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of Jesus Christ. What will be the destination of such ministers? St. Paul tells us by affirming, "no man can preach, no man can lay any other foundation than that is laid." No man can! Not that this can never happen. Alas! This has too often happened; witness many communities, which under the Christian name subvert all the foundations of the Christian religion. But no man can do so without rendering himself guilty of the greatest crime, and exposing himself to the greatest punishment.
2. "If any man build upon this foundation, gold, silver, precious stones." These are ministers, who preach the pure word of God. They not only retain all the fundamental points of the Christian religion, in opposition to the former who subvert them: but they explain these truths so as to affirm nothing inconsistent with them. All the inferences they draw from these great principles naturally proceed from them, and their whole doctrine is agreeable to the foundation on which it is built. On this account it is compared to "gold, silver, and precious stones." What shall be the destiny of these ministers in the great day of judgment, when their doctrine shall be examined? They "shall receive a reward." They shall share the glorious promises made to faithful ministers of religion.
3. "If any man build upon this foundation, wood, hay, stubble." These are ministers who really make the word of God the ground of their preaching: but who mix the word of man with it, and disfigure it with their fanciful sophistry. When the doctrine of these ministers shall be examined in the great day of judgment, what shall their destiny be? "They themselves shall be saved," because they have taught nothing directly contrary to the essential truths of Christianity: but they shall have no reward for exercising a ministry, in which they rendered the word of God of less effect by mixing with it the traditions of men, and they shall be "saved, yet so as by fire," that is, with difficulty, because their preaching occupied the time and attention of their hearers, in a manner unworthy of the disciples of Jesus Christ.
This is, my brethren, a general view of the design of our text: but this is not sufficient to give an exact knowledge of it. In a discourse intended to prevent, or to eradicate a certain kind of superstition, nothing ought to be proposed that is likely to cherish it. You should not be required to believe any thing without the most full and convincing evidence. Having therefore shown you the general design of the text, we will proceed to our third article, and explain the several metaphors made use of in it.
tions signify some propositions, without which all the rest that make the body cannot subsist.
III. Although all these figurative expressions are selected with caution, and very bold, yet they are not all alike obscure to you. Which of you is such a novice, I do not say only in the style of the inspired authors, as not to know the idea affixed to the term foundation? In architecture they call those massy stones laid in the earth, and on which the whole building rests, foundations; and thus in moral things, particularly in sciences, founda
The foundation is Jesus Christ. These terms are to be understood in this place, as in many others, of the Christian religion, which is called Jesus Christ, not merely because Jesus Christ taught it to the world, but because his history, that is, his sufferings, his death, and his resurrection, are the principal subjects. In this sense, the apostle says, "he determin ed not to know any thing among" the Corin thians "save Jesus Christ and him crucified,' that is, the Christian religion, of which the crucifixion of Christ is a principal article.
The other emblems, "wood, hay, stubble; gold, silver, precious stones," seem evidently to convey the ideas which we just now affixed to them. As St. Paul here represents the doctrine of preachers under the similitude of an edifice, it is natural to suppose, that "wood, hay, and stubble," especially when they are opposed to "gold, silver, and precious stones," should mean doctrines less considerable, either because they are uncertain, or unimportant.
For the same reason, “gold, silver, precious stones," signify in the edifice of the church, or in the system of preachers, such doctrines as are excellent, sublime, demonstrable. In this sense the prophet Isaiah, describing the glory of the church under the government of the Messiah, says, “behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and thy foundations with sapphires. And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones," chap. liv. 11, 12, and, by way of explaining this metaphorical language, he adds in the very next words, "All thy children shall be taught of the Lord, and great shall be the peace of thy children."
There is a little more difficulty, at least there are many more opinions on the meaning of those words, " Every man's work shall be made manifest, for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire, and the fire shall try every man's work, of what sort it is." Without detailing, and refuting erroneous opinions on these words, let it suffice that we point out the true sense. By the "day" we understand the final judgment. This day is called in many passages of Scripture the day "of the Lord," the " day," or that day by excellence. Thus the apostle, "Jesus Christ shall confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord," chap. i. 8. Thus, also, speaking of the temporal punishment of the incestuous person, he says, "deliver such a one unto Satan, for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus," chap. v. 5. So again, "I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded, that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day," 2 Tim. i. 12. In that day "every man's work shall be revealed," or "made manifest by fire." It is not astonishing, that fire should be joined here with the day of judgment. The Scripture teaches us in more than one place, that the terrible day of judgment will verify in the most dreadful of all senses this declaration, "God maketh winds his angels," and "flam
ing fire his ministers.""* Hence the psalmist | we try gold in the fire. I return to the text, says, "the mighty God, even the Lord hath which I left only for the sake of explaining it spoken, and called the earth from the rising the better. St. Paul here represents the day of of the sun unto the going down thereof. A judgment as a time of the most exact and fire shall devour before him," Ps. 1. 1. Agree- severe trials of the actions of men, and partiably to which our apostle says, the Lord cularly of the doctrines of ministers of the Jesus, when he shall come to be glorified in gospel. For this purpose he compares the his saints, and to be admired in all them that trial with that of metals by fire. Says he, believe, shall be revealed from heaven in flam- the different doctrines of ministers of the gosing fire, taking vengeance on them that know pel shall then be put into a crucible that they not God," 2 Thes. vii. 10. 8. Though all may be fully known, as by the same process these passages cast light on the text, yet strict-pure gold is separated and distinguished from foreign matter mixed with it: "Every man's work shall be made manifest, for the day," that is, the day of judgment, "shall declare it," because it shall be "revealed by fire,' that is, the day of judgment like "fire," applied to metals "shall try every man's work, of what sort it is."
The apostle, pursuing the same metaphor, adds, "If any man's work abide, which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward," that is, if the doctrine which a minister of the gospel shall have taught, and built on "the foundation that is laid," if this doctrine shall abide the trial of the day of judgment, as gold abides that of fire, the preacher shall receive a reward: but if his doctrine burn, if it will not abide this trial, if it be like the foreign matter mixed with gold, and which burns when gold is tried with fire, then the preacher will lose the honour and pleasure of his work, he will have no reward for his ministerial services: but as to himself, perhaps he may be saved, however, he will be saved with difficulty, "he will be saved as by fire." Why may he be saved? Because his doctrine did not go to the subversion of the principal truths of the Christian religion. Why will he be saved with difficulty? Because his doctrine was inconsistent with the dignity of Christianity. Why is the salvation of such a man uncertain? Because it is possible, that the motives which induced him to preach such a doctrine, and to prefer it before what St. Paul compares to "gold and precious stones," may have been so detestable as to deserve all the punishments denounced against such as shall have subverted the foundation of the gospel. If you doubt whether the sense we have given to this metaphorical expression, "saved as by fire," be just, we beg leave to observe in three words that it is well founded.
ly speaking, I think the apostle presents the fire of the day of judgment here under an idea somewhat different from that given in all these passages. In these, fire is represented as punishing only the wicked, the righteous do not feel the action of it: but here in the text it is described as alike kindled for the righteous and the wicked; at least it is said that the works of both shall be "revealed by fire." Now we should be obliged to have recourse to some subterfuge to make sense of the text, if we understood the apostle speaking of the fire of hell. How can the works of the righteous and the wicked be equally manifested by the fire of hell?
I think a much more simple and natural exposition may be given of the words of the text. The chief design of a day of judgment is to examine the actions of men, and to distinguish bad actions from good, and good from better. This is an idea contained in a thousand passages of Scripture, and it would be useless to prove it. Now the apostle, in order to make us understand that the evidence shall be complete, represents it under the similitude of the most perfect and best known trials among men, of which that of metal by fire certainly excels in its kind. Hence it is, that the sacred writers have chosen this to explain the trials which God makes his children go through in this world. I select only one passage out of a great number, "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise, and honour, and glory, at the appearance of Jesus Christ," 1 Pet. i. 7. The trial of your faith is a remarkable word in the original. Good Greek authors use it for the trial of metals in the fire. Isocrates uses the term exactly as St. Peter does,
Psalm civ. 4. The English version is-Who maketh his angels spirits: his ministers a flaming fire. Mr. Saurin understands the words, as above, expressive of
the divine influence over the power of nature, and reads, who maketh winds and fires, literally, his instruments, or figuratively, his messengers. This is perfectly agreeable --first, to the original terms-secondly, to the context, who walketh upon the wings of the wind-who maketh clouds his chariot-who sitteth on waters-whose canopy is the heavens. Whose clothing is light. This whole psalm, the most sublime of all essays on nature, makes all parts of the universe particles of one body of majestic size, and exact symmetry, of which the Psalmist's God, JEHOVAH, is the soul; the earth, the deep, mountains, valleys, beasts, fowls, grass, herbs, oil, wine, man, and all his movements, the skill that builds, and sails a ship, and the sensations that make leviathan play, all these, all the parts and powers of nature, are formed, animated, and directed by God. Thirdly, this sense is agreeable to other passages of Scripture-the Lord rained fire, Gen. xix. 24. The Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind, Exod. xiv. 21. Fire and hail, snow and vapour, stormy wind, fulfilling his word, Ps. cxlviii.
First, the sense given is not forced, for nothing is more natural than to express a great difficulty by similitudes taken from difficult things, thus we say a man escaped from shipwreck, to describe a man who has escaped from any great danger: and the same idea is expressed with equal aptness, when we say a man freed from some great danger has escaped the fire.
Secondly, the metaphor is not only just but beautiful in itself, but it is common in profane writers. In this manner Emilius Paulus, to show that he had hardly escaped the rage of the populace during his first consulship, says, that he escaped a popular conflagration, in which he was half burnt. In like manner Cicero, speaking of the miseries of life, says, that it would be better not to be born, but that if we have the misfortune to be born, the most
advantageous thing is to die soon, and to flee from the hands of fortune as from a conflagration.
Thirdly, the metaphor in the text is common in other parts of Scripture, as in Amos, "I have overthrown some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and ye were as a firebrand plucked out of the burning," chap. iv. 11. The apostle Jude adopts the same figure, and says, save others with fear, pulling them out of the fire," ver. 13.
By establishing the true sense of the text on solid grounds, I think we have sufficiently refuted all erroneous opinions concerning it, and yet there are two, which for different reasons I cannot help mentioning.
The first is the opinion of those, who think the apostle meant by the fire in the text the destruction of Jerusalem. This opinion has an air of probability, yet I do not think it certain. The time of the destruction of Jerusalem is often called in Scripture, as well as the time of the final judgment, that day, the day of the Lord, and the calamities of the day are represented under the idea of fire, and literally speaking, fire did make sad ravages in Jerusalem and in the temple. However there is a deal of perplexity in the paraphrase given of the text by such as are of this opinion. This is it, exactly as we have transcribed it from a celebrated scholar. "The fire of the destruction of Jerusalem will prove whether the doctrines of your teachers be those of the gospel, or whether they be foreign notions. He whose doctrine will abide this trial, shall receive a reward: but he whose doctrine will not abide it, will lose the fruit of his ministerial labours." We said this opinion was probable: but we cannot say so with the least shadow of truth of the opinion of some of the church of Rome, who pretended that the apostle speaks here of the fire of purgatory.
Because, suppose purgatory were taught in other passages of Scripture, which we are very far from granting, great violence must be done to this text to find the doctrine here; for on supposition the apostle speaks of purgatory, what do these words mean? The fire of purgatory shall try the doctrines of the ministers of the gospel, so that substantial doctrines, and vain doctrines shall be alike tried by this fire!
Because St. Paul says here of this fire things directly opposite to the idea which the church of Rome forms of purgatory. They exempt saints of the first order, and in this class St. Paul certainly holds one of the most eminent places: but our apostle, far from thinking himself safe from such a "trial by fire" as he speaks of in the text, expressly says, "every man's work" shall be tried, that is the work of ministers who shall have built on the foundation "gold, silver, precious stones," shall be tried, as well as that of other ministers, who shall have built on the foundation "wood and stubble."
passages of Scripture, which tell us that "there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, that "he that believeth is passed from death unto life," that when "the righteous dieth, he is taken from the evil to come, and shall enter into peace," Rom. viii. 1; John v. 24; and Isa. Ivii. 1, 2. A doctrine founded on a thousand visions and fabulous tales, more fit for times of pagan darkness than days of evangelical light; a sordid doctrine that evidently owes its being to that base interest, which it nourishes with profusion, luxury, and extravagance; a barbarous doctrine, which produces in a dying man a dreadful expectation of passing from the agonies of dying to whole ages of greater agony in flames of fire.
IV. Let us now proceed to examine with what eye we ought to consider the three sorts of preachers, of which the apostle speaks, and so apply the subject to practice. The first are such as "lay another foundation" besides that which is laid. The second are those who "build on the foundation," laid by the masterbuilder, "wood, hay, and stubble." The third are such as build on the same foundation “gold, silver, and precious stones."
Thanks be to God we have no other concern with the first of these articles except that which compassion obliges us to take for the wickedness of such teachers, and the blindness of their hearers!
But the chief reason for our rejecting the comment of the church of Rome is the nature of the doctrine itself, in proof of which they bring the text. A heterodox doctrine, which enervates the great sacrifice that Jesus Christ offered on the cross for the sins of mankind; a doctrine directly opposite to a great number of
What a strange condition is that of a man who employs his study, his reading, his meditation, his labours, his public and private discourses to subvert the foundations of that edifice which Jesus Christ came to erect among mankind, and which he has cemented with his blood! What a doctrine is that of a man, who presumes to call himself a guide of conscience, a pastor of a flock, an interpreter of Scripture, and who gives only false directions, who poisons the souls committed to his care, and darkens and tortures the word of God! Jesus Christ, to confound the glosses of the false teachers of his time, said, "ye have heard that it was said by them of old time" so and so: "but I say unto you" otherwise. The teachers, of whom I speak, use another language, and they say, you have heard that it was said by Jesus Christ, so and so: but I say to you otherwise. You have heard that it was said by Jesus Christ, "Search the Scriptures:" but I say to you, that the Scriptures are dangerous, and that only one order of men ought to see them. You have heard, that it has been said in the inspired writings, "prove all things:" but I say unto you, it is not for you to examine, but to submit. You have heard that it has been said by Jesus Christ, that "the rulers over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, but it shall not be so among you." But I say unto you, that the pontiff has a right to domineer not only over the Gentiles, but even over those who rule them. You have heard that it has been said, "blessed are the dead which die in the Lord," that the soul of Lazarus "was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom:" but I, I say unto you, that the dead pass from the miseries of this life, only into incompara bly greater miseries in the flames of purgatory. If this disposition be deplorable considered in itself, it becomes much more so by attending
to the motives that produce it. Sometimes it | curiosity, and to contrast it with that which is is ignorance, which makes people sincerely employed only to give that clear knowledge, crawl in the thickest darkness, amidst the finest and full demonstration of the great truths of opportunities of obtaining light. Sometimes it religion of which they are capable. is obstinacy, which impels people to maintain, for ever to maintain, what they have once affirmed. Sometimes it is pride, that will not acknowledge a mistake. Sometimes it is interest, which fixes them in a communion that opens a path to riches and grandeurs, benefices and mitres, an archiepiscopal throne and a triple crown. Always, it is negligence of the great salvation, which deserves all our pains, vigilance the most exact, and sacrifices the most difficult.
the second class, it would be necessary to contrast discourses of simple speculation tending only to exercise the mind with such practical discourses as tend to sanctify the heart, to regulate the life, to render the child obedient to his parent, and the parent kind and equitable to his child, the subject submissive to the laws of his rulers, and the ruler attentive to the happiness of the subjects, the rich charitable, and the poor humble and patient.
In the third class, I should be obliged to consider some productions of disordered minds, fancies attributed to the Spirit of God, charging religion with the tinsel of the marvellous, more proper to divert children than to satisfy inquisitive minds, and to contrast these with the productions of men who never set a step without the light of the gospel in their hands and infallible truth for their guide.
In a fourth class, we ought to contrast those miserable sophisms which pretend to support truth with the arms of error, and include without scruple whatever favours, and whatever seems to favour the cause to be maintained, with clear ideas, close reasonings, and natural conclusions, such as a preacher brings, who knows how to weigh in a just balance truth and falsehood, probability and proof, conjecture and demonstration.
My brethren, let us acknowledge the favour conferred on us by Providence in delivering us from these errors. Let us bless the happy days of the Reformation, in which our societies were built on the foundation laid by Jesus Christ and his apostles. Let us never dishonour it by an irregular life. Let us never regret the sacrifices we have made to it. Let us be always ready to make more. We have already, many of us, given up our establishments, our fortunes, and our country; let us give up our passions, and, if it be requisite, our lives. Let us endeavour to perpetuate and extend it, let us defend it by our prayers, as well as by our labour and vigilance. Let us pray to God for this poor people, from whose eyes a fatal bandage hides the light of truth. Let us pray for such of our brethren as know it, but have not courage to profess it. Let us pray for those poor children, who seem as if they must receive it with their first nourishment, because their parents know it: but who do not yet know it, and who perhaps, alas! will never know it. If our incessant prayers for them continue to be rejected; if our future efforts to move in their favour the compassion of a merciful God, be without success, as our former efforts have been; if our future tears, like our former sorrows, be in vain, yet we will exclaim, "O Lord, how long! O wall of the daughter of Zion, let tears run down like a river day and night, give thyself no rest, let not the apple of thine eye cease! O ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence, and give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth," Rev. vi. 10; Lament. ii. 18; and Isa. lvii. 6, 7.
It is not the limit prescribed to this sermon, that forbids my detailing the two remaining articles: but a reason of another kind. I fear, should I characterize the two kinds of doctrines, which are both built on the foundation, but which, however, are not of equal value, I myself should lay another foundation. The religion of Jesus Christ is founded on love. Jesus Christ is love. The virtue which he most of all recommended to his disciples, is love.
I appeal here to those, who have some ideas of remnants of divisions yet amongst us. How can I, without rekindling a fire hid under embers, and which we have done all in our power entirely to extinguish, show the vanity of different classes of divers doctrines of wood, hay, and stubble?
In first class, it would be necessary to expose a ministry spent in questions of mere VOL. II.-13
In the fifth class, I should have to lay open the superficial ideas, sometimes low and vulgar, of a man without either elevation or penetration, and to contrast them with the discourses of such happy geniuses as soar up to God, even to the inaccessible God.
All these dissimilitudes it would be my duty to show: but I will not proceed, and I make a sacrifice to charity of all the details which the subject would bear. I will not even describe the miseries which are denounced against such as build hay and stubble on the foundation of the gospel, nor the unhappiness of those, who shall be found at last to have preferred such doctrines before the "gold, silver, and precious stones," of which the apostle speaks. Let them weigh this expression of the holy man, "he shall be saved, yet so as by fire." Let the first think of the account they must give of their ministry, and the second of the use they have made of their time, and of their superstitious docility.
I would rather offer you objects more attracting, and urge motives more tender. We told you at the beginning of this discourse that your duties, Christian people, have a close connexion with ours, and we may add, our destination is closely connected with yours.
What will be the destiny of such as shall have built on the foundations of Christianity "gold, silver, and precious stones?" What will be the destiny of those, who shall have exercised such a ministry? What will be the destiny of such as have incorporated themselves with it? Ah! my brethren, I place my happiness and glory in not being able fully to answer this question. I congratulate myself for not being able to find images lively enough to represent the pomp, with which I hope, my
most beloved auditors, you will one day be adorned. Yet I love to contemplate that great day, in which the work of faithful ministers, and faithful Christians will be made manifest by fire. I love to fill my mind with the day, in which God will "come to be glorified in his saints, and admired in all them that believe," 2 Thess. i. 10; when he shall call to the heavens "from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people," Ps. 1. 4, saying, "Gather my saints together unto me, those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice," ver. 5. I love to satiate my soul with ideas of the redeemed of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation, in company with ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands of angels, Rev. v. 9. 11. At the head of this august body I see three chiefs. The first is Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith," Heb. xii. 2. I see this divine leader presenting himself before his father with his wounds, his cross, and his blood, and saying, "Father, I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was," John xvii. 4, 5. Having glorified the head, glorify the members, save my people. Then will the eternal Father crown such just and holy petitions with success. Then will be accomplished in regard to Jesus Christ this magnificent promise, "Ask of me and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession," Ps. ii. 8. Such as oppose thine empire govern "with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel:" but enter thou unto thy kingdom with thy subjects, thy saints, thy well beloved, and share with them thy glorious inheritance.
The second leaders are prophets, evangelists, and apostles, appearing before God with the conquests they made, the nations they converted, the persecutions they endured for the love of God and his gospel. Then will the promises made to these holy men be accomplished, "they that turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars for ever and ever. When the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel," Daniel xii. 4; Matt. xix. 28.
or among those who shall have lain in darkness and ignorance?
Ah! My brethren, the first of our wishes, the most affectionate of our prayers, our secret meditations, our public discourses, whatever we undertake, whatever we are, we consecrate to prepare you for that great day. "What is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? Ye are our glory and our joy," 1 Thess. ii. 19, 20. To God be honour and praise for ever and ever. Amen.
The third will be such ministers as have been "followers of the apostles even as they also were of Christ." I think I see these ministers humbled for their faults, convinced of their frailty, imploring the divine mercy for the blemishes of their ministry: but yet with that humble confidence which the compassion of God allows, and saying, behold us, the doctrine we have preached, the minds we have informed, the wanderers we have reclaimed, and with the hearts which we have had the honour of animating with thy love. What, in that great day, what will be your destiny, Christian people? Will yours be the hearts which we shall have animated with divine love, or those from which we never could banish the love of the world? Shall you be among the backsliders whom we shall have reclaimed, or among such as shall have persisted in sin? Shall yours be the minds we have enlightened,
THE DEEP THINGS OF GOD.
ROMANS xi. 3.
the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
ONE of the principal causes of the depravity of mankind is, that they form mean ideas of God. The idea of the God we adore, and the notion of the morality we ought to practise, are two things closely connected together. If we consider God as a being elevated, great and sublime, our morality will be great, sublime, and elevated too. If, on the contrary, we consider God as a being whose designs are narrow, whose power is limited, and whose plans are partial, we shall practise a morality adapted to such an imaginary God.
My brethren, there are two very different ways of forming this sublime idea, which has such an influence over religion and morality.
The magnificence of God may be understood by what is known of God, by the things that are made, by the brilliancy of the sun, by the extent of the firmament, and by all the various creatures which we behold; and judging of the workman by the work, we shall exclaim in sight of so many wonderful works, “O Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth' Thou hast set thy glory above the heavens. When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars which thou hast ordained, what is man, that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man that thou visitest him?" Rom. i. 19, 20; Ps. lviii. 1, &c.
But there is another way to know the magnificence of God, a way less accessible indeed, but more noble, and even more plain to the man, the eyes of whose understanding are enlightened, Eph. i. 18, that is, to judge of God, not by the things that are seen, but by the things that are not seen, not by what we know, but by what we do not know. In this sublime way the soul loses itself in a depth of divine magnificence, like the seraphims, covers its face before the majesty of God, and exclaims with the prophet, verily thou art a God that hidest thyself," Isa. xlv. 15. "The secret things belong unto the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us, and to our children for ever," Deut. xxix. 29. It is on this obscure side, that we propose to show you the Deity to-day.
Darkness will serve us for light, and the im