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the resistance to be overcome-the heart in its hardness and hostility.
We have now to look at :
II. THE DIVINE MEANS EMPLOYED BY GOD TO REMOVE
His “word” is compared to a hammer ;“like a hammer," so that we may put it thus
" As the hammer is to the rock,
So the word is to the heart."
This comparison suggests two or three thoughts :
First : There is adaptedness in the means to accomplish the desired result. The result is to be the broken rock. There is no instrument so adapted for breaking as the hammer. Hence its long and common use. It has weight in a small compass. It has also hardness; it will not yield to the stone; it has a peculiar shape and this gives it power. It would not be so powerful in any other shape. Flatness or roundness would weaken it. Here then is fitness. It is evidently fitted to do its work. Thus the word of God, with all its doctrines, promises, and threatenings—in all its discoveries of truth, and sublime revelations of the Father, and His Son Jesus Christ, is fitted to make deep and abiding impressions on the mind, and to subdue the soul. These and similar truths fall with power upon the conscience, and awaken it, so that it can sleep no longer. Indeed these truths which are best adapted to impress and win the heart, are employed by infinite love and wisdom. God's love in Jesus may draw one soul, His justice and holiness may awe another. There are many arrows, and that which passes one may pierce another. These are different, so that all may be reached and smitten. God works by various means, but they are all in full accord with His word,-nor is this word likely to be superseded; God himself has shown no disposition to do it, and man cannot, although he boasts of his pbilosophies and systems. These were never adapted to remove the hardness of the heart, nor to bring the soul to God. “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul,” &c. “The word of God is quick and powerful,” &c. Secondly: There is a concentration of power,
The same part is struck repeatedly,—each stroke tells. It cannot withstand. The hardest rock will yield to this concentrated force. The Word is similarly applied to the heart in order to subdue it. The rays of Divine truth shine upon the heart's false refuges until they are seen to be such, and are abandoned. The preaching of the Gospel and the means of grace have no apparent effect, yet these are doing an important work in gradually thinning and dispersing the thick clouds of ignorance and unbelief. To accomplish the soul's salvation the Lord gives “line upon line, here a little, and there a little.” Conviction follows convictionthe Word clings to the memory and conscience, and there is the continued cry heard, “Flee from the wrath to come," until at length resistance ceases, and the soul is completely subdued.
Thirdly: There is the strong arm in its application, What can be done without this? We may have the rock and the hammer, but unless it is raised and brought powerfully down upon the rock, that rock will not be broken. There must not only be the means, but these must be applied by intelligence and power. This is seen in other matters. For instance, we may have all the apparatus for taking a correct likeness, but unless the photographer is there to superintend the process, we shall have no likeness. So with the Word. We must have the Divine Spirit, the arm of the Word, to bring it with convincing and saving power to the heart. Without this, we may have the Word, and all the ordinances and means that Word suggests, but all will be in vain. Without Him the Word cannot save. then ever gratefully, and humbly recognize and adopt the Divine utterance, which must be always true, "Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts."
SUBJECT :-Soul Elevation.
“After this I looked, and, behold; a door was opened in heaven : and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me ; which said, Come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be hereafter." —Rev. iv. 1.
Analysis of Homily the Four Hundred and Forty-fifth.
Amidst all the gorgeous symbolisms and the marvellous manifestations of this book, you have oftentimes great principles of universal application brought out with a freshness and a power seldom found elsewhere, even in the Book of God. The text is an illustration of this remark. The reigning sentiment it contains is elevation of soul. Of course it was not the bodily senses of John that were thus addressed, not the body that was commanded to ascend. His outward eye saw not the material heavens open, his outward ear heard not the “ trumpet” blast, nor had he any power in a bodily sense to obey the imperative command. He could not liberate his body from the gravitating forces of this planet, and soar to the heavens as Jesus his Master did. The vision here is mental. All that took place was within the region of his own soul. Elevation of soul then is our subject. What is it? This is the question that meets us at the outset. First : Is it the elevation of sensuous excitement ? The souls of all men, especially of those whose physical temperament is of the bilious order, have great variation of mood. Sometimes they are buoyant and sometimes sluggish-sometimes in caverns deep and sometimes high up in the clouds. Such souls often soar aloft on the pinions of an excited imagination, they are often rapt in the admiration of beauty which has no existence but in their own fancy, they indulge in a kind of spiritual reverie, and find a heaven for the hour upon the mountain heights of their own creation. But this is not what we mean by elevation of soul. Secondly: Is it elevation of intellect? Is it the elevation which arises from study and culture; the elevation of a mind trained to think with pre
aision, freedom, and force, ever ready to take a clear and comprehensive view of truth? This is important, this is essential to soul elevation ; but this is not it. Some of the greatest and most cultured intellects have often been found in alliance with souls deeply sunk in passion, depravity, and vice.
What then is it? It may be represented as consisting in three things : First : An uplifting sense of the Divine favor. A sense of God's disfavor is a dark and crushing load under which the soul cannot possibly ascend. But let this load be removed, let the sun of God's love shine and the soul will expand her pinions and ascend. Secondly: An uplifting sense of moral right. The depressing sense of guilt removed, and a deepening consciousness of rectitude are involved in the elevation of soul. Thirdly: An uplifting sense of the spiritual world. It is not until the soul looks away from the “ things that are seen,” feels that the material is but the changing costume and the temporary servant of the spiritual, and begins to lay up treasures in Heaven, to set its affections upon things above, that it begins to rise.
There are three thoughts concerning elevation of soul with which the text supplies us :
I. THAT SOUL ELEVATION IS ATTAINABLE. The apostle saw "a door opened in Heaven.” There is a way by which the soul sunk in guilt and depravity may rise to a loving fellowship with God, and to purity of nature. Christ is this “ door.” He opened Heaven. “ He bowed the heavens and came down." By His teaching, His death, and His ascension, He has opened the new and living way for man into the “Holy of Holies.” He is “ the way." He is “the door." First : He is the exclusive door for man's spiritual elevation. " There is no other name given under heaven," &c. Man may rise to general knowledge, to secular wealth, to social influence, to civil power, without Christ, but it is only through Christ that he can rise spiritually,—that he can rise to heaven. Secondly: He is the door for man's spiritual elevation, and man's only. There is no door opened in heaven
for fallen angels. Thirdly: He is the door for man's spiritual elevation available only for him on earth. It closes at death, never more to be opened to him. Let us avail ourselves of this door. Let us look through it and be enchanted with the glories of the upper world ; let us walk through it, and thus commence a blessedness that will heighten with revolving ages.
The text supplies another thought :
II, THAT SOUL ELEVATION IS OBLIGATORY. There is a command—“Come up hither.” First: I hear this Divine command sounding in the starry firmament. Who amidst the stillness of night has not heard a voice coming down into his soul from those bright orbs, that in teeming crowds traverse the infinite fields above, saying Come
hither.” -Letnot yourminds be confined to your little cloudy, stormy, perishing, planet. Earth was only intended as the temporary home of your bodies, not the dwelling place of your souls. The great universe is the domain of mind—we roll and shine in our mighty spheres around you to win you away to the serene, the bright and the boundless. “Come up hither," immortal man, wing your flight from orb to orb, sytem to system ;-count our multitudes, mark our movements, gauge our dimensions, bathe in our brightness, rise beyond us, scale the wondrous heavens still far away, revel in the Infinite, be lost in God !”
6 Whoever gazed upon their shining,
And turned to earth without repining,
Secondly: I hear the Divine command sounding through the biography of the sainted dead. Our nature speaks from heaven. There are the voices of the goodly fellowship of prophets and apostles, of the glorious army of martyrs and confessors, &c. There are the voices of our favorite authors,the sacred poet, the holy sage and the learned divine. The voice of
your favorite preacher, of your nearest friends and