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which are peculiar to Christianity. Holiness requires virtue as one of its ingredients, for no man can be holy without being virtuous. But virtue, on the contrary, is often found, temporarily and in individuals, dissociated from holiness.

There is a spontaneous flowering and fruitage of divine love divinely enkindled in the heart, fastening first upon God, and then flowing out in rich beneficence to all that belongs to God. The whole life is a heavenly and heavenward lifea life of communion with God in Christ, "a life hid with Christ in God." A certain fragrance hangs about such a spirit, which tells that its habitual walk is in celestial fields. We detect that odour among no earthly flowers. A certain spiritual radiance is seen in its face, as in the face of Moses descending from the Mount, which announces, not that the tables of the Law are in its hands, but that it comes from communing face to face with God Himself.

It must be so. "It is an offence against the eternal Spirit to confound what certainly may be a mere mixture of prudence, selfesteem, worldly sagacity, natural benevolence, or refined Epicureanism, or even moral innocence, with that spiritual affection which is as real, and as positive, and as practical as any of them, diviner than any, and which comes only by devout communion with the Spirit, God-given, through His Son, creating a new life." But it is not only an offence against man. It rests upon a theory of man and of man's life which makes him a creature only of earth and of time, ignores all his higher spiritual relations and capacities, and teaches us that we say the best possible of him when, standing by his grave, we can declare he was not a liar, he was not a thief, he was not an adulterer, he was not inhuman. Surely, man was meant for more

than this, and is fitted for more than this. He was meant to be true, but truthfulness is not the measure of his capacity. He was meant to be pure, but even purity does not accomplish the whole law of his being. All these he must be, but he must be more than these. He must rise above this legal virtue of Jews and Pharisees to that spiritual condition which is the express product of repentance, prayer, and faith:-"God hath called us to holiness."

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Holiness, is that attribute which is the crown of all the culture of humanity, for it carries the soul up nearest to the everlasting Fountain of wisdom, power, goodness, from whence it came. It enters in only where repentance opens the way and spiritual renewal puts the heart into wholesome

relations with the Divine Will. It is the peculiar gift for which the world stands indebted to revelation, and it is multiplied just in proportion as the heart is formed into the likeness of Christ's. It is the summit of manhood, but no less the grace of God. It is achieved by effort, because your free will must use the means that secure it; and it is equally the benignant inspiration of that Father who hears our every patient petition."

II. HOW IT IS THAT ONLY THROUGH HOLINESS AND BY HOLINESS WE CAN SEE THE LORD?

The inquiry touches the force of this word can. Holiness is not simply an arbitrary condition of seeing the Lord, but a moral and spiritual necessity in order to see

Him.

The too common idea is that God receives and rejects men not so much in accordance with the actual moral and spiritual condition of their spirits as by the fulfilment or non-fulfilment by them of certain conditions of salvation separate from their moral selves. A

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good man is admitted to heaven not because, being justified and saved by faith in Jesus Christ, he is also by that faith made morally "meet for the inheritance of the saints in light," but by a simply arbitrary decree based upon the exhibition of that faith. A bad man is excluded from heaven not because he is morally unfit for heaven, and would be incapable of entering into its occupations and pleasures, even if admitted there, but simply because God is angry with him, and wishes to bring down vindictive punishment upon his head. But this is not the doctrine, or the whole doctrine, of Scripture on this point.

The doctrine rests, after all, upon one of the simplest laws of our nature, and grows out of it. Our perceptions depend upon our capacities to perceive, and the extent of our capacities to perceive depends upon the degree of their cultivation. It holds true everywhere and of all men, and in every department of our nature, from the lowest to the highest. Take, first, that of mere sentiment, or taste, or art. How often is it that there is precisely the same landscape to any two men ? Are the ranges of Jura or the Alps the same mountains to the boor who pastures his flocks on their lower slopes and to the cultivated traveller who lingers almost worshipping amid their heights? Or compare the same man with himself at different stages of his culture. What thoughtful student does not find his taste becoming continually severer. the old pleasures ceasing to satisfy him, while yet he detects subtler beauties and keener delights, or richer suggestiveness everywhere, which are all undiscovered and undiscoverable by the common eye? And this law, to ascend to a still higher level, holds in regard to moral beauty. Is it every one who appreciates, or can appreciate, the

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And now carry up this law and apply it to the contemplation of God, and do you not see that it lands us in the very doctrine of our text? If we would see the Lord we must be holy, because He is the Infinite Holiness, and without holiness no man can see Him. A defiled soul, an untrue soul, an unloving soul, cannot see God, cannot realize Him, cannot, though it stand immediately in the unutterable glory before the uncurtained throne, appreciate His goodness.

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Evidently, it is no mere vision of the senses which is here intended. All shall see Him in this way. His visible glory shall blaze forth upon all eyes; to the joy of some, to the confusion and ruin of others. The meaning here is a deeper one than this. It is to the moral and spiritual apprehension of the beauty and desirableness of the Divine attributes that the text refers. It is to this "seeing the King in His beauty that our argument applies. Our happiness will consist in, and depend upon, our capacity for this. To this end, so great and glorious, all our moral education here is directed. To know even as we are known" sums up and measures our happiness and our perfection.

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Observe the truth we are considering in regard to one or two of the great attributes of God.

or less degree are not pure? Say what we please, God is not, in this respect," altogether lovely" in our eyes. He only becomes so in the degree in which we are made more and more like Him.

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And, first, His justice. Nothing is more certain than that we cannot always, at present, see the beauty of what we must believe to be the constant, unvarying justice of God. How often, indeed, as we look out bewildered upon the moral tangle of the world, or as we ourselves are seized in the grasp of a remorseless providence breaking, or seeming to break, through all moral distinctions of right or wrong, do we cry out against God's justice, or even perhaps deny it altogether! Nay, it reaches farther and deeper than this, for this may be simply the result of ignorance; and it is conceivable at least that a change of position and a larger field of view might be sufficient to vindicate in our eyes "the ways of God to man.' But when we feel ourselves to be guilty, or know our own to be guilty, are we able to rejoice in the divine justice and to praise God in the fires? This is one of the most knotty points in all our spiritual experience-one of the most puzzling problems in regard to the future life. If we are ever to see God at all, we shall be enabled to acquiesce in the justice of all His works and ways. We are never here so transformed and our wills lost in the Divine Will that we can see as God sees, and so judge as God judges. How many a servant of Christ, truly recognized among men as even saintly in character and life, has been enabled amid bitter trials and sorrows to humble himself beneath the mighty hand of God, and to confess to our incredulous ears that in all these things God is simply just?

Apply this same law to the purity of God. How many can appreciate that purity as revealed in His holy law? Do we not feel that, while we confess the abstract "beauty of holiness," there is a natural repulsion between us and it, so that, after all, we find our happiness in things that in greater

Or test the law by applying it to the love of God. Does the purest of God's saints on earth feel that he at all realizes the "length and breadth, and height and depth of the love of God in Christ" to him as he shall realize it when, with heart and brain cleansed and made whole, he shall be enabled to comprehend "the exceeding sinfulness of sin," and the amazing power and condescension of that love through which it was made possible that" mercy and truth could meet together, righteousness and peace could kiss each other"?

We often speak of "the beauty of holiness." The beauty of holiness is the beauty of God, and is created in our souls by looking upon God. That beauty is both the heritage and the present privilege of our spirits. And it is a real and, so to speak, tangible beauty.

Gazing on the beauty of God, we become beautiful ourselves. How it glorifies the roughest features! It may not, perhaps, be seen in the glare of pleasure and prosperity, but, like a steady flame, it comes out, as darkness of suffering or sorrow, like night, curtains W. RUDDER, D.D.

the hour.

Epistles of Christ.

2 CORINTHIANS iii. 3.

"Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart."

IN the early Church, when one went from place to place, it was customary to secure commendatory letters to the brethren vouching for his character. It would seem that St. Paul brought no such letters to the Corinthians, and some availed

themselves of this fact to attack him. His reply is that he needs no such letters of commendation, either to them or from them. They are themselves his epistles, known and read of all men. But it occurs to the apostle that these Corinthians are epistles in a higher sense than mere letters of commendation for him. They are epistles of Christ "ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart."

Our subject, then, is: CHRISTIANS COMMENDATORY EPISTLES OF CHRIST TO THE WORLD.

When we turn over the leaves of the New Testament we will find there the inspired writings of those who sat at the feet of Jesus-epistles formulating Christian doctrine and edifying Christian life. When we recur to the dispensation of Moses, we find a body of laws, graven at first by the finger of God on tables of stone, and preserved for long ages as God's letter on law to humanity; but in the dispensation of Christ we find in the custody of the Church no such memorial, hallowed by divine association; we have no writing traced by His pen, no marble tablet consecrated by His touch.

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life, in the broad and legible characters of action.

He has written where all may read. The Bible is a sealed book to many. But men must read the heart-epistles, life-letters, which Christ has written in the renewed character of His redeemed and regenerate children.

Or what will you do with the infidel who saturates his mind with the blasphemous sophistries of Hume, Voltaire, and Ingersoll ? Will you put into his hands the masterly defences of Leslie, Paley, and Butler? Christ has written more potently than they. He has written His apologetics in life, demonstrated the purity of His principles in action, and conspicuously displayed His power in results., He has penned the confutation of heresy on all the pages of history and in all the annals of the struggles and triumphs of life. He has written it broadly on the face of nations and imprinted it on the brow of empires. Thrones have voiced it; edicts have proclaimed it; laws have declared it. Civilization is one of its trumpettongued witnesses; the arts and sciences give clamorous testimony. Individual lives, blossoming like flowers of beauty in desolate places, lives uplifted, transformed, consecrated, by the powers of the Cross and by the energies of the Gospel, are eloquent advocates, unimpeachable witnesses, swerable arguments.

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These are the evidences of Christianity, written in the lives of men; and until all traces of the matchless power of the Cross are obliterated, Christ is not without witness among the sons of men. Let there be one; that one is a letter of Christ Jesus to the world, wherein is contained a masterly, all-sufficient, triumphant refutation of every form of heresy that ever raged upon the earth.

We have a twofold application of this subject: First, as regards

the Christian in whom Christ writes; and, second, as regards the world to whom Christ writes. I. THE OVERWHELMING AND CRUSHING RESPONSIBILITY.

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Ruskin says: Is this, then, all the book I have got to read about God in? Yes, truly so. No other book, or fragment of book, than that, will you ever find: no velvetbound missal, nor frankincensed manuscript; nothing hieroglyphic nor cuneiform; papyrus and pyramid are alike silent on this matter; nothing in clouds above or in the earth beneath. That flesh-bound volume is the only revelation that is, that was, or that can be. In that is the image of God painted; in that is the law of God written; in that is the promise of God revealed." He does not deny the revelation of God contained in the Scriptures; but there is none other so perfect, so beautiful, so valuable, so convincing as the Christ-power in human lives. In you there is, or ought to be, such resplendent image of your Lord as when face answereth to face in water. Reason as you will, strive frantically if you please to divest yourself of this responsibility, still, with rigorous scrutiny, the world will judge your Lord by you.

II. EPISTLE, IN SOME SORT, MUST

EVERY MAN BE.

Epistle of Jesus Christ, engrossed and illuminated manuscript of righteousness or glaring scroll of sin. No more important inquiry than this: "What does the world read in me ?"

In some it reads self-righteous Pharisaism, unlovely, despicable, contemptible. In some it reads hypocrisy, which clear-sighted eyes can see through as if it were no more palpable substance than fluffiness of gauze. In some it reads cold, callous unconcern, statuesque, petrified, unresponsive; eye kindling to no beauty, ear attuned to no harmony; soul-if soul there be

fettered, confined in dreary dungeon where no light comes, or freshness, or fragrant odour, or hint of anything that hath life. In some it reads vice-sad story of tumultuous passions, unbridled lust, temptation triumphant, nobleness of nature corrupted and defiled, the last vestiges of purity swept away in reeking floods of foul iniquity, the serene star of virtue gone down darkly in clouds of sin.

Such are some of the life-letters, and in how few, alas! may the world read regeneration, new-born impulses toward the realities of things, souls germinant and springing up in newness of life, flowering in exquisite graces and fructifying in rich fruit of outward act.

III. WHAT IS THERE IN OUR LIFELETTERS NOT OF CHRIST'S WRITING?

Doubtless in some of these epistles the tracing is dim and scarcely discernible; in some blotted with many a fault and blurred with many a failing: and I say better these than that a man should say he will not despoil the tablets of his heart with tentative effort, and so have nothing to show the world but negative blankness. But is the writing dim, undecipherable? What is there that is not of Christ's writing?

IV. THE HONOUR WHICH IS PUT UPON CHRISTIANS.

If I were a block of stone, and had I consciousness, I should be happy if Christ did grave on me a single letter; think, then, what great glory may be yours when beneath the transforming influences of the Holy Ghost you shall be made God-like, Christ formed in you, your frail body favourite temple of triune divinity. Such and so great are the powers of the Gospel that magic marvels of transformation appear everywhere as resultants of its energies, and I would rather be such a marvel than be the crowned king of consoli

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