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grave are no great credit to an heir of eternity. Can that glory which has no relation to his immortal nature be worthy of him? The mortal man flourishing for a few days in his laurel-leaf honors, and the inner man, going into eternity, without a crown, and in dishonor, are not an enviable condition. O Belshazzar, thy Babylon is a fool's dream: thou art weighed in the balances and found wanting. Thy glory is extinct; a very ignominious future is before thee. O man, thou art of more value than many such worlds as this. God has designed for thee a very great inheritance. If thou art so fallen that thou canst not discern the greatness and worth of thy nature; at least, that Redemption which God has wrought for thee, might help thy conjectures. Has not God become flesh for thee? Believe it, thy stake is infinite. The right hand road and the left are before thee; the devil persists, and proves to thee by myriads of attractions, that the left hand road is not left, but right. O that the light and courage of God may be in thee to tell the Tempter, that it may be his right hand road, but that it is thy left. Or, pause, fall down on thy knees, cry mightily for help on the Divine Man, Christ Jesus, that He would shew thee thy right way; and rise and pursue that way, though it should seem to thine own senses to be
the left hand road of loss, loneliness, and suffering. It is better to contradict the whole of nature, together with our own fleshly affections and convictions, than be untrue to our deeper divine nature. "The things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal." The whole visible appearance of mankind from the beginning unto the present generation is but as the passing flash of a meteor, compared with the value of a single eternal, invisible man. What a solemn mockery are the honors of the mortal man, if the eternal man is condemned before God! What is the man profited who has had the honor that is but for a moment, if he is to inherit shame and sorrow for ever? Or, the man who has run through his short career in the honors and pleasures of time, and who finds that his soul, which might have been redeemed, is finally ruined;what shall this man give to get his soul brought back again to the days of probation? No answer! “What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" No answer!
IV. The course of God for man, is always from lower things to higher, from life to life, inferior to superior. The course of nature is birth and death, but the Divine order for human life is
birth, and birth, and birth. First, man comes a sensuous creature into a sensuous world, an illusion to an illusion. Secondly, by believing the testimony of God, and submitting himself unto God, this twofold illusion is greatly corrected by an interior spiritual birth. The latent powers of his soul are quickened into activity, and he walks by faith in a world which transcends every appearance, that can be presented to his senses. His soul being quickened out of heaven, his affections are raised into heaven. He dwells on that objective world, which corresponds with his new subjective condition, and rejoices in the prospect of seeing it face to face. His faith is the evidence of things not seen, by which also he overcometh the world that is seen. In due time the new interior life of his spirit altogether outgrows the capacities and sympathies of his first nature. Therefore, in the beautiful order of God, there comes a third birth, the grand release, his translation from the unreal to the real; and he finds himself in a world every way congenial to his new nature, adequate to the far reach of his thoughts, and in perfect sympathy with his chastened, hallowed affections. He sees before his eyes, the glory and joy of that life, which is established within him. His outward circumstanes
and his inward condition are in harmony. He is full of joy. Such an intensity of the affections, together with the clearness and expanse of his understanding were not possible in the body. The house of flesh is peculiarly appropriate for the initiation of a fallen spirit into the eternal life; but it is utterly incompatible with the enlarged growth and perfection of that life. By his first birth, man and nature are kindred, but by regeneration and Divine culture, he exceeds nature's limits and possibilities. Nature abides the same, but man becomes ennobled, and transcends her appreciation. But heaven appreciates him, and he appreciates heaven. He will awake from deep sleep some day, and find himself living in that kindred sphere; and be susceptible of its helpful, blessed inspirations. Heaven is man grown, and opened, according to God.
V.—If any thing could give man rest and self-approval in the merely wordly life, secularism, as it is pleased to call itself, would. There is no superior light in secularism to plague the soul. Yet the soul is plagued. You may easily find utter secularism in speech, or in print; but no man's soul is an utter secularist for all that. Certain strange scintillations occasionally rise in
the darkest soul. It is also a sore vexation to the secularist, that other persons believe. He would be more reconciled to his dry morsel of mortality, if other persons had not the ease and dignity of wealth, the wealth of faith. authority for his secularism. authority of every creature's consent.
He wants more
He wants the
are times when even that would not be enough for him. It is very easy for the flippant tongue to deny all grandeur to human life, by cutting man off from God and immortal existence; but it is not very easy for the solitary man to silence the immortal nature in himself. Now and then it will sigh and complain, regret the past and stand in awe of the future. If the secularist would be faithful, he would acknowledge that secularism does not wholly solve the problem of his nature. You can inflict no severer penalty on the unbeliever, than to leave him alone in the quiet possession of his unbelief. He labors to persuade himself that he is "like the beasts that perish.” But if no one disturbs him in his fool's inheritance, he will disturb himself. He may laugh at the faith of others, but his own blank makes no laughter for himself, when alone with himself.