Man in history appears as moving under the impulse of vast forces which he cannot control. As for those modern thinkers who deny the moral freedom of man, they are engaged in a hopeless struggle. But it is not so. From it our actions radiate, and for our actions we are justly held responsible. "Visit him." — The influence on religious faith and hope of what we call "nature" — of the sun and the moon, the stars, the mountains, and the seas — varies with different men, and varies with the varying temper and mood of the same man at different times. What right, it may be urged, have we to claim any special remembrance from Him? The Jew, recognising man's moral freedom and spiritual obligation, saw dearly and felt keenly the character of his low estate; he knew the touch and smarted under the sting of sin. Apart from man, apart from the consciousness and reason that are his attributes, the glory of the visible universe has little meaning. TO CHRIST. "Mindful of him" is not merely opposed to "forgetting him." A. But it meets both objections. "The stars shall fade away," etc. His real degradation and misery. )The Jewish and the Christian thought of manWilliam Clarkson, B. A.I. But remember that the grandeur of our destiny is not determined and measured by our merits, but by the immensity of the Divine goodness. I think about myself, and I know that it is myself only about whom I am thinking. Who would think that thou shouldest make all these creatures for one, and that one well near the least of all? What is man when compared with immensity? Now, this consciousness is not the result of our physical constitution. ON WHAT GROUND WE MAY JUSTIFY THIS PROFUSION OF BOUNTY AND REGARD TO MAN. It must be admitted, indeed, that there are remains of dignity in man which sometimes break forth and show his original. Man as a sinner is of special importance. Man is one who might "walk with God," as did Enoch; be the "friend of God," as was Abraham. IT IS, HOWEVER, IN HIS MORAL AND SPIRITUAL NATURE WHERE HIS IMPORTANCE IS MOST FULLY DISPLAYED. His works are so adjusted as to awaken the hope of a reward for well-doing, or the fear of a penalty for ill-doing; this adjustment is an effect, and thus a declaration of His purpose to remunerate the good and to punish the bad. In nature, first, God shows us His estimate of man. Why should He hesitate to express it? Man is distinguished in the scale of being by thought. If there is nothing in the component elements of the human frame which accounts for the preeminence of man, we may at all events look for an explanation in some peculiarities of structure. For Atheism is hastening to occupy the ground which Superstition long ago filled. The subject of man's redemption is that into which the angels desire to look. What is man, for what purpose is lie intended, that he fills so large a space in the Divine regard?I. I am not absolutely bound by the chains of necessity in my moral life. Trace God's visitations to His intelligent creatures upon earth, as Bible history unfolds them to us. Privilege of approach to the Nest High. Take humanity out of the universe, and it is neither moral nor immoral, it is simply natural. "(Samuel Fellows, D. D.)The greatness of manW. (Thomas Fuller. It is probable, therefore, that this higher order of existence actually spreads itself over the entire surface of the material system, and is developing itself in some manner proportionate to its superior dignity. He is capable of virtue and of sin. He uses our words as His own vocabulary. To ask God to deal with us separately and apart is to forget that He guides the whole universe by laws which are fixed, irreversible, and irresistible. We may heap figure upon figure to express our physical insignificance, and we shall not find the level of our nothingness. Men need such a view. What is our knowledge but that of a single spot? P. Liddon, D. D.Religion is the maintenance of a real bond between God and the individual man. None can say where God is greater, in the great or in the little, in the immensity on earth or in the infinity in heaven. Redemption has far-reaching purposes. It seems natural for anyone to think most of his best workmanship. But both teach that God creates the soul. For this proves that spiritual things are recognised as our highest good.(F. Try from the greatness of man to estimate the greatness of the end. When the history of this century is written no fact will stand out store conspicuously than this, that it has witnessed an extraordinary visitation of God in the revival of Christian faith, Christian worship, and Christian practice. He is the last result of the vast system of forces that play about him. That is found in the sacrifice that God has made to restore man to the high place from which he has fallen. And what is there wonderful, other than being unusual, m that Christ should be born of a virgin? They quote our text in a sense the opposite of that in which it is meant. Therefore, on the whole, the creative theory is to be preferred. He can utter inarticulate sounds, expressive of pleasure and pain; he cannot, like man, compare and generalise, and communicate rational thought by the vehicle of speech. Then think of man's moral capacity. Then the peculiar attribute of God is holiness. So also it is with periods of time. Was not everything the earth contains made for our use and enjoyment, in measure increasing with every new discovery? What is man?I. Art sets up its barriers against the threes of nature, which often assault us as a foe, or constrains her to submit to man and to accomplish his designs. From it our actions radiate, and for our actions we are justly held responsible.III. Consider a Being who, full and complete in Himself, needs no addition, and feels no want, a Being who knows all things, embraces the past, the present, the future, in one comprehensive glance. Presage thy future perfection and happiness, and get a foretaste of them!(G. God cannot, by His very nature, by all His covenants of grace and mercy, leave His own. But we do say — and science combines with Scripture to compel us to say — that these worlds have been in part created for us, just as our world has been in part created for them. )God's stars and their messageW. Has the issue of it been, "that the invisible things of God are more clearly seen." )The Divine regard to manDelta in, Sketches of Four Hundred Sermons.I. Traces of grandeur in fallen man. It was in this respect, chiefly, that man was created in the image of his Maker. Shall we not, then, make it our prayer and our endeavour to keep alive and awake within our souls that heavenly faculty whereby we can recognise our God when He draws near in whatever way He please to visit us?(E. Flying over the U.S. on a clear day, aware of impact of man upon this planet. Though separated by the abyss of the ocean, nations bind themselves to the exchange of mutual obligations. (The Evangelist. Is a heaven of holiness and of love too much for a being whom angels are delighted to protect? Moody. How great, how inconceivably great, must He be, the Creator and Father of all worlds, the primordial source of energy and motion, the first, eternal cause of all things, etc. His knowledge here indeed is but partial, but it contains within itself a prophecy of future perfection. Beard, B. A.It is possible to measure man against the universe on more than one scale, and the result will be strikingly different according to the scale which we use.1. Thus work up your souls into an astonishment at the condescension of God. In the centre and heart of my being I am free. In another place he says, "It is but a dust heap, to be dispersed as it was swept together." In both nature and grace, the works of God are indeed wonderful, and we unworthy of the least of them. Christ alone gives the satisfying answer. Man, without Christ, might have expected that the Divine wonder-working power would show itself in and for his spirit more than in the flowers of the field. What is man, considered as an intelligent being, and destined to be the inhabitant of an eternal world? Because God comes near to us when he doth us good; mercy is a drawing near to a soul, a drawing near to a place. It is the purpose of God to display in him His chiefest glory. It is in connection with human morality alone that what I may call the moral indifference of nature receives some measure of explanation. True greatness consists, not in weight and extension, but in intellectual power and moral worth. One is that of evolution; the other is that of creation. However feeble, and obscure in rank, if he suffers, and is liable to suffer forever, he becomes of importance in the Divine government.5. But are they forever to remain unsatisfied? When you look at man in history there again the same sensation is borne in upon your mind. God is just. Joseph Hall, D.D., Bishop of Norwich, 1574-1656. We may listen respectfully to all the analogies and homologies revealed to us by the biologist, and yet pause in the immediate acceptance of a provisional hypothesis of one uninterrupted evolution exclusive of any specific acts of creation, when the geologist tells us that he can discover few (if any) traces of these thousands upon thousands of varieties and sub-species which the hypothesis postulates, and we may feel a natural difficulty in understanding how the present phenomena of life have been produced by the survival of the fittest in the struggle for existence, when we observe that the alleged earlier and lower types still exist side by side with the later and higher. Yes, for the Saviour came, God manifest in the flesh. He is a free being, capable of self-improvement and self-destruction. But there is a certain intellectual and moral vulgarity in attaching such importance to mere material magnitude.2. This short Psalm is unique. Napoleon thought most of Austerlitz, Wellington of Waterloo, Morse of the telegraph, Lincoln of the Emancipation proclamation. How flee, how calm, how regular they are as they float in wide space — how innumerable. Man is an immortal intelligence, and therefore great. "Never before have the aspects of this natural world been so curiously, sensitively, and lovingly watched as now." The great sentiment in his mind at the time was undoubtedly the infinite condescension of the great Creator and Proprietor of the heavens. He shall feed you with the living bread. And how many examples of these hard-fought victories has the history of the world recorded l And how many names distinguished for virtue shine in all the ages! By the application and exercise of his thought man is becoming the perfect master of the world in which he lives, Never did mind wield such a kingly power over matter as at present.IV. The exercise of His attributes is a source of bliss, and we have seen that He cannot exercise them in their normal way without manifesting them; He must therefore rejoice in their manifestation. How He became incarnate in Christ, whose whole life showed how God was mindful of man. God is a person. The second is, that God pays special regard to His creature man. The heavens will not continue their identity forever. He understands and fulfils the will of God, which calls him to life in society. (Thomas Sherlock, D. D.)God mindful of manEdward Andrews, LL. EACH NEW DISCOVERY HAS DEPRESSED THE RELATIVE IMPORTANCE OF MAN IN THE MATERIAL UNIVERSE.1. Shall He conceal His displeasure? We find in the animals a consciousness of feeling, but not a consciousness of self. Of the West — especially of — which teach that the soul has had a former existence, and is here as a penalty for former sin. He has drawn aside the veil from the future, and made that long life and that large world our own. But it is not so. The heavens are incapable of studying their Maker; man can. And it agrees emphatically with the Scripture distinction between the "fathers of our flesh" and the "Father of our spirits." We know within ourselves that in yielding to a motive, that is to say, in resolving in conformity with it, we are able to refrain from forming this resolve. If, on the one hand, nature is our irresponsible tyrant, on the other, we are masters of nature. )That Thou visitest him.Some crises of human life and their moral lessonsE. This cannot be entertained. He does not answer his own question, but he reminds us of this important factor in the inquiry, which must not be left out of view. IV. It is human to err; but fiendish to dwell in guilt. In God's moral universe His higher glories are displayed, because there He manifests His moral attributes. "Never before have the aspects of this natural world been so curiously, sensitively, and lovingly watched as now." )The meanness and the greatness of manBishop Lightfoot.Could any paradox be imagined greater than this — this contrast between the insignificance of man's self and the preeminence of man's destiny? AND DO WE COMPREHEND FULLY THE END PROPOSED? God has given to His human children a share in His wide rule.4. Consider, then, the nature of God's benevolence.1. If there is nothing in the component elements of the human frame which accounts for the preeminence of man, we may at all events look for an explanation in some peculiarities of structure. Thereemin, D. D.)Man and the universeBishop Gore.The Psalmist has been contemplating the clear midnight sky, and there strikes into his soul that old, that unchanging sensation by contrast to the vastness of man's littleness. It must be admitted, indeed, that there are remains of dignity in man which sometimes break forth and show his original. )The royal visit and its objectD. Punshon. To know what man is, we ought not to consider of what he is capable under circumstances peculiarly favourable, but to look at him as he generally is.2. Man is found to be compounded of just such substances as the brute, the tree, the stone. In what of glory or grandeur can he be wanting who is capable of knowing and worshipping God? Traces of a faculty like memory are indeed found in the beast, formed by a repetition of sensations, but this does not ascend to the higher human faculty of forming an objective notion of sensations and feelings, and therefore the beast has no language, properly so called. The greatest of our theologians have given to them very different interpretations, as they have sought to discover and to define those powers and faculties in man which appear to reveal in him the traces of the Divine image. We can wander from the Father's house. Not only has this wonderful world been given to us, not only has this wonderful world been mastered by us, but it has been given to us to find the way to the mastery of it ourselves. Thought has no magnitude. And that men of science should doubt disturbs many who cannot bear to think that the Divine existence should be called in question. The Bible takes it for granted, and appeals to it. We find in the animals a consciousness of feeling, but not a consciousness of self. If a man is worth so much to God, he surely ought to be of great value to himself.4. If the eye which guides the four thousand nebulae could not see the falling tear which is wept upon this little earth? A sufferer is a being of importance in God's universe. God, who feeds the ravens and gives food to the young eagles, was He not to have taken care to feed man's heart? Is a heaven of holiness and of love too much for a being whom angels are delighted to protect? Privilege of approach to the Nest High. WHY.1. )The meanness and the greatness of manBishop Lightfoot.Could any paradox be imagined greater than this — this contrast between the insignificance of man's self and the preeminence of man's destiny? True, there is a sense in which science gives back to us with its left hand what it has taken away with its right. There must be, in the moral government of God, the same certainty and universality of principles, and a harmony and connection of the various portions, all being controlled to effect the one purpose of the glory of God. I see the heavens full of stars, and man's heart of anticipations and forebodings. For this proves that spiritual things are recognised as our highest good.(F. Among great men there is no one to whom the sense of man's littleness has presented itself with such overwhelming force as to Pascal. Man has not survived, but is contemporary with them. It is in no sense self-sustained. Viewed simply as a sinner, man looms up in the Divine government above the stars.4. A disorder attacks some portion of his body, whose cooperation with the mind is needful, and all his thoughts swim about chaotic and in disorder. There are those general visitations in which God has drawn near to us collectively. Apostles and evangelists saw the true fulfilment of the Psalmist's prophetic saying in the ultimate and supreme destiny of mankind, as realised in the person and work of the one representative Man. There must be, in the moral government of God, the same certainty and universality of principles, and a harmony and connection of the various portions, all being controlled to effect the one purpose of the glory of God. Consider a Being who, full and complete in Himself, needs no addition, and feels no want, a Being who knows all things, embraces the past, the present, the future, in one comprehensive glance. It is true, as the Psalmist reminds us, that man is like a thing of naught, that his time passeth away as a shade. And while he thinks and feels, he observes the laws of his own thoughts and feelings. Will not this form an eternal separation between man and God? THE WORKS OF GOD'S GRACE IN THE DEPTHS BELOW. Man's relation to God as a person; man's dependence on God; man's power to ask, and God's power to give such things as that dependence makes necessary. But if the flying straw and gnat display His wonderful works, what will He not have done in and for man? God visits us all and each. To the lowly it is much to enjoy the notice of the strong and high. Even that power by which man discerns the truth he employs to hurl truth from the throne, and to set up error in truth's stead; squandering upon it the enthusiasm which only the truth should inspire. Impenitent man, God is mindful of you. He does not mean to imply that man constitutionally is a contemptible being — a creature too insignificant for notice. We may well exclaim, "Whence all this weight of magnificence — this perfect arrangement and adaptation? Against both perversions the language of Scripture furnishes a standing protest, and if read aright a safeguard. In all the infirmity and decrepitude of old age. TO DAVID. Man as a sinner is of special importance. "Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers." The importance of man in the universe is greatly heightened when we advance from the mental to the moral. I. The opening of Scripture brings before us man in his religious nature, as a being created by and dependent upon God. All ethical axioms are His revelation. Trace God's visitations to His intelligent creatures upon earth, as Bible history unfolds them to us. But though it can soar to heaven, it brings down no certain news. Consider, then, the Christian idea of an immortal and heavenly life hereafter. But against it it is urged —(i) That God ceased creation on the seventh day. TO SAINTS. Care — for God had been very mindful of him.II. Yet is that a trifling glory — to ascribe this to Himself, and to regard all our actions as emanating from God? But the wonder is that God should care for such creatures, that He should be willing to forgive them, and to send His Son into the world to die for them. 3. This commandment is not easily fulfilled. Verses 3-6. There are the ideas —1. And by its means we find the infinitude of God in every flying straw and in the smallest grain. If we contemplate man simply as a being of intelligence, the scale begins to turn. Perfect machine; every part-adapted; power to repair itself, and reproduce its kind. We have, in consciousness, a witness that helps us to comprehend the conception of man as a spiritual being. In all the concerns of manhood. 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