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Mornings In The College Chapel by Francis Greenwood Peabody

XL THE MORNING STAR

Revelation ii.18-28.

The morning star is the symbol of promise, the sign that the dawn is not far away. Thyatira was a little place, with a weak church, with small hopes and great discouragements, much troubled by the work of a false prophetess, tempted by |the deep things of Satan,| as the message says, and yet to it the promise is committed, that it shall have authority over the nations, and receive |the morning star.| It was the same great promise that had been already given to the early Christians: |Fear not, little flock, for it is my Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.| It was the same amazing optimism which made Jesus look about him, as he stood with a dozen humble followers, and say: |Lift up your eyes and look at the fields, they are white already to my harvest.|

There is certainly passing over the world in our day a great wave of intellectual and {100} spiritual discouragement and despondency. What with philosophical pessimism and social agitations and literary decadence and political corruption and moral looseness, a great many persons are beginning to feel that the end of the century is an end of faith, and are not able to discern in the darkness of the time any morning star. As one distinguished author has said: |This is not a time of the eclipse of faith, but a time of the collapse of faith.| It was much the same in the times of Thyatira. There was the same luxury and self-indulgence in the Roman world, the same social restlessness, the same intellectual despondency. Now, who is it that can view these perturbations of the world with a tranquil and rational hope? I answer, that it is only he who views his own time in the light of the eternal purposes of God. The religious man is bound to be an optimist, not with the foolish optimism which blinks the facts of life; but with the sober optimism which believes that --

|Step by step, since time began,
We see the steady gain of man.|

It may be dark as pitch in the world of speculative thought, but religion discerns the {101} morning star. It believes in its own time. It believes that somehow |good will be the final goal of ill.| Even in the perplexities and disasters of its own experience it is not overwhelmed. It is cast down, but not destroyed. It is saved by hope. It lifts its eyes and beholds through the clouds the gleam of the morning star.

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