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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,
66 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 may not 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
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.
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.
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;
SUBJECT :-Evangelical Faith. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”—Heb. xi. 1.
TOWARDS WHICH FAITH IS DIRECTED ARE INVISIBLE.
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
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
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
They are “ things hoped for.” Hope implies the desirable. 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
THINGS ARE AT ONCE DESIRABLE AND ATTAINABLE.
have no reason to expect, but they cannot be said to hope for such things. Hope implies expectation, and expectation implies belief in their attainability. Evangelical faith recognises the means of attaining these blessings ; which are the mediation of Christ, and the influences of God, through Providence, and His Holy word. Millions have realized the blessed things which were once “unseen” to them. III. That THOSE INVISIBLE THINGS, WHICH ARE DESIRABLE AND ATTAINABLE, FAITH MAKES POWERFUL IN THE PRESENT LIFE.
“It is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen ;” i.e. Faith is the realization of things hoped for, and the demonstration of things not seen. We have here two thoughts:—First: The power of these invisible things as they appear to the intellect when believed. They stand before the believing intellect as demonstrative realities. No doubt arises concerning them. This spiritual universe spreads out as clearly to the eye of the believing intellect, as glowing nature on a summer's day to the bodily vision. Secondly : The power of these invisible things as they appear to the heart when believed. They are the “substance ” of the heart's hope. What the intellect sees so clearly, the heart feels. The heart organizes, so to speak, the intellectual convictions into forms of life ; majestic, and soul-transporting. The heart gives flesh and blood and breath to the skeletons of the brain. Magnificent examples of its power, in this way, you have in this chapter.
SUBJECT :- Abel; or Man's Religion.
“By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God tes. tifying of his gifts : and by it he being dead yet speaketh.”Heb. xi. 4.
Analysis of Homily the four Hundred and Sebenty-sixth.
This passage takes us back to the remotest period in the history of man-to the morning of the world and the infancy of our race. The antiquity of the fact which it
records, can in no degree detract from its importance. Time, beneath whose influence the pyramids moulder into dust, and the flinty rocks decay, does not, and cannot, destroy a fact, nor strip a truth of one portion of its essential importance. The reason why the Bible has survived so many ages,--ages which have engulphed the finest products of human genius, and the most durable monuments raised to perpetuate a name, is simply this, it is a record of truths,truths pertaining to man, in every age and in every clime. In the verse which we have read, for instance, there are three facts in relation to man just as precious to us, the men of this age, as to the men of any preceding time, and will be as precious to the last generation as they are to us.
I. THAT THE RELIGION OF MAN HAS TO DO WITH SACRI
“Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice." I say the religion of man, because it may be that the religion of other beings has nothing whatever to do with sacrifices. I suppose that the angelic spirits of whom we read so much in the Bible go directly to their Maker. Nothing interposes between them and the object of their devotion. Nor do they require any mediation, any sacrifice, or priest. They retain their primitive purity—there is no stain on their conscience-no cloud on their intellect. They can look directly on the Father of lights, and He on them as pure emanations of Himself. It was probably so with our first parents previous to their fall. Their fellowship with their Maker was not carried on through sacrifice, but at once. The world was their temple ; they saw the Shekinah everywhere, and perhaps on every stone and tree gleamed the “Urim and Thummim." But after the fall sacrifice became necessary as is here implied. I think that the fact here stated that God accepted Abel on account of his sacrifice, is a satisfactory proof that sacrifices are of Divine institution.
From remotest ages sacrifices have prevailed, and prevailed everywhere. Scarcely has there ever been found a tribe of men who had not both the idea and the practice.