No longer within the secret shrine, but out in the open field, the symbol of the Divine Presence glowed through the darkness; for that birth hallowed common life, and brought the glory of God into familiar intercourse with its secularities and smallnesses.
And so we may all learn that we may have, and it depends upon ourselves whether we do or do not have, all protection all companionship, and all the sweetness of Christ's companionship and the security of Christ's protection just as completely when we are at home amongst our friends that is to say, when we are about our daily work, and in the secularities of our calling or profession as when we are in the 'secret place of the Most High' and holding fellowship with a present Christ.
That is to say, the coarse pottery vessels that were in every poverty-stricken house in the city shall be elevated to the rank of the sacred vessels of the Temple. Domestic life with all its secularities shall be hallowed. The kitchens of Jerusalem shall be as truly places of worship as is the inner shrine of the Most High.
But as all these things are set forth at large in the chronicles of the kingdom, let suffice it to say that my grandfather continued for nearly two years after this time a trusted emissary among the Lords of the Congregation in their many arduous labours and perilous correspondencies, till the Earl of Glencairn was appointed to see idolatry banished and extirpated from the West Country; in which expedition his Lordship, being minded to reward my grandfather's services in the cause of the Reformation, invited him to be of his force; to which my grandfather, not jealousing the secularities of his patron's intents, joyfully agreed, hoping to see the corner-stone placed on the great edifice of the Reformation, which all good and pious men began then to think near completion.
And then all the secondary officers of State, beginning with the less and going on to the greater, till the line of secularities was broken by the Canons of the Duomo, carrying a sacred relic the very head, enclosed in silver, of San Zenobio, immortal bishop of Florence, whose virtues were held to have saved the city perhaps a thousand years before. Here was the nucleus of the procession.
When we go to our daily work, when we are compassed about by distracting and trivial cares, when men come buzzing round us, and the ordinary secularities of life seem to close in upon us like the walls of a prison, and to shut out the blue and the light oh! it is hard, but it is possible, for every one of us to think these all away, and to carry with us into everything that blessed thought of a Presence that is not to be put aside, that sits beside me at my study table, that stands beside you at your tasks, that goes with you in shop and mart, that is always near, with its tender encircling, with its mighty protection, with its all-sufficing sweetness and power.
It would have been so natural for Mark to have said, 'Paul sends Timothy to be bishop in Crete; and Titus to look after other churches; Epaphroditus is an official here; and Apollos is a great preacher there. And here am I, grinding away at the secularities yet.
We can do that will in all the secularities of our daily life. The difference between the work that shrivels up and disappears and the work that abides is not so much in its external character, or in the materials on which it is expended, as in the motive from which it comes.
But yet, underlying the special case, and capable of being stated in the most general terms, lies this thought, that Jesus Christ's presence, the substance of the demoniac's desire, may be as completely, and, in some cases, will be more completely, realised amongst the secularities of ordinary life than amidst the sanctities of outward communion and companionship with Him.
In these serious, strenuous secularities so often neglected by the religious, or even opposed as irreligious which now were consecrated to the service of Jehovah, religion found its true sphere, and developed its latent forces. A new era opened. The abominations of religion in former times became the exceptions rather than the rule, and gradually disappeared from society.