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Obedience the Only Reality.

Obedience the Only Reality.

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Published by glennpease
BY HENRY EDWARD MANNING, M.A,



1 ST. JOHN ii. 17.

" The world passeth away, and the lust thereof; but he that doeth
the will of God abideth for ever."
BY HENRY EDWARD MANNING, M.A,



1 ST. JOHN ii. 17.

" The world passeth away, and the lust thereof; but he that doeth
the will of God abideth for ever."

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Published by: glennpease on Apr 21, 2013
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OBEDIECE THE OLY REALITY.BY HERY EDWARD MAIG, M.A,1 ST. JOH ii. 17." The world passeth away, and the lust thereof; but he that doeththe will of God abideth for ever."IT may seem perhaps a hard saying, that in thismajestic and dazzling world there is only one imperishable reality, and that, a thing most hiddenand despised I mean, a will obedient to the willof God. Yet nothing is more certain. It is plainthat nothing is truly real which is not eternal. Ina certain sense, all things, the most shadowy andfleeting, the frosts, and dews, and mists of heaven, are real ; every light which falls from theupper air, every reflection of its brightness towardsheaven again, is a reality. It is a creature of God ;and is here in His world, fulfilling His will. Butthese things we are wont to take as symbols andparables of unreality, and that because they arechangeful and transitory. It is clear, then, thatwhen we speak of realities, we mean things that130 OBEDIECE THE OLY REALITY. [SERM.have in them the germ of an abiding life. Thingswhich pass away at last, how long soever they mayseem to tarry with us, we call forms and appearances. They have no intrinsic being ; for a timethey are, and then they are not. Their very beingwas an accident ; they were shadows of a reality,cast for a time into the world, and then withdrawn.In strictness of speech, we can call nothing realwhich is not eternal. ow it is in this sense thatI have said, the only reality in the world is a willobedient to the will of God : and this we will consider more at large.
 
1. First of all, it is plain that the only realityin this visible world is man. " The earth, and allthe works that are therein, shall be burned up. 9 1Whatsoever may lie hid in these awful words, it isclear that they declare this world to be transitory,and its end determined. Of all things that havelife without a reasonable soul, we know no morethan that they perish. All visible things are everchanging ; material forms passing into new combinations, shifting their sameness with their shapes :all things around us, and above us, and beneath,are full of change ; they heave, and mingle, andresolve, and pass off by some mysterious law of intercommunication, and by that law declare thatthey are not eternal. In like manner, all the1 2 St. Pet. iii. 10.X.] OBEDIECE THE OLY REALITY. 131works of men, all the arts of life, are no more thanthe impressions and characters left by the spirit of man, while subject to the conditions of an earthlystate. Kingdoms, and polities, and laws, and armies, and mechanical powers, and the achievements of wisdom^ and wit, and might, and the infinite maze of human action, from the beginning tothe ending of the world s history, what are theyall, under the providence of God, but so manyfleeting and broken shadows, cast from the ever-varying postures of man s restless spirit ? Theyare all in time and of time, and with time shallpass away, save only their accumulated results, of which we shall have to speak hereafter. Such,for instance, were the empires of imrod andebuchadnezzar, of Persia and Greece ; or let ustake, as an example, the great empire of Rome.For well nigh two thousand years what a sleeplessmovement of human life swarmed round that wonderful centre of the world ! how it expanded itself from a point to be the girdle of the whole earth !how that same teeming power of thought andaction wrought itself inwardly into a wondrouspolity of ordered and civilised life, and outwardly,
 
through fleets and legions, into an irresistible force,breaking in pieces, and fusing, and recasting theworld into its own mould ! And so it wrought onfrom century to century, as if it would never wax132 OBEDIECE THE OLY REALITY. [SERM.old ; and men, from this, were beguiled to call itthe Eternal City. And it bid fair to be coevalwith the world. And yet of all that majesticphenomenon, what shall remain, when the fashionof this world hath passed away, but the isolatedindividual souls which in this world were lost inits mighty life ? The whole is gone by, like astately and stupendous pageant, and its mightyframe resolved again into its original dust. othing survives but the mass of human life ; andthat not blended as before, but each one as severaland apart as if none lived before God but he only.And so of all the course and history of the world ;all is either past or passing away ; nothing remainsbut the record of human life in the book of theEternal, and the stream of undying spirits whichis ever issuing from among us into the world unseen. And thus it is that all that is real in theworld is ever passing out of it ; tarrying for a whilein the midst of shadows and reflections, and then,as it were, melting out of sight.2. Again ; as the only reality in the world isman, so the only reality in man is his spiritual life.By this I do not exclude his animal being, but expressly include it, as the less is included in thegreater. In like manner as, when we speak of aspiritual body, we mean not a spirit only, but abody under the conditions of the spirit ; so by theX.] OBEDIECE THE OLY REALITY. 133spiritual life is meant the living man made new bythe power of the Holy Ghost. Before his regeneration through the Spirit, he was dead in the flesh ;he was a part of this dying world, which is ever

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