Billeder på siden

by. Grant that we may never be weary in well doing; for what matters it what befalls us? Why, heaven is just beyond, and we cannot fall without falling into the land of the blessed. Grant that through tears, and through sorrows, and through sighs, we may still rejoice in losses, in burdens, in troubles of every kind. May we learn how to rejoice. Teach us the divinest lesson which thy servant of old was taught, that we may rejoice in affliction, and make up in ourselves that which was lacking in the suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ. We pray that thou wilt help us better to fulfill our duties at home, and better to discharge all the obligations which rest upon us in our relations one with another in the business of life. May we be better neighbors, better citizens, better men; and may the spirit of God inspire us, lifting us above all littleness, meanness, and untruth, and purifying our inward vision from darkness, and our hearts from guile.

Grant that we may walk as they who know that they are the sons of God. We beseech of thee, grant us this inward blessing which shall itself produce all outward good, or sanctify whatever experience may come to us. We pray that thou wilt accept our thanks for the joy, the inspiration, the intercourse, and the hope of this day; and grant that the spirit of this day may stream forth throughout all the week; and may it be the door of the week through which heaven is poured upon our way. And so be pleased to grant us from week to week this vision, this day of rest and of heaven, that all our days in its spirit may be linked together; and that at last it may not be unfamiliar to us when we rise to the song, the sympathy, the occupation, and the joy of those who are redeemed.

And we will give the praise of our salvation to the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. Amen.


GRANT unto us, our Father, great joy in the faith which we derive through our imagination. These are the consummations which are needed to interpret time and life. These are the compensations which we desire, and without which we faint and sink. We wil believe in them. Our heart and our flesh cry out for God in victory for righteousness. Be pleased, we pray thee, to make us content with the allotment cf our lives. Light or shadow, burden or rest, trouble or peace, whatever may befal! us-may we be content with it. Grant that we may feel that this is not our home. May we regard heaven as our home, and to that may we look, and in that by forethought may we dwell; and at last may we go thither, and see thee as thou art, and be like thee. And to thy name shall be the praise, Father, Son, and Spirit. Amen


"From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him."-MATT. iv., 17–22.

We are to take into consideration how different was the teaching of Christ to the men of his own nation and age, from the teaching of Christianity to the men and nations of our times. He commanded these sturdy, rude fishermen to follow him. The command was very simple. The thing to be done was not complex, and there was no difficulty in obeying it. That is, they understood it: it lay in the scope of their power to forsake their calling and follow him. But when we, in the name of the Master, preach the repentance which he preached, and command men to follow Christ, they are perplexed. For they see no one. There is no person presented to them. As to following him, he does not appear. And it has to be explained that to follow Christ cannot be the same thing in our day that it was in his own; that then it meant personal adhesion, actually becoming one of his disciples, or one of his school-band at any rate; that it was accomplished physically in his own day and presence, but that it cannot be any longer so; and that, therefore, we must

SUNDAY EVENING, April 9, 1874. LESSON: Isa. lv. HYMNS (Plymouth Collection): Nos. 1,321, 847, 657.

give to it a transition meaning, or the equivalent in our time; and that to follow Christ is to be clothed with Christian dispositions; and that to be clothed with Christian dispositions is, on the other hand, to be free from all malign dispositions; that the presence of the divine grace in the human soul of necessity implies the subsidence of malign passions, the avoidance of all evil, and the clothing of one's self with the character which belonged to Christ and to his followers in their day. This, stripped of all figurative expression and all historical illustration, is to become spiritualminded to live in our nobler nature under the inspiration of God; to walk in knowledge, in truth, in purity, in all kindness and fidelity. And a call to a Christian life is like a summons to an education, or to reformation. But we come upon this difficulty: that both in the time of our Master and the time of the apostles, the command was to a change of life and a change of disposition by the power of a man's own will. The same style of personal preaching is still maintained, with eminent propriety; and men are urged primarily to renounce all evil, to put it away from them, to break up bad habits, and shove them aside, to take on right habits, and to follow after them; to be clothed with Christ, to love God, the invisible, and men that are visible, and to love them in all their moods, with an infinite patience. And when this is commanded, it is not that men say, "These are difficult things to do." "But," they say, "you command me to do immediately not only things that lie remote from me, but things that are not under the control of my will. If you were to command me, for instance, to rise up and go into any given assembly, that I could do; that is competent to my will; but to command me to hate what I love is another thing. The will cannot make me hate. It is not in the power of the will to make me love what I do not love. Why, you might as well command me to be accomplished; to know music; to be a good geographical scholar, or a good historical scholar. These things are not subject to a man's own will."

There is a certain plausibleness, not only, but a great deal of truth in this declaration; there is one part of a man's

duty in going from a worldly into a truly Christian disposition, that is subject to his immediate will; and there is another part that is not subject to his immediate will. Look for a moment at the way in which men act in other things. It is quite possible for a man to say, "I will step into this house, if you please;" it being a snowy day; and he steps in, sheltering himself, it may be, from the passing blast: but if there is no house, he cannot say, "I will build me a house in a minute.” He cannot do it. If he do build a house, it will require time. It is not within the compass of his will to do it instantly. But when a man builds a house, cannot his will be brought to bear upon it? Oh, yes; but the result cannot be attained instantaneously. It must come through periods of time. It must be reached through many instrumentalities. However, if a man says, "I am determined that I will build a house," he then begins to act according to that general decision. He says to himself, "Where are my funds? Where is my plan? Who shall be my architect ? Where shall it be placed? Of what character shall it be?" Having determined to build a house, with all these remote contingencies before his mind, he goes to work and builds it; and when at last he has accomplished the achievement, when the house is built thoroughly, it is the work of the will; but it is not the work of one will, nor is it a work accomplished by any instantaneousness of will.

In other words, we are quite familiar with the fact that there are primary, secondary and tertiary actions of a man's will. Things that are near us, we can do or refuse to do by the power of the will; but if the thing is complex or remote, the will acts through periods of time in reference to it. human will is obliged to act in intermediate ways.

[ocr errors]


Thus, a man cannot will another man to trust him instantly. You can will that another man shall trust you, but it will take time to bring it about. You may so demean yourself that he shall say, after observation of you, through days and weeks and years, that you are trustworthy; and when that has taken place, you may say, "I determined that he should trust me." You cannot go to a person and say, "Love me," and compel him to love you on the spot; but

you can will that he shall love you; and you can make yourself lovely and lovable; and in time you may rejoice and that that which you purposed in that man has come to pass. It came to pass, not by a will-stroke, but by the taking of various steps which the will determined upon. Under the influence of the will you took the first step, and then the second, and then the third, and all the other intermediate steps, until you accomplished the final result.

That which is true in regard to these elements is true in regard to the whole social fabric of life. We are acquainted with that fact. One says, "I will not dwell in ignorance all my life; I am determined to have an education; I have made up my mind to that." These are words that are derived from the will; a determination is formed; and if it is followed out the result intended will be achieved.

If he is living with gay companions, and is tired of it, he says, "If I am going to have an education, I must cut myself free from these distractions;" and he does so. That is one step. Then he says, "I must put myself where I can get instruction ;" and he looks about to see where instruction can be had, and puts himself at school, or under a teacher. That is the second step. Then he says, "I must now apply my mind to the thing I mean to learn;" and he applies his mind to it. That is the third step. Thus the first comprehensive determination breaks itself up into subsidiary determinations, so that the primary will becomes secondary, the secondary becomes tertiary, and the tertiary quaternary. There are, perhaps, fifty intermediate steps in the process of acquiring an education.

This is the way in which men become artists or engineers. This is the way in which men enter into the professions of life. They do it by the power of will, but not by its instantaneous action. It requires time, and instrumentalitiessuccessions of instrumentalities. Not that it does not require the replenishing of the will again and again and again; but it is nevertheless the action of the will. We all have a consciousness of this. Within certain bounds I can have just what I have a mind to. I can have knowledge if I want it. Not that I can call for it, and have it come at once; but,

« ForrigeFortsæt »