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do things physical grow and mature. The turn to a brighter picture. “They go flower is blighted; the tree is stunted; from strength to strength." the stature of the human being arrested Here is progression on the grandest in its progress; and everywhere excep- scale, in the noblest direction. We are tions may be found to the general rule. always in our heart thirsting for such a But moral growth is a necessary thing. progression; it is the instinct of our It cannot be that a pause should take being—it is the best and highest demonplace in the growth and developments stration of our immortality. The Gospel of our spiritual being. As surely as we alone satisfies this instinct. Through it are now holy or unholy, so surely must we are made holy; but not to terminate we advance perpetually in one or other exertion-not to justify indolence. We of these directions; we must either pro- are called upon to fight, to run, to gress upwards in greater nearness to God, wrestle with powers, principalities, and the Perfect One, or we must progress spiritual wickedness in high places. For downwards, sink into deeper baseness, what purpose ? To obtain a yet grander and approximate to the image of the victory over moral evil; to rise from exfallen spirit, the father of lies, and master cellence to excellence: to “add to our of all wickedness.
faith, virtue ; and to virtue, knowledge; For we would direct your attention to and to knowledge, temperance; and to this fact, that if there is progression in temperance, patience; and to patience, holiness, there is also progression in sin. godliness; and to godliness, brotherlyJust as great and imperative a necessity kindness; and to brotherly-kindness, exists in the one case as in the other. charity." There is growth, then, in the Examples of this law are not wanting in Christian life, as well as in physical and the present world. The progressive de- moral life. We cannot be at once pergradation of man is a spectacle familiar fect. My brethren, we shall never be and common to every-day experience. perfect-for God only is absolutely wise, The greatest of criminals were once com- just, and good. paratively innocent: they were once like But the text declares we shall ever be the little children whom Jesus blessed growing perfect. We were made for and folded in his arms. Step by step this; we were destined for eternal adthey have fallen. One sin has conducted vances ; we shall never grow old or to another, and that of a deeper and weary; our being shall be always freshdarker dye; habit has induced habit; always vigorous-possessed of immortal crime has necessitated crime; evil has | youth, with ever expanding powers and · become familiar and seductive; tenden- ever accumulating attainments. cies have been fixed, propensities con- I have now to notice another charac. firmed ;-80 that wrong-doing has at last teristic of Christian progression-it is become the very putriment and bread of IMPERCEPTIBLE. The progress of a soul life. And such a course is every way in holiness and love is seen only in reanalogous to the future progression in sults, in the humble walk-in the beautiwickedness of the finally impenitent. ful life. This, indeed, is a feature of all What exhibition can be more dreadful growth, physical and moral. We do not than that of a lost soul receding from see the unfolding process, the steps and God and goodness for ever and ever; stages involved in the part of a perpetual deepening eternally in infamy and degra- advancement. We do not witness, for dation; attaining, by sure degrees, to a example, the grass growing; we cannot, blacker and blacker character-a more as it were, detect it in the act of shooting monstrous exaggeration of moral vile- upward. We are only conscious that in ness; and becoming, every day and hour, certain intervals of time it has grown. a picture of more hideous and revolting We cannot watch the developments of a depravity-& shocking and deplorable sown seed; the disruption of its parts; spectacle to the universe of God ? their decay and absorption in the mould;
Let us leave so terrible a theme, and the new life germinating beneath the
surface; the mysterious processes of true type of the silent, IMPERCEPTIBLE nature through which it is evolved. We growth of the spiritual sanctuary in man's are only spectators of the wonderful re- soul, reared up by the Holy Spirit for his sult, the upspringing from corruption of own indwelling Stone after stone is the new plant, and its onward progress added to the ascending structure; but no to maturity and perfection. What man, man witnesses the silent and impressive of wisdom and science has fathomed the operations of the heavenly workman, beautiful mystery of the transformation / “This is the Lord's doing, and it is marof a miserable grub into the radiant vellous in our eyes.” creature, which, type of a nobler resur. Another characteristic of Christian rection,-rises from its long entombment progression is this-it BEGINS AND IS to unfold its painted wings, and sport in CARRIED ON IN THE PRESENT WORLD. the brief sunshine of a summer's day? This is true of the new birth, and it is also And what eye, but the pitying eye of a true of the soul's growth. There is, inloving God, has looked upon the pangs deed, nothing that is strictly new in the and throes which mark the advent of a life of heaven. It is only a difference in soul's new birth? The man is a new degree and not in kind. Holiness is not creature; but we cannot enumerate or created there ; it is only confirmed and trace the steps which have finally con- made perfect. Love is not an attribute ducted to the great change. “ The wind peculiar to the upper sanctuary; it is bloweth where it ligteth, and thou learest vot dependent for its life and growth on the sound thereof, but canst not tell the nature of the influences by which whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: it is surrounded. It is not a rare and so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” | exotic plant, which lives only in sunny
And, as in the commencement, so in climes and balmy atmospheres, and droops the advancement of this growth. It is at the first touch of the northern blast; silent; it is imperceptible. No discoveries it is a hardy plant, natural to all soils, are made of the wonder-working power maturing in spite of influences the most of the Holy Spirit. We read, in the unpropitious, flowering in the wastes and Book of Kings, a remarkable character wildernesses of the world, and shedding istic of the Temple of Solomon, which its precious fragrance where everything furnishes an appropriate illustration of apart from it is barrenness and desolathe present subject. “And the house, tion. The life of heaven is simply the when it was in building, was built of life of earth prolonged, deepened, and instone, made ready before it was brought tensified. This is a very solemn and imthither; so that there was neither hammer, pressive truth. It tells us, in plain lannor axe, nor any tool of iron heard in the guage, that if we are not holy and loving house when it was in building.” What now, we cannot be holy and loving herean impressive spectacle must that build. \ after. There are links of inseparable ing have been in the process of construc- connection between our present and our tion! Rising gradually in all its stateli future states. That which has been, is; ness—in all its harmony of parts-in all and there is nothing new under the sun. its wonderful magnificence and beauty; The past has made us what we are, and yet all silently-no other sound heard the present will make us what we shall than the footsteps of workmen, or the be. Youth is the parent of manhood, voice of the architects, with solemn and manhood of age, and life of eternity. subdued tones, issuing their orders; pile “ He that is filthy, let him be filthy still; after pile appearing without the appli- he that is righteous, let him be righteous apices of axe or hammer, as if human still,” If, then, you would reach heaven, agencies were unemployed-as if this you must become heavenly now; you were indeed a temple not made with must put on heaven's character, and bands—the surprising creation of an un- enter into heaven's employments, and seen and spiritual intelligence. The enjoy a foretaste of heaven's felicities. building, breibren, of this temple, is a And be assured that, if you are not justified and sanctified on earth, you cannot | There are some thoughts that we cannot be so in heaven ; if you die with your utter-that fill and possess the mindsoul dead to holiness, you must live for that are too great to be grasped and exever without being quickened; if you are pressed by human language. What not renewed in the spirit of your mind could Isaiah say in presence of the grand here, you cannot be renewed hereafter; vision of the Lord sitting on a throne, for character is fixed by death, and high and lifted up, and his train filled stereotyped by eternity.
the Temple! What, in presence of this I remark, in the last place, that Chris- august revelation of the Divine Majesty, tian progression is an ETERNAL THING. could the prophet say, but, “Woe is me, This is a blessed truth; blessed because I am undone?” What, but language stamthere is much here to create discourage- mering and incoherent, could a map like ment and awaken despair. We can never Paul use, who had passed into the third be perfect on earth, and we do not ex heaven, and heard unspeakable words, pect we can. And why are we, there which it was not possible for a man to fore, so often mourning, so often disposed utter? and what, if we were transported to cease from our efforts and abandon to the inaccessible glory, and gazed upon our Christian course! Oh! it is not from the vision beatific, and mingled with the our want of perfection, but our want of harpers standing on the sea of glass, ability to preserve whatever of Christian harping with their harps, and our eyes perfection we have made our own. were filled with the light of the city
We mourn our weakness and wayward which hath no need of the sun, and our ness, our want of consistency, our fre- ears filled with that undying music which quent declensions, our lamentable fallings floats through the upper sanctuary-what away from our early faith and our first account could be given by us of our Patlove. Well may our souls be humbled; mos vision ? We should stand as dumb well may we weep in bitterness, when then as we do now. What avail our we think that, in spite of all that the Sa- laboured efforts of description ? why tax viour has done and suffered, in spite of imagination to create a scene that is inthe grace and assistance of the promised conceivable? The poet may exhaust his Spirit, we are still found worldly and imagery, the painter may exhaust his selfish, still indulging in the pleasures of colouring, and what ideas have we gained sense, still forced to exclaim, “My lean- | from the pictures of both? Better far is ness, my leanness!” and this, too, in the the simple but powerful language of the midst of all our light and all our privi- sacred volume. Infinitely more expres. leges. Oh, how blessed, how comfort. sive its faint sketches, its shadowy iming the assurance, that all this will have perfect outlines, that trace out as it were no place in the heavenly state! All hin the majestic picture, and leave us to muse drances, all obstructions to our spiritual upon it, and fill it up as best we may, advancement, whether arising from within with its undepicted splendours. or without, shall be taken out of the way, “From strength to strength.” Ponder and removed for ever. Never again shall for ever on these words—you can never sin defile us, never again shall we know expound their meaning. What can we a doubt, never shall the heart be the seat learn from them more than this the onof coldness, never shall our zeal decline, ward and ever onward career of a soul in nor our love languish. The race that is heaven? The eye of the eagle it is said set before us we shall run without wea- grows brighter and brighter the higher it riness, without an encumbering weight, soars and the more it drinks in the glory and separate for ever from the sin which of the risen sun. And the higher a doth so easily beset us. There is no goal Christian rises, the nearer his approach to that race--it is eternal.
to the fountain of light and purity, the In concluding our remarks on this sub more will his own being be expanded and ject, we are filled with profound appre- glorified ; his strength will be greater, hepsion of its richness and sublimity. his beauty more exceeding beautiful, his zeal more ardent, his love more seraphic. further advances, from which you shall Oh, wbat a view is here opened up to speedily mount up to essay, with tireless those who have looked on the glory of wing, a sublimer height, and reach forthe Lord, and been changed into the ward to a grander contemplation. sume image! One stage of perfection “ They that wait on the Lord shall shall be reached, only to conduct you up- renew their strength; they shall mount ward to another and higher.
| up with wings as eagles; they shall run Like the traveller among Alpine ranges, and not be weary; they shall walk and you may clamber to a steep ascent, and not faint." imagine that before you, the vision is “Beloved, now are we the sons of God: clear, and the prospect boundless. But and it doth not yet appear what we the summit that shall then be attained, shall be; but we know that when he shall be only a platform to raise you to shall appear we shall be like him."
A FEW WORDS ON TRAINING.
“ Train up a child in the way he should go.'
TRAINING is not teaching merely a child bably, to be a selfish and self-willed young what it ought to do; it is this, and a great man. His mother sees it, and suffers deal more.
| from it; but she wonders bow such a There may be a right teaching which temper or disposition should shew itdoes no good; because, along with it, self in her Peter! and consoles herself there is a wrong training which does with the thought, that whatever is the much harm.
cause of so mysterious a dispensation, "Give me some of that,” said a peevish- from no fault in her could it have come, looking boy of about seven or eight years nor “from want of telling." That day in of age to his mother, who was seated on the steamer, for instance, Peter was prothe deck of a steamer in which I hap- bably taught many more lessons even pened to be lately. The mother had than I heard ;-such as, not to be selfish, some eatables in her hand. “Hold your not to ask things which he was assured, tongue, Peter,” replied the mother; "you on a' mother's word, he would not get. won't get it.” “I want that," again de But while thus taught a number of duties manded Peter, with increased earnest- in words, to what was he trained in pracness. “I tell you," said the mother, tice? What, but to have no faith in a looking at him, " you will not get it. Is mother's word; to have no regard to a that not enough for you? Go and play mother's wishes and commands; to hold yourself, and be a good boy.” “But I want out with dogged obstinacy, and he was that,” reiterated Peter, beginning to sulk sure, in the long run, to have his own and look displeased. “What a laddie!” | way; and, when all else failed, to be exclaimed the mother. “Have I not sulky and cry, and his mother would told you twenty times never to ask a certainly reward him by giving him all thing when I say that you are not to get he asked for! Do you not perceive that it?" "I want that," cried Peter, more there is some difference between teaching violently than ever, bursting into tears. and training? " Here ! ” said the mother, “take it, and in another chapter I will say somebe quiet. I am sure I never, in all my thing about how children should be life, saw such a bad boy!”
trained. I only wish you, at present, to Alas! poor boy, he had more reason, understand what training implies. if he only knew it, to complain of his Its object is to help the young to form mother.
good habits,-not only to teach them what This same boy, Peter, grows up, pro- 'it is right to be or to do, though this instruction is an essential element in train-resigned themselves as slaves to the ing, but to aid them to be right, and do direction and control of some master of right, according to the instruction given athletic arts, under whose iron discipline them.
they had many things to do, and many The training of the mind may be illus- things to endure,-to become patient of trated by the training of the body. You cold, and heat, and hunger, and thirst, have heard of men being “ trained” to and watching, and painfulness, and weari. perform some feat demanding great mus- ness, and all but intolerable hardships. cular strength and exertion, such as To a training, thus toilsome and intense, the walking or running a certain number of children of the noblest commonwealths of miles within a certain given time. Such Greece, the kings and princes of her hundred persons put themselves under what is colonies, were wont to submit themselves termed a course of training, in which the without repining, with all the activeness trainer, who prepares them for their in- and alacrity of a voluntary choice. Yet tended display, does not content himself all this was but the prelude, and the prewith “ telling” them what to do, or paration for the race which was to gain a merely prescribing rules to them; but corruptible crown!"" Far be it from he subjects them to a hard discipline day me to affirm, that Christian habits may by day; and only after a long and severe not be formed without such iron rule as course of self-denial, are they at last fitted this; or that the sunny Christian home to perform the task they have under. must be converted into a hard and intaken. The apostle Paul selects the exorable "house f correction!” But, runners in the famous races at Corinth, nevertheless, every one who is, in truth, who sought to gain a corruptible crown a disciple of Christ must be disciplined, of green leaves, as illustrations of the and such habits formed as require real earnest striving which should characterize self-denial. Christians who are called to run the race I have said that training has especial set before them, for “a crown which reference to the formation of Habits. fadeth not away;" and accordingly, the Now we all know what is meant by a training to which those Greeks were habit. It is well described as being a obliged to submit may also, in some re- second nature. It is called a nature, bespects, illustrate the less severe, indeed, cause the thing done is easily done, and but not less real, discipline which Christ- comes as it were naturally to us; and it jans demand who are preparing to run is a second nature, because the habit is the race set before them in the Gospel. not born with us, but acquired. The law The apostle says of the Corinthian run- of habit, as it is termed, is this, that what ners, that they were obliged to be “tem- we do frequently, and with a good will, perate in all things :" or, to quote the we learn to do easily. Every person is, language of an able writer upon this more or less, “a bundle of habits.” Most point,—"They exerted an habitual self- of these have been acquired so impercepcommand-they kept in check every tibly, or possessed for so many years, that desire—they denied themselves every in they seem to belong to our first rather than dulgence - they abstained from every to our second nature. Thus, walking, employmentthey rejected every luxury, speaking or reading a language, are obwhich might tend to enervate their viously mere habits. We learned them; vigour, or clog their agility, or tame their and, if we think they cost no trouble or courage; they observed a stated regimen effort, just let us watch children, and see - they trained themselves by laborious what time they take, what difficulties exercises—they used a thousand painful they overcome, and what trouble it gives and distasteful arts to brace their nerves, them before they learn to walk steadily, sharpen their perceptions, and mature to speak intelligibly, or to read tolerably. their skill; they kept their bodies under, Every mechanic who learns bis trade, has and brought them into subjection; they but acquired a habit of doing easily and parted with their freedom for a time, and well what, without repeated efforts for