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XIX

PROGRESSIVE REVELATION

That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him; having the eyes of your heart enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what the exceeding greatness of His power to usward who believe.-Eph. i. 17-19.

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T Easter time the greatest mysteries of redemp

tion occupy our thought, and every sincere

soul must then be found in the attitude of the angels who "desire to look into these things." We are conscious that the great facts of redemption go far beyond us, that we have not sounded their depths, that they contain a wealth of light and blessing in which we have not entered. What lengths and breadths and depths and heights are in this very chapter before us! The apostle “prays that the Ephesians may have supernatural light shed upon the gold of their supernatural wealth."

It is our great privilege to grow in clearness of understanding, beholding with more open vision the beauty and preciousness of the truth as it is in Jesus. The first light that falls upon our spiritual understanding is marvellous light; but whilst we continue obedient unto the heavenly vision, it will shine ever more brightly. In the lower world of animal life we find that creatures can receive wonderful accessions of seeing power. The caterpillar has a simple organ of vision only, but in the butterfly that simple organ has developed into a compound faceted eye with perhaps more than twenty thousand lenses. Are we not justified in taking this wonderful enhancement of sight in the lower stages of life as a rude prophecy of the larger virtue of vision latent in the soul, of the larger revelations of the divine mind and purpose reserved for the eyes of angels and men ? The vision of a faithful soul grows in comprehensiveness and penetration, realizing with infinite delight the great and beautiful doctrines of the spiritual universe. It is true, alas! that some Christians do not seem to grow in insight and wisdom; they do not attain to the sylph-like perfection, but to the end abide old caterpillars. "Of whom we have many things to say, and hard of interpretation, seeing ye are become dull of hearing. For when by reason of the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need again that some one teach you the rudiments of the first principles of the oracles of God.” The design of God is that we should with maturing years see more of Him who dwells in the thick darkness; that we should apprehend more adoringly the Divine Son of His love; that the incarnation of our Lord, His atoning death, and His resurrection from the dead should grow upon us, yielding their secrets, and moulding us irresistibly.

The biographer of the late Dr. Dale, of Birmingham, says of him: "He lived under the benignant sway of a succession of great truths, following one another like the constellations of the heavens.” In successive periods of his life familiar truths in succession became extraordinary, captivating him, filling him with wonder, thrilling him with delight. Is not this the ideal life? First one and then another article of the creed glowing into light, dawning on the soul, seizing it, occupying it, delighting it, leaving it with special enrichment and perfection! As the constellations of the heavens pass unceasingly and majestically, raising thoughts of wonder and admiration in all noble minds, so, O God, let the great truths of Thy Holy Word cross our soul's horizon-inspiring, uplifting, hallowing all within. God is discovering in a marvellous way larger measures of His glory in the physical sphere, and we ought not to be content except He unveil to us more fully the glory of His Son, and delight our soul with the exceeding abundance of His grace. A true course is one of progressive illumination. No Christian life is altogether right and satisfactory except more light, and more, is shining upon it out of God's Word-except uninteresting bits of the raiment of the truth are continually being transfigured; except passages which resemble darkened glass are becoming telescopic; unless commonplace chapters of historian, prophet, and apostle suffer a strange change into streets of gold whose stones are like unto a stone most precious, as it were a jasper stone, clear as crystal; and unless starless spaces in the firmament of revelation are being sown with galaxies, and irradiated with the glory of the Lord.

Note that the sources of illumination are within.

“Having the eyes of your heart enlightened.” It is insight rather than reflected light; it springs up in the depths of the soul. This is not the instruction gained by intellectual study; it is rather experimental. coming through the inner powers of affection, thought, and will. We think we can see the truths of the universe only with the eyes of the theoretic understanding; but the fact remains that sincerity of purpose, purity of heart, and spirituality of life give an availing acquaintance with the magnificent truths of the divine calling, and with that surpassing greatness of the divine power which makes our calling effectual.

XX

FADDISM IN FAITH AND

CHARACTER

That we may be no longer children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine.Eph. iv. 14.

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N one of Darwin's letters we read this: “It is a sad flaw, I cannot but think, in my beloved Dr. Gully,

that he believes in everything. When Miss was very ill, he had a clairvoyant girl to report on internal changes, a mesmerist to put her to sleep, a homeopathist, viz., Dr. -, and himself as hydropathist! and the girl recovered.” Our purpose is not to expatiate on the miracle reported in the closing line of this paragraph, but rather to point out that the freakishness displayed by Dr. Gully in the medical world is, with increasing frequency we are afraid, being reproduced by sincere people in matters of belief, devotion, and character. In all religious circles these faddists are found. They are abnormally susceptible to new-fangled notions, greedily fall in with novelties, and are every whit as fanciful as Dr. Gully was in his special vocation. Almost contemptuous of tried methods and historical beliefs, they consider their quick sympathy with the novelties of the religious world a sign of advanced spirituality. We know beforehand

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