« ForrigeFortsett »
The last mentioned of the cases is peculiarly interesting, because of the glimpse it affords of the individual attachments and human affections of our Lord. Here it was that he restrained not even before many witnesses the appropriate expression of his especial regard for his deceased friend, and for the mourning sisters. Who is not ever ready to weep with Jesus over Lazarus ? But those precious tears having been wiped—those heavy grievous groans hushed-as he approaches the grave he was so soon to spoil of its victory, He reasserts his omnipotence-resumes, so to speak—the majesty of his Godhead; and amidst the solemn hush of the awe-struck spectators, in a voice of august sovereignty, he calls to the tenant of the tomb to "come forth." How would Lazarus meet the thrilling glance of his glorious friend? Methinks he must have fallen at his feet, in speechless adoration.
How many a dread and anxious thought do we expend in the wish to understand something of the secrets of the world unknown! There were at least three persons, in our Saviour's life time, who might have disclosed what death was, and what lay beyond. Even if it had not been recorded for our information, tradition, we are apt to think, might have preserved some vestige of a secret so all important, and so universally desiderated. Yet it has not been allowed so to be.
Various conjectures have been hazarded on this point. One is, that these persons were not really dead, but only in a trance or swoon of unconsciousness. This is at variance with the words of Scripture, which call them “dead," and Scripture is never intended to conceal aught, or mislead in any thing. The spirit had actually been separated from the body, and had existed in its separate state of consciousness-Why then when recalled did it not unfold the wonders of the land of spirits ? Some again say, the memory was rendered by God a blank on this head. The trace of their wildering journey through space -its portals and the mighty vision of unclouded realities—it was not permitted they should have any distinct recollection of. We think this conjecture is wrong too. We believe, the persons raised from death by the Lord, in the days of his flesh, quite remembered all they had experienced, but felt they were not at liberty to reveal it to others; nay, most probably, they had no language in which to express their appreciation of the spiritual state. We confirm this latter idea, by appealing to another who was privileged to visit Paradise (the intermediate state), and even the "third heaven” the especial abode of the Divine Glory. “He saw and heard, things it was not lawfulit was impossible for man to utter.”
Lazarus and the young girl most probably were recalled to earth from a glorious immortality for a time. They might regret it, but undoubtedly they would be content, since it was their Divine Master's will. And what a life of holy spirituality they would henceforward lead here below: redolent of heaven, surely, must have been their converse and behaviour ; and gladly would they meet again the summons that should command them there for ever. It might have been that the other individual was respited from a world of woe, and without doubt the lengthened day of grace would be then so highly prized, and so diligently improved, that soul as well as body would be finally rescued.
The omnipotent power of the Lord Jesus Christ, which we have thus seen exerted over the spiritual as well as the material world, incontrovertibly proves his Supreme Divinity; it was no delegated authority, such as he committed to his apostles, who wrought many miracles in his name—but the fleshlyveiled and yet majestic grace of Deity shone forth in every act, till the multitude were compelled to acknowledge that “ a Great Prophet had risen up among them, and that God had indeed visited his people.” Far as the disembodied soul had winged its way, with the swiftness of the lightning, it could not speed beyond his control — beyond the reach of his authoritative energy—the lowest whisper of whose thrilling voice could reach it in the abyss of hell or the highest heaven. Can such omnific influence be less than that of the Godhead ?
May our Divine Redeemer hasten the time, when none of the creatures he has made shall dare blaspheme his name, by imputing to delegated power such deeds as we have been feebly contemplating-thus robbing him of his glory, and the sinner of his most precious hope, and may we ever cling to his Essential Divinity as the surest rock of our salvation !
THE YOUTH THAT FAINTS NOT. " ALL things are full of labor," said the wise man, “man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing."
Yet this labor assumes usually the form of a blessing rather than a curse. How laborious are half of our recreations; but we call them pastimes, and thus cheat them of all that would be wearying and painful. The eye finds real enjoyment in seeing, and the ear in hearing-yet neither of them yields any permanent satisfaction. “ Vanity of vanities, all is vanity."
What an amazing amount of pleasant toil our children go through every day of their lives; and it is often matter of more wonder that they get through so much, than that they are fairly tired out before the evening. Advance a stage or two, and look at our youths at school. What a true picture is sketched by a true poet, of their pleasant recess from book-tasks, and the dull routine of in-door occupations.
“ 'Twas in the prime of summer time,
An evening calm and cool,
Came bounding out of school-
Like troutlets in a pool.” Yet all this hearty and boisterous activity will, sooner or later, wear itself out—the youths shall at last “faint and be weary."
It is no less true of moral than of physical labor. The mind young and ardent, soon gets interested in its studies, whatever be their character; and increase of appetite appears to grow by what it feeds on. It toils long and perseveringly, scarcely conscious that it toils at all. Its midnight hours, like the years of Jacob's servitude to Laban, seem as nothing for the love that moves it on. Yet, by and by, it tires out, partly from excess, and partly from disappointment. It is over-worked and underpaid. The means are insupportably laborious; and the end is unsatisfying. “Even the youths shall faint, and be weary.”
And why should it be so ? God is Mind; and the culture and discipline of our mental natures cannot be displeasing to him. Strictly speaking it cannot, but popularly interpreted, it
often is. We may train and cultivate and discipline in the wrong direction, or with unworthy ends. “To cultivate anything," says a great man of our own time—“be it a plant, an animal, a mind, is to make grow. Growth, expansion, is the end. Nothing admits culture, but that which has a principle of life, capable of being expanded. He, therefore, who does what he can to unfold all his powers and capacities, especially his nobler ones, so as to become a well-proportioned, vigorous, healthy, happy being, practises self-culture.”
But a well-proportioned, vigorous, healthy mind, is not an end. It is but the machinery by which the majestic destinies of humanity are to be arrived at. Nor is it in itself the means, even, of true happiness. The greatest minds have failed in attaining this, because they wilfully overlooked the great fact, that God himself was the sole arbiter in so momentous a question. The elements of true happiness lie without the mind beyond it and above it—the capacity to receive and retain this happiness, to mould and to elaborate, is all that we possess. No wonder, then, if our hungerings and thirstings should remain unsatisfied till we become sensible of our true position, and honestly desirous of securing that “better part which shall not be taken away from us.”
The views of God, given us in the Bible, are adapted to meet every case—every contingency. The world offers a gross insult to this book when it supposes, that like the abused offices of the church, it is to be called in only in the immediate prospect of eternity. Sickness, trials, old age-these, they say, are the cases which require the interference of the Great Physician; but youth-elastic, bounding, buoyant, fearless, happy, untiring youth-what has that season to do with the sober, solemnizing, truths of inspiration ?
Much every way. Hear what Isaiah says, and think well
“Hast thou not known ? hast thou not heard, “That the everlasting God-the Creator of the ends of the earth, “ Fainteth not, neither is weary ? there is no searching of His
understanding. " He giveth power to the faint, and to them that have no might he
“Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall
utterly fall. “ But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength ; “ They shall mount up with wings as eagles ; “ They shall run, and not be weary—they shall walk and not faint."
What an inimitable fitness in the Sustainer to the sustained ! What a happy affinity there may be between the youth and his Maker! And how suggestive is the contrast where this relation does not exist! God “fainteth not neither is weary;" while the youth is about to sink down-his ardor overborne in spite of his natural energy_his mind succumbing to the pressure of physical and mental labor.
Pointedly, indeed, does this text address every one of our readers. “You," it seems to say, "young as you are, and full of hope and life-you--the youths of your day--shall faint and be weary: your strength shall be spent for nought, exhaustless and well directed as you seem to think it, unless you come to Him who gives power to the faint, and wait upon the Lord who never wearies.”
There is a great philosophical truth here which metaphysicians often overlook. Mental studies, prosecuted with all the ardour and indomitable perseverance of youth, lead sometimes to heart-sickness and confusion. They have neither beginning nor end, conducting us from unproved principles to incomplete conclusions, till the overwrought and unsatisfied mind "faints and is weary."
But how the case brightens when our youthful studies are directed Godward! And why? The text shall teach us“There is no searching of His understanding." You can never experience satiety or disappointment in the pursuit of those great truths which are essentially and emphatically the soul's health, food, and medicine. “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength,”—they shall change it, according to the strict letter of the Hebrew, laying hold at each advance of just such and so much as they require. If their progress be slow and toilsome-if they "walk” with measured and painful step through the waste howling wilderness of dry but needful discipline and doctrine, learning, like their Great Master, obedience by the things they suffer—"they shall not faint.”