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golden law of wedded love; which, though cæval with paradise, and the crown of its joys, had been partially remitted by divine sufferance, and reduced to a name by human depravity, but which he restored and republished as of divine and indissoluble obligation.
The power of recasting important truths from their old and worn-out forms, and of giving them to the world again with all their original freshness and force, is the peculiar perogative of genius; but, though our Lord must be supposed to have possessed this power in perfection, he did not exercise it for its own sake. An acquaintance with the origin of some of his parables, his prayers, and many of his most familiar sayings, will show that he often condescended to adopt the beauties of the Talmud, which were then 'floating on the lips of the wise,' as well as the popular proverbs of the day, and to insert them into his own instructions. But this by no means impairs his claim to originality of the loftiest kind. Intellect of the highest earthly order, though aware that its claims to renown depended chiefly on the exercise of its own creative powers, has not feared the forfeiture of those claims for borrowing the productions of inferior minds: it was conscious of a power of falling back, at pleasure, on its own resources, and of being ably sustained. Then how much more might he do the same; He, to whom all human thought is but one idea; and that only a fractional part of the infinite whole which his mind comprehends. He, who in his preexistent state, had not refused to predicate of his divine nature the parts and passions of poor humanity, though at the hazard of materializing his pure spirituality in the crude conceptions of human ignorance; he who had proceeded even to assume that humanity, the mere figurative assumption of which was an infinite condescension, might surely be spared the necessity of a defence, for the occasional appropriation of human thoughts. If his assumption of our nature was an infinite stoop of grace demanding our adoration, his adoption of any of our thoughts (though not to be named as a comparison) was only an adjunct and coutinuation of that grace.
Besides, this probably is only to be regarded as one of the numerous methods by which he was constantly aiming to lessen the impression which must have frequently returned on his hearers--as far as that impression was likely to interfere with his usefulness—of his mysterious and incomprehensible character. He knew, with a perfection of knowledge, that as the great and beneficent operations of nature are produced, not by abrupt and extraordinary interpositions, but by the calm and regular movements of its appointed laws; so, ordinarily, a method of instruction, which violates the sanctuary of our settled associations, though it may startle, and astonish, and even fill with wonder for the moment, is far from friendly to the lasting conviction and future improvement of the mind; and, therefore, he disturbed their accustomed trains of thought as little as was consistent with the introduction of a renovating power, a new and transforming economy of truth. He sought access to their minds, by the beaten pathway of their most familiar associations; he insinuated and intertwined his divine instruction with the network of their most hallowed recollections and sympathies; thus providing for it the easiest mode of admission into their hearts, and making them feel that his identification with their nature and interest was complete. But, at the same time, whatever of their most popular and admired lore he condescended to employ, he gave them an opportunity of marking his superiority to the most approved and honored of their rabbinical teachers; for, however great its original excellences might have been considered, it came from his hands beau
tified with a simplicity, dignified with a power, and invested with attractions unknown to it before.
In order that he might obtain admission through the common avenue of our sympathies, and build himself a home in our hearts, he drew his images and illustrations from the great treasury of our household affections, and from the most familiar features of nature. But the lily of the field, as plucked by his hand, has the freshness of the morning, and the dew upon it; and the homeliest fact, as unfolded by him, is found to contain the most treasured truths. Thus, by deriving his illustrations from humble sources, he not only avoided taking our feelings by surprise, he showed us how all unperverted knowledge tends towards heaven by a law, and how all unsophisticated nature, rightly construed, is only an expanded page of holy writ; how every part of Eden and of earth must have teemed, and been vocal, with wisdom to the attentive ear of unfallen man; and how, to the mind which mirrors and reflects the lines and aspects of nature, truth may still be said to spring out of the earth.
But, though we could not have passed entirely unnoticed the circumstantial originality of the Savior's teaching, it is time to show that his claim to this quality arises from merits peculiarly his own; from additional revelations, and momentous disclosures of divine truth. Had he only commented on the volume of nature, had he even read from the book of the universe the names and titles of its author, our advantage comparatively, would have been small indeed. That volume was originally meant only for the eye of sinless humanity. It uttered no prediction, awoke no presentiment of the fall; in no part of its hallowed contents could a line be found foretokening woe. The morning of the day of transgression dawned on the world, unconscious of the impending change. The
sun poured forth as full a flood of living light; the air was as rich in fragrance and song; earth and heaven appeared to live in each other's smiles; nature lay open at as fair and bright a page, as at the moment when God complacently pronounced it to be very good. The tremendous catastrophe of that day took it by surprise. So far from furnishing man with resources for the event, it was itself involved in the calamity; it was .cursed for his sake.' So far from being able to utter a consolatory truth in human ears, it required itself to be solaced and sustained, for it lay prostrate and panting under its Maker's frown. Wounded by the stroke, and cumbered with the weight of sin, it sent forth a cry, in which all its natural harmonies were drowned; a cry of heplessness and of suffering, which has never from that moment ceased, but which has gone on, from age to age, waxing louder and louder, till the whole creation has become vocal with
groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now,' laboring in its pangs, and struggling to be free.
So far from showing commiseration, and whispering hope, there is a sense in which all nature stands ready to avenge the quarrel of God with man. Take as examples, the histories of Pharaoh and Herod. When the former refused to obey the mandates of heaven, all nature expressed its sympathy with its injured Maker; armed in his behalf, and put itself in motion to avenge the insult. The latter, affected to be thought a god, forthwith an angel, jealous of Jehovah's honor, descends and smites him; and, at the same moment, the meanest insects begin to devour him: the highest order of created intelligence, and the lowest form of animal existence, the two ex emes in the scale of creation, unite to prostrate and punish his impiety. It will be found, in the history of the divine justice, that every element of nature has taken its turn, as a minister of wrath, to assert the quarrel of God with rebellious man. And, be it remembered, that one of these elements is held in reserve for the destruction of the world: he has only to speak, and it will wrap the globe in living flames. Meanwhile, he may be said to have laid all nature under a solemn interdict, not to minister to our most pressing wants ; he has laid it under an eternal ban. Let there be no peace to the wicked saith my God; let everything be at war with him. If he will be the enemy of God, let him live and die amidst a universe of frowns : let every thing in heaven, earth, and hell, be armed, and ready to assail him: let there be no peace to the wicked ; and universal nature responds, there shall be none ; and the universal experience of sinners, as it sends up its reply from the bottomless pit declares, in accents of terrible despair, there is none. Could the sinner but open his eyes to the dreadful reality of his condition, were he endowed with a power of vision like the servant of the prophet, he would find himself surrounded, not indeed with horses, and chariots of fire to guard him but with terrible forms of anger and destruction, waiting to dart on him, and make him their prey. He would find himself standing in the great theatre of the universe, with every eye that it contains fixed and frowning upon him; with every weapon in the infinite armoury of God, ready, and levelled against him. And the hour arrives when he finds that sin has arrayed against him, not only al: the universe without, but all the powers and passions within him; that it has armed him against himself; that it has given a sting to every thought, and turned his conscience into a worm that dieth not, and his depraved and ungoverned passions into fires never to be quenched.