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Lord is dealing with America, and with Japan, and raising those countries to power and greatness. These special dispensations of Providence differ, indeed, and must differ according to the peculiarities of each nation, but they never jar with each other. They cannot clash, though apparently dissimilar. They are all the harmonious outcome of that universal economy of redemption which will one day establish the kingdom of heaven on earth. Can God oppose Himself ? How then can His dispensations of saving light unto different nations conflict with each other? If there is harmony in God's love, there must be harmony in the various ways in which it manifests itself for the salvation of man. What I accept as the New Dispensation in India neither shuts out God's light from the rest of the world, nor does it run counter to any of those marvellous dispensations of His mercy which were made in ancient times. It only shows a new adaptation of His eternal goodness, an Indian version and application of His universal love. In accepting this light we do not set up or claim a monopoly of the treasures of heaven in behalf of our country. We only contend for this, that the same Fatherly care which feeds all mankind is feeding my country in a special manner in a most critical period of its history. Surely India needs a special dispensation to save her. God alone knows how to save India. We know not how this is to be done. We may in vain argue, suggest and dictate as to how this country is to be reformed and regenerated. This is not for us to decide. The human intellect cannot fathom the mysterious ways of national redemption. We can only listen with wonder, and bow with reverence. Who knows whence came the first impulse that stirred up sleeping India ? None knows how the heart of the nation
has been touched, and is being led through wondrous paths to light and truth.
The wind bloweth ; we know it by its effects, but none knows whence it came or how it came. Not man but God has kindled that spirit of reform which like wild fire spreads to-day from province to province among the diverse races and tribes that inhabit the country. Not in our way but in His own way has the Lord kindled that fire and in His own mysterious ways is He working out the salvation of the country. He does not foilow our dictates or suggestions ; He does not act as you or I may
ways are not as man's ways. We may have our respective theories of India's reformation, we may differ and quarrel as to the best means of remedying national evils. But the Lord of nations does what seemeth best in His sight. One thing is clear that all the means and agencies He employs are thoroughly suited to the wants of the country. They are national and indigenous. True reform grows naturally on the soil of the country, and is not imported. Let us not endeavour to reproduce or transplant foreign institutions, however good and useful they may be. Let us not believe that a system of Faith which has succeeded in other countries will necessarily succeed here, and that because another nation has been saved by it, our salvation must be achieved through its instrumentality. Sectarian missionaries will in vain try to introduce by artificial pressure and mechanical preaching their respective creeds into India. God will have His own way, and evolve a new scheme of redemption out of India's native resources. Truth is one, yet the Lord dispenses it in different ways in different epochs and climes. A new dispensation, therefore, has been sent unto us which presents to us not indeed a new and singular
creed but a new development of by-gone dispensations. The Divine message sent to India, far from clashing with anything communicated to man by God in ancient times, fulfils all that has been said before. It comes not to destroy, but to fulfil the law and the prophets. And whi is a consummation of the teachings of the past, it sows the seed of future dispensations. The light we see in our country to-day is only the dawn of brighter and fuller light yet to come.
As time rolls on, higher dispensations of saying truth will be revealed by Providence here and in other countries. In diverse languages and diverse ways will the Lord yet speak to the different nations of the world, through special messages, in the fulness of time, and the word of God shall go on adapting and developing itself according to the altered circumstances and new requirements of progressive humanity.
Admitting then, with profound thankfulness, that a new dispensation has come unto us, let us see what its leading ideas and principles are. It is a fact that true revelation is not an elaborate creed, and never was so. It is not a lengthy theological or philosophical discourse. It does not take the shape of a big volume of dogma. It is not wide extended beaten gold, but is solid gold. It is a precious jewel. It is not diffused but concentrated light. The word of God is short, simple, and sweet. It comprises not many chapters, but only one or two words. When the worldly theologian undertakes to instruct mankind he manufactures theory after theory, dogma after dogma in endless succession, till he piles up an overwhelming mass of articles of belief for the salvation of the world. Not so is the teaching of Providence. A word, a syllable, a simple sound from the lips of the Lord is
enough to instruct and save man. His revelation is not a book but a power ; not an address to the mind, but a mighty appeal to the heart. The word of God is a power, and a tremendous power it is. Small yet mighty is divine revelation, Nay it is not even a word.
It is a mere breath. It is inspiration, the breathing in of God's spirit. How great the force of this heavenly breath! It shakes the earth and crushes the iniquity of ages. A little truth from Heaven is like a little seed thrown by the passing wind into a corner of the world. There it lies, apparently an insignificant little thing. In a moment it fructifies, and blossom, flower and fruit spring forth in abundance. How from one little seed issues a mighty tree which affords shade and shelter to hundreds, and dispenses delicious fruits to thousands ! So from the mere breath of God Almighty quietly infused into the depths of man's inner consciousness,- from one small word whispered in the midst of the secret sanctuary of the believer's soul, comes forth a mighty revolution, which with all the fury of a terrific hurricane, roots out the sins and sorrows of a whole century and an entire nation, and gives peace and purity to millions. A few simple truths about God's love and man's duty preached eighteen hundred years ago still vibrate with living force all the world over, cheering, and sanctifying those who come under their influence. They live and shall live though the sun and moon be obliterated and the whole universe break into atoms. Whenever the holy spirit of God inspires men, individually or collectively, He employs as His instruments not the elaborate machinery of a voluminous theology, but one or two simple yet vital truths breathed with force unconquerable into the inmost soul, So has it been in India. What is the message then
that God has sent unto us for our salvation ? It is this simple truth “I AM.” To many these words must appear to be common and unimportant truth, and yet there is deep meaning in them, yea a world of saving truth. To the Indian nation, lost in idolatry and -superstition and in deep spiritual destitution, these words are indeed light and life. We wanted to know God, and He has revealed Himself to us by this simple yet emphatic and stirring affirmation "I am.' We need not have recourse to theology or metaphysics for our knowledge of God. Nay we may well afford to dispense with tame and cold dogmas in the presence of the burning reality of a dirine communication, When God Himself says to us." I am,” what better proof do we need of His existence and pature ? Surely arguments based upon marks of design and evidences of skill in the universe are old and obsolete : they do not and cannot satisfy the mind of any true believer now. Enough if the Lord says “ I am.” The word of God proves God. All other proofs are as nothing compared to this overwhelming and direct testimony of self-affirmation. I have seen the Lord and heard Him, and therefore believe. Never was belief upreared upon a firmer basis. Indeed this is the highest faith, and here doubt and infidelity are impossible. Can mere theology save me? Can tracts and books fortify and sustain my faith in God ? No. To-day I may be logically satisfied that God is, but to-morrow, when new trials and difficulties beset me, my intellectual belief may be brought down to the zero point. When, however, the coul has heard from the very lips of the Lord Himself that He is, nothing on earth can shake its conviction or weaken its faith. The word of God is all in all. To us it is so. In these two words, “I am," there is a