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her? Cannot we trust our heavenly pardoned, loved a repentant soul; Father in the same way and on the but He is unchanging; therefore He same grounds as she did her earthly will receive, pardon, love, repentant parent? In the continuous and me." unchanging cataract I had been Once again-let us all, young and tracing the ever-existent and un- old, learn anew to see God ever changing Deity, and it was but one present in His works; to look and an insignificant manifestation through nature up to nature's God; of that characteristic attribute of and to trace His wisdom, power, which the constant day and night, and love in all the scenes of beauty summer and winter, rain and har- or of sublimity that surround us. vest, are larger manifestations. We Whatever is, seems formed indeed shape our every-day life and plans for us as steps--or as “a scale," as on the instinctive expectation and Cowper calls it-by which the soul unreasoned belief that what He « Securely, though by steps but rarely has done He will do, what He has
trod, been He will be. Surely, then, we Mounts from inferior beings up to God; may argue from these material and And sees, by no fallacious light or dim, seen to the spiritual and unseen Earth made for man, and man himself characteristics of the Deity. His
for Him." nature, His feelings, His affections, To cultivate this spirit will give us His motives of action—if we may a greater interest in the many use such words reverently—are at lovely scenes with which earth least as unchanging as His natural abounds; will give us nearer apand mundane laws. Scripture proach to and closer intercourse teaches us " in him is no variable and communion with God; and ness, neither shadow of turning ;” will many a time strengthen our and shall not the unresting rush of wavering faith, or quell some the cataract teach us to understand anxious fear, when we are able to this Scripture, and strengthen our reason from our past experience, belief in it?
and argue, like the little Scotch So, then, faith has this firm basis girl of my story, “Father has given and foundation : He hath given to it to me before, and so he will give me before, therefore He will give it to me again !” to me again. He hath received,
C. C. P.
And sun and stars for evermore have set,
The things o'er which we grieved with lashes wet,
As stars shine most in deeper tints of blue ;
And what most seemed reproof, was love most true.
And we shall see how, while we frown and sigh,
God's plans go on as best for you and me--
Because His wisdom to the end could see;
And e'en as prudent parents disallow
To much of sweet to craving babyhood,
Life's sweetest things, because it seemeth good.
And you shall shortly know that lengthened breath
Is not the sweetest gift God sends His friend,
Conceals the fairest boon His love can send ;
And stand within, and all God's working see,
And for each mystery find there a key.
But not to-day. Then be content, poor heart !
God's plans like lilies pure and white unfold;
Time will reveal the calyxes of gold ;
Where tired feet, with sandals loosed, may rest,
I think that we shall say, “ God knew the best.”
NEWS OF THE CHURCHES. The Rev. T. G. Rooke, B.A., of, has been recognised as the pastor Frome, has accepted the presidency of the church in Romney Street, of Rawdon College, which had been Westminster; the Rev. G. J. vacated by the removal to London Knight, late of Lowestoft, of the of the Rev. Dr. Green.
church in Lower Sloane Street,
Chelsea; the Rev. J. M. Jones, late The foundation stone of a new of Haverfordwest College, of the chapel has been laid at Lower Nor- church at Builth; the Rev. A. wood, under the auspices of the Braine, late of Winchester, of the London Baptist Association. The church at Chard, Somerset; the chapel at Farsley, Yorkshire, under Rev. S. Skingle, of the church in the care of the Rev. E. Parker, has Wakefield Road, Stalybridge; the been re-opened after extensive alter- Rev. J. Harper, late of Horsforth, ations.-A new chapel has been of the church in Westgate, Rotheropened at Fleet, Lincolnshire, for ham; the Rev. E. Morley, of the the ministry of the Rev. T. W. At- church in Halstead, Essex ; the kinson.-A new chapel has been Rev. G. F. Edgley, of the church opened at Umberslade, near Bir- at Bow; the Rev. T. Haydon, of mingham, for the ministry of the the church at Gillingham; the Rev. Rev. G Sear.
E. B. Shepherd, of the church in The Rev. H. Tarrant, late of the Albert Street, Newark; the Rev. Metropolitan Tabernacle College, J. Williams, B.A., of the church at
Hereford ; the Rev. F. A. Charles, shire; the Rev. W. H. Tetley, of of the church at Brookside, Dar- Coleford, to Albemarle Chapel, Scarlington; the Rev. J. Lewitt, of the borough; the Rev. J. Baillie, late church in Sansome Walk, Wor- of Bristol College, to Manvers Street, cester; the Rev. J. Blaikie, of the Bath; the Rev. 0. D. Campbell
, church in Irvine, N.B.
late of Rawdon College, to Char
lotte Chapel, Edinburgh (after MidThe following reports of MINIS- summer); the Rev. H. B. Robinson, TERIAL CHANGES have reached us of Chatteris, to Ely Place, Wissince our last issue :-The Rev. E. beach ; the Rev. S. Pendred, of Mason, of Attleborough, to London Swanage, to Droitwich; the Rev. Road, Lowestoft; the Rev. H. T. H. Smith, of the Metropolitan Davies, of the Metropolitan Taber- Tabernacle College, to Shefford, nacle College, to Ottery St. Mary, Beds; the Rev. W. H. Elliott, of Devonshire ; the Rev. N. Rogers, East Ilsley, to South Side, Glasgow. of the same College, to Upper The Rev.J. T. Roberts has resigned Stratton, Wilts ; the Rev. J. Bloy, the pastorate of the church at West of the same College, to Forneett, Retford, Notts. The Rev. J. C. Norfolk; the Rev. G. Barr, B.A., Thompson has resigned the pasof St. John's College, Cambridge, torate of the church at Helston, and late of Rawdon College, to Cornwall. The Rev. W. White has Middleton-in-Teesdale; the Rev. resigned the pastorate of the church W. T. Miller, of the Metropolitan at Dunchurch, Warwick. The Rev. Tabernacle College, to Hillesley, A. E. Seddon has resigned the pasnear Wootton-under-Edge, Glou- torate of the church at the Brook cestershire ; the Rev. J. H. Atkin- Mission Chapel, Liverpool. The son, of Walworth Road, Hitchin, Rev. H. H. Bourne has, on account to Friar Lane, Leicester; the Rev. of continued ill-health, been comW. Wootton, of Dawley, Shrop- pelled to resign the pastorate of the shire, to Coalville, Leicestershire ; church in Victoria Street, Windsor. the Rev. E. Watkins, of Pontypool The Rev. L. B. Brown has resigned College, to Ryeford, Herefordshire; his pastorate at South Street, Hull, the Rev. J. W. Comfort, of Bra- and is about to sail for New Zea. bourne, Kent, to Ossett, near Leeds; land. The Rev. H. Bright has the Rev. J. Pidston, of Ottery St. resigned his pastorate at Earl's Mary, to Hemyock and Saint Hill; Colne, Essex." The Rev. C. Stovell the Rev. J. Meridith, of Pontypool has closed his pastorate at Mint College, to Kensington, Brecon; Lane, Lincoln. the Rev. S. Peacock, late of Caerwent, to Barrowden, Rutlandshire ; We regret to announce the death the Rev. A. Forth, of Chilwell Col- of the Rev. R. Smart, for more than lege, to Kirkby and Kirkby Folly; nineteen years the pastor of the the Rev. H. Rowson, of Eccleshill, church in Freeman Street, Grimsby, near Leeds, to Redditch, Worcester- | at the age of sixty years.
As “ News of the Churches" was unavoidably omitted last month, the above record contains all the information received up to the time of going to press, since the publication of our December number. It may be well to take the opportunity of saying that our large circulation obliges us to go to press early, so that no article of News can be inserted which does not reach us at the latest, by the seventh of the month.
THE WORD MADE FLESH.
No. III.-John i. 4, 5. The Evangelist has already told us that the Word was in the beginning, that He was with God, that He was God, and that all things were made by Him; and he now adds, carrying our thoughts forward into a new region, “ In him was life.”
This evidently means more than that He lived—which in this connection was a mere truism. To have life was His characteristic. Life was that which existed in Him, and of which He was full. In our case life is derived, is dependent, is placed under limitations, is continually changing, must be nourished and sustained by fit supplies : in Him it exists as in its eternal and exhaustless fountain.
The Evangelist's statement at first glance appears simple in the extreme, and we are in danger of slipping over it without much thought; but, if we pause and look, it broadens out and deepens under our gaze all but immeasurably.
Let us, first of all, look into the meaning of the word “ life" itself. It is not to be resolved into “happiness" or "salvation," far less into mere existence; all such paraphrases are an emptying of it. It is one of the great words which we meet so often in John's writings, which are used without being defined, and which indeed could not be made more intelligible by verbal explanations. Including its cognate “live," it is found more than fifty times in his Gospel alone, and nearly as often in his Epistles and Book of Revelation. It is the antithesis to “death,” as is seen, for example, in the passage, “ He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation ; but is passed from death unto life.” Our order usually is life and death; we reckon " from the cradle to
we begin with life, and trace it from its dawn onwards throughout its manifold vicissitudes till it ends with the last breath ; in John, on the contrary, the order is death and life-answering to which order, for example, is the name which Jesus takes upon Himself: “I am the resurrection and the life ;” implying that He begins by dealing with death.
To know the scope of the word, we begin with life in its lowest and simplest forms, as it is seen in the Arctic moss or the ooze brought up from the sea-depths by the Challenger. Even in such lower forms the physiologist cannot tell us what life is, nor the microscopist, nor the chemist, nor the wisest philosopher. They can tell us the signs
VOL. XX, N.S. III,
of it, and the laws according to which it is continued or extinguished; but that is about all. From the lowest and simplest we pass upwards, through one order of being after another, till we come to man, in whom life reveals itself so much more marvellously, in sense, intellect, emotion, conscience, will. We mark how different a thing it is in different cases ; to the unlettered peasant and the man of profound and various culture ; to the playful child and to the grey-haired saint, ready to enter the perfect kingdom of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. In this passage the term "life" is not to be restricted to any single province, wide or narrow, “physical,” “moral,". “spiritual,” or “eternal," but is to be taken in the whole breadth of its significance.
Besides the marvel and mystery of life in its nature and infinitely various forms, there is also its immensity of volume—its quantity—its amazing amplitude of extent--all that is, all that has been, in air and earth and sea. So far as our comprehension is concerned, the sum of it is absolutely boundless. As an illustration of the impossibility of dealing with this aspect of the case, a single fact may be selected from the microscopic researches of Ehrenberg : one cubic inch of the hardened clay called tripoli he found to contain between forty and fifty thousand millions of the silicious fossil shells of infusoria. In presence of such a fact our minds are utterly helpless to conceive the extent of life even in this little globe that we inhabit.
All the life of creation, so vast in its sum, so wonderful and glorious, from the life that lasts only a summer evening to that of the archangel who bows before the eternal throne and adores, all that life, the Evangelist tells us, was in him." He is the Fount whence it has all proceeded. Being in Him, the outcome was a necessity. If there is life in the vine, it comes out in branch and leaf and grape cluster. So with the life that was in the Word : it has come out in the vast and varied life of creation. Because in Him was life, therefore this is a living world, and not a mere material and ponderable ball or a world of automatons, destitute of understanding and volition. All the life of which we have any knowledge is the out-blossoming and fruiting of the life that was in Him.
This "life,” the Evangelist proceeds to tell us, " was the light of men.” The order of thought is the same as in Psalm xxxvi. 9 : “With thee is the fountain of life ; in thy light shall we see light.” Light is another of the great words of this Evangelist. Its antithesis is darkness. John's usage as to both words is shown in such passages as the following: “This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil; " “ He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life ; “I am the light of the world;
» 76 Walk while
have the light, lest darkness come upon you.” The terms belong primarily to the sphere of nature --- the light of day and the darkness of night. But in every instance in which they