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“we also shall appear with Him in glory.” Then shall full justice be done to our adoption. Then shall it become obvious. We shall be heirs-apparent then.
Meantime all nature, sympathising with the children of God in the present concealment of their life, and delay of their high estate,“groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” “The earnest expectation of the creature waiteth,” wearily, “for the manifestation of the sons of God” (Rom. viii. 19). But when that shall at length take place, when obvious glory is assigned them, adequate to the rank they now possess, all nature shall welcome the sons of God. For
shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace;
the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands." “For the creature itself shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God.”
If your life with Christ is a hidden life, consider what you must hide, and what you must not hide.
I. Consider what you must not hide. You must not hide sin. And there are two respects in which you must not hide it.
(1) You must not hide sin in the love of it. If you regard iniquity in your heart, the Lord will not hear you (Ps. Ixvi. 18). And if the Lord shut out your prayer, are not the springs of your hidden life deranged immediately,—at least your conscious enjoyment of it, and all its aspirations and exertions ?
(2) You must not hide sin in the guilt of it. “When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. I acknowledged my sin unto Thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid: I said, I will confess my transgression unto the Lord; and Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin ” (Ps. xxxii. 3, 6).
II. Consider what you must hide. “Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee” (Ps. cxix. 11). For the hidden life is a life of faith ; and faith lives, and moves, and hath its being in the Word of God. Faith's light is from the lamp of the Word, kindled by the Spirit; and by this lamp, faith penetrates, with unfaltering, unquailing gaze, into the things which
hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor reason grasped, nor imagination bodied forth. The “Word-and-Spirit” is a combination, with the glory whereof we might well make all heaven ring in celebrating it. The “Word-and-Spirit” is the life of God, and whoso hath it, is hidden, because God is hidden,-hidden, not for defect of light, but for excess of splendours, dwelling in light that is inaccessible and full of glory. Amen.
THE WRONG TRUST, AND THE RIGHT:
REV. J. J. BONAR,
“Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches : But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth : for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.”—JEREMIAH ix. 23, 24.
“To glory in” means to boast of and depend upon, Nor is it unlawful, but requisite, to have something which we make our confidence and strength. At the same time, we must learn from the text both what we are forbidden, and what we are enjoined, to lean on as a ground of support, so that we may not be put to shame when the sun goes down upon our path.
I. First, advert to our danger, as indicated in the twenty-third verse, "Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the strong man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches."
We are here warned that man is not to "glory in his wisdom :” and surely this is advice which we all stand in need of still, as well as Jerusalem of old. Our age deems itself peculiarly entitled to “glory in its wisdom," and would have us believe that it is equal to any feat of scientific inquiry, or any range of philosophical speculation. The march of intellect, and the conquests of knowledge are on the lips of all. Every one is “wise" in these days, and every one is enlightened. Every writer is a classic, and every speaker is a statesman; every ratepayer is an oracle, and every voter might be a senator. Nothing, indeed, can exceed the easy presumption which characterises the men of action among us, and the bold reliance that our men of thought place upon their methods and formulas, their deductions and conjectures. With all that pertains to the wealth or wellbeing of a kingdom our politicians are deeply conversant, and it is assumed that it lies with them to check or stimulate its greatness, as if the “government were on their shoulders.” Geologists have pierced the earth's strata and registered their successive epochs, until they can explain every phenomenon and feature, as if themselves had planned the structure. Our race, too, has been sifted and analysed with no lack of boldness, and, as the result, an origin and a date have been assigned for man, such as never was guessed at till now. The Bible is also unsparingly overhauled, and this, with no concealed design of removing from it whatever is mysterious, or supernatural, or distasteful.
The world asssuredly is “glorying in its wisdom,” and no secret can be hid from its penetration. A new era of progress has been inaugurated under the auspices of unbelief, and the movement, we are told, shall issue in a new revelation, which shall owe nothing to Scripture.
Glorying, however, such as this, cannot be good,-neither devout, nor intelligent, nor modest. For, in regard to all “wisdom” strictly human, is it not true that it gives us no knowledge of God-our source and end; that it does not bring us nearer to Him in apprehension or contact; and that, as it is bounded by earth, so it will expire with time? Besides, what proportion does the information of any one bear to his ignorance ? Is it more than what the point of a needle is to the wide firmament? And, in spite of all our advancement in skill, invention, and mechanism, aro our wants lessened, or our ailments fewer ? Does life see more days, and is sickness leaving us ? Has war gone out of date, and do peace, and freedom, and righteousness flourish ? Has not chance, so far as we are concerned, more than research or genius, often furnished us with our most remarkable contrivances ? Have we not been anticipated in many expedients by ancient China, or more ancient Babylon ? Is it not admitted, that various devices or products which we take the credit of, were familiar to the artisans of Etruria, and even the priests of Zoan? Who can read the twenty-eighth chapter of Job without acknowledging that the whole process of mining and smelting was as exactly understood in the land of Uz as now in Great Britain ? Stout things have of late been hazarded, both as to Scripture and its truths—as to the Creator and His creatures; but the dire outcome of that “wisdom” from which all this proceeds is, that our pundits have, on the one hand, reduced God to the rank of an insensate law, whilst, on the other, they find the true ancestors of man in a hideous brute !
Who, then, may venture to "glory in the wisdom” of man, whether personal or national ? A subject for congratulation our attainments may often be, but for boasting they can afford no warrant at any time. The erudition amassed in our libraries, and the thought stimulated by our universities, we should neither exaggerate, nor disparage,-nevertheless, all the stores of the most learned die when they die, and, in room of their proud discoveries, there will come other systems more specious, and other theories more plausible. Beyond all doubt, there is “wisdom” for us, the children of the Fall though we are; and if we ask God, He will reveal it to us in all its reality and compass,-furnishing us with truth free from error, and opening up to us mysteries which have had their abode in His own mind from all eternity. But let the sage be never so intelligent, and the statesman never so brilliant, and the poet never so creative, and the philosopher never so profound, yet if, with all their reading, they read not the Bible; if, with all their acquirements, they have not studied Christ; if, with all their acumen, they have not been quickened of the Holy Ghost; if, with all their boasting, they have never designed to make their boast in God,—they are not wise.
Be not, therefore, led astray, brethren, but seek heavenly wisdom. You may know much; but though you knew all that Moses learned in Egypt, and all that Daniel learned in Babylon, and all that Paul learned at Tarsus --if, after all, you know not your own heart, if you know not the way of salvation, if you know not either your Advocate or your Judge when the great end has come; with all your knowledge, you are shut up in darkness because you love it, and in the darkness must you wander.
The next admonition of our text is, “Let no man glory in his might," and few are there who do not need to be warned against this temptation too. Every form of bodily endowment is an occasion of "glorying”—be it good health, or a muscular frame. But vain is such complacency,—for though we may be athletic, the beasts of the field surpass us both in strength and fleetness —and a sharp wind may cast us on a sick bed by night. Sometimes it is the might of influence which is vaunted of; and you will hear men say that their word is immediate law. But so far
from there being ground for exultation here, the likelihood is that others are ready to do our will only because it suits their indolence, or promotes their objects. “Might,” however, tempts to “glorying” on a wider scale than we see it in the instances just alluded to; for our railroads are adduced as an exhibition of might,” and we say that they have annihilated space; our telegraphs are a proof of "might,” and we allege that the celerity of time has been yoked to our chariot; our steamers are evidence of "might,” and we point to the ease with which river, lake, and sea are traversed; and our armaments, with all the ghastly appliances of modern warfare, are more than ever our vaunt as charged with "might.”
The truth is, that when Adam fell, God revoked the gift of power with which he had invested him as ruler of earth in Eden, and man has ever since been striving to recover what then was lost. It seems as if he would not be at rest until he got back the empire which was ours at the beginning, and fain is he to “glory in" every achievement of ingenuity or handicraft, as if it brought him nearer the goal to which he presses on. It is Adam's dropped sceptre that the strong and the wise are unconsciously groping after, and from time to time they raise a shout, as if once more they felt it in their grasp. Our senators, how they “glory” in their political“ might;" and our capitalists, how they “glory” in their financial “might;" and our ecclesiastics, how they “ glory” in their administrative “might;" and our masses, how they “glory” in their numerical "might;” and at last we hear a British statesman not afraid to proclaim, “Our credit is unbounded, our navy could sweep the seas, our army can do anything;” whilst a French politician is not afraid to go beyond even this, and say, “France ! thou art no longer France, thou art—Humanity! Submit to thy sublime extinction, and, as Athens became Greece, and Rome became Christendom, become thou—the world !”
Impious all such “glorying" is—but it is not less hollow and vain. Tried even by historical standards, no one has ought to "glory in,” with regard to "might," either individual or social; for, though there is marvellous energy among us in this day, are our cities grander than those of Assyria ? is our architecture more exquisite than that of Greece ? and what are our wars and conquests compared to the military exploits of Rome ? Yes! they who have gone before us did excel in “might.” But, after all, what are these, and what are we, if placed side by side