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lofty galleries resplendent with the offerings of Nature and Art, and with the presence of living beauty; and exulting in the anticipation, and impelled with unconquerable desire of beholding and enjoying all these marvels and splendors, suppose, at the close of the first hour, and in the midst of this universal excitement of delight and expectation, the government should have caused the exhibition to be closed, seized all the visitors, put out their eyes, and thrusting them out, shut and bolted the doors upon them!
Imagine this done-what a cry of indignation would have come up from all quarters of the earth. What inconsistency and absurdity, what fraud and cruelty! This colossal palace, this lavish expenditure, these congregated wonders of the world, this invitation to all nations and tribes, -all for only one hour of exhibition ! and then such a tragic close--such monstrous injustice, and deception, and barbarity! The whole world would have rung with the outburst of horror and execration.
And yet, if this little earth and this little life are all that is permitted to us, this is what God is doing, only on a more stupendous scale! What is the Crystal Palace compared with the great palace of nature, paved with suns, its mighty galleries lighted with constellations, and hung with the drapery of lustrous firmaments, and its lofty arches sounding evermore with the music of the spheres and with the roar of rushing worlds!
What are all the wonders of human art compared with the handywork of God, the displays of Divine power and wisdom and skill which greet us from all sides, and lift upon our sight through all the depths of the universe ? And what are three-score years and ten set by the side of the measureless ages needful to familiarize us with these manifold wonders ?
And what is all this for, then, if only threescore years and ten are allotted us? Why was the universe built on such a magnificent scale ? and why has God crowded it with such wondrous show of his perfections, and adorned it with such a wealth of beauty? What does all this display of the infinite glory mean, if, when we have scarce crossed the threshold, and our souls begin to thrill with delight, and to throb with the quickened pulse of new and
boundless hope if then we are to be driven back, and not the eye put out, but the soul itself utterly extinguished, and the whole swallowed up in eternal night and silence!
What a vast disproportion of means to ends. What a useless exhibition of creative power and skill. What a lavish display of glory and beauty, without point or pur. pose so far as we are concerned, save to inspire us with longings and hungerings never to be answered, never intended to be answered.
And what cruelty and injustice to endow man with such noble faculties, to make him capable of doing and enjoying so much, to kindle within him loftiest aspirations, desires illimitable as creation, to lead him forth just far enough to mock him with a sight of the opening glories and splendors of the infinite and then to thrust him back into everlasting night and nothingness!
Once more we say, this is not the method of God's work. It is unlike all else he has done. It is discord, it is disproportion, inconsistency, and useless cruelty; and these are not the marks of his bandywork, or of any purpose of his. It cannot be. Surely those gifted minds that have risen up on such strong wing into the heavens, made themselves familiar with the worlds that hold their courses round our sun, unfolded the laws of their motions, followed the comet on its fiery track, surveyed the stel. lar clusters of space, and from their lofty heights of observation caught glimpses of the ineffable splendors, the starry waves forever heaving up along the infinite sea beyond -surely these shall not die, while the physical universe, over which they have gained such triumphs, lives on. They shall not perish in a moment, while the knowledge they have given to the world is handed down from generation to generation through endless ages. O, no, these great souls, through whose study the mystic language of the heavens is translated to us, and its flaming hieroglyphics made plain-certainly these shall be permitted to rejoice in their work, to visit the starry islands and continents they have discovered, and elsewhere to behold the face of other heavens, and to rise upward into new discoveries and triumphs. It must be so. These mighty minds cannot pass away like shadows, or the morning cloud, while not the smallest particle of matter in all these manifold worlds can perish.
We must be, we are, immortal. There is surely beyond the death of this body another and a higher life for us. Not in vain do these starry arches lift above us. Science does not mock us with her brilliant revelations. There is more for us than a distant sight of the magnificent halls of God's great palace. Yonder heavens are for us also. We shall yet stand in the midst of them. Those broad avenues of glory stretching into the invisible, those galleries of light and beauty built up with suns and firmaments - they shall some day be trodden by our rejoicing feet. Through them we shall pass in the forward march which lies before us, from knowledge to knowledge, from blessedness to blessedness, increasing forever and ever!
This is the voice of God in nature. It is the voice of God in the human soul. It is the voice of God in Revelation.
T. B. T.
The Apostles and Saints Judging Israel and the World.
Verily I sa
Son of Man followed me to
Jesus said to his disciples, “Verily I say unto you, that ye who have followed me in the regeneration, when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."i Paul, also, reproving his Corinthian brethren for bringing their judicial cases before unjust or heathen judges, rather than before saints, says, “ Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters ? Know ye not that we shall judge an. gels ? how much more, things that pertain to this life ?” 2 The same apostle again says, in seeming conflict with the foregoing, "For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be 1 Matt. xix. 28.
21 Cor. vi. 2, 3. VOL. X.
good or bad.” 3 In this declaration, Paul agrees with the Saviour when he says, “ For the Father judgeth no man; but hath committed all judgement unto the Son : that all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father.” 4 And in marked conflict with the current interpretation of the scriptural doctrine of judgement, are Christ's own words, “Now is the judgement of this world.” 5.
The seeming discordance of these several scriptures softens into beautiful harmony, when the principle that is involved in them comes to be recognized. But to perceive this principle, the common opinion in regard to the formality of the divine rule, must be laid aside, and the true idea of it received. We must understand, somewhat, the vigor of principle as the instrument of that rule in the spiritual domain.
On the first of the scriptures quoted above, Dr. Adam Clarke remarks, " From the parallel place, it is evident that 'sitting on thrones,' and judging the twelve tribes of Israel,' means simply obtaining eternal salvation, and the distinguishing privileges of the kingdom of glory, by those who continued faithful to Christ in his sufferings and death.” The parallel place to which Clarke refers, reads as follows: 6 Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations; and I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” 6
Now, instead of sustaining the view which is taken above, this parallel place seems to require a widely different view. The Saviour says to his disciples, “I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father has appointed unto me.” What kingdom had the Father appointed unto Him? Surely not the kingdom of immortal glory; but the mediatorial kingdom, by which, or through which, by the influence of his truth, the world should be prepared for the kingdom of immortal glory. The rule assigned to the disciples must have been a share of that rule which was given to Christ himself. The kingdom which he appointed to them, must have been included within that kingdom which had been appointed to him of the Father. Not only could he appoint them to no other kingdom,— since 3 2 Cor. v. 10. 4 John v. 22, 23. 5 John xii. 31. 6 Luke xxii. 28-30.
in my natate appointmpoine stich
he could give to them only what he himself possessed, but the identity of the kingdom to which Christ had been appointed by the Father, and that to which he appointed his disciples, seems to be established by the terms of the passage itself, “I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me;" — " giving you power in my name," as Whitby paraphrases it, “to preside over my church, making laws, as I have done in his name, by which they shall be governed.”
The government of the church as an institution, however, can be but a branch, so to speak, of the rule given to the apostles. The laws formally enacted by them, and even by the Master himself, are very few. His kingdom is built up of great vital principles; and it is chiefly through those principles, rather than by formal enactments, that the rule of both the Master and his disciples is exercised. Nevertheless, authority in the visible church appears to have been bestowed upon the apostles, and to be referred to by the Saviour, when, having spoken of the discipline that should be adopted towards an offending brother, he says, “ Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven.” 7 That is, ye shall have power to determine what may be allowed, and what must be prohibited, both in regard to the dispensation now passing away, and the exigencies which may henceforward arise. Bishop Pearce says, the power here given to the Apostles, “ was a power of declaring what precepts of the Jewish law were obligatory, and what not obligatory, upon Christians, the subjects of Christ's kingdom; and of appointing such rules as were proper for the government of it." 8 Whitby gives a similar exposition. "Let it then be remembered,” says he, " that to bind, is to declare a thing forbidden, i. e. not to be done, under pain of divine displeasure ; to loose, is to absolve from obligation to do, or to abstain from such an action, or to say, God will not hold us guilty for the doing, or omitting of it." 9 To qualify the apostles for the exercise of so important and comprehensive authority as is thus 7 Matt. xviii. 18. 8 Quoted by Paige, in his Commentary on Matt. xvi. 19.
9 Comment on Matt. xviii. 18.