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like Christ, their true attitude of love, reverence, and trust, before a religion like that of the Cross. It is a more than earthly faculty, this faith that humbles and exalts the soul. It rests upon a sublimer evidence than that of sense; and because it cannot interpret into propositions intelligible to all minds the grounds of its confidence, do not suppose those grounds to be fanciful or unreasonable. When the soul of the thinking, disciplined, scientific, and all-accomplished man makes itself a little child in the presence of its Maker, sits at the feet of Jesus with an air of waiting and tender discipleship, admits the reproofs of the gospel with an unresisting penitence, and unaffectedly feels that humility, lowliness of mind, love, are profounder acquirements than all that the schools and academies can bestow, then we have a glorious and most instructive union of the highest intelligence with the most childlike faith. How beautiful, how affecting, how suggestive is this spectacle. “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom ; neither let the mighty man glory in his might. Let not the rich man glory in his riches ; but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me." “ Take heed," said our Saviour, in illustrating in the context the necessity of a childlike spirit and temper in the religious inquirer and Christian disciple,-referring, doubtless, to the humble origin and poor mental furnishing of His then chosen disciples, which made them objects of contempt to the learned and great,—“take heed, that ye despise not one of these little ones (these children in worldly wisdom and scholastic accomplishments); for I say unto you, that in heaven, their angels do always behold the face of my Father, who is in heaven !” Oh, my brethren, there are diviner and purer sources of wisdom than any within the exclusive control of the educated and the great. Whatever dependence the mind may have on learned teachers and books, the soul has immediate access to its source, and its source has direct communication with it; so that, informed by the spirit of truth, the meanest faculties have bloomed into wisdom, and the most uneducated and unfavoured persons discovered an all-furnished nature. Exactly what our Lord means by saying that their angels always beheld the face of His Father, I know not; but that every man, in a lowly and humble temper of soul, has a messenger from God, waiting to instruct him-an infallible and heaven-inspired teacher-I fully believe. Whether it be that these our angels are our
own souls, which, as they came from God, and indeed have never left Him, may be considered as really still before His throne, gazing into His face, and ready to report to us, in the first lull of passion and wilfulness, at the first moment of humility and teachableness, what they see and know; or, whether we are blessed enough to have each a guardian angel, who is charged with our salvation, and for ever waits for the opportunity to catch our now preoccupied and diverted attention, who shall say? But the practical truth is the same. Every man carries in himself the seeds of eternal truth, the hints and suggestions of a Divine life and character. Would he heed his own heart, would he allow his conscience to be heard, would he obey his better instincts, he would be wiser in one hour than all the learning of schools and the experience of the world can make him. Irreligion, selfishness, inveracity, pride, sensuality, jealousy, hatred, envy,—who ever unlearned these in the world, or in the library, or in society, or the company of the famous and the brilliant ? An angel from heaven must teach them; the soul must see their falseness and folly for itself. It is a moral and spiritual light that can alone illumine the path of salvation. All our darkness is a bandage we wilfully bind over our own eyes ; all our difficulty is made by our self-will. Were we willing to know and to do the truth, it would flood our souls. Had we the simplicity of apostles, we should share their illumination. And it is this principle which accounts for the wonderful re-creation of the soul, sometimes produced suddenly by powerful religious influences. It takes no more time to open the eyes of the soul than the eyes of the body; and the prospect is always ready. There is no such wonderful change in life possible, as the change from self-conceit to humility, from pride of opinion to utter teachableness, from the attitude of one that turns his back upon Divine truth, to that of an earnest pupil ; and that change is a change of will, which may take place in an instant. You do not know, you do not believe, perhaps, my brethren, that there is a veil over the minds of unchristian men, the sudden raising of which would reveal a world as new and lovely and inviting as that which the blind man, restored miraculously to sight, would behold in a summer's day on the fairest spot of earth. You do not see the world the child of faith sees-sees here, sees everywhere. It is not superior intelligence, acuter intellect, longer study, that opens this world. It is only simplicity, humility, lowliness of heart, that reveals it,—these are angels that can behold the face of the Father in heaven; and they become our angels, our guardians, inspirers and illuminators, from the moment we welcome them to our presence, or cease to shut them out from our souls.'
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