« PoprzedniaDalej »
lines of telegraphic communication, Judæa. And we know that that the best that can be done is to tell fountain has swelled into what will probably be the weather mighty river that is sweeping all to-morrow. Success is sure to barriers away. Through all the
We see a young man fully world the force of Christianity is equipped for life, starting out with greater than any other that is. high hopes and flattering
prospects. known among men. “I will put forth my ut- 2. We know that this old book, the most endeavours. Every nerve and Bible, has survived all revolutions. muscle shall be put to the strain. It has come down to us through I will deny myself. I will live by the ages that have witnessed the all the rules of temperance and rise and fall of nation after nation. morality, and I will be sure of It has stood the attacks of the success”—yet how often such con- fiercest criticism, and come forth fidence is shattered by failure ! unscathed. One philosophy after Even when he has gained success, another has come and gone, but how long he can retain it is un- this book abides, and never, during certain. He may be one of the the centuries of its existence, has strongest of his nation in intellect,
it had a stronger grip upon humanone of the most sagacious and ity than it has at this day. Nolearned ; and he may climb, as did where is its influence so powerful such an one of late, to the very as in those lands which boast the pinnacle, and to-morrow a dastard- | highest civilization. We know that, ly blow may stretch him at the even if it be untrue, it gives us the bottom, crushed and dying. Our grandest conceptions of a God the homes, where peace and hallowed world has ever known. Is Jesus joy reign to-day, may to-morrow Christ a myth? Whose was the be lying in the shadow of the sublime imagination that created death-angel's wiugs. I would not such a character ? It has been well chill the happiness of any heart, said that such a creator would have but it is needful for us to think of been as transcendent a character as these things. I never see one of Jesus Himself. We know that this my children when, steadied by its Bible reveals to man his own needs mother's finger, encouraged by the and weaknesses as nothing else voices of the household, it takes its does. It sees the secrets of his infirst few tottering steps, without most nature. It voices his deepest thinking of the many snares and aspirations.
It touches with a pitfalls into which that pathway master hand the chords of emotion, just entered
and administers consolation for his A class of people has lately most poignant griefs. We know come into some prominence who that its precepts are the purest and call themselves Agnostics. They wisest that have been given for the say, "We don't know anything. guidance of life. Then we know It is their creed that, outside of this that, whatever this book may be, present, material world, we can be it satisfies human longings to the certain of nothing. But there are very uttermost. Like the rising
tide that flows into every frith, and I. THINGS IN REGARD TO RELIGION
inlet, and bay, so the Bible fills each
recess of man's nature, heart, and 1. We are certain that Christianity mind, and soul. And it is for all is in the world. We know that it classes—the child and the sage, the has existed for nineteen centuries. lowly and the exalted, the unlearnWe can trace back its existence with ed and the scholar. It reaches all certainty, and we see the fountain and makes new creatures of them. springing up in the little realm of 3. But the Christian may be cer
OF WHICH ALL MAY BE CERTAIN.
tain of much more than this. Paul cries out, “I am taking a leap into had no doubt as to the Gospel. He the dark," swinging off into an unhad already entered upon a race, known eternity. Could anything be and he was not for one moment un- more terrible ? certain as to what the course was.
3. Another certainty is the dread Every man may have that certainty, of judgment after death. The river and, if he will surrender himself to of life is swift and smooth, perhaps, Christ, may be fully assured of the but the sinner, unreconciled to God, truth of the Gospel. And yet there knows that there is a cataract over are Christians that are troubled which he must plunge, and every with doubt. I may be certain what moment is bringing him nearer to road is the right one, and yet be it. A conscience for ever reproachuncertain whether I am on that
ing, a soul that is never at peace, road. I
be assured that death with its shadows projected Christianity is true, but not that I far ahead, and the dread of an awam a Christian. Paul was sure of ful judgment day-these are some both, and I believe every Christian of the certainties of irreligion. may have all Paul's confidence.
P. S. HENSON, D.D. 4. Then, again, I may be sure of the right road, sure I am on it, and yet be doubtful whether I shall reach
From the Depths to the the goal. Unto such I commend
Heights. the words of an old darkey whom
PSALM CXxx. I once met. I asked him how long “ Out of the depths have I cried unto he had been serving the Lord. Thee, O Lord. Lord hear my voice ; “Fifty years,” he replied. Well, let Thine ears be attentive to the voice of uncle,” I said; “after keeping the my supplications,” etc. faith so long, you must feel pretty This psalm gives us what we confident of holding out to the may call the ascent of the soul end ?" Ah, massa,” he respond- from the depths to the heights. ed, “it isn't a question of my It is “a song of degrees, holding on, its only a question of “song of goings up." Whatever whether de Lord can hold on, and that very enigmatical phrase may I reckon I can trust Him." It is
mean, there is a sense in which this the privilege of every Christian to
psalm, at any rate, is distinctly a have a like faith. “No one shall song of ascent, in that it starts pluck them out of My hand,” said from the very lowest point of selfChrist.
abasement and consciousness of II. IRRELIGION ALSO HAS ITS CER
evil, and rises steadily and, though it may be slowly, yet surely up to
the tranquil summit, led by a con1. That dim, undefined unrest of sciousness of the Divine Presence soul. Do what one may to conceal it or to crush it, it is still there, an
I. THE CRY FROM THE DEPTHS. enemy to peace, a destroyer of happiness.
What depths ? The psalmist 2. T'he shadows of the future are
thinks of himself as of a man in certain. Laying aside the teachings some pit, sending up to the surface of revelation, the realm beyond
a faint call which may easily be death is only a dark mystery. See
unheard. But he does not merely the philosopher ascending the high- mean to express his sense of human est mount of speculation, and his insignificance, nor even his sorrow, only answer to questions of the fu- nor his despondency. There are ture state is, “I don't know; I can deeper pits than these. They are only guess.”
Hear another as he depths into which the spirit
ATTITUDE OF THE SPIRIT THAT
A CONTINUAL DEPENDENCE UPON
feels itself going down, sick and God's divine mercy and infinite giddy, when there
power and love, in the cross of thought, “I am a sinful man, O Jesus Christ, separate between Lord, in the presence of Thy great man and his disease, and cut out purity.”
the one and leave the other more 1. The depths are the place for living after the amputation of that. us all. Every man amongst us which was killing him. has got to go down there, if we
Men may say,
" There cannot be take the place that belongs to us. forgiveness; you cannot alter con
2. Unless you have cried to God sequences." But forgiveness has out of these depths, you have never not to do only with consequences; cried to Him at all.
forgiveness has to do with the 3. You want nothing more than personal relation between me and a cry to get you out of the depths. God. And that can be altered.
The Father forgives as well as the II. A DARK FEAR AND A BRIGHT
judge; the Father forgives though
He sometimes chastises. “If Thou, Lord, shouldst mark
III. THE PERMANENT, PEACEFUL iniquities, O Lord! who shall stand?” And then, as if he would
HAS TASTED THE
CONnot be swept away from his confi
SCIOUSNESS OF FORGIVING LOVE, dence, even by this great blast of cold air from out of the North,
GOD. that might have come like ice and paralyzed his hope—“But,” says They that have tasted that the he, “there is forgiveness with Thee, Lord is gracious can sit very quietly that Thou mightest be feared.” So at His feet, and trust themselves these two halves represent the to His kindly dealings, resting struggle in the man's mind—the their souls upon His strong word, two poles of a thought. To “mark and looking for the fuller cominiquities” is to impute them to us. munication of light from Himself. The word, in the original, means A beautiful picture of a tranquil, to watch, that is to say, to remem- continuous, ever-rewarded, and ber in order to punish.
ever-fresh waiting upon Him, and ' But there is forgiveness with reliance upon His mercy. Thee, that Thou mayest be feared.”
IV. THE PERSONAL EXPERIENCE No man ever comes to that confidence that has not sprung to it, as
EVANGEL, A PROCLAMATION OF it were, by a rebound from the
THE LOE other thought. It needs, first of
MAN'S LIPS TO ALL HIS BRETHREN. all, that the heart should have tremblingly entertained the con
“Let Israel hope in the Lord.” trary by hypothesis, in order that There was no room for anything in the heart should spring into the his heart when he began the psalm relief and the gladness of the except his own self in his misery, counter truth.
and that Great One high above “Forgiveness !" The word so him there. There was nobody in translated has foritsliteral meaning, all the universe to him but himself “cutting-off,” “excision.” And and God when he began the so it suggests the notion of taking psalm. But there is nothing that a man's soul and his sin, that great so knits him to all his fellows, and black deformity that has grown brings him into such wide-reaching upon it, feeding upon it, and bonds of amity and benevolence, cutting it clean out with a merciful as the sense of God's forgiving amputating knife.
mercy for his own sin. So the call
bursts from the lips of the par- and gold, and cedar-wood which doned man, inviting all to taste the Solomon built in the zenith of his experience and exercise the trust
power. In the Gospels, on the which have made him glad: lips of our blessed Lord, we find Israel hope in the Lord.”
it used in a new sense, which filled And then look at the broad theunaccustomed Jews with amazeGospel that he has come to preach. ment. He spoke of the temple “For with the Lord there is mercy, of His body. In the epistles, and and with Him is redemption.” especially in those of Paul, the Not only forgiveness, but redemp- term temple receives a significance tion—and that from every form of yet more marvellous, for it is sin. It is “plenteous”-multiplied, applied, as in the text, to the mortal as the word might be rendered. body of every Christian man, It is unexhaustible redemption, Let us glance at these three not to be provoked, not to be over- temples, which mark three mighty come by any obstinacy of evil- dispensations in religious history. available for all, available for every
I. THE TEMPLE OF JERUSALEM. grade and every repetition of transgression. God's inexhaustible The Most High dwelleth not in mercy, streaming down upon the temples made with hands. Lo, lurid smoke pillars of man's trans- heaven and the heaven of heavens: gression, is weight enough to quench cannot contain Him, how much the flame of man's, and of a less any house that man can build? world's transgressions.
If that mighty cathedral whose Him is plenteous redemption; He dome is the body of heaven in its shall redeem Israel from all his clearness, whose pillars are the iniquities.” He was sure of that, mountain summits, and its cresset and his soul was at "
lamps the sun, and moon,
and stars, believing" it. But there were be yet too mean for His dread mysteries about it which he could magnificence, how shall any perishnot understand. - Thou shalt call ing structure of human toil be His name Jesus, for He shall save
deemed sufficient for His abode ? His people from their sins.” That Yet out of that mercy which knew is the fulfilment, the vindication, and provided for the spiritual and explanation of the psalmist's wants of man, He Hiinself directed hope. Lay hold on Christ, and the fashion of this earthly taberHe will lift you out of the depths, nacle, and deigned to place the and set you upon the sunny heights symbol of His presence between of the Mountain of God.
the outstretched wings of the ALEXANDER MACLAREN, D.D. golden cherubim.
Through dreary ages of darkness
and error that temple stood as Three Temples of God. the visible witness against all 1. Cor. iii. 16.
idolatry of God's creatures—that
God “ Know ye not that ye are the temple ruling in righteousness, not in.
was sitting King forever, of God and that the spirit of God dwelleth
different to the sorrows and sins of in you ? :
men, but an infinite and merciful THE three different meanings of Father, yearning in love for the this phrase, “the temple of God,” souls of His sinful children, who mark very distinctly three different willeth us to give of our best and eras of God's dealings with His richest to His earthly temples, Church. In the Old Testament as a proof alike of our love and it is applied without variation to reverence to Him; and a witness that stately sanctuary of marble, of His everlasting presence in the
midst of us to accept our thanks- It was the promise wherewith givings and hear our prayers. our Lord had comforted His trem
bling disciples, and very soon after II. THE TEMPLE
the temple of His mortal body had
been taken up into heaven was the After a thousand years our Lord new living
temple filled with the spoke of the temple of God glory of His presence, and the in a manner unheard of before. brows of the assembled Apostles “ Destroy this temple," He said, were mitred by the cloven tongues when asked for some sign of His of Pentecostal flame. Since that mission, and in three days I will time the mortal body of every one raise it up.” “Forty and six years of us has been a temple of God, a was this temple in building," temple of the Holy Ghost; and answered the indignant Jews, “and the Spirit of God has loved wilt Thou rear it up in three days ?”
Before all temples the upright heart and But He spoke of “the temple of
pure. His body." His use of the word
There is no doctrine on which made a deep impression. It was the apostles dwelt with more inturned into the main charge sistency than this, alluding to it against Him, was hurled as the
repeatedly in their epistles as to a bitterest taunt against Him as He mainspring of spiritual life. Nor hung upon the cross, and was
were the early Christians backremembered as the key to His ward to realize the same high most mysterious prophecy after He doctrine-a doctrine too mysterhad risen from the dead.
ious for the heathen world to It was full of awful significance. understand. Thereby, indeed, the veil of the
The true “Shechinah, then, is material temple was rent in twain,
“ tbere is but one and access was given to God, by temple in the universe and that nearer and truer way. God
is the body of man. Nothing is Himself had reared His tabernacle
holier than that high form.” in mortal flesh; the tent of His
Truly, in the words of the Chriseternal spirit had been made “like
tian poet, ours and of the same material.” And though that temple of Christ's
“We are greater than we know." body lasted on earth, not for many Try to realize the thought. God centuries, but only for a few short within us !—not only ever with us years, yet let us not forget that it unseen; not only watching us in still lasts eternal in the heavens- our secret moments, and reading that forever and ever a face like the very thoughts of our hearts ; our own face looks down upon us not only covering us with the in pity from the throne of God; shadow of His wings and lighting and that He who loved His own us with the light of His counteon earth shall love them to the end nance; but within us, our bodies and fold them safe, amid the uni- His temple, our hearts His home! versal ruin, in the bosom of His What a glorious dignity! What everlasting love.
an imperial inheritance! If we
could but grasp the thought, we III. THE TEMPLE OF EVERY CHRIS
should live lives nobler and more
beautiful; we should breathe a It was through the temple of purer, a sweeter and a calmer Christ's body, as through some air; time would present to us a glorious vestibule, that the Spirit richer aspect. That eternal life is of God passed into the temple of hid with Christ in God. every Christian heart.
F. W. FARRAR, D.D.