveries, we find ourselves continually falling back on the impenetrable mystery in which death is shrouded. The more we learn, the more we crave. New knowledge only reveals mysteries wider and deeper than ever. Friends and loved ones leave us for we know where. Love remains; therefore the sense of mystery still lives.
This then is the life that we all live in the flesh. Faith in the Son of God is the source of all truly successful living. The faith which characterized every attitude of Jesus toward life is still the faith with which to meet the life which confronts us today. Trusting implicitly in God, we can toil on, knowing that all will be well. "Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest," is surely a message more winsome than any other the world has ever heard. Faith in God will not free us from labor, but will lift it from our shoulders till it becomes very light.
The whole career of Jesus emphasises the preciousness of the individual. Each is necessary for the completeness of the world. God gave His Son that all might live, and a life for which God cares can not be insignificant or cheap.
Jesus, with His faith in a New Jerusalem, meets the frightened speculations of men concerning death and asks them to see with Him the God of Love standing behind the portals of death to welcome them into the life eternal. Faith in Jesus makes it possible to possess God when He seems farthest away. Into this faith we are all thrown, and by it we are to live, until we can all say with Paul, "This life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God."