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every portion of the building, almost from every flag and pew here, which he prized with fond affection, there would come a sweet memory, a fragrant recollection of the mutual friend, the loving, good John Broadfield.
Thus much I have been impelled to say, by what I am sure is the craving of every heart there should be expressed, under the circumstances; but I must now ask you to accompany me to consider not a biography of our beloved departed one, for I know he would have strongly objected to anything that savoured of making much of his personality, but to do that to which I am assured he would not object, as it may be profitable to us all, to consider those great principles upon which he lived, and which his happy career most strongly recommends.
1. He embraced with all his heart the great central doctrine of the New Church-that God is Love, Infinite, Everlasting Love, manifested in the Divine Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. This induced in Mr. Broadfield a deep adoration of the Lord in all things, a loving reverence of the Divine Presence in Creation everywhere. To him the heavens indeed declared the glory of God; the firmament of starry systems, suns, and planets showed His handiwork.
He delighted to refer to the Divine Being as his Heavenly Father, and by the short, sweet name of Lord.
The first verse of the thirty-fourth Psalm exactly expressed his feelings: "I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth." A very favourite text was, "The Lord is good to all; His tender mercies are over all His works" (Ps. cxlv. 9). His own early affectionate nature made the reception of this belief easy to him.
In considering the formation of faith, we don't always bear in mind what is nevertheless a most important factor-the ground from which we believe.
The selfish man cannot believe in an unselfish God. Selfishness stops his ears to those evidences which are music to the grateful listening soul
"In Reason's ear they all rejoice,
And utter forth a glorious voice;
For ever singing, as they shine,
Selfishness discolours or blinds the eyes, and then the selfish man says he can't see this and he can't see that. Every man sees what he
And he who won't open
is prepared to see in spirit, as in nature. his eyes, and won't look, is only foolish when he wonders that he can't see. Love is the good ground into which alone the seed of the Word can be profitably received. "Every one that loveth," says the apostle John, "is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love" (1 John. iv. 7, 8). Another apostle teaches the same thing: "Love beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things." Love led the poor woman, who came to Jesus in the Pharisee's house, to believe that the Lord would be kind to her; and the Saviour said, "Her sins, which are many, are forgiven her; for she loved much (Luke vii.). "With the heart a man believeth unto righteousness" (Rom. x.). Do we then at times crave for a brighter faith, let us pray for more love. The more we love our fellow-creatures, the more we believe in them. The child believes in its parents because it loves them best. The wife believes in her husband because her heart glows with affection for him.
The cold and carnal heart, ardent for only earthly possessions, or full of self-conceit, can admit no evidences of God, although he receives gratis life and all the exquisite marvels of his organization in mind and body every moment, both asleep and awake. Although at ten thousand points disease might invade and rack him, he is preserved, as a rule, in health by a skill and goodness not his own. The impulse of a foolish man says in his heart, "No God, no God."
Human skill in its utmost perfection cannot create a human hair, but intelligence and goodness superhuman create for every person not hairs only, but millions of marvels in our wondrous being, by which we can enjoy two universes, the outer and the inner-the outer by the senses, the inner by the soul. The sun in its morning splendour, its noontide effulgence, and its majestic evening glory shines for man. The stars in their brilliant loveliness, the silvery moon, the everchanging beauty of the sky, the myriad forms and hues of trees and flowers, and all that is picturesque and grand on earth, as well as the bounteous goodness which makes our fields teem with abundance for being and well-being for man and beast-the wonders of a whole universe-are God's gifts to every single man, and he has senses to enjoy them.
But our capacity to enjoy the inner universe, the universe of mind, is even more astonishing still. The wonderful manner in which we can store knowledge in the human memory, and carry whole libraries
of thought about with us, having them at our command, the living and the dead, is a marvel of marvels. The armies of ideas that are presented to us when reflection and meditation disclose the true light that enlighteneth every man that cometh into the world; the bright realms of endless beauty which imagination can enjoy in poetry, music, and art, are endowments from the goodness of God. The reproductive powers of the mind, which copy the Creator and multiply upon earth houses, cities, kingdoms, machinery, commerce, science, books, and all the blessings and comforts of civilization, these, and more than words can express, are the free gifts of God to and through the human soul. "Every good and every perfect gift cometh down from the Father of lights" (James i. 17). Then within all, and above all, is the Supreme affection, intended to attach each soul supremely to God, to love Him and enjoy Him for ever.
Oh, my beloved brother! oh, my dear young friends! do you hesitate to see and gratefully feel these mercies? Ponder over them. Infinite goodness is around you, and wooing you to be happy everywhere. Do you hesitate and shudder at the unknown around you ? You are cold. Pray for warmth. Kindle in your heart gratitude and affection, and a glow of happiness will fill your whole being.
The loving nature of Mr. Broadfield gave him no difficulty in receiving, then, this glorious principle, God is Love. He rejoiced in it. It was his glory. It was the key to his whole theology, and to his whole character and enjoyment. The New Church philosophy enabled him to understand the anomalies that disturb many minds, the seeming mixture of evil with good, storms, tempests, earthquakes, volcanoes, wild beasts, as correspondences of what is happening in the soul, and out of seeming evil educes endless freedom and eternal good. He could say with all his heart
"There is a God, all Nature cries;
2. The same belief and confidence took away distrust, repining, and anxiety. Hence one of his favourite maxims was, "Be happy now." Often have I heard him inculcating this doctrine, years ago, upon some complaining soul, well-disposed but weak in faith, pining with anxiety and many fears.
"Trust in the Lord," he would say, "He is doing all things for our truest good. You have really all things that are necessary. You
think you would be happy if you had so much, or in seven years you will when you have got so much, or succeeded so well, or are in such and such circumstances. But you overlook the many blessings you have. Be grateful for what you possess. Don't mind what you have not. Whatever you really want for the future, the Lord will provide. But don't wait for that. BE HAPPY NOw;"--and this would be said with such heartiness of conviction; that he helped many a one to lay aside half their burden, and go away comforted, and with a lighter heart.
The things that make the angels happy are love to the Lord. That is a channel down which His happiness can flow. Love to one another disposes them to impart their blessings, love for what is good and true and progressive; and you can have all these, and they make a heaven within. You want to go to heaven. Go then now, by going
into a heavenly state.
What else can be meant in the words of our text. The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord. If ordered by Him, they must surely be ordered in the very best way. What varieties of weather the trees have to pass through, from the early bud, to the ripened fruit the sunshine and the shower, the breeze and the storm, the frost, and the mellowing ripening warmth. But it is all ordered by the Lord, and at length comes the matured and luscious fruit. How much of the keen energy of winter is needed to divide the clods, and prepare the kindly soil of spring! What rubbing the diamond gets to bring out the full lustre of its radiance! So the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and through varieties of state, through trouble and triumph, through mourning and comfort, will come the perfection of the Christian.
The Lord delighteth in his way. The Lord consoles him, communicates his Happiness, and blesses him, because it is the best way. Let us then take our dear friend's maxim, and Be Happy Now.
3. From a careful observation of men and things, and a deep study of the Divine Providence, there was another axiom which was a living truism with him, and that is, "All's for the best."
He would relate to you how apparent evils had been often turned to real good; how crosses had been surmounted by crowns; how, in his own career, things that had seemed most untoward had turned out to be the very best that could have been done, and so he had learned to the fullest extent to be assured that the Lord will provide. He could realize the history of Joseph when rejected by his
brethren, and left in the pit to be devoured by wild beasts, or when sold as a slave, and subsequently cast into prison, his very character temporarily lost by calumny, but subsequently shown by events to be thus prepared for a sacred mission, and the safety of his family and a nation. ALL WAS FOR THE BEST.
Of course, as he would often explain, DUTY and TRUST must go together. We must do everything that a case demands, as if success entirely depended upon ourselves; and then trust, as if we entirely depended on the Lord, that He would make all right. If we could adopt and act upon this principle as he did, how often we should be relieved from painful and needless anxiety! Some souls are strangely troubled with incessant cares and fears. Their lives are made miserable by the want of something which really they don't need, or by the dread of calamities which may never happen.
Of course, troubles will sometimes occur. This is a world of discipline, and afflictions, like blessings, have their important uses. If they come, let them come, and let us humbly try to profit by them. But let us not forestall them. If they won't come, let us not try to fetch them, and strive to drag them in by unwise anticipation.
Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof. Rest in the Lord. Take the sweet messenger of heaven, Hope, and hear its gentle whisper, "Unto the upright there ariseth a light in the darkness." Hope, trust, wait. ALL'S FOR THE BEST.
So complete was our dear friend's adoption of this habit of mind, that I must depart from my determination to avoid personal reference in this instance, as it is so touching an illustration of the argument.
My last visit to him was about a month before his decease, when being in the neighbourhood, and learning that his illness was very serious, I went over to see him. It was a privilege to pass a little time with him, when his weakness was so extreme that he could receive only those who stood in very close relation either of family or friendship. As I left he said, "My dear friend, we have been close friends a very long time, there's just one thing I want to mention. I have been considering how many blessings I am surrounded by on earth; and then there is the other side. I have been thinking if I had to determine whether I should go or stay by moving my finger, how I should do; and I have concluded I could not do it. I leave it all with the Lord." So strong was with him this grand conviction, "All's for the best."
The last great influential habitual conviction with him was his