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THE PREACHER'S LANTERN.
Sons of God: The Rnown and the Unknown. BY THE LATE REV. H. ALFORD, D.D.,
Dean of Canterbury.
I. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God (now are we children of God], and it doth not yet appear [never yet was manifested) what we shall be.”— 1 John iii. 2. It is my intention, should I be permitted, to spend some considerable time over the text which I have read to you. It will be seen that it divides into two parts: the former, regarding that which we are now; the latter, regarding that which we shall be hereafter. I purpose that the former of these subjects should employ us during the four Sundays between this and Advent, and the latter during the Advent season itself.
To-day, we shall take but one word for the matter of our meditation—the short word “now.” As the assertion in the former part of the text regards time present, it will not be amiss to inquire of our thoughts, What is time present? What is the meaning of “now”?
This is a matter not so plain nor lying so much on the surface as we might at first sight imagine. Time is altogether a mysterious thing. Let us try to speak plainly about it. Whatever we think of or imagine in our minds, two conditions are necessary for us. We cannot think without a certain succession or order of thoughts; and we cannot think of any material thing which does not possess some extension—in other words, which has not some room to stand in. This latter condition of our thought is called Space; the former is Time. Space, we know, was created by God; He made all things, the room VOL. II.-NO. I.