Sivut kuvina

peace; thereby good shall come unto you. Receive, I pray you, the law from his mouth, and lay up his words in your hearts. If ye return to the Almighty, ye shall be built up; you shall put away iniquity far from your tabernacles.” Then, instead of the briers and thorns which your former negligence suffered to grow, you will see “the fir-tree and the myrtle-tree" grace the moral soil around you. Instead of the painful spectacle of children and domestics running riot in vanity, and falsehood, and every vice, you will behold your sons" as plants grown up in their youth, and your daughters as corner-stones, polished after the similitude of a palace,”

[ocr errors]



The religion of Christ is the only system of moral truth which provides for the best interests of man in all his possible relations. To do this it meets him precisely as he is, in all of them. There is no tendency in any of its principles to delude him. It presents him with no lattering portrait of himself; but deals with him as a fallen, erring, and depraved creature. As such, it addresses him in his every capacity-his personal, his social, his relative; and that with a view to heal and to restore. There breathes throughout our holy religion a spirit of commiseration and benevolence, so winning, yet so dignified, as to prove itself divine. There is a wisdom in it, claiming our serious, our undivided attention, with an earnestness and an authority which belong only to absolute truth. It cries, “ Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is unto the sons of men.

Oye simple, understand wisdom; and ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart. Hear, for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things. For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips.” The voice to which we are thus summoned to attend, reveals to us both our bane and our antidote. On the one hand, it tells us faithfully and forcibly of the guilt and bitterness of our departure from God; and on the other, kindly and compassionately points us to the way of return to God, and recovery of life and happiness. This is its great object. The chief mercy of God in redeeming mankind is the grand burden of the voice that speaks to us from his word. For the revelation and offer of this mercy has his word been sent to

But that word is perfect: it bears upon every element of man's well-being through his entire existence. It is a code of instructions “profitable unto all things;" 'providing for the concerns of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” It is true, that it has, for its grand and leading article, our instruction in the only refuge appointed for our guilty race; but it claims also the supreme and exclusive direction of all our visible conduct. It follows us with its rules and its counsels into every grade we can occupy; into every position, every employment, every relation we can sustain in life. In each of these it requires us to be formed on its own principles. He whose name we bear, in saving us from our sins, puts us into his service;—a service, not only compatible with the existence of all our social relations; but which, in a great measure, consists in the right discharge of their various duties. Accordingly, the precepts and admonitions of his word extend to all the condi. tions, and to all the shades of difference in the conditions, of men among themselves. They regard the happiness of society at large, and lay down the law for the rich and the poor; for governors, and for the governed; for parents, and for children; for masters, and for servants; as well as for all that hold offi.


And ye

cial stations in the institutions of society. To show you this, I need only refer you to the 6th chapter of Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians, from the 1st to the 9th verse inclusive:

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honour thy father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise; that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. fathers, provoke not your children to wrath ; but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening ; knowing that your master also is in heaven: neither is there any respect of persons with him."

[ocr errors]
« EdellinenJatka »