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THE

LIFE THAT NOW IS:

AND

NATURE AND LIFE:

SERMONS

BY

ROBERT COLLYER,

PASTOR OF UNITY CHURCH, CHICAGO.

WITH A BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.

LONDON:

SIMPKIN, MARSHALL, & Co.; HAMILTON, ADAMS, & Co.

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PREFACE.

THE name I have given to this little volume, is also the best preface. It is a selection of such sermons as I have been able to preach about the life that now is. If I thought that any apology was needed for saying so little about that which is to come, I would make this twofold plea; First, that so many better and wiser men have said so much about it already; and, second, I am so sure that if we can but find the right way through this world, and walk in it, the doors of Heaven are as sure to open to us as ours open to our own children when they come eagerly home from school.

R. C.

CHICAGO.

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FROM Wharfedale to the shores of Lake Michigan, from the village forge to the City pulpit, from the Methodist church to the Unitarian, are changes as great as any one man need expect to experience in a life time. Robert Collyer, the author of these sermons, passed through them all. He was born at Keighley, December 8th, 1823, but spent most of his boyhood and early manhood within sound of the old church bells of Ilkley-the Olicana of the days of Severus. Few men have been nurtured in the presence of more lovely or varied scenery. It is a pleasant picture to imagine the blacksmith's boy some forty years ago, bursting out from his father's smithy at Blubberhouses (Blue-berry houses we should call them if the hurry of life did not take so much of our breath), or from 'owd Jackie Birch's forge at Ilkley, bursting out with a touch of grime here and there on his ruddy cheeks, to learn his earliest lessons at the feet of Nature; lessons about the Fair and the Beautiful, about Freedom and Purity, which were dropped as lightly as thistledown into his growing soul, there to germinate in after times and under distant skies.

We may see him wandering with silent awe amidst the ever varying beauty of Bolton woods, now bright with the tender leaves of early spring, now swelling with the rich fulness of summer grandeur, now, too, when the mighty trees are standing silent but not sad in the mystic light of Autumn, clad in parting robes which change from glory into glory. Or we see him roaming over the moors that stretch for miles on both sides the sounding river, brushing the dews of Summer from the clumps of heath and fern, or pausing to watch the shadows of the clouds sweeping down the long hill-ranges, clouds which open here and there to let a shaft of light dart through, to make patches of vivid green amidst the purple and the brown. Aye, and under the steel-blue wintry heavens these moorlands must have been

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