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Is it you cleansing me, mending, remaking,
Dear potter-hands, so tender and heedful?
Sick of my past, of my own self aching—
Hurt on, dear hands, with your making.

Proud of the form thou hadst given thy vessel,

Proud of myself, I forgot my donor;

Down in the dust I began to nestle,

Poured thee no wine, and drank deep of dishonour! Lord, thou hast broken, thou mendest thy vessel! In the dust of thy glory I nestle.

O Lord, the earnest expectation of thy creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.


For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.-Romans viii. 19.

LET us try, through these words, to get at the idea in St. Paul's mind for which they stand, and have so long stood. It can be no worthless idea they represent-no mere platitude, which a man, failing to understand it at once, may without loss leave behind him. The words mean something which Paul believes vitally associated with the life and death of his Master. He had seen Jesus with his bodily eyes, I think, but he had not seen him with those alone; he had seen and saw him with the real eyes, the eyes that do not see except they understand; and the sight of him had uplifted his whole nature-first his pure will for righteousness, and then his hoping imagination; and out of these, in the knowledge of Jesus, he spoke.

The letters he has left behind him, written in the power of this uplifting, have waked but poor ideas in poor minds; for words, if they seem to mean anything, must always seem to mean something within the scope of the mind hearing them. Words cannot convey the thought of a thinker to a nothinker; of a largely aspiring and self-discontented soul, to a creature satisfied with his poverty, and counting his meagre faculty the human standard. Neither will they readily reveal the mind of one old in thought, to one who has but lately begun to think. The higher the reader's notion of what St. Paul intends-the higher the idea, that is, which his words wake in him, the more likely is it to be the same which moved the man who had seen Jesus, and was his own no more. If a man err in his interpretation, it will hardly be by attributing to his words an intent too high.

First then, what does Paul, the slave of Christ, intend by 'the creature' or 'the creation'? If he means the visible world, he did not surely, and without saying so, mean to exclude the noblest part of it—the sentient! If he did, it is doubly strange that he should immediately attribute not

merely sense, but conscious sense, to that part, the insentient, namely, which remained. If you say he does so but by a figure of speech, I answer that a figure that meant less than it said—and how much less would not this?-would be one altogether unworthy of the Lord's messenger.

First, I repeat, to exclude the sentient from the term common to both in the word creation or creature-and then to attribute the capabilities of the sentient to the insentient, as a mere figure to express the hopes of men with regard to the perfecting of the insentient for the comfort of men, were a violence as unfit in rhetoric as in its own nature. Take another part of the same utterance : 'For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now': is it not manifest that to interpret such words as referring to the mere imperfections of the insensate material world, would be to make of the phrase a worthless hyperbole? I am inclined to believe the apostle regarded the whole visible creation as, in far differing degrees of consciousness, a live outcome from the heart of the living one, who is all and in all such view, at the same time, I do not care to insist upon; I only care to argue

that the word creature or creation must include everything in creation that has sentient life. That I should in the class include a greater number of phenomena than a reader may be prepared to admit, will nowise affect the force of what I have to say, seeing my point is simply this that in the term creation, Paul comprises all creatures capable of suffering; the condition of which sentient, therefore superior portion, gives him occasion to speak of the whole creation as suffering in the process of its divine evolution or development, groaning and travailing as in the pangs of giving birth to a better self, a nobler world. It is not necessary to the idea that the creation should know what it is groaning after, or wherein the higher condition constituting its deliverance must consist. The human race groans for deliverance: how much does the race know that its redemption lies in becoming one with the Father, and partaking of his glory? Here and there one of the race knows it-which is indeed a pledge for the race-but the race cannot be said to know its own lack, or to have even a far-off notion of what alone can stay its groaning. In like manner the whole creation is groaning after

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