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The truly good man has something good in him “ towards the Lord God of Israel,” and towards his fellow-men too, His conscience “is void of offence towards God and man." The religious man seeks God's glory in all things. He "sets the Lord ever before him," as the grand purpose and end of his being. The bias of his soul is also towards God ;he moves Godward. The tendency of the wicked man is from God; the language of his soul is,—“ Depart from me." He tries to escape from God like Cain. But the pious man “ draws nigh to God”; his cry is “Whom have I in heaven but thee?” &o. “When shall I come and appear before God ?” When shall I “see him face to face,” and be for ever like him ?
IV. THAT RELIGION IS A GOOD THING EVER MANIFEST. " There is found in him," &c. True religion always manifests itself where it exists; it is seen and felt. “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth good things."
First: This “good thing” is “found” by the Searcher of hearts. He sees it first. He can see it when no one else can. This was a source of great comfort to the old patriarch. When all regarded him as a hypocrite and an enemy of God-suffering for his great wickedness; he could appeal to his Maker and say, “ Thou knowest that I am not wicked." “ All things are open and naked to his eye." He discovers the “good thing” wherever it exists.
Secondly: This "good thing” is “found” too by the man himself. He cannot remain ignorant long of the real state of his own heart. At first he may not possess a “full assurance of faith,” yet he must know his own moral state. He must know whether he is a hypocrite, or whether he is a true Christian. He must know whether he loves God supremely, or whether his whole love is devoted to money. A man cannot but know if there is "anything good in him towards God.”
Thirdly : It is “found” also by his fellow creatures. Such a character tells powerfully upon a neighborhood. He is influential. His “light is not hid under a bushel.” “He is a burning and a shining light” on the heights of the world. All can see the light there is in such a man. Religion is not a dead, worthless, thing; no, it is a living principle. Every true-hearted man has influence over his age; he leaves his “ footprints in the sands of time”; and though he may not always be understood, or fully appreciated, by his contemporaries, yet he will have full justice done him by generations to come : and even during his lifetime every good man is respected, and acknowledged to be a man of power and influence. Whenever there is “any good thing in man towards the Lord,” it will be seen and felt sooner or later by mankind. Now, in Abijah, the pious young prince who lived near to God in the midst of temptation, we see a noble example to the young man of our age. Here is a youth of courage and resolve, who remained faithful to his God in a court notorious for impiety. He refused to become an idolater; he rejected the fashionable religion ; he thought for himself. He absolutely refused to bow down to the golden calves of Bethel and Dan How noble his character! how honorable his name! It will be held in everlasting remembrance. It will be remembered when the name of the wicked kings of his age will have been forgotten for ever. Yes, it will be remembered when the marble and the granite will have crumbled into dust.
Young men, follow his bright example in this material, this money-getting, age. Be real, be in earnest ; seek that “good thing” which will make you strong for trial and for duty. And if you are blessed with this Divine principle within your souls, the epitaph suitable for your tombs too will be this noblest of all memorials :-" In him was found some good thing toward the Lord God of Israel.”
H. P. BOWEN,
SUBJECT :--God's Revelation to Man.
“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds ; who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high ; being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.”—Heb. i. 1-4.*
Inalysis of Homily the Four Hundred and fifty-sixth.
THERE are four facts in this passage concerning God's revela. tion to man: I. THAT HE HAS AOTUALLY
REVELATION OF HIMSELF TO MAN. He has spoken at “sundry times” to humanity. This is a fact indicative of infinite condescension and capable of the most conclusive proof. The fact implies three things :-First: That man has a capacity to appreciate, to some extent, God's thoughts. Would He speak to us if we had not the power of understanding ? This power is the dignity of our nature, for it shows that we bave something in common with the infinite reason. “Come now and let us reason together, saith the Lord.” The fact implies : -Secondly: That man stands in need of God's thoughts. Does the Almighty ever act uselessly? What He does is ever needed. Man deeply needs God's thoughts to quicken, purify, and elevate, to study God's thoughts. If He speaks, ought we not to listen? If He makes a revelation, ought we not to investigate it? Undoubtedly. We should look into the perfect law of liberty, &c.
The fact implies :—Thirdly : That man is bound * God, who in ancient times spake often and in various ways to the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken to us by his Son ; whom he hath appointed lord of all things, by whom also he made the world; who, being the radiance of his glory and the exact image of his substance, and controlling all things by his own powerful word, after he had by himself made expiation for our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high ; being exalted as much above the angels, as he had obtained a name more excellent than they.--Stuart's Translation.
Another fact in this passage is :
II. That HE HAS REVEALED HIMSELF TO MAN THROUGH MAN. “He spake in times past to the fathers by the prophets.” “Holy men spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost," &c. This serves two important purposes :--First : To increase the intelligibility of God's thoughts. Had they come to us through an angelic mind, or through any other order of mind, lower or higher than our own, they would not have been, I think, so intelligible. The thoughts of the infinite mind come to us through the finite mind. His reason addresses our reason through human reason; his heart addresses our hearts through human hearts ; his thoughts and emotions flow through the common channel of human thoughts and emotions; and they thus come down to a level with ourselves. They come to us in human language, with human associations, and in human forms of conception.
The fact serves ;-Secondly : To increase the attraction of God's thoughts. There is no object so interesting to man as man. Truth everywhere has attractions for man as a rational being. Truth in the fossil, the star, the flower, the animal, the seraph, is attractive; but truth in man is truth to man in its most attractive form. The Bible of God is filled with humanity, and this invests it with an imperishable interest to the race.
Another fact in this passage is :
III. THAT HE HAS REVEALED HIMSELF TO MAN IN A VARIETY OF WAYS. “In divers ways," &c. By visions, and dreams, by mysterious voices and supernatural appearances, strange presentiments and impressions. This shows :First: The necessity of modesty in pronouncing concerning the methods of Divine influence. The avenues to the soul of man are numerous. He knows them all, and can pass through them at pleasure. He knows every part of the mental machine, and can move it as He please. We can trace His steps in the mental, no more than in the material domain. His way in both cases is in the sea, and his foot. steps are not known. This shows : -Secondly : The importance of keeping the soul ever in a waiting attitude. All the strings of our nature should be open to His influence, as the Æolian harp to the breeze. “In visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon man,” &c.
Another fact in this passage is :
IV. That HE HAS MADE CHRIST THE FINAL REVELATION of HIMSELF. God “hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son,” &c. Christ, as the final organ of divine revelation to man, transcends all preceding organs First: In His relation to the universe. (1) He is the inheritor of the creation. He is “appointed heir of all things." (2) He is the creator of the universe.“ By whom also he made the worlds.” “ All things were created by him, visible and invisible,” &c. (3) He is the sustainer of the universe.
Upholding all things by the word of his power.” (4) He is the sovereign of the universe. He is on “the right hand of the majesty on high.” “All power is given unto him.” How far does He transcend all the old prophets through whom God spoke to our fathers ! Again, Christ, as the final organ of divine revelation to man, transcends all preceding organs :Secondly: In the completeness of His divine manifestations. He is "the brightness,"—the effulgence—"of Hisglory." He reveals Him as the mirror reveals the sun. More," he is the express image of his person"-His substance. He represents Him more accurately than the impression on the wax represents the seal that produced it. The old prophets had a de praved nature, and they could not fully and perfectly reflect the infinitely Holy One :-but Christ does. “No man bath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him."