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And even as life returns upon the drowned,
Life's joy rekindling brings a throng of pains,
Keen pangs of love, awakening as a babe
Turbulent with an outcry in the heart.
And fears, self-willed, that shun the eye of hope,
And hope, that scarce can know itself from fear,
Sense of past youth, and manhood come in vain,
And genius given and knowledge won in vain.'

All such dark experiences attest the truth of the wise man's saying. And if there should come out of this death a better and a higher birth; if the man should consecrate himself at the eleventh hour to the noblest service and the highest objects, he will find that that service and those objects were in very

deed foreshewn and forefelt in his childish aspirations. They told him what he was meant to be, and what at length he is making a serious effort to become.

I have not concealed the great merit of this philosophical generalisation from the actual experiences of life, or the evidence which it furnishes that the person who made it had himself entered livingly into these experiences, and was no mere generaliser. But now, I would ask you, If this

' is true, do we not want some other truth to sustain it ? Can any one think that his presentiments have this significance, and not ask himself, whence came they? How can I interpret them ?

I Who can interpret them for me?' It seems to me cowardly and ignominious not to propose this question manfully to ourselves. How persons can boast of their deep penetration into the laws of humanity

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The prac

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to us.

who will not do it, I cannot understand. It is no
idle curiosity which forces it upon us.
tice and the suffering of life make an answer to it
necessary. Perhaps you have found one. Perhaps
you can talk about the destinies,' or the eter-
nities,' or the mysterious abysses' from which

these thoughts and wishes and presentiments come

Very good words if you can make any use of them ; still better if they are only expressions of an ignorance which wishes to be enlightened, indications of a vagueness which longs for clearness and reality. Very bad words if they are resorted to as substitutes for reality, as fine high-sounding expressions for cheating others and cheating yourselves into the belief that you have found something which you have not found, or have ascertained that nothing is to be found. But good or bad, they have all been tried before. If any phrases have been used up in the past history of the world, these have been emphatically so. there are any to which a man should not resort, as to the ultimate results of modern wisdom, they are these.

All the heathen world were trying to make out who put the strange thoughts into their minds which were working there, who connected these thoughts by such strange links one with another, who bound the different fragments of their lives together, by what wonderful art those fragments could become a whole. They tried the eternities,' the destinies,' the mysterious abysses.' It would not do. Something more actual, living, personal, was needful. They must have actual


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beings who could teach them, who could impart light and knowledge to them, who could see the past, the present, and the future in one. They tried to conceive of such Beings. They could but shape their conceptions from the things and the persons which lay around them. Looking for a ground of their thoughts and experiences, their thoughts and experiences became the ground of those to whom they referred them. They could not bring their lives into unity. For that which should have united them was itself divided. Do you think that it would be well that we should go over this wearisome experience again ? Do you think that the way of shewing the advancement of our knowledge is to take up a position which must compel us to repeat all the different experiments that men have made, while they were searching for some firm ground upon which they might stand, some fixed order to regulate their spiritual movements and their outward acts ? would not do that, I believe you must go back with me to Jacob's tent, and must learn how a Hebrew boy behaved himself in Potiphar's house, in an Egyptian prison, at the court of Pharaoh. You must learn over again the first elements of human history, that you may find a principle upon which you can safely and consistently act in this day, a principle which will fill up that hollow that was left in the deep maxim of our own 19th century sage, and can raise it from an intellectual generalization into a practical truth.

The heads of the Jewish tribes, as we become

But if you better acquainted with them, are just what we should have supposed they would have been from the lesson of last Sunday, full of all rude and savage impulses, impatient of home subjection, not yet tamed by the sterner discipline of law. Just the inclinations and tendencies which we saw in Esau are in them. At the same time they have inherited much of their father's craft; they will compass their ends by force or cunning, or both. It is no Arcadian picture; the simple life of shepherds, as the book of Genesis represents it, is infected with vices which we think the most foreign from simplicity. And yet the vices are those specially belonging to such a state of society; the complications and refinements of cities are not there; you cannot attribute the evils which spring up in the patriarchs to contact with the surrounding world. They are all children of the covenant ; that covenant has told them that they have a nature in them which they are not to obey ; that covenant has told them that One whom they cannot see has taken them into His service. They may remember it or forget it; to forget it is to follow their inclinations and impulses; to remember it is to believe in God; to believe that He is present with them, guiding them, protecting them. The Scripture did not represent Esau or Jacob as arriving by any efforts of thought or reasoning at one conclusion or the other. The first did what his nature prompted him to do; became a hunter; acquired dominion. The other followed his inclination too; suffered for it; became a wanderer; then God revealed Himself to him, and made him know that He was with him, and would be with him whithersoever he might go. Jacob became aware of a fact; a fact which his brother had not cared to know; a fact for himself and his seed after him. The Scripture says God discovered that fact to him. The Being who had made man in His own image, told this man that he was made in His image; taught him that he was not meant, like the serpent, to go on his belly and eat dust. That is the only explanation given; the only one that could be given if the history was consistent with itself. It assumes that man lives because he is related to God; that when he denies that relation he chooses death. It assumes that God is continually teaching men of their relation to Him, and that they are continually flying from His voice.

Joseph's story is in strict accordance with these principles. He grows up in his father's tent; a child favoured by his father, therefore hated by his brethren. He has dreams of greatness; his brothers' sheaves are to bow down before him, the sun and the moon are to pay him obeisance. In his vanity he tells them, and is hated the more. They plot against his life; throw him into a pit; sell him to a company of Ishmaelites. Not a word is said of what has been taking place in himself during all this time. There is no description of his anguish, or of any thoughts of comfort that came to him. We are merely told that God was with him—that he found favour with Potiphar, an Egyptian—that he became the

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