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Almighty! And if that great malignant Spirit should himself see this as the end of all his works, I can conceive no more terrible humiliation for him, no greater glory for the Lord, than this—that not only from "seeming evil,” but from real evil, he is still evolving good. Satan does not reign even in hell! The triumphal march of all things in this universe is to the final good—the transcendent glory. In it the wicked have their place, and yet “there is no peace to the wicked saith my God.”
J. W. LANCE.
“ Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused Him : for the Lord seeth not as man seeth ; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart."-1 Sam. xvi. 7.
Analysis of Homily the Four Hundred and forty-ninth.
SENT to choose a King to reign over Israel, in the place of Saul, Samuel is taken with the personal appearance of Eliab, and says, “Surely the Lord's anointed is before Him." This judgment was erroneous—it was formed on false groundshe is set right by the Divine communication :
-“ Look not on his countenance,” &c. From this we may infer :
I. THE DIVINE
The lofty stature, the fine form, the noble countenance of the man, determined his choice, and had he been left to follow the bent of his own inclination, Eliab would have been King of Israel. This is a too common mode of judging. Very frequently the outside show, the mere accidental circumstances of personal appearance, wealth, or position, are taken as criteria of worth, Now we may observe respecting such modes of estimation :
First: That the standard is obviously false. To decide a man's real worth by the display he makes ;-by the magnitude of his possessions, by the honors he wears, or even by the greatness of his intellect, is to view him in a deceptive light—to measure him by a false standard. On this principle the most degraded of moral beings, nay Satan himself, might be more highly esteemed than an angel of light. That it is a false standard is evident at a glance, and as such is condemned in the text, and by Him who said, Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment."
Secondly: It is one of which many take advantage. Many avail themselves of this common prejudice for purposes of the darkest villany. It is the convenient cloak of the base and the hypocritical. Under its cover multitudes pass for what they are not. They deceive by specious pretences, by mere tinsel by the resemblance of goodness, and are after all but “whited sepulchres ;-ungodly men walking after their own lusts."
Thirdly: It is often the cause of great wrong. Much injustice is perpetrated through the force of this prejudice. The wicked are justified while the righteous are condemned. The plausible, showy, depraved, man is hailed with shouts of applause ; while the truly good man is despised or even execrated. Thus it was Jesus was covered with obloquy and nailed to the cross, amidst the cries of the multitude, “away with him, away with him, crucify him." Even now the best men often meet with the most contemptuous treatment, while “the vilest men are exalted.” It is not thus God judges. “ Man looketh upon the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh upon the heart.” We infer :
II. THE CERTAINTY OF THE RIGHT-HEARTED BEING PREThose whose hearts are right with God may
be contemned by the world, but they may be sure of approval in His sight “who looketh on the heart.” That such will ever be the case may be argued :
First : From universal conviction. False as are the principles on which men choose to act, their convictions are generally on the side of the right. The common conscience of humanity testifies to the worth of right-heartedness. The world may hate the true and the good, but it cannot love and respect the hypocrite. It is compelled to do homage to truth and sincerity, while it maligns and persecutes those in whom they predominate. This strange contradiction shows how entirely the depraved heart of the world is at war with its moral consciousness. But in this I hear the voice of God speaking through humanity, and saying, “I the Lord, search the heart, I try the reins," &c. Jer. xvii. 10.
Secondly: From the voice of revelation. The Bible is decisive in its assertion of this principle. It pronounces as with a voice of thunder, its indignant repudiation of the prejudice by which human conduct is governed, and maintains the opposite eternal rule of Divine preference. On every page the inscription is indelibly written, “the Lord looketh on the heart.” Man may make great pretensions, dazzle with glittering show, be exceedingly punctilious about forms and creeds, and Jehulike cry, “Come with me and see my zeal for the Lord,” and yet find their condemnation written in the Bible, because with all their pretentious externalism their hearts are not right with God. As a man “thinketh in his heart so is he," is the dictum of God's word—the emphatic voice of revelation.
Thirdly: From their own consciousness. The wrong-hearted are self-condemned, while those whose hearts are right with God enjoy a cheering consciousness of His approbation. They are conscious that they have His approval, as the child is conscious of that of the parent whose countenance is lighted up with the complacent smile, whose eye rests upon it with beaming pleasure. “If a man love me," &c. John xiv. 23. « Let us not love in word, neither in tongue,” &c. John iii. 18—12.
Yes, the right-hearted know they have God's approval, they walk in the light of His countenance, they possess “the soul's calm sunshine and the heartfelt joy," which His presence creates. Theirs is “the peace which passeth all understanding." We infer :
III. TAE IMPORTANCE OF ATTENDING TO HEART CULTURE. It is of vital importance to have the heart made and kept right with God. How is this to be secured ?
First : It can be attained only through Christ. The heart will never be right with God till it is made so through the redemptive work of Christ. It is by the love of God seen in the gift of His Son ;-in His cross and passion, in His mediation and intercession, our hearts are reconciled to God. “In this was manifest the love of God," &c. 1 John iv. 9, 10. “We love him because he first loved us." Right-heartedness is the product of divine love. We must seek it at the foot of the cross ; it is there it has ever been found :-in vain it is sought for without faith in the Son of God.
Secondly : It requires the operation of the Holy Spirit. To obtain such views of “the truth as it is in Jesus,” and such affinity for it, as shall issue in the rectification of the heart God-ward, there must be the co-operation of the Spirit. It is His beneficent work to show us the things of Christ, to shed abroad the love of Christ in our hearts, to “take the stony heart out of our flesh and give us a heart of flesh."
Without the interposition of the Spirit the intellect will remain dark, and the heart cold and dead.
Thirdly: It demands the most strenuous efforts. The most strenuous efforts, on the part of man, are required to become and continue right-hearted. This is not to be expected while there is neglect of the prescribed means. But it will be secured by their diligent and persevering use. As well expect health without attention to the physical laws or its restoration when lost without a return to them-as right-heartedness without heart culture. Work out your own salvation,” &c. “Keep thine heart with all diligence.”
Learn—(1) To value men as God values them. consider the question, Is thy heart right with God? (3) To give greater attention to the culture of the heart.
S. A. BROWNING.
SCBJECT :--The Grave of Jesus.
“ And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.”—Matt. xxvii. 59, 60.
“ Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden ; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid.” -John xix. 41.
Analysis of Homily the four Hundred and fiftitth.
The text teaches :
I. THAT JESUS WAS BURIED. When earthly conquerors die, their bodies lie in state, surrounded by all that made their life glorious. But there never was a conqueror like Jesus. None whose victories were so great, or trophies so
His dead form as it lay in state, waiting the time of reanimation, might have been surrounded by sun, moon, and stars, with their teeming populations; the dark cloud and the forked lightning might have been there ; angels from heaven and demons from hell might have been kneeling at his side ; and sin, decease, and death, chained down at his feet; for he was “ King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. But it was not so. Jesus was buried ! Yet his burial was neither a part of the atonement, nor necessary to its completion. This was the result of his death, and not of his burial. But he was buried,—(1) To remove from the minds of his people all fear of the grave, and reconcile them to "the house appointed for all living." (2) To show that the salvation he secured includes the resurrection of the body, as well as the immortal happiness of the soul.
II. THE GRAVE OF JESUS WAS IN A GARDEN, John mentions this as a fact worthy of special notice. Unless “the garden" was suggestive of a train of thought in his pious mind, there was no need for mentioning it. The other evangelists had recorded the facts of the burial without mentioning this : but