I. DIVINE EXALTATION.
1. The experience. God's people are not kept in perpetual depression. Sometimes they are cast down to the dust. But this is not their continual state. Salvation is not attained by means of ceaseless humiliation. There is exaltation
(1) in gladness, rejoicing over the love of God;
(2) in strength, rising to achieve great service in the kingdom;
(3) in victory, triumphing over failure and evil.
2. Its source. God exalts. Man cannot truly exalt himself, and when he tries to do so, pride and vanity give him an ugly fall. Success in this world even is dependent on God's providence; much more are true elevation of character and exaltation of energy dependent on his favour.
3. Its accomplishment. God exalts by his power. It is much to know that God is almighty as well as most merciful and gracious. To be favoured by one who had small resources would be pleasant, but it could not be very helpful. But God's power goes with his love to effect his good designs.
II. INCOMPABARLE INSTRUCTION. "Who teacheth like him?"
1. How God teaches
(1) By experience. He puts us to a school of life; he makes us feel the reality of his lessons. The sorrows and joys, the humiliations and the exaltations are all parts of the Divine instruction.
(2) In revelation. This Divine instruction carries us out of ourselves and opens to us visions of heavenly truth. God teaches partly through prophets and apostles in the Scriptures, but mainly through Christ in his great life, death, and resurrection.
2. Why his teaching is incomparable.
(1) Because he knows the lesson. The Teacher is a master of his subject. God knows all truth. Who, then, can teach it as he will teach it?
(2) Because he understands the pupils. This condition is necessary if the lesson is not to miss the mark. Great scholars are not always great teachers, because they cannot always enter into the difficulties of beginners and expound to the simple and ignorant what they are themselves most familiar with.
(3) Because he spares no pains. He is in earnest in desiring to teach his children. He is not like the listless teacher who drones over his perfunctory task. God means to get his lessons into the dullest of his pupils, and, being in earnest and full of sympathy, he is unequalled.
III. THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THE EXALTATION AND THE INSTRUCTION. Each helps the other.
1. The exaltation a method of instruction. As we rise higher we leave the mists of the valley, and at the same time our horizon expands. Gladness and strength and victory open our eyes to the love of God and the glory of the kingdom. Adversity has its lessons, but so also has prosperity.
2. The instruction an element of the exaltation. We cannot become great in mind until we rise above the petty, narrow, ignorant conceptions that belong to our more backward state. Spiritual greatness implies enlarged knowledge as well as an increase in other graces. When Christ sets his people in places of joy and honour, they have to show appreciation of their privileges by opening their souls to receive the fuller truth that he reveals. - W.F.A.
Who teacheth like Him?
I. THE TEACHING CHARACTER OF THE DIVINE ORDER. The teaching intention is seen everywhere in the established economy of the whole arrangement of the constitution of the universe. It is not an arrangement to be noticed here and there, but a matter of law and universality, unchangeable and regular. The whole range and laws of nature, the whole animal economy — providence, revelation, Christianity, and the whole works of God as known to us — have a teaching commission. All have their science to make known to men; all have their influence in the moulding of human character. Everything has its message; everything is backed by Divine law and authority. This order is intended, in its teaching power, to lead and reunite us with the source and end of our life, and thus to realise the chief good of our being.
1. The supreme order of which we are subjects is one of universal relation and dependence. Illustration: relation of parent and child. One is made to teach, and the other to be taught.
2. As a teaching power, the order of which we are subjects is one of advancement. The whole is intended to advance. The order of God is ever forward.
3. The order under which we live is one of universal and unending obligation. A condition of dependence is one of obligation. To our obligation there is neither limit nor end. All we have are things to fulfil our obligation with, and the degree of our possession is the limit of our obligation.
4. The order in which we are established is one of useful purpose in its laws and provisions. The high design is to fit all its dependent creatures for the end of their being. The order of God intends to economise all its gifts and talents. No talent is to be buried, no power is to lie dormant, no plot uncultivated, and no opportunity unemployed. All are fitted for themselves, for one another, and all to show the praise of the great teacher Himself.
5. The teaching order of God has fit and sufficient resources to meet its requirements, and fulfil its designs. Everything is an educational link to some higher development. The order of God has everything in itself to make it complete. He requires no foreign element. All perfect order precludes the possibility of deficiency, or any goodness outside itself.
II. GOD'S TEACHING IS OUR PATTERN TO FOLLOW. All men require much teaching themselves before they are competent to teach others. Teaching is Divine.
1. God's teaching is our pattern in the kindness of its execution. There is nothing harsh and oppressive in the teachings of God. He allures by promises, and leads on by the cords of tenderness and love; giving us a pattern how to teach those who are under our care and our charge.
2. The teaching of God is one of repeated application. God repeats His calls and applications. If one way and means are not effectual, He tries and uses others.
3. The Divine teaching is one of rule and order. Every period has its work, every work has its laws, and every act its certain and fit results. Constancy is one rule. Attention to small points is another. Earnest action is another. Every power must act its part.
4. The teaching of God is one of gradual advancement. Our wants and capacities, in the order of being, keep pace with each other. When one is small, the other is not great; and as one increases the other advances. God suits His teaching to our wants and powers.
5. God's teaching contains in it hard lessons for us in our present state and condition.
6. God teaches, by suitable means, to accomplish the end He has in view.
III. THE AIM AND END OF DIVINE TEACHING. Wisdom is right in the end in view, and the means used to obtain it. One end is — to teach us self-insufficiency and trust in Him. Another, to teach us the evil of disobedience and sin. Another, to educate our nature in its highest powers, to its highest possible capacity. That we should understand the law of His order, and respect it. To fit us for the precise work intended to be done by us. To lead us to Himself, and to make us fit for all His will and purpose. Conclusion — The obligation on our part which the Divine administration of teaching involves.
Homilist.I. His BEING, as here presented. Elihu points our attention to three great facts concerning this Great Being.
1. He is mighty. "Behold, God exalteth by His power."
2. He is independent. "Who hath enjoined Him His way?" He is amenable to no one beyond Himself.
3. He is righteous. "Who can say, Thou hast wrought iniquity?"
4. He is adorable. "Remember that thou magnify His work, which men behold." Man is here called upon to adore Him in His works, which are visible to all.
5. He is incomprehensible.(1) In His nature. He is the fathomless mystery.(2) Incomprehensible in His duration. "Neither can the number of His years be searched out." Notice —
II. His AGENCY as here presented. His agency both in the mental and the material domains is here referred to.
1. His agency in the mental realm. He is a Teacher. "Who teacheth like Him?" He is an incomparable Teacher.(1) He teaches the best lessons.(2) He teaches the best lessons in the best way.
(a) (b) 2. His agency in the material realm. Four ideas are suggested here concerning His agency in nature. It is — (1) (2) (3) (4) (Homilist.)
(b) 2. His agency in the material realm. Four ideas are suggested here concerning His agency in nature. It is — (1) (2) (3) (4) (Homilist.)
2. His agency in the material realm. Four ideas are suggested here concerning His agency in nature. It is —
(1) (2) (3) (4) (Homilist.)
(2) (3) (4) (Homilist.)
(3) (4) (Homilist.)
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