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parts have their exits and their entrances in the world's great drama. Political science in its study of institutions, a study as yet in its infancy, has shown the force of great laws of development. The historian who looks deep into the events of the passing ages is not content with saying: "Thus Luther spake. Here Cromwell strove for victory Luther was the embodiment of the spirit of the Reformation. Through Cromwell there surged that dominant spirit of free man that was working its will in the life of the English nation. What was Luther without reference to the past or the present? What was Cromwell if we blind our eyes to the forces of his century that were working through him to produce that delicately constituted English state government, where man is now working his way to greater and more glorious freedom? The spirit of the age, -what is it but the will of God manifesting itself through men as imperfect instruments of power?
The reign of law, then, is not confined to what we unjustly describe as nature. Unjustly, I say, for organized man, or men organized constitute a natural phenomenon. The state. and its work are emphatically not artificial. There may be truth in the statement of James Wilson, that as man is the noblest work of God, so the state is the noblest work of mau. But it is a precarious footing for judge or statesman. The blending of common impulses, of common sympathies and hopes is the broad basis of the state, and this is a natural and not an artificial process.
We see the force of God in nature in a thousand complex acts of the dumb creatures below us. We recognize the presence of a great force in nature, and as Christians we would not discriminate too carefully between the forces of nature and the will of God. Is man responsive to no extraneous impulse
the proud possessor of free-will uninfluenced by the forces of nature? The study of biological sciences has emphasized in a hundred ways, the old statement, whose truth we never accept, that man is an animal. He may be made in the image of God, he may have within him a portion of the divine word which was in the beginning with God, but he is an animal, and has not thrown off all such characteristics and will not while he remains man. As an animal he is under the reign of law More correctly-he acts in response to forces over which freeagency has only speculative control. And even in his higher. work of state-building there is something of the same domination of instinct that we notice when a colony of beavers builds its marvelous dwellings and prepares its simple state.
The institutions of the Englishman have been especially studied and we can trace the evolutionary development in them with especial assurance. The growth of an English state has been steadily in response to a simple impulse of widening. Scattered here and there over the face of Germany we catch sight of little communities of self-governing men. They control their simple lives by simple regulations. Each centre of life, each bit of protoplasm is ready to give up a portion of its life-service to the whole while it remains an individual cell. By a process of assimilation these ganglionic centers unite in a larger whole and these again form a more complicated state. All the way, there is a retention of individual life and partial autonomy while the organization of the whole widens and deepens. This process is reproduced in Britain, when the English people leave their old homes by the Elbe for new ones. by the Thames and Southampton Water Four centuries are needed for this process of aggregation and agglomeration to produce unified England-retaining its protoplasmic life, its old
Germanic spirit. In America the same controlling laws of state-growth have operated from the beginning. When the fathers met at Philadelphia to perform that last great act of aggregation by bringing into a conjunctive whole the autonomous groups of people, they were not aware that their work was a step in development, a part of a natural process, that great forces of Aryan nation-building were making use of their so-called free-wills to bring about a great and glorious consummation in the widening of the state. I have spoken of the Philadelphia convention as the last great act. But what reason have we to think it will be the last? Why should there be a cessation of that process of extension. England and America can arbitrate. Canada and America can reciprocate. The day has come when one of the wisest and truest men in our public life stands ready to say that a war between England and the United States would be a step backward in civilization. Is the time at infinite distance when there will be another step in this process of aggregation?
So far I have been offering random suggestions of the work of God in history, maintaining that the great process of nation-building is a natural process under the impulses of God, and that man, though a free-agent, works in response to great natural forces, which in the brute creation we call instinct. have declared that in the formation of the United States we saw one of the last great steps in the Teutonic process of aggregation. In discussing the work of God in history, I have some difficulty in differentiating it from the work of Him who was in the beginning with God. But we know that through revelation in Christ there will be and is a gradual unfolding of truth, as man works up to it, and we must expect to find it in time-in history This unfolding of truth, this discovery,
more and more, of the relations of man to man and of man to God, is the working out of Christianity in history When one,
by action, fully realizes himself in his relations, he is doing his full duty Even then there may be duty following duty as relations change, for Christian force is unfolding truth, and until all truth is known there is work for the forces of Christianity
How have the great truths of God been especially revealed in the history of the United States? or, to put the question in another way, how has there been progress toward a full appreciation of conditions and relations? How has man come to be a truer and wiser actor in society? How has that society risen to higher and nobler life, widening in the process of the suns?
I have already suggested that the history of the United States begau long before the discovery of America. The forces that were operating two thousand years ago and more have simply displayed their grander vigor in the last hundred years. As some one has said that modern history began with the calling of Abraham, so one may be fully justified in saying that the Germania of Tacitus is the first work on American history, Let us adopt, however, the conventional definition of American history
At the beginning of the eighteenth century there were a number of settlements scattered along the Atlantic coast. Each was developing in response to the Anglo Saxon instinct. But each was leading its individual life. Contrariety and diversity were more noticeable than harmony The life of each colony. was largely shaped by the topography of the country; for man had not yet the skill or the opportunity to rise above his environment. The history of our colonial period, what was it? what does it mean? It can be studied along two lines, and
these two lines will eventually meet to form one. We see on one hand the growth of the spirit of self-assertion, of independence and self-government in the colony, on the other the drift toward union and aggregation. These endless, tiresome bickerings between the assemblies and the governors have their meaning. They indicate an effort to throw off the incubus of extraneous influence and domination. If the American people were to do their work in the world they needed to become selfdeterminate. Self-determination does not mean anarchy; it means freedom, by freedom is meant not lawlessness, but easy, pliable obedience to the forces of God in the world as they are revealed their revelation is the expression of Christianity A nation is free which is in perfect accord with the will of God and has risen to such self-control, such freedom from the load of sin that it acts in the direction of its own highest good—or, to repeat, is in full accord with the will and purposes of God. "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." A nation is developing freedom which is casting off extraneous restraint and is learning to govern itself, is coming to that stage of self-control and self-restraint which is the condition precedent of freedom. A man is not free who is not able to put himself in line with the forces of nature and take advantage of her laws. Will a man boast of his freedom in such language as this: "I know nothing of electricity, of the laws of its expansion. I am unable to make use of it. I don't understand how. I won't learn how I shall do as I want to. I am a free agent.' Would there not be more sense in this: "I am a free man because I have learned how to put myself in touch with the forces of nature; I have studied her laws; I can work with her; I find that she is ready to serve me if I know her speech and mind it." Now any one who sees in