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Two advantages are likely to follow from the study of the details of Christian teaching contained in God's Word. It will enable us to form a more adequate conception of the amplitude of the Scriptures on the one side, and to apply more definite and certain principles to the guidance of character and conduct upon the other.
We cannot doubt that the whole scheme of the world was present to the Divine Omniscience before the creative work was actually commenced. In the physical world the various kinds of things that should be made, their properties, their relations to each other, and the details linking them into one orderly cosmos, were all present in their completeness in the Divine idea before they were called into being. But this archetypal plan must equally have included the moral world as well as the physical. The nature of man himself -with his social affections and relationships, the order of his domestic life, and the external circumstances amid which it is the will of God that they should be developed-must have been foreseen by the Divine mind before they were regulated by the Divine hand. The corresponding instincts, faculties, and affections were bestowed upon his creatures. The impress of the Divine intelligence was fixed so deeply on this adaptation of man to his moral as well as to his physical condition, that, had it not been for the perverting influences of human sin, the character and conduct of His creatures would have been consonant to His own fore-ordained type. It is the essence of sin to be a contradiction of God's will. Its influence, therefore, has thrown the whole wrong, so far as man is concerned. It has become necessary for us to search for the right, and carefully and laboriously to regulate ourselves by acquired laws, instead of following the instincts of natural inclination. The Bible was intended to guide us in this inquiry; and therefore, if it be the perfect reflection of God's perfect wisdom it may be expected to reach as widely in its teaching as the wants it was intended to supply, and to furnish not only great principles, but practical regulations --and these with reference not alone to the relation subsisting between man and God, but also to that between man and man. If this is found to be the case, so that the Scriptures reflect, even in detail, the scheme of the Divine mind, it becomes a very conclusive argument that the Scriptures must be themselves divine. The perfect adaptation of the lessons to the conditions of our moral state indicates that both have proceeded from the same mind. Let it be granted that God is the Author of the world, and he must be also the Author of the lessons which answer to it as closely as the reflection answers to the material substance.
I trust that the contents of this volume will show this to be the case. The several Essays have been made as short, plain, and practical as possible. They will suffice to prove that, directly, or indirectly, Holy Scripture supplies practical lessons for life and conduct of a minute particularity and detail not usually recognised. There is no condition of life to which, in one way or another, they are not applicable. They contain a
RELIGION IN DAILY LIFE.
Incumbent of Christ Church, Surbiton, Surrey.
“ Whether ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”
1 Cor. 8. 31.
Col. iii, 17.
AND 164, PICCADILLY,