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Ultimate Intent.

Ultimate Intent.

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INCESSANT, fresh creations from the hand of
God, incessantly extend the reference of his praise.
When we speak of his glory as displayed by his
works, we forget that ultimate glory which is yet to
be displayed. When we think of the Future, we do
not often think of the Future of Futures.

INCESSANT, fresh creations from the hand of
God, incessantly extend the reference of his praise.
When we speak of his glory as displayed by his
works, we forget that ultimate glory which is yet to
be displayed. When we think of the Future, we do
not often think of the Future of Futures.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Apr 06, 2014
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I CESSA T, fresh creations from the hand of God, incessantly extend the reference of his praise. When we speak of his glory as displayed by his works, we forget that ultimate glory which is yet to be displayed. When we think of the Future, we do not often think of the Future of Futures. Our far reach is only the proximate stage of his purpose. He plants his seed of truth, as we think, to gather his harvest of righteousness. But he sows and harvests, only to accumulate further seed, for a planting beyond. Even in the present world, every regenerate life has, as we see, its true transcendentalism. It is born and bred for further purpose. And this is the legitimate

ULTIMATE I TE T. 828 appeal for prompt and early faith. Within the cabinet of celestial curiosities, within the storehouse of the living God, there is a niche, a name, for every specimen. In proportion to the breadth of compass is the minuteness of detail. Forest trees may have more or fewer leaves, but no forest leaf can dispense with one of its fibers. If you go into one of these wholesale commercial establishments, or vast, gigantic manufactories, you will find the assortment so accurate, that a little thing is sooner missed than it would be in a cramped and crowded shop of meager dimensions, where all is jumbled and uncertain. So in God's assortment of lives. His vastness of arrangement requires his exactness of minuteness. Every specimen, every life,

has its own bearing on the universe. The kind of religion that can be produced in the present state of the church could not be produced before, and can not be, by and by. What we could be, no one else can be. What we can do, no other can. It is vain, therefore, to mimic or to reproduce the past If there are to be revivals, they are to be new. If more true hearts shall enter the church, they will be like more children in the family, to be told apart, and just enough alike that they can be told apart. That is the progress of the church ; that is the reason why God values such petty, paltry specimens.

824 ULTIMATE I TE T. But the reason is ulterior still. We call to mind its final reference. The souls that are illustrative specimens in the present, are to be memorial specimens, mementoes, in the future. All mysteries of this life resolve themselves by reference. Most of what goes on here, has no meaning, no solution on the spot. Science, whether physical or moral, explains just so much of life here as you could explain of a table which you should see set out at an inn. You would say, — this is certainly for people who will eat and drink. They are to be nourished and strengthened for some work. Or you go further and say — these are travelers coming from the east and going to the west ; but who they are, and whither they go, is more than I can tell. So with life here in its provisioning stages. Suppose that you had the egg problem to solve in a state of ignorance. You see an egg lying there loosely in a nest. A strange conceit, you think, to

make it with so odd a shape, and so thin a shell, — a shell made just too hard to be relished, just too thin and brittle to be strong. By and by you encounter the hatching absurdity. A dull, meditative fowl sits there, and droops and broods, until you are tired of the case, and pronounce it a wasteful freak of nature. At length you find out the careful instinct and the nicety of law that framed that egg-shell for the coming bird, and filled it with his food, just enough,

ULTIMATE I TE T, 825 and tempered his beak to be strong enough, to break it just at such a time, and you admire the economy of ulterior uses. If our eyes were open, we should see that this oval globe is but an egg, and that what we call time, is but the incubation of eternity, and that what we call mystery, is but the motherliness and patient brooding of celestial love. And it is the ulterior destiny of this globe which scatters all difficulties, and dismisses every doubt ; a reference to which gives us clear vision. We have sometimes wished that we could stand outside and see it as a whole. It would be* a great thing to be far enough apart, as from a picture or a piece of work, and see how this planet looked among the stars ; for so we should acquire a notion of its relative value. The law of relative existence,— of purpose, and ulterior bearing, is one which we perceive at a glance elsewhere. A child looks at the sun, and says at once, God made the sun to give us light by day. Is the child wrong ? But the astronomer goes further. He says, The sun is center of a system, and was made to reg-

ulate the spheres. If man thinks of celestial spirits, he straightway names them angels, messengers; and there has been no poetry, and there has been no piety, which has not reposed at ease, alike under their flapping and their

828 ULTIMATE I TE T. folded wings; there has been no mythology, there has been no ethereal sentiment, fluttering to fly, which has not called to them, and challenged them with claim of kindred, and with tone of familiarity, as if the very fact that they were conscious beings, were proof plenary that they could not be living for themselves but for others, and for all. Human hope has bespoken their sympathy in it flights, as naturally as ships at sea hail other ships, and give them packets to bear home, heeding not that they are of larger caliber or of swifter sail. And heaven ! Ah 1 how deliberately and at ease the soul sings to itself, There is a happy land, far, far away, — as if to reach it were to own it — as a child fears not to pick a flower by the wayside — as an emigrant encamps on the prairie. ow this law of use in the universe, of ultimate purpose, when it is once applied to this world, transforms it altogether. Imagine that you had witnessed the creation of the sun orb, — if you choose to call it so, the erection of the sun. Whatever be your theory of its creation, whether by nebulous rings that were stricken off in the whirl of all things, or in the growth and glow of the fused nucleus, as fire seen from a distance glows and grows, — take your theory and stand still there, and watch, until the sun is made, and God shall say, — It is finished, it shines. There can be conceived no mys-

tery greater than that, no problem more unsatisfec-

ULTIMATE I TE T. 827 tory, as seen from within. Suppose yourself to be a sun atom standing there on the minute ledge of a beam, at a focns sheltered by lingering shadow, or a cloud of denser vapor. It is only a little even there that you can see. But imagine that you know much besides. Your solar science tells you what is going on. Disks of light like disks of blood in incessant change of phase. Precipices of black volcanic rupture, ravines in which no green thing grows, down which no flow is fathomed. Shoots of splendor, then star-like shapings, then terrible convulsions, booming shocks, and still the heat roars, and the light, penciling away, changes its form. Ages pass ; and the disk always furnishing itself with a wavy sheen, rolls on through space, calm in its blazing, steadfast in its fierceness, gentle in its wild intensity, moving onward with such strides of tranquil power that it scarcely seems to move — moving faster than sight yet always seen. You stand and study, or you live and joy, but you hear at last this simple, wondrous secret whispering through space, — He has appointed the sun for seasons. It was a vast undertaking. It was an elaborate design. It is a terrible, exhibition. It is a transcendent achievement. It is to the praise of his glory, afterwards and elsewhere. Such is the ulterior destiny of this globe — such the drift and turbulence of human life in its flow. The latter exists for the purpose of furnishing ma-


terial and support, to erect a new heavens and new earth. How much of it goes into that use, and how much is to be neutralized and sunken in other space, is not for us to say. Existing laws are the present implements of the new Creator. He niay employothers by and by. Humanity exists as the material out of which to fashion a new race. History is the formation and the transition stage. There is strict analogy between history and geology in their researches. The race like the globe, has marked its periods by its strata. All the story of the human family is like the story of a tree in the forest, out of which a beam is to be carved — or of a forest on the mountain, from which is cut the timber for a boat or a house. Philosophy itself has found this out. The races have been severed, and trained and smitten in collision, as by tools. At this moment they are being mortised and grooved together. Philosophy itself hears the sound of the adze, and sees the chips and shavings. We do not undertake to say that the last type, the culminating specimen of man, shall be«Anglo-Saxon. God only knows. He might mean to make it Arab, or negro, for that matter, by the way in which he has hammered those races and cut them. He has not finished yet his history work. But he is building a church — a true church — a

ULTIMATE I TE T. 329 living church — out of every nation. He takes specimens from every race and caste and class and character. He makes a saint out of a little beggar boy ;

a jewel out of a slimy, sinful soul; he takes a poor, refuse outcast, burned of sin and black with shame — a charcoal splint of time — and renders it a diamond of eternal day ; he picks up a gipsy, starveling soul, and traces its title in the archives of eternity to an inheritance of bliss. The human world will peel off presently from the church, when the church is ripe, as the calix peels and parts from an opening bud. Any student of .history sees that it has existed to grow — that it has grown and is growing, with whatever growing shoots of pain and starts of dismay, and pauses of self-perplexity, — into a model man, a typical man. The sciolists, the pedants, the skeptics, the magazine gospels, wait to see him come forth a splendid specimen of bone and muscle, a stalwart giant in the flesh. But we are taught to wait — the whole creation waits — for the manifestation of the sons of God. Then, when the church of glory shall displace this church of grace, the globe of glory will dispossess this globe of clay. The workmanship is visible to soul sight, even now What if you -could see paths intersecting the skyavenues laid open between this world and yonder

380 ULTIMATE I TE T. worlds? We do see such paths to every star, to every realm of principality and power; — shadowy forms and lustrous forms flit over them, noiselessly plying their labors. For the new creatures that are to make home here, are not to hold existence for

themselves. The universal law o^ulterior use underlies the compass of redemption. It was no mere pity for men that moved the Son of God to such an undertaking. He had a grand scope of all things in his eye. That which redeemed, regenerate humanity shall display, nearly concerns all creatures. It is the solution of their intimacy with the Creator. It is the mode in which the Infinite and the Finite can meet and mingle. It is God's heart that is to be reflected. He polishes a mirror to reflect his heart, — making his name intelligible in Christ, — in Christ his face visible. His hand paints a picture of Jais glory, and it is a miniature of God. His voice utters a sound, and the ransomed church is the instrument to speak it forth for evermore. The church is a concert to interpret it — a specimen of his redeeming mercy and his plastic skill. It is blessed even now to think of living not in vain. With what satisfaction does the hand of charity lie on the coverlid of rest at night, — and on the driven

ULTIMATE I TE T. 881 coverlid of rest in death. How nobly the artist'* bead bears itself in placid and meek stateliness, thinking, — I have blessed my fellow-man. How kindly the glance of the skillful physician, weary though it be and wan with wakefulness, looking this thought, —I have healed a malady, at least have helped to soothe a pain. How soft the pressure of a bene-

factor's fingers. Even here, it is blessed not to live in vain. It is beautiful, as a twinkling light or fragrant flower. But what there, to live for ever, and not to live in vain ? To have an ultimate scope, to which all works follow, to which all joys radiate, to which all trials look ? To live in the new creation, and be an angel to carry gladness and joy; to go upon some chosen errand, like those who hovered over Bethlehem ? To be to the praise of divine glory, and the buoyancy of life on high ? We can not foresee the power, the use, to which that life shall summon us. Look at a church organ, and listen to its silvery strains; or its loud shout. Then come away hundreds of miles ; let us go to the forest. See a tree, among uncounted trees, tossing restlessly, murmuring in the breeze. That tree must die. The relentless ax heeds not its creaking. It falls prone on the earth. It looks like a helpless, hopeless, useless thing, unless to burn away. But now its wood, seasoned and saved, gives- forth notes of

382 ULTIMATE I TE T. heaven — glory sounds. For years to come it stirs us, and it cheers us, or our children when our frames lie low. So, child of God, you too must die. But God builds an organ, — what countless pipes, of infinite variety, — the church of God. Slow work it Bometimes seems, and dismal tuning. But presently, in every burst of ordered nature, and in every pipe of faculty, and from every stop of mood, it shall speak. And they shall hear it yonder — they shall

hear it evermore.

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