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The ressons of Grace in the dranguage of Dature.
"Whose adorning.... let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet
spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price."-1 PETER iii. 3,
N our day some books and magazines day, is beautiful. The dome of heaven is grander
that men have ever made. The carpet female dress and ornament. When that covers the ground is studded with flowers,
yoti open them you expect nothing as well as the canopy that overhangs our dwellelse than pictorial representations or artistic de- ing. What work of man is so exquisitely ornascriptions of the newest fashions and the most mented as the leopard's skin, and the butterfly's admired adornments. But the Bible! when you wing? Our works of taste are nothing but imiturn to it, you consider that you bid farewell to tations, more or less successful, of the patterns all these trifles, and plunge into the deepest things which have been given to us in the mount-in of the human spirit-plunge, in some measure, the higher sphere of creative art. The chicf according to your capacity, even into the deep works of our greatest masters are not original. things of God.
The sunset, the sea, the landscape, outspread on
any observing eye should style of apparel will make his children beautiful. see it or not. Nor is the most elaborate design
God loves beauty of every kind, - both the or the most exquisite colour reserved for the most beauty of nature and the beauty of holiness. enduring objects. The snow crystals, and the How do we know that? Because everything that frosted tracery on the windows, are as perfect in he makes is beautiful. There is nothing ugiy in design and execution as the monarchs of the creation as it comes from his hands. All the forest that outlast fifty human generations. works of God are useful indeed; but all are orna- Man is the chief of God's works, and enjoys mental too.
The tree shows lovely flowers be- most of his care. Man was placed highest, but fore it bears nourishing fruit. Such is creation has fallen from his high estate. He was made as a whole. Flowers and fruit are everywhere most beautiful, but has disfigured himself by sin. combined. The sky, whether it is studded with When his best work was damaged, the Creator stars by night, or strewn with fleecy clouds by did not give it up, and give it over.
a plan to restore. He desires to have his own new creature. In the act of renewing, the king's image renewed. He desires to look upon his image is restored. By such a process, and not world again with complacency, and to call it otherwise, may God's image be renewed in a soul good.
that has lost it by sin. Put off the old man, When the prodigal returned to his father, he and put on the new. was in a wretched plight. He bore the marks of There is a true analogy between physical beauty his sin and misery. His countenance was wan and spiritual holiness. In all languages the same through want, and his clothing was filthy rags. names are applied to both. These parallels abound The swineherd bore traces of his mean employ- on all sides. For example: truth is like a straight ment when he appeared again in his father's sight. line, and falsehood like a crooked one. Every Bring forth the fairest robe, and put it on him: one comprehends easily what is meant by the great put a ring on his finger, and shoes on his feet. / white throne. And the fine linen, clean and The father gave commandment for becoming white, is expressly defined to be “the righteousornaments as well as the necessary covering. ness of saints." Thus our Father in heaven, when we return to “This man,” said the Pharisees, speaking with him, sees us defiled and dishonoured; but when their lips a truth which they did not comprehend we return, he will not permit us to remain in an " this man receiveth sinners.” Yea, recorreth unsightly and dishonoured plight. He will make sinners. On this side they are poured in sinners; his adopted children fit for their place and their on that side, they emerge saints. Who are these, company. He will make them like the children then, who stand around the throne in white clothof a king. Beggars come to Christ; but none ing, with palms in their hands? These are they remain beggars in his presence.
who entered at the gospel call, in filthy rags, and A man of feeble intellect, in the north of Scot- have washed their robes in the blood of the land, was wont, like most of his class, to be very Lamb. slovenly in his appearance. To this weakling the Peter in this text undertakes to tell how the gospel of Christ came in power. He accepted uncomely may be rendered beautiful. Here is God's covenant love, and found himself a child of the true adorning; and it is for us,—for all. the family. Soon after this change the minister Whosoever will, let him take it. The call of the met him on a Sabbath morning, and was struck gospel compels the homeless, naked, hungry with his unwonted cleanness, and the efforts he wanderers to come into the banqueting hall; and had made in his own fashion to ornament his per- if any one is found there without the wedding son. Accosting him kindly, the minister said, garment, his want is due to his own obstinacy, “You are braw to-day, Sandy.” “He was braw for the King offers it free to all his guests. Himsel' the day,” replied Sandy reverently; mean- Still deeper goes the apostle's thought when ing that Jesus, when he rose from the grave on he arrives at the details of the recommended the first day of the week, was arrayed in the ornaments. “Not that outward adorning of divine glory, and the beauty of holiness. The plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or oi Lord on high, who rejoices to receive the little putting on of apparel ;” what then ? " Let it be ones, would, methinks, be pleased to see Sandy's the hidden man of the heart." Strange prescripSunday clothes, and to hear Sandy's simple tion! when the guests, picked up from the
highways and hedges in all their rudeness and When a gold coin of the kingdom has by long rags, must be made fit to sit at the King's table. usage lost the image and superscription of the Get them suitably adorned at once. Hor? king, they bring it back to the sovereign from “The hidden man" in the heart of each. So
· whom it originally issued. The king will renew then the ornament which will make human beand restore. None other can. But the processings really comely, is called "the man."
What cannot be accomplished by rubbing the surface. man? The hidden man. He is himself inThe defaced coin must be cast into the furnace visible, and yet it is his indwelling that will and melted. Then it is recast, and comes out a make the wearer's face to shine.
Adam was the first man: he was beautiful | he took another look of this picture. · He was when he came from his Maker's hands, but he reproducing on the external surface of the web, was not hidden. He was the visible head of feature by feature, the picture, in this case of a creation, when God pronounced it good. Be- royal personage, which he kept beside himself hind him unseen was another Man-the original under the veil unseen. He continually looked at -the pattern Man-in whose image Adam was his hidden pattern, and continually advanced with formed. Adam was but a copy of the divine the visible duplicate, that grew into form and original. Adam was disfigured by his fall into beauty in his hands. sin. Then, it was not another copy taken, which The sight, with the thought which it suggested, might have been spoilt like the first, but the startled me. Here is the picture of a true Chrishidden Man himself who came into the world, and tian life. The workman's business is to make his revealed himself to restore humanity.
visible life an epistle of Jesus Christ. But he When he had finished transgression and made must have the model beside himself—within. On an end of sin, and brought in an everlasting this pattern he must frequently look, that he may righteousness, he ascended again to heaven, and reproduce outwardly the exact features of the remains hidden from our sight. But he who original. When it is Christ in you—"the hidden said, “It is expedient for you that I go away,” man of the heart”. some faint but true features said also, “Lo, I am with you always.” It is of the Lord will be legible on your life and Christ dwelling in a Christian that makes him spirit. beautiful. It is not Lo, here, or lo, there; the In general, a likeness of Christ is in the life kingdom of God is within you. The apostolic
The apostolic of a Christian; and, in particular, " a meek and expression, “ Christ in you, the hope of glory," quiet spirit.” This is not the only ornament explains how the hidden man of the heart im- which the children of the family put on; but it parts more than earth-born winsomeness to the is one of the most decisive marks of their birthcountenance and the life of those who walk with right and their station. It was the feature which God in the world,
the Lord expressly specified, when he invited his There is a whole Christ in every disciple who disciples to imitate his ways: “Learn of me; for lives up to his privileges, as there is a whole sun I am meek and lowly in heart” (Matt. xi. 29). in the cup of every flower that opens to his shin- As this is the most characteristic feature of a ing. Suppose the sun should say to the flowers, disciple, it is, perhaps, as the world goes, the "Lo, I am with you always," and afterwards re- most difficult to acquire and exhibit. Bilt main high in the heavens; the flowers could not though it be the chief, it is not the only fruit complain that the sun had broken his promise. and evidence of faith. Indeed, if it stood alune, It is expedient for them that he should remain it would not be so precious. It must have otiiers (listant: by remaining distant he is able to dwell to lean upon. It so happens that in the specific in the heart of each, its light and life. It is thus case recorded in the Acts, in which the world with our Sun of Righteousness : “If any man outside recognized by the conduct of the apostles open, I will come in.”
that they were Christ's, it was the opposite When this ornament is worn in the heart with quality of courage that constituted the distinin, its beauty is seen on the outward life. I once guishing feature. It was when they saw the met with an unexpected and interesting illustra- boldness of Peter and John that they took knowtion of this principle, in the Gobelin Tapestry ledge of them that they had been with Jesus. Factory near Paris. The web, in course of con- One of the instructions given by Paul for the struction, was suspended perpendicularly from the conduct of life runs in these terms: "In the ceiling to the floor. The operator was concealed midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among behind it. Beside him—for I was permitted to whom ye shine as lights in the world; holding go within the veil to inspect his work- he had a forth the word of life” (Phil. ii. 15, 16). The fine picture by a master on canvas. At every lantern of the lighthouse has many sides, and it thread that he shot through the extended work, revolves. It does not always present the same
side to the observer. The sides, moreover,.may | exception of the metals and minerals, ornaments be of different colours, so that now the lantern are, for the most part, perishable commodities. throws over the waters a white, now a green, Rain soils them; the sun burns their beauty out. and now a red light,-all lights and all useful, In the accidents of life, they are worn or torn, or and all exhibited from the same beacon-tower; stolen or lost. The rose and lily that bloom on but all diverse, the one from the other. Thus the cheek are not perennial; the wrinkles of age stand Christians conspicuous-set on an hill, and are creeping on to drive them off and take their seen from afar. As they turn round in the place. All these adornings are corruptible; this varied business of life, they display now one and text recommends one that will never fade. Age now another grace of the Spirit; but if they are makes it mellower, but not less sweet. As true, and not too much blotted by contact with it is not a colour of the decaying body, but a the earth, on every side they give forth evidence grace of the immortal spirit, it will pass unthat they have been with Jesus.
harmed through the dark valley, and bloom in As a meek and quiet spirit is one of the most greater beauty on the other side. It will make useful features to bring out of a believer’s life, it is the ransomed from among men very comely in one of the most difficult to get in. When, in the the eyes of angels, when they stand together processes of art, a new and beautiful colour is round the throne, and serve their common Lord. about to be transferred to a fabric, the hardest por- One grand concern with buyers is to obtain tion of the task sometimes is to discharge the dyes garments that will last-garments whose fabric that are already there. A terrible process of scald- will not waste, and whose colours will not fale. ing must be applied to take out the old, ere you There is one Seller in the great market of the can successfully impart the new. In like man- world who assures the permanence of his wares ner,
the anger and pride and selfishness that have Hear ye him! “Buy of me gold tried in the first possession, present the greatest obstacle to fire, that ye may be rich; and white raiment, the infusion of a meek and gentle spirit into a that ye may be clothed.” In this apparel the
If there be a royal, there is certainly no redeemed shall shine, when the sun shall have easy, road to this consummation. Nothing will grown dim with age, and the stars fallen froin suffice but the old apostolic prescription—“Put heaven like unripe figs. off the old man, put on the new."
Yet another quality is noticed of the recomIt is a striking, bold, and original conception, mended adorning,-it is costly. In the sight of to propose that an ornament should be hidden God, and of the godly, it is “of great price." in the heart. Ordinarily, we understand that In the market of the world, alas ! we, like ineran ornament, from its very nature, must be worn perienced children, are often cheated. We pay in a conspicuous position. When it is hidden, a great price for that which is of no value. We how useful and valuable soever it may be, it are often caught by the glitter, and accept a base ceases to be an adorning. But in the spiritual metal for gold. He who counts this ornament sphere the law is reversed. That which is put precious knows its worth. on makes the wearer loathsome : that which is The righteousness of the saints is dear to Gu! hidden within makes him beautiful. Meekness in a double sense. It is both beloved and costly. is spoiled when it is set up for show. The “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass ; bloom was rubbed off from the devotion of the but it was not possible. " He saved others; Pharisees, when it was exposed at the corner of himself he cannot save.” The price must be the streets: their charity was soured by the sound paid. The just gave himself for the unjust. of a trumpet, like milk in a thunderstorm. The The beauty of a new nature, and an immortal meekness that is hidden is the meekness that life for fallen man were bought with a great price. adorns. When it is not hidden, it is no longer The "unspeakable gift ” of God was laid down meekness.
to obtain it. It cost the Redeemer much to get This ornament, moreover, is incorruptible. the “filthiness purged out” of his people, and This epithet is peculiarly relevant. With the get them made meet for the inheritance of the
saints in light. Nothing shall enter that de- The practical lesson is very clear and very fileth: the bride shall be adorned to meet her forcible. We should be fellow-workers with Husband.
God in keeping off, or casting off, with all diliThe ransomed of the Lord, when they come gence, every spot from our own hearts and lives, to Zion, will constitute the crown that adorns which the Lord that bought us would not like their Redeemer's brow. These are the jewels to look upon. “Blessed are the pure in heart: for which he paid an unspeakable price, and which for they shall see God.” he will wear as his crown of rejoicing in that day.
HJEN the death of Keble was announced,
one friend wrote to another in these terms:
land within our memory who has been so tenderly loved, and whose memory will be had in such tender reverence by so many good men." There was, no doubt, some natural exaggeration there, but it is certain that outside the circle of those who personally knew him there were very many everywhere who had been led to feel a warm and affectionate interest in the author of “ The Christian Year," on account of the attractive qualities of that book; and the news of his
removal sent a thrill through all the land. That there should have arisen a demand for the “Life” of such a man was, of course, to have been expected ; and one of his oldest and dearest friends, Sir John Coleridge, the father of the Attorney-General, undertook to meet it. In some respects he has done the work well, but in others the biography is a failure. Sir John, in the excess of his modesty, is for ever protesting his unfitness for the task, and thus doing the very thing he deprecates, - obtruding himself on the reader's notice. And it is a grave defect in such a biography that Pusey is scarcely introduced at all, and that