« AnteriorContinuar »
with him, they will be fully like him, as far as the creature can resemble the infinitely glorious Creator.
What the precise nature of that sight is which the saints shall have of God, in heaven, we know not. We have reason to believe, however, that they will see the glorified body of their Saviour; and, as on earth the Lord Jesus is the medium of God's manifestations and blessings to his people, it is not improbable, that the peculiar discoveries of his glory in heaven will be made through the person of his Son, whom we shall see for ourselves, through the organs of our refined and glorified bodies. But beside this view of God through the bodily organs, there will be discoveries of the Divine perfections to the mind, which will elevate and transport it with sentiments of sublime and holy adoration.
And this sight will be transforming. If the face of Moses shone with a brightness that could not be looked upon, when he came down from the presence of God on Mount Sinai, how will the souls of the redeemed reflect the beams of that face which they shall behold when standing before the throne of glory! The infinite purity of God will beget a correspondent purity in them. The effulgent beams of Divine Love will fill them with unquenchable and perfect affection. The vision of God's smiling face will dry up every tear of sorrow, and conform the soul to him in happiness as well as holiness; while the presence of the ever-living Redeemer, who is the tree of life, in the midst of the garden, . will give immortality to every joy, and secure to each of heaven's inhabitants the priceless boon of Everlasting Life.
1. Let Christians admire the grace of God in elevating them to this dignity, and these precious hopes. The sons of God! distinguishing title. This is the new name, written upon the white stone given to him that overcometh, which no man knoweth saving him that receiveth it. Happy they, who in tracing the features of their character can discern the evidences of their sonship. Let them look at the relationship in all the enjoyments it insures, the hopes it awakens, the honors to which it exalts, and then with admiring gratitude exclaim with the apostle, “ Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.” What manner of love! How free, how unmerited, how expensive! Upon us who were violating his laws, despising his mercy, and rejecting his Son, that we should be called the sons of God. It would be surprising condescension in an earthly Prince, to take a child of obscure and poor parentage and call it his own; but that the Almighty Sovereign of the Universe should take his enemies and make them his
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 wonder, 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, so 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 réign. 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
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.”
* There is nothing covered that shall not be revealed; neither hid 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 hoary 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.
* Preached during the Session of the Criminal Courts, at Lenox, Mass.
“ There is nothing hid which shall not be revealed,” was a proverb among the Jews. Once the Saviour used these words, to encourage the disciples, when their instructions were despised and their principles rejected. “Fear not,” he says ; " that which is whispered in secret shall be proclaimed upon 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 Pharisees stood before him, surrounded by the multitude. 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-top." 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, viz. :- That the minutest exercises and acts of each mind, unless forgiven, will, at some time, be clearly and fully displayed.
I.—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 by 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 secret would not be divulged, because not intelligible, unless wrapt 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 diligence, 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 who 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 the 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 grey-headed.
Often times the mind is made to betray itself by its vanity, or anxiety, or remorse. Sometimes its vanity leads to its detection. 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 acknowledged, 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 vigilance 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