« PoprzedniaDalej »
altered; the things we thought perfect are made light of, and laid aside; the place where we enjoyed our life, knows us no more; the faces which were about us all day long have disappeared from around us. All has been left behind, all has made way for new things, new men, new judgments.
But the reverse of all this is, that only on these terms, only on this condition of mortality, which perhaps shoots through us like a sharp pain, is there the prospect, for imperfect creatures, of higher things. We lose what we value, we leave behind what we love. It is the price we pay for the possibility of improvement, for our own approach to the perfect and the unchangeable. Woe unto us if we could not change! "Thou fool," says the Apostle, "that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die." If better things are ever to come, the old must change and make room for them.
My brethren, we will not repine though we have to lose so much, though we leave behind, buried in the past years, what is so inestimably precious, what here, to us, can never be replaced, in the time that we have to live. We will accept the great law of ceaseless change, for the compensating power which it brings along with it, amid the vicissitudes of circumstance, of changing in character and soul, from what we are to what we would be. We will say to ourselves, "I change with all things,—I must change: this awful fact of my nature follows me everywhere, whether I will or
no. But I can change within, not by necessity, but by choice. I can change from my old and dead self, to a new and higher self. Amid the wreck of what is taken from me, amid the ruins of what I was and what I loved, I can also, if I will, leave behind the restless desires, the sordid meannesses, the dark self-deceits, the miserable treacheries of the years that are past. I am meant to change, I must change, if I am ever to be what I was intended to be ;change from weakness to strength and purity, from random carelessness to self-government, from the standard of the world to the standard of Jesus Christ. That dread discipline of change from which I shrink, is God's order for the training of the soul, as it is for the trial and training of the race. If that which He has prepared for man is ever to come to me, it must be by the passing away of all that is old,—by its passing, through the overthrow and agonies of change, into that over which change shall have no more power, —the kingdom which cannot be moved,--the everlasting peace of God."
May He, who has made all things new on earth by His revelation of Himself to mankind, and who speaks from the Throne of Heaven, "Behold I make. all things new," finish in us all the work for which He has made us all. He made us for share His Glory. here are but the
He made us for His Light, His goodness, He made us to But even His Light and Truth
seeing in a glass darkly; our
highest goodness here is but the pale shadow of
His Perfection; our happiness and peace are but foretastes, precarious and transient, of His Eternal. Rest. But we believe that verily we shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. He made us and He redeemed us, that at last we might know even as we are known. He made us that out of the shocks of change, and the decay of our mortality, He might fashion for immortality His new creation. The heavenly righteousness to which souls made perfect shall attain, is nothing less than the fulness of that love, by which the Apostle expresses the Essence of God. "The fruition of His glorious Godhead,”—this is the appointed term and goal and reward, of human kind, of those who know Him. now by faith.
But oh! think of what must be before that comes. There lie between us and It, our evil ways, our besetting temptations, our poorness of soul, our hearts that cannot be trusted, the sins we know of, the sins we are blind to. There lie between the present moment and that, the snares, the chances, the doubts, the darkness, of the days before us; the time of our tribulation alternating with the no less perilous time of our wealth: there lie the hour of death, the resurrection of the body, the day of judgment. Through this awful interval, so hard to imagine, yet so sure to be,-along this uncertain path to the great and certain future,—through these unknown distances, these inconceivable scenes which we have to traverse, who shall guide us, who shall
protect us? Whom have we in heaven but One; and who upon earth can hold our hand and keep our steps, and in the darkness give us light, but He? "The Lord is my Light, and my Salvation; whom then shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom then shall I be afraid?" To Him, when our hearts are full, when our flesh and spirit fail, we will commit our way, ourselves, and all that belongs to us. "We therefore pray Thee, help Thy servants, whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy precious blood. Make them to be numbered with Thy Saints in glory everlasting
O Lord, in Thee have I trusted, let me never be confounded.” "O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world, grant us Thy peace."
TRIAL A NECESSARY LAW OF
"In all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”.
YES, my brethren, even in that awful condition of man's nature and life which we call Temptation, He, the Holiest, chose to have his part. It was not enough that He would be born as we are born, that He would live as we live, and speak our words, and think with our thoughts, and love with our affections, that He would suffer as we suffer, and die as we die this was not enough. To be perfect man, He need not sin, but He must be tempted, and He was tempted "like as we are, yet without sin."
For He, the Redeemer and the Pattern of the human race must fulfil to the uttermost the law of its condition, He must, in all things which were outside of that very inmost self, that personality which chooses and wills, and over which in Him no degenerate taint, or infirmity, or soiling touch of evil could pass, in all other things, He must bear the burdens and know the trials, of being a man. He must be