In this world of ours

By J. C. Philpot

In this world of ours, just now so bright and beautiful, as the golden grain falls under the reaper's sickle, the Lord himself giving us a fruitful season to fill our hearts with joy and gladness, nothing meets the eye but what is of time and sense. Wherever our lot be cast, or whatever be the place of our temporary sojourn; whether the crowded streets of the huge metropolis, or the busy northern towns, where the untiring giant of steam ever vomits forth his pitchy clouds, and whirls unceasingly round and round his million spindles; or the lonely seashore, where no sound meets the ear but the murmur of the waves against the shingly beach; or the quiet, secluded country village, where, lost amid shady lanes, we may roam and meditate, as if we were alone in the midst of creation; wherever our foot treads, or our eye rests, the world, and nothing but the world, meets our view.

The men and women that we meet on every hand, whether fluttering in the gay robes of wealth and fashion, or the sons and daughters of toil, with poverty and care written on every feature of their face, and stamped on every thread of their dress, all, as they come trooping onward, however they vary in their million points of difference, resemble each other in this, that they live as much for time, sense, and self, as the ox that grazes in the field, or the bird that makes its nest in the bush. As far as we can judge from their words and actions, God is no more in all their thoughts, is no more looked up to, feared, loved, or adored by them, than he is by the swallow that chases the gnats in the evening breeze, or the butterfly that poises its wings over a flower in the noon-day sun. No, worse than this, "all sheep and oxen, yes, and the beasts of the field, the fowl of the air, and the fish of the seas," all these, though by first creation put under man's feet, continue to glorify God, by still showing forth the wonders of his creative hand. "They continue this day according to his ordinances, for all are his servants." (Psalm 119:91.)

But man, their original master, man their primitive head, has debased and degraded his nature far below theirs, for he has defiled it to the lowest depths of infamy and shame, and sunk himself and it into a loathsome abyss of pollution and crime, to which the brute creation present no parallel. Listen to that thrush on the topmost bough of yon quivering aspen tree, hailing the morning sun with his tuneful throat. He knows neither sin nor shame; he glorifies the great Author of his being, and is even now singing a morning anthem to his praise.

But that miserable creature of a man, who, all bloated with gin and begrimed with filth, is staggering out of the ale-house, who cannot speak but with a voice hoarse with oaths and strong drink; or that wretch of a woman who, alike polluting and polluted, infests the public streetódo we say that the thrush is a nobler creature than these sons and daughters of crime? Why, the very toad that lurks under the bush in the garden, is not only a nobler being, but more glorifies God than this miserable drunkard, and that wretched prostitute.

The bird of the air and the reptile of the ground are what God has made them; in them there is no sin, for them there is no hell. No blasphemy has defiled their mouth; no crime has sullied their feet. The eye of God does not hate them; the hand of God will not smite them. When they have lived their little day they will pass away, and be no more; but the wicked will be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.

Yet under this seething world of sin and crime hidden by the veil which time and sense cast over all external objects, there are transactions going forward, which are divine and heavenly, daily plucking out of this sea of confusion predestinated individuals, elect men and women, delivering them from the power of darkness, and translating them into the kingdom of God's dear Son. The Son of God has a kingdom given to him by his Father before the foundation of the world, and of which he took possession when he rose from the dead, ascended up to heaven, and sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.

Of this present evil world Satan is the god and king, for the whole "course of this world" is "according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience." But Jesus, King Jesus, is meanwhile administering his own kingdom of grace here below, and as such, is continually plucking out of Satan's domain the members of his mystical body, the objects of his eternal love, the sheep of his pasture, and the purchase of his blood.

But this kingdom "comes not with observation," or "outward show." (Luke 17:20.) It is a secret kingdom, a treasure hidden in a field; and the favored subjects of this kingdom, the partakers of its grace, and the heirs of its glory, are, like their once suffering but now glorified Lord, despised by a world of which they are the salt, hated by a world which is not worthy of their sojourning feet.