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SO when the traveler climbs the ridge of some lofty hill he turns to trace the winding path that led him up the steep before he passes on to other scenes, so would we now cast a backward look upon the varied course along which we have been reading God's Unwritten Word. Coming back from the most discursive range through many fields, we would see what treasures we have brought home, and whether among them all there be one of infinite price. In passing from one theme to another, I have endeavored to obey the command of Christ, to consider the wonders of divine wisdom and power with which the world is filled. I have endeavored to walk among the beauties and glories of the wide creation with a free and fearless step, and yet with as reverent and teachable a mind as that with which Adam walked in the garden of God. Craving your company, kind reader, and trying to blend your thoughts with mine, I have asked you to go out with me under the starry dome of the open heavens and learn the speech which day 543
544 GOD ALL I ALL. utters to day and the knowledge which night showeth unto night. We have traced the measuring line of the divine power, which goes out through all the earth,
and we have caught the sound of the divine words which are heard to the ends of the world. We have followed the march of the host of heaven on the fields of light, and we have listened to the song of the -sons of the morning as they still sing over God's unceasing work in the divine harmony of the boundless creation. We have been down to the shore of the sounding sea and gazed with awe upon God's wonders in the mighty deep. We have heard the awful hymn of praise lifted up by that mysterious main whose goings forth are unto the ends of the earth and whose secret chambers no eye hath seen. We have walked beneath the shade of ancient mountains, and shuddered to think of the mighty power that piled the rocky mass above the clouds and sunk "their sunless pillars deep in earth." We have bowed down and worshiped on the sacred heights which Moses climbed. We have gazed with rapture on the transfigured face of Jesus in the holy mount. We have looked with ceaseless delight upon the green landscape where God sends out the grazing flocks to find fresh pasturage upon a thousand hills. We have lifted up our feeble voice while the high places of the earth broke forth into singing and filled the hills with praise. We have looked on, with wonder and delight, while the fleecy vapors of the
GOD ALL I ALL. 545 morning wandered in white flocks along the mountain's side^ and God spread forth the balancings of the clouds in the upper heavens, heralding the dawn with bright couriers in crimson and gold, veiling the noon with the legions of darkness, curtaining the couch of the setting sun with drapery dyed in heaven. We have traced the long line of the centuries
through which day and night have come marching down to us with measured step and unvaried succession, keeping the covenant which God has made with time without a moment's deviation from age to age. "We have found no words to express our wonder while thinking of the unwearied hand of the Almighty turning the great earth-wheel beneath our feet without haste, without rest, from century to century, thus teaching the nations that dwell on the face of all the earth to trust in his word for evermore. We have gone out in the glory and the gladness of the beautiful spring, and learned the great lesson of our own resurrection from the new life which the returning sun calls forth from the icy grave of winter. We have learned to think that it cannot be a hard thing for the dead to be raised up by the power of Him who brings forth living harvests and food for millions from kernels of wheat that had been buried three thousand years with the dead. We have seen the glory with which God clothes the flowers of spring and the grass of the field, and we have learned to believe that he who bestows such ex21
646 GOD ALL I ALL cellent beauty upon the frailest things of earth will not forget the being whom he made in his own image and into whose soul he breathed the breath of an immortal life. We have bowed down to worship in the solemn shade of the ancient forest, and we have listened reverently to the Voice which Adam heard in the cool of the day walking among the trees of his garden-home. We have made a sanctuary of the open heavens, and sought in the heights and depths of the viewless air for the presence of Him whose way is in the whirlwind
and in the storm, and who walketh upon the wings of the wind. We have seen the pitying angel of the sea coming upon cloudy wings in answer to the prayer of the parched earth, and pouring down the blessed rain upon the thirsty field and the mown grass, and we have prayed for the speedy coming of the day when righteousness and peace shall descend from heaven like showers that water the earth. We have walked forth in the glow of the morning, when the dewdrops sparkled like gems on the springing grass, and we have read in the renewed life of the watered fields and the incense-breathing flowers a fresh interpretation of the divine promise : " I will be as the dew unto Israel." We have seen the tempest gather, with cloud on cloud in billowy darkness rolled, and we have listened with deep awe when God sent forth lightnings, and they answered with thundering voices, " Here we are." And then we rejoiced to see that when the warring
GOD ALL I ALL. 547 elements had swept the plains of heaven with their wild artillery, and the trumpetings of the storm were dying away in the distance, God hung out the bow of peace upon the retiring cloud, and bade us look upon the token of his covenant with all flesh. We have walked through the many -chambered house of the earth which God has given to man for his present habitation, and we have talked of our Father's goodness and forethought as we surveyed the riches of beauty and blessing with which every apartment is stored. The ancient rocks lift up their hoary summits to the skies to tell us that God ha,s prepared a safe and secret place beneath the shadow of his throne for all who seek his aid. The palm waves its
feathery branches by the fountains of water, and the cedar grows from century to century on the height of the storm-swept mountain, to teach us that the children of God find springs in the desert and the righteous shall flourish in immortal youth. The birds live without anxiety, and they carry their morning hymn to the gates of heaven, that we may welcome the lowliest lot with a grateful heart and learn to sing of mercies all the way onward in the journey of life. The happy birds are set to preach to us the divine sermon with which Christ repelled the first assault of the tempter's power, Man lives by every word from the mouth of the Lord. The mighty river rolls through a thousand leagues on its way to the sea, supporting millions as it goes;
548 GOD ALL I ALL. the sun pours the infinite flood of light from his fardistant throne, everywhere producing growth and gladness with the silent touch of his quickening beams ; the earth, the waters and the air teem with myriad forms of life exceeding small, yet of great power to teach us that God's bounty is large enough for all his creatures. The grade of being goes down so low as to embrace countless millions of creatures so small as to be utterly inconceivable to our minds ; the systems of worlds extend so far over the immensities of space as to sweep beyond the utmost reach of our mightiest instruments and deepest calculations, and all to show us that, so far as we can know, there is neither end nor beginning to God's wondrous works. And from all our most diverse and distant excursions we have come back to look with silent and sacred curiosity upon ourselves, whom God made with form erect and face divine to preside over all his works in this world. We have tried in vain to solve the fearful and wonderful mystery of life. We
have sounded the deeper and more awful mysteries of our spiritual and immortal being, and we have passed over depths and abysses where no measuring line of thought or reason can find a shoal or a shore. And from all these varied excursions through the mysteries and glories of the boundless creation we come back with this one discovery GOD ALL I ALL, In whatever direction we push our inquiries we find it written in letters of light over our heads and under our
QOD ALL I ALL. 549 feet God all in all. If we ask the question, What is the one prime, essential truth which underlies all knowledge, directs all discovery, enforces all duty and supplies all wants, the answer is ever the same God all in all. If we ask the clouds, they roll it back in thunder. If we ask the winds, they breathe it forth in gentle whispers. If we ask the sea, it says the same with all its waves. If we ask the stars, they sing it on their way as they range the pathless fields of space God all in all. If we turn our thoughts inward upon ourselves, and search the depths of our being for some great revelation to clear up the mystery of the present and to pour light upon the path of the future, the same answer comes back in gentle whispers and solemn pleadings from reason and memory and conscience and hope from the awful conviction of sin, the secret dread of coming judgment and the irrepressible longing for immortality : all say that the beginning of wisdom and the entrance to all light and peace in the human soul lies in this one confession- 1 God all in all. The word of divine inspiration glancing down the far future with omniscient vision, and foreseeing the time when all conflicts shall cease and all doubts shall be swept away, and all rightful rule and power and
authority shall be established everywhere and for evermore, declares the grand, the glorious discovery of that day to consist in this God all in all. You see, then, that our study of the objects and operations of ature has not led us to the adoption of
550 GOD ALL I ALL. a cold and mechanical philosophy. We have not been BO lost in admiration of the things made as to forget their Maker. In all our search we have not found any one great force, or law, or power of development to put in the place of God. We have not come to the conclusion that it is unphilosophical to subject all events in the material world of ature to the immediate and constant direction of one infinite and eternal Mind. We have not learned to be satisfied with the supposed existence of some unknown and impersonal force before all the ages and behind all the worlds, which could never be made the subject of love or trust, prayer or worship. The more accurately and widely we survey the whole domain of human knowledge immensely extended as it has been in modern times the more are we led to recognize the immediate presence and power of God in every atom and every world of his boundless creation. The most accurate and advanced science of the present age, and the inspired song of psalmists and prophets of old, agree in making all the works of God declare his glory in harmonious and lofty hymns of praise. All that we have learned from books, all that we have seen in the surrounding world, all that we have proved by scientific investigation, all that we have felt in the deepest experience of faith and prayer and hope, helps us to appreciate the vivid representations of the psalmist David and the prophet Isaiah, of the patri-
arch Job and the apostle John.
GOD ALL I ALL 551 When we take the Inspired Book in one hand and the most accurate and advanced modern philosophy in the other, and go out to read and to meditate in the fields at noonday or at eventide, we find that the two books agree with each other and with all that we see in the open book of ature around us. When the dry facts of science have caught fire from the living words of revelation, the two conspire to make the whole scene around us vocal with praise. The Hoods and the forests clap their hands ; the mountains and the hills break forth before us into singing ; the outgoings of the morning and the evening rejoice together; the heavens declare the glory of God ; the thunder is his voice, the lightning is the brightness of his coming, the whirlwind and the storm are his chariot, arid the clouds are the dust of his feet. The holy men of old, who spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, were not unphilosophical in referring all the phenomena of ature directly to God. Without knowing it themselves, they were in strict accord with all that science has discovered, or ever will discover, concerning the works of Him who made the heavens by the breath of his mouth and who gave life to all living creatures by his spirit. There is no conflict between reason and revelation, science and religion, for the same infinite God speaks through both, and all his communications are consistent with himself. True science, like inspiration itself, looks through and beyond all intermediate agencies to
552 GOD ALL I ALL.
the first and final cause. It is not afraid to describe the phenomena of ature as they are described in the Holy Word, when both have the same object in view. It loves to say, in the simple and sublime language of inspiration, God maketh the earth soft with showers of rain ; God watereth the hills from his chambers ; God thundereth marvelously with his voice; God cauoeth the grass to grow for the cattle and herb for the service of man ; God feeds the fowls of heaven and the beasts of the forest ; God clothes the flowers of the field with a splendor surpassing the robes of kings ; God breathes the breath of life into all living creatures, and it is when he taketh away their breath that they die. The snow and the hail, the summer and the winter, the morning and the evening, the day and the night, are his, and they all fulfill his word. And we shall have the most satisfactory as well as the most accurate and instructive view of the various forms and forces of ature around us when we see in them most clearly the evidence of God's promise, the display of his power and the determinations of his will. The very darkness through which our eye cannot pierce, and the deep mysteries which reason cannot solve, speak to us of God not less truly than the most brilliant discoveries in science and the broad noon of divine revelation. So long as he is the infinite and eternal God he must make darkness his secret place, and he must hide the habitation of his throne. To the most exalted of his creatures his judgments must be
GOD ALL I ALL. 553 unsearchable and the mystery of his being past finding out. And yet God is ever revealing himself to us with a
measure of fullness perfectly suited to our faculties. There is no occasion for the sad cry of the doubting and despondent heart, " Oh that I knew where I might find him!" God is nigh to all who call upon him. He is always found by those who seek him. It is given not indeed as a special privilege to the great and gifted, never to the proud and faithless, but always to the pure in heart it is given to see God. It is the peculiar joy of the blessed in the Better Land that they see his face. And the life of heaven has begun below with those who see God in his works, who study God in his word, who walk with God in love, and who commune with God in spirit. God commands us to acquaint ourselves with him that we may be at peace, and that good may come to us. He is ever so intent upon making himself known to us that he reasons and persuades, he entreats and implores, he wearies himself with spreading out his hands all the day in the attitude of a loving and compassionate father, inviting and alluring a reluctant child to his arms. In all the works of his hands, in all the ordinances of his eternal providence, on every page of divine revelation, by every ministration of his truth, by every influence of his spirit upon the hearts of men, he is declaring his creative power, his unsearchable wisdom, his everlasting love.
554 . GOD ALL I ALL. The voice of divine instruction is so clear, the indications of the divine presence are so numerous and constant, the pleadings of the divine love are so earnest and tender, that man can commit no greater mistake than to make little of God he can be blinded with no greater folly than to live without God in the world. Think of it, you who are tempted to forget God, you who are in danger of wandering so far away from your
Father as to think of him only as a distrusted and unfriendly stranger every movement of your mind, every sensibility of your soul, every faculty of your being testifies that God is thinking of you in kindness every moment. The very dust which you tread beneath your feet is more truly God's work than the lines which flow from my pen are the tracings of my hand. The mightiest reasoners in the world could never convince me that any other hand than my own had written the lines which I have once seen following my pen across the page. Just as little should any argument, persuasion or temptation have power to convince you, or even to cause you the momentary feeling or impression, that any other hand than God's own gave you life and all of life's blessings. If I should lay before your eyes a letter from your best human friend, every trace and turn of the lines would make you think of him. You have only to open your eyes to see the handwriting of God upon every object within the range of your vision. The shading of the flower, the song of the bird, the form of the tree,
GOD ALL I ALL. 555 the breath of the air, the tint of the sky, the green of the grass, are all thoughts of God, and they are designed to help you think of him. If you were gazing upon Raphael's picture of the Transfiguration, you would see thought and meaning and character in every shade and figure of the whole composition. Dazzled and delighted with the celestial glory which the creative imagination of the great artist has poured upon the perishable canvas, you would talk of him and think of him with ceaseless wonder and admiration. Open your eyes on any landscape, stand and look wherever there is anything to see, and you will behold diviner forms than Raphael ever drew. You will see the per-
fection of beauty which the great artist strove all his life in vain to equal, even in imitation. And all these shades of beauty which you see in the landscape, these forms of life which people the living world around you are thoughts of God, set before you to help you think of him. The worm that crawls in the dust, the living slime that floats at the will of the wave, the eagle that cleaves the cloud and rejoices in the storm, the archangel that ministers before the throne in heaven, receive life and being from the breath of th6 Almighty, and the divine workmanship is as clear and inimitable in one as in another. The simplest line or figure drawn by the great Artist is enough to show the hand of the Master. God never does anything unworthy of himself. If we were fully competent to understand his works, we might turn to
556 GOD ALL I ALL. a leaf or a bird or a blade of grass, and it would speak to us of God with ten thousand voices, and every voice would declare him to be all-wise, all-good, almighty. When Galileo was imprisoned on the charge of heresy for having asserted the motion of the earth on its axis, his cruel inquisitors came to tease and torment him with questions in his dungeon. Affecting great horror at the atheism of the man who had opened a new door into the infinite heavens of the divine glory, they asked him if he believed in the existence of God. He lifted a dry straw from the floor of his cell to the light, and said, " That alone is enough to demonstrate the existence of God." When apoleon was on his way to Egypt, walking upon the deck of his ship beneath the glorious starlight, he overheard a company of philosophers debating the question whether the universe had any Creator. Stopping suddenly and breaking in upon their debate, he threw his hand upward with
a significant gesture toward the starry vault and said : " Gentlemen, I hear some of you say there is no God. Can you tell me who made all that?" And indeed it makes little difference whether we consider the withered blade of grass or the heavens emblazoned with millions of worlds we shall see the work of our Father and we shall find it all very good. If we had the devout spirit of prophets and psalmists of ancient times, it would seem to us as if the whole surrounding creation were peopled with voices, holy voices, ever drawing our thoughts upward to God, ever
GOD ALL I ALL. 567 bidding us behold him in every creature into which he has breathed the breath of life in every hue, shape, quality and dimension which he has given to the world around us. When we go out into the open country and cast our eyes upon the green landscape, the valley, the river, the plain, the harvest, upward to the eternal hills, and then far above to the wide-arching heavens illumined by the noonday splendor of that one great orb in whose light the mingled radiance of myriads of more distant suns is dazzled and lost, then with humility, yet with rapture, may we say, Our Father made them all. Holy is his name. The whole earth is full of his glory. The wide world which we inhabit is a living temple for his worship, sustained by the pillars of the everlasting mountains, frescoed with the shadows of clouds, filled with the incense of opening flowers and falling dews, hung around with the gorgeous tapestry of sunset skies and starry nights, echoing with perpetual anthems that swell in every note, from the murmur of the gentle breeze in the mountain pine to the earth-shaking thunder of the skies and the roar of the deep in storms.
Kind reader, it is not to put man's philosophy in the place of Christian faith that I have asked you to consider the heavens and listen to the voices of the teaching earth. It is rather to show you that our holy religion, the blessed gospel of Jesus Christ, is so great and pure and divine that it throws light upon every branch of human knowledge, it gives dignity and con-
558 GOD ALL I ALL. secration to every human pursuit, it harmonizes with all the laws and forces of being and life, it draws confirmations of its truth from everything that is and everything that hath been or shall be. I have not forgotten that God's most complete and wonderful revelation of himself is in Christ. Having ranged at will through the vast galleries of earth, gazing with ineffable delight upon the pictured mountains, the purple clouds and the sapphire seas having taken the mighty telescope and swept the infinite fields of space amid the blaze of millions of worlds I behold a greater wonder : I am entranced with a more surpassing glory when I see the face of Him who was once nailed to the shameful cross, and who now wears the heavenly crown. In the height and depth of the love of that almighty Saviour I find something more difficult to estimate than the distance of the stars. In the mercies which he has shown to the lost race of man I find a number more difficult to count than the sands of the sea. In the humiliation which he bore for our sake I discover a greater mystery than the revolution of suns and systems of worlds. To know that Saviour as the Son of God and the Son of Man is the most excellent knowledge. To sit at his feet like a little child and learn of him is the highest attainment of human wisdom. His wondrous work in redeeming the lost race of man shall be " the
science and the song of all eternity." All power is his, in heaven and in earth. He holds the stars in his
GOD ALL I ALL. 559 right hand. He has the kingdom and the crown of the universe at his command. We have only to walk with him in lowliness of mind and learn the lessons of love and trust which he is now teaching, and by and by he will lift up the everlasting gates that open into the infinite realm of life and glory, and he will say to us, " Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you before the foundation of the world." In that great and blessed Hereafter, when the everlasting gates of the future have been lifted up, and we have entered into our Father's many-mansioned house, there will be time enough to explore its riches and rejoice in its beauty. We here see only in part. All the splendors of this world which we now inhabit are only faint beams of the glory yet to be revealed. The light that now reaches us comes from afar, and we see it darkly through clouds and tears. But if we stand ready to enter when the gates are thrown open and the voice of the King says, Come, we shall see the source of the glory whose faintest beams are enough to make this dark world bright. Good men sometimes long to live many years on the earth to see the advance of the kingdom of Christ to rejoice in the coming of the day when the whole earth shall be full of light and love. They would willingly bear all the burdens and sufferings of this present state for years and ages, if they could only see the completion of the great work to which they have given their toils and their tears, their
<>60 GOD ALL I ALL. prayer and their hope. But there is no occasion for the fond desire. There is more to see and to enjoy by passing in when the door of our Father's house is thrown open than by standing without. With the use of faculties that never fail, and the flight of wings that never tire, and the succession of ages that never end, at our command, and the great house of God's infinite kingdom to explore, we can never feel that we were called away from our earthly home too soon we cannot fail to see and rejoice in a brighter glory than will ever shine on this earth.
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