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will shun making any compromise with evil under any shape or form; he will strive to avoid being ensnared by any vicious thoughts which may be suggested to him; he will endeavour to walk blameless with a clear conscience every hour of his life, and will seek continually that strength from above which alone can enable him to overcome and keep those laws which God has given for his guidance.

Did it ever occur to you that you would find such an explanation of the word "honour" in this commandment as that which has just been given? It is so, although at first sight it may not seem so. But the Divine Word, even in its most minute particular, is wonderfully comprehensive. It is so of necessity, for whatsoever is Divine must have the stamp of the Infinite upon it, and therefore must disclose more the further it is examined. This commandment seems to speak only about our earthly parents-the father and mother who watched over and cared for us in our infancy, who made provision for our wants, and whom it is incumbent upon us now to reverence and love. And certainly it does speak about our earthly parents, and that very authoritatively and distinctly, but not about them alone. It discloses to us the obligations we are under of reverencing and loving a father and a mother higher than those through whose instrumentality we were, as to our physical nature, brought into existence, and by whose kindness and love we have been housed, and fed, and clothed through all the years of our infancy, childhood, and youth. It bids us revere and esteem a father and a mother through whose efforts, through whose tender and fostering care the development of the higher part of our being is effected, through whose agency all our secret powers of mind and soul are gradually brought out into perfection and maturity. It is the Lord Himself whom we are to honour as our Father; and His Church, His Bride and Wife, we are to honour as our mother.

The Lord is undoubtedly our Father; in other words, we are the offspring of Infinite Love. Infinite Love has gifted us with glorious capacities; endowed us with faculties by means of which we may rise into the experience of true life and blessedness; furnished us with those resources which will aid in the formation within us of a noble character, a perfect manhood, which will lift us nearer to God and make us as much as possible like God. We have not been brought into existence with nothing to satisfy us but mere animal appetites and cravings; our capability of receiving delight through the outward senses is but the lowest way in which the Lord manifests His love towards The Lord has made us spiritual beings, gifted each of us with a spiritual body, furnished with spiritual senses, and through this spiritual body He is able to delight us with those things in which He rejoices


supremely; through it He can make us glad with the things of heaven, causing us to find the fullest and the richest satisfaction in them.


It may not be generally known that the word for "father" in the Hebrew language is "derived from a root which signifies to will or desire." Hence He whose will is the strongest and the purest, whose desires are of the loftiest and most exalted kind, whose purpose it is to achieve the grandest results by bringing into existence beings who shall to all eternity receive a constantly increasing measure of blessedness from Him, He is Father in the highest sense, and the tokens of true Fatherhood belong to Him.

We all have evidence, strong evidence, that the rudiments or germs of a higher life than that which is merely sensual exist within us. There is not an individual anywhere who has not felt this earth to be far too small for him. Men experience longings which all the pleasures of this world can never satisfy, aspirations after something higher, something better—a life richer, fuller, freer than the mere animal life so many lead here. Some there are who try to shut out all thoughts of God as having anything to do with the aspirations and longings they feel; and, persuading themselves that these wonderful influences are nothing more than the result of natural causes, come at last into a state of spiritual darkness and deadness, render themselves wholly insensitive to motives of unselfishness and purity, but become at last quite brutalized as to their tastes and pursuits. The wise course to follow, however, is to regard these ardent desires and hopes of which we are continually conscious as evidences of God-given faculties within us, which only want watching and nursing and carefully training in order for the higher life for which we long to burst upon us, and for true satisfaction and delight to be granted us. If we do follow such a course, recognising in all our deeper emotions and in all our thoughts concerning higher things proofs that we have a real Father whose infinite love yearns to bless us to the fullest extent, then, doubtless, we shall be led to seek after the things He desires to bestow upon us, and put forth all our efforts to obtain them; and the inevitable result will be that we shall come at last into possession of that higher life we longed for, and shall have every void in our souls filled up.

Seeing, then, that the Lord is our Father in the strictest sense of the term, His sole object in our creation being to bless us eternally by making us as much as possible like Himself, how essential for our true welfare is the commandment "Honour thy father." The force of this injunction is that we are to reverence, esteem, and love the Lord our

1 Noble's "Plenary Inspiration of the Scriptures Asserted," 4th edition, p. 193 (note).

God; we are to place ourselves in an attitude of willing submission to Him, putting implicit confidence in Him, and desirous that His authority should overrule us at all times. If we do not act thus, but thwart Him and dishonour Him instead, how can His gracious purposes towards us ever be carried out? They cannot be when such is the case; and if they ever are to be carried out, we must first learn to honour Him, to honour His character, to let a warm and heartfelt appreciation of His Divine qualities influence us, to have a sterling regard at all times for His goodness, His purity, His faithfulness, His justice. Whenever we take pleasure in any virtue which lifts us up out of our selfishness and makes us hate iniquity; whenever we make up our minds to ally ourselves on the side of right; whenever we cherish feelings of kindness and goodwill, and open our hearts to welcome gladly all desires towards a more industrious and a more useful life than we have hitherto spent, in all these cases we are honouring God, honouring the Father concerning whom the commandment speaks, and are thus preparing the way by which the blessed promise attached to the commandment may be realized by us.

"Honour thy father and thy mother," says the Divine Word. The father we are to honour is, as we have seen, the Lord; the mother we are to honour is His Church. When we speak of the Church as being our spiritual mother we do not mean any particular ecclesiasticism, and we make no reference to any particular religious formulary or creed. It is where the laws of Divine Truth contained in the Word of God have been received by men that the Church exists; and hence in whatsoever systems of belief and worship that truth is apparent, there in the proportion in which that truth is believed and acted out in the same proportion is the Church to be found. When, then, the commandment bids us honour the Church, it means that we are to reverence and love all the laws of truth and duty which the Divine Word declares to be binding, for it is by means of the influence of these laws upon us that the germs of goodness implanted within our souls by our Heavenly Father can be developed and caused to grow into healthy activities ; it is by their fostering agency that real living principles of goodness can become incorporated into our characters, and that we can become truly angelic images and likenesses of the Lord.

It is not sufficient for us simply to honour our father; we must, if we would experience the blessing, honour our mother also. In other words, it is not sufficient for us simply to cherish a sentiment of regard for the Divine qualities, to think to ourselves what wonderful beauty there is in virtue, and what excellence is manifested in living unselfishly and purely, but at the same time neglect the means by which

the cultivation of virtue may be carried on within and an unselfish and holy life become a reality. That would be making of religion but a mere lip-profession-making it indeed a mere chimera-fancying that emotion was the all of religion, and that there was no substance in it, nothing truly practical about it. But what a mistake this would be! These impulses towards what is heavenly and God-like which continually animate us require much careful watching and culture before they can expand into noble and truly dignified traits of character. They require to be under the government and guidance of spiritual laws, or else, instead of becoming fixed qualities of life, full of strength and vigour, they will gradually become mere sentiments-mere emotions, and thus our higher natures will become impaired, and we shall fall short of that blessedness we were created to enjoy. It is the function of the Church to instruct us as to the real nature of true virtue, to lead us to understand more clearly what the Divine qualities really are, and to see how we may to a certain extent realize their excellence in our own case. Hence whatsoever is calculated to help us to reach the goal of perfection to which our Heavenly Father would bring us -whatsoever laws or institutions are able to assist us in becoming heavenly and in developing within us a thorough love for truth and righteousness in all their numerous forms-these laws and institutions, these rules of life and conduct, the Divine Word commands us to honour: we must revere them and seek to be governed by them, that so “our days may be long upon the land which the LORD our God giveth

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The few remarks which have just been made will give an idea of the extent of that work which true religion effects in the case of him who is influenced by it. Its operations cover the whole ground of our spiritual nature. Religion implies a just regard for truth and duty in their every aspect; and preventing us from becoming mere sentimentalists, causes us to be most thoroughly practical by prevailing upon us to put into execution every rule, every law of truth we know. Thus a religious man is not a mere talker about religion, nor is he one who has a few fine feelings but nothing deeper, nothing more substantial: the religious man is one who honours his father and his mother, who not only loves to hear about God and heaven, and admires and respects the principles of virtue which he sees reflected forth from the lives of others, but also strives to cultivate those virtues in his own case, neglects no opportunities for the drawing forth of his spiritual powers, seeks diligently every means whereby he may continually be led to greater purity and holiness of character, and remains indeed unsatisfied until he has himself become a living embodiment and example of all

that is good-until the Spirit of the Lord has made its influence felt throughout his whole being.

This explanation of the commandment may thus be seen not to weaken in any way the obligation set forth in its literal sense, viz. that we are to honour our earthly parents. The spiritual sense enforces the fulfilment of the commandment in its literal sense; for what do we not owe to our earthly parents? Unless we had been protected and cared for by them, unless they had watched our steps and provided for our numerous wants, what would have become of us? Parents stand to children before the children grow up in the place or stead of the Lord and the Church. Their authority is thus of Divine sanction, and it is intended to be a means whereby the early training of the young soul may be effected, whereby it may be prepared for the higher, often the sterner, discipline through which it must pass when it has reached a maturer growth. Honour and love are therefore rightfully due to parents, and indeed to all through whose instrumentality our condition is bettered and our advancement towards a truer and a nobler life is secured. Thus the spirit of this commandment teaches us what true honour is, and incites us to become honourable indeed. It bids us reverence and love all sources of power and authority, spiritual or natural, which aim at ennobling our natures and making us virtuous and godly. It teaches us that to be faithful to truth wheresoever it is to be found is a mark of true honour; and if we are thus faithful, letting the truth purify all our motives and thoughts, and letting it influence us in our daily work, no matter how arduous or how light our duties may be, we shall be prepared to inherit the promise, "Thy days shall be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee."

Let us spend a moment or two upon the consideration of this promise. What is the land which the Lord gives to them that honour father and mother? It is the land of blessedness, the country which we call heaven. And where is this country? Let the Divine Word answer : "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation : neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you" (Luke xvii. 20, 21). Heaven is within. It is the dwelling-place of a man's spirit when his character is pure and upright, and when he loves to be good and useful to those around him. It is delightful to dwell in this land, for it is full of beauty and joy. No unclean thing can enter into it. The river of water of life, clear as crystal (Rev. xxii. 1), flows through it; the Divine Truth ever fertilizes it; and the tree of life-the perception that in Him, and Him alone, we live and move and have our being-ever yields rich fruit, the fruit of holy heavenly deeds of charity and love. Everything is full of life in

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