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Book. Prov. Prov. Prov. Prov. Prov. Prov. Prov. Prov. Prov. Prov. Prov. Prov. Prov. Prov. Prov. Prov. Prov. Prov. Prov. Prov. Isa. Isa. Isa. Jer. Ezek. Matt. Matt. Matt. Luke Luke Luke Luke John John John John John Acts Acts Acts

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A H O MIL Y

ON

The Enduring in the Universe.

“For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.”. Isa. liv. 10.

ONDERFUL words these! They are the

voice of the Infinite Father to his children in Babylonian exile; and as He changes not, as his love is as immutable as it is

tender and unbounded, they are as applicable to his loyal children now, and here, as they were twentyfive centuries ago to his suffering ones yonder in Chaldea. They lead us to contemplate something more durable in earth's history than the mountains themselves. The mountains are durable. From age to age they stand unmoved; the revolutions of centuries affect them but little; they seem to lift their towering heads in proud defiance of all change. From the snows of a thousand winters they come out in spring and summer as fresh and beautiful as ever. The vine, the olive, the cedar, that spring from their slopes rise, grow, and decay in constant succession.

But they stand. Hundreds of generations of cattle also that browsed on their heights, come and go; but they remain as emblems of eternity. Scripture calls them the “everlasting mountains.” Ararat, on which the ark rested, and Noah and his family

VOL. XX.

B

looked forth upon a world all their own-Moriah, on which the father of the faithful bound his only son for sacrificeHor, on which Aaron took off his robes and died-Nebo, from which Moses surveyed the promised land and then breathed his last—Carmel, where Elijah confronted and confounded the false worshippers of his age--and the heights about Capernaum, consecrated by the feet of the Son of God; these, and others mentioned in the Holy Book, modern travellers tell us, stand occupying their old positions and wearing their old features.

But, durable as the mountains are, the text tells us of something more durable. What is that? The good man's existence, God's kindness, and the union of both,

I. THE GOOD MAN'S EXISTENCE IS MORE DURABLE THAN "THE MOUNTAINS.” This is here implied. The people here addressed are supposed to live after the mountains have departed. On what do I base my conviction that man will outlive the “ everlasting mountains," or, in other words, that there is a future state ? I confess that many of the arguments which Theology has employed in proof of man's immortality carry but little, if any, force to me.

It is said, for instance, that the soul is immortal because it is immaterial. As I know nothing of the essence of matter or of mind, the word immaterial has no meaning to me, and therefore I cannot logically predicate anything concerning it. It is also said that the soul is immortal, because it has instinctive desires for a future life. Were I to grant that universal man instinctively craves for an after life, yearns for an existence beyond the grave, I see not how that longing can of itself be any proof of such a life ; for are not men constantly yearning after things, such as wealth, power, happiness, which they never possess? Hence, man's craving after things is no guarantee that he will possess them. It is also said by some, that man is immortal because of the wonderful things he has accomplished. His achievements in rearing magnificent cities, sculpturing

forms true to life, discovering the laws that govern the universe, writing books to move the ages, and subordinating the forces of Nature to his service, are brought forward in proof of his immortality. It is said, “ Could less than souls immortal thus have done ?" But if this proves the immortality of man, may it not also prove the immortality of other creatures-prove, for example, the immortality of the coral insect that built up the lovely islands of the sea ?

The fact that this life affords neither sufficient time noropportunity for the soul to develop itself has also been used as an argument. That souls have capabilities which find no full development here, is a fact of which, I should suppose, all dying men are conscious. What the French political martyr felt under the terrible knife of the Revolution—when he put his hand to his forehead, feeling his soul flooded with ideas and aspirations, and exclaimed, “There is, nevertheless, something here!"—is felt perhaps by the majority of men in leaving this world ; they feel then there is something within them undeveloped, unrealized, unworked. But this unwrought power bears no conviction to me of a future life, since I find everywhere in the flowers of the field, in the trees of the forest, and in the beasts of the field, death coming in stages of immature development.

The conclusions of the sages of ancient times are also sometimes used as

an argument. It is true that some of the wise men of antiquity did reason themselves into something like a belief in a future state. “In what way shall we bury you ? " said Crito to Socrates, immediately before his death. “As you please," was the reply. “I cannot, my friends, persuade Crito that I am the Socrates that is now conversing and ordering everything that has been said ; but he thinks I am that man whom he will shortly see a corpse, and asks how you should bury me. But what I have all along been talking so much about—that when I shall have drunk the poison, I shall no longer stay with you, but I shall, forsooth, go away to certain felicities of the blest—this I seem to myself to have been saying in vain, whilst com

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