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IN MODERN LIFE :
SERMONS PREACHED IN ST. JAMES'S CHAPEL,
YORK STREET, ST. JAMES'S SQUARE, LONDON,
Rev. STOPFORD A. BROOKE, M.A.
Honorary Chaplain in Ordinary to the Queen.
THE MAIN THOUGHT which underlies this volume is outlined in the first two sermons, and is this : that the ideas which Christ made manifest on earth are capable of endless expansion, to suit the wants of men in every age; and that they do expand, developing into new forms of larger import and wider application in a direct proportion to that progress of mankind of which they are both root and sap. If we look long and earnestly enough, we shall find in them (not read into them, as some say) the explanation and solution not only of our religious, but even of our political and social problems. Nor do they contradict the ideas which direct scientific research, nor those which have been generalised from the results of that research, but are in essential analogy with both one and the other.
In speaking of their first revelation and the manner of it, of the Person and Character of Him who sent them forth to run swiftly upon earth, of the points, as in the case of prayer and immortality, in which they seem to come into collision with science, of the way they touch political and artistic. questions, and finally of the varied course of modern human life from childhood to old age, I have striven to keep my main idea before me and to support it by proof, though I have not turned aside to insist upon it in direct words. In one word I believe, and rest all I say upon the truth, as I think, that in Him was Life, and that this Life, in the thoughts and acts which flowed from it, was, and is, and always will be the Light of the race of Man.
In writing one is often deceived by half-memories one remembers the thoughts but not whence they have been derived ; and I have found since this book went to press that in two places at least I am indebted for my words to other men—to Neander's Life of Julian,' in a passage in Sermon iv., on the civilising influence of Christianity, and to Fichte's “Vocation of Man,' in Sermon XIV., for a portion of the argument from our consciousness of Will and its results to the existence of a ‘self-active reason and a living Will. With much of Fichte's philosophy I disagree, but beyond, or rather within his philosophy there is teaching both on life, morality, and religion, which makes him more worth the reading of persons troubled by the great spiritual questions than any other of the German philosophers.
STOPFORD A. BROOKE.
LONDON : January 1872.