« ForrigeFortsæt »
ing of thine ear, or the throbs of thine heart. We pray that thus we may walk, fulfilling the errands of God in this life, till the hour of our departing shall come. Then, O thou that hast known the way of death, and through it the way of triumph, become our God; and when we walk the valley of the shadow of death may we fear no evil. May thy love inspire, and sustain, and comfort us.
Nor would we stand praying alone for ourselves. Look upon thy people of every name; upon all thy churches; upon thy ministering servants everywhere; and grant that this may be a day in which the hearts of all thy people shall be filled with a sense of God presentImmanuel.
O Lord God, wilt thou revive thy cause everywhere. Bless those who, in far-off and destitute places, toil in weakness, and sickness, and with hope deferred. Help them that their faith may not fail. Be with those exiled ones who are in the midst of the poor and the ignorant, and without companionship, and under the scorn and even the rejection of men, seeking still to imprint the image of Christ upon the souls of such as are lying in darkness. Lord, breathe their reward upon their souls in that peace, in that faith, which never shall fail.
Draw near to all those, we pray thee, everywhere, who are seeking to build the ways of men upon a purer morality, and to inspire a nobler manhood. Grant thy blessing to all those who are extending the bounds of human knowledge, and are endeavoring to build up the foundations of human life more and more compactly. And we pray that thou, who art the Guide of mankind and hast been from the beginning, and that art marching from triumph to triumph unto eternity, wilt let thy providence, which has inspired and guided thy people in all times, bring forth in this nation and in every nation the peaceable fruits of righteousness. From the brightness of thy coming may all darkness flee. And with darkness may ignorance go, and superstition, and cruelty, and every evil thing. May all the earth see thy salvation.
And to the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit shall be praises everlasting. Amen.
PRAYER AFTER THE SERMON.
OUR Father, we beseech of thee that thou wilt bless us in the truth, and bring to us a sense of our own deficiencies of knowledgenot knowledge of ideas, nor of things, but above all, knowledge of self-sacrifice and of humiliation for others' sake. Make us feel how base we are in our selfishness. We call ourselves Christians; and yet how far we are from perfection! How many faults we have! O Lord, we beseech of thee that we may be more and more mellow, and brought into that love, like Christ's, which was willing to lay down its life a ransom, by its sufferings, for those who were not only sinful, but arrogant and inimical. We pray that thou wilt fill this church, and fill all the churches of the city, and all the churches of our land,
with this divine impulse. Oh, how weak we are! Pitying, waiting God, how wonderful is thy long-suffering! Yet, give not up the work of thy hand. Thou that art the Author, be the Finisher, of the faith of thy people. And finally, when we have gone through our own discipline, and our own limited life, and are called, and we fly upward with joy, imperfect as we are, ransomed by the love of God in Christ Jesus, may we find ourselves joined to those who have gone before to the General Assembly and the church of the first born; yea, may we find ourselves joined to thee, O Jesus. And we will give the praise of our salvation to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
FORETOKENS OF RESURRECTION.
"If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.”— Col. iii. 1-4.
Taken by itself, the Christian teaching on the subject of the resurrection of Christ has, from the earliest days, been laid open to many objections. Much philosophical opposition has been arrayed against it, and much exceedingly ingenious apology has been written for it. It is not fair to take any one of the elements-the capital elements of the history of Jesus, and discuss it as if it stood alone. They are organic elements; they belong to a composite whole; and we cannot get the best and the truest light except we judge, not simply of the probable value of single individual features, but of the combined whole.
If one should see a brow upon a transparency or a canvas, it might be subject to criticism which if it were joined to the whole face would not be justified. We should think it unfair if a human face were dissected, and we were called to form a judgment in respect to the mouth, the nose, the pair of eyes or the browɛ. We should say under such circumstances, "Put them together; for that which they are is not simply what each is by itself, but what they are by their symmetry and proportions with each other."
Now, the history of our Saviour must be judged as a
(EASTER) SUNDAY MORNING, April 5, 1874. LESSON: Col. iii. 1-17. HYMNS (Plymouth Collection): Nos. 40, 364, 551.
whole, and not merely in its separate elements. No single great feature of the revelation of God through Jesus Christ followed the light of foregoing probabilities. At every step expectation was disappointed; nor until ages, in many cases, were certain elements justified by results which had not been suspected. The conception of redeeming from their animal conditions an under race, raising them from physical life to spiritual-not by miraculous power, not by lifting them suddenly up through all stages and spheres, but by a gradual unfolding, by increment upon increment-this whole conception was hidden from the wisdom of antiquity; and yet it was beyond all question the divine method, and the Scriptural method.
The nature of Jesus as God's representative, as from God, as very God in the flesh, cannot answer exactly to God in the spirit. Jesus Christ, therefore, is the manifestation of God not in entirety-not in the full amplitude of divine attributes. Only so much of God's nature was made manifest as was within the sphere of that intelligence to which the Saviour came. The circumscription of human faculty limited the degree to which there could be a manifestation of the full nature of God. How much you can tell to a child does not depend upon how much you know, nor upon what the force of the English language is, but upon what is the condition of the child's mind. You are stopped by those absolute limits which belong to the capacity of the child; and all that is beyond the apprehension of the child's nature is surplusage, so far as the child is concerned. We speak, therefore, of the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ, not as if the absolute and infinite and universal God walked in Christ upon the earth, and so was represented by him, but as if so much of God as could be made manifest through the flesh was disclosed, the residue being hid in the divine nature, which is unapproachable and unintelligible to us in our conditions.
That Christ should have been born among the Jews would seem strange to every nation upon the earth except the Jews. That he should have been born of the family that he was born of surprises those who take only a superficial view of his mis
That he should have been born from a peasant workman's family, obscure, and under circumstances so out of the way that it would be difficult to conceive of anything lowerthis seems marvelous to some. And yet the birth of Christ in a cave (for doubtless the stable in which he was born was a cave) in some way carries us back to the cave-life of mankind, when they were scarcely more than abject animals. He began at the bottom. He was born where the race first herded, of the obscure, among working men; and yet the ties of relationship coupled him with all that was most memorable and noble in Jewish association.
When we come to consider what was the real proposition —namely, the in-coming of Christ, and the joining of himself to the human race in such a way that every living creature should have in his life an objective token of God's sympathy and of God's purpose to save every individual soul that is salvable-when we come to consider what that was, then all discrepancies and improbabilities disappear, and the plan falls into place most admirably. It did not meet foregoing expectation, but it justifies after reflection.
Throughout his life, he being a wanderer, and having nowhere to lay his head, those miracles which have excited so much reprobation, so much suspicion, and so much skepticism, were in entire accordance with the marvel of the divine nature—with the great motive and purpose for which he came into life; and they held on their way consistently with each other to the very end of his life.
At last comes the final and the grandest, though the saddest, scene of the life of Christ-the dreadfulest fact in human earthly life-dying; but he who had come from heaven to lift up the race; he who had walked among those who were most needy; he who had joined the infinite power of God to men at the point of lowest human weakness, that he might lift the race out of the sphere in which they were born into the higher sphere-he, in dying, gave a moral significance to death which was totally revolutionary. And since Christ, through dying, brought life and immortality to light, death is itself vanquished, and is spoken of by the apostles as a conquered foe.