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: secrets are for ever hid ; an arrogance of temper, which blinds him to all the fine
lineaments of the Saviour's countenance, and to all the profounder significance - of his words"; a "hard and impenitent heart," which tramples on the Gospel of
salvation as swine trample on Indian pearls ; and a worldly spirit, which resolves
on holding fast, under whatever stress of conscience, to positions of wealth and Ś honour that are fatal to the higher insights of the awakened soul. Under such i conditions he may discuss Divine things only in the company of persons as
spiritually hardened and as daring as himself, and abandon for that society the solitude in which God loves to reveal himself to his worshippers. He may thus prove to be but a Philistine looking audaciously into the ark of Jehovah, and be smitten with the shameful diseases of unbelief as the reward of his profanity. The more he “thinks,” the less he believes and knows for certain, until he publishes his cancerous and destructive scepticism, his philosophy of negations, as the outcome of the highest wisdom possible to mankind in modern times.
A far different ending of thought awaits him who follows the “light that - lighiteth every man,” and which leads him to repentance. He who will yield to
that awful instruction of God, speaking out of the whirlwind, and dealing with souls for their final good, and who will consent to "abhor himself, and to repent in dust and ashes," soon finds whereabouts in the Bible is the clue which con. ducts him to the centre of that otherwise inextricable labyrinth. The state of the heart in relation to sin determines more than anything else men's view of the contents of the Scripture. He who has "seen God” clearly enough to know
that he is holy, who has drawn near enough to the veil of the awful invisible - regiong to hear the resounding voices which proclaim that the earth is full of his glory, recognises in Jesus Christ the answer of God to the two great needs of the soul, pardon through the satisfaction of law, and purity through the inspiration of immortal hope. The soul, like Mary, whose dishevelled hair fell in loose tregges over her tear-stained face, stands at his feet, and finds in him a Saviour, and the only Saviour in the world, let wbat will be true respecting the books of Genesis or Deuteronomy. “She washes his feet with her tears, and wipes them with the hair of her head." Here alone is One whose voice reaches to depths in the spirit as far beneath the level of its common thought and feeling as the world of souls is below the level of the common earth. Here is One who, as Dr. Bushnell has shown in his golden chapter on the character of Christ, is manifestly Divine, and against whose Divinity it is as absurd to dispute as against the brightness of the sun. Like the other Mary, we sit down at his feet, under the shadow of the sycamore of Bethany, and we gaze up into that sidereal countenance which is like "the body of heaven in its clearness," till we feel that here at last is reality, and love, and life everlasting, and seem in thought to soar with him to the realms of eternal day. His cross becomes intelligible to one who is previously “convinced of sin," and "justification of life” appears no hopeless puzzle to one who feels that he needs it. Destructive scepticism in its different degrees is the penalty of sensual sin or intellectual profaneness. The knowledge of the truth is the result of a special revelation, made not “ by flesh and blood," but by our Father, which is in heaven. The externals of Christianity, like the outer covering of badger-skins over the tabernacle, may deceive the eyes which can see nothing beyond. The true glories of the Gospel and its effective evidences are within. The hangings of purple and fine linen embroidered with the forms of heavenly cherubim and of the tree of life, the ark, and the tables written by the finger of God, and the rod that budded, and the golden cup of manna, are all concealed from the common eye of sense, in the sacred recesses of the temple. And as it is to Christ that the Divine Spirit leads
the soul at once, as to the centre of revelation, without any preceding lessons of E ancient or modern lore, so it is at his feet that we learn to look aright both on
the past and the future. Once men learned of Moses and the prophets to look
to the Messiah: now we learn of Messias, who “ tells us all things” respecting Moses and the prophets. Yes, he is the Centre whence we look round the circumference of moral truth over the whole maze of history, and learn more surely than any where else, both the relations of events and the pretensions of persons; and where, tbrough our own weakness and upreceptive condition, we fail to understand the “ plan of the ages " perfectly, we yet know with certainty that we have at last found the instructor who will finally lead us into the “ whole truth," and "show us things to come.” In the Gospels, and especially in the Gospel of John, the soul thus Divinely touched knows that it has a treasure of absolute truth which will not be “ taken away” by any real discovery of bones in the valley of the Somme, of flints in the gravel-pits of Belgium, or of flaws in the last Hebrew editions of Deuteronomy. Here, at all events, is something that will outlast the changing theories of geologists, and the dark aspirations of those who sing for joy when they have “proved” that man is no better than a clever monkey..
We begin with the moral, and we advance to the miraculous. We commence with the Spirit of Truth revealing himself in the loftiest and holiest discourses that ever fell from human lips, and thence we pass to the faith of signs and wonders, and to a firm persuasion that the ancient history of revelation is real and true. We begin with that which is nearest at hand, and nearest to our own times the fourfold record of the living Redeemer-and thence we make our way backwards through the ancient centuries of revelation, assured that so lofty, 80 massive, and so glorious a, statue as Christianity must have a substantial pedestal in the preparatory dispensations. That can be no crumbling sandstone of dupery, exaggeration, and imposture, in Moses and the prophets, which forms the rock on which stands the marvellous group of Christ and his apostles. HIM we know by a personal communion. Him we have looked upon and handled as the Word of life; bis sun-like glory we have contemplated with our own eyes in the broad Gospel mirror; and you will not easily persuade us that this Truth in human form was heralded by a succession of clumsy and toothless impostors. It is thus that the root of a moral repentance sends up the stem of an assured conviction, and blossoms into the fulness of a rational historical persuasion; and it is thus that in an age of universal doubt God leads his sons to“ fountains of living water," and assuages their thirst for certainty with a draught which carries in its own clearness and inspiriting joy the credentials of its origin.
The great city of Glasgow is now furnished with an unlimited supply of the purest water in Britain by a canal cut for many miles through the hills from Loch Katrine and the Trosachs, That lofty lake is filled by a thousand perennial streamlets that run down, dancing and laughing in summer, and roaring and rushing in winter, from the surrounding mountains; and the mountains receive their supply from springs and fountains amongst their glorious summits, and from the rains and clouds of heaven. This is an image of the supply of the spiritual need of the Church, which is the city of the living God, according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. So rises to the summit of every loftiest home in that city the perennial supply of heavenly grace, descending from the heights of the sky, and seeking its level again among human habitations, by answering the needs of God's children, even up to heaven itself and the realms of immortality. Consider that “Fountain of living waters" on the everlasting hills : “My God shall supply"! His difficulty is not to create, but to define a limit to creation ; not to give, but to stint the measures of his affluent bounty; not to teach, but to fix a boundary to "the abundance of the revelations” which his Spirit is ready to bestow upon his creatures. Look around on the profusion in nature. Everything bears the mark of the amplitude of the Divine Beingocean, land, and sky, all full of life. Behold the “riches” of the invisible, universal Lord! If he las permitted the emptiness of man, it is that he may fill
him with the fulness of God. If he left the hollow of the sea, it was that he might pour out the ocean * from the hollow of his band." He is "ready to distribute, willing to communicate." His nature finds no rest but in diffusion, in “ giving bountifully.” He is a Sun that longs to shine, to illuminate, to bless. And in none of his mercies does God delight more than in that “tender mercy" whereby the Dayspring from on high visits a beclouded mind struggling amidst the doubt and dimness of the present world. The spirit that truly seeks him shall truly find him, and the good Shepherd and Bishop of souls rejoices more over one such reclaimed wanderer, rescued from the bloody jaws of the lion whose lair is in the depths of hell, than over ninety and nine who never were enough in earnest to doubt of anything, but yielded themselves over to the slumbers of credulity and indifference.
THE THREEFOLD PROTECTION AGAINST FALSE SHAME.
BY THE REV. W. I. WILIE.
“I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.”-Rom. i. 16. "I REGARD that man as lost who has walking the earth this day ill at ease in lost his sense of shame.” That was the their hearts because they lack the moral saying of a wise and observant man, who courage to avow the change which their had doubtless noticed that the absence of belief has undergone. The honest profesthis feeling from the heart is a sure sign sion would impart peace to the mind; but that virtue has gone out of the life. Shame then it would be sure to summon the crimis an emotion which helps man on his way son of a false shame to the countenance. to God, inasmuch as it often leads him to Nor is it the worst and the weakest of shun the evil which his own inclinations, the race alone who are here the victims ; would embrace and cherish. Unhappily, for of this shame, which prompts to ignoit is no less true that the same emotion ble concealment, it may be truly affirmed may be found exerting a hurtful influence. , that the richest and the noblest natures are If in one case it tends to purify, in an the most susceptible. To none else are the other case it may degrade. While shame ties of the filial and fraternal relationships keeps a watch upon the life, it may save so sacred : they cling with a faithful tenafrom evil; but it may also hinder us from city to the associations of kindred and of embracing the good. In the one instance home. In no breast does the sentiment of it is a true, and in the other a false shame nationality beat so strong and true : above which asserts a power over our actions. all other lands they love, with patriotic
Alike from the constitution of the mind fervour, the land which gave them birth. and the relationships by which every man is To sever those family and national connec. hedged in, there are many things which tions which are hallowed by the most premove to false shame. To profess a change cious memories and the most unselfish of opinions in a world wbere a dogged thoughts, is to apply to the map of a noble adherence to detected error is rewarded and generous nature a test which he, of all with the name of consistency; to pass from men, will feel to be one of terrible severity. association with a dominant party to the The strain of this triul, in its intensest ranks of a minority that is beld in con form, came upon Paul. His was a nature tempt; to leave the church of one's fathers, cast in no common mould. It was firm and go over to some other church which and strong almost beyond parallel ; and has not the same wealth either of tradi yet it was most delicate. There lay tional glory or of present power; to differ concealed beneath that stern exterior and depart from one's family and friends : a woman's heart. He had yielded with these are fruitful sources of false shame. quick susceptibility to the impressions of They are severe tests, which show the metal a careful Jewish education. Not in name of which we are made ; and not a few are l only, but in spirit, that was a Hebrew
home which bad sheltered his earliest years. I was uttered in obedience to a bebést from In the Holy Oity be had been trained by beaven. Right bravely from that Danies. Gamaliel, who lovingly opened to his view cus day wherein he delivered his first testiall Israelitish lore, while protecting him mony on behalf of Jesus he went on con
with solicitude from the influence of the tradicting the whole course of his previous : Gentile schools. A sense of his losty life.
lineage had early dawned upon his ardent Grace had led Saul to accept what was a mind. As he became familiar with those | stumbling-block to his bigoted countryman histories of the chosen people which he and foolishness to the iutellectual Greek. was yet to repeat so often in the synagogue, No earthly power, not even the power of bis young heart was filled with a love to false shame, could now separate him from his own brethren according to the flesh the love which possessed his soul. That which not even their bitterest hate could love Paul, with a new name and a new afterwards destroy. A zeal for the ancient nature, went forth proclaiming everywhere : faith of his favoured fathers grew up side to his own compatriots, who branded him by side with an aversion to the Gentile as an apostate ; to the Gentiles, who poured world; and when his student-life came to upon him contempt. In Jerusalem he a close, he emerged at once from the school preached ; and the bitter Hebrews stoned · and took his place upon the busy stage of him till every one thought that be was dead.
public action, first of all to lend a helping In Athens he pointed the polished Greek hand in destroying the first martyr for to a crucified Redeemer; and his audience Christianity, and thereafter, as a member there-cold and sarcastic, acute and scornof the Sanhedrim, to conduct the persecu. ful--did that which many spirits find tion of the Christians with such a relent. | harder to bear than stonings, as they turned less fury as they had never felt before. away with a thin-lipped speer and icy Thus early making himself conspicuous as blasts of ridicule and called him a babbler! a Pharisee and a persecutor, it was no easy | Yet, Hebrew and scholar though he was, matter for Saul of Tarsus to go over to the be bore with a patient frame all the wrongs despised sect which he had sought to ex which a vain world heaped upon him, and terminate. Yet, in spite of his birth and | the blush of false shame was never seen to his training, in spite of his official position mantle on that royal countenance. and the zealous heat he had displayed, he And even when he looked to Rome, was so strengthened by Divine grace as to haughty mistress of the world, bis only overcome all those inferior feelings which thought was how he might go thither too. strove to make him shrink from the avowalHer emperors were worshipped as deities; that he had accepted the humbling message | yet would he tell her of a Lord and Master of the Cross. This child of a Hebrew bome who had closed a life of poverty upon tho became a homeless wanderer. Scholar of malefactor's tree. Her people were elated Gamaliel, he cast in his lot with unlettered by their own pomps and power-their men. “Blameless,” self-righteous Pharisee, grandeur was their god ; yet would not the he owned himself the chief of sinners and apparently mean origin of his message stood abashed beside the trembling pub detain him for a moment from descending lican. Inquisitor, whose epmity to the | into that gilded Sodom of the Gentile Christians was notorious far and near, he world. No; he yearned to be there. He became a humble follower of the Lord they cared not what might happen to himself. ferved and whom before he had, with a
“Is the simple servant more bloody hand, disowned. The Jews of
Than his gracious Lord, who bore Damascus, who had been looking for the
Bonds and stripes in Jowry ?" advent of a Hebrew lion, were amazed and Peril and shame he would willingly encoun. mortified to find in Saul a Christian lamb. ter, if he could only discharge the debt Their rage must have been excited to the which he owed to the Gentiles and to God. highest pitch when they beard all his rab “As much as in me is, I am ready to binical and pharisaic lore used in their own preach the Gospel to you that are at Rome presence to uphold the very cause which be also. For I am not ashamed of the Gospel had come into their midst armed with the of Christ." authoritative commission, and burning with And then, having made this declaration, a zealot's fury, to destroy. For the impo the apostle summons before his view the tent hatred of his countrymen, however, threefold reason on which his resolve is he cared not, since the word he now spoke | built and by which his spirit is sustained.
* I. He is not ashamed of the Gospel, 1. God. It changed the glory of the incor
BECAUSE IT IS A DIVINE POWER. “For it ruptible God into an image made like to is the power of God.". illiu
corruptible man, and to birds, and fourIn nothing are men so apt to glory as in footed beaste, and creeping things. It power. Even when it is a power exhibited changed tho truth of God into a lie. It
by our fellow-man, we are too prone to transformed the All-Seeing into a blind - give it our respect. With a too ready idol, and then gave itself over to the service
acquiescence we bow to whaterer bears the of evil, until-last, worst step of all-it not impress of strength. Thus, in one land only indulged vile affections, but had pleaa Bonaparte grows into a god; in another sure in them who did the same. Thus did country, which we all know, statesmen of the wisdom of the world declare, by ita mighty and swift-acting intellect, but des utter failure, the need which existed of a titute alike of conscience and of heart, revelation from heaven. What was so im. become the reigning idols; and across the peratively needed it was likely that God Atlantic we have seen the swarming mil would supply; for we cannot disassociate lions of a vast continent, in the spirit of from our Creator the benevolence and good. the Babylonian monarch, falling down be ness which shine through all his works. To fore their own material might! Too readily think that he would leave us, lone wanderwe pay the tribute of our admiration to ers, knowing noither whence we come nor whatever bears upon it the stamp of genius; whither we go, stumbling drearily down. and, in consideration of their unquestioned ward in the dark, is to leave him a God of power in analyzing events and characters, power, but of a power that is wielded in or in combining words, the atheistical his contempt and scorn. It is not only needtorian and the profligate poet are permitted ful, then, it is likely that God will reveal to weaken our children's faith and to pole himself to man. lute our homes. We forget that it is not Are we not prepared to listen now to the power alope that ought to win regard, olse claim which is made by prophets and he who wrought the sad work which apostles to be regarded as delegates who
blighted Eden and the earth must stand have been sent to the human race with a * high in our esteem. Such, however, is our message for the poor wanderers from the Let tendency to glory in power, that the direc God against whom they have rebelled? We hot nation which it takes is deemed a secondary | hearken; and as we find them to be truthmatter by the world!
ful in other matters, we take that as the thiet Thus, too, the world of nature comes in
best guarantee that they would not deceive the minds of mapy to usurp the place of us in a matter of such infinite moment as God. The heathen behold him in the out. this. And then we contemplate the chaward manifestation of his strength : in the racter of the book which they have written.
splendour of the rising and setting sun, in As a mere literary performance, we see that et the thunder and the lightning, the whirl it rises far above the standard which even
wind and the storm, they acknowledge the the most exalted human genius has attained. presence of the Almighty. And modern un. Emanating from a multitude of sources, belief unites with Pagan superstition in written by many different men, in different regarding the visible wonder of this world
places, and at widely sundered times, we - as itself the Deity incarnate; for every page behold it a compact and united and per
of the wondrous book of creation is stamped fectly harmonious whole. As we reflect on with the impress of an Almighty power. the lofty nature and the world-embracing
If, then, the world extorts our praise, if joclusiveness of the principles which it Nature is acknowledged and worshipped, teaches, we learn that they are such as the
shall not wonder and admiration be excited world did not know until they were un. ve by the thought of the Author of all this folded on the Bible page, though they at va magnificence and power? And shall we once fell in with the consciousness of men,
fail to glory in Him when we survey the and have, with ever-accelerating force, ruled Gospel of Christ ? sor is he not the Author the thought and exercised a sway over the of the Gospel as surely as he is the Maker feelings of each succeeding age. And, as of the world in wbich we dwell ?
we read, we trace on the wondrous page To what did the wisdom of man tend, the golden thread of prophecy fulfilled, when left to itself? It tended ever, and rivalling the records of the miracles per tended only, to debased and debasing con- | formed. A central figure stands out from ceptions of the character and the will of l every page, and calls us to study the life