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THE DIVINE WOOING.
— What God Has Done to Win Sinful Man Back to Himself. Allennteil by Sin, Mnn Fln<t« Recon ciliation Through Chrlat Jr ana —Sermon by the “Highway and Byway” Preaeher. (Copyright, 1903, by A. N. Kellogg News paper Co.) Chicago, Jan, S, 1903. Text:—“Now then we are- ambassadors for Christ, as though God: did beseech you by us; we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to GodL For He hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”—1L Cor. 6:30-21. A love story with the triune God hs the wooer, the world as the ob ject of His it fleet ion, and those who have accepted Christ as Saviour and Lord as the ambassadors of God to carry the love messages to the world, which He seeks to win back to Him self. A love story is always readable and fascinating. A true love story more than any other appeals to the human heart. Fiction is all well enough in its place, but there is noth ■ ing that stirs as a chapter from real life. There is always added interest and power in a story which we know , to be based on facts. Our text is suggestive of love and love's great yearning. Separation has come. The world has been lured and enticed away from the True Lover’s side. Reconciliation is sought. The True Lover is willing to sacrifice His great est treasure to win back the wan dering one. Who is there who truly loves who would not be willing tc* give all in order that the heart hlun ger might be satisfied? Why, that is the test of love. 1 Because the mother loves, the hours and days and perhaps months and years which mark the separation of the son or daughter from tHe shel ter of the home, wandering, she knows not whither, are periods of unbroken heart-yearning and an guish. Ah, if the boy would only re turn home and cease his wanderings! There is nothing she would not give if onlv she could win him back acrain. Because Jacob loved he could serve seven long years to win Rachel to wife, and “they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.” And when Laban, his father PP in-law. dealt deceitfully with him and gave him Leah to wife, instead, love made him patient to serve seven more years for Rachel. Because the father of the prodigal I son loved, not a day went by after the wayward boy left home but that he watched eagerly the roadway for the return of the prodigal from the far country. Love kept him at his post, and when at last one day the straining eyes of the father caught a glimpse of the ragged, wretched boy in the distance, love gave his feet wings as he rushed out to meet him. Love shut his eyes to the rags and disgrace of the young man, and made him keen to see within the penitent heart that beat a prayer for forgiveness. Because of love the fa ther received him hack into liis old place in the home, because of love he brought out the best robe, and the gold ring, and killed the choicest calf in the herd and made a feast of rejoicing, for the son who was dead was alive again, the son who was lost was found. The days of separation had been days of sorrow and bitter ness, but now that the boy was home again, the father’s heart sang for joy. There was nothing else on that farm, there was nothing else in all the world that could satisfy the longing of that father’s heart. The obedient, faithful son who remained home and proved so dutiful could not fill the place left vacant by the de fparture of the younger boy. Love for the wayward boy could only be satisfied by the return of the prod igal. "God is love.” The eternal Spirit of Truth has recorded these words, and God’s record of Himself and His l / dealings with man. from Genesis to f Revelation, reveal Him as a God of love. God the world’s Lover, and as such mourning the separation of^the world from Himself by reason of sin, ancLpkmning in His eternal purposes to win the world back to Himself. The life experiences of Hosea, the prophet, give us a wonderful illustra | tion of God’s relation to the world as a lover. Hosea has fallen in love i and wooed and married a woman who, after years of happy married life and when children have come to bless the union, proves untrue to him. Despite his pleadings and his utmost efforts to save her, she deserts her home, her children and her husband and runs after her false lovers. One by one they desert her as she sinks lower and lower in her life of in iquitous pleasure, until at last she reaches the very depths of iniquity and is found a slave offered for sale upon the market. Then it is that the constancy and true love of Hose* is revealed, as with breaking and yearning heart lie seeks her out and bujrs her from her masters at the price which they have set upon her. When God created man in His own image and placed him in the garden spot prepared for him, all was joy and peace as long as Adam and Eve continued to dwell in the realm of GAd’s will. God, as the True Lover, delighted to come dowm in the cool of the day and commune with this sinless pair. But the day came when the sanctity of the garden home was violated and the human heart ruth lessly thrust aside the claims of the True Lover and prostituted itself to a false lover, and gave free reign to self-will. The word of the True Lover was doubted and denied, and the enticing promises of the false lover allowed to lure away into the paths of sin, which led outside the garden. The garden home was dis rupted, the sacred union which had existed between God and His chil dren was destroyed, and the world turned to its own way in seeking its false loves, while God followed and sought to win it hack to Himself. And God found the world in the slave market of sin. The price of death must be paid to redeem the world, and He paid the price in the gift of His Son, who, as our text declares, became “sin for us, Who knew' no tin; that we might be made the right eousness of God in Him.” As century after century has come ind gone since sin- entered into the world, separating from God, God ha* mtiently and persistently continued His wooing. Do you know what love unrequited is? It. means that the one upon whom the heart’s affections have been centered has not responded to the flow of love. The heart hunger takes the inspiration out of life. The heart is breaking with its grief. Hu man emotions may serve to help us understand the great, infinite love wherewith God has loved us and longed for us.. The management of u universe could not divert the heart of God from the lost world. In the unseen realms of Heaven He had hosts >f angels to do His good pleasure, but all the peace and joy and glory of the Heavenly places could not give Ilis heart rest or satisfy His love. Not even the love of Jesus Christ, His Son. could satisfy the longing of the Father. And Jesus Christ felt the heart throbs of God for the world, and He so loved God the Father and so loved the lost world that He was willing to leave all the glory in Heaven in order that He might help God in His wooing. The world was separated forever from God because of sin. That barrier had to be swept away before man could be won back to God. The wages of sin is death. The penalty of sin must be paid as the price of reconciliation. And therefore Jesus, the Sinless One, of fered Himself as man’s substitute and became sin for us, that, “we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.’’ And if we would understand the manner of the wooing of God, we must- study the attributes of the Lover Himself. In human love affairs the character and temperament of the lower determines to very large de gree the methods which he will fol low in winning the object of his af fections. and it is because of what God is and what ITe longs for that the wooing of the world hack to Him sen is lumuuii) miu vuuipicitjj ac complished. God is a righteous Lover, and as such Tie cannot permit or countenance un righteousness in the object of His af fections. lie hates sin with an eter nal hatred which has planned the ultimate and utter destruction of the devil and his angels in the lake of fire. Fellowship and communion of man with man is dependent upon sim ilarity of tastes and of aspirations. There can be no fellowship and com munion between God the Lover and the world, the object of His affections, while its desires are centered upon the things of time and while its aspira tions reach not higher than the hu man life. God, the righteous Lover, cannot swerve one hair’s breadth from the eternal truth of Ilis word. Love with Him does not mean blindness. It is not the weak, devilish human sub stitute for true love which covers up and condones sin and wrongdoing on the part of the object of the affections. God is the righteous Lover who must punish sin and Who chastens Ilis peo ple, Who sends upon them pestilence and famine, and cruel captivity when they wander from Him and indulge in sin. God. the righteous Lover, cannot abide in the dwelling place of sin. and the world cannot come to Him until it is cleansed from all unrighteous ness. and for this He has marvelously provided by the sacrifice of His Son. God is a jealous Lover, and jealousy along the line of His righteous will is another kind of jealousy than that which surges in the human heart and so often has its full fruitage in blind passion and black crime God’s jeal ousy is measured by His intense love and ITe cannot be satisfied with a di vided affection in return. Where is the pure-hearted lover who is willing to share the affections of his heart’s idol with some one else? He wants all the heart and devotion of the one whom he loves, and her whispered con fession that there is none whom she loves as she loves him sends the thrill of joy coursing through every nerve in his body. He is not content with just a. part of her love and devotion. He wants it all. It is his right to ex pect and demand it. And is God any the less jealous as a lover? Would the human heart dare to say that He had less right to claim that degree of love and devotion which human relation ships recognize and demand? God is the jealous Lover because lie wants and has a right to ask for and expect our best love and because He knows that the life that dwells within the realm of His will and His activity is the happiest and best life, and would the true lover ever desire less for the object of his affections? And God is a just and merciful j^over. Justin that iiis righteousness demands the punishment of sin, and merciful in that the sinner is deliv ered from the consequences of his sin. God could not change His judg ment of death pronounced against sin, but IT is infinite love and mercy could work out through the ages a marvelous plan of 'salvation, so that the judgment blow fell not- upon man but upon man’s willing substitute for sin, the perfect man Christ Jesus. The true lover always plans for his loved one so that his gifts will not bring trouble or reproach upon her. I was reading the other day of a young man who had been tempted to steal from his employer that he might be stow upon the object of his affections rare and costly presents. His giving compromised the young woman and landed him in jail. He was not a just and merciful lover, else he would not have departed from the path of hon esty and thus brought disgrace upon himself and humiliating notoriety upon his loved one. And when God began to plan for the winning back to Himself of the world lost in tres passes and sins, His pure love would not permit Him to violate truth and righteousness, but He must needs plan along the line of justice. Sin must be punished by death, and so love found its expression along the line of His perfect righteousness and justice, and “He gave His only begotten Son” to become “sin for us, Who knew no sin, that we might be made the right eousness of God in Him.” And thus was realized the declaration of the Psalmist who says: . “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” And so God, the world’s Lover, is righteous according to the unchange ableness of His eternal truth' and Holy Will; He is jealous with a jealousy as pure and intense as His love; He is just with a justice which compelled the complete punishment of sin, and He it merciful with a mercy which made Him willing to give His Son as a sacri fice for sin. Oh, what wonderful and complete provision God. has made for sinful man! Yes, God. in His wooing has bridged the' chasm which separ ated the world from I£im. The way of reconciliation has be'en made plain, and now we who rejoice in that recon ciliation, we who have walked down the delightful lover’s lane of God’s Word1 and way, beseech you in Christ’s stead “be ye reconciled, to God!” God’s wooing of the world.—What a theme! God’s wooing carried on through human agencies.—What an exalted privilege! Ambassadors of Jesus Christ sent on the greatest mis sion ever committed to the hands of men or angels! We have not time to dwell upon this thought or to develop it. It is worthy a sermon of itself. But, Oh, we do want to say a word which will awaken the Christian heart to a realization of its great privilege and responsibility. Ambassadors for Christ! Then we cannot serve self or the world. Jesus Ilimself plainly said: “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” If we belong to Jesus Christ by faith in Him and cleansing in His shed blood, then we are His ambassadors. What a contempt we have for a traitor, for one who, when in the service of one per son, turns about and betrays his trust into the hands of another! And, oh, how many Christians have forgotten their high calling in Christ Jesus, and are betraying their trust! As> am bassadors of Jesus Christ we are sent into the world on one mission—that of telling the love message of God and seeking to win.;lost souls. The am bassador must know intimately the one who lias sent him on his mission. lJo you, ob ambassador of Jesus Christ, know your Lord intimately? The am bassador must reme direct from the presence of the king, as lie goes on his mission; he must receive his last in structions as to just how to csrry the mission to a successful issue. As yc-u go upon your mission, oh, ambassador of Jesus Christ, do you come direct from the presence of your Lord, wiUi last instructions to guide you in tie task before you? The ambassador uiusiH'fianQ ueneve nismessage, lour human love or your human faith will never succeed in winning a soul for God. You must have God’s heart of love, you must have Ilis faith, if you would prove a successful ambassador for Him. If we are going to stand in Christ's stead, we must have His love, we must have His faith. Human love can compass this life, but it takes the Divine love to reach into the eternities. Human faith may carry one through life’s problem to the edge of the grave, but it takes the Divine faith of Jesus Christ to carry one through the black ness; and death of.the tomb into the light, and glory of the Celestial City. As ambassadors of Jesus Christ we ought to begin to cry to God to give us His love, to till us with tlie faith of Jesus Christ, so that we would be equipped for the greatest mission upon which man has ever been sent. Then we shall be able to stand in Christ’s .stead in the world, and beseech the world to become reconciled to God. And as we carry on the wooiDg for God, we will find sinful hearts melting like snow under the midday sun. We will, find that the spirit of God will wonderfully coop erate with us and aid us as we tell the love story. Oh, Christian, be a true ambassador for Christ! Oh, unshveu soul, “We pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God! For He hath made Christ to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” Soaking Mu. “1 mean to give my boy a fine educa tion,” said a prosperous business man to the country relative across whose fields he was walking, “lie shall have every advantage here and across the water.” “Ye can pour on all ye want to, but ye can’t make it soak in,” replied the deaf old farmer, catching only the last word and applying it to the rocky stripof land on which his own eyesand thoughts were fixed. Hut- lie spoke the truth—more truly than he might have answered had he heard. No father, whateverhisdesires.eanreally educate his son. He can lavish upon him every advantage, but the “soaking-in” proc ess must depend upon the boy himself, and without it all opportunities are wasted. So it is with our spiritual ed i ucation. All the home training', the surroundings, the examples, the incen tives—love human and divine, and all the wondrous discipline of life, cannot make a fine character except as we care to have it so. Earth and Heaven may pour out their advantages, but the ap | prepriation of them rests with our selves alone.—Wellspring. Reason and Love. It is a love story, and not a system of philosophy. The Gospel is preem inently a heart appeal. Is it there fore an unreasonable thing? Xo, it is all the more “reasonable” because it is indefinable. The invitation of the Old Testament is: “Come, let ns reason together.” The cry of the New Tes tament is: “Come unto Me and I will give you rest.” The message of love goes further, sinks deeper, than the message of reason. You may reason out the construction of the rose, but no man yet defined its fragrance; it is an appeal to heart love; the fragrance always baffles our philosophy. The basis of the Gospel appeal is love—not fear, nor reason. The parables of Je sus are love appeals; the lost sheep, the lost son, tell of the Father’s heart. The parables always suffer when one attempts to “reason” them out. The world knows enough to depart from evil, but it is love—and not knowledge —that will win tlie world, if it is ever won.—Baptist Union. Grape# from Canunn. Humility is the prelude to honor. Seeds of love may need storms of sorrow. The will of God to-day waits on the null of man. True humility bows lower as pros perity rises higher. A gloomy religion is as misleading ds a glistening sin. To cherish an enmity in the heart is to nourish an enemy there. The man who says there is no truth in the world has mistaken a mirror for the universe. It will be time enough to indict others when we have finished the in ventory of our own faults. -1- BamV Horn. \ THE SUNDAY SCHOOL. IiMNtm ln the InteriMu6lou.nl Series for Feliruary 8, limit—The Church at Corinth. THE LESSON TEXT. (Acts 18:1-11.) 1. After these things Paul departed from Athens and: came to Corinth; 2. And. found a certain Jew named Aqulla, born ln Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to de part from Rome); and come unto them. 3. And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them and wrought; for by their occupation they were tent-makers. 4. And. he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks. 6. And when Silas and Timotheug were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed ln the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ. C. And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them. Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from hence forth I will go unto the Gentiles. 7. And he departed thence, and entered into a certain man's house, named Justus, one that worshiped God, whose house Joined hard to the synagogue. 8. AndCrispus, the chief ruler of the syn agogue, believed on the Lord with ail his house; and many of the Corinthians hear ing believed, and wer baptized. 9. Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: 10. For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city. 11. And he continued there a year and six Ynonths, teaching the word of God among them. GOLDEN TEXT.—Other foundnrflon can no innn lay than <hait lx lalil, which lx JeatiM Chrlet.— I Cor. ft: 11, OUTLINE OF SCRIPTURE SECTION. Making tents .Acts ]S:l-4. Testifying for Jesus.Acts 18:5-7. Encouraged by a vision.Acts 18:8-11. Before the judgment seat.Acts 1S:12-17. TIME.—A. D. 52. PLACE—Corinth. NOTES AND COMMENTS. Corinth was a city that greatly con trasted with Athens. It was not intel lectual but sensual, ami was noted for its licentiousness and corruption. “To live as at Corinth” was a phrase that meant profligate indulgence. Paul had accomplished but little at Athens; now we are to see what lie was able to do in a city less cultured and more wicked. “After these things:” The events in him. oii:iua\ >> witmi puuuiu be reviewed. “Came to Corinth:” The distance from Athens to Corinth by water is about 40 miles, and the voyage can be made with a fair wind in four or five hours. “Corinth,” says Prof. Bosworth, “was a great commercial city, midway between Borne and Ephe sus. Its life was characterized by a combination of commercial greed, su perficial but conceited culture, and flagrant sensuality, which made it by far the most difficult field which Paul had yet entered.” “Aquila . . . lately come from Italy:” It is possible that Aquila and bis wife were believers before Paul knew them. The edict that had banished the Jews, and with them Aquila and Priscilla, was owing to certain disturbances said by one of the Boman historians to have been “due to the action of Chrestus,”—a common form of Christ us, Christ— whom the historian, in his ignorance of Christianity, supposed to be the living leader of the “Chrestians.” "Of the same trade:” Both men were tent makers. During most of Paul’s mis sionary life he worked for his living. He stoutly maintained that it would have been perfectly right for him to receive his living from those whom he was spending his life, but he shrank from being a burden to anyone, and preferred to earn his own way. The rabbinic laws required every Jew to teach his son some trade. “In the syn agogue:” As usual Paul began his work among the Jews. “Constrained by the word:” Barn say translates this, “was wholly ab sorbed in preaching.” “Jesus . . . the Christ:” Or “the Messiah.” Think how galling an assertion that would he to the Jews who had killed Jesus. “Blasphemed:” Uttered bitter and abusive language, probably against Jesus, denouncing Him as an impos tor. "lie shook out his raiment:” The act was symbolical of shaking off all responsibility for them. It was the breaking off of all friendly relations and Paul’s declaration of war. “The house . . . joined hard to the syna gogue:” Hardly a conciliatory move on Paul’s part. The opposition to Paul and his work was especially bitter here, partly be cause of bis success in winning such prominent men as Crispus, and he had need enough of the encouragement that God sent him. This is one of the few occasions in Paul's life when his implacable ene mies, the Jews, were beaten at their own game. Gallio’s contempt for the Jews and their religion is evident. This incident must have encouraged Paul greatly, as showing the proconsul’s policy of non interference. Sosthenes had been ap pointed to take Crispus’ place as a ruler of the synagogue, and was doubtless spokesman for the Jews before Gallio. Encouraged by the action of the pro consul, the crowd, probably of the Greeks who were hanging around the court room—all the Greeks hated the Jews—pounced upon the angry Jew, and thrashed him soundly, in all prob ability to the secret gratification of the proconsul. The attack of the Jews had ended in a most humiliating de feat. Spear Point*. The man who thinks leads the crowd. Men will not be kept from the love of the world by making the world unlove ly The star of faith will shine long after the comet of fame has disappeared. The preacher’s mission is not that of amusing the saints by abusing the sin ners. Happiness depends not on the things the heart lias, but on the heart that has the things. The first thing some people do when troubles fly into their lives is to clip their wings.—Ram’s Horn. TWO INTERESTING NOTES. The six-oared shell in which Presi dent Eliot, Alexander Agassiz and the Crowninshields rowed for Harvard has been presented to the university by T. S. Watson. The boat was built in 1857. Elder D. Lindsley, of Marion, O., is believed to hold the world’s record for membership in the Odd Fellows, He entered Kosciusko lodge, No. 58: in 1846, being, therefore, in the fifty seventh year of his membership. He is 82 years old. ___ i ] ' Qdtia »® ;/.l !| Heartburn, Flatulence, Belching, Water f§ | Brash, Sour Stomach, Constipation are all W | caused toy imperfect digestkm., ^ ^ j| corrects the disorder at once. 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In about five minutes she returned to the room panting with her exertion. “Now.” said Herr B-, “put it up at that end of the room and climb to the top.” Maria did as she was told, and when she was at the top Herr B- quietly ob served : “Maria, you have now got a better view than we have; just look around and tell us if you can see any salt on the table. My wife and I could not find it.” Tiii* settled the business. Maria has never forgotten the lesson. A New Kovel Attracting Attention. “Lionel Ardon,” by Malcolm Dearborn, is a new historical novel brought out by Dil lingham & Co., in November last. It has many points on which to commend it for its superiority to the reading public. There is, at present, such a deluge of new novels that when one can be picked out whose in terest is so intense and whose characters are so well drawn like all productions of true merit, it is soon placed in the first rank. 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