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these three leaves we find a simple but clear exposition of the divine method of dealing with sin.
The Black Leaf stands for sin; which is the blackest thing in the universe of God.
“Black it stood as night,” says Milton; and Shakespeare: "O bosom black as death!" It is affirmed that the blackest thing in nature is the blight at the heart of a flower; sin is the mortal blight at the heart of our ruined race. Is there anywhere within the infinite reach of divine wisdom aught that can eradicate it?
The Red Leaf stands for the atoning blood.
Our death sentence is executed in the person of Christ, who stands as the “daysman” or substitute for guilty men. Law is honored; justice is vindicated; guilt is expiated; holiness is satisfied. Thus we behold in Christ crucified "the wisdom and the power of God.”
The White Leaf stands for cleansing.
In the marvels of alchemy there is nothing so wonderful as this, that the blackness of sin, by the washing of blood, is made white as the driven snow !
No doubt there were many in Israel who, refusing to look at the brazen serpent, perished and were buried in the desert sand. Some put their dependence on such human help as was at their command, and they died. Some could not understand how there was healing power in a brazen serpent on a pole; and, refusing to look, they died. Others, feeling no pain, declined to believe that
they were in serious danger, and, refusing to look, they died. But there were multitudes who, hearing the invitation, obeyed and lived !
* Look, look, look and live!
How simple this is! Yet all the profoundest things are simple. And Jesus said, "Whosoever shall not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child, he shall in no wise enter therein." I, for one, am glad that he taught the great truths in this way: for thus salvation is brought within the
: grasp of all. I am glad that he taught Nicodemus as if he were a child at his knee, beginning the great lesson with "Once upon a time"; for so the most wonderful of truths is made clear to the simplest of minds.
Did Nicodemus see it? Apparently not for three long years. No doubt he often thought of that kindergarten lesson in the upper room; but he did not understand the analogy of the serpent in the wilderness until, at length, he stood beneath the cross; and then he saw it! And as a little child, believing in the great salvation, he entered by faith in Christ into the kingdom of God.
In one of Mr. Moody's after-meetings a man said to him, "I am in trouble about my soul; what shall I do?" Mr. Moody read him the story of the Crucifixion; but before he had finished the man cried, “I am a Jew! I do not believe in Jesus of
Nazareth. He was not the Messiah; and I will not so receive him." Mr. Moody said, “Very well; let me read you something else.” He turned to the story of Moses and the brazen serpent. The man said, "I believe that; but I don't see how it affects my case.” Then Mr. Moody read the story of this interview of Christ with Nicodemus; and when he concluded, the inquirer said, with the light of salvation in his eyes, "I see it! This is the Christ of God! God did so love the world that he gave his only-begotten Son to redeem it!”
HIS ROYAL SEAL
The night. The morning.-Resurrection light on the
Birth.-Its light on the Cross.-Its light on the
The night.-It was a doleful night in the Vale of Weeping. The disciples had hoped all along that Christ would restore the glory to Israel; but, alas, he was dead! He was lying in a rock-hewn sepulcher with his hands folded over his breast. The eyes that had looked on suffering with divine compassion were closed. The gracious lips that had spoken as never man spake were dumb. The feet that had gone about on errands of mercy were wrapped in red-stained cerecloth. Greatheart was dead!
The silence of the night without the sepulcher was broken only by the footfall of sentinels pacing to and fro. On a sudden the earth began to tremble; a great light shone from heaven and the soldiers fell as dead men. A troop of angels appeared and rolled the stone away; and he came forth, wiping the death-dew from his brow.
The morning.–Now look yonder! Over the heights of Bethshemesh there is a glimmering of dawn; a golden mist is rising from the Mediterranean; and behold, the sun "flames in the forehead of the morning sky.” Oh, glorious sun!
In the light of that morning the world has been growing brighter all along the succeeding ages. In its light the children of sorrow have caught the glow of a blessed hereafter and conceived a “hope that putteth not to shame." In its light we find the solution of every problem that has to do with everlasting life.
• How calm and beautiful the morn
That gilds the sacred tomb
And veiled in midnight gloom!
Resurrection light on the Birth.—The Child wrapped in swaddling-bands was he of whom it once had been written, “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call his name Immanuel: which is, being interpreted, God with us.” Is it a mystery? Yes, surely, “Great is the mystery of godliness. He who was manifested in the flesh,”—“which things angels desire to look into.” No mortal mind can explain how Godhood and manhood are interwoven, as warp and woof, in the person of this only-begotten Son. However, the world is full of