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knew what he was doing-misunderstood | you, that the Saviour should have enjoined by, and hated of, men-he yet knew he was silence respecting this transfiguration, and, beloved of God, and that God approved of perhaps still more, that the disciples should all he was doing. He was doing nothing | have attended to it. You say that if you to which the Father was hostile; and all | had seen it, you would have spread the glory through his agony he must have known of your Saviour throughout the world. that he was still the beloved of the Father. The Saviour, however, was right. How If it had not been for this, how could he often do we fail to apprehend the meaning have borne the grief and sustained the of the chief events of our lives whilst they agony ?
are transpiring! The after-history of our 2. Notice, secondly, the Divine com lives throws light upon them, and we unmand :-" ear him." At his baptism, derstand them. So was it then. We unthe approval alone was signified ; now, the | derstand it now because the Cross has command was added to the approval. God thrown light upon it. The crucifixion ex. loved him at the beginning ; but now that plained the transfiguration. After that his testimony had been borne, and his They might speak of it ; but if they had work nearly ended, God, satisfied with all, spoken of it before, they would have talked constituted him uis representative, and the about that which they had failed to comunfolder of his will. Let me illustrate the prehend. difference. We can understand the feeling And now, reader, let me ask you, in of pride and joy with which a father would conclusion, whether the Saviour has ever regard a son who was as yet unsullied by been transfigured before you? I know the vices of life-entering upon the duties there was a time in your history when he and engagements of life. But, suppose was to you nothing but a root out of a dry that years had passed away, and that son ground--without form or beauty; he was had done his work nobly and honourably, merely a man of sorrows to you. Is your and had kept himself unspotted from the estimate altered ? Do you now feel that world, would there not be a deeper pride in he is the chief amongst ten thousands that father's heart as he expressed his love and the altogether lovely? After reading for his son, and asked others to imitate his Moses and the prophets, do you feel that example ? May not God have felt this ? Christ is the fulfilment of all they wrote ? He loved his Son, when, as yet, the law was Do you feel that your soul is so engrossed unfulfilled, the work uncompleted, the mis with the love of Christ, and your heart so sion unaccomplished; but now that all was entranced with his surpassing beauty which verging toward completion, satisfied with has been shown you, that you would like all his Son had done, and rejoicing over his to stay on the mount of contemplation, and completed obedience, God, in the presence think of him, and him only, for evermore? of those who had before been themselves If you do, let me ask you to repress the his expounders, gave this testimony,“ This thought. The glory of Christ has been reis my beloved Son; hear him." The com vealed to you for another purpose. When mand has never been revoked. Christ hath the disciples came down into the vale from become the mouthpiece of God. “God, who the mount, a poor child there lay dying, at sundry times and in divers manners, tormented with an evil spirit. If they had spake in times past by the prophets, hath not come down, that child would have died. now spoken by his Son." All you know or The world is lying at your feet like that can know of God comes from Christ. He poor child-diseased and tormented. It is the revealer of the Father; and if you has tried, until it has exhausted its own want the knowledge of God-hear him. resources; but the hold which the evil
And now came the practical result of the spirit has upon it has not been loosened. whole. “They saw no man, save Jesus only." | You, however, have the remedy. The The bringing out of Christ has been the glory of Christ has been shown, that you great object of God. To know Jesus Christ may take it to the darkest places of the alone ought to be our strongest desire ; and earth. Come down then from the mount, if the Scriptures and the revelations of God and tell the story of that which you have have answered their end, this is the result, seen, and the news shall make " the wilderthat Christ shines out with auch excessiveness to rejoice, and the desert to blossom brightness that all other objects are cast | as the rose !" into the shade. It may, perhaps, surprise |
AN EVENING MEDITATION.
BY THE REV. J. STENT.
se Doubtless thou art our Father:"--Isa. lxiii. 16. A THRILL of sacred pleasure fills all my heart as I repeat these words. But they may not be lightly uttered nor quickly forgotten. The holy, holy, holy Lord God, who dwells between the cherubim, and is from everlasting to everlasting, may not be thoughtlessly called Father by a sinful child of earth. He who created the heavens and the earth,—who measures the waters in the hollow of his hand, who weigheth the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance, who holdeth back the face of his throne and spreadeth his cloud upon it, dwelling in light which no man hath geen nor can see,- he may not be carelessly addressed by the creature of a day, whose life is but as a vapour, and whose age is as nothing. In solemn reverence and holy awe, I bow at his feet, and say My Father.
But who am I, that I should thus venture to speak to him! Men honour themselves because of the dignity of their person, the importance of their attainments, and the greatness of their powers. They say one to another, “ See what my hand hath done! See what my skill. hath reared!” And yet what are we? The boy who chases a butterfly across the fields and catches it, scatters, by the rudeness of his touch, the delicately-tinted feathers which gaveit colour and beauty. The tender life sinks under the rough grasp of his hand, and it dies. We look on, but we raise no cry against that merciless murder of an exquisite life. Nature does not stay to shed a tear for her fallen child. And no one expects she should. Yet exactly thus do the thousands of mankind die; multitudes as important, a's powerful, as wealthily endowed as we, and who pride themselves as we do on what they are, die every day; and other multitudes look on. There is no wail of woe. We feel no shock. Here and there a solitary mourner is the only sign. The grass grows all around, the sun shines, the tide flows, and the day wanes, just as though nothing had happened. And when we ourselves die it will be just the same. Upon the frame, and fashion, and course of the great world, our death will leave no visible mark; and the very few who will remember us for a while will soon die and be forgotten, even as we shall be. For man dwells in a house of clay, whose foundation is in the dust. At best his life is but for a few days. As a flower of the field so he flou. risheth. The wind passeth over it, and it is gone, and the place thereof shall know it no more. And yet I, who am such a one as this, may and do look up to the everlasting Lord God, and say, “ Doubtless thou art my Father,"
Nor is the mystery of this greatness lessened by any pretence that may be made to intellectual superiority. That pretence is only the effort of pride to avert the sentence of self-condemnation. No man' can add to the knowledge of the Most High, nor counsel him in any of his doings. We cannot foretell the things that have not yet been, nor do we even know the things that are already passed. We cannot count the stars, nor call them by their names. There is not a leaf nor a blade, not a pebble nor a drop, that we fully know. Our own being is a mystery which baffles all our research, and charges feebleness upon all our philosophy. In respect of all knowledge the sage and the child are hardly separated each from each, the greatest attainments being so small as to be utterly inappreciable. in respect of all that is to be known; whilst of God himself the ignorance of both is almostian unrelieved blank. It is no wonder, therefore, that the devoutly thoughtful of every age have been ready to exclaim, “ Lord, what is man that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man that thou visitest himP" Yet I, who am thus feeble and ignorant, can this night say unto the Lord, “Doubtless thou art my Father.”
And this is not the lowest deep in this great wonder. There is all this relative nothingness in the person and the intellect of man; but there is also an element in his being which gives to this very nothingness an awful importance. The moral in man's nature and relationship lifts him out of the realm of insignificance into a region of infinite greatness. It associates him with eternity, and gives him an immortal destiny. That moral element penetrates and pervades all his faculties and passions, and consequently it enters into all his resources and all his activities.' So that every thought and feeling, every attainment, and every exertion, is invested with an eternal importance. But history and all experience affirms man to be at enmity with God. His life is a terrible opposition to God. Between God and man there is an antagonism, the guilt of which derives increased aggravation from the very littleness of his powers and the vanity of his resources. Yet it is to men who derive importance in the world through those very distinctions of their nature by which they oppose and resist God day by day continually, -it is to them the blessed and gracious Lord is ever saying, “ Wilt thou not from this time say unto me, "My Father'p" And I, who feel myself to have been such a one as this, whose life was, for so long, a life of determined resistance to his will, and rejection of his mercy,-I bow at his mercy-seat this evening, and say, “O Lord God, doubtless thou art my Father."
Nor is this the mere utterance of pleasant words. A ship's crew struggling against wind and tide gladly throws away everything the ship holds, even to the last shred of individual property, trunk, and purse, and all to save dear life. The father thinks no expense costly, no labour wearying, no watching exhaustive, if he may but prolong the life of his beloved one. Yea, and even for a good man some will even dare to die. But when was it ever heard that a father sacrificed the son of his heart and his home, the son who had never cost him a sigh or a regret, the son who had been the companion of his life, the sharer of his toils, and the participator in his sorrows,—for a wanderer, a heartless, rebellious, perjured child, a child who had heaped dishonour upon his father's name, slighted his father's love, wasted his father's substance, and reproached his father's care? Yet this is what God has done, in order that his children upon the earth should not sink into the perdition they had prepared for themselves. The deed was new ; 80 new and strange, that angels looked on in wondering amaze, and all nature groaned, whilst she clothed herself in the sable garb of mourning love.
It is this which makes the words of this appeal so real, so personal to me to-night. When the sanctifying Spirit awakened in my soul a need which could never be satisfied until I had embraced Christ, then, and not till then, could I say without reserve, “Doubtless thou art my Father.” The dignity and the honour are mine; the reason why that honour is conferred on me is another's, not mine. The world, through all the four thousand years of its experimental stage, could never reach to the name of Father for its gods. Bountiful nature, so full of beauty and of God, never taught its worshippers to say of its God, “Thou art my Father." Bold reason never lifted thought high enough to uncover the face of the eternal throne, and reveal a Father there. The universal instinct of our nature never once suggested to philosopher or poet, “ The King of the gods is the Father of the man." It was left for Jesus to say, “When ye pray, say, Our Father.” It remains for the believer in Jesus alone to say, '“ Doubtless thou art my Father."
It is a privilege as well as an honour, but a privilege which cannot be expressed in words or by numbers. Its greatness is measured only by the pas. sion with which it is realised. When the soul is most abased, whether from the remembrance of sin or sorrow, then it can best say, "My Father;" for then pride, self-confidence, and carnal security, are crushed, and the soul is revealed to itself in its weakness, its pollution, and its guilt. Looking back through my experience, I can certainly say it is at, such times I have most found the blessedness of being a child of God. Then I have been surprised to discover how that name Father brought me solace in grief, relief from care, and freedom from fear; how in perplexities it gave me confidence; in danger it showed me a refuge ; and in threatening probabilities it kept me calm. And I know it has lost none of its value now. God delights in being thus addressed, for he sends forth the Spirit of his Son into the hearts of his children, so that they instinctively cry, “My Father, my Father;" and often as they may thus call they find in the name the pledge of every good, and in the sanctified feeling which prompted the call, the foretaste of that joy which is perfected only in a perfect love.
" Father! The dearest name I know,
And wander far from heaven and God.'
So weak and helpless, I shall go
GODLY YOUNG MEN, AND STRONG.
BY THE REV. J. T. WIGNER. “I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one."-1 John ii. 14.
YOUNG MEN,-He who would interpose and had been honoured in Christ's service. an obstacle, or raise a barrier, and thus, His dim eye, which had often in earlier days separate the young from the aged in the | gazed on the loving Saviour, now looks on Church of Christ; who, by sentiments young men : that hand which had often uttered, spirit cherished, or conduct exhi. pressed the hand of the "Man of sorrows," bited, would induce the aged to look with now holds the pen to write to young men : unconcern and indifference on the young, --his theme, the grace of God as seen in or the young to show unkindness to the their conversion, and the degree of that aged, such a one is an enemy to the true grace to which they had attained. We interests of the Church. Young Men : will turn aside, and listen to the "beloved how in all ranks of society is the public disciple.” We will look at the character attention drawn towards them, whilst thou and the degree. “I have written to you, sands are training for the defence of their young men, because ye are strong," &c. country, should such defence be needed. I. Character. The influence and value Young Men ;-could all the members of of character, especially to a young man, such, renewed by the grace of God, united cannot well be over-estimated. A damaged, in the fellowship of the saints, be gathered broken character is far worse than a broken together in one place, with what joy would limb; a diseased character, tainted by vice, Christians mark the spectacle, and how far worse than a diseased body. In the would the ungodly be struck with surprise former case, it may, it will (unless the and awe at such a host! These are com grace of God prevents), spoil the man for mencing the work, and will be the zealous, usefulness here, and close in utter, endless laborious workers in the vineyard of the ruin; in the latter case, recovery may take Lord, when worn and weary labourers are place, and if not, affliction sanctified will gathered home. Young Men !-to you we end in eternal life. There can be no gua. speak, kindly listen. The text of Scripture rantee for the maintenance of a highly above, presents to your view an aged "saint moral, useful character, unless the heart who had suffered much for Christ's sake, is yielded to Christ, and the principles of divine truth are rooted in the soul. “Thy | the heart which has just been cleansed by word have I hid in my heart, that I might the blood of Christ. The word has some fit not sin against thee." The young men to promise, some divine cordial, some cheerwhom these words were first addressed ing light, some precious truth, at all times were of this stamp. Godliness was in ready to meet the innumerable wants and dethem; godliness, genuine, fervent, dwelt sires and needs of the loving heart; and the within, shed forth its influence, and re- | heart feasts on the word with delight. They vealed its power. Incorruptible seed took are on friendly terms. Between them, a root within, and was the spring of life. cordial, hearty sympathy reigns. Experi. They grew in strength, and overcame the mental knowledge. We know such a man, great enemy. “The word of God abideth in we once saw him in a public assembly, and you, and ye have overcome the wicked | heard him speak; another we know more one." Mark these two features of an inner fully, for we spent a profitable day in his life." The word of God abideth in you.” society. But most intimately do we know This is an evidence of saving conversion. the friend with whom we abide. Some Our Lord says, “If my words abide in you, men-alas! many—know God's truth, but yo shall ask what ye will, and it shall be it is the barest knowledge; others, who done unto you" (John xy. 7); and when had the blessing of a godly education, know he was addressing the Jews concerning their it, for they have been profited by it; unbelief, he said, as a proof of their unre young men, who love Christ, know it newed condition, “ Ye have not his word experimentally-its power, its preciousabiding in you” (John v. 38). In these ness—for it abides in them, and their con. young men the word of God had an abiding version to God is thus proved. Young place, it dwelt in their hearts ; does it men, will you apply this test ? Does the dwell in your hearts, young men ? This word of God “abide” in you ? abiding involves several ideas. The heart Another test of character is given:-“ Ye has been prepared for its reception. The have overcome the wicked one." This hard-trodden path, or the stony road, is term, here rendered "young men,” is someunprepared for the seed; it receives it not ; times employed as a military term, de. strewed on its surface, the seed rots, or the noting those who were fit to bear arms, fowls of the air gather it up. The rocky and those to whom the apostle wrote. heart, the heart of stone, receives not the And you, if Christian young men, are enliving word. But when the heart is gaged in a mighty warfare, a terrible con"opened," "made soft," “ broken and con | flict. “Take unto you the whole armour trite” before God, then doth it "receive of God, that ye may be able to stand in with meekness" the truth of the Gospel, the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” and yield hearty obedience thereto; this The armour of God is freely provided ; is the first sign that the word of God has clothed, girded with this, victory is yours ! taken its abode in the heart. Then, the This conflict and victory is the evidence of heart embraces the word; the softened soil a new life; 'tis a life of opposition to the surrounds and covers the seed; earth wraps seductions, the temptations, the stratathe buried treasure in its embrace ; and lo! gems, the wickedness of the world, and of in the spring it comes forth in glorious the great enemy of our souls. But the life, the blade, the ear, the full corn in the unconverted young man is in league with ear. And when the word of God takes its the world and this chief enemy, “ led cap. abode in the heart, the heart lovingly em tive by the devil at his will.” Happy; braces it. Zaccheus received the Saviour thrice happy, those young men who have joyfully. Then God's word is loved, overcome him, who have escaped from his prized, atudied, not as a task, but as a dire and fatal bondage, and are made free privilege. “Oh! how love I thy law ! it in Christ. Such can chant the inspired is my meditation all the day.”
language of Paul, “Thanks be to God, who There is a cordial sympathy between the giveth us the victory through our Lord heart and the word. We never, unless Jesus Christ." Proof sufficient, we trust, from necessity, abide with those between has been given to show that these young whom and ourselves there is no true sym men were true disciples of the Saviour; pathy. If the word of Christ is to dwell if, however, a doubt remains, then read richly in the heart, then must it have a suit carefully on, and hear John addressing able companion, and such a companion is | these young men, with “fathers," and