Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)
Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).
Christ's method is divine. His words have the charm of antiquity with the freshness of yesterday; the simplicity of a child with the wisdom of a God; the softness of kisses from the lip of love, and the force of the lightning rending the tower. His parables are like groups of matchless statuary; His prayers like an organ peal floating round the world and down the ages, echoed by the mountain-peaks and plains into rich and varied melody, in which all devout hearts find their noblest feelings at once expressed, sustained, refined. His truths are self-evidencing. They fall into the soul as seed into the ground, to rest and germinate. He speaks, and all nature and life become vocal with theology.
They take inadequate views of Christ's prophetic character, who think Jesus came only to utter discourses, parables, and prayers. Suppose all He ever said to be found in the writings of Jewish rabbis and heathen philosophers, His great function would still be an orginal one, to show us the Father.
God's beloved Son, leaving the echoes of His cries upon the mountains and the traces of His weary feet upon the streets, shedding His tears over the tombs and His blood upon Golgotha, associating His life with our homes, and His corpse with our sepulchres, shows us how we, too, may be sons in the humblest vale of life, and sure of sympathy in heaven amid the deepest wrongs and sorrows of earth.
All other great men are valued for their lives; He, above all, for His death, around which mercy and truth, righteousness and peace, God and man are reconciled; for the cross is the magnet which sends the electric current through the telegraph between earth and heaven, and makes both Testaments thrill, through the ages of the past and future, with living, harmonious, and saving truth.
The world cannot bury Christ. The earth is not deep enough for His tomb, the clouds are not wide enough for His winding-sheet; He ascends into the heavens, but the heavens cannot contain Him. He still lives — in the church which burns unconsumed with His love; in the truth that reflects His image; in the hearts which burn as He talks with them by the way.
In His discourses, His miracles, His parables, His sufferings, His resurrection, He gradually raises the pedestal of His humanity before the world, but under a cover, until the shaft reaches from the grave to the heavens, whenHe lifts the curtain, and displays the figure of a man on a throne, for the worship of the universe; and clothing His church with His own power, He authorizes it to baptize and to preach remission of sins in His own name.
The enthronement of Christ over the minds of men is steadily going forward. His kingdom embraces the princes in the realm of mind. It embraces the nations of highest civilization. They are all beneath the cross. It is maintained by simple authority. Other mental monarchs rule by logic; Christ's word is law — it is satisfying to His subjects. His truth in the handsof His disciples, like the bread He broke upon the mountains, is an ample supply for the millions that gather at His table.
You may be a dreadful failure. Christ is a Divine success. "Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth."
Go to the family where darkness and suspicion and jealousy and disorder reign, and if they will but receive Christ, mark how light and confidence and order and peace spring up. Go to the regions of superstition and idolatry, and see what transformations are effected by Jesus.
Christ is a rock in a weary land, a covert from the tempest of Divine justice, receiving through the ages the snows of Divine mercy, and melting them for the green pastures and still waters of God's peaceful flock — a rock against which wicked men and devils have breathed their empty curses in vain, for eighteen hundred years.
Go to Dahomey, Ashantee, Caffraria, Malaisia, — anywhere; search out the rudest people on earth; draw a picture of its vices and cruelties, make it as black as you can, and we will parallel it by pictures of Greece under Pericles and of Rome under Cicero.
Give us more and more of real Christianity, and we shall need less of its evidences. Act upon the supposition that Christ is a Divine Teacher, and you will soon have a demonstration of its truth.
The Lamb is, indeed, the emblem of love; but what so terrible as the wrath of the Lamb? The depth of the mercy despised is the measure of the punishment of him that despiseth. No more fearful words than those of the Saviour. The threat- enings of the law were temporal, those of the gospel are eternal. It is Christ who reveals the never-dying worm, the unquenchable fire, and He who contrasts with the eternal joys of the redeemed the everlasting woes of the lost. His loving arms would enfold the whole human race, but not while impenitent or unbelieving; the benefits of His redemption are conditional.
The longer men sin, the more easily they can; for every act of transgression weakens conscience, stupefies intellect, hardens hearts, adds force to bad habits, and takes force from good example. And, surely, there is nothing in such associations; as wicked affinities will insure to the sinner in the future state, to incline him to repentance.
O, to have the soul bathed all day long in this thought, " as the pebble in the willow brook " until the words come like the tears, because the heart is full, and we cannot help it; to feel, in the darkest hour, that there is an unseen Spectator whose eyes rest on us like morning on the flowers; and that in the severest sorrow, we can sink into a presence full of love and sympathy, deeper than ever breathed from earth or sky or loving hearts— a presence in which all fears and anxieties melt away as ice-crystals in the warm ocean. This is heaven.