« PrécédentContinuer »
for, though we may take our poetry, we are not to take our theology from Milton. We must not think there was a long war between the disaffected and the faithful in heaven. Where do grace is, sin is followed by immediate punishment; long-suffering belongs not to law-and but for the covenant of mercy with man, the present struggle would have terminated in the very day of transgression. The sinner, under the stroke of divine vengeance, would have sunk at once into the abodes of perdition, but through mercy the stroke was prolonged, and still continues. As it goes on important principles are established, truth receives fresh evidence every year, achieves new victories every day, and its entire history goes to show the folly and wickedness of rebellion against God, and the wisdom and picty of submission to Him. His service is the wisdom, duty, and interest of his creatures; and as no creature can so clearly perceive the force of truth in the abstract as when exhibited in action, probably angels feel all these truths more forcibly in consequence of seeing them and their practical results on the grand theatre of our world. We ourselves may learn much from the awful contest if we watch it faithfully, standing in the light of the Lord-much that will be highly instructive and of, moral benefit. But our faculties are too weak; our range of view too limited; our opportunities and space of observation too few and brief, to allow us to study and comprehend the lessons presented as they are studied and comprehended by angels. When we join their assembly we shall share their advantages. They are watching the progress of the struggle with growing interest. The plans of Providence, like Ezekiel's wheels, are involved in perplexity and seeming counter movements; the clouds gather and break; alternate floods of light and shadows of darkness are poured upon the scene, and still they gaze on as the scheme is gradually and more clearly developed and the catastrophe nearer and nearer approaches. And what shall be their final song when the consummation arrives, and they part from the scene wiser and holier and happier ? What their crowning joy but the outburst of that long repressed and high-wrought feeling which has struggled in their vast minds for so many ages, “Hallelujah! the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth!”
By reason of sin there is a repulsion between heaven and earth, angels and men. The death of Christ was designed to remove this and reconcile all, making them one in Jesus and heaven. Not only to reconcile God and his worshippers, but to reconcile the worshippers
with each other. Under this arrangement men are employed to assist men, that by mutual good offices they may endear themselves to each other in time and in eternity; and for the same reason angels are employed to assist men and have given to them a charge over us, to endear us and them together that our final and mutual joy may be the fuller and sweeter when we meet in our Father's kingdom. How delightful is the communion of saints on earth! It heightens the idea when we connect saints below with saints above, and recollect that to us all there is one God and Father. He is the Lord of Hosts. He has a host in the innumerable company of angels ; a host in the company of redeemed men. « Part of the host have crossed the flood and part are crossing now;" and part are traveling through the wilderness, nearing every day the banks of the Jordan-the borders of the land of promise, but they are one sacramental host, going up by companies till they all appear in Zion before God. And this feeling of union with saints glorified, not only those we have known and loved on earth, and those whose triumph over death we witnessed, but all who have gone from the world; this feeling of union with them is heightened when we connect them with the angels of God. They are all one in Christ, so that in heaven all are our friends. And when we shall be dying in the Lord, kind angels will bend over our couch of suffering to fan with their loving wings our pale brow, and through the darkness sweetly smile upon our souls, as with them we rise into light, and from this world of strife ascend to a better, a brighter, and go into a friendly heaven, there to find our God, our family, our home.
Learn the infinite worth of the gospel. It is not a fable that fixes the attention of angels—“ to the Greeks it was foolishness, to the Jews a stumbling-block; but to those that believe, it is the wisdom of God and the power of God.” Jesus took not on him the nature of angels, but our nature, that through suffering he might bring us to glory. “Which things the angels desire to look into.”
My heart awake to feel is to be fired,
GOD AND MAN ARE CO-WORKERS IN THE SALVATION
OF THE SOUL.
BY EDWARD WADSWORTH, D. D.,
OF THE ALABAMA CONFERENCE.
“ But we all, with open, face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."-2 Cor. iii, 18.
In apprehending this declaration of Paul we must see the meaning of the phrases as they occur in regular order.
« We all with open face,” means with a face that is unveiled or uncovered, so that the rays of light may pass unobstructed and unchanged to the eyes. “Beholding as in a glass," means looking as one looks in a mirror. The gospel which contains the narration of the life of Jesus Christ the Lord, is, by a beautiful simile, represented as a well-made lookings glass, on whose even surface there is no crack or indentation, causing the rays of light to make an untrue figure or image of the object put before it. The vision here is clear and distinct. “ The glory of the Lord” means the life of Christ, as developing infinite goodness, immaculate purity, consummate wisdom, perfect humility, and also the excellent doctrines taught by his ministry. These all present such beauty, and they are so perfectly shown in and by him, that they are appropriately called the glory of the Lord.” “Are changed into the same image," means the renewing of our minds by the Spirit of the Lord, for the same Spirit which dwelt in Christ now applies the truths of the gospel to human hearts, and changes our moral nature, and makes it like the nature of Jesus Christ. “From glory to glory," means that the change which is wrought in our conversion, by which we become “partakers of the divine nature,” continues to advance from one degree to another, until the soul or spirit shall be fitted for translation to Heaven. The change wrought in us may be sudden, and perfect enough to cause our adoption into the family of God, because we are “ born from above;" yet after this, there must be progression from infancy to the maturity of Christian manhood.
In this text we have a good representation of the work necessary