COL. i. 15. “The image of the invisible God.”
IT is quite clear that without a great effort, both of the
heart and the intellect, we can never attain a knowledge of
God. In religion as in other things, the truths which are
simplest are also the deepest. The Jews, in old times,
were constantly relapsing into idolatry, because they could
not endure the purely spiritual nature of God. And it is
much the same with us. There are idols of the mind
which take the place of visible images; idols of tradition,
of language, which come between us and God, idols of the
temple, too, in which good and evil seem to be inseparably
I. Consider God’s dealings with us in the physical world.
We must acknowledge that God governs the world by
fixed laws, and does not alter these laws at our wish. We
thankfully look upon the world as a scene of law and order
in which the countless multitudes are marching along the
highway of God’s providence, and “they do not break
their ranks” but are obedient to the will of their leader.
Such a view, instead of shutting out God from the world,
seems rather to restore the world to Him.
II. God’s dealings with us in the moral and spiritual
world. There is a moral law which God has implanted
in our hearts, and which tells us not what is, but what
ought to be, and what will be when His purposes are
finally accomplished. Even those who have not acknow-
ledged a personal God, have yet recognised a principle of
right higher than nature, a better self which has the care
and control over the worse. Few of us make this better
self the law of our lives.
III. The practical aspects of religion which flow from
these reflections of the Eternal Being. As our power over
nature increases, our responsibility towards other men
increases also. Every man has in him a principle of right
and truth far above his own practice, to which he should
strive to attain.
Benjamin Jowett, D.D.