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but life says Come. The Christian instinct of our hearts tells us that he has heard the voice of God saying, Come up hither.” Death no longer terrifies, no longer repels; but the higher life beyond attracts. We see the many mansions there waiting for God's children. The friends who have gone before us are there to receive and welcome
New work is there, new inspiration, new love, new hope.
Therefore we are also ourselves willing to go when God says come ; so we can bid our friends go when God says to them come, knowing that while they go from us, to all those on the other side they really come.
The old religions put God above the world as maker and ruler. He issued his commands from that supreme throne to the universe ; established laws and gave orders. He made the winds his angels and lightnings his messengers. He said to his creatures, “Go and do this, go,
and do that," and they must not reply, nor ask the why nor the how
“ He frowns, and darkness veils the moon,
The fainting sun grows sick at noon,
Tremble and start at his reproof.”
But when the gospel comes to us it gives us another view of the Almighty. He is not the mighty monarch now; not the Oriental Despot sitting in secluded and awful grandeur. He is the Heavenly Father the ever
present Friend. He is the pervading life beauty, joy of the universe. He lives undivided, he operates unspent. He fills the flowers with their beauty in the depths of the eternal forests; he smiles in the immeasurable laughter of the far-rolling ocean; he warms in the sun and refreshes in the breeze ; he descends into the smallest insect to give it its happy day of life, and he no doubt cared for the soul of the trilobite in the oldest geological epoch as certainly as he cares for your soul and mine to-day. He is the safety of the universe. Nothing can fail, nothing can go wrong, while he is above all, and beneath all, and around all, and within all. Myriads of angels and archangels, of powers more majestic than our thought can conceive, serve and obey and love him. Intellects of such vast comprehension that our highest imagination cannot perceive their grandeur fall prostrate at his footstool. But he can also descend in sympathy to the lowest forms of life. He says to the Cherubim with eyes full of the flame cf divine knowledge; to Seraphim, all aglow with divine love; “Come to me and have rest in my perfect life,”—and he says to the infusorial animalcule of tropic seas, “Come to me and be safe.”
Our God, the God and Father of Jesus Christ, is the God who says evermore,
“Come!” He leaves none of his children orphaned. He sends none away. His ear is open to all their cries.
His mercy endures forever. His love was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.
There is but one fatal heresy - it is that which limits. the power, the wisdom, or the love of God. Whatever shuts God in so that he cannot love, help and save his creatures unless they belong to this church, or accept this creed, or adopt this method of salvation, belittles the Almighty, and really worships a finite being instead of the infinite.
Let us lift up our hearts ! Let us open our souls to this present inspiration! Let us believe in the heavenly Father, not the local king, not the finite judge. This is the voice which says evermore from out of the deep blue Heavens, “Come to me ! ” This voice is answered by the innumerable multitudes of living souls which people the boundless universe, “We come to thee !” This voice commands an unlimited trust, invites to an entire repose, in the majestic order of which love is the beginning and love the end.
THE THREE SALVATIONS.
FROM THE PAST, IN THE PRESENT, FOR THE FUTURE.
WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED ?
EFORE discussing a subject, it is very important to
define the terms of the question. Falling to do this, disputes become eternal, difficulties insoluble. Consider, for example, the Scriptural words, “ Saviour," "salvation," “ to be saved.” They have given rise to endless theological discussions, some of which, I think, might easily be terminated, if the disputants had commenced by defining the terms they were using, and had made a few simple, but important distinctions.
Men ask, for instance, “How does Christ save us?” and “ How is he a Saviour ?" “He saves us by his death, some reply. “No,” say others, “He saves us by his life.” “He saves us by being punished in our place.” “ Not at all; he saves us by his teaching and example.” Then both parties proceed to quote Scripture: "Does not the Bible say that Christ died for us, the 'just for the unjust'? that by his 'stripes we are healed ’? that we are reconciled to God by the death of his Son’? that we are 'made nigh by the blood of Christ'? that ‘his blood was shed for
many .?? that'he gave his life a ransom for sinners'?” all which prove that he saves us 'y his death. Then the others reply—“Do not the Scriptures say distinctly that
If, being enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more we shall be saved by his life'? Does not Jesus say that whoever hears his sayings and doeth them is like the man who builds his house on a rock'? Does he not say that the purpose for which he was born and came into the world was to 'bear witness to the truth'? Does he not say that his words are 'Spirit and Life'? and does not this prove that Christ saves us by his teaching and example ?”
Then they dispute once more as to what we must do in order to be saved. Some say, “ Believe, have faith, that is all that is necessary," and they quote ample Scripture to that effect. Others say, “Work, obey, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; give diligence to make your calling and election sure,'” and they, too, find as many texts as they want in proof of their position.
" Does not Paul expressly declare that we are saved by faith ? " cry one class of disputers. “Does not James distinctly say that we are saved by works ?” respond the others. And so the quarrel continues from age to age.
But why does it not occur to them that if Paul and James seem to contradict each other, they may, perhaps, be speaking about different things ? If Christ seems to teach one doctrine at one time, and another doctrine at another time, it is quite possible that he, also, may be referring to quite separate questions. I think we should judge so about anything except theology.
Here, for example, are some persons talking about their friend, Mr. Convalescens. “Convalescens is getting well, I am told. He says he was saved by the excellent treatment of his physician, Dr Careful.” “Not at all. He told me he was saved by good nursing.” “Well, all I know about it,” says a third, “is this. He assured me that he owed his recovery entirely to himself ; that if he had done