Page images
PDF
EPUB

Christ's divinity, which is based on the fact of his having created all things. They cannot deny the fact, but they deny the inference. They object and allege that, although Christ created all things, he did so not by his own inherent power, but by such power as Elijah received from God to restore the widow's son, or Elisha to lay bare the bed of Jordan. But, apart from other answers with which such objectors may be triumphantly met, observe how my text cuts the ground out below their feet. Did Elijah bring back the dead, and his successor divide the flood for themselves? Was it for their own glory, or for any other ends of their own? That will not be alleged. If not, then there is no analogy whatever between their miraculous and our Lord's creating works.

If our Lord Jesus Christ was other and less than God, then, in kindling yonder sun, in lighting up the starry sky, he no more acts for himself than the domestic does, who, appearing at my call, lights my lamp, or stoops on the hearth-stone to kindle my fire. It is the very nature of a creature to be a dependent, and hold a servant's place. Nor, as I read my Bible, was any man ever more justly condemned to die than Jesus, if he were but a man. In that case he did undoubtedly lay himself open to the charge of blasphemy, since—as the Jews truly averred, and he never denied, nor so much as attempted to explain it away—he made himself the Son of God, " equal with God." No doubt our Lord did that; in such plain terms claiming divine equality, as to justify the use by Paul of this bold language, " He thought it not robbery to be equal with God. And, as the rainbow looks the brighter the blacker the cloud it spans, the majesty of his claim is brought out by the meanness of the circumstances in which it was made. Deserted by the world, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief, dependent on a few humble followers for the most common necessaries of life, within some hours of an ignominious end, his foot already on the verge of the grave, he rises to the loftiness of Godhead; and, turning an eye that was to be soon darkened in death on earth and heaven, he claims a community of property with God. All things, he says, that the father hath are mine. To the " all mine are thine," this dying man adds, " thine are mine." He speaks to God. Thine, thy eternity, thy throne, thy glory, thy crown, thy sceptre, all are mine. Great words, pregnant with the strongest consolation and most glorious truths! For, if in the very nature of things all that is God's is Christ's, and according to the terms of the New Covenant, all that is Christ's is ours, these words draw everything that belongs to God into the hands of the humblest believer! What a faith is that! What comfort should it give you! What courage should it impart to you! What gratitude should it beget in you! Rich amid poverty, full in emptiness, and in weakness strong, with what blessed peace may the believer lie in Christ's arms, saying with David, I will fear none evil; or with Paul, as he addresses himself to work or war, I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me.

II. My text teacheth us that the glory of God was the original nurpose of creation; "All things were created—for him."

Sin has to some extent blighted the beauty of creation. Still, to borrow the words of the Psalmist, the heavens declare the glory of God. and the firmament showeth his handy-work. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. Nor is it distance that here lends enchantment to the view. On the contrary, the more closely the works of God are examined, the higher our admiration rises, and the less we fear that true science will ever appear as the antagonist, and not the ally of the faith. Whether we turn the telescope on heavens, studded so full of stars as to present the appearance of gold-dust scattered with lavish hand on a dark purple ground, or turn the microscope on such comparatively humble objects as a plant of moss, a drop of ditch water, the scaly armor of a beetle, a spider's eye, the down of a feather, or the dust on a butterfly's wing, such divine beauty, wisdom and glory burst into view, that childhood's roving mind is instantly arrested: the dullest arc moved to wonder, the most grovelling souls take wing and rise up to God. He rushes, indeed, into our souls by the open portal of every sense. We see a divine glory in worms, and unapproachable excellence in the Almighty's lowest works. And in the grand roar of the storm, the everlasting boom of ocean breakers, the sudden crash and far-rolling peals of thunder, the soft murmuring of gentle brooks, the gleesome melody of budding woods, the thrilling music of the lark, as, like a parting spirit, she spurns the earth, and wings her flight to heaven, nature echoes the close of the angel's hymn, The whole earth is full of his glory.

When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy over our new-bcrn world, that, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of Hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory, formed, perhaps, the burden of their song. And when Adam sat by his beautiful bride, and the shaggy lion crouched like a dog at their feet, and the beams of the setting sun threw a golden splendor over their bower of eglantine and roses, and the feathered tribes from all the groves of paradise poured forth rich gushes of sweetest melody, perhaps, ere they lay down to rest with their arms and hearts entwined, they took it for their vesper hymn, singing^ while God and delighted angels listened, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of Hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory.

The harp of Eden, alas! is broken. Unstrung and mute, an exiled race have hung it on the willows, and Ichabod stands written now in the furrows of man's guilty forehead, and on the wreck of his ruined estate. Some things remain unaffected by the blight of sin, as God made them for himself; the flowers have lost neither their bloom nor fragrance, the rose smells as sweet as it did when bathed in the dews of paradise; and seas and seasons, obedient to their original impulse, roll on as of old to their Maker's glory. But from man, alas! how has the glory departed! Look at his body when the light of the eye is quenched, and the countenance is changed, and the noble form lies festering in corruption—mouldering into the dust of death. Or, change, still more hideous, look at his soul! The spirit of piety dead, the mind under a dark eclipse, hatred to God rankling in that once loving heart, it retains but some vestiges of its original grandeur, just enough, like the beautiful tracery and noble arches of a ruined pile, to make us feel that glory once was there, and now is gone. What glory does God get from many of us? Like a son who is bringing his father's gray hairs to the grave, a daughter who, sunk into the lowest degradation, is the shame of her family, we are a dishonor and a disgrace. In applying such terms to sinners, I am not employing language too strong. God uses still stronger terms. As if his were the feelings of a father who wishes that he had been childless, of a mother who esteems the barren happy, it is written, "It repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart." What a horrible thing is sin!

Yet God's object in creating man was not defeated; and in illustration of that, I remark—

III. That God will make even the wicked and their gins redound to his glory.

A strange machine is this of providence! How slowly some wheels move, while others whirl round so rapidly that the eye cannot catch the flying spokes: some are turning in one direction, and others in the very opposite. Here, sight to wonder at, Virtue is struggling with the temptations of poverty, and Piety sits a mendicant, clothed in rags, and covered with a mass of sores. There, again, we see the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree; and not seldom like the deadly upas, which is said to poison the air around it, and kill all that comes within its noxious shade. In the arrangements of this world it often seems as if confusion reigned, and sometimes confusion worse confounded. Sin triumphs, and in the success of the ungodly, who have no changes, and no bands in their death, men and devils seem to defeat the purposes of God.

Defeat the purposes of God! Impossible. As you stood some stormy day upon a sea-cliff, and marked the giant billow rise from the deep to rush on with

« PreviousContinue »