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lay on the stand, left her finger prints on its pages, turned down its leaves, filled it with marks, underscored its sacred words and lines, and from it turned to bless her child. The carpet was worn where she often knelt to pray-'twas there she nursed me-'twas there she died. Years intervene; again I enter that room;there stands the old arm chair, the table, and the Bible as my mother left them. What image is before me now, in whose presence do I stand? O my mother! my mother!-whom do I seem to behold but thee. What other name can my faltering tongue find strength to utter? So when we love Christ more than a mother, He will be the one present to our view, in all the works his hands have wrought.
2. We learn from this subject, why, in preaching the gospel, great prominence must be given to the doctrines of the cross. Paul resolved, with good reason, not to know anything among the people, but Christ and Him crucified. As a minister, not less than as a Christian, he gloried in the cross. To preach the unsearchable riches of Christ was his business and his happiness. If Christ be ALL, He must so appear in our ministry, or we are untrue to our calling. It is quite possible to preach truth, historical truth, moral truth, yea, many theological truths; and yet our ministry, as a whole, may be essentially a ministry of error. Truths presented in distorted proportions and robbed of their legitimate connections, become errors. Ours will be a ministry of darkness rather than light, if Christ crucified be not prominently presented therein. The ministry should be, at least in one particular, what heaven is, the place where the light of the Lamb so shines that they need not the light of the sun. Preach Christ always, Christ everywhere-Christ all and in all, and yours must be essentially a ministry of truth.
3. Our subject suggests for what purposes all things are to be used. If Christ crucified be all, then whatever is used for Him answers the end for which it was made. All things are for Him; whatsoever the Father hath, is his. Here is the foundation of our stewardship. Freely have we received all things from Christ, faithfully must we use all things for Him. Selfishness attempts to rob the Creator, and is at war with things created. But faith, which beholds Christ in all things, works by love that consecrates all things to Him.
4. If Christ be in all things, then he who does not discover this connection is essentially ignorant of all things. Suppose a person to have examined the structure and motions of all the parts in a watch, and after a long investigation, should fail to discover that the watch was intended to mark the flight of time, you would not hesitate to pronounce him essentially ignorant of the whole thing. So is he essentially ignorant of the laws of nature, and of the history of the world, who fails to perceive that Christ is in all things, and that all things in nature and Providece near
by Him and for Him. Unbaptized Philosophy is madness. The highest style of unchristianized literature is but a darkening of counsel by words without knowledge. He who denies the true character of Christ, and disrobes the cross of its divine glory, is in double darkness. He is neither a true philosopher, nor a real Christian. He is as far from comprehending the real nature of earthly things, as from believing the revelation of heavenly things.
5. To know Christ is the end of all knowledge. This is the substance, and all earthly substances its shadow. For this Paul counted all things but loss. What is science, or art, or learning, compared with the knowledge of Christ? How dim their light, rather how entirely dark, until, as the moon reflects its borrowed light, they become radiant by the light of the cross. The greatest of the earthly great, the greatest ever born of woman, is less than the least in the kingdom of God. The humblest Christian has attained to a knowledge as much above the highest worldly wisdom, as the ideas of a Newton are above the ideas of a child. All things are so connected with the work of the cross, that if this work had failed, creation itself would have proved a failure. So if we fail of knowing Christ crucified, all other knowledge will be in vain, yea worse than in vain, working death unto death.
Finally, would you realize on earth what Heaven is, you must learn to sing of Him and to Him who is all and in all. To Him in that world of light, every eye is turned. He is the subject of every song, the substance and centre of every thought. There is no night there, and they need not the light of the sun, for the Lamb is their light. There is no temple there, for the Lord God, the Lamb is their temple. Christian, have you not sometimes been so absorbed in thoughts of Jesus' dying love, so lost in wonder and joy, in view of his amazing grace, that you became quite unconscious of the presence of material things, hardly knowing whether in the body or out of the body? To you in such a state of mind, prisons would palaces prove, and December would be as pleasant as May. Then to you there was no night, no sun, no temple, because Christ was your all! In such a frame as this your eternal life, your heaven, begins below. In such a frame, may it be prolonged, and perfected.
"The lame man which was healed held Peter and John."-ACTS iii. 13.
How perfectly natural and picturesque are the narratives of the Bible; serving at once to vouch for their truth, and to leave their representations fixed in the memory.
The circumstance is too simple, striking, and touching, to be
overlooked. The poor man had been lame from his mother's womb, and was placed daily at the beautiful gate of the Temple, to ask alms of the worshipers. Of silver and gold, Peter and John had none; but they gave him something far better. In the name of the Lord Jesus, said they, rise up and walk. And immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he, leaping up, stood, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. The people, also, seeing what was done, hastened to Solomon's porch, greatly wondering. But the man that was healed, held Peter and John.
Was this the effect of apprehension? Did he imagine their influence was confined to their bodily presence, and that if he let them go, his lameness would return?
Or did this result from a wish to point them out to the multitude? "Are you looking after the wonderful men who have made you whole?" Eager and proud to proclaim them-" Here," says he, "here they are-these are they."
Was it not still more the expression of attachment? "O my deliverers and benefactors, let me attend upon you, and enjoy the happiness to serve you. Entreat me not to leave you, nor to return from following after you. Let me live-let me die with you." So it is in our spiritual cures. It is natural to feel a regard for those who have been the means of our recovery, and to keep hold of them. But let us remember, we may hold them too closely. And we do so, if we suffer them to draw us away from the God of all grace. For whoever are the instruments of doing us good, He is the agent, and he will have us know, that the excellence of the power is of Him, and not of them. Hence the reproof: "For while one saith, I am of Paul, and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? Who, then, is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as God gave to every man? I have planted; Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So, then, neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase." They are something in the order of means, and a proper respect is due to them in this character; but they are nothing as to efficiency and success-these are entirely of God; and his glory will he not give to another. To idolize a minister is the way to have him removed from us, or rendered unprofitable to us-"not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts." We can never honor God so much as by dependence upon him. And them that honor him, he will honor; and they that despise him shall be lightly esteemed.-Happy Home.
"At the same time, saith the Lord, will I be the God of all the families of Irsael, and they shall be my people."-JEREMIAH xxxi. 1.
YEARS, and even ages, were to intervene between the utterance of this promise by the lips of the prophet and its actual fulfillment in the times of the restoration of the Jews from their captivity. Meanwhile they were to pass through great and violent changes and commotions which threatened their existence as a people. Yet, upon their return, the arrangement of the nation into families would be found entirely unaffected. And this thought, suggested by the text, is exceedingly note-worthy, and is found, too, universal in its bearings-that, however society may be rent by sudden and long-extended revolutions, seeming to reach to its very foundations, and producing chaos which only the hand of God can reduce to order, the family institution remains permanent, the immovable basis upon which all others are built. In our own times we have an illustration the most remarkable in man's history, where in the French nation over the Church swept destroying storms, and all civil government lay prostrate, but against all the attempts of evil men, "the family"
remained as a munition of rocks, upon which the government and the church are reared again, essentially unchanged. In this promise, too, God not only recognizes the permanence and importance of the family, but presents Himself under an aspect peculiarly attractive. He had from the first been the national God of the Jews, enthroned in clouds and darkness, shining forth to the worshipers from between the cherubim, and displaying His wrath against His enemies. But they have been afflicted, and return stricken and feeble to their land, and now he is the household God, coming as an inhabitant under the lowly roof, and throwing the light of His glory around all that circle with whom He has condescended to associate. For we cannot believe the promise has reference only to the families of Israel collectively, or to those families in the large sense, that is, the clans, somewhat smaller than the tribes; the preceding clause would teach otherwise, for, "Behold, saith the Lord, I will bring again the captivity of Jacob's tent, and have mercy on his dwellingplaces, and out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of them that make merry. I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small." Neither need we scruple to interpret this word in its fullest significance, as we remember that he who brought down to man the thoughts of the heart of God, and who sanctified human dwelling-places by His presence, said, "If any man will keep my word, my Father will love him, and we will come and take up our abode with him." This great promise belongs to the church, and to the church of all times, for God does not recede in his purposes of grace, and God is now an inhabitant of the Christian house, claiming to regulate its affairs, guarding its interests, providing daily bread for its members, comforting in sorrow, and when death dissolves the consecrated community gathering it again in fairer realms.
This is the true ideal of the human family-that God is in it, the Sovereign, the Guardian, the Friend, the common bond of union; that it confesses His presence and recognizes His claims; to Him each day the hearts of all go up in thankfulness, and the thank offering also be rendered. This is the promise, which shall be fulfilled in the approaching era of gladness and long-expected reign of Christ, when, in the countless habitations of cities and villages, altars of thank-offering shall be reared as in temples to God, and all the families of the earth shall be blessed. Believing that false estimates of this institution must be productive of lasting and fatal injury, and that such estimates most widely prevail, we shall ask your prayerful attention to some considerations which may serve to correct them. And to the end that each member of the family may discern his personal obligations in guarding and promoting household religion, we shall speak, in the first place, of the sacredness of the institution, and secondly, of its design under the divine government.