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cision, freedom, and force, ever ready to take a clear and comprehensive view of truth? This is important, this is essential to soul elevation ; but this is not it. Some of the greatest and most cultured intellects have often been found in alliance with souls deeply sunk in passion, depravity, and vice.
What then is it? It may be represented as consisting in three things : First : An uplifting sense of the Divine favor. A sense of God's disfavor is a dark and crushing load under which the soul .cannot possibly ascend. But let this load be removed, let the sun of God's love shine and the soul will expand her pinions and ascend. Secondly: An uplifting sense of moral right. The depressing sense of guilt removed, and a deepening consciousness of rectitude are involved in the elevation of soul. Thirdly: An uplifting sense of the spiritual world. It is not until the soul looks away from the "things that are seen,” feels that the material is but the changing costume and the temporary servant of the spiritual, and begins to lay up treasures in Heaven, to set its affections upon things above, that it begins to rise.
There are three thoughts concerning elevation of soul with which the text supplies us :
I. THAT SOUL ELEVATION IS ATTAINABLE. The apostle
a door opened in Heaven.” There is a way by which the soul sunk in guilt and depravity may rise to a loving fellowship with God, and to purity of nature. Christ is this “door." He opened Heaven. “ He bowed the heavens and came down." By His teaching, His death, and His ascension, He has opened the new and living way for man into the “Holy of Holies.” He is “the way.” He is “the door." First : He is the exclusive door for man's spiritual elevation. “ There is no other name given under heaven," &c. Man may rise to general knowledge, to secular wealth, to social influence, to civil power, without Christ, but it is only through Christ that he can rise spiritually,—that he can rise to heaven. Secondly: He is the door for man's spiritual elevation, and man's only. There is no door opened in heaven
for fallen angels. Thirdly: He is the door for man's spiritual elevation available only for him on earth. It closes at death, never more to be opened to him. Let us avail ourselves of this door. Let us look through it and be enchanted with the glories of the upper world ; let us walk through it, and thus commence a blessedness that will heighten with revolving ages.
The text supplies another thought :
II. THAT SOUL ELEVATION IS OBLIGATORY. There is a command—“Come up hither.” First: I hear this Divine command sounding in the starry firmament. Who amidst the stillness of night has not heard a voice coming down into his soul from those bright orbs, that in teeming crowds traverse the infinite fields above, saying “ Come up hither.” -Letnot yourminds be confined to your little cloudy, stormy, perishing, planet. Earth was only intended as the temporary home of your bodies, not the dwelling place of your souls. The great universe is the domain of mind-we roll and shine in our mighty spheres around you to win you away to the serene, the bright and the boundless. “ Come up hither," immortal man, wing your flight from orb to orb, sytem to system ;-count our multitudes, mark our movements, gauge our dimensions, bathe in our brightness, rise beyond us, scale the wondrous heavens still far away, revel in the Infinite, be lost in God !”
“Whoever gazed upon their shining,
And turned to earth without repining,
And mix with the eternal day ?" Secondly: I hear the Divine command sounding through the biography of the sainted dead. Our nature speaks from heaven. There are the voices of the goodly fellowship of prophets and apostles, of the glorious army of martyrs and confessors, &c. There are the voices of our favorite authors,— the sacred poet, the holy sage and the learned divine. The voice of your favorite preacher, of your nearest friends and dear relations, &c. Oh! what human voices from the upper heavens of God often echo in our ears, the command, “Come up hither!” Thirdly: I hear this Divine command sounding through the Gospel of Christ. Here I see Christ standing before me with the crown of glory in His hand and saying, “ Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life,” &c. Fourthly : I hear this Divine command sounding in the depths of our higher nature. Reason and conscience unite in urging us to ascend, &c.
The text supplies us with yet another thought :
III. THAT SOUL ELEVATION IS DESIRABLE. “Come up hither, and I will show thee things to come.” First : Man's happiness is greatly dependent upon bright prospects of the future. Secondly : Those bright prospects are secured by soul elevation. “I will,” says God, “ show thee things to come.” What a revelation the Infinite will make to those who obey His voice and struggle up the ascending path!
Brother, are you ascending? There are infallible criteria by which to decide the question. If you are ascending, your power over the world is increasing. The spirit, cares, maxims, pleasures, of the world control the worldly. Worldly kings are often real slaves, worldly millionaires are often real paupers. Soul elevation brings the world into a subordinate position. The higher the soul ascends the more paltry its honors, the more vapid its pageantry, the more despicable its pleasures. The higher the soul ascends the more the world dims and dwindles from the view. If you are ascending, your consciousness of inner power is increasing. As you rise morally, trials that once would have crushed you are borne with comparative ease ; temptations that would have overcome you are effectively resisted, duties that would have appeared all but impossible to be discharged are fulfilled with alacrity and delight. The elevated soul, like the eagle in its flight, basks in calm sunshine whilst the dark clouds roll, and the thunders peal beneath it. If you are ascending, your interest in the spiritual world is deepening every day. You feel yourself as you rise going more and more within its attractions. Death loses its terrors.
"A man on earth devoted to the skies ;
SOBJECT :-God's Empire in the Soul.
“ The kingdom of God is within you.”—Luke xvii. 21.
Analysis of Homily the Four Hundred and Forty-sixth. THREE thoughts are suggested by these significant words. First : That Christianity is a reigning power. It is not a system of mere speculative thought, nor of ritualistic routine. It is a regal moral power. Its right place is the throne, and nowhere else;–the throne in literature, science, law, commerce, and in everything pertaining to this our mortal life. The words suggest:-Secondly: That Christianity is the reigning power of God. It is called “ The Kingdom of God." There are many reigning powers on earth. Paganism is a reigning power, Mohammedanism is a reigning power, carnality and selfishness are reigning powers ;—but they are not Divine. They have no right to the sceptre and the throne. Christianity is this and nothing else. All other powers are usurpers. The words suggest:-Thirdly : That Christianity is the reigning power of God in the soul. It is “within you.” God reigns over the material universe by force ; over the vast systems of irrational life by instinct; over unfallen intelligences by moral truth; but over the human soul by redemptive love. It is within not without; its throne is neither at Jerusalem nor at Rome, but in the soul. If Christianity is the reigning power of God within, wo may fairly make the following de
ductions :- 1. THAT IT IS AN EMPIRE GREATLY DEPENDING UPON OUR SUFFRAGE. The moral monarch of the soul is always the object supremely loved ; and love is free evermore. Man after all, though a political slave, has a noble franchise. He has a vote, and he freely uses it as to the Monarch that shall rule over the whole sphere of his being. Christ does not force His way into the soul; He does not coerce it into submission ; He stands before the soul in all the charms of His sublime character, knocks at the door and asks for entrance. Another deduction is :-11. THAT IT IS AN EMPIRE WHICH MUST EXERCISE CONTROL OVER THE ENTIRE LIFE. “Out of the heart are the issues of life." All our actions and purposes take their rise in the deep fountains of the soul. If then the entire soul is controlled by God, our outward life will be divinely good. The Shekinah within will shed a halo on the life without. Another deduction is :-III. THAT IT IS AN EMPIRE WHICH MUST INSURE SELF-HARMONY. Where God reigns there is order. If He reigns over the soul, all its sympathies and passions will flow smoothly, all its faculties will play in concert. There may be, as in nature, occasional tempests; but they will be evanescent, the exception not the rule. They will soon subside, and leave the inner realm more bright and peaceful than before. Where the God of love and peace, the “ever-blessed God,” reigns, there must be happiness: gloom and misery are foreign to the religion of heaven. There is yet another deduction we may make :-IV. THAT IT IS AN EMPIRE WHICH MUST INSURE BOTH THE SAFETY AND ADVANCEMENT OF THE SUBJECT. The good king with loving assiduity values the lives and rights of his subjects and evermore seeks their elevation. Under God's reign the soul is safe ;the gates of hell cannot prevail against it. Under His reign too its everlasting advancement in power, influence, position, worth, and blessedness, is secured.
Brother, who reigns over thee?—"The Prince of darkness,” or “the God of light”? It must be one or the other. There are but two moral empires in the universe ;-the evil and the good. Art thou the subject of hell or heaven?