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of matchless devotion. It was at the shrine of no verbal or metaphysical God of no impalpable abstraction of goodness, that the Father of the Faithful delivered up Isaac. He yielded up his heart's blood at the behest of One who, he knew, loved him well. The God of Moses and the Israelites was not a God without emotions, but a Being whose love and whose hatred were as real as the blazing ardours in the bush of Horeb,* or the devastating lightnings of Egypt. If, when the ‘mountain quaked greatly, and burned into the midst of heaven,' and red streams of fire ran down the gorges of Sinai, some prophet had instructed the trembling myriads of Israel in the doctrine, that all this semblance of feeling in God was simply dramatic, and that the Great Reality was infinitely far removed from a literal 'hot displeasure' at their transgressions, the people would have repelled this advanced theology by a divine instinct, and have yielded their hearts to a salutary fear of Him whose 'anger burned unto the lowest hell.' Or, if another enlightened seer, gifted with special insight into divine mysteries, had assured the wandering host, as they stood at their tent doors by nightfall, to watch the ethereal column of crimson flame that glowed over the sanctuary in the centre of the encampment, that this was the symbol of a love whose coldness was worthy of an unknown God;' undoubtedly, every Israelite who had followed the guidance of that celestial pillar from the Red Sea to the borders of Canaan, would have replied that in that cloud was an Angel-Jehovah, whose tenderness was as real as his wrath. Israel would have unanimously answered, that as all nature glowed in that burning climate with the intensity of an all-pervading life, so did the laws divulged to Moses burn throughout with the vital heat of a JEALOUS GOD-a God most real in His love and in His hatred, most truly to be loved for His goodness, and feared in the power of His anger.'
We pass over the evidence furnished by the prolonged history of the Hebrew nation, and by the Old Testament writings (though those records are alive from end to end with the signs of that which we must call, for want of better words, the intensely feeling nature of the Living God); and we take our stand on the gospel narrative. Here is Immanuel, GOD MANIFEST IN THE FLESH. He hath revealed Him. He that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father.' Behold Him ! His countenance, on the Holy Mount, as the sun shining in its strength ; His raiment flashing like blazing diamonds;
* Has not the symbolism of the unburnt Bush been wholly misinterpreted in the common application of it to the preservation of Israel in the fire of persecution ? Rather was not the SELF-SUSTAINING FLAME the designed object of contemplation to Moses; that flame which needed not the fuel of the bush to support its life, and which was the glorious image of the Self-Existent, burning, loving nature of the Eternal • Jehovah ??—the I AM.
His feet like fine brass burning in a furnace! Is this the image of a God without real feelings? Is this the express image of some attenuated philosophical abstraction, of a deity incapable of ardent personal affection? · Behold mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth! This is my Beloved Son, hear ye Him! Can we even conceive John, or Peter, or James, whenfully awake 'at this midnight revelation,—'they saw Christ's glory,' and heard the voice of the Father addressed to themselves in tones of profound delight in this ‘Beloved One'-can we even conceive of them as replying inwardly to the Divine voiceThis be far from Thee Lord! We know that this language of personal affection is but condescension to our infirmity; we know that Thy love is without "feeling,” even towards Thine only begotten Son. We adore Thee in Thy unapproachable glory beyond the stars, and in Thine attributes beyond the apprehension and sympathy of man. Would this have answered the end of the heavenly vision? Nay, verily, every hour of the life of Jesus bears witness to the thrilling intensity of that infinite life which He ‘revealed.' The LOVE which He made known was one which burns like a consuming fire in the heart of God from everlasting to everlasting, which counts no sacrifice too great to accomplish the purposes of its mercy, and which will triumph over the monuments of its power in the divine raptures of an eternity of gladness. “The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty. He will save ; He will rest in His love; He will rejoi over thee with singing' (Zeph. iii. 17).
Theological theories about God have too often been made by men whose prim clerical souls little fitted them to comprehend the expressions of nature, or the revelations of the Divine Word. We must be rooted and grounded in love' in order to comprehend the love of Christ, or be filled with the fulness of God.' Love alone understands love. Those who are ‘forbidden to marry’ can never quite understand God. And, assuredly, souls which have received the stamp of the divine image, will be the last to doubt of the reality of that 'kindness of God their Saviour,' in the likeness of which they are created anew. Let us settle it then in our minds, that wbatever difficulties may
attend the belief of a God with real emotions, they are far less than those which encumber the belief of a God all whose expressions of feeling are dramatic and unsubstantial. He who has executed the judgments and deliverances of past history, and who has reserved for all either a heaven of unspeakable bliss, or a hell of 'tribulation and anguish,' must be a being with whom man can sympathize, and who can sympathize with man. The divine attributes, and the human affections, are intended to be interwoven like the arms of a father and his children, and this can never be, so long as we believe that the everlasting arms are of adamant, and that God our Father has no heart at all.
We have laboured on this point the longer because it is certain that nothing has inore tended to dry up the fountains of affection, than the prevalent scepticism as to the emotional nature of the Creator. Let men learn to believe in a true and living love around them, and they will be changed into the same image by the Lord the Spirit.' A false theology is a black veil, which excludes the very Light of Life from our souls. Thoroughness of affection must be learned of Him whose love' passeth knowledge.' He who loveth God will love his brother also. He who, believing in a glorious eternal love, as real as any created love, and incomparably more ardent, steady, and profound, can turn an upward gaze to heaven, and say with simple-hearted David, 'I will love THEE, O Lord my Rock, and I will praise Thy name for ever and ever!' is the man who will best be able to give the treasure of a fervent affection to men below.
Sin has blighted the divine image in our nature. The force of primæval life has passed away. The love that glowed in Eden has lost much of its fervour. The lights of human affection burn too often with a sickly and inconstant ray. The atmosphere of demoniac hatred has checked the current in its fountain, and smitten with consumption the refined affection which is the glory of our nature. Some men seem to have lost all passion, to be, in Paul's language, 'past feeling. In them the light of intellect appears like a flame burning in the eyes of a skeleton, cold and grim. Thus is Cavendish described by Wilson : 'He did not love, he did not hate, he did not hope, he did not fear, he did not worship, as others do. He separated himself from other men, and apparently from God. There was nothing earnest, enthusiastic, heroic, or chivalrous in his nature, and as little was there anything mean, grovelling, or ignoble. An intellectual head thinking, a pair of wonderfully acute eyes observing, a pair of skilful hands experimenting or recording, are all that you realize in reading his memorials. His brain seems to have been but a calculating engine ; his eyes inlets of vision, not fountains of tears ; his hands instruments of manipulation which never clasped together in adoration ; his heart only an anatomical organ for the circulation of the blood.' Surely this was not the sort of man God intended to dwell on this planet. Imagine a world full of such. A globe where all the zones were like the polar regions would be preferable to inhabit.
Such, however, is not the general character of mankind. All have suffered in the strength of their noblest affections; but scarcely any two persons to the same degree. Nothing is more characteristic of individual men than their natural temperature. One of the first things that strikes us in coming into contact with a stranger, next to the measure of his understanding, is the
warmth or coldness of his heart. Some whole nations and races are cold blooded, reserved, and adamantine. Others are kind, affectionate, and demonstrative. This is true, also, of clans. There are some families with whom it is a pleasure to shake hands, whose radiant and ever expressive face it is worth some exertion in walking even to look upon, whose sincere and ringing laugh, like vocal music, in both young men and maidens, parents and children, it is worth a journey to listen to. The most transitory contact with them does you good. Virtue goes out of them.
In their gardens the flowers look brighter than elsewhere. In their homes the very kettle seems to sing with a more conscious gladness; the canary is inspired with a more golden strain ; the pictures gleam with a more sunny glow. There the surviving memorials of early love, and the bridal gifts which have escaped the accidents of time, are not the sad remainders of a tenderness that has vanished amidst the tempests of life, but monuments of a love which has strengthened and mellowed amidst its sunshine and storms. There, a noble nature and a natural affection has given a grace to culture, by diffusing over it the enamel of a self-denying friendship.
The husband and wife, the brothers and sisters, the mistress and servants, seem to live in an atmosphere of mutual consideration and regard. Violence is not heard within their gate, wasting nor destruction within their borders. If slight wounds are given, the flesh heals easily, for love is in the blood.
The chief pleasure of life seems to be to give pleasure, the chief regret to have inflicted pain. Sometimes one blessed marriage made in heaven lays the foundation of happiness such as this for several generations. Affectionate and gentle manners become hereditary. One radiant fragrant rose, grafted on the family tree, communicates to it a gracious beauty from age to age.
Life becomes less of a burden, because its weight is shared by willing shoulders; and death is not so terrible, because, at the embarkation of each Voyager on the mysterious ocean, so many loving companions accompany him to the ship.'
But we must not think thus of the scene within all the ten thousand doors that we pass daily in our rounds. Alas! of how many is it true that when the door is opened, you hear the reverberations of a domestic fury. What an untold world of misery do these house-fronts conceal from our view. the daily life of the inmates is a prolonged interminable war. The 'love' of courtship, which never had a moral basis of common intelligence and reciprocal esteem, has been succeeded by the hatred of wedlock which is a bondage, and by the fierce antipathy of two vindictive spirits, ever contemplating one another's defects. Who shall describe the law of domestic storms, or foretell the cyclone which 'fills the whole house with a whirlwind
from beneath, on whose fell gyrations are borne spirits that curse each rising sun, and at whose centre revolves some soul that lives upon the agony that it inflicts? But that we are forbid to tell the secrets of the prison-house, what histories of woe might not any one unfold who has had access to many interiors ? Here lives an auder of a woman, very moral and religious, but with a tongue like a poisoned sword, whose fatal eloquence in lecturing and reproof is awakened by almost every movement of her husband, her children, and her servants. The darkest suspicions are common diet. Every affection has long ago been worn threadbarenay, the very garment of affection is worn through, and the flesh is plucked from the bones by hot pincers of malicious wrath and wisdom. The skilful tormentor, the moral virago, dressed in fury or in calmness, gangrened with her bilious intelligence, and swelling with a passion which no earthly power can quell, inflicts daily and hourly strokes which tattoo with scars of mortification the miserable companions of her home. Every meal tastes as if it were poisoned. The air is loaded with oppressive gloom, and at night unquiet slumbers only prepare again Ixion for his wheel. Here again dwells a domestic tyrant, falsely denominated a man, worthy of the territory of Dahomey. A wife, originally of fair temper and spirits, is crushed into sullen sorrow by the ceaseless agitation of a legalized tormentor. He wakes in reprimands and reproaches; he eats his meat' with petulance and discontent ; and he closes each day with wrath, malice, and all uncharitableness. The many trials of a woman's life are unlightened by a word of sympathy, or a hand of help ; she is hated for the expenses of housekeeping; persecuted for the wear of furniture; assailed at every point for her taste in dress ; scoffed at for her acquaintances ; derided in her drudgery; scolded for her broken spirits ; insulted for her faded beauty ; and contradicted at every expression of her thoughts. She pines in a misery from which there is no deliverance by the law, because there are no blows. She withers body and soul in an atmosphere which is that of a flameless hell ; one of them is a devil,' and he who once promised to love and to cherish' her, becomes the executioner of a sentence which but too slowly conducts her to the shadow of death.
And here snatch one more hatsy glance at a third family 'home,' where numerous children are steadily plaguing each other through years, with a perseverance to which the judgments on Egypt were a transitory evil. Untrained to reserve in desire or self-sacrifice in action, each one is bent, is obstinately resolved, on obtaining that which is also desired by others, or by all the rest. Unused to the control of passion or speech, each vents on brother or sister the anger which refusal or contradiction awakens. From the youngest, who squall out their vindictive passion, to the eldest