Obrazy na stronie
[ocr errors][merged small]

CHRISTIANITY, according to the New Testament, is the surrender of our first nature to the likeness of Christ's death, that we may also attain to the likeness of Christ's Resurrection. The popular method is to clothe our first nature with Christian forms, and to call that, Christianity.


THE Apex of Grecian development was, for those who could read it, as much a prophecy of the Incarnation, as that which was given through the Hebrew prophets. “There was an immense

• difference in the prophecy, you say. I know there was.

The one was Grecian, and the other Jewish. Likewise, as you remember, there was a wide difference in the methods, by which the birth of Christ was announced to Jewish shepherds and Persian princes. The one, was God's way in Israel, the other was God's way in Persia. With respect to Greece, tell me, was there not at least a Divine effort towards expression. I confess, the more I study the expression which was realized, the more distinctly I hear its prophetic voice saying, "The WORD is at hand.'

It gives evidence of a marvellous endeavour, however blind, to embody and give form to the unutterable, the Divine. Historians, moralists and poets travailed with the spirit of unity. Doubtless, they were inspired, after their kind, with light and energy from Him, Who is One and All, and Who also was coming into the world. Even Sculptors were possessed, to their very finger ends, with a spirit that longed to appear.

Do you object again, that the prophecy was lost upon the nation ? I reply, the Athenian prophecy was not at all more lost upon the Greeks, , than the Hebrew prophecy, upon the Jews. As the Hebrew books are sacred to the Church, so the World holds sacred the works of the Greeks, as the consummation of Art and the treasury of wisdom. After Phidias had sculptured, Socrates had spoken, and Plato had written, what could be given to the world, but Reality Itself, Wisdom Itself, Unity Itself? “The WORD was made flesh, and dwelt

among us.”


THE Church, as "the fulness of Him” Who is the Fulness of God, is too great an idea to be wrought out in a few ages. The outermost development of the Divine Nature, is the grand end, towards which God is working. Untold millenniums have been contributing to this end. Some millenniums have contributed, apparently, very little. They have been given up to the development of evil, but the development of evil is in order to its subjugation; and when subjugated, it becomes the ground of Divine manifestations. But since the old fish-Saurians, beast-Saurians and birdSaurians,—those huge, winged, infernal lizards, had the upper hand here, the progress is very considerable.

We ought painfully to feel the corruption of the Church, because it is the corruption of Christ's Body. The divisions of the Church, the torn and distracted condition of the Church, we should bitterly deplore, because it is the torn and bleeding Body of our Lord. But along with our grief, we should rejoice with confidence, and wait with patience. The Church will become perfect, and perfectly one; because the Church is the Body of Christ, and Christ is the Body of God. But it will not presently come to perfection

NATURE'S manifoldness, in itself, lives not: in man it lives. But man dies. Man's death therefore, is the passing away of the earth and the heavens; and according to the number of human dissolutions, from the beginning of the world, so many are the prophecies, that the natural universe shall be dissolved. Human nature must be dissolved, in order that it may become perfectly, or divinely human : so must universal Nature be dissolved, in order that it may become The House of God and of Truth.

Universality, Unity, Eternity. Universality is a wondrous manifoldness; but it proceeded from One God. Essential Unity therefore must underlie the manifoldness. With creatures, Unity has to be divided, and distributed piecemeal, that they may see and know what it includes. But in man, universality becomes Unity. He is an image of The One ; and Unity is Eternal. Therefore, universality, unity and eternity meet in Humanity. I might even say more, for God is in Humanity. God and His creation have a fuller meaning than has God alone. And is not the Divine Humanity of the Lord representative of God and His creation ?


What a delightful change of air it is for the soul, to get away from the dust, vanity and weariness of the every-day world; and to slip within the gates of the always great, always serene, always awe-inspiring eternal world! And this we do, as often as we retire from our senses into our spirit. Is it nothing that we can withdraw from the beaten roadside of this outer life, and enter a world, which always tranquilizes us, and fills us with wonder and worship? To this higher world, (which, when the soul lives in herself, confronts the soul,) we are indebted for the lasting sublimity and freshness of human life.

When earth-born impulses and desires invade the soul, and make her feverish and restless, let her enter her own kingdom, and be embraced once more, by dear, still, awful Eternity.-Her desires will die, her restlessness will subside, and instead thereof, prayers, calm and holy, will be generated within her. True prayer is from God, to God; and, like God's corn, involves the harvest which we desire to reap from it.

CHRIST has carried His work lower than the lowest want of the humblest member of His body;

« PoprzedniaDalej »