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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;
for He not only came into the world, but descended into dark Hades, and curiously wrought the ground of the Church's being and stability "in the lowest parts of the earth." He has also carried His work higher than the highest want of the highest creature.
There is no creature so low and base, that Christ cannot meet his state, and minister to him his humblest need: nor is there any creature so high, that Christ cannot minister to him far higher things, than have entered his heart to conceive.
SINCE Christ, Who descended lower than the earth, thence ascended far above all heavens: let us learn that the lower we carry our work and conquests, the higher we shall ascend in glory.
SIN originated with a prince of Light. The foundation of Hell and the beginning of all evil date from Heaven and the Presence of God. Hence the unknown power of evil, hence its consummate wisdom: hence too the awful doom, under which the original sinner has been laboring these long ages, and which, as we are told, is
even yet to become far heavier. The sin of Adam and of the human race is not original, but only an inoculation from original sin.
Man lost his innocence and his glory through Satan. But the devil did not obtain what he succeeded in taking from man. It remained in God's power and gift. and gift. God's decree was, that what man had lost through another, he should regain through Another.
WE must love God even more for what chastises us, than for what pleases us. For the good that pleases corrupt nature, feeds and strengthens the same; but the evil, that is displeasing to it, causes it to sigh its life away. And when our own spirit giveth up the ghost, God's Spirit taketh its place. Wherefore, our life is death, but our death, that is life.