Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

Saviour's warfare; we may join in the prayers and praises of the assembly of his saints; we may kneel with them at that sacred table, where he dispenses life and sustenance to the souls of the faithful ; and yet we may be in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity. The simple criterion of our union with Christ is, are we bringing forth that fruit unto holiness, which, as living branches of the true vine, we are expected to produce ? The life which we live in the flesh, do we live by the faith of the Son of God? Do we adopt the maxims and principles of the world around us? or do we derive all the motives of our actions, as well as our rules of duty, from the principles and demands of God's word ? Do we “walk in the light as God is in the light ?” If not, if we are careless or indifferent about the things of eternity ; if we seek our pleasures and our happiness among the things of time and sense; we have yet to learn the very rudiments of the doctrine of Christ : at least, we require that the Spirit of truth should impress upon our hearts the knowledge of him, by whom we may attain life and peace.

Do we, then, feel an anxious desire to be of that company of all nations, and kindreds, and tongues, and people, which are redeemed to God by the blood of Christ ? Let us cherish this desire, as the holy impulse of the Spirit of truth. Let us trust that he who hath impressed this

grace will

anxiety upon our hearts, will not neglect the good work which he has begun; he will bring to good effect those good desires which he has himself prompted, if we fail not to supplicate his gracious assistance. To that Spirit we must look for further advancement in holiness; to his wisdom we must submit; on his sustaining arm we must rely. In patient continuance in welldoing, with unfeigned humility, and confident faith, let us wait for the salvation of God. He will support us under all our difficulties; he will protect us amid all our dangers; his “ be sufficient for us." Then, when our conflicts with sin and Satan are ended; when our last trial is over; and when we join that white-robed host, who wear the crown of victory, and bear the palm of triumph before the throne of the Highest, we shall unite with them in that deep and unfeigned humility with which they cast their crowns at his feet, ascribing to him the glory, and the majesty, and the victory, and the power.

“ Unto him that hath loved us, and hath washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father ; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”

136

SERMON X.

CHRIST AN EXAMPLE TO THE YOUNG.

LUKE ii. 51, 52.

And he went down with them, and came to Na

zareth, and was subject unto them : but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

THERE is one peculiarity of the Christian religion, which distinguishes it from all other systems of morals, that its founder was not only the lawgiver, but the example of his people. This peculiarity arises from the nature of Christ's dispensation as a method of atonement. It was necessary that one to whom such a dispensation was committed, namely, the reconciliation of man to God, should be himself free from the stain of those sins for which he offered his life as a sacrifice.

He must needs be a pure and spotless victim ; he must fulfil all righteousness, and be perfect and undefiled. Now, as no other system of religion was ever introduced, which made the lawgiver the propitiation for transgression, so likewise, under no other system, was even the lawgiver the perfect pattern of obedience to his own moral institutions. There may have been the strict conformity to outward observances; there may have been the zealous attendance upon outward ceremonies; the rigid self denial, the ostentatious charity, adopted by the founder of a sect, or the propounder of a creed ; but the traces of human frailty were in every instance visible.

Even Moses, the mediator of the purest code that had hitherto shadowed forth the copy of the divine mind, “ spake unadvisedly with his lips.” And if he failed to obtain the reward of perfect obedience, what shall we say of those, who, in after ages, were unable to attain to the standard even of the far less perfect systems of morals, wbich they taught amid a degenerate world.

In the religion of Christ, we find no such deficiencies. He who died for our sins as a sacrifice, was also an example of godly life ; and as, in his character of Mediator, he left nothing unfinished of the great work of reconciliation and atonement, so also, as an example for our imitation, there was no principle of duty which he did not exemplify and enforce ; no demand of moral obedience which he did not satisfy to the uttermost. In the brief narration of his life in the flesh, we have one continued exhibition of the holy influence of those

and lofty principles which he came to establish ; of those sublime and generous sentiments which animated his own heart, and which he desires shall animate the heart of every one that calleth on his name. But while this perfect example of Christ sets before us a copy, in the closest imitation of which we are not in danger of falling into error,-a danger almost inseparable from the imitation of the best of human models,-it possesses this remarkable excellence, that it is adapted to every age and to every station. Its intrinsic beauty is independent of external circumstances : it is a display of all that elevates the soul ; it is conversant with all that is lovely and engaging to the best affections; and thus, wherever those affections can be developed, there the example of Christ can be appreciated. Whether we contemplate him in his early habits of devotion to God, and obedience to his earthly parents; whether in the zeal, the humility, the purity of his maturer years; whether in the patience, the generosity, the resignation of his scenes of suffering and of death ; all these manifestations of his holy character appeal so forcibly to the soul, that we are compelled to acknowledge how appropriate to every Christian is the precept of the apostle, “ Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”

pure

« FöregåendeFortsätt »