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vapour ascends, the sun, moon, and stars impregnate it, and it returns back again as fertilizing rain.
The planets are dependent on the sun, for light and heat. By solar influence, they live and flourish. But do they not also feed the sun? constantly generating atmospheres, constantly, draws up to himself?
Are they not which he, as
Are not the
planetary evaporations as fuel to his fire? And are they not returned with a wondrous increase of vital energy?
Are not these things parables? It is most essential that the sun baptize the planets in his beams. It is needful also that the sun be baptized in their atmospheres. Remember you nothing like this, as signifying the relation between the Lord and His creatures? "Then cometh Jesus unto John, to be baptized of him. John forbad Him, saying, I have need to be baptized of Thee." The latter is truly essential, but the former also is not to be dispensed with. What are the prayers and praises of God's creatures, but the breath of their inmost being ascending to Him? Is not Jesus still in the act of coming to His disciples, to be bathed in their inmost affections? In all senses, natural and spiritual, the law holds good, that: "Unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again." "Whoso offereth praise glorifieth
Me." And God glorifieth them who glorify Him. No one will surely say, that "the sacrifice of praise" is not a real offering. It is just because they are most real, that "spiritual sacrifices" are "acceptable to God." After His own Nature, nothing is so real as the affections of His creatures who love Him. Their love is the banquet of His Love, and His Love is the banquet of their love.
VI.-Eating and drinking enlist, and refresh our freest affections. We are never more genial than at a meal, or a temperate feast. The soul comes fully into the body, the body becomes soul, the soul becomes body. Both soul and body
dilate, and are in their most generous mood at a feast the constantly opened mouth is a sign of the condition of the whole nature. God, therefore, invites us to join Him at a feast. For He desires to give Himself to us when our entire being is most open, most cheerful, most natural. "Eat, O friends, drink, yea drink abundantly, O beloved." "Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine." Let us neither deny it, nor disguise it, that God desires to eat with us. Jesus neither did any thing, nor said any thing, while tabernacling with men in the flesh, which does not represent the affections and relations of God to us. "With desire, I have desired
to eat with you." Luke xxii. 15. So calmly certain is He, that joy is greater than sorrow, and that it will outlive every form of suffering, that He will have a feast on the very eve of His crucifixion. Sorrow is a thing that comes between two feasts, the feast of nature and the feast of eternity. Between the feast on earth and the endless feast in heaven, "you shall weep and lament." The sorrow does but purge and quicken the joy-root of the soul. "I have desired to eat with you before I suffer." To part by feasting together, is like telling the guests: 'Our relation is not at an end, there is a delightful bond between us, that bond will remain, and we shall meet again. You cannot go with Me now, but you shall come to Me, afterwards. We have eaten and drunk together on the earth: it shall be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.'
VII-Again, "Have ye here any meat?" said Jesus to His disciples, after His resurrection. "And they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And He took it, and did eat before them." You will not call any passage of the everlasting gospel, mere history, will you, and deny to it a universal sense? If you do, though you may be perfectly instructed in the letter of Scriptures, I must maintain that you know not
the Scriptures. Believe me, the Lord is saying to His disciples now, as much as ever: "Have ye here any meat?"
VIII.-Fellowship with God, through His Son Jesus Christ, must begin while we are in the body. We must feast with Him before we suffer, that we may feast with Him for ever, when all sufferings are over. In union and communion with God, we learn to leave the world before we leave it; we drink of the rivers of His pleasure, before we go up to be for ever with the Lord.
O my mother, my sister, my brother, know you not, that the Lord is indeed hungry, in your soul and in mine? And it should become a solemn question with us, for it is a solemn question, whether our Lord and our God can find His meat in the house of our soul, or not. If the Lord finds no meat in us, then also we shall be unable to give meat to the least of all the brethren, in whom He dwelleth. Affecting charge! Is it written against us? "I was an hungred, and ye gave Me no meat."
THE HONOR THAT IS NOT.
MAN that is in the honor, which Divine Wisdom commends to him, is like the angels, whose glory lives and rejoices for ever. that is in honor, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.”
I. We need not use the term beast contemptuously. The beast is a creature of God. It has pleased God to give man a beast-nature and a divine nature. Man fills up the gulf, that would otherwise be, between angel and brute-life. That which fills up a chasm must touch on both sides. In man, beast and angel are joined. The strange compound is not impracticable. "All things are possible with God." Mankind are cherubic creatures, touching earth and heaven. They are the most marvellous manifestation of His own manifoldness, which God has given. God dwelleth between the cherubim."