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should one make sacrifices to the call of duty? Sacrifices, when all is so soon over- to labor and suffer for the good of others, to peril happiness and life, when in a few years or days existence will be ended — what an absurdity! The natural and reasonable language of such men is, if their appetites are strong, let us eat and drink and enjoy, for tomorrow we die; or if their passions are strong, let us gain fame, wealth, power, and enjoy, for to-morrow we die. Nay; it is faith in immortality and in the righteous government of God, that gives a meaning to all the nobler qualities of the soul. If these doctrines are not true, what is the worth of disinterestedness, justice, truth, further than they are requisite as a passport to the pleasures and profits of life? All beyond is idle and profitless. But if man is immortal, and these virtues eternal and the source of all blessedness and hope, then they acquire an infinite value, and no men have been so wise as they who have sacrificed ease, comfort and life itself, rather than lose one jot or tittle of truth, kindness, or integrity; no man wiser than he, whose heroic and constant soul enabled him under the executioner's axe to say, 'it is not necessary for me to live, but it is necessary for me to speak the truth.' If these doctrines are not true, nothing is more flat, fallen and worthless than all the ends and aims that good men propose to themselves. It is the doctrine of immortality that spreads the arch of heaven over the earth. It is this, and the doctrine of the righteous government of God, that lift up the virtues till their worth appears infinite-till the humblest grace of soul appears of more value than the glare and gold of empires-till over the wastes of earthly life the moral virtues rise up like mountain pinnacles, on which the sun's rays rest when all is the darkness of evening in the valleys below. Thus these doctrines enforce morality, by giving to it a higher value.

And when men cannot be induced to seek it because of its intrinsic worth, still they enforce it. The doctrine of Retribution; let it be declared in any authentic voice from heaven, that there is no retribution-vice has nothing to fear, virtue nothing to hope beyond the grave, and where would be the morals of mankind? It is this doctrine which, like the vast but unheeded power of gravitation in the natural world, keeps down the swelling passions, the unregulated appetites of men, checks the excesses of power, and puts a curb on selfishness. It is a mighty sea-wall, built

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out in front of the harbor of life. If so many are wrecked now within these sheltered and protected waters, what would be the fate of man if all lay open and exposed to the breaking sea of temptation? Wo unto the world, when the only motives to truth and justice, and the only restraints on human appetite and selfishness, are to be found in calculations of worldly interest. The final hour is striking. Ast in Jerusalem, in her last days of despair, the voice of the departing angels must soon be heard proclaiming, Wo! wo! for the hour is come.

Very much, certainly, is said in the New Testament, respecting the moral duties of life, and the final purpose of all its doctrines is to establish righteousness on the earth. Even in the Epistles of Paul, large portions of them are occupied with enforcing the common duties of morality. But he did not speak of them alone. He had first preached Jesus and the resurrection. "For the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised." "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, inasmuch as ye know that your labor shall not be in vain in the Lord." He did not leave the duty to stand alone. It was the doctrine, that gave authority to the duty. Morality spake with authority, because it came forward under the awful sanction of a resurrection and a righteous judgment. Nothing would be so powerless as any preaching which should attempt to separate morality from those doctrines of religion, in which they find their root and support. There must, of course, be many exceptions, but the prevalent, average morality in common life will rise no higher than the prevalent, average religious faith. Though they seem to be separate, one is the result of the other. Thus the child goes down to the wharf, and sees the tide rise inch by inch, creeping up the side of the ancient piers. The stranded boat at length floats, and the ship that swayed over in its bed is lifted up by the in-coming waves. The child sees nothing wonderful in this, and does not dream that the rising waters reach beyond the bay on which he lives. But the better instructed man knows, in order that the tide may come into this retired inlet, and float the boat which lay on the sands, that the whole abyss of ocean must be stirred, that a mighty tide over the whole length of the



earth, following invisible skyey influences, must move in majestic and resistless march, circling the globe. That the waters may rise a few inches higher against this sunken pier, in this narrow inlet, the unfathomed and boundless sea must be moved and swell to a corresponding height. So it is with the duties of morality. In order that the humblest of them, in the humblest home of Christendom, may rise above what is required by worldly interest and selfish gratification, all the powers of the spiritual world must be moved, and pour in a swelling tide of motive on which the soul may be upborne, and on which it may be sustained. If morality be better than a low worldliness, it is owing to the influx and nearer approach to the souls of men, of those great truths which rule over the realm of soul, and connect the conscience on earth with a God in heaven.

To leave this topic for another;-the importance of Christian doctrines is seen in their relation to devotional feeling. Devotion, a true and right devotion, depends very much on their hearty reception and appreciation.

What is devotion? A devout mind is one which dwells much among the solemn realities which those doctrines reveal; to which God and immortality, and all heavenly graces and excellencies are realities to be adored, and sought; which dwells not, like the eye of the astronomer, among the stars alone, but among those realities which shall endure when suns and stars fade away forever. A devout mind is one which is filled and fed and sanctified and moved, in all its springs of love and hope, by these great truths of heaven. The temple of devotion is reared from these truths, and its august dome resounds with words. of immortality, heaven and God.

Strike its doctrines out of the New Testament, and Christian devotion is gone; its object and inspiration, its quickening breath and kindling soul, gone. It is because men believe that there is a God, and a heaven, and an immortal life, and regions of purity and peace, that they rear temples and bow in worship. It is under this sky of faith alone that devotion springs and grows.

On the other hand,-acting both as cause and effect, it requires a devout and reverential state of mind to understand and appreciate these truths. The truth to be understood, and the mind to understand, must in some degree correspond to each other. Thus while the study of poetry

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purifies and enlarges the imagination, poetry is dead and unintelligible to him whose imagination is not in an active state. To understand questions of duty, it is not enough for the intellect to examine them, but the moral faculties must be alive and active. So in order to understand these great doctrines of religion and of God, they must be be studied with a devout and reverential mind. To discover and appreciate them, much more is necessary than a mere cold intellectual criticism and examination. As well might you attempt to discover the life in the green foliage of the summer trees by means of frost. Still less are these doctrines to be studied in a controversial spirit. Error may be done away, but it may be doubted whether truth is often much advanced, by controversy. Those who have done most to promote Christian truth, have in general done it in quiet and in silence. In retired studies, in devout meditations, when the soul was full of the divine presence, as to the patriarch in the midnight plain of Haran, as to the prophet in his solitary cave, the vision and the voice. have come to them. After they have once entered fully into the storm and strife of controversy, they have made little advance in truth, and far more often have turned and warped the truth they had before gained into error. Controversy seems to paralyze the faculties which are necessary really to understand spiritual truth. The clang and jar of earthly passions confuse and bewilder the harmonies that come from heaven. Not long ago on leaving a place in the evening, where contested views of religion had been brought forward, our road led us along a hill-side, below which, in the valley, a river spreading itself out and gleaming darkly like a mirror, wound still and slow. looked down upon it, the stars were seen reflected from its surface the vast concave of heaven imaged below, like that which was arched above. But presently the slightest breath of wind, so slight that it could scarcely be felt as it rustled past, ruffled the stream, and the sky beneath was at once gone, and the reflection was no longer as if the stars were shining up out of an infinite deep, but as if they were merely glittering spangles scattered in confusion over the stream. A little breath of wind, and the beauty and glory and grandeur were alike gone. But on looking upward, there was quite another scene. Over the western

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hills shone with lustrous beams, the planet "that rules the evening hour." Turning a little, and the northern star might be seen, holding its place, steadfast as the pole. Though winds might blow and tempest beat all around us on the earth, whoever looked should see them fixed. Nay, at that moment, on the tossing seas, from a thousand unsteady decks, mariners were looking up at these undying lights, and by their unfailing flames guiding themselves across the deep. But they were steadfast and immovable, not to those who looked down to their shifting reflection in the waves below, but to those who looked up to them in the skies above. He that would see them as they are, and be guided by them, must look up. It seemed to us that it was a commentary on the way in which we should look at the great doctrines of religion. Look down and see them as they are reflected in the great sea of human controversy, and as that reflection is broken and disturbed by gusts of human passion, and nothing can be more bewildering and deluding. But look up, and there they shine, with unchanging beams, the very lights of heaven, forever. It is the devout mind, humbly and reverently looking upward, opening the soul, not to the reflected, but to the direct beams of truth, that sees them in their true position, and feels their power. The devout and trusting mind that most reverently looks to God, and most seriously seeks His will, is the one that is best prepared to understand the truths of God.

Think not lightly then of the doctrines of Christianity. They are the foundation, as of rock, which should lie under all morality. They enforce and dignify the humblest moral duties with divine motives, and guide their performance with divine light. They show the beneficent uses of sorrow, and make it appear that suffering for conscience' sake is not a wild enthusiasm, but a divine wisdom. They touch and hallow humble scenes, by connecting them with God. They give another world to reason and to faith, and heavenly visions to the hopes of man. They come with help to the tempted, the penitent, and forsaken. And when in desolation and mourning we lay the bodies of those we love, in their last resting-place, we do not, like those of old, light a lamp in the tomb, to shine with dim, perpetual rays on the relics of death, and the symbols of despair; for over the tomb, and in the heavens, shines the light of faith, by which we read of a resurrection. E. P.

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