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was lost.” That humanity is "lost,”—gone from its original sphere of being and action, admits of no debate. The fact is patent to universal reason, and palpable to universal consciousness. Materially, intellectually, morally, socially, the world is gone astray. Christ comes to restore it. “God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.” Humanity is diseased in every organ and in every limb. He is the Great Physician who will restore it to more than its former beauty of form, robustness of vigor, and buoyancy of being. Humanity is a shattered and wandering orb in the Creation ; He is the moral Creator, who restores it, brings it back to its orbit, and makes it keep the time, and heighten the blessedness, of the universe. How precious then must those whom Christ came to save, and for whom He sacrificed Himself, be to the Everlasting Father!
Another suggestion here which shows their preciousness to the Great Father is :
Secondly : The restoration of even one of them is a source of inexpressible delight. “How think ye? If a man have a hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine and goeth into the mountains and seeketh that which is gone astray?” &c. Christ here recognizes a fact in the history of human consciousness, which is this, the power of one restored object to awaken for the time, more delight than any number of unlost ones. The parents, who out of a large family have one little one laid on a bed of sickness, and brought nigh unto death, will rejoice more over that child the day it leaves with restored health its chamber, and begins to take its place with its brothers and sisters again, than over all the other healthy members of the family. This is human nature, and Christ knew it, and appeals to it. (See Luke xv.) For this reason, perhaps, our world which may be the only one lost out of millions, will awaken more delight in the universe than any ninety and nine, or any number of unlost
It will be the restored prodigal at the table of the Great Father of the universe.
Another suggestion here which shows their preciousness to the Great Father is :
Thirdly : The ruin of the least of them is repugnant to the Infinite mind. “Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.” If the "little ones," as some suppose, refer to infants, it is a beautiful thought, and one as true as it is beautiful, that it is not God's will that one of the little infants should perish. The Infinite is benevolently interested in individual souls, and in the least of individual souls. He sees in one infant soul, germs which eternity will unfold in scenes of ever-heightening wonder. If true of infants literally, it is equally so of children figuratively ;-His humble disciples. It is not His will that they should perish. Blessed be Heaven for the declaration that it is not the will of our Father that one of the “little ones” should perish. I like it; it chimes in with that unbounded benevolence which seems to flood the great universe of material nature; I like it, for it accords with the most generous sympathies of my poor heart for the unhappy race to which I belong ; I like it, for it gives the lie to those theological blasphemies that come from some modern pulpits representing the Almighty Father as predestinating the ruin of certain souls ; I like it, for it inspires within me glowing hopes concerning that future of humanity when mortality,--moral as well as material,"shall be swallowed
up of life.”
From what I have said on these words of Christ, How forceful does His prohibition appear! “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones." Despise them not! They have their angel guards, they live at Bethel, and from their feet a ladder reaches to the opened heavens by which these guardian angels come and go. Despise them not, they are precious to the heart of the Great Father of souls ;—"He that toucheth them, touches the apple of his eye.” He regards what is done to one of the least of the “ little ones” as being done to Him. Despise them not. They may be feeble in intellect, poor in circumstances, and amongst the lowest of the low in worldly rank, yet He who “feeds his flock like a shepherd, gathers them with his arms, and carries them in his bosom ;”-carries them onward through life's perilous and labyrinthean path, to the blessed heights of immortality.
Germs of. Thought.
SUBJECT :- Recollection and Preference of the Church of
"If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.” -Psalm cxxxvii., 5, 6.
Analysis of Homily the Fonr Hundred and Thirty-fifth.
THE captivity of the Jews in Babylon was painful and oppressive. This is shown by the touching narrative of the scornful mockery they received from the Chaldeans. “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept when we remembered Zion; we hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof; for there they that carried us away captive required of us a song,” &c. How exciting is the outgush of religious enthusiasm from the Jews on the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates! The lapse of ages has neither destroyed nor enfeebled this enthusiasm. It still lives in the hearts of the Jews, whatever the country in which they wander, and whoever the people among whom they dwell. Travellers testify that it develops itself in every clime, and amidst all circumstances. A similar enthusiasm is felt by real Christians for the Church of Jesus Christ, and is expressed in the words—“If I forget thee," &c. Observe :
I. THE OBJECT OF RECOLLECTION AND PREFERENCE BY THE CHRISTIAN. The Church of Jesus Christ. By the Church of Jesus Christ, I do not mean a popish church, an episcopal church, a presbyterian church, a congregational church, a baptist church, a methodist church, or any other sectarian church ; but the universal church, consisting of all, throughout the world, who believe and obey the Gospel.
First : The Church of Jesus Christ is the dwelling place of God. In the sanctum sanctorum of the Temple at Jerusalem the ark of the covenant was placed, containing the tables of the moral law; the lid of the ark was designated "the mercy-seat," and on the mercy-seat the blood of atonement was sprinkled; over the mercy-seat cherubims spread out their wings, and between the cherubims a glorious cloud appeared, symbolic of the presence of God. This is the key to the statements :- “ The Lord hath chosen Zion, he hath desired it for his habitation," &c. “Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, Thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth.” In the Church of Jesus Christ, no visible symbol of the Divine presence appears, no glorious cloud reveals the face of Jehovah. Instead of the emblem, we have the reality; for the Son of God “ the brightness of the Father's glory and the express image of His person,” is present in the church which He has purchased with His own blood. Wherever two or three are met together in the name of Jesus Christ, there is He in the midst, revealing Himself to them, as He does not to the world. As king in Zion, He shows the power and glory of His grace to all who bow the knee before Him, and consecrate themselves to His service. Amidst the solemnities of religious worship, He makes Himself known as the God of salvation. A blessed consciousness of His presence is felt by sincere and earnest worshippers, The virtue, influence, energy, of the presence of Jesus Christ causes the Gospel to illumine the eye of faith, the dew of mercy to fall refreshingly on the contrite heart, and the blood of sprinkling to sanctify all who thirst after righteousness.
Secondly: The Church of Jesus Christ is the light of the world. Ancient Jerusalem held special privileges for the benefit of mankind. To Jerusalem pertained the oracles of God. In it were deposited the truths made known “ at sundry times and in divers manners,” to the fathers and the prophets. To Jerusalem pertained the worship of God. In it stood a magnificent temple, and thither the tribes went up to pay their vows, render thanks, seek forgiveness, and obtain grace. Jerusalem, therefore, was a standing witness against the ignorance, idolatry, and wickedness of adjacent nations ; a large epistle that might be known and read of all men ; "a light to lighten the Gentiles, and be the glory of God's people Israel."
Thirdly : The Church of Jesus Christ is the depository of ordinances and truths requisite for the weal of the human race. In it are found the sacred rites of Baptism and the Lord's Supper; the one expressive of regeneration by the Holy Spirit, the other expressive of salvation through the Atoner; the one evincing that the Holy Spirit is come, the other showing “the Lord's death until he come.” In it are heard the voices of a great company of preachers proclaiming the Gospel ; teaching the godliness which is profitable unto all things, having promise of good things in this life, and glorious things in a future life. The Church of Jesus Christ, therefore, is the focus in which the rays of light, that age after
have come from above, mingle and burn with intense brilliance. Here the light unceasingly shines, that human beings, irrespective of color or circumstances ;-whether white, black, red or yellow, whether monarchs, nobles, statesmen, philosophers, merchants, or toiling millions,-may be brought out of darkness into marvellous light; may learn of Christ and become “wise unto salvation;" may not stumble into hell, but find their way to the "kingdom of heaven."
Fourthly : The Church of Jesus Christ is the sanctuary of salvation. In the old time, Jerusalem was the place at which