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disfigured, dwarfed, darkened, almost contemptible, if it were not an outer-court; while the sanctuary, will, behind its bending and creviced gates, shall be lovely in its purity, beautiful in its simplicity, ample and lofty, and on its altar a lambent flame of worship, mounting up to "the unknown God :" yet in both instances the outer-court is the avenue of approach to the sanctuary, the understanding the means of access to the will.

It is, as it must be, the divine intention of the Architect of the temple, man, that both the outer court and the inner sanctuary shall be conformed to the stately styles of the heavens, both vast, both magnificent, and both holy,—the one resplendent with lustrous truths, the other sanctified with goodness. To realise this intention is man's duty and privilege; and the first steps to this realisation must be the learning of its existence and the comprehension of its nature. The process of its realisation is the process of forming the character. The extent of this realisation must depend on the extent to which this process is conducted, and as it can only become general by having been adopted individually, this effort to realise the Divine purpose is the duty and the privilege of every individual man and woman. Hence the caption of this article.

Of prime importance in the formation of a broad and noble character is a just conception of God. God is the highest conception of the human mind, and, conversely, the highest conception of the human mind is God. Such as are men's gods, such, to a very large extent, will men be, for they must strive to imitate or resemble their highest conceptions. The mythology of a people is an index to that people's character; and the theology of a sect is ever a picture of the mental and moral character of that sect. Believers in the Scandinavian Thor could not be other than warlike. Worshippers of Venus could not be otherwise than sensual. There is an exact parallelism between the character of the Hebrews and their conception of Jehovah. “Be ye imitators of God” is the statement of a necessary fact as well as an apostolic injunction. The stern Puritan fathers were essentially Calvinistic, that is, nothing but the stern dogmas enunciated by the sullen Calvin could suit the characters of those men, and from their acceptance of these dogmas their character assumed a deeper sternness and an intenser gloom. There is a direct action of character in the selection of our views of Deity; and there is an inevitable reaction upon our character from the views we so adopt. It is, therefore, necessary that we see clearly a Divine Model, and that this model be worthy

reverence and imitation as Divine. The only worthy and the only possible model is to be found in the LORD JESUS CHRIST. In His Divine Person we can find the end of all problems


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and the fount of certainties, and in His Divine Example we can obtain a sublime pattern worthy all imitation. God unrevealed could only be an abstraction, and men cannot love, they can only admire, abstractions. It is not love that we love, but a loving being: not wisdom, but a wise being: not power, but a powerful being. Beauty, as an idea, never accomplished more than to evoke a sentiment; we want the beautiful, before we can love the idea of beauty. The Lord Jesus is God revealed, no longer a doctrine, but a fact; no longer an abstraction, but a personalty; no longer an idea of the mind, but a manifestation, cognizable to the senses of those to whom the life of the senses is the highest degree of life opened to their consciousness. He, “the desire of all the nations," has come,—the multiplied prophecies of the Scriptures bearing Him testimony,—the majesty of might bearing Him testimony, -the benevolence of love bearing Him testimony,--the supremacy of wisdom bearing Him testimony,-He, the light-shower, the love-breather, the life-giver, the fairest among ten thousand, the altogether lovely! Sublime as the model of mankind, He is sublime as the imparter of the power to imitate His example; and the transcendently sublime as the giver of the very disposition, to all them that ask Him, to choose His example and to strive after its imitation. The great end of all history was the introduction of Christianity; the great purpose of the coming of every good and wise man, the raising-up of all prophets, the inauguration of every new age, was that they should act but as the forerunners of His advent, in whom humanity are bound together as one vast family; and the tangled skein of the history of man is warped and woven into one all-embracing system of inter-relation, interdependence, and objective unity,

At the very outset of a career of the formation of individual character this most important truth should be indubitably seen, in order, firstly, that the young artist may have a worthy and competent model, and, secondly, that his mind and heart may be more open to the inflowings of the spirit of that Jehovah-Jesus. For as it is a fact that Jesus is God, so the recognition of that fact must enable the individual more fully to receive and more consciously to appropriate His sacred influx, and, by its reception, His divine assistance. In this, as in other matters, his understanding must be the avenue of approach to his will, the outer court to the inner sanctuary. Jesus is God, “the only wise God our Saviour.” In that this is a fact, it is necessary to be seen and acknowledged. In that this is a fact lying at the very foundation of all true Christianity, it is the more necessary and important that it should be acknowledged. In that being a fact, all spiritual aid must and can only come from Jesus Christ; and that the acknowledgment of its truth in the mind, with the love of that truth in the heart, can alone enable us to receive that aid, it is not only necessary but indispensable that it should be clearly seen and heartily accepted. As the foundation of all Christian character, there must be a definite settlement of the questions—“Who and what is our God ?" We cannot evade and must not avoid it. Mystery here can only result in uncertainty and mist-mantling doubts through the whole subsequent process, for uncertainty as to the whereabouts, and the what-abouts, and the security of our foundation, can only render the whole superstructure hazardous and insecure. A clear perception of these foundation-truths must render the whole subsequent process a source of consolation and an ever-bubbling spring of joy. We might as well attempt to enter on a course of mathematical reasoning without having first understood and accepted its axioms and definitions, as to endeavour to form a noble—and that means a Christian--character without clear and satisfactory views of Jesus Christ. Christianity is Christology, and Christology must be the only possible introduction to a genuine practical Christianity.

Here, then, we pause with this proposition—"That the recognition of the sole, supreme, and exclusive Divinity of Jesus Christ is the very foundation of a worthy and effectual Christian individual character, as well for the sake of the influences of His Holy Spirit, that we may thus receive from Him, as for the sake of possessing, in the history of His Humanity, a competent model for our imitation."




It is a remark not less true than common, that habit is second nature. We do not, perhaps, sufficiently reflect on what we owe to habit, and what power it exercises over us, both for good and evil. We come into the world the subjects of habit.

Whatever parents have contracted by frequent use and habit, or have become tinctured with by actual life, so as to render it familiar to them, till it has the appearance of being natural, is transmitted to their children, and it becomes hereditary.” (A.C. 3469.) No doubt our principal inheritance is evil, yet there are some hereditary advantages which we derive from the habits of our predecessors. Parents not only transmit their evils to their offspring, but they impart to them also something of their natural or domestic good, which serves to temper the severity of their depraved selfhood, and enlarge their capacity for improvement. We see some imaged evidence of this better [Enl. Series.-No. 103, vol. ix.]


to man.

inheritance in the changed character of our domestic animals. Their wild and, in some instances, ferocious natures are considerably modified by the habits they acquire in their connection with and their subjugation

And this modified nature they transmit to their offspringthough, when left to themselves, they soon return again to their native wildness. It is similar with human beings. In certain circumstances man rapidly degenerates. And the difference of culture and habit is perhaps sufficient to account for all the varieties of race and difference of civilization that are found amongst mankind. Of this, at least, there can be no doubt, that our dispositions and capacities are improved or injured by the habits of our parents, and that these make us either more or less manageable and teachable than we would otherwise be.

It is, however, with the habits which we ourselves acquire by actual life that we have chiefly to concern ourselves; and no sooner are we born than we begin to acquire habits, and habit lies at the foundation of all that we do acquire. In this respect there is an immense difference between us and the inferior creatures.

“ Man is not born to any exercise of life, like the brute animals, but has all and everything to learn; and what he learns becomes by exercise habitual, and thus, as it were, natural; for he cannot even walk nor speak unless he be taught; and so in all other cases, which by use become, as it were, natural to him.” (4.C. 1050.)

We are, therefore, so far the creatures of habit. Animals have their instincts, which nature develops and brings to its exquisite but limited perfection, without instruction or example. We have the nobler faculty of reason, but, unlike animal instinct, it cannot grow from within but by the use of means supplied by others from without; so that instruction and exercise are essential to our becoming really human, regarded as beings fitted only for the uses and enjoyments of life in the present world. Still more are the uses and enjoyments of spiritual life the result of information and exercise. Much of the natural information and many of the natural habits we acquire are congenial to us; but this is not generally the case with those of a spiritual or even of a moral kind. Children have little desire to learn, and less disposition to practise the law of equity—to do to others as they would that others should do to them. They do not easily see the reasonableness or acquire the habit of curbing their tempers or denying their selfishness,—of being habitually kind, gentle, forgiving, nor even of being always truthful and obedient. Yet these are the principles and habits on which the usefulness and happiness of man depend. Parents cannot too earnestly instil these principles into the minds of their children, or too carefully form these habits in their lives. By so doing they initiate them into a life that they must make their own, before they can be good members of human society, and before they can become members of heavenly society at all.


The use of parental care is not, however, altogether prospective, great as that is; it contributes very materially to their happiness as children. It saves them from those outbursts of passion to which they are so prone, from that fretfulness and peevishness to which they are so inclined, from the selfishness which is never satisfied, and from the general misconduct that brings them into constant trouble. On the other hand, it makes them gentle, contented, self-denying, and secures to them the approbation and love of others. Nor is it the least of the beneficial results of the good instruction and training which the young receive, that they themselves become practical teachers in their turn, and diffuse a sweet and improving influence throughout their own little circle. There is not a more beautiful sight than that presented by a well-regulated family, where one can see the fruits of careful and judicious training by highprincipled and affectionate parents, who instruct without seeming to teach, and govern without seeming to rule. Such, we may hope, our families will more and more become, as the members of the church, intelligent and virtuous themselves, marry from and live in conjugial love, and seek to promote the spiritual still more thau the temporal welfare of their children.

When the young are habitually and sedulously brought up in a life of goodness and truth, there is reason to hope that, having been taught in the way that they should go, when they are old enough to judge for themselves they will not depart from it. Of this there is, indeed, no absolute certainty. There is a time when good or evil becomes a matter of deliberate choice,—when the human being must decide for himself whether he will abide in or abandon the principles in which he has been nurtured. Such being the case, there being consequently a possibility of their not following up the work which has been done for them chiefly by others, we turn to the young man and maiden, to whom a wise choice is a matter of such immense importance. And what is a wise choice but the choice of a life that has the promise both of this world and of that which is to come? Not that we wish to hold out to them the motive of being religious because it is profitable. A religious life,

. there can be no doubt, is on the whole the most prosperous life, because order is in all things the foundation of success. But by the promise of this world we would rather be understood to mean that happiness which religion secures to us in this life, whatever our position or portion in it may be. And what is required of us to be religious ? The very term is supposed by many to carry with it something depressing to the feelings



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