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examine the grass to see how it grows, how the blood circulates in its tiny veins, behold, in thy hands, circulation and growth are no more, it turns to hay. Prophets and poets are not scrutinizers and destroyers, but seers : their souls are more to them than cunning instruments. They bring stillness, awe and wonder to their observations. They fall down, they worship, their souls kindle, they are inspired. Then they speak with their tongue, and their words, like the works of God, are parables, which equally express and conceal the Divine Wisdom. Hodmen burden themselves with material, and think that they have much; and they have much death, but no inspiration. In his highest mood, man hears a voice commanding him to regard the very ground on which he stands, as not common. Soil do you call it? Is it not a honeycomb of mysteries? Is it not full of soul and doings ? As soon as you put your seed therein, is it not apprehended by Power and Life? The Doer is present. O God, Thou art near; Thou art the energy of the sunbeam, and the efficacy of all things. Yet art Thou as distinct from sunbeam, and from all things and creatures, as the sun is distinct from our eyes, or the atmosphere, from our lungs.
What were eyes without light? what were lungs without air ? what were universal nature without God ? The sun
in itself does nothing: it is but the adapted medium by which God glanceth throughout nature. Whence is the life of our blood ? “Thy Name is near, O God.” Will thou examine the blood to find the life thereof? It is vain, the life is gone : nothing but dead blood will abide in thy vessel. selves we live not, we move not, we are not. “In God we live and move and have our being.” More to us than our eyes, or our brains, and nearer to us than our hearts, or souls, art Thou, O God; for Thou art the Life of these. Thou art All: without Thee, all is nothing.
“Unto Thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto Thee do we give thanks : for that THY NAME is near, Thy wondrous works declare.” But we must keep silence before Thy Great Name ; for we cannot declare the greatness of Thy works, how much less can be speak Thy Greatness. Yet is Thy
. Greatness near, O God. We think in it, as well as of it; we are upheld by it, we are bowed down under it; it fills us with boldness and awe; and while we worship, it embraces us.
All the works of God declare that His Greatness is the greatness of Goodness. Evil, pain, misery, do come in, but they come in, as weeds and mildew appear in the garden. Only the useful, the good, and the beautiful, accord with the gardener's will and design: the weeds and the mildew are contrary to his will and design. Of all the evil which has come into the great field of the universe, it is written :, “An enemy hath done this.” Evil has no place in the Name of God. The one word which includes every quality of God, is 'Love.'
The First-born Son of Love is Wisdom. The Wisdom which is of Love is as full of Love, as the Eternal Love is full of Wisdom. We see everywhere a loving purpose, and wise contrivance, running through a beautiful order, unto a good end.
And Holiness is very legible in the Name of God, for even under the vanity and corruption of nature, Purity characterises all His works. How clean light is ! how clean all plants, flowers, and leaves are, when they first appear! how clean the newly fallen snow is! And who can help admiring the universal provision in nature, for using up all uncleanness? Poor apostate nature, in all her forms, from the lichen on the rock, up to the divine countenance of man, is ceaselessly lapsing into corruption; and an Unseen Hand, as ceaselessly annihilating corruption. And what is the Gospel, but a world-wide remedy for spiritual pollution! The Spirit also, that moveth in our hearts, and by Which we condemn ourselves, and shudder at our own impurity, not only testifies that our God is Holy, but that His Holy Name is very nigh unto us. “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty,” the Cherubim are abashed before Thee; and yet Thine awful Holiness, operating in a form of wondrous Gentleness, through the Son of Thy Love, is making dark and sinful souls holy, as Thou art Holy.
Again, as to Beauty, though the universe, which we behold, is but an outer court, “without the veil,” it gives proof enough that God is not indifferent to the appearance of things. It were endless to quote examples of the beauty of nature. But in the human face, when the Holy Spirit is working in the heart the first motions of penitential grief and love, more than all the beauty of nature is gathered into a single expression. What a veil of softness and meekness, what a virgin-innocence, what an inexpressible charm of countenance, accompanies the work of God in the soul! And what is the “Glory" of Heaven, which has so often been the last word of the departing Christian, but the diviner Beauty of that higher world, where the Great Name more fully comes out to view ? And who can imagine the beauty of the resurrection body, in which God will reveal His Beauty, as in His highest work? “He will beautify the
meek with salvation." “ The Lord Jesus will change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His own glorious Body.”
That “ Power belongeth unto God," is too obvious to be noted: let us dwell a moment therefore, on the Patience of His Almighty Power. What creatures expect to be done in their century, God only accomplishes through many ages. When the Spirit of His Purpose, namely, the prophetic Spirit, pervades and illustrates the human spirit, it is taken for granted, that, what God will surely do, He will soon do. It behoves the seer to reflect well on the Patience of God.
God has not yet fulfilled His promise to Abraham. He is fulfilling it, and will fulfil it, but not quickly, as men understand quickly. Wondrous to all angels and good men, is the Patience, with which God waits upon this world of stubborn rebellion, and crying wrongs.
Once more, very "meek and lowly" is our God. In the meek beauties of the earth, which, although full of sweetness, scarcely lift up their heads, I can see the Humility of the Divine Glory.
I can see the same in worth every where, for the greater the worth, the more hath it of humility. God humbles Himself, that His creatures may behold Him, both in Heaven and earth. The virtues of all things are tokens of His Presence; but He puts on great