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I say, labor for God; but, if I mistake not, people have somewhat vague notions about laboring for God. Formerly, to labor for God meant building him temples, performing the temple-service, endowing religious establishments, and sustaining and obeying the priesthood. But our obligation to labor for God, in this sense, is not quite self-evident. God stands in no great need of our assistance. He does not ask us to build him a house to dwell in, nor to provide him food and raiment ; for he dwelleth not in houses made with men's hands, nor is he served with men's hands, as though he needed anything.

To labor for God, to serve God, is to engage with him, and labor to accomplish his divine purposes. We labor for him, when we work to the same end to which he works. He is a living power, and active energy, always working. The end to which he works is the production of goodness. He is Love, and his energy is ever the energy of love. In all he does he is diffusing himself, communicating his own divinity. Consequently, whenever we labor at the command of love, to diffuse goodness, to promote the good of God's empire, the good of the universe of being, we may with strict propriety be said to labor for God, to serve God. “Lord," say the righteous, “when saw we thee an hungered and fed thee, naked and clothed thee, sick and in prison and ministered unto thee?' “ Inasmuch as ye did it unto the least of these, my brethren, ye did it unto me."

This is the great principle, of which we should never lose sight. We serve God by serving his children, by doing good to whom he does good. God is goodness ; we serve him, therefore, when we serve the cause of goodness. God is love ; we serve him, then, when we labor to enlarge, fix, and consolidate the empire of love. God is perfection; we labor for him, then, when we labor to perfect either ourselves or others.

I must be allowed to dwell on this point a moment; for, in most people's minds, serving God is a mysterious matter. To say the least, all is loose and vague. When the preacher exhorts them to serve God, they immediately fancy that there is some mysterious or arbitrary duty for them to perform, for the performance of which no good reason can be assigned, save that God enjoins it, and will damn them if they neglect it. Their minds turn at once to some ecclesiastical work, to a religious profession to be made, a ritual to be observed, or a discipline to be undergone. Why the work implied should be done, they cannot guess; why God should love them for doing it they cannot imagine ; unwilling to act with

; out a reason, and unable to find one, they generally end in doing nothing ; at least, nothing to the purpose. Now, the interpretation I give to laboring for God relieves them from these embarrassments, and presents them a plain, distinct, tangible work, which carries its obligation with itself. I need no evidence to convince me, that I ought to labor to promote the wellbeing of God's children, to diffuse truth, righteousness, love, joy, peace. There is that within me which supersedes the necessity of proof. The proof is immediate, irresistible, and universal. I may ask, What is love, truth, goodness? Never, — Ought I to labor for

, their promotion ?

We can, in this view of the case, see our work, and know when we are doing it. It is a work growing out of the nature God has given us, out of the constitution of his empire ; not a mere ritual, which the priests make or may unmake. The whole is summed up in a word; we are to seek spiritual perfection, to serve God, and show forth our fear of the Lord, by serving his children, by doing good to whom God does good.

This is the only way in which we can reach God. No man hath seen him at any time, and no man can see him ; but we may behold his glory in the face of his Son. The Word was in the beginning, it was with God, it was God, God all entire ; but became an object of knowledge, of love and worship, not till made flesh, manifested in a human form, dwelling among us, full of grace and truth. We worship the invisible in the visible, the Creator in the creature, the Father in the Son. No man who hates his brother, loves God, and no man, who serves not his brother, can serve God, however punctual he may be in his observance of the forms of religion and piety.

God is not a mere abstraction; a speculative entity, but a practical nullity. He is absolute; the living reality, on which all beings depend for their existence, in whose bosom they are, and without whom they were not. But this statement does not meet the wants of the soul. Viewed simply as the ground of all being, the essence, substance of all life, the fountain whence streams the universe, he is to us merely fate, necessity, dark, inscrutable, overwhelming. It is only in his Word, his Utterance, Manifestation, that he is an object of love and adoration. I see his glory only as it shines in his works, or in the face of his Son. To my reason there is God the Father, the ground of all being, the fountain of all life, the creator and upholder of the universe ; but to my heart there is no God, but “God manifest in the flesh.” God, as he speaks to me in all sweet and thrilling voices, God that comes to me in all pure and gentle influences, that breathes freshness and power into my soul, in friendship and love. The God I worship must be embodied, must speak to me in a real voice, and show himself to me in a living form. Every embodyment of the true, the beautiful, the lovely, the good, is to me a shrine of the true God, at which I joyfully offer my heart's incense.

I hear much said about loving this or that quality, of separating, as it were, the attribute from the subject, and of loving the attribute only. But we never love the abstract. The abstract exists not for the heart. It is not goodness that we reverence, but him who is good ; it is not beauty that we love, but the being who is beautiful. The heart never abstracts; it concretes; and discards the quality whenever it fails to embody . it. The affections all clothe their objects with life and form, weave them, as it were, a garment of flesh. This, if I mistake not, is the secret of the sublime mystery of our religion, “God manifest in the flesh," the

mystery of godliness," which removes it so far from a

mere system of ethics. God shines upon us from all that is bright and lovely, speaks to us from all that is true and holy, lives to us in all that is living. I see him in the sun and stars, in the green blade and opening flower ; I inhale him in the sweet breath and balmy fragrance of spring; I love him in the face and heart of my friend. All the true, the beautiful, the good, who speak to my soul, and entwine themselves with my affections, speak to me of God, are manifestations, and the brightest manifestations of the Godhead. Man is the Shekinah of God. It is not strange, then, that they who denied the divinity of the Son, should have been regarded by the Church as the virtual deniers of the Father. They do deny the Father, so far forth as he exists as an object of worship.

The error of the Church has been in not generalizing the truth she has contended for, in separating one visible manifestation of the Divinity from all connexion with others, who differ from that one only as one star differs from another in glory. The Church has contended for a general truth, a truth of all times, and of all worlds; but she has regarded it as a special truth, a truth in relation to one individual only. By this she has shorn it of its glory, almost lost sight of it, and entirely concealed it from the great mass of mankind. Nevertheless, she has held fast to it, and that is her praise. She will one day comprehend it better, and then we shall not be called upon to seek the living among the dead.

Our Protestant churches have misconceived this truth to an altogether greater extent than the Catholic church has done. They have driven the Divinity out of his works, and placed him beyond the reach of the heart, almost beyond the reach of the reason itself. But the Catholic church, in permitting the invocation of saints, and the worship of the Virgin, blest mother of God, has recognised and given it, consciously or unconsciously, her sanction. We have done great disservice to religion by dethroning the saints, those brilliant forms, which symbolized to our hearts the beauty of holiness; and in denying the divinity of the Virgin, did we but know it,



we have robbed the Godhead of all its sweetness, the universe of its living, loving heart, and given as an object of worship, only a stern, frowning, forbidding Majesty, before whom we cannot stand, and from whose presence we shrink with awe and terror. Our advance on Catholicism has, in too many respects, been a retrograde movement towards Judaism, a substitution of the Jewish Jehovah, with his stern and awful grandeur, for the mild and beneficent Creator revealed by Jesus. If, in any other respect, we have advanced, it has been in satisfying the demands of logic at the expense of the heart.

But to return. To fear God, I have said, is to stand in awe of his majesty, to reverence his wisdom, to love his goodness, and obey his will. This, practically, resolves itself into awe, love, reverence of and obedience to moral rectitude. They who stand in awe of the right, who are governed by a strict regard to it, who are

a always moved by pure and holy feeling, and exert themselves continually, with the whole energy of their being, to establish, extend, and consolidate the empire of righteousness, truth, love, peace, in their own souls and among their fellow-men, and who would shrink from the bare thought of doing otherwise, are those who, in a scriptural sense, may be said to fear the Lord, and in the language of my text, “the secret of the Lord is with them, and he will show unto them his covenant."

The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; that is, they who love, and reverence moral goodness, and labor diligently and conscientiously for its diffusion, know God, even the secret things of God. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." This means more than that God will reward the pure in heart for being pure, or that the pure in heart shall see and know God hereafter. There is a necessary connexion between purity of heart and seeing or knowing God. The pure heart as naturally takes cognizance of God, as the healthy eye, of shapes or colors.

This may seem a rash statement, but it is true. To

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