There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.
ask - Does God hide? And the answer is - Yes, truly, "thou art a God that hidest thyself." He hides his own glory, that we may not be dazzled thereby; he hides the bliss of the beatified, that we may not be discontented thereby. Like as a father hides from his children many things which they will better learn a little later on, or had better make out for themselves, so God hides many things from us for the very same reasons. But he has so hidden treasures of truth and wisdom from us, that we have every possible inducement to search for them, and fall capacity to find them.
I. THE PROVISION MADE FOR OUR TEMPORAL WELFARE. Did he not hide the coal, the copper, the iron, the lead, the silver, the gold, that we might discover, might raise, might refine, might shape them to our use? And the corn which he gives us to eat, the raiment to wear, the music to enjoy, - these are only to be had by searching, by inquiry, by study, by endeavor. The powers of steam, of electricity, were long hidden from the knowledge of mankind, but they, with the other secrets of the world, are being known.
II. HIS SAVING AND SANCTIFYING TRUTH. Paul speaks much of "the mystery hidden from the generations," i.e. God's great purpose to redeem, not a nation from political bondage, but the whole human race from spiritual servitude and degradation; his purpose to accomplish this by coming to the world in the Person of his Son Jesus Christ. This was hidden in Old Testament promises, and in the Law given by Moses; it was there, undiscovered by any but a few discerning souls; and it was "not revealed unto the sons of men" until, enlightened by the Spirit of God, the apostles made known the riches of his grace. There are still some things in connection with Christian doctrine which may be said to be hidden, but which sooner or later will be revealed and known.
III. HUMAN CHARACTER AND HUMAN LIFE. There are depths of secrecy in these human hearts of ours. Evil thoughts may hide there unknown to any but to those that entertain them; nay, may lurk and work within the soul unsuspected even by that soul itself. For men are both better and worse than they know themselves to be. What purity and gentleness and self-sacrificing love may steal silently through life, and may pass and be forgotten! what deeds of truest heroism may be wrought which no pen records and no tongue recites] Yet the wrong shall be exposed, and the right be understood and honored; human character shall be read in the light of truth; the guilty shall be humbled and the upright be exalted "in that day."
1. Our duty. It is that of:
(1) Exposure. Tear the mask from the hypocrite; let the covering be torn off the false man, the charlatan, the betrayer of the soul, with a firm and fearless hand; make him stand out before his fellows stripped of his pretences; make it true that "there is nothing covered," etc.
(2) Disclosure. Live to teach, to enlighten, to enlarge. Let the secret of health, of wisdom, of usefulness, be published on every hand. Tell all you can reach - the children in the school, the sick by the bedside, the loiterers by the wayside, the congregation in the cottage, or the hall, or the church - the secret of pure and lasting joy, of real and true success.
2. Our danger. Since God will cause the hidden things to be known, since he will "bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and make manifest the counsels of all hearts," since he "will judge the secrets of men," well may the guilty shudder, well may we all ask - Who shall abide that solemn hour? But there is an alternative. "The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin." True penitence and genuine faith will secure for us such a covering that nothing shall be revealed. There is a Divine forgiveness which swallows up and hides for ever the wrong that we have done.
3. Our hope. "And then" - at that day - "shall every man have praise of God;" i.e. every man who is, in the true sense, praiseworthy; every man to whom Christ will be free to say, "I was hungry, and ye gave me meat; for inasmuch," etc. He who does good "to be seen of men" has his reward now; his recompense is exhausted here. But he who works for Christ and for men in the spirit of his Master has not his reward now; he has only a foretaste of it. The best of it has yet to come. And it will come; for there is nothing hidden that shall not be revealed. Blessed is the quiet, humble life of unpretending goodness, which is like the silent spring that makes the meadows green; from such lives as these come deeds of loveliness and usefulness to be made mention of by the lips of the Lord himself, when the things that are covered now shall be revealed, and the things which man overlooks God will own and honor. - C.
Nothing covered, that shall not be revealed.
I. THERE ARE REVEALING PROCESSES GOING ON IN THE WORLD AROUND US, AND UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH MAKE IT EXCEEDINGLY PROBABLE THAT, IN THE WORLD TO COME, THEY WILL CONTINUE TO GO ON WITH ACCELERATED AND OVERWHELMING POWER. One fact often discloses a great deal, when brought into connection with another fact, which, when it stood by itself, told nothing. The ancient kings of the East were aware of this, when they sent messages from one to another on business which they wished to be kept secret from all but themselves. The message was written upon a piece of parchment, but so written that it could not be deciphered unless first bound upon a staff, which contained a counterpart and key to that which was sent, and each king kept one of these staffs; hence, if the messenger should lose the scrip, the secret would not be divulged, because not intelligible, unless wrapped round the wood: the one was read by the help of the other, though each spoke nothing by itself. So with events in human life; they throw light on each other when brought together.
II. ALL THE HINDRANCES WHICH PREVENTED A PERFECT REVELATION OF THE CHARACTER IN THIS WORLD, WILL, IN THE NEXT, BE REMOVED. If even in such a world as this, where the body, and old associations, and friends, and forgetfulness, and ignorance of the consequences, contribute to quiet the goadings of conscience, men are still driven by remorse to give a detailed and minute account of the evil they have done, what may not be expected when, with conscience all alive, and memory quickened, the soul dismantled of its clay, stung by its sins, bereft of friends, and hindered by nothing, meets the eye of its Maker without a veil? Surely there is a provision in our nature, by reason of which every one shall give an account of himself unto God.
III. MUCH OF THE BIBLE IS WRITTEN, AND ALL PROBATION ARRANGED, WITH REFERENCE TO A JUDGMENT IN THE MIDST OF MINUTE AND AMAZING REVELATIONS. There is a foretokening all along our earthly way. If the wicked hear a "dreadful sound," what does he hear? If he sees a hand others do not see, what is it that he sees? The fear of God is not before his eyes, and yet he is afraid. There was a sound, a rustle of a leaf, yet to him a sound that spoke of discovery — a whisper of betrayal and development; he sees things around him working to the surface. Even a stain upon his robe, a paler hue upon his cheek, may have a voice to some one; many things have come out in ways most unexpected and who shall say, after all, he may not have been observed! Perhaps the words of the aged preacher peal again upon his soul — "Every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil." "For every idle word which men shall speak, shall they give account"; "Whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light"; and "The sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and the grave the dead which were in them, and they were judged, every man according to his works," out of the things that were written in the books.
IV. IF THERE WERE NO BOOKS WITH MAN'S NEEDS RECORDED IN THEM, NO CONSCIENCE IN THE SOUL TO URGE THEM FORTH, NO WITNESSES TO TESTIFY, AND NO FORMAL SENTENCE TO BE PRONOUNCED AND VINDICATED, STILL THE FUTURE CONDITION OF THE SOUL WILL ITSELF POINT BACK TO SPECIFIC ACTS OF SIN OR UNRIGHTEOUSNESS ON EARTH, AS THE GROUND OF ITS PECULIAR DESTINY.
(W. Neill.)I. Now, we believe that God has dealt with man according to his temperament. He knows us far better than we know ourselves; and He would therefore work upon us in a manner most likely to produce a good effect. It may be, indeed, that the abstract idea of the Lord's coming to judgment, would have been in itself too lofty for a man fully to appreciate; so that in order to make man realize it, and thus to let it have a practical bearing upon our conduct, it has been necessary to enter into the detail, and describe one of the scenes connected with it. Or, to regard the subject in another light, it is noticeable that man feels no shame of God's knowledge of sin. This may be proved from the fact that we are guilty, all of us, of many secret sins, which we should blush to own to our dearest friend, but which we are ready enough to acknowledge to God. On the other hand, we are not often content that our good deeds should be known to God alone, but the majority of persons would seem to wish that men should regard them also. These considerations may lead us to understand, that it was from a complete knowledge of human nature that Christ warned His disciples by the announcement of the truth — that all secrets would eventually be brought to light. "Beware," He says, "of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy." For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.
II. By laying as de a 1 further reference to God's perfect knowledge of human nature implied in the text, we would lead your minds to the doctrine which the text conveys — and, indeed, it is a most important one. Christ here speaks of the revealing at the last day, of all that we now hide in the closest secrecy. He tells us that there is nothing, hide it as we now may from the knowledge of others, which He will not reveal before the masses of the universe. The actions of a single day, who can number them? Go, examine your own hearts. Each man for himself must go down to the region of his own soul, and find out what is there going on. Thoughts and passions, motives and wishes, hopes and fears, hatred, lusts and affections, intentions of good, and designs of evil; these are the shadowy dwellers of that weed within, whose name is legion, for indeed they are many. At one time they prompt us to external deeds; at another time, our external deeds are only the cloak beneath which they disguise themselves, so that men perceive them not. Oh, who can turn the mental eye inwards, and not marvel at, and fear the secret world which toils and burns in the heart? Yet we see it not all. He knows all things now, and there shall come a day when they shall be known no longer to God alone, but they shall be all declared to the gathered masses of the universe; for Christ has told us, that "there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed."
III. And if this be true, does it not especially behove us constantly to regard the state of that heart which God so closely inspects?
IV. And here we may notice a remarkable distinction between the judgment passed on our conduct by man on the one side, and by God on the other. Man takes into account our wicked actions only, while God often discerns matter of condemnation, long before the wicked action is committed. As viewed by an earthly tribunal, it is of little account what designs we may have had, if those designs have never been put into execution. If we are placed in positions where unavoidable circumstances really debar us often from those privileges which the gospel of Christ affords to man, we may safely commit ourselves to the hands of God; He knows our hearts; and the day will come when it will be proved that, although debarred from many privileges, it was not really our own fault; our inclinations were good, and these inclinations shall be openly declared; for "there is nothing covered," no secret wish, no concealed desire, "that shall not be revealed; there is nothing hid that shall not be known."
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Clerical Library.Once, in a certain part of Germany, a box of treasure that was being sent by railway was found to have been opened and emptied of its contents, and filled with stones and rubbish. The question was, Who was the robber? Some sand was found sticking to the box, and a clever mineralogist, having looked at the grains of sand through his microscope, said that there was only one station on the railway where there was that kind of sand. Then they knew that the box must have been taken out at that station, and so they found out who was the robber. The dust under his feet, where he had set down the box to open it, was a witness against him.
(W. H. Baxendale.)
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