Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

children ; that he should rescue them from the devouring gulf of ruin and make them the heirs of life, is compassion and grace worthy of Him who is love itself. When we consider that in doing this he must part with his only begotten and dearly beloved Son ; that he must leave heaven to make room for us ; that he must be sacrificed that we might be saved ; that he must become a servant and a curse that we might be the children of the King, -we are lost in wouder, love, and praise.

2. The subject furnishes rich consolation in trial. A child of God-an heir of glory! What peace and comfort belong to such an one. His is the privilege of crying, Abba Father! and regarding each affliction as the expression of covenant love,- for whom the Lord loves he rebukes and chastens. Afflictions are the tokens of his sonship, and designed to promote his sanctification. Ere long the end of his trials will be accomplished. The gold will be so far purified from the dross of corruption, su burnished and lustred by the hand of the Divine Refiner, that it will reflect, as a mirror, the image of the Saviour. Having completed the work of grace, he will remove its subject from earth to heaven, and place it among the vessels of glory in the upper sanctuary. In that glorious residence of the King, perfect purity and blessedness forever reign. There the saints shall enjoy the beatific vision of the Lamb. “God himself shall be with them, and be their God; and God shall wipe away all tears from their

[ocr errors]

3. Having this hope, let the children of God purify themselves even as he is pure. Ever bear in mind, brethren, your Divine relationship, and walk worthy of your holy calling. In all the intercourse of life, carry in your hearts warm affections, a lively image of the blessed God: dwell upon his glory, his kindness, his love--and then carefully refrain from doing anything unworthy of such a Father. “Be blameless, and harmless, the sons of God without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.”

THE AMERICAN NATIONAL PREACHER

PREACHER

No. 10, Vol. xxiii.

Whole No. 247.

OCTOBER, 1849.
SERMON DVIII.*

BY THE REV. HENRY NEILL,

LENOX, MASS.

THE REVEALING PROCESS. * There is notbing covered that shall no; be revealed ; neither bid that shall

not be known,”—LUKE, 12 : 2. THERE is a tendency in things everywhere to manifest their natures, and make themselves known. Seeds that are buried, seek the light ; shells deep in the sea grope their way to the shore : the processes of nature are to bring things to the surface, as if that which is underground could not be kept in the dark; even the boary rocks are laid bare to the eye, and what was once the centre of the earth is soon the top of its mountains. The working of things is to work all things out. There is a kind of natural resurrection going on all the while, as if time and material forces were taking off all coverings, and laying all foundations bare.

What is true in matter has certainly its counterpart in mind. Human character, notwithstanding all efforts to keep itself back, also tends to development; what is not seen at once is found out in a life-time. The strong passions of the soul, like smothered fires or hidden springs, at last burst their way through, and become known. Hence, men that live long together, as a general thing, fairly estimate one another; the evolutions of time with the trials of life, draw the character forth, and make it manifest.

There is certainly going on around us in the operations of nature and in the unfolding of events, a revealing process, as if creation and Providence had determined to let light into all dark places, and at last uncover human hearts. This, we suppose, is the general idea taught in the text. “There is nothing hid' which shall uot be revealed," was a proverb among the Jews. Once the Saviour used these words, to en

* Preached during the Session of the Criminal Courts, at Lenox, Mass.

courage the disciples, when their instructions were despised aud their principles rejected. "Fear not,” he says, " that which is whispered in secret shall be proclaimed from the house-top.” The religion you preach shall spread and triumph, though now trodden under foot, and hiding in the caves ; and though now persecuted and calumniated, your purposes and principles shall at last be vindicated before the universe.

Another time when he used the words, was that referred to in the text. The Pharasees stood before him, surrounded by the multitule. They had shown themselves both deceitful and wicked ; they had done great wrong, and knew that they had, and yet claimed to be the chosen of the Lord. They endeavored to hide their real deformity under a fair exterior, and succeeded so well, that the Saviour said," They are as graves which appear not, and the men that walk over them are not aware of them.” Then began he to announce the doctrine of a revelation at a future day, when things should appear as they are, and to say unto his disciples, “ Beware ye, for there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed.” He pointed their minds not only to the general idea of a development and resurrection of things concealed, but he speaks with a pointedness and particularity which implied that the minutest acts and all of them should be revealed, to the last item, and without the possibility of any obscuration. The words are, “ There is nothing hid which shall not be revealed ;---that which is spoken in the ear in the closet, shall be proclaimed upon the house-tops." It is as if he had said : the whole past history of each mind, with all the deeds done in the body, shall at some time be made to pass before itself and the universe ; and it is to the illustration and enforcement of this idea that we now ask your attention, vis :- That the minutest exercises and acts of each mind, unless forgiven, will, at some time, be clearly and fully displayed.

1. There are revealing processes going on in the world around us, and under circumstances which make it exceedingly probable that, in the world to come, they will continue to go on with accelerated and overwhelming power.

There are revealing processes going on in the world around us. Events are ordered by Providence in this life, as if they were designed to bring hidden things to light. One fact often discloses a great deal, when brought into connection with another fact, which, when it stood br itself, told nothing. The ancient kings of the East were aware of this, when they sent messages from one to another on business which they wished to be kept secret from all but themselves. The message was written upon a piece of parchment. but so written that it could not be deciphered unless first

bound upon a staff, which contained a counterpart and key to that which was sent, and each king kept one of these staffs ; hence, if the messenger should lose the scrip, the sea cret would not be divulged, because not intelligible, unless wrapped around the wood : the one was read by the help of the other, though each spake nothing by itself. So is it with the events in human life; they throw light upon each other when brought together, though, when apart, they may divulge nothing. Some circumstance, in itself unimportant, and having but little connection with the main issue, has been the means of revealing that which, though searched for with dilligence had been concealed for years.

For a long period, the sin of the brethren of Joseph in selling him to the Egyptians, had been covered over ; none doubted their story--all thought him dead-even his father mourned for him, as for a child whose face he was to see no more ; there were none, therefore, to make inquiry ; those who would most naturally search into the matter were completely beguiled, and the transaction had become a thing long gone by; but, at length, corn was to be bought, for there was a scarcity in Judea, and Egypt was the grain-growing country, and they were directed, very naturally, to him wbo had charge of the provisions under the king, and this man, to their astonishment and confusion, was Joseph, their brother ; the deed, though done long before, could no longer be concealed. Joseph must see his father—the story must be told, and the transaction which had long been covered, was at last revealed. The records of our criminal courts are full of evidence to the same point. The mere knife that a father dropped in a forest, after he had murdered his friend, recognized twenty years after, by his own child, who was very young at the time, as his father's knife, led to the detection and punishment of the criminal, when old and grav-headed.

Often times the mind is made to betray itself by its vanity, or anxiety, or remorse. Sometimes its vanity leads to its de tection. Men that have distinguished themselves in any line, however criminal, not unfrequently boast of their exploits ; prisoners in their confinement recount their deeds of darkness to each other, that their prowess may be acknowa ledged, and even when hopefully better men, they still seem to take a delight in detailing their wicked deeds, that the good may wonder at the greatness of their change, and in both cases the deeds are developed. Thus, often the criminal who had escaped the vigilence of the law, is brought to punishment by his own loquacity.

What vanity does not accomplish is sometimes brought about by fear, or envy, stimulating the cunning to over-reach itself. In a recent murder at New Haven, the young man

who was guilty of the deed, took pains to present himself, of his own accord, at the office of justice, and offered to aid in the detection of the culprit, but he over-acted; this very readiness, wbich he had hoped would disarm suspicion, first excited it, and finally led to his detection and condemnation.

There is one other element of mind which has contributed more than all the rest, to remove, in this world, the covering from deeds of darkness, however deeply buried, or difficult to discover, and that is, the remorse of a guilty and violated conscience. Notwithstanding the authority and vigilence of the officers of justice, and the scrutiny of human courts of law (which also form a part of the vast and complicated earthly economy for revealing sin) ; notwithstanding the interrogations of the learned counsel, and the array of armed forces, and the apprehensions of imprisonment and death, more dreadful truth has been elicited by the remorseful agonies of a guilty conscience, than by all the processes and power of judicial tribunals combined. The deed which brings the criminal to execution, is often but one of a hundred which would never have been revealed in this life but for his own remorseful confessions. It is said that the majority of criminals confined now in our prison-houses, and condemned to die, will be found to be there on the testimony of their own words, forced from them by the anguish of a wounded spirit.

Thus, from the constitution of the human soul with its inward monitor and avenger--from the communicativeness of facts when brought together—from the bursting and unwrapping processes in the material world, as seeds, and rocks, and buried empires break their coverings, and come out into day : from this array of evidence, coming from every side in this world, we think we hear the hearalding of more clear and terrific disclosures, when all the secrets of every heart shall be revealed. The laws begun on earth are the type and exemplification, if not the initiatory and promonitory workings of those endless processes which move on with accelerated and stupendous results on the other side of the grave. Hence we say, that, even in this world, the disclosures are so frequent and unexpected, as to make it ex. ceedingly probable at least, that in the next, “there shall be nothing covered that shall not be revealed, neither hid that shall not be made known.”

II. But when we take into consideration another fact, namely, that all the hindrances which prevented a perfect revelation of the character, in this world, will, in the NEXT, BE REMOVED ; then, that which just now appeared a dangerous probability, becomes a dreadful certainty. Obstacles which in this life prevented a full disclosure of the deeds done

« AnteriorContinuar »