Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

had everything in religion been done for us, so that no demand would have been made upon our benevolent sympathies, we should be beings of morbid religious sentiment, and without any force or greatness of character. Such are some of the ideas and sentiments expressed in the effort you are now making to build a temple for God.

SUBJECT :- The Universal Heaven of the Good, and the

Special Heaven of Man.

6. In my father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.”—John xiv. 2–4.

Analysis of Homily the Four Hundred and Seventy-fourth. THINGS were now converging to a crisis in the life of Christ and in the spiritual history of humanity. The “hour was come ;"—the hour to which all past economies pointed, and the hour from which all future improvements in human history would derive their impulse and take their date. It is the last meeting of Christ with those few poor men, whom He at first called into His confidence, and made His disciples. He had taken them away from their avocations, social friendships, and secular duties, and wrought such a thorough change in their spiritual tastes, sympathies, and aspirations, that those things that once pleased them had lost their fascination and their charm. By joining Him they raised their country and their age in fierce opposition against them. And now, the object of their supreme affection, their blessed guide and guardian, was about leaving them to the mercy of their adversaries. It was their last night with Him, and deep sorrow filled their hearts. Jesus knew their feelings, observed every billow of anguish that now surged through their hearts, and He mercifully condescended to administer the necessary relief. “Let not your hearts be troubled,” He says, “ Ye believe in God, believe also in me,” &c. Every sentence of this last discourse of our Saviour is fraught with consolation. In all ages the heart of distressed piety has turned to these last words of Christ, and it has never turned in vain. They contain the tranquilizing influences of eternity; aforetaste “of the rest that remain for the people of God”; a rest into which all who now believe, may enter, and enjoy “a peace of mind that passeth all understanding.” Christ presents, in this chapter, at least, two great considerations for their comfort. (1) He assures them that in the great universe of His Father there was prepared for them a blessed home; and (2) That although He must leave them, He would send to them the Comforter, who would continue with them always, even unto the end. The words of the text embrace the former consideration, and they lead us to consider : the universal heaven of the good, and the special heaven of man.

I. THE UNIVERSAL HEAVEN OF THE GOOD. This Christ represents as His “ Father's house.” The old Temple was called His house ; the Christian Church is called His house. He dwells in His people. But here the reference is to some magnificent district of His great universe. Heaven is a place as well as a state. This is implied in the fact of its being tenanted, and is explicitly taught in the word of God. This place is sometimes represented as a garden, implying that it is the choicest spot in the creation ; sometimes as the city of God, implying that it is a scene of glorious social existence; sometimes as a palace, where the Infinite is on the throne, and holy intelligences are in loyal attendance ; sometimes as an “inheritance incorruptible,” &c., and sometimes as the “third heaven,” a region beyond the rolling atmosphere, and the starry vault. Here it is called a “house." Three thoughts are suggested concerning this place :

First : That it is a scene of family life. “My Father's house.” Wherever that region is, all within its precincts are

members of one family. Christ is the head ;-of whom “the whole family in heaven and earth is named." A family is something more than a society. A society may be based on some common interests and ruled by some compact; but a family is based on natural affinities ; souls are linked together by a vital tie, all hearts centre in one head. No collision of interest, no jarring of affections. The Heavenly family is a harmonious, though a very mixed one,-one composed of the good of all ages, all worlds and all degrees of native power, and acquired excellence. It is an ever-increasing family, Thousands on earth are added to it every day, and who can tell the number of new angels that are created every hour ? All in that heaven say,

“Our Father.” All there are members of one family. Another thought suggested is

Secondly : That it is a scene of great amplitude. There are many mansions” in it. The word here translated mansions is taken from a verb that signifies to remain ; and therefore it comes to mean a dwelling place. There are many apartments, many dwelling places, in this great palace. There is no want of accommodation, there is room for all. Heaven

be one world, or one system, but a million. The great universe is all heaven, with the exception of the world called hell, a world which the poet describes as rolling beyond the precincts of mercy.This hell, though large in itself, is but a speck to the universe, a withered leaf in the forest, a cloud spot on the infinite azure of existence. Though God's family is large, though His angels are an innumerable company, and though His saints are increasing by millions, there is room enough. And every apartment belongs to one Father. Another thought suggested is :

Thirdly: That it is a scene of undoubted reality. It is no poet's dream, no fictitious realm, no mirage. “Were it not so I would have told you.” The word of Christ attests its existence. What other proof is needed? He is too intelligent to be mistaken, too truthful to misrepresent, too kind to delude. Two things should be remembered:-(1) His knowledge. “I would have told you." I know it. I know

may not

“All

every part of the universe. I existed before it. I was “set up from everlasting,” &c. I created the universe. things were created by me,” &c. I speak from knowledge. (2) His sincerity. He had no disposition to deceive, no motive to deceive. “ Were it not so, I would have told you," &c.

OF MAN

II. THE SPECIAL HEAVEN

Where is man's heaven ? It is a "place" specially provided by Christ in the same house.

“I
go

to prepare a place for you,” somewhere in that great Heavenly universe.

First : This place for man has Christ's preparation. “I will go and prepare a place for you." "When thou didst overcome the sharpness of death, thou didst open the kingdom of heaven to all believers.” Christ by His death, resurrection, and by His ascension, opened up a place for fallen man in this great house. Every door had been barred for ever against us had He not opened “a door in heaven.” “He is the door,"-"the way, the truth, the life.”

Secondly: This place for man has Christ's introduction. “I will come again,” &c. Christ comes to take us ; He comes by death.

“Be ye therefore ready, for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh.” He takes His disciples and presents them faultless before the throne. Do not dread death. What is death? It is His coming to you

in this school of affliction and saying to you,-Come away with me my young brother to our Father's house, your education is finished, you are qualified to take office in the eternal kingdom, the days of your minority are over, come away to your inheritance, &c.

Thirdly: This place for man has Christ's fellowship. “That where I am, there ye may be also.” The heaven of man is where Christ is. To be with Christ,” says Paul, “is far better.”

“To be where thou, my Saviour art,

To see and be conformed to thee;
Perfect in holiness this heart-
This, this is heaven itself to me.'

SUBJECT :Evangelical Faith. “ Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”—Heb. xi. 1.

Analysis of Homily the Four Hundred and Sebenty-fifth. THOUGH the word Evangelical has become offensive to some, in consequence of its being adopted as the badge of a party in the Church, and that party not always the most thoughtful, broad-minded, and manly; it is, nevertheless, a glorious word expressing a glorious truth. This apostolic definition of Evangelical faith is as comprehensive as it is clear. It involves three general truths. I. THAT THE THINGS TOWARDS WHICH FAITH IS DIRECTED ARE INVISIBLE. Whatever things come within the range of the senses, Paul would call things of sight. There are two classes of invisible things :-First: Those that are essentially invisible. These are such as thought,-mind,God. “ No man hath seen God at any time.” The things that are invisible in their nature are the great things of being; they are the spring, the soul, the substance of the universe. Secondly: Those that are contingently invisible. These are things that can be seen by the eye of sense, but are, through minuteness, distance, or some other cause, at present invisible. There are millions of insect creatures on the one hand, and millions of massive worlds on the other, that are seeable in their nature, but at present “unseen.” Christ Himself is at present invisible to us, but will one day be seen. II. THAT SOME OF THE INVISIBLE THINGS ARE AT ONCE DESIRABLE AND ATTAINABLE. They are “ things hoped for.” Hope implies the desirable. Men never hope for what they desire not. What amongst the invisible things are desirable? All that makes up heaven :The society of holy souls; the presence of the blessed Christ; the manifestations of the infinite Father to pure intelligences. Are not these things now unseen desirable ? But the fact that they are hoped for implies that they are attainable as well as desirable. Men may desire things which they

« AnteriorContinuar »