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ter, which cling to our most spiritual conceptions while reaching him through the material forms of nature by which he manifests himself, - as man's spirit through his bodily frame, let us think of him, as distinct from them all, as our own personality, or that of some friend, from the corporeal fabric we temporarily inhabit; and capable of admiration and love for human spirits as we feel ourselves to be, when their conduct is such as to elicit these emotions, we shall experience how ample the power of the great Father Spirit, so glorious in his character, so beneficent in his providence, and so benignant in the purposes of his grace, to excite the profoundest reverence of our minds, and to secure the most ardent devotion of our hearts.
And yet, show I unto you a more excellent way to accomplish what Job desired so strongly, to reach the seat, and repose upon the bosom of the true and living God. Accustomed, as we have said, to deal with facts and visible forms, the human mind sustains itself with difficulty, when driven along a course of abstruse speculation and hypothesis. And there is perhaps no topic in which the maintenance of its power of direct and firm progress is more precarious, than those which relate to the being and the constitution of an unseen God. The subject is so vast and vague, the object is so intangible and inappreciable by all the ordinary modes by which we pursue and acquire information! Now, frequently, nay, always, when we have suffered ourselves to be entangled in the mazes of intricate meditations on this theme, and the laboring thought has sunk under the weight of the oppressing mystery, and the most sacred realities of the spirit would have seemed fading into emptiness, and the sublime prospects of a future state, and the hopes of immortality, and the very being of God, and everything less corporeal than the poor, perishing materialities of this present world, have been shimmering in the mists of doubt, and threatening to go out in the darkness of an exhausted brain, how instant the transition effected by a resort to the series of plain facts recorded in the history of the Man, Christ Jesus! How conspicuous and encouraging the aspect of the re-revealed God! How clear the long, bright vista of life that stretches yonder, far past the limit of those open graves where
darkness ends, and light, increasing, boundless, endless light begins! And how lustrous the heaven, where, rescued from death, and redeemed from sin, and mingling with the angels, our race, our entire and happy race, beseige with song and acclamation that lofty throne, where sits the Sovereign, and the Saviour, and the Father God of all! Yes, a glance backward to the life, a recollection of the promises of Christ, and a look to the Cross, where he seals with his blood the truth of all he professed and taught, and the haze of doubt departs, and confidence returns; and while the present world sinks back in shadow, that to which it leads confronts us all a blaze with light, the light which pours from the face of him whom His Son discloses. Dizzy with wild and weary efforts to conceive of God, let us but turn to Christ, and there is such an air of homely and obvious truth in that Gospel life of his, as at once to put to flight all mystical illusions. For, won by the wisdom of his words, subdued by the power of his life, and satisfied by the evidence of his miracles, that he proceeded and came forth from God, when he speaks to us of the nature and design of the Divinity, we feel
assured he speaks only that which he had seen and heard in the bosom of God. Come to him, and cling to him, and no longer, like Job, shall we grope and cry, "Oh that I knew where I might find him, that I might come even to his seat!” Christ disperses the darkness from our minds, Christ furls away the clouds from the face of the Invisible, and the obscure void is filled with glory. Ah! and if we accede to his request, and give him, not only the assent of lour faith, but the custody of our hearts, - if we but suffer our feet to follow His along the path he hath opened for us, oh! pardon, peace, and joy, in the true and living God, who occupies the throne to which he leads us, we recognize and claim the Father of our Spirits, and the Saviour of our souls.
May the IIoly Spirit of the Father urge us into communion with the Son, that through the Son, we may reach and rest in the bosom of the Father.
INCENTIVES TO EFFORT.
BY REV. SAMUEL P. SKINNER.
“For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written : that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope."
- 1 Cor. ix. 9, 10.
The injunction, referred to in the text, was originally designed to secure humane treatment to the serviceable animal, which was the chief dependance of the Hebrews in their agricultural pursuits. The Apostle employs it, however, to illustrate the care of Providence. He was writing to the Christians at Corinth, who had relapsed into a state of inactivity, and had suspended the measures necessary for the support of the ministry among them, - apparently under the impression that their efforts were thrown away, or, that if the Gospel were really a divine truth, it ought