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of all moral minds that the happiness of those we love makes us happy. We rejoice with those of the loved ones that rejoice. All connected with the great family of God experience happiness in the restoration of a lost soul. The redeemed ones above, amongst whom will be, perhaps, the sainted minister, author, father, mother, brother, sister, or some other dear one who loved them on earth, and earnestly sought their salvation, would join, of course, in the rapture of that hour. Angels, too, would strike their harps in strains of deeper melody, “ for there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” Ask why should those lofty ones in the creation take such interest in an event on earth, which its conventionally great men would not pause to notice or deign to mention. The answer is, They see things not as they appear to men, but as they are in God's universe and God's thoughts. In the conversion of one soul they see not only the uprooting of an upas which distils poison through its sphere, but the planting of a germ that shall grow into a tree whose fruit will bless the nations. They see not only a destroying demon smitten to death and they celebrate the obsequies, but a new angel of truth and benevolence born into the universe, and they hail with rapture the blessed advent. “ There was music and dancing." We
may call humanity as a whole a prodigal son. Let it be restored to the Father's house, and then the whole of His great family throughout the universe, will, in a sense, begin
It will peal through all its immeasurable districts with more loud and swelling melodies of transporting bliss. Blessed prospect for the good !
to be merry.
“ O loose this frame, this knot of man untie,
That my free soul may use her wing,
O show thyself to me,
SUBJECT :-God's Friendship and Satan's Enmity.
• Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”- Prov. xxvii. 6.
Analysis of Homily the Four Hundred and Eighty-first.
TRUE friends are scarce. The old cynic who went about in broad daylight with a lighted lantern in search of a man, would have had like difficulty in finding a true friend. True friendship often assumes a rough garb; enmity may clothe itself in the stolen dress of love. Men like flattery, better than the rebuke of the faithful friend. The truthspeaker often inflicts pain. Applying Solomon's proverb in a special sense, to our best friend on the one hand, and on the other to our worst enemy, it may be remarked :
I. God's FRIENDSHIP Out of the depths of His loving heart, God summonses the prodigal sinner to return. If he returns he must expect a weary journey. He has wandered far into the foreign land. It is a toilsome path, that rugged one of repentance.
If God wounds the soul with the “sword of the spirit,” man finds it to be no mimic weapon, but two-edged ; it strikes deep, it wounds, it cuts asunder. When the heart's affections are entwined around simple things, and God says, “Set your affections on things above," and they have to be unloosened, the heart perforce must bleed. Whatever God does for us as sinners, ere He pardons, is accompanied with pain. If He convinces of sin, we suffer the pain of conscious guilt; if of judgment, we feel the "powers of the world to come.” If we renounce sin, it is with pain ; soon, it is true, displaced by joy which is full of glory. All the true earnest ambassadors for God, have, by fulfilling their mission, inflicted pain. The prophets, as they opened out the revelation of God's fiery indignation -John the Baptist, as he sounded the trumpets of the law
Christ Himself, as He plainly revealed to men their own hearts, and asked, “How can ye escape the damnation of hell ?”—all these, arousing conscience, inflicted pain; proving by their mode of preaching the truth, that remorse must come before peace, sorrow and pain be endured, ere the calm of the soul's acceptance with God can reign, where passion had angrily ruled. It may be remarked :-
II. SATAN'S ENMITY IS OFTEN
An enemy, he deals in pretences of love, and deceives with a kiss. When Satan tempted Christ, he came as it were with kisses, that is, with bribes. Is it not ever so ? Sin wears the garb of friendship without its reality, and men are slaves to appearances. Sin comes smiling and bowing, offering men poison in a golden cup. The truly wise man best shows his wisdom by detecting the embraces of an enemy, the false promise, the lying lips. In short, by discriminating between the faithful friend who wounds, and the deceitful enemy who comes with a kiss—a proffer of love. Oh! that men would be wise to prefer safety, though with pain and trouble, to damnation with ease. Surely, the rough bracing wind of the spring day is better than the deceitful calm before a storm.
Reflections :-Jesus Christ, God's ambassador on earth, is the true friend of sinners. He is nigh us when most needed. Just as He came " to call sinners, and not the righteous to repentance,” so He came to be the friend of the friendless and forlorn. As the true physician, He can heal all the wounds the sword of the Spirit inflicts, -can cure the soul it pierces; nay, heal all diseases, even those which issue from the deceit of man's chief enemy. He has a never-failing remedy for the leprosy of sin, the deadly stupor of indifference, and the raging violence of passion. And when, as a faithful friend, He breaks our hearts with the hammer of His law, He can bind up the wounds of the broken-hearted. Faithful are His wounds, and He is faithful who hath promised, as a good Shepherd to take care of His sheep.
“ He is a
friend who sticketh closer than a brother," and the constant guest of the poor man's soul. A true friend is ever a great blessing ; one whose heart and soul, akin to ours, is one with us in mutual sympathy. How much greater a blessing is our friend, when He calls Himself such, who said of God our Heavenly Father, “I and my Father are one!”
God's gift of immortality then becomes eternal friendship with God.
SUBJECT :- The Incarnation ; God's Work in Christ.
" To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them: and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.”--2 Cor. v. 19.
Analysis of Homily the Fonr Hundred and Eighty-second.
God is a great worker. He is the eternal fountain of life in unremitting flow. He is essentially active, the mainspring of all activity in the universe, but that of sin. There are at least four organs through which He works ;-material laws, animal instincts,--moral mind, and Jesus Christ.
By the first, He carries on the great revolutions of inanimate nature in all its departments; by the second, He preserves, guides, and controls, all the sentient tribes that populate the earth, the air and sea ; by the third, through the laws of reason and the dictates of conscience, He governs the vast empire of mind; and by the fourth, namely Christ, He works out the redemption of sinners in our world. There is no more difficulty in regarding Him in the one person, —Christ, for a certain work, than there is in regarding Him as being in material nature, animal instinct, or moral mind. The text leads us to two remarks concerning God's work in Christ :- 1. It is A WORK OF RECONCILING HUMANITY TO HIMSELF.
“He is reconciling the world unto himself.” The work implies enmity on man's part; and the existence of this enmity is patent to all. “ The carnal mind” &c. The work implies a change of mind in one
6. He is a pro
REMISSION OF SINS.
of the parties. It is not in God ;-He cannot change, He need not change. He cannot become more benevolent towards man. All the change needed is on man's part. Paul speaks of the world being reconciled to God-not God to the world. First: It is the reconciliation of the human “world” to God, in contradistinction to fallen angels. Hell hates God, but He does not work for its reconciliation. Secondly : It is the reconciliation of the human “ world” in contradistinction to any particular class of the human family. Some would, in the selfishness of their nature, limit the redeeming work to the few to whom they belong. But it is not so restricted, thank God! “God so loved the world,” &c. pitiation not for our sins only,” &c. It is with the world that God has to do in Christ. II. IT IS A WORK INVOLVING THE
“Not imputing their trespasses unto them.” Three facts will throw light on this. First; A state of enmity against God is a state of sin. There may be virtue in disliking some persons, but it is evermore a sin to dislike God, for He is infinitely good. Secondly: A state of sin is a state exposed to punishment. This is too obvious to require illustration. Thirdly: In reconciliation the enmity is removed, and therefore the punishment obviated. What is pardon? A remitting of just punishment ;-a separating of man from his sins and their consequences.
This God does through Christ. Through the doctrines of His gospel, the spirit of His life, and merits of His mediation.
From this subject four things may be considered in regard to this work of God in Christ. (1) It is a work of unbounded mercy. Whoever heard of the offended party seeking the friendship of the offender, especially if the offender was sovereign and the other subject ? But this is what the Infinite God is doing in Christ, and doing earnestly, every day, and every hour. (2) It is a work essential to the well-being of humanity. It is impossible that the creature can be happy whose thoughts, feelings, and purposes, are directly opposed to the being, purposes, and procedure, of the Absolute. (3) It is a work exclusively of benign moral