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Title: Sermons Preached at Brighton - Third Series
Author: Robertson, Frederick W.
Language: English
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                               SERMONS

                       _PREACHED AT BRIGHTON._


                             BY THE LATE

                     REV. FREDERICK W. ROBERTSON,

                   THE INCUMBENT OF TRINITY CHAPEL.


                           _THIRD SERIES._

                             NEW EDITION.


                               LONDON:
           KEGAN PAUL, TRENCH. & CO., 1 PATERNOSTER SQUARE.
                                1884.



    (_The rights of translation and of reproduction are reserved_)



                                  TO

                          _THE CONGREGATION_

                            WORSHIPPING IN

                      TRINITY CHAPEL, BRIGHTON,

              FROM AUGUST 15, 1847, TO AUGUST 15, 1853,

                                THESE

                       RECOLLECTIONS OF SERMONS

                    PREACHED BY THEIR LATE PASTOR,

                            ARE DEDICATED



 CONTENTS.


 SERMON I.

 Preached April 28, 1850.

 THE TONGUE.

 ST. JAMES iii. 5, 6.--"Even so the tongue is a little
   member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a
   little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of
   iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the
   whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set
   on fire of hell."                                            Page 1


 SERMON II.

 Preached May 5, 1850.

 THE VICTORY OF FAITH.

 1 JOHN v. 4, 5.--"For whatsoever is born of God overcometh
   the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even
   our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that
   believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?"                         15


 SERMON III.

 Preached Whitsunday, May 19, 1850.

 THE DISPENSATION OF THE SPIRIT.

 1 CORINTHIANS xii. 4.--"Now there are diversities of gifts,
   but the same Spirit."                                            29


 SERMON IV.

 Preached May 26, 1850.

 THE TRINITY.

 1 THESS. v. 23.--"And the very God of peace sanctify you
   wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be
   preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."   43


 SERMON V.

 Preached June 2, 1850.

 ABSOLUTION.

 LUKE v. 21.--"And the Scribes and the Pharisees began to
   reason saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can
   forgive sins, but God alone?"                                    61


 SERMON VI.

 Preached June 9, 1850.

 THE ILLUSIVENESS OF LIFE.

 HEBREWS xi. 8-10.--"By faith Abraham, when he was called to
   go out into a place which he should after receive for an
   inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
   By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange
   country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs
   with him of the same promise: for he looked for a city which hath
   foundations, whose builder and maker is God."                    77


 SERMON VII.

 Preached June 23, 1850.

 THE SACRIFICE OF CHRIST.

 2 COR. v. 14, 15.--"For the love of Christ constraineth us;
   because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all
   dead: and that he died for all, that they which live should not
   henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them,
   and rose again."                                                 90


 SERMON VIII.

 Preached June 30, 1850.

 THE POWER OF SORROW.

 2 COR. vii. 9, 10.--"Now I rejoice, not that ye were made
   sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry
   after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in
   nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be
   repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death."        104


 SERMON IX.

 Preached August 4, 1850.

 SENSUAL AND SPIRITUAL EXCITEMENT.

 EPHESIANS v. 17, 18.--"Wherefore be ye not unwise, but
   understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with
   wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit."        112


 SERMON X.

 Preached August 11, 1850.

 PURITY.

 TITUS i. 15.--"Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto
   them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even
   their mind and conscience is defiled."                          122


 SERMON XI.

 Preached February 9, 1851.

 UNITY AND PEACE.

 COL. iii. 15.--"And let the peace of God rule in your
   hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye
   thankful."                                                      130


 SERMON XII.

 Preached January 4, 1852.

 THE CHRISTIAN AIM AND MOTIVE.

 MATT. v. 48.--"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father
   which is in heaven is perfect."                                 143


 SERMON XIII.

 Preached January 4, 1852.

 CHRISTIAN CASUISTRY.

 1 COR. vii. 18-24.--"Is any man called being circumcised?
   let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision?
   let him not be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing, and
   uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of
   God. Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.
   Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou
   mayest be made free use it rather. For he that is called in the
   Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's freeman; likewise also he that
   is called being free, is Christ's servant. Ye are bought with a
   price; be not ye the servants of men. Brethren, let every man
   wherein he is called therein abide with God."                   156


 SERMON XIV.

 Preached January 11, 1852.

 MARRIAGE AND CELIBACY.

 1 COR. vii. 29-31.--"But this I say, brethren, the time is
   short: it remaineth that both they that have wives be as though
   they had none; and they that weep as though they wept not; and they
   that rejoice as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as
   though they possessed not; and they that use this world as not
   abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away."        169


 SERMON XV.

 Preached January 11, 1852.

 THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH A FAMILY.

 EPH. iii. 14, 15.--"Our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole
   family in Heaven and earth is named."                           181


 SERMON XVI.

 Preached January 25, 1852.

 THE LAW OF CHRISTIAN CONSCIENCE.

 1 COR. viii. 7-13.--"Howbeit there is not in every man that
   knowledge: for some, with conscience of the idol, unto this hour,
   eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being
   weak is defiled. But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither if
   we eat are we the better; neither if we eat not are we the worse.
   But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a
   stumbling-block to them that are weak. For if any man see thee
   which hast knowledge, sit at meat in the idol's temple, shall not
   the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those
   things which are offered to idols; and through thy knowledge shall
   the weak brother perish for whom Christ died? But when ye sin so
   against the brethren and wound their weak conscience ye sin against
   Christ. Wherefore if meat make my brother to offend I will eat no
   flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend."
                                                                   196


 SERMON XVII.

 Preached May 16, 1852.

 VICTORY OVER DEATH.

 1 COR. xv. 56, 57.--"The sting of death is sin, and the
   strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God which giveth us
   the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."                     212


 SERMON XVIII.

 Preached June 20, 1852.

 MAN'S GREATNESS AND GOD'S GREATNESS.

 ISAIAH lvii. 15.--"For thus saith the High and Lofty One
   that inhabiteth Eternity, whose Name is Holy. I dwell in the high
   and holy place--with him also that is of a contrite and humble
   spirit."                                                        230


 SERMON XIX.

 Preached June 27, 1852.

 THE LAWFUL AND UNLAWFUL USE OF LAW. (A FRAGMENT.)

 1 TIM. i. 8.--"But we know that the law is good, if a man
   use it lawfully."                                               246


 SERMON XX.

 Preached February 21, 1853.

 THE PRODIGAL AND HIS BROTHER.

 LUKE xv. 31, 32.--"And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever
   with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should
   make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is
   alive again; was lost, and is found."                           253


 SERMON XXI.

 Preached May 15, 1853.

 JOHN'S REBUKE OF HEROD.

 LUKE iii. 19, 20.--"But Herod the tetrarch, being reproved
   by him for Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, and for all the
   evils which Herod had done, added yet this above all, that he shut
   up John in prison."                                             270



 SERMONS.



 I.

 _Preached April 28, 1850._

 THE TONGUE.


   "Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things.
    Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue
    is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our
    members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the
    course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell."--St. James iii.
    5-6.

 In the development of Christian Truth a peculiar office was assigned
 to the Apostle James.

 It was given to St. Paul to proclaim Christianity as the spiritual law
 of liberty, and to exhibit Faith as the most active principle within
 the breast of man. It was St. John's to say that the deepest quality
 in the bosom of Deity is Love; and to assert that the life of God in
 Man is Love. It was the office of St. James to assert the necessity of
 Moral Rectitude; his very name marked him out peculiarly for this
 office: he was emphatically called, "the Just:" integrity was his
 peculiar characteristic. A man singularly honest, earnest, real.
 Accordingly, if you read through his whole epistle, you will find it
 is, from first to last, one continued vindication of the first
 principles of morality against the _semblances_ of religion.

 He protested against the censoriousness which was found connected with
 peculiar claims of religious feelings. "If any man among you seem to
 be religious and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own
 heart, this man's religion is vain." He protested against that spirit
 which had crept into the Christian Brotherhood, truckling to the rich,
 and despising the poor. "If ye have respect of persons ye commit sin,
 and are convinced of the law as transgressors." He protested against
 that sentimental fatalism which induced men to throw the blame of
 their own passions upon God. "Let no man say, when he is tempted, I am
 tempted of God; for God cannot tempt to evil; neither tempteth He any
 man." He protested against that unreal religion of excitement which
 diluted the earnestness of real religion in the enjoyment of
 listening. "Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only; deceiving
 your own souls." He protested against that trust in the correctness of
 theological doctrine which neglected the cultivation of character.
 "What doth it profit, if a man _say_ that he hath faith, and have not
 works? Can faith save him?"

 Read St. James's epistle through, this is the mind breathing through
 it all:--all this _talk_ about religion, and spirituality--words,
 words, words--nay, let us have _realities_.

 It is well known that Luther complained of this epistle, that it did
 not contain the Gospel; for men who are hampered by a system will
 say--even of an inspired Apostle--that he does not teach the Gospel if
 their own favourite doctrine be not the central subject of his
 discourse; but St. James's reply seems spontaneously to suggest itself
 to us. The Gospel! how can we speak of the Gospel, when the first
 principles of _morality_ are forgotten? when Christians are excusing
 themselves, and slandering one another? How can the superstructure of
 Love and Faith be built, when the very foundations of human
 character--Justice, Mercy, Truth--have not been laid?

   1st. The license of the tongue.
   2nd. The guilt of that license.

 The first license given to the tongue is slander. I am not of course,
 speaking now of that species of slander against which the law of libel
 provides a remedy, but of that of which the Gospel alone takes
 cognisance; for the worst injuries which man can do to man, are
 precisely those which are too delicate for _law_ to deal with. We
 consider therefore not the calumny which is reckoned such by the
 moralities of an earthly court, but that which is found guilty by the
 spiritualities of the courts of heaven--that is, the mind of God.

 Now observe, this slander is compared in the text to poison--"the
 tongue is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison." The deadliest
 poisons are those for which no test is known: there are poisons so
 destructive that a single drop insinuated into the veins produces
 death in three seconds, and yet no chemical science can separate that
 virus from the contaminated blood, and show the metallic particles of
 poison glittering palpably, and say, "Behold, it is there!"

 In the drop of venom which distils from the sting of the smallest
 insect, or the spikes of the nettle-leaf, there is concentrated the
 quintessence of a poison so subtle that the microscope cannot
 distinguish it, and yet so virulent that it can inflame the blood,
 irritate the whole constitution, and convert day and night into
 restless misery.

 In St. James's day, as now, it would appear that there were idle men
 and idle women, who went about from house to house, dropping slander
 as they went, and yet you could not take up that slander and detect
 the falsehood there. You could not evaporate the truth in the slow
 process of the crucible, and then show the residuum of falsehood
 glittering and visible. You could not fasten upon any word or
 sentence, and say that it was calumny; for in order to constitute
 slander it is not necessary that the word spoken should be false--half
 truths are often more calumnious than whole falsehoods. It is not even
 necessary that a word should be distinctly uttered; a dropped lip, an
 arched eyebrow, a shrugged shoulder, a significant look, an
 incredulous expression of countenance, nay, even an emphatic silence,
 may do the work: and when the light and trifling thing which has done
 the mischief has fluttered off, the venom is left behind, to work and
 rankle, to inflame hearts, to fever human existence, and to poison
 human society at the fountain springs of life. Very emphatically was
 it said by one whose whole being had smarted under such affliction,
 "Adder's poison is under their lips."

 The second license given to the tongue is in the way of persecution:
 "therewith curse we men which are made after the similitude of God."
 "We!"--men who bear the name of Christ--curse our brethren! Christians
 persecuted Christians. Thus even in St. James's age that spirit had
 begun, the monstrous fact of Christian persecution; from that day it
 has continued, through long centuries, up to the present time. The
 Church of Christ assumed the office of denunciation, and except in the
 first council, whose object was not to strain, but to relax the bonds
 of brotherhood, not a council has met for eighteen centuries which has
 not guarded each profession of belief by the too customary formula,
 "If any man maintain otherwise than this, let him be accursed."

 Myriad, countless curses have echoed through those long ages; the
 Church has forgotten her Master's spirit and called down fire from
 heaven. A fearful thought to consider this as the spectacle on which
 the eye of God has rested. He looks down upon the creatures He has
 made, and hears everywhere the language of religious
 imprecations:--and after all, who is proved right by curses?

 The Church of Rome hurls her thunders against Protestants of every
 denomination: the Calvinist scarcely recognises the Arminian as a
 Christian: he who considers himself as the true Anglican, excludes
 from the Church of Christ all but the adherents of his own orthodoxy;
 every minister and congregation has its small circle, beyond which all
 are heretics: nay even among that sect which is most lax as to the
 dogmatic forms of truth, we find the Unitarian of the old school
 denouncing the spiritualism of the new and rising school.

 This is the state of things to which we are arrived. Sisters of
 Charity refuse to permit an act of charity to be done by a Samaritan;
 ministers of the Gospel fling the thunderbolts of the Lord; ignorant
 hearers catch and exaggerate the spirit,--boys, girls, and women
 shudder as one goes by, perhaps more holy than themselves, who adores
 the same God, believes in the same Redeemer, struggles in the same
 life-battle, and all this because they have been taught to look upon
 him as an enemy of God.

 There is a class of religious persons against whom this vehemence has
 been especially directed. No one who can read the signs of the times
 can help perceiving that we are on the eve of great changes, perhaps a
 disruption of the Church of England. Unquestionably there has been a
 large secession to the Church of Rome.

 Now what has been the position of those who are about to take this
 step? They have been taunted with dishonest reception of the wages of
 the Church; a watch has been set over them: not a word they uttered in
 private, or in public, but was given to the world by some religious
 busy-body; there was not a visit which they paid, not a foolish dress
 which they adopted, but became the subject of bitter scrutiny and
 malevolent gossip. For years the religious press has denounced them
 with a vehemence as virulent, but happily more impotent than that of
 the Inquisition. There has been an anguish and an inward struggle
 little suspected, endured by men who felt themselves outcasts in their
 own society, and naturally looked for a home elsewhere.

 We congratulate ourselves that the days of persecution are gone by;
 but persecution is that which affixes penalties upon _views held_,
 instead of upon _life led_. Is persecution _only_ fire and sword? But
 suppose a man of sensitive feeling says, The sword is less sharp to me
 than the slander: fire is less intolerable than the refusal of
 sympathy!

 Now let us bring this home; you rejoice that the faggot and the stake
 are given up;--_you_ never persecuted--you leave that to the wicked
 Church of Rome. Yes, you never burned a human being alive--you never
 clapped your hands as the death-shriek proclaimed that the lion's fang
 had gone home into the most vital part of the victim's frame; but did
 you never rob him of his friends?--gravely shake your head and
 oracularly insinuate that he was leading souls to hell?--chill the
 affections of his family?--take from him his good name? Did you never
 with delight see his Church placarded as the Man of Sin, and hear the
 platform denunciations which branded it with the spiritual
 abominations of the Apocalypse? Did you never find a malicious
 pleasure in repeating all the miserable gossip with which religious
 slander fastened upon his daily acts, his words, and even his
 uncommunicated thoughts? Did you never forget that for a man to "work
 out his own salvation with fear and trembling" is a matter difficult
 enough to be laid upon a human spirit, without intruding into the most
 sacred department of another's life--that namely, which lies between
 himself and God? Did you never say that "it was to be wished he should
 go to Rome," until at last life became intolerable,--until he was
 thrown more and more in upon himself; found himself, like his
 Redeemer, in this world alone, but unable like his Redeemer, calmly to
 repose upon the thought that his Father was with him? Then a stern
 defiant spirit took possession of his soul, and there burst from his
 lips, or heart, the wish for _rest_--rest at any cost,--peace
 anywhere, if even it is to be found only in the bosom of the Church of
 Rome!


 II. The guilt of this license.

 The first evil consequence is the harm that a man does himself: "so is
 the tongue among the members, that it defiles the whole body." It is
 not very obvious, in what way a man does himself harm by calumny. I
 will take the simplest form in which this injury is done; it effects a
 dissipation of spiritual energy. There are two ways in which the steam
 of machinery may find an outlet for its force: it may work, and if so
 it works silently; or it may escape, and that takes place loudly, in
 air and noise. There are two ways in which the spiritual energy of a
 man's soul may find its vent: it may express itself in action,
 silently; or in words, noisily: but just so much of force as is thrown
 into the one mode of expression, is taken from the other.

 Few men suspect how much mere talk fritters away spiritual
 energy,--that which should be spent in action, spends itself in words.
 The fluent boaster is not the man who is steadiest before the enemy;
 it is well said to him that his courage is better kept till it is
 wanted. Loud utterance of virtuous indignation against evil from the
 platform, or in the drawing-room, do not characterize the spiritual
 giant: so much indignation as is expressed, has found vent, is wasted,
 is taken away from the work of coping with evil; the man has so much
 less left. And hence he who restrains that love of talk, lays up a
 fund of spiritual strength.

 With large significance, St. James declares, "If any man offend not in
 word, the same is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body."
 He is entire, powerful, because he has not spent his strength. In
 these days of loud profession, and bitter, fluent condemnation, it is
 well for us to learn the divine force of silence. Remember Christ in
 the Judgment Hall, the very Symbol and Incarnation of spiritual
 strength; and yet when revilings were loud around Him and charges
 multiplied, "He held His peace."

 2. The next feature in the guilt of calumny is its uncontrollable
 character: "the tongue can no man tame." You cannot arrest a
 calumnious tongue, you cannot arrest the calumny itself; you may
 refute a slanderer, you may trace home a slander to its source, you
 may expose the author of it, you may by that exposure give a lesson so
 severe as to make the repetition of the offence appear impossible; but
 the fatal habit is incorrigible: to-morrow the tongue is at work
 again.

 Neither can you stop the consequences of a slander; you may publicly
 prove its falsehood, you may sift every atom, explain and annihilate
 it, and yet, years after you had thought that all had been disposed of
 for ever, the mention of a name wakes up associations in the mind of
 some one who heard the calumny, but never heard or never attended to
 the refutation, or who has only a vague and confused recollection of
 the whole, and he asks the question doubtfully, "But were there not
 some suspicious circumstances connected with him?"

 It is like the Greek fire used in ancient warfare, which burnt
 unquenched beneath the water, or like the weeds which when you have
 extirpated them in one place are sprouting forth vigorously in another
 spot, at the distance of many hundred yards; or, to use the metaphor
 of St. James himself, it is like the wheel which catches fire as it
 goes, and burns with a fiercer conflagration as its own speed
 increases; "it sets on fire the whole course of nature" (literally,
 the wheel of nature). You may tame the wild beast, the conflagration
 of the American forest will cease when all the timber and the dry
 underwood is consumed; but you cannot arrest the progress of that
 cruel word which you uttered carelessly yesterday or this
 morning,--which you will utter perhaps, before you have passed from
 this church one hundred yards: that will go on slaying, poisoning,
 burning beyond your own control, now and for ever.

 3. The third element of guilt lies in the unnaturalness of calumny.
 "My brethren, these things ought not so to be;" _ought not_--that is,
 they are unnatural. That this is St. James's meaning is evident from
 the second illustration which follows: "Doth a fountain send forth at
 the same place, sweet water and bitter?" "Can the fig tree, my
 brethren, bear olive berries, or a vine, figs?"

 There is apparently in these metaphors little that affords an argument
 against slander; the motive which they suggest would appear to many
 far-fetched and of small cogency; but to one who looks on this world
 as a vast whole, and who has recognised the moral law as only a part
 of the great law of the universe, harmoniously blending with the
 whole, illustrations such as these are the most powerful of all
 arguments. The truest definition of evil is that which represents it
 as something contrary to nature: evil is evil, because it is
 unnatural; a vine which should bear olive berries, an eye to which
 blue seems yellow, would be diseased: an unnatural mother, an
 unnatural son, an unnatural act, are the strongest terms of
 condemnation. It is this view which Christianity gives of moral evil:
 the teaching of Christ was the recall of man to nature, not an
 infusion of something new into Humanity. Christ came to call out all
 the principles and powers of human nature, to restore the natural
 equilibrium of all our faculties; not to call us back to our own
 individual selfish nature, but to human nature as it is in God's
 ideal--the perfect type which is to be realised in us. Christianity is
 the regeneration of our whole nature, not the destruction of one atom
 of it.

 Now the nature of man is to adore God and to love what is god-like in
 man. The office of the tongue is to bless. Slander is guilty because
 it contradicts this; yet even in slander itself, perversion as it is,
 the interest of man in man is still distinguishable. What is it but
 perverted interest which makes the acts, and words, and thoughts of
 his brethren, even in their evil, a matter of such strange delight?
 Remember therefore, this contradicts your nature and your destiny; to
 speak ill of others makes you a monster in God's world: get the habit
 of slander, and then there is not a stream which bubbles fresh from
 the heart of nature,--there is not a tree that silently brings forth
 its genial fruit in its appointed season,--which does not rebuke and
 proclaim you to be a monstrous anomaly in God's world.

 4. The fourth point of guilt is the diabolical character of slander;
 the tongue "is set on fire of hell." Now, this is no mere strong
 expression--no mere indignant vituperation--it contains deep and
 emphatic meaning.

 The apostle means literally what he says, slander is diabolical. The
 first illustration we give of this is contained in the very meaning of
 the word devil. "Devil," in the original, means traducer or slanderer.
 The first introduction of a demon spirit is found connected with a
 slanderous insinuation against the Almighty, implying that His command
 had been given in envy of His creature: "for God doth know that in the
 day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be
 as gods, knowing good and evil."

 In the magnificent imagery of the book of Job, the accuser is
 introduced with a demoniacal and malignant sneer, attributing the
 excellence of a good man to interested motives; "Doth Job serve God
 for naught?" There is another mode in which the fearful accuracy of
 St. James's charge may be demonstrated. There is one state only from
 which there is said to be no recovery--there is but one sin that is
 called unpardonable. The Pharisees beheld the works of Jesus. They
 could not deny that they were good works, they could not deny that
 they were miracles of beneficence, but rather than acknowledge that
 they were done by a good man through the co-operation of a Divine
 spirit, they preferred to account for them by the wildest and most
 incredible hypothesis; they said they were done by the power of
 Beelzebub, the prince of the devils. It was upon this occasion that
 our Redeemer said with solemn meaning, "For every idle word that men
 shall speak, they shall give account in the day of judgment." It was
 then that He said, for a word spoken against the Holy Ghost there is
 no forgiveness in this world, or in the world to come.

 Our own hearts respond to the truth of this--to call evil, good, and
 good, evil--to see the Divinest good, and call it Satanic evil--below
 this lowest deep there is _not_ a lower still. There is no cure for
 mortification of the flesh--there is no remedy for ossification of the
 heart. Oh! that miserable state, when to the jaundiced eye all good
 transforms itself into evil, and the very instruments of health
 become the poison of disease. Beware of every approach of
 this!--Beware of that spirit which controversy fosters, of watching
 only for the evil in the character of an antagonist!--Beware of that
 habit which becomes the slanderer's life, of magnifying every speck of
 evil and closing the eye to goodness!--till at last men arrive at the
 state in which generous, universal love (which is heaven) becomes
 impossible, and a suspicious, universal hate takes possession of the
 heart, and _that_ is hell!

 There is one peculiar manifestation of this spirit to which I desire
 specially to direct your attention.

 The politics of the community are guided by the political press. The
 religious views of a vast number are formed by that portion of the
 press which is called religious; it becomes, therefore, a matter of
 deepest interest to inquire what is the spirit of that "religious
 press." I am not asking you what are the views maintained--whether
 Evangelical, Anglican, or Romish--but what is the _spirit_ of that
 fountain from which the religious life of so many is nourished?

 Let any man cast his eye over the pages of this portion of the
 press--it matters little to which party the newspaper or the journal
 may belong--he will be startled to find the characters of those whom
 he has most deeply reverenced, whose hearts he knows, whose integrity
 and life are above suspicion, held up to scorn and hatred: the organ
 of one party is established against the organ of another, and it is
 the recognised office of each to point out with microscopic care the
 names of those whose views are to be shunned; and in order that these
 may be the more shrunk from, the characters of those who hold such
 opinions are traduced and vilified. There is no personality too
 mean--there is no insinuation too audacious or too false for the
 recklessness of these daring slanderers. I do not like to use the
 expression, lest it should appear to be merely one of theatrical
 vehemence; but I say it in all seriousness, adopting the inspired
 language of the Bible, and using it advisedly and with accurate
 meaning, the spirit which guides the "religious press" of this
 country, which dictates those personalities, which prevents
 controversialists from seeing what is good in their opponents, which
 attributes low motives to account for excellent lives, and teaches
 men whom to suspect, and shun, rather than point out where it is
 possible to admire and love--is a spirit "set on fire of hell."

 Before we conclude, let us get at the root of the matter. "Man," says
 the Apostle James, "was made in the image of God:" to slander man is
 to slander God: to love what is good in man is to love it in God. Love
 is the only remedy for slander: no set of rules or restrictions can
 stop it; we may denounce, but we shall denounce in vain. The radical
 cure of it is Charity--"out of a pure heart and faith unfeigned," to
 feel what is great in the human character; to recognise with delight
 all high, and generous, and beautiful actions; to find a joy even in
 seeing the good qualities of your bitterest opponents, and to admire
 those qualities even in those with whom you have least sympathy--be it
 either the Romanist or the Unitarian--this is the only spirit which
 can heal the love of slander and of calumny. If we would bless God, we
 must _first_ learn to bless man, who is made in the image of God.



 II.

 _Preached May 5, 1850._

 THE VICTORY OF FAITH.


   "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is
    the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he
    that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the
    Son of God?"--1 John v. 4-5.

 There are two words in the system of Christianity which have received
 a meaning so new, and so emphatic, as to be in a way peculiar to it,
 and to distinguish it from all other systems of morality and religion;
 these two words are--the World, and Faith. We find it written in
 Scripture that to have the friendship of the world is to be the enemy
 of God--- whereupon the question arises--The world?--did not God make
 the world? Did He not place us in the world? Are we not to love what
 God has made? And yet meeting this distinctly we have the inspired
 record, "Love not the World."

 The object of the Statesman is, or ought to be, to produce as much
 worldly prosperity as possible--but Christianity, that is Christ,
 speaks little of this world's prosperity, underrates it--nay, speaks
 of it at times as infinitely dangerous.

 The legislator prohibits crime--the moralist transgression--the
 religionist sin. To these Christianity superadds a new enemy--the
 world and the things of the world. "If any man love the world, the
 love of the Father is not in him."

 The other word used in a peculiar sense is Faith. It is impossible for
 any one to have read his Bible ever so negligently, and not to be
 aware that the word Faith, or the grace of Faith, forms a large
 element in the Christian system. It is said to work miracles, remove
 mountains, justify the soul, trample upon impossibilities. Every
 apostle, in his way, assigns to faith a primary importance. Jude
 tells us to "build up ourselves in our most holy faith." John tells us
 that--"he that believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is the born of
 God;" and Paul tells us that, not by merit nor by works, but by trust
 or reliance only, can be formed that state of soul by which man is
 reckoned just before God. In these expressions, the apostles only
 develope their Master's meaning, when He uses such words as these,
 "All things are possible to him that believeth:" "O thou of little
 faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?"

 These two words are brought into diametrical opposition in the text,
 so that it branches into a two-fold line of thought

    I. The Christian's enemy, the World.
   II. The victory of Faith.

 In endeavouring to understand first what is meant by the world, we
 shall feel that the mass of evil which is comprehended under this
 expression, cannot be told out in any one sermon; it is an expression
 used in various ways, sometimes meaning one thing, sometimes meaning
 another;-but we will endeavour to explain its general principles--and
 these we will divide into three heads; first, the tyranny of the
 present; secondly, the tyranny of the sensual; and lastly, the spirit
 of society.

 1. The tyranny of the present.

 "Christ," says the Apostle Paul, "hath redeemed us from this present
 evil world;" and again, "Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this,
 present world."

 Let a stress be laid on the word _present_. Worldliness is the
 attractive power of something present, in opposition to something to
 come. It is this rule and tyranny of the present that constitutes
 Demas a worldly man.

 In this respect, worldliness is the spirit of childhood carried on
 into manhood. The child lives in the present hour--to-day to him is
 everything. The holiday promised at a distant interval is no holiday
 at all--it must be either now or never. Natural in the child, and
 therefore pardonable, this spirit, when carried on into manhood, is
 coarse--is worldliness. The most distinct illustration given us of
 this, is the case of Esau. Esau came from the hunting-field worn and
 hungry; the only means of procuring the tempting mess of his brother's
 pottage was the sacrifice of his father's blessing, which in those
 ages carried with it a substantial advantage; but that birthright
 could be enjoyed only after _years_--the pottage was _present_, near,
 and certain; therefore he sacrificed a future and higher blessing, for
 a present and lower pleasure. For this reason Esau is the Bible type
 of worldliness: he is called in Scripture a profane, that is, not a
 distinctly vicious, but a secular or worldly person--an overgrown
 child; impetuous, inconsistent, not without gleams of generosity and
 kindliness, but ever accustomed to immediate gratification.

 In this worldliness, moreover, is to be remarked the gamester's
 desperate play. There is a gambling spirit in human nature. Esau
 distinctly expresses this: "Behold I am at the point to die, and what
 shall my birthright profit me?" He might never live to enjoy his
 birthright; but the pottage was before him, present, certain, _there_.

 Now, observe the utter powerlessness of mere preaching to cope with
 this tyrannical power of the present. Forty thousand pulpits
 throughout the land this day, will declaim against the vanity of
 riches, the uncertainty of life, the sin of worldliness--against the
 gambling spirit of human nature; I ask what _impression_ will be
 produced by those forty thousand harangues? In every congregation it
 is reducible to a certainty that, before a year has passed, some will
 be numbered with the dead. Every man knows this, but he thinks the
 chances are that it will not be himself; he feels it a solemn thing
 for Humanity generally--but for himself there is more than a chance.
 Upon this chance he plays away life.

 It is so with the child: you tell him of the consequences of to-day's
 idleness--but the sun is shining brightly, and he cannot sacrifice
 to-day's pleasure, although he knows the disgrace it will bring
 to-morrow. So it is with the intemperate man: he says--"Sufficient
 unto the day is the evil, and the good thereof; let me have my portion
 now." So that one great secret of the world's victory lies in the
 mighty power of saying "_Now_."

 2. The tyranny of the sensual.

 I call it _tyranny_, because the evidences of the senses are all
 powerful, in spite of the protestations of the reason. In vain you try
 to persuade the child that _he_ is moving, and not the trees which
 seem to flit past the carriage--in vain we remind ourselves that this
 apparently solid earth on which we stand, and which seems so
 immoveable, is in reality flying through the regions of space with an
 inconceivable rapidity--in vain philosophers would persuade us that
 the colour which the eye beholds, resides not in the object itself,
 but in our own perception; we are victims of the apparent, and the
 verdict of the senses is taken instead of the verdict of the reason.

 Precisely so is it with the enjoyments of the world. The man who died
 yesterday, and whom the world called a successful man--for what did he
 live?--He lived for this world--he gained this world. Houses, lands,
 name, position in society--all that earth could give of enjoyments--he
 had: he was the man of whom the Redeemer said that his thoughts were
 occupied in planning how to pull down his barns and build greater. We
 hear men complain of the sordid love of gold, but gold is merely a
 medium of exchange for other things: gold is land, titles, name,
 comfort--all that the world can give. If the world be _all_, it is
 _wise_ to live for gold. There may be some little difference in the
 degree of degradation in different forms of worldliness; it is
 possible that the ambitious man who lives for power is somewhat higher
 than he who merely lives for applause, and he again may be a trifle
 higher than the mere seeker after gold--but after all, looking closely
 at the matter, you will find that, in respect of the objects of their
 idolatry, they agree in this, that all belong to the present.
 Therefore, says the Apostle, all that is in the world--"the lust of
 the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, is not of the
 Father, but of the world," and are only various forms of one great
 tyranny. And then when such a man is at the brink of death, the words
 said to the man in our Lord's parable must be said to him. "Thou fool,
 the houses thou hast built, the enjoyments thou hast prepared; and all
 those things which have formed thy life for years--when thy soul is
 taken from them, what shall they profit thee?"

 3. The spirit of society.

 The _World_ has various meanings in Scripture; it does not always mean
 the Visible, as opposed to the Invisible; nor the Present, as opposed
 to the Future: it sometimes stands for the secular spirit of the
 day--the Voice of Society.

 Our Saviour says, "If ye were of the world, the world would love his
 own." The apostle says, "Be not conformed to this world;" and to the
 Gentiles he writes, "In time past ye walked according to the course of
 this world, the spirit which now worketh in the children of
 disobedience." In these verses, a tone, a temper, a spirit is spoken
 of. There are two things--the Church and the World--two spirits
 pervading different bodies of men, brought before us in these
 verses--those called the Spirit-born, and those called the World,
 which is to be overcome by the Spirit-born, as in the text,
 "Whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world."

 Let us understand what is meant by the Church of God. When we speak of
 the Church we generally mean a society to aid men in their progress
 God-wards; but the Church of God is by no means co-extensive in any
 age with that organized institution which we _call_ the Church;
 sometimes it is nearly co-extensive--that is, nearly all on earth who
 are born of God are found within its pale, nearly all who are of the
 world are extraneous to it--but sometimes the born of God have been
 found distinct from the Institution called the Church, opposed to
 it--persecuted by it. The Institution of the Church is a blessed
 ordinance of God, organized on earth for the purpose of representing
 the Eternal Church and of extending its limits, but still ever
 subordinate to it.

 The Eternal Church is "the general assembly and church of the
 first-born which are written in heaven;" the selected spirits of the
 most High, who are struggling with the evil of their day; sometimes
 alone, like Elijah, and like him, longing that their work was done;
 sometimes conscious of their union with each other. God is for ever
 raising up a succession of these--His brave, His true, His good.
 Apostolical succession, as taught sometimes, means simply this--a
 succession of miraculous powers flowing in a certain line. The true
 apostolic succession is--not a succession in an hereditary line, or
 line marked by visible signs which men can always identify, but a
 succession emphatically spiritual.

 The Jews looked for an hereditary succession; they thought that
 because they were Abraham's seed, the spiritual succession was
 preserved; the Redeemer told them that "God was able of those stones
 to raise up children unto Abraham." Therefore is this ever a spiritual
 succession--in the hands of God alone; and they are here called the
 God-born, coming into the world variously qualified; sometimes
 baptized with the spirit which makes them, like James and John, the
 "Sons of Thunder," sometimes with a milder spirit, as Barnabas, which
 makes them "Sons of Consolation," sometimes having their souls
 indurated into an adamantine hardness, which makes them living
 stones--rocks like Peter, against which the billows of this world dash
 themselves in vain, and against which the gates of hell shall not
 prevail. But whether as apostles, or visitors of the poor, or parents
 of a family, born to do a work on earth, to speak a word, to discharge
 a mission which they themselves perhaps do not know till it is
 accomplished--these are the Church of God--the children of the Most
 High--the noble army of the Spirit-born! Opposed to this stands the
 mighty confederacy called the World. But beware of fixing on
 individual men in order to stigmatize _them_ as the world. You may not
 draw a line and say--"We are the sons of God, ye are of the world."
 The world is not so much individual as it is a certain spirit; the
 course of this world is "the spirit which now worketh in the children
 of disobedience." The world and the Church are annexed as inseparably
 as the elements which compose the atmosphere. Take the smallest
 portion of this that you will, in a cubic inch the same proportions
 are found as in a temple. In the ark there was a Ham; in the small
 band of the twelve apostles there was a Judas.

 The spirit of the world is for ever altering--impalpable; for ever
 eluding, in fresh forms, your attempts to seize it. In the days of
 Noah, the spirit of the world was _violence_. In Elijah's day it was
 _idolatry_. In the day of Christ it was _power_ concentrated and
 condensed in the government of Rome. In ours, perhaps, it is the _love
 of money_. It enters in different proportions into different bosoms;
 it is found in a different form in contiguous towns; in the
 fashionable watering place, and in the commercial city: it is this
 thing at Athens, and another in Corinth. This is the spirit of the
 world--a thing in my heart and yours: to be struggled against, not so
 much in the case of others, as in the silent battle to be done within
 our own souls. Pass we on now to consider--


 II. The victory of faith.

 Faith is a theological expression; we are apt to forget that it has
 any other than a theological import; yet it is the commonest principle
 of man's daily life, called in that region prudence, enterprise, or
 some such name. It is in effect the principle on which alone any human
 superiority can be gained. Faith, in religion, is the same principle
 as faith in worldly matters, differing only in its object: it rises
 through successive stages. When, in reliance upon your promise, your
 child gives up the half-hour's idleness of to-day for the holiday of
 to-morrow, he lives by faith; a future supersedes the present
 pleasure. When he abstains from over-indulgence of the appetite, in
 reliance upon your word that the result will be pain and sickness,
 sacrificing the present pleasure for fear of future punishment, he
 acts on faith: I do not say that this is a high exercise of faith--it
 is a very low one--but it _is_ faith.

 Once more: the same motive of action may be carried on into manhood;
 in our own times two religious principles have been exemplified in the
 subjugation of a vice. The habit of intoxication has been broken by an
 appeal to the principle of combination, and the principle of belief.
 Men were taught to feel that they were not solitary stragglers against
 the vice; they were enrolled in a mighty army, identified in
 principles and interests. Here was the principle of the
 Church--association for reciprocated strength; they were thus taught
 the inevitable result of the indulgence of the vice. The missionaries
 of temperance went through the country contrasting the wretchedness
 and the degradation and the filth of drunkenness with the domestic
 comfort, and the health, and the regular employment of those who were
 masters of themselves. So far as men believed this, and gave up the
 tyranny of the present for the hope of the future--so far they lived
 by faith.

 Brethren, I do not say that this was a high triumph for the principle
 of faith; it was in fact, little more than selfishness; it was a high
 future balanced against a low present; only the preference of a future
 and higher physical enjoyment to a mean and lower one. Yet still to be
 ruled by this influence raises a man in the scale of being: it is a
 low virtue, prudence, a form of selfishness; yet prudence _is_ a
 virtue. The merchant, who forecasts, saves, denies himself
 systematically through years, to amass a fortune, is not a very lofty
 being, yet he is higher, as a man, than he who is sunk in mere bodily
 gratifications. You would not say that the intemperate man--who has
 become temperate in order, merely to gain by that temperance honour
 and happiness--is a great man, but you would say he was a higher and a
 better man than he who is enslaved by his passions, or than the
 gambler who improvidently stakes all upon a moment's throw. The
 worldly mother who plans for the advancement of a family, and
 sacrifices solid enjoyments for a splendid alliance, is only _worldly_
 wise, yet in that manoeuvring and worldly prudence there is the
 exercise of a self-control which raises her above the mere giddy
 pleasure-hunter of the hour; for want of self-control is the weakness
 of our nature--to restrain, to wait, to control present feeling with a
 large foresight, is human strength.

 Once more, instead of a faith like that of the child, which over-leaps
 a few hours, or that of the worldly man, which over-passes years,
 there may be a faith which transcends the whole span of life, and,
 instead of looking for temporal enjoyments, looks for rewards in a
 future beyond the grave, instead of a future limited to time.

 This is again a step. The child has sacrificed a day; the man has
 sacrificed a little more. Faith has now reached a stage which deserves
 to be called religious; not that this however, is very grand; it does
 but prefer a happiness hereafter to a happiness enjoyed here--an
 eternal well-being instead of a temporal well-being; it is but
 prudence on a grand scale--another form of selfishness--an
 anticipation of infinite rewards instead of finite, and not the more
 noble because of the infinitude of the gain: and yet this is what is
 often taught as religion in books and sermons. We are told that sin is
 wrong, because it will make us miserable hereafter. Guilt is
 represented as the short-sightedness which barters for a home on
 earth--a home in heaven.

 In the text-book of ethics studied in one of our universities, virtue
 is defined as that which is done at the command of God for the sake of
 an eternal reward. So then, religion is nothing more than a
 calculation of infinite and finite quantities; vice is nothing more
 than a grand imprudence; and heaven is nothing more than selfishness
 rewarded with eternal well-being!

 Yet this you will observe, is a necessary step in the development of
 faith. Faith is the conviction that God is a rewarder of them who
 diligently seek Him; and there is a moment in human progress when the
 anticipated rewards and punishments must be of a Mahometan
 character--the happiness of the senses. It was thus that the Jews were
 disciplined; out of a coarse, rude, infantine state, they were
 educated by rewards and punishments to abstain from present sinful
 gratification: at first, the promise of the life which now is,
 afterwards the promise of that which is to come; but even then the
 rewards and punishments of a future state were spoken of, by
 inspiration itself, as of an arbitrary character; and some of the best
 of the Israelites, in looking to the recompense of reward, seemed to
 have anticipated, coarsely, recompense in exchange for duties
 performed.

 The last step is that which alone deserves to be called Christian
 Faith--"Who is he that overcometh but he that believeth that Jesus is
 the Christ?" The difference between the faith of the Christian and
 that of the man of the world, or the mere ordinary religionist, is not
 a difference in mental operation, but in the object of the faith--to
 believe that Jesus is the Christ is the peculiarity of Christian
 faith.

 The anticipated heaven of the Christian differs from the anticipated
 heaven of any other man, not in the distinctness with which its
 imagery is perceived, but in the kind of objects which are hoped for.
 The apostle has told us the character of heaven. "Eye hath not seen,
 nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man to
 conceive the things which God hath prepared for them that love
 Him"--which glorious words are sometimes strangely misinterpreted, as
 if the apostle merely meant rhetorically to exalt the conception of
 the heavenly world, as of something beyond all power to imagine or to
 paint. The apostle meant something infinitely deeper: the heaven of
 God is not only that which "eye hath not seen," but that which eye can
 _never_ see; its glories are not of that kind at all which can ever
 stream in forms of beauty on the eye, or pour in melody upon the
 enraptured ear--not such joys as genius in its most gifted hour (here
 called "the heart of man") can invent or imagine: it is something
 which these sensuous organs of ours never can appreciate--bliss of
 another kind altogether, revealed to the spirit of man by the Spirit
 of God--joys such as spirit alone can receive.

 Do you ask what these are? "The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy,
 peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness,
 temperance." That is heaven, and therefore the Apostle tells us that
 he alone who "believeth that Jesus is the Christ," and only he, feels
 that. What is it to believe that Jesus is the Christ?--That He is the
 Anointed One, that His life is the anointed life, the only blessed
 life, the blessed life divine for thirty years?--Yes, but if so, the
 blessed Life still, continued throughout all eternity: unless you
 believe that, you do not believe that Jesus is the Christ.

 What is the blessedness that you expect?--to have the joys of earth
 with the addition of the element of eternity? Men think that heaven is
 to be a compensation for earthly loss: the saints are earthly-wretched
 here, the children of this world are earthly-happy; but _that_, they
 think, shall be all reversed--Lazarus, beyond the grave, shall have
 the purple and the fine linen, and the splendour, and the houses, and
 the lands which Dives had on earth: the one had them for time, the
 other shall have them for eternity. That is the heaven that men
 expect--this earth sacrificed _now_, in order that it may be
 re-granted for _ever_.

 Nor will this expectation be reversed except by a reversal of the
 nature. None can anticipate such a heaven as God has revealed, except
 they that are born of the Spirit; therefore to believe that Jesus is
 the Christ, a man must be born of God. You will observe that no other
 victory overcomes the world: for this is what St. John means by
 saying, "Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth
 that Jesus is the Christ?" For then it comes to pass that a man begins
 to feel, that to do wrong is hell; and that to love God, to be like
 God, to have the mind of Christ, is the only heaven. Until this
 victory is gained, the world retains its stronghold in the heart.

 Do you think that the temperate man has overcome the world, who,
 instead of the short-lived rapture of intoxication, chooses regular
 employment, health, and prosperity? Is it not the world in another
 form, which has his homage? Or do you suppose that the so-called
 religious man is really the world's conqueror by being content to give
 up seventy years of enjoyment in order to win innumerable ages of the
 very same species of enjoyment? Has he not only made earth a hell, in
 order that earthly things may be his heaven for ever?

 Thus the victory of Faith proceeds from stage to stage: the first
 victory is, when the Present is conquered by the Future; the last,
 when the Visible and Sensual is despised in comparison of the
 Invisible and Eternal. Then earth has lost its power for ever; for if
 _all_ that it has to give be lost eternally, the gain of faith is
 still infinite.



 III.

 _Preached Whitsunday, May 19, 1850._

 THE DISPENSATION OF THE SPIRIT.


   "Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit."--1
    Corinthians xii, 4.

 According to a view which contains in it a profound truth, the ages of
 the world are divisible into three dispensations, presided over by the
 Father, the Son, and the Spirit.

 In the dispensation of the Father, God was known as a Creator;
 creation manifested His eternal power and Godhead, and the religion of
 mankind was the religion of Nature.

 In the dispensation of the Son, God manifested Himself to Humanity
 through man; the Eternal Word spoke, through the inspired and gifted
 of the human race, to those that were uninspired and ungifted. This
 was the dispensation of the prophets--its climax was the advent of the
 Redeemer; it was completed when _perfect_ Humanity manifested God to
 man. The characteristic of this dispensation was, that God revealed
 Himself by an authoritative Voice, speaking from without, and the
 highest manifestation of God whereof man was capable, was a Divine
 Humanity.

 The age in which we at present live is the dispensation of the Spirit,
 in which God has communicated Himself by the highest revelation, and
 in the most intimate communion, of which man is capable; no longer
 through Creation, no more as an authoritative Voice from without, but
 as a Law within--as a Spirit mingling with a spirit. This is the
 dispensation of which the prophet said of old, that the time should
 come when they should no longer teach every man his brother and every
 man his neighbour, saying, "Know the Lord"--that is, by a will
 revealed by external authority from other human minds--"for they shall
 all know him, from the least of them to the greatest." This is the
 dispensation, too, of whose close the Apostle Paul speaks thus: "Then
 shall the Son also be subject to Him that hath put all things under
 Him, that God may be all in all."

 The outward humanity is to disappear, that the inward union may be
 complete. To the same effect, he speaks in another place, "Yea, though
 we have known Christ after the flesh, yet henceforth know we Him no
 more." For this reason, the Ascension was necessary before Pentecost
 could come: the Spirit was not given, we are told, because Jesus was
 not yet glorified. It was necessary for the Son to disappear as an
 outward authority, in order that he might re-appear as an inward
 principle of life. Our salvation is no longer God manifested in a
 Christ _without_ us, but as a Christ _within_ us, the hope of glory.
 To-day is the selected anniversary of that memorable day when the
 first proof was given to the senses, in the gift of Pentecost, that
 that spiritual dispensation had begun.

 There is a twofold way in which the operations of the Spirit on
 mankind may be considered--His influence on the Church as a whole, and
 His influence on individuals; both of these are brought together in
 the text. It branches, therefore, into a twofold division.

    I. Spiritual gifts conferred on individuals.
   II. Spiritual union of the Church.

 Let us distinguish between the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit: by
 the Spirit, the apostle meant the vital principle of new life from
 God, common to all believers--the animating Spirit of the Church of
 God; by the gifts of the Spirit, he meant the diversities of form in
 which He operates on individuals; its influence varied according to
 their respective peculiarities and characteristics. In the
 twenty-eighth verse of this chapter a full catalogue of gifts is
 found; looking at them generally, we discover two classes into which
 they may be divided--the first are natural, the second are
 supernatural: the first are those capacities which are originally
 found in human nature--personal endowments of mind, a character
 elevated and enlarged by the gift of the Spirit; the second are those
 which were created and called into existence by the sudden approach of
 the same influence.

 Just as if the temperature of this Northern hemisphere were raised
 suddenly, and a mighty tropical river were to pour its fertilizing
 inundation over the country, the result would be the impartation of a
 vigorous and gigantic growth to the vegetation already in existence,
 and at the same time the development of life in seeds and germs which
 had long lain latent in the soil, incapable of vegetation in the
 unkindly climate of their birth. Exactly in the same way, the flood of
 a Divine life, poured suddenly into the souls of men, enlarged and
 ennobled qualities which had been used already, and at the same time
 _developed_ powers which never could have become apparent in the cold,
 low temperature of natural life.

 Among the natural gifts, we may instance these: teaching--healing--the
 power of government. Teaching is a gift, natural or acquired. To know,
 is one thing; to have the capacity of imparting knowledge, is another.

 The physician's art again is no supernatural mystery; long and
 careful study of physical laws capacitate him for his task. To govern,
 again, is a natural faculty: it may be acquired by habit, but there
 are some who never could acquire it. Some men seem born to command:
 place them in what sphere you will, others acknowledge their secret
 influence, and subordinate themselves to their will. The faculty of
 organization, the secret of rule, need no supernatural power. They
 exist among the uninspired. Now the doctrine of the apostle was, that
 all these are transformed and renovated by the spirit of a new life in
 such a way as to become almost new powers, or, as he calls them, gifts
 of the Spirit. A remarkable illustration of this is his view of the
 human body. If there be anything common to us by nature, it is the
 members of our corporeal frame; yet the apostle taught that these,
 guided by the Spirit as its instruments and obeying a holy will,
 became transfigured; so that, in his language, the body becomes a
 temple of the Holy Ghost, and the meanest faculties, the lowest
 appetites, the humblest organs, are ennobled by the Spirit mind which
 guides them. Thus he bids the Romans yield themselves "unto God as
 those that are alive from the dead, and their members as instruments
 of righteousness unto God."

 The second class of gifts are supernatural: of these we find two
 pre-eminent--the gift of tongues, and the gift of prophecy.

 It does not appear that the gift of tongues was merely the imparted
 faculty of speaking foreign languages--it could not be that the
 highest gift of God to His Church merely made them rivals of the
 linguist; it would rather seem that the Spirit of God, mingling with
 the soul of man, supernaturally elevated its aspirations and glorified
 its conceptions, so that an entranced state of ecstasy was
 produced, and feelings called into energy, for the expression of which
 the ordinary forms of speech were found inadequate. Even in a far
 lower department, when a man becomes possessed of ideas for which his
 ordinary vocabulary supplies no sufficient expression, his language
 becomes broken, incoherent, struggling, and almost unnaturally
 elevated; much more was it to be expected that when divine and new
 feelings rushed like a flood upon the soul, the language of men would
 have become strange and extraordinary; but in that supposed case, wild
 as the expressions might appear to one coldly looking on and not
 participating in the feelings of the speaker, they would be quite
 sufficient to convey intelligible meaning to any one affected by the
 same emotions.

 Where perfect sympathy exists, incoherent utterance--a word--a
 syllable--is quite as efficient as elaborate sentences. Now this is
 precisely the account given of the phenomenon which attended the gift
 of tongues. On the day of Pentecost, all who were in the same state of
 spiritual emotion as those who spoke, understood the speakers; each
 was as intelligible to all as if he spoke in their several tongues: to
 those who were coolly and sceptically watching, the effects appeared
 like those of intoxication. A similar account is given by the Apostle
 Paul: the voice appeared to unsympathetic ears as that of a barbarian;
 the uninitiated and unbelieving coming in, heard nothing that was
 articulate to them, but only what seemed to them the ravings of
 insanity.

 The next was the gift of prophecy. Prophecy has several meanings in
 Scripture; sometimes it means the power of predicting future events,
 sometimes an entranced state accompanied with ravings, sometimes it
 appears to mean only exposition; but prophecy, as the miraculous
 spiritual gift granted to the early Church, seems to have been a state
 of communion with the mind of God lower than that which was called the
 gift of tongues, at least less ecstatic, less rapt into the world to
 come, more under the guidance of the reason, more within the control
 of calm consciousness--as we might say, less supernatural.

 Upon these gifts we make two observations:

 1. Even the highest were not accompanied with spiritual faultlessness.
 Inspiration was one thing, infallibility another. The gifts of the
 Spirit were, like the gifts of Nature, subordinated to the
 will--capable of being used for good or evil, sometimes pure,
 sometimes mixed with human infirmity. The supernaturally gifted man
 was no mere machine, no automaton ruled in spite of himself by a
 superior spirit. Disorder, vanity, over-weening self-estimation, might
 accompany these gifts, and the prophetic utterance itself might be
 degraded to a mere brawling in the Church; therefore St. Paul
 established laws of control, declared the need of subjection and rule
 over spiritual gifts: the spirits of the prophets were to be subject
 to the prophets; if those in the ecstatic state were tempted to break
 out into utterance and unable to interpret what it meant, those so
 gifted were to hold their peace.

 The prophet poured out the truths supernaturally imparted to his
 highest spirit, in an inspired and impassioned eloquence which was
 intelligible even to the unspiritual, and was one of the appointed
 means of convincing the unconverted. The lesson derivable from this is
 not obsolete even in the present day. There is nothing perhaps
 precisely identical in our own day with those gifts of the early
 Church; but genius and talent are uncommon gifts, which stand in a
 somewhat analogous relation--in a closer one certainly--than more
 ordinary endowments. The flights of genius, we know, appear like
 maniac ravings to minds not elevated to the same spiritual level. Now
 these are perfectly compatible with mis-use, abuse, and moral
 disorder. The most gifted of our countrymen has left this behind him
 as his epitaph, "The greatest, wisest, _meanest_ of mankind." The most
 glorious gift of poetic insight--itself in a way divine--having
 something akin to Deity--is too often associated with degraded life
 and vicious character. Those gifts which elevate us above the rest of
 our species, whereby we stand aloof and separate from the crowd,
 convey no moral--nor even mental--infallibility: nay, they have in
 themselves a peculiar danger, whereas that gift which is common to us
 all as brethren, the animating spirit of a divine life, in whose soil
 the spiritual being of all is rooted, cannot make us vain; we _cannot_
 pride ourselves on _that_, for it is common to us all.

 2. Again, the gifts which were higher in one sense were lower in
 another; as supernatural gifts they would rank thus--the gift of
 tongues before prophecy, and prophecy before teaching; but as
 blessings to be desired, this order is reversed: rather than the gift
 of tongues St. Paul bids the Corinthians desire that they might
 prophecy. Inferior again to prophecy was the quite simple, and as we
 should say, lower faculty of explaining truth. Now the principle upon
 which that was tried was that of utility--not utility in the low sense
 of the utilitarian, who measures the value of a thing by its
 susceptibility of application to the purpose of this present life, but
 a utility whose measure was love, charity. The apostle considered
 _that_ gift most desirable by which men might most edify one another.
 And hence that noble declaration of one of the most gifted of
 mankind--"I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that I
 might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown
 tongue."

 Our estimate is almost the reverse of this: we value a gift in
 proportion to its rarity, its distinctive character, separating its
 possessor from the rest of his fellow-men; whereas, in truth, those
 gifts which leave us in lonely majesty apart from our species, useless
 to them, benefiting ourselves alone, are not the most godlike, but the
 least so; because they are dissevered from that beneficent charity
 which is the very being of God. Your lofty incommunicable thoughts,
 your ecstasies, and aspirations, and contemplative raptures--in virtue
 of which you have estimated yourself as the porcelain of the earth, of
 another nature altogether than the clay of common spirits--tried by
 the test of Charity, what is there grand in these if they cannot be
 applied as blessings to those that are beneath you? One of our
 countrymen has achieved for himself extraordinary scientific renown;
 he pierced the mysteries of nature, he analysed her processes, he gave
 new elements to the world. The same man applied his rare intellect to
 the construction of a simple and very common instrument--that
 well-known lamp which has been the guardian of the miner's life from
 the explosion of fire. His discoveries are his nobility in this world,
 his trifling invention gives him rank in the world to come. By the
 former he shines as one of the brightest luminaries in the firmament
 of science, by the latter evincing a spirit animated and directed by
 Christian love, he takes his place as one of the Church of God.

 And such is ever the true order of rank which graces occupy in
 reference to gifts. The most trifling act which is marked by
 usefulness to others is nobler in God's sight, than the most brilliant
 accomplishment of genius. To teach a few Sunday-school children, week
 after week, commonplace simple truths--persevering in spite of
 dullness and mean capacities--is a more glorious occupation than the
 highest meditations or creations of genius which edify or instruct
 only our own solitary soul.


 II. The spiritual unity of the Church--"the same Spirit."

 Men have formed to themselves two ideas of unity: the first is a
 sameness of form--of expression; the second an identity of spirit.
 Some of the best of mankind have fondly hoped to realize an unity for
 the Church of Christ which should be manifested by uniform expressions
 in everything: their imaginations have loved to paint, as the ideal of
 a Christian Church, a state in which the same liturgy should be used
 throughout the world, the same ecclesiastical government, even the
 same vestments, the same canonical hours, the same form of
 architecture. They could conceive nothing more entirely one than a
 Church so constituted that the same prayers, in the very same
 expressions, at the very same moment, should be ascending to the
 Eternal Ear.

 There are others who have thrown aside entirely this idea as
 chimerical; who have not only ceased to hope it, but even to wish it;
 who if it could be realized, would consider it a matter of regret; who
 feel that the minds of men are various--their modes and habits of
 thought, their original capacities and acquired associations,
 infinitely diverse; and who, perceiving that the law of the universal
 system is manifoldness in unity, have ceased to expect any other
 oneness for the Church of Christ than that of a sameness of spirit,
 showing itself through diversities of gifts. Among these last was the
 Apostle Paul: his large and glorious mind rejoiced in the
 contemplation of the countless manifestations of spiritual nature
 beneath which he detected one and the same pervading Mind. Now let us
 look at this matter somewhat more closely.

 1. All real unity is manifold. Feelings in themselves identical find
 countless forms of expression: for instance, sorrow is the same
 feeling throughout the human race; but the Oriental prostrates himself
 upon the ground, throws dust upon his head, tears his garments, is not
 ashamed to break out into the most violent lamentations. In the north,
 we rule our grief in public; suffer not even a quiver to be seen upon
 the lip or brow, and consider calmness as the appropriate expression
 of manly grief. Nay, two sisters of different temperament will show
 their grief diversely; one will love to dwell upon the theme of the
 qualities of the departed, the other feels it a sacred sorrow, on
 which the lips are sealed for ever; yet would it not be idle to ask
 which of them has the truest affection? Are they not both in their own
 way true? In the same East, men take off their sandals in devotion; we
 exactly reverse the procedure, and uncover the head. The Oriental
 prostrates himself in the dust before his sovereign; even before his
 God the Briton only kneels; yet would it not again be idle to ask
 which is the essential and proper form of reverence? Is not true
 reverence in all cases modified by the individualities of temperament
 and education? Should we not say, in all these forms worketh one and
 the same spirit of reverence?

 Again in the world as God has made it, one law shows itself under
 diverse, even opposite manifestations; lead sinks in water, wood
 floats upon the surface. In former times men assigned these different
 results to different forces, laws, and gods. A knowledge of Nature has
 demonstrated that they are expressions of one and the same law; and
 the great difference between the educated and the uneducated man is
 this--the uneducated sees in this world nothing but an infinite
 collection of unconnected facts--a broken, distorted, and fragmentary
 system, which his mind can by no means reduce to order. The educated
 man, in proportion to his education, sees the number of laws
 diminished--beholds in the manifold appearances of Nature the
 expression of a few laws, by degrees fewer, till at last it becomes
 possible to his conception that they are all reducible to one, and
 that that which lies beneath the innumerable phenomena of Nature is
 the One Spirit--God.

 2. All _living_ unity is spiritual, not formal; not sameness, but
 manifoldness. You may have a unity shown in identity of form; but it
 is a lifeless unity. There is a sameness on the sea-beach--that unity
 which the ocean waves have produced by curling and forcibly destroying
 the angularities of individual form, so that every stone presents the
 same monotony of aspect, and you must fracture each again in order to
 distinguish whether you hold in your hand a mass of flint or fragment
 of basalt. There is no life in unity such as this.

 But as soon as you arrive at a unity that is living, the form becomes
 more complex, and you search in vain for uniformity. In the parts, it
 must be found, if found at all, in the sameness of the pervading life.
 The illustration given by the apostle is that of the human body--a
 higher unity, he says, by being composed of many members, than if
 every member were but a repetition of a single type. It is conceivable
 that God might have moulded such a form for human life; it is
 conceivable that every cause, instead of producing in different nerves
 a variety of sensations, should have affected every one in a mode
 precisely similar; that instead of producing a sensation of sound--a
 sensation of colour--a sensation of taste--the outward causes of
 nature, be they what they may, should have given but one unvaried
 feeling to every sense, and that the whole universe should have been
 light or sound.

 That would have been unity, if sameness be unity; but, says the
 apostle, "if the whole body were seeing, where were the hearing?" That
 uniformity would have been irreparable loss--the loss of every part
 that was merged into the one. What is the body's unity? Is it not
 this? The unity of a living consciousness which marvellously animates
 every separate atom of the frame, and reduces each to the performance
 of a function fitted to the welfare of the whole--its own, not
 another's: so that the inner spirit can say of the remotest, and in
 form most unlike, member, "That too, is myself."

 3. None but a spiritual unity can preserve the rights both of the
 individual and the Church. All other systems of unity, except the
 apostolic, either sacrifice the Church to the individual, or the
 individual to the Church.

 Some have claimed the right of private judgment in such a way that
 every individual opinion becomes truth, and every utterance of private
 conscience right: thus the Church is sacrificed to the individual; and
 the universal conscience, the common faith, becomes as nothing; the
 spirits of the prophets are not subject to the prophets. Again, there
 are others, who, like the Church of Rome, would surrender the
 conscience of each man to the conscience of the Church, and coerce the
 particulars of faith into exact coincidence with a formal creed.
 Spiritual unity saves the right of both in God's system. The Church
 exists for the individual, just as truly as the individual for the
 Church. The Church is then most perfect when all its powers converge,
 and are concentrated on the formation and protection of individual
 character; and the individual is then most complete--that is, most a
 Christian--when he has practically learned that his life is not his
 own, but owed to others--"that no man liveth to himself, and no man
 dieth to himself."

 Now, spiritual unity respects the sanctity of the individual
 conscience. How reverently the Apostle Paul considered its claims,
 and how tenderly! When once it became a matter of conscience, this was
 his principle laid down in matters of dispute: "Let every man be fully
 persuaded in his own mind." The belief of the whole world cannot make
 that thing true to me which to me seems false. The conscience of the
 whole world cannot make a thing right to me, if I in my heart believe
 it wrong. You may coerce the conscience, you may control men's belief,
 and you may produce a unity by so doing; but it is the unity of
 pebbles on the sea-shore--a lifeless identity of outward form with no
 cohesion between the parts--a dead sea-beach on which nothing grows,
 and where the very seaweed dies.

 Lastly, it respected the sanctity of individual character. Out of
 eight hundred millions of the human race, a few features diversify
 themselves into so many forms of countenance, that scarcely two could
 be mistaken for each other. There are no two leaves on the same tree
 alike; nor two sides of the same leaf, unless you cut and kill it
 There is a sacredness in individuality of character; each one born
 into this world is a fresh new soul intended by his Maker to develope
 himself in a new fresh way; we are what we are; we cannot be truly
 other than ourselves. We reach perfection not by copying, much less by
 aiming at originality; but by consistently and steadily working out
 the life which is common to us all, according to the character which
 God has given us.

 And thus will the Church of God be one at last--will present an unity
 like that of heaven. There is one universe in which each separate star
 differs from another in glory; one Church in which a single Spirit,
 the Life of God, pervades each separate soul; and just in proportion
 as that Life becomes exalted does it enable every one to shine forth
 in the distinctness of his own separate individuality, like the stars
 of heaven.



 IV.

 _Preached May 26, 1850._

 THE TRINITY.


   "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God
    your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto
    the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."--1 Thess. v. 23.

 The knowledge of God is the blessedness of man. To know God, and to be
 known by Him--to love God, and to be loved by Him--is the most
 precious treasure which this life has to give; properly speaking the
 only treasure; properly speaking the only knowledge; for all
 knowledge is valuable only so far as it converges towards and ends in
 the knowledge of God, and enables us to acquaint ourselves with God,
 and be at peace with Him. The doctrine of the Trinity is the sum of
 all that knowledge which has as yet been gained by man. I say gained
 _as yet_. For we presume not to maintain that in the ages which are to
 come hereafter, our knowledge shall not be superseded by a higher
 knowledge; we presume not to say that in a state of existence
 future--yea even here upon this earth, at that period which is
 mysteriously referred to in Scripture as "the coming of the Son of
 Man"--there shall not be given to the soul an intellectual conception
 of the Almighty, a vision of the Eternal, in comparison with whose
 brightness and clearness our present knowledge of the Trinity shall be
 as rudimentary and as childlike as the knowledge of the Jew was in
 comparison with the knowledge of the Christian.

 Now the passage which I have undertaken to expound to-day, is one in
 which the doctrine of the Trinity is brought into connection
 practically with the doctrine of our Humanity. Before entering into it
 brethren, let us lay down these two observations and duties for
 ourselves. In the first place, let us examine the doctrine of the
 Trinity ever in the spirit of charity.

 A clear statement of the deepest doctrine that man can know, and the
 intellectual conception of that doctrine, are by no means easy. We are
 puzzled and perplexed by _words_; we fight respecting _words_.
 Quarrels are nearly always verbal quarrels. Words lose their meaning
 in the course of time; nay, the very words of the Athanasian creed
 which we read to-day mean not in this age, the same thing which they
 meant in ages past. Therefore it is possible that men, externally
 Trinitarians, may differ from each other though using the same words,
 as greatly as a Unitarian differs from a Trinitarian. There may be
 found in the same Church and in the same congregation, men holding all
 possible shades of opinion, though agreeing externally, and in words.

 I speak within the limit of my own experience when I say that persons
 have been known and heard to express the language of bitter
 condemnation respecting Unitarianism, who when examined and calmly
 required to draw out verbally the meaning of their own conceptions,
 have been proved to be holding all the time--unconsciously--the very
 doctrine of Sabellianism. And this doctrine is condemned by the Church
 as distinctly as that of Unitarianism. Therefore let us learn from all
 this a large and catholic charity. There are in almost every
 congregation, themselves not knowing it, Trinitarians who are
 practically Tri-theists, worshipping three Gods; and Sabellians, or
 worshippers of one person under three different manifestations. To
 know God so that we may be said intellectually, to appreciate Him, is
 blessed: to be unable to do so is a misfortune. Be content with your
 own blessedness, in comparison with others' misfortunes. Do not give
 to that misfortune the additional sting of illiberal and unchristian
 vituperation.

 The next observation we have to lay down for ourselves is, that we
 should examine this doctrine in the spirit of modesty. There are those
 who are inclined to sneer at the Trinitarian; those to whom the
 doctrine appears merely a contradiction--a puzzle--an entangled,
 labyrinthine enigma, in which there is no meaning whatever. But let
 all such remember, that though the doctrine may appear to them absurd,
 because they have not the proper conception of it, some of the
 profoundest thinkers, and some of the holiest spirits among mankind,
 have believed in this doctrine--have clung to it as a matter of life
 or death. Let them be assured of this, that whether the doctrine be
 true or false, it is not necessarily a doctrine self-contradictory.
 Let them be assured of this, in all modesty, that such men never could
 have held it unless there was latent in the doctrine a deep
 truth,--perchance the truth of God.

 We pass on now to the consideration of this verse under the following
 divisions. In the first place, we shall view it as a triad in discord:
 "I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved
 blameless;" in the second place, as a Trinity in Unity: "the God of
 peace sanctify you wholly." We take then first of all for our
 consideration the triad in discord: "I pray God your whole body and
 soul and spirit be preserved blameless."

 The apostle here divides human nature into a three-fold division; and
 here we have to observe again the difficulty often experienced in
 understanding words. Thus words in the Athanasian creed have become
 obsolete, or lost their meaning: so that in the present day the words
 "person," "substance," "procession," "generation," to an ordinary
 person, mean almost nothing. So this language of the apostle, when
 rendered into English, shows no difference whatever between "soul" and
 "spirit." We say, for instance, that the soul of a man has departed
 from him. We also say that the spirit of a man has departed from him.
 There is no distinct difference between the two; but in the original
 two very different kinds of thoughts--two very different modes of
 conception--are represented by the two English words "soul" and
 "spirit."

 It is our business, therefore, in the first place, to understand what
 is meant by this threefold division. When the apostle speaks of the
 body, what he means is the animal life--that which we share in common
 with beasts, birds, and reptiles; for our life my Christian
 brethren--our sensational existence--differs but little from that of
 the lower animals. There is the same external form, the same material
 in the blood-vessels, in the nerves, and in the muscular system. Nay,
 more than that, our appetites and instincts are alike, our lower
 pleasures like their lower pleasures, our lower pain like their lower
 pain, our life is supported by the same means, and our animal
 functions are almost indistinguishably the same.

 But, once more, the apostle speaks of what he calls the "soul." What
 the apostle meant by what is translated "soul," is the immortal part
 of man--the immaterial as distinguished from the material: those
 powers, in fact, which man has by nature--powers natural, which are
 yet to survive the grave. There is a distinction made in scripture by
 our Lord between these two things. "Fear not," says He, "them who can
 kill the body; but rather fear Him who can destroy both body and
 soul in hell."

 We have again, to observe respecting this, that what the apostle
 called the "soul," is not simply distinguishable from the body, but
 also from the spirit; and on that distinction I have already touched.
 By the soul the apostle means our powers natural--the powers which we
 have by nature. Herein is the soul distinguishable from the spirit. In
 the Epistle to the Corinthians we read--"But the natural man receiveth
 not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto
 him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things." Observe, there is a
 distinction drawn between the natural man and the spiritual. What is
 there translated "natural" is derived from precisely the same word as
 that which is here translated "soul." So that we may read just as
 correctly: "The man under the dominion of the soul receiveth not the
 things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him;
 neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned. But
 he that is spiritual judgeth all things." And again, the apostle, in
 the same Epistle to the Corinthians, writes: "That is not first which
 is spiritual, but that which is natural:" that is, the endowments of
 the soul precede the endowments of the spirit. You have the same truth
 in other places. The powers that belong to the Spirit were not the
 first developed; but the powers which belong to the soul, that is the
 powers of nature. Again in the same chapter, reference is made to the
 natural and spiritual body. "There is a natural body and there is a
 spiritual body." Literally, there is a body governed by the soul--that
 is, powers natural: and there is a body governed by the Spirit--that
 is, higher nature.

 Let then this be borne in mind, that what the apostle calls "soul" is
 the same as that which he calls, in another place, the "natural man."
 These powers are divisible into two branches--the intellectual powers
 and the moral sense. The intellectual powers man has by nature. Man
 need not be regenerated in order to possess the power of reasoning, or
 in order to invent. The intellectual powers belong to what the apostle
 calls the "soul." The moral sense distinguishes between right and
 wrong. The apostle tells us, in the Epistle to the Romans, that the
 heathen--manifestly natural men--had the "work of the law written in
 their hearts; their conscience also bearing witness."

 The third division of which the apostle speaks, he calls the "spirit;"
 and by the spirit he means that life in man which, in his natural
 state, is in such an embryo condition, that it can scarcely be said to
 exist at all--that which is called out into power and vitality by
 regeneration--the perfection of the powers of human nature. And you
 will observe, that it is not merely the instinctive life, nor the
 intellectual life, nor the moral life, but it is principally our
 nobler affections--that existence, that state of being, which we call
 love. That is the department of human nature which the apostle calls
 the spirit; and accordingly, when the Spirit of God was given on the
 day of Pentecost, you will, remember that another power of man was
 called out, differing from what he had before. That Spirit granted on
 the day of Pentecost did subordinate to Himself, and was, intended to
 subordinate to Himself, the will, the understanding, and the affection
 of man; but you often find these spiritual powers were distinguished
 from the natural powers, and existed without them.

 So in the highest state of religious life, we are told, men prayed in
 the spirit. Till the spirit has subordinated the understanding, the
 gift of God is not complete--has not done its work. It is abundantly
 evident that a new life was called out. It was not merely the
 sharpening of the intellectual powers; it was calling out powers of
 aspiration and love to God; those affections which have in them
 something boundless, that are not limited to this earth, but seek
 their completion in the mind of God Himself.

 Now, what we have to say respecting this threefold state of man is, it
 is a state of discord. Let us take up a very simple, popular,
 every-day illustration. We hear it remarked frequently in conversation
 of a man, that if only his will were commensurate with his knowledge,
 he would be a great man. His knowledge is great--his powers are almost
 unbounded; he has gained knowledge from nearly every department of
 science; but somehow or other--you cannot tell why--there is such an
 indecision, such a vacillation about the man, that he scarcely knows
 what to do, and, perhaps does nothing in this world. You find it
 remarked, respecting another class of men, that their will is strong,
 almost unbounded in its strength--they have iron wills, yet there is
 something so narrow in their conceptions, something so bounded in
 their views, so much of stagnation in their thoughts, so much of
 prejudice in all their opinions, that their will is prevented from
 being directed to anything in a proper manner. Here is the discord in
 human nature. There is a distinction between the will and the
 understanding. And sometimes a feeble will goes with a strong
 understanding, or a powerful will is found in connection with great
 feebleness or ignorance of the understanding.

 Let us however, go into this more specially. The first cause of
 discord in this threefold state of man is the state in which the body
 is the ruler; and this, my Christian brethren, you find most visibly
 developed in the uneducated and irreligious poor. I say uneducated and
 irreligious, because it is by no means education alone which can
 subordinate the flesh to the higher man. The religious uneducated poor
 man may be master of his lower passions; but in the uneducated and
 irreligious poor man, these show themselves in full force; this
 discord--this want of unity--appears, as it were, in a magnified form.
 There is a strong man--health bursting, as it were, at every pore,
 with an athletic body; but coarse, and rude, and intellectually
 weak--almost an animal. When you are regarding the upper classes of
 society, you see less distinctly the absence of the spirit, unless,
 you look with a spiritual eye. The coarseness has passed away--the
 rudeness is no longer seen: there is a refinement in the pleasures.
 But if you take the life led by the young men of our country--strong,
 athletic, healthy men--it is still the life of the flesh: the
 unthinking, and the unprincipled life in which there is as yet no
 higher life developed. It is a life which, in spite of its refinement,
 the Bible condemns as the life of the sensualist.

 We pass on now, to another state of discord--a state in which the soul
 is ruined. Brethren, this is a natural result--this is what might have
 been expected. The natural man gradually subordinates the flesh, the
 body, to the soul. It is natural in the development of individuals, it
 is natural in the development of society: in the development of
 individuals, because that childlike, infantine life which exists at
 first, and is almost entirely a life of appetites, gradually subsides.
 Higher wants, higher desires, loftier inclinations arise; the passions
 of the young man gradually subside, and by degrees the more rational
 life comes: the life is changed--the pleasures of the senses are
 forsaken for those of the intellect.

 It appears natural, again, in the development of society. Civilization
 will subordinate the flesh to the soul. In the savage state, you find
 the life of the animal. Civilization is teaching a man, on the
 principle of this world, to subordinate his appetites; to rule
 himself; and there comes a refinement, and a gentleness, and a
 polish, and an enjoyment of intellectual pleasures; so that the man is
 no longer what the apostle calls a sensual man, but he becomes now
 what the apostle calls a natural man. We can see this character
 delineated in the Epistle to the Ephesians. "Then we were," says the
 apostle, "in our Gentile state, fulfilling the desires of the flesh
 and of the mind." Man naturally fulfils not merely the desires of the
 flesh, but the desires of the mind. "And were," says the apostle,
 "children of wrath."

 One of the saddest spectacles is the decay of the natural man before
 the work of the Spirit has been accomplished in him. When the savage
 dies--when a mere infant dies--when an animal dies--there is nothing
 that is appalling or depressing there; but when the high, the
 developed intellect--when the cultivated man comes to the last hours
 of life, and the memory becomes less powerful, and the judgment fails,
 and all that belongs to nature and to earth visibly perishes, and the
 higher life has not been yet developed, though it is destined to
 survive the grave for ever--even the life of God--there is here ample
 cause for grief; and it is no wonder that the man of genius merely
 should shed tears at he idea of decaying life.

 We pass on to consider the Trinity in unity. All this is contained in
 that simple expression, "The God of peace." God is a God of unity. He
 makes one where before there were two. He is the God of peace, and
 therefore can make peace. Now this peace, according to the Trinitarian
 doctrine, consists in a threefold unity. Brethren, as we remarked
 respecting this first of all, the distinction in this Trinity is not a
 physical distinction, but a metaphysical one. The illustrations which
 are often given are illustrations drawn from material sources: if we
 take only those, we get into contradiction: for example, when we talk
 of personality, our idea is of a being bounded by space; and then to
 say in this sense that three persons are one, and one is three, is
 simply contradictory and absurd. Remember that the doctrine of the
 Trinity is a metaphysical doctrine. It is a trinity--a division in the
 mind of God. It is not three materials; it is three persons in a sense
 we shall explain by and by.

 In the next place I will endeavour to explain the doctrine--not to
 prove it, but to show its rationality, and to explain what it is.

 The first illustration we endeavour to give in this is taken from the
 world of matter. We will take any material substance: we find in that
 substance qualities; we will say three qualities--colour, shape, and
 size. Colour is not shape, shape is not size, size is not colour. They
 are three distinct essences, three distinct qualities, and yet they
 all form one unity, one single conception, one idea--the idea for
 example, of a tree.

 Now we will ascend from that into the immaterial world; and here to be
 something more distinct still. Hitherto we have had but three
 qualities; we now come to the mind of man, where we find something
 more than qualities. We will take three--the will, the affections, and
 the thoughts of man. His will is not his affections, neither are his
 affections his thoughts; and it would be imperfect and incomplete to
 say that these are mere qualities in the man. They are separate
 consciousnesses, living consciousnesses--as distinct, and as really
 sundered as it is possible for three things to be, yet bound together
 by one unity of consciousness. Now we have distincter proof than even
 this that these things are three. The anatomist can tell you that the
 localities of these powers are different. He can point out the seat of
 the nerve of sensation; he can localize the feeling of affection; he
 can point to a nerve and say, "There resides the locality of thought."

 There are three distinct localities for three distinct qualities,
 personalities, consciousnesses; yet all these three are one.

 Once more, we will give proof even beyond all that. The act that a man
 does is done by one particular part of that man. You may say it was a
 work of his genius, or of his fancy; it may have been a manifestation
 of his love, or an exhibition of his courage; yet that work was the
 work of the whole man: his courage, his intellect, his habits of
 perseverance, all helped towards the completion of that single work.
 Just in this way certain special works are attributed to certain
 personalities of the Deity; the work of Redemption being attributed to
 one, the work of Sanctification to another. And yet just as the whole
 man was engaged in doing that work, so does the whole Deity perform
 that work which is attributed to one essential.

 Once more, let us remember that principle which we expounded last
 Sunday, that it is the law of Being that in proportion as you rise
 from lower to higher life, the parts are more distinctly developed,
 while yet the unity becomes more entire. You find for example, in the
 lowest forms of animal life one organ performs several functions, one
 organ being at the same time heart and brain and blood-vessels. But
 when you come to man, you find all these various functions existing in
 different organs, and every organ more distinctly developed; and yet
 the unity of a man is a higher unity than that of a limpet. When you
 come from the material world to the world immaterial, you find that
 the more society is cultivated--the more man is cultivated--the more
 marvellous is the power of developing distinct powers. In the savage
 life it is almost all one feeling; but in proportion as the higher
 education advances and the higher life appears, every power and
 faculty developes and distinguishes itself, and becomes distinct and
 separate. And yet just in proportion as in a nation every part is
 distinct, the unity is greater, and just in proportion as in an
 individual every power is most complete, and stands out most distinct,
 just in that proportion has the man reached the entireness of his
 Humanity.

 Now brethren, we apply all this to the mind of God. The Trinitarian
 maintains against the Unitarian and the Sabellian, that the higher you
 ascend in the scale of being, the more distinct are the
 consciousnesses, and that the law of unity implies and demands a
 manifold unity. The doctrine of Sabellianism, for example, is this,
 that God is but one essence--but one person under different
 manifestations; and that when He made the world He was called the
 Father, when He redeemed the world He was called the Son, and when He
 sanctified the world He was called the Holy Ghost. The Sabellian and
 the Unitarian maintain that the unity of God consists simply in a
 unity of person, and in opposition to this does the Trinitarian
 maintain that grandness, either in man or in God, must be a unity of
 manifoldness.

 But we will enter into this more deeply. The first power or
 consciousness in which God is made known to us is as the Father, the
 Author of our being. It is written, "In Him we live, and move, and
 have our being." He is the Author of all life. In this sense He is not
 merely our Father as Christians, but the Father of mankind; and not
 merely the Father of mankind, but the Father of creation; and in this
 way the sublime language of the prophets may be taken as true
 literally, "The morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God
 shouted for joy;" and the language of the canticle which belongs to
 our morning service, "the deeps, the fountains, the wells," all unite
 in one hymn of praise, one everlasting hallelujah to God the Father,
 the Author of their being. In this respect, simply as the Author of
 life, merely as the supreme Being, God has reference to us in relation
 to the body. He is the Lord of life: in Him we live, and move, and
 have our being. In this respect God to us is as law--as the collected
 laws of the universe; and therefore to offend against law, and bring
 down the result of transgressing law, is said in Scripture language,
 because applied to a person, to be provoking the wrath of God the
 Father.

 In the next place, the second way through which the personality and
 consciousness of God has been revealed to us is as the Son. Brethren,
 we see in all those writers who have treated of the Trinity, that much
 stress is laid upon this eternal generation of the Son, the
 everlasting sonship. It is this which we have in the Creed--the Creed
 which was read to-day--"God, of the substance of the Father, begotten
 before the worlds;" and, again, in the Nicene Creed, that expression,
 which is so often wrongly read, "God of God, Light of Light, very God
 of very God," means absolutely nothing. There are two statements made
 there. The first is this, "The Son was God:" the second is this, "The
 Son was--_of_ God," showing his derivation. And in that, brethren, we
 have one of the deepest and most blessed truths of revelation. The
 Unitarian maintains a divine Humanity--a blessed, blessed truth. There
 is a truth more blessed still--the Humanity of Deity. Before the world
 was, there was that in the mind of God which we may call the Humanity
 of His Divinity. It is called in Scripture the Word: the Son: the Form
 of God. It is in virtue of this that we have a right to attribute to
 Him our own feelings; it is in virtue of this that Scripture speaks of
 His wisdom, His justice, His love. Love in God is what love is in man;
 justice in God is what justice is in man; creative power in God is
 what creative power is in man; indignation in God is that which
 indignation is in man, barring only this, that the one is emotional,
 but the other is calm, and pure, and everlastingly still. It is
 through this Humanity in the mind of God, if I may dare so to speak of
 Deity, that a revelation became possible to man. It was the Word that
 was made flesh; it was the Word that manifested Itself to man. It is
 in virtue of the connection between God and man, that God made man in
 His own image; that through a long line of prophets the human truth of
 God could be made known to man, till it came forth developed most
 entirely and at large in the incarnation of the Redeemer. Now in this
 respect, it will be observed that God stands connected with us in
 relation to the soul as "the Light which lighteth every man that
 cometh into the world."

 Once more; there is a nearer, a closer, and a more enduring relation
 in which God stands to us--that is, the relation of the Spirit. It is
 to the writings of St. John that we have to turn especially, if we
 desire to know the doctrines of the Spirit. You will remember the
 strange way in which he speaks of God. It would almost seem as if the
 external God has disappeared to him; nay, as if an external Christ
 were almost forgotten, because the internal Christ has been formed. He
 speaks of God as kindred with us; he speaks of Christ as Christ _in_
 us; and "if we love one another," he says, "God dwelleth in us." If a
 man keep the commandments, "God dwelleth in him, and he in God." So
 that the spiritual manifestation of God to us is that whereby He
 blends Himself with the soul of man.

 These then, my Christian brethren, are the three consciousnesses by
 which He becomes known to us. Three, we said, _known_ to us. We do not
 dare to limit God; we do not presume to say that there are in God only
 three personalities--only three consciousnesses: all that we dare
 presume to say is this, that there are three in reference to us, and
 only three; that a fourth there is not; that perchance, in the present
 state a fourth you cannot add to these--Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier.

 Lastly, let us turn to the relation which the Trinity in unity bears
 to the triad in discord. It is intended for the entireness of our
 sanctification: "the very God of peace sanctify you wholly." Brethren,
 we dwell upon that expression "_wholly_." There is this difference
 between Christianity and every other system: Christianity proposes to
 ennoble the whole man; every other system subordinates parts to parts.
 Christianity does not despise the intellect, but it does not exalt the
 intellect in a one-sided way: it only dwells with emphasis on the
 third and highest part of man--his spiritual affections; and these it
 maintains are the chief and real seat of everlasting life, intended to
 subordinate the other to themselves.

 Asceticism would crush the natural affections--destroy the appetites.
 Asceticism feels that there is a conflict between the flesh and the
 spirit, and it would put an end to that conflict; it would bring back
 unity by the excision of all our natural appetites, and all the
 desires and feelings which we have by nature. But when the apostle
 Paul comes forward to proclaim the will of God, he says it is not by
 the crushing of the body, but by the sanctification of the body: "I
 pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless
 unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."

 In this my Christian brethren, there is one of the deepest of all
 truths. Does a man feel himself the slave and the victim of his lower
 passions? Let not that man hope to subdue them merely by struggling
 against them. Let him not by fasting, by austerity, by any earthly
 rule that he can conceive, expect to subdue the flesh. The more he
 thinks of his vile and lower feelings, the more will they be brought
 into distinctness, and therefore into power; the more hopelessly will
 he become their victim. The only way in which a man can subdue the
 flesh, is not by the extinction of those feelings, but by the
 elevation of their character. Let there be added to that character,
 sublimity of aim, purity of affection; let there be given grandeur,
 spiritual nobleness; and then, just as the strengthening of the whole
 constitution of the body makes any particular and local affection
 disappear, so by degrees, by the raising of the character, do these
 lower affections become, not extinguished or destroyed by excision,
 but ennobled by a new and loftier spirit breathed through them.

 This is the account given by the apostle. He speaks of the conflict
 between the flesh and the spirit. And his remedy is to give vigour to
 the higher, rather than to struggle with the lower. "This I say then,
 Walk in the spirit, and ye _shall not_ fulfil the lust of the flesh."

 Once more; the apostle differs from the world in this, that the world
 would restore this unity, and sanctify man simply from the soul. It is
 this which civilization pretends to effect. We hear much in these
 modern days of "the progress of Humanity." We hear of man's invention,
 of man's increase of knowledge; and it would seem in all this, as if
 man were necessarily becoming better. Brethren, it always must be the
 case in that state in which God is looked upon as the Supreme Being
 merely, where the intellect of man is supposed to be the chief
 thing--that which makes him most kindred to his Maker.

 The doctrine of Christianity is this--that unity of all this discord
 must be made. Man is to be made one with God, not by soaring
 intellect, but by lowly love. It is the Spirit which guides him to all
 truth; not merely by rendering more acute the reasoning powers, but by
 convincing of sin, by humbling the man. It is the graces of the Spirit
 which harmonize the man, and make him one; and that is the end, and
 aim, and object of all the Gospel: the entireness of sanctification to
 produce a perfectly developed man.

 Most of us in this world are monsters, with some part of our being
 bearing the development of a giant, and others showing the proportions
 of a dwarf: a feeble, dwarfish will--mighty, full-blown passions; and
 therefore it is that there is to be visible through the Trinity in us,
 a noble manifold unity; and when the triune power of God shall so have
 done its work on the entireness of our Humanity, that the body, soul,
 and spirit have been sanctified, then shall there be exhibited, and
 only then, a perfect affection in man to his Maker, and body, soul,
 and spirit shall exhibit a Trinity in unity.



 V.

 _Preached June 2, 1850._

 ABSOLUTION.


   "And the Scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is
    this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God
    alone?"--Luke v. 21.

 There are questions which having been again and again settled, still
 from time to time, present themselves for _re_-solution; errors which
 having been refuted, and cut up by the roots, re-appear in the next
 century as fresh and vigorous as ever. Like the fabled monsters of
 old, from whose dissevered neck the blood sprung forth and formed
 fresh heads, multiplied and indestructible; or like the weeds, which,
 extirpated in one place, sprout forth vigorously in another.

 In every such case it may be taken for granted that the root of the
 matter has not been reached; the error has been exposed, but the truth
 which lay at the bottom of the error has not been disengaged. Every
 error is connected with a truth; the truth being perennial, springs up
 again as often as circumstances foster it, or call for it, and the
 seeds of error which lay about the roots spring up again in the form
 of weeds, as before.

 A popular illustration of this may be found in the belief in the
 appearance of the spirits of the departed. You may examine the
 evidence for every such alleged apparition; you may demonstrate the
 improbability; you may reduce it to an impossibility; still the
 popular feeling will remain; and there is a lurking superstition even
 among the enlightened, which in the midst of professions of
 incredulity, shows itself in a readiness to believe the wildest new
 tale, if it possess but the semblance of an authentication. Now two
 truths lie at the root of this superstition. The first is the reality
 of the spirit-world, and the instinctive belief in it. The second is
 the fact that there are certain states of health in which the eye
 creates the objects which it perceives. The death-blow to such
 superstition is only struck when we have not only proved that men have
 been deceived, but shown besides how they came to be deceived; when
 science has explained the optical delusion, and shown the
 physiological state in which such apparitions become visible. Ridicule
 will not do it. Disproof will not do it. So long as men feel that
 there is a spirit-world, and so long as to some the impression is
 vivid that they have seen it, you spend your rhetoric in vain. You
 must show the truth that lies below the error.

 The principle we gain from this is that you cannot overthrow falsehood
 by negation, but by establishing the antagonistic truth. The
 refutation which is to last must be positive, not negative. It is an
 endless work to be uprooting weeds: plant the ground with wholesome
 vegetation, and then the juices which would have otherwise fed
 rankness will pour themselves into a more vigorous growth; the
 dwindled weeds will be easily raked out then. It is an endless task to
 be refuting error. Plant truth, and the error will pine away.

 The instance to which all this is preliminary, is the pertinacious
 hold which the belief in a human absolving power retains upon mankind.
 There has perhaps never yet been known a religion without such a
 belief. There is not a savage in the islands of the South Pacific who
 does not believe that his priest can shield him from the consequences
 of sin. There was not a people in antiquity who had not dispensers of
 Divine favour. That same belief passed from Paganism into Romanism. It
 was exposed at the period of the Reformation. A mighty reaction was
 felt against it throughout Europe. Apparently the whole idea of human
 priesthood was proved, once and for ever, to be baseless; human
 mediation, in every possible form, was vehemently controverted; men
 were referred back to God as the sole absolver.

 Yet now again, three centuries after, the belief is still as strong as
 ever. That which we thought dead is alive again, and not likely it
 seems, to die. Recent revelations have shown that confession is daily
 made in the country whose natural manners are most against it; private
 absolution asked by English men and given by English priests. A fact
 so significant might lead us well to pause, and ask ourselves whether
 we have found the true answer to the question. The negation we have
 got--the vehement denial; we are weary of its reiteration: but the
 positive truth which lies at the bottom of this craving--where is
 that?

 Parliaments and pulpits, senators and clergymen, have vied with each
 other in the vehemence with which they declare absolution
 un-Christian, un-English. All that is most abominable in the
 confessional has been with unsparing and irreverent indelicacy forced
 before the public mind. Still, men and women, whose holiness and
 purity are beyond slander's reach, come and crave assurance of
 forgiveness. How shall we reply to such men? Shall we say, "Who is
 this that speaketh blasphemies? who can forgive sins, but God only?"
 Shall we say it is all blasphemy; an impious intrusion upon the
 prerogatives of the One Absolver? Well, we may; it is _popular_ to say
 we ought; but you will observe, if we speak so, we do no more than the
 Pharisees in this text: we establish a negation; but a negation is
 only one side of truth.

 Moreover, we have been asserting that for 300 years, with small
 fruits. We keep asserting, Man cannot give assurance that sin is
 pardoned; in other words, man cannot absolve: but still the heart
 craves human assurance of forgiveness. What truth have we got to
 supply that craving? We shall therefore, rather try to fathom the
 deeps of the positive truth which is the true reply to the error; we
 shall try to see whether there is not a real answer to the craving
 contained in the Redeemer's words, "The Son of Man hath power on earth
 to forgive sins." What power is there in human forgiveness? What does
 absolution mean in the lips of a son of man? These are our questions
 for to-day. We shall consider two points.

    I. The impotency of the negation.
   II. The power of the positive truth.

 The Pharisees denied the efficacy of human absolution: they said,
 "None can forgive sins, but God only:" that was a negation. What did
 they effect by their system of negations? They conferred no peace;
 they produced no holiness. It would be a great error to suppose that
 the Pharisees were hypocrites in the ordinary sense of the term--that
 is, pretending to be anxious about religion when they knew that they
 felt no anxiety. They _were_ anxious, in their way. They heard a
 startling free announcement of forgiveness by a man. To them it
 appeared license given to sin. If this new teacher, this upstart--in
 their own language, "this fellow--of whom every man knew whence he
 was," were to go about the length and breadth of the land, telling
 sinners to be at peace; telling them to forget the past, and to work
 onwards; bidding men's consciences be at rest; and commanding them not
 to _fear_ the God whom they had offended, but to _trust_ in Him--what
 would become of morality and religion? This presumptuous Absolver
 would make men careless about both. If the indispensable safeguards of
 penalty were removed, what remained to restrain men from sin?

 For the Pharisees had no notion of any other goodness than that which
 is restrained; they could conceive no goodness free, but only that
 which is produced by rewards and punishments--law-goodness,
 law-righteousness: to dread God, not to love and trust Him, was their
 conception of religion. And this, indeed, is the _ordinary_ conception
 of religion--the ordinary meaning implied to most minds by the word
 religion. The word religion means, by derivation, restriction or
 obligation--obligation to do, obligation to avoid. And this is the
 negative system of the Pharisees--scrupulous avoidance of evil, rather
 than positive and free pursuit of excellence. Such a system never
 produced anything but barren denial. "_This_ is wrong;" "_that_ is
 heresy;" "_that_ is dangerous."

 There was another class of men who denied human power of absolution.
 They were called Scribes or writers--pedants, men of ponderous
 learning and accurate definitions; from being mere transcribers of the
 law, they had risen to be its expounders. They could define the exact
 number of yards that might be travelled on the Sabbath-day without
 infringement of the law; they could decide, according to the most
 approved theology, the respective importance of each duty; they would
 tell you, authoritatively, which was the _great_ commandment of the
 law. The Scribe is a man who turns religion into etiquette: his idea
 of God is that of a monarch, transgression against whom is an offence
 against statute law, and he the Scribe, is there to explain the
 prescribed conditions upon which the offence may be expiated; he has
 no idea of admission to the sovereign's presence, except by compliance
 with certain formalities which the Scribe is commissioned to declare.

 There are therefore Scribes in all ages--Romish Scribes, who
 distinguish between venial and mortal sin, and apportion to each its
 appointed penance and absolution. There are Protestant Scribes, who
 have no idea of God but as an incensed judge, and prescribe certain
 methods of appeasing him--a certain price--in consideration of which
 He is willing to sell forgiveness; men who accurately draw the
 distinction between the different kinds of faith--faith historical and
 faith saving; who bewilder and confuse all natural feeling; who treat
 the natural love of relations as if it were an idolatry as great as
 bowing down to mammon; who make intelligible distinction between the
 work that _may_ and the work that may _not_ be done on the
 Sabbath-day; who send you into a perilous consideration of the
 workings of your own feelings, and the examination of your spiritual
 experiences, to ascertain whether you have the feelings which give you
 a right to call God a Father. They hate the Romish Scribe as much as
 the Jewish Scribe hated the Samaritan and called him heretic. But in
 their way they are true to the spirit of the Scribe.

 Now the result of this is fourfold. Among the tender-minded,
 despondency; among the vainer, spiritual pride; in the case of the
 slavish, superstition; with the hard-minded, infidelity. Ponder it
 well, and you will find these four things rife amongst us:
 Despondency, Spiritual Pride, Superstition, and Infidelity. In this
 way we have been going on for many years. In the midst of all this, at
 last we are informed that the confessional is at work again; whereupon
 astonishment and indignation are loudly expressed. It is not to be
 borne that the priests of the Church of England should confess and
 absolve in private. Yet it is only what might have been expected.

 With our Evangelicalism, Tractarianism, Scribeism, Pharisaism, we have
 ceased to front the _living fact_--we are as zealous as Scribes and
 Pharisees ever were for negatives; but in the meantime Human Nature,
 oppressed and overborne, gasping for breath, demands something real
 and living. It cannot live on controversies. It cannot be fed on
 protests against heresy, however vehement. We are trying who can
 protest loudest. Every book, every journal, rings with warnings.
 "Beware!" is written upon everything. Beware of Rome; beware of
 Geneva; beware of Germany; some danger on every side; Satan
 everywhere--God _nowhere_; everywhere some man to be shunned or
 dreaded--nowhere one to be loved freely and without suspicion. Is it
 any wonder if men and women, in the midst of negations, cry, "Ye warn
 me from the error, but who will guide me into truth? I want guidance.
 I am sinful, full of evil! I want forgiveness! Absolve me; tell me
 that I am pardoned; help me to believe it. Your quarrels do not help
 me; if you cannot do _that_, it matters little what you _can_ do. You
 have restricted God's love, and narrowed the path to heaven; you have
 hampered religion with so many mysterious questions and quibbles that
 I cannot find the way to God; you have terrified me with so many
 snares and pitfalls on every side, that I dare not tread at all. Give
 me peace; give me human guidance: I want a human arm to lean on."

 This is a cry, I believe, becoming daily more passionate, and more
 common. And no wonder that all our information, public and private, is
 to the same effect--that the recent converts have found peace in Rome;
 for the secret of the power of Rome is this--that she grounds her
 teaching, not on variable feelings and correct opinions, but on
 _facts_. God is not a highly probable God, but a _fact_. God's
 forgiveness is not a feeling, but a _fact_; and a material symbolic
 fact is the witness of the invisible one. Rome puts forward her
 absolution--her false, priestly, magical absolution--a visible fact,
 as a witness of the invisible. And her perversion prevails because
 founded on a truth.


 II. The power of the positive truth.

 Is it any wonder, if taught on every side distrust of man, the heart
 should by a violent reaction, and by an extravagant confidence in a
 priest, proclaim that its normal, natural state is not distrust, but
 trust?

 What is forgiveness?--It is God reconciled to us. What is
 absolution?--It is the authoritative declaration that God is
 reconciled. Authoritative: that is a real power of conveying a sense
 and feeling of forgiveness. It is the power of the Son of Man _on
 earth_ to forgive sins. It is man, God's image, representing, by his
 forgiveness on earth, God's forgiveness in heaven.

 Now distinguish God's forgiveness of sin from an arresting of the
 consequences of sin. When God forgives a sin, it does not follow that
 He stops its consequences: for example, when He forgives the
 intemperate man whose health is ruined, forgiveness does not restore
 his health. Divine pardon does not interfere with the laws of the
 universe, for it is itself one of those laws. It is a law that penalty
 follows transgression. Forgiveness will not save from penalty; but it
 alters the feelings with which the penalty is accepted. Pain inflicted
 with a surgeon's knife for a man's good, is as keen as that which
 results from the knife of the torturer; but in the one case it is
 calmly borne, because remedial--in the other it exasperates, because
 it is felt to be intended by malevolence. So with the difference
 between suffering which comes from a sin which we hope God has
 forgiven, and suffering which seems to fall hot from the hand of an
 angry God. It is a fearful truth, that so far as we know at least, the
 consequences of an act are connected with it indissolubly. Forgiveness
 does not arrest them; but by producing softness and grateful
 penitence, it transforms them into blessings. This is God's
 forgiveness; and absolution is the conveyance to the conscience of the
 conviction of forgiveness: to absolve is to free--to comfort by
 strengthening--to afford repose from fear.

 Now it was the way of the Redeemer to emancipate from sin by the
 freeness of absolution. The dying thief, an hour before a blasphemer,
 was unconditionally assured; the moment the sinner's feelings changed
 towards God, He proclaimed that God was reconciled to him: "This day
 thou shalt be with me in Paradise." And hence, speaking humanly,
 hence, from this absolving tone and spirit, came His wondrous and
 unparalleled power with sinful, erring hearts; hence the life and
 fresh impulse which He imparted to the being and experience to those
 with whom He dealt. Hence the maniac, freed from the legion, sat at
 His feet, clothed, and in his right mind. Hence the outcast woman,
 whom human scorn would have hardened into brazen effrontery, hearing
 an unwonted voice of human sympathy, "washed His feet with her tears,
 and wiped them with the hairs of her head."

 And this is what we have forgotten: we have not yet learned to trust
 the power of redeeming love; we do not believe in the omnipotence of
 grace, and the might of an appeal to the better parts, and not the
 slavish parts of human nature. Settle it in your minds, the absolving
 power is the central secret of the Gospel. Salvation is unconditional;
 not an offer, but _a Gift_; not clogged with conditions, but free as
 the air we breathe. God welcomes back the prodigal. God loves without
 money and without price. To this men reply gravely, It is dangerous to
 speak thus; it is perilous to dispense with the safeguards of
 restriction. Law! law! there is nothing like law--a salutary fear--for
 making men holy. O blind Pharisee! had you ever known the spring, the
 life which comes from feeling _free_, the gush of gratitude with which
 the heart springs to duty when all chains are shattered, and it stands
 fearless and free in the Light, and in the Love of God--you would
 understand that a large trusting charity, which can throw itself on
 the better and more generous impulses of a laden spirit, is the safest
 as well as the most beautiful means of securing obedience.

 So far however, there will not be much objection to the doctrine: it
 will be admitted that absolution is true in the lips of Christ,
 because of His Divinity. It will be said He was God, and God speaking
 on earth is the same thing as God speaking in heaven. No my brethren,
 it is _not_ the same thing. Christ forgiving on earth is _a new truth_
 added to that of God's forgiving in heaven. It is not the same truth.
 The one is forgiveness by Deity; the other is the declaration of
 forgiveness by Humanity. He bade the palsied man walk, that they might
 know that "the Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive sins."
 Therefore we proceed a step further. The same power He delegated to
 His Church which He had exercised Himself. "Whosesoever sins ye
 remit, they are remitted." Now perhaps, it will be replied to this,
 that that promise belongs to the apostles; that they were
 supernaturally gifted to distinguish genuine from feigned repentance;
 to absolve therefore, was their natural prerogative, but that we have
 no right to say it extends beyond the apostles.

 We therefore, bring the question to a point by referring to an
 instance in which an apostle did absolve. Let us examine whether St.
 Paul confined the prerogative to himself. "To whom ye forgive
 anything, I forgive also: for to whom I forgave anything for your
 sakes, forgave I it in the person of Christ."

 Observe now: it is quite true here that the apostle absolved a man
 whose excommunication he had formerly required; but he absolved him
 because the congregation absolved him; not as a plenipotentiary
 supernaturally gifted to convey a mysterious benefit, but as himself
 an organ and representative of the Church. The power of absolution
 therefore, belonged to the Church, and to the apostle through the
 Church. It was a power belonging to _all_ Christians: to the apostle,
 because he was a Christian, not because he was an apostle. A priestly
 power no doubt, because Christ has made all Christians kings and
 priests.

 Now let us turn again, with this added light, to examine the meaning
 of that expression, "The Son of man hath power on earth to forgive
 sins." Mark that form of words--not Christ as God, but Christ as Son
 of man. It was manifestly said by Him, not solely as divine, but
 rather as human, as the Son of man; that is, as Man. For we may take
 it as a rule: when Christ calls himself Son of man, He is asserting
 His Humanity. It was said by the High Priest of Humanity in the name
 of the race. It was said on the principle that human nature is the
 reflection of God's nature: that human love is the image of God's
 love; and that human forgiveness is the type and assurance of divine
 forgiveness.

 In Christ Humanity was the perfect type of Deity, and therefore
 Christ's absolution was always the exact measure and counterpart of
 God's forgiveness. Herein lies the deep truth of the doctrine of His
 eternal priesthood--the Eternal Son--the Humanity of the Being of
 God--the ever Human mind of God. The Absolver ever lives. The Father
 judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment to the Son--hath given
 Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man.

 But further than this. In a subordinate, because less perfect degree,
 the forgiveness of a man as man carries with it an absolving power.
 Who has not felt the load taken from his mind when the hidden guilt
 over which he had brooded long has been acknowledged, and met by
 forgiving human sympathy, especially at a time when he expected to be
 treated with coldness and reproof? Who has not felt how such a moment
 was to him the dawn of a better hope, and how the merciful judgment of
 some wise and good human being seemed to be the type and the assurance
 of God's pardon, making it credible? Unconsciously it may be, but
 still in substance really, I believe some such reasoning as _this_
 goes on in the whispers of the heart--"He loves me, and has compassion
 on me--will not God forgive? He, this man, made in God's image, does
 not think my case hopeless. Well, then, in the larger love of God it
 is not hopeless." Thus, and only thus, can we understand the
 _ecclesiastical_ act. Absolution, the prerogative of our humanity, is
 represented by a formal act of the Church.

 Much controversy and angry bitterness has been spent on the absolution
 put by the Church of England into the lips of her ministers--I cannot
 think with justice--if we try to get at the root of these words of
 Christ. The priest proclaims forgiveness authoritatively as the organ
 of the congregation--as the voice of the Church, in the name of Man
 and God. For human nature represents God. The Church represents what
 human nature is and ought to be. The minister represents the Church.
 He speaks therefore, in the name of our godlike, human nature. He
 declares a divine fact, he does not create it. There is no magic in
 his absolution: he can no more forgive whom God has not forgiven, by
 the formula of absolution, or reverse the pardon of him whom God has
 absolved by the formula of excommunication, than he can transfer a
 demon into an angel by the formula of baptism. He declares what every
 one has a right to declare, and ought to declare by his lips and by
 his conduct: but being a minister, he declares it authoritatively in
 the name of every Christian who by his Christianity is a priest to
 God; he specializes what is universal; as in baptism, he seals the
 universal Sonship on the individual by name, saying, "The Sonship with
 which Christ has redeemed all men, I hereby proclaim for this child;"
 so by absolution he specializes the universal fact of the love of God
 to those who are listening then and there, saying, "The Love of God
 the Absolver, I authoritatively proclaim to be _yours_."

 In the Service for the Visitation of the Sick, the Church of England
 puts into the lips of her ministers words quite unconditional: "I
 absolve thee from all thy sins." You know that passage is constantly
 objected to as Romish and superstitious. I would not give up that
 precious passage. I love the Church of England, because she has dared
 to claim her inheritance--because she has courage to assert herself as
 what she ought to be--God's representative on earth. She says to her
 minister, Stand there before a darkened spirit, on whom the shadows of
 death have begun to fall: in human flesh and blood representing the
 Invisible,--with words of human love making credible the Love Eternal.
 Say boldly, I am here to declare not a perhaps, _but a fact_. I
 forgive thee in the name of Humanity. And so far as Humanity
 represents Deity, that forgiveness is a type of God's. She does not
 put into her ministers' lips words of incantation. He cannot bless
 whom God has not blessed--he cannot curse whom God has not cursed. If
 the Son of absolution be there, his absolution will rest. If you have
 ever tried the slow and apparently hopeless task of ministering to a
 heart diseased, and binding up the wound that _will_ bleed afresh, to
 which no assurances can give comfort, because they are not
 authoritative, it must have crossed your mind that such a power as
 that which the Church of England claims, if it were believed, is
 exactly the remedy you want. You must have felt that even the formula
 of the Church of Rome would be a blessed power to exercise, could it
 but once be accepted as a pledge that all the past was obliterated,
 and that from that moment a free untainted future lay before the
 soul--you must have _felt_ that; you must have wished you had dared to
 _say_ it. My whole spirit has absolved my erring brother. Is God less
 merciful than I? Can I--dare I--say or think it conditionally? Dare I
 say, I hope? May I not, must I not, say, _I know_ God has forgiven
 you?

 Every man whose heart has truly bled over another's sin, and watched
 another's remorse with pangs as sharp as if the crime had been his
 own, _has_ said it. Every parent has said it who ever received back a
 repentant daughter, and opened out for her a new hope for life. Every
 mother has said it who ever by her hope against hope for some
 profligate, protested for a love deeper and wider than that of
 society. Every man has said it who forgave a deep wrong. See then,
 _why_ and _how_ the church absolves. She only exercises that power
 which belongs to every son of man. If society were Christian--if
 society, by its forgiveness and its exclusion, truly represented the
 mind of God--there would be no necessity for a Church to speak; but
 the absolution of society and the world does not represent by any
 means God's forgiveness. Society absolves those whom God has _not_
 absolved--the proud, the selfish, the strong, the seducer; society
 refuses return and acceptance to the seduced, the frail, and the sad
 penitent whom God has accepted; therefore it is necessary that a
 selected body, through its appointed organs, should do in the name of
 Man what man, as such, does not. The Church is the ideal of Humanity.
 It represents what God intended man to be--what man is in God's sight
 as beheld in Christ by Him; and the minister of the Church speaks as
 the representative of that ideal Humanity. Church absolution is an
 eternal protest, in the name of God the Absolver, against the false
 judgments of society.

 One thing more. Beware of making this a dead formula. If absolution be
 not a living truth, it becomes a monstrous falsehood; if you take
 absolution as a mystical gift conveyed to an individual man called a
 priest, and mysteriously efficacious in _his_ lips, and his _alone_,
 you petrify a truth into death and unreality. I have been striving to
 show that absolution is not a Church figment, invented by priestcraft,
 but a living, blessed, human power. It is a power delegated to you and
 to me, and just so far as we exercise it lovingly and wisely, in our
 lives, and with our lips, we help men away from sin: just so far as we
 do not exercise it, or exercise it falsely, we drive men to Rome. For
 if the heart cannot have a truth it will take a counterfeit of truth.
 By every magnanimous act, by every free forgiveness with which a pure
 man forgives, or pleads for mercy, or assures the penitent, he
 proclaims this truth, that "the Son of man hath power on earth to
 forgive sins"--he exhibits the priestly power of humanity--_he does_
 absolve; let theology say what it will of absolution, he gives peace
 to the conscience--he is a type and assurance of what God is--he
 breaks the chains and lets the captive go free.



 VI.

 _Preached June 9, 1850._

 THE ILLUSIVENESS OF LIFE.


   "By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which
    he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went
    out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the
    land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles
    with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: for
    he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and
    maker is God."--Hebrews xi. 8-10.

 Last Sunday we touched upon a thought which deserves further
 development. God promised Canaan to Abraham, and yet Abraham never
 inherited Canaan: to the last he was a wanderer there; he had no
 possession of his own in its territory: if he wanted even a tomb to
 bury his dead, he could only obtain it by purchase. This difficulty is
 expressly admitted in the text, "In the land of promise he sojourned
 as in a strange country;" he dwelt there in tents--in changeful,
 moveable tabernacles--not permanent habitations; he had no home
 there.

 It is stated in all its startling force, in terms still more explicit,
 in the 7th chapter of the Acts, 5th verse, "And He gave him none
 inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet He
 promised that He would give it to him for a possession, and to his
 seed after him, when as yet he had no child."

 Now the surprising point is that Abraham, deceived, as you might
 almost say, did not complain of it as a deception; he was even
 grateful for the non-fulfilment of the promise: he does not seem to
 have expected its fulfilment; he did not look for Canaan, but for "a
 city which had foundations;" his faith appears to have consisted in
 disbelieving the letter, almost as much as in believing the spirit of
 the promise.

 And herein lies a principle, which, rightly expounded, can help us to
 interpret this life of ours. God's promises never are fulfilled in the
 sense in which they seem to have been given. Life is a deception; its
 anticipations, which are God's promises to the imagination, are never
 realized; they who know life best, and have trusted God most to fill
 it with blessings, are ever the first to say that life is a series of
 disappointments. And in the spirit of this text we have to say that it
 is a wise and merciful arrangement which ordains it thus.

 The wise and holy do not expect to find it otherwise--would not wish
 it otherwise; their wisdom consists in disbelieving its promises. To
 develope this idea would be a glorious task; for to justify God's ways
 to man, to expound the mysteriousness of our present being, to
 interpret God,--is not this the very essence of the ministerial
 office? All that I can hope however to-day, is not to exhaust the
 subject, but to furnish hints for thought. Over-statements may be
 made, illustrations may be inadequate, the new ground of an almost
 untrodden subject may be torn up too rudely; but remember, we are here
 to live and die; in a few years it will be all over; meanwhile, what
 we have to do is to try to understand, and to help one another to
 understand, what it all means--what this strange and contradictory
 thing, which we call Life, contains within it. Do not stop to ask
 therefore, whether the subject was satisfactorily worked out; let each
 man be satisfied to have received a germ of thought which he may
 develope better for himself.

    I. The deception of life's promise.
   II. The meaning of that deception.

 Let it be clearly understood in the first place, the promise never was
 fulfilled. I do not say the fulfilment was delayed. I say it _never_
 was fulfilled. Abraham had a few feet of earth, obtained by
 purchase--beyond that nothing; he died a stranger and a pilgrim in the
 land. Isaac had a little. So small was Jacob's hold upon his country
 that the last years of his life were spent in Egypt, and he died a
 foreigner in a strange land. His descendants came into the land of
 Canaan, expecting to find it a land flowing with milk and honey; they
 found hard work to do--war and unrest, instead of rest and peace.

 During one brief period, in the history of Israel, the promise may
 seem to have been fulfilled. It was during the later years of David
 and the earlier years of Solomon; but we have the warrant of Scripture
 itself for affirming, that even then the promise was not fulfilled. In
 the Book of Psalms, David speaks of a hope of entering into a _future_
 rest. The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews, quoting this passage,
 infers from it that God's promise had not been exhausted nor
 fulfilled, by the entrance into Canaan; for he says, "If Joshua had
 given them rest then would he not have spoken of another day." Again
 in this very chapter, after a long list of Hebrew saints--"These _all_
 died in faith, not having received the promises." To none therefore,
 had the promise been fulfilled. Accordingly writers on prophecy, in
 order to get over this difficulty, take for granted that there must be
 a future fulfilment, because the first was inadequate.

 They who believe that the Jews will be restored to their native land,
 expect it on the express ground that Canaan has never been actually
 and permanently theirs. A certain tract of country--300 miles in
 length, by 200 in breadth--must be given, or else they think the
 promise has been broken. To quote the expression of one of the most
 eloquent of their writers, "If there be nothing yet future for Israel,
 then the magnificence of the promise has been lost in the poverty of
 its accomplishment."

 I do not quote this to prove the correctness of the interpretation of
 the prophecy, but as an acknowledgment which may be taken so far as a
 proof, that the promise made to Abraham has never been accomplished.

 And such is life's disappointment. Its promise is, you shall have a
 Canaan; it turns out to be a baseless airy dream--toil and
 warfare--nothing that we can call our own; not the land of rest, by
 any means. But we will examine this in particulars.

 1. Our senses deceive us; we begin life with delusion. Our senses
 deceive us with respect to distance, shape, and colour. That which
 afar off seems oval, turns out to be circular, modified by the
 perspective of distance; that which appears a speck, upon nearer
 approach becomes a vast body. To the earlier ages the stars presented
 the delusion of small lamps hung in space. The beautiful berry proves
 to be bitter and poisonous: that which apparently moves is really at
 rest: that which seems to be stationary is in perpetual motion: the
 earth moves: the sun is still. All experience is a correction of
 life's delusions--a modification, a reversal of the judgment of the
 senses: and all life is a lesson on the falsehood of appearances.

 2. Our natural anticipations deceive us--I say _natural_ in
 contra-distinction to extravagant expectations. Every human life is a
 fresh one, bright with hopes that will never be realized. There may be
 differences of character in these hopes; finer spirits may look on
 life as the arena of successful deeds, the more selfish as a place of
 personal enjoyment.

 With man the turning point of life may be a profession--with woman,
 marriage; the one gilding the future with the triumphs of intellect,
 the other with the dreams of affection; but in every case, life is not
 what any of them expects, but something else. It would almost seem a
 satire on existence to compare the youth in the outset of his career,
 flushed and sanguine, with the aspect of the same being when it is
 nearly done--worn, sobered, covered with the dust of life, and
 confessing that its days have been few and evil. Where is the land
 flowing with milk and honey?

 With our affections it is still worse, because they promise more.
 Man's affections are but the tabernacles of Canaan--the tents of a
 night; not permanent habitations even for this life. Where are the
 charms of character, the perfection, and the purity, and the
 truthfulness, which seemed so resplendent in our friend? They were
 only the shape of our own conceptions--our creative shaping intellect
 projected its own fantasies on him: and hence we outgrow our early
 friendships; outgrow the intensity of all: we dwell in tents; we never
 find a home, even in the land of promise. Life is an unenjoyable
 Canaan, with nothing real or substantial in it.

 3. Our expectations, resting on revelation, deceive us. The world's
 history has turned round two points of hope; one, the _first_--the
 other, the _second_ coming of the Messiah. The magnificent imagery of
 Hebrew prophecy had described the advent of the Conqueror; He came--"a
 root out of a dry ground, with no form or comeliness; and when they
 saw Him there was no beauty in Him that they should desire Him." The
 victory, predicted in such glowing terms, turned out to be the victory
 of Submission--the Law of our Humanity, which wins by gentleness and
 love. The promise in the letter was unfulfilled. For ages the world's
 hope has been the second advent. The early church expected it in their
 own day. "We, which are alive, and remain until the coming of our
 Lord."

 The Saviour Himself had said, "This generation shall not pass till all
 things be fulfilled." Yet the Son of Man has never come; or rather, He
 has been _ever_ coming. Unnumbered times the judgment eagles have
 gathered together over corruption ripe for condemnation. Times
 innumerable the separation has been made between good and bad. The
 promise has not been fulfilled, or it has been fulfilled, but in
 either case anticipation has been foiled and disappointed.

 There are two ways of considering this aspect of life. One is the way
 of sentiment; the other is the way of faith. The sentimental way is
 trite enough. Saint, sage, sophist, moralist, and preacher, have
 repeated in every possible image, till there is nothing new to say,
 that life is a bubble, a dream, a delusion, a phantasm. The other is
 the way of faith: the ancient saints felt as keenly as any moralist
 could feel the brokenness of its promises; they confessed that they
 were strangers and pilgrims here; they said that they had here no
 continuing city; but they did not mournfully moralize on this; they
 said it cheerfully, and rejoiced that it was so. They felt that all
 was right; they knew that the promise itself had a deeper meaning:
 they looked undauntedly for "a city which hath foundations."


 II. The second inquiry, therefore, is the meaning of this
 delusiveness.

 1. It serves to allure us on. Suppose that a spiritual promise had
 been made at first to Israel; imagine that they had been informed at
 the outset that God's rest is inward; that the promised land is only
 found in the Jerusalem which is above--not material, but immaterial.
 That rude, gross people, yearning after the fleshpots of
 Egypt--willing to go back into slavery, so as only they might have
 enough to eat and drink--would they have quitted Egypt on such terms?
 Would they have begun one single step of that pilgrimage, which was to
 find its meaning in the discipline of ages?

 We are led through life as we are allured upon a journey. Could a man
 see his route before him--a flat, straight road, unbroken by bush, or
 tree, or eminence, with the sun's heat burning down upon it, stretched
 out in dreary monotony--he could scarcely find energy to begin his
 task; but the uncertainty of what may be seen beyond the next turn
 keeps expectation alive. The view that may be seen from yonder
 summit--the glimpse that may be caught perhaps, as the road winds
 round yonder knoll--hopes like these, not far distant, beguile the
 traveller on from mile to mile, and from league to league.

 In fact, life is an education. The object for which you educate your
 son is to give him strength of purpose, self-command, discipline of
 mental energies; but you do not reveal to your son this aim of his
 education; you tell him of his place in his class, of the prizes at
 the end of the year, of the honours to be given at college.

 These are not the true incentives to knowledge, such incentives are
 not the highest--they are even mean, and partially injurious; yet
 these mean incentives stimulate and lead on, from day to day and from
 year to year, by a process the principle of which the boy himself is
 not aware of. So does God lead on, through life's unsatisfying and
 false reward, ever educating: Canaan first; then the hope of a
 Redeemer; then the millennial glory.

 Now what is remarkable in this is, that the delusion continued to the
 last; they _all_ died in faith, not having received the promises; all
 were hoping up to the very last, and all died in faith--not in
 realization; for thus God has constituted the human heart. It never
 will be believed that this world is unreal. God has mercifully so
 arranged it, that the idea of delusion is incredible. You may tell the
 boy or girl as you will that life is a disappointment; yet however you
 may persuade them to adopt your _tone_, and catch the language of your
 sentiment, they are both looking forward to some bright distant
 hope--the rapture of the next vacation, or the unknown joys of the
 next season--and throwing into it an energy of expectation which only
 a whole eternity is worth. You may tell the man who has received the
 heart-shock which in this world, he will not recover, that life has
 nothing left; yet the stubborn heart still hopes on, ever near the
 prize--"wealthiest when most undone:" he has reaped the whirlwind, but
 he will go on still, till life is over, sowing the wind.

 Now observe the beautiful result which comes from this indestructible
 power of believing in spite of failure. In the first centuries, the
 early Christians believed that the millennial advent was close; they
 heard the warning of the apostle, brief and sharp, "The time is
 short." Now suppose that, instead of this, they had seen all the
 dreary page of Church history unrolled; suppose that they had known
 that after two thousand years the world would have scarcely spelled
 out three letters of the meaning of Christianity, where would have
 been those gigantic efforts,--that life spent as on the very brink of
 eternity, which characterize the days of the early Church,--and which
 was after all, only the true life of man in time? It is thus that God
 has led on His world. He has conducted it as a father leads his child,
 when the path homeward lies over many a dreary league. He suffers him
 to beguile the thought of time, by turning aside to pluck now and then
 a flower, to chase now a butterfly; the butterfly is crushed, the
 flower fades, but the child is so much nearer home, invigorated and
 full of health, and scarcely wearied yet.

 2. This non-fulfilment of promise fulfils it in a _deeper_ way. The
 account we have given already, were it to end there, would be
 insufficient to excuse the failure of life's promise; by saying that
 it allures us would be really to charge God with deception. Now life
 is not deception, but illusion. We distinguish between illusion and
 delusion. We may paint wood so as to be taken for stone, iron, or
 marble; this is delusion: but you may paint a picture, in which rocks,
 trees, and sky are never mistaken for what they seem, yet produce all
 the emotion which real rocks, trees, and sky would produce. This is
 illusion, and this is the painter's art: never for one moment to
 deceive by attempted imitation, but to produce a mental state in which
 the feelings are suggested which the natural objects themselves would
 create. Let us take an instance drawn from life.

 To a child a rainbow is a real thing--substantial and palpable; its
 limb rests on the side of yonder hill; he believes that he can
 appropriate it to himself; and when, instead of gems and gold hid in
 its radiant bow, he finds nothing but damp mist--cold, dreary drops of
 disappointment--that disappointment tells that his belief has been
 delusion.

 To the educated man that bow is a blessed illusion, yet it never once
 deceives; he does not take it for what it is not, he does not expect
 to make it his own; he feels its beauty as much as the child could
 feel it, nay infinitely more--more even from the fact that he knows
 that it will be transient; but besides and beyond this, to him it
 presents a deeper loveliness; he knows the laws of light, and the laws
 of the human soul which gave it being. He has linked it with the laws
 of the universe, and with the invisible mind of God; and it brings to
 him a thrill of awe, and the sense of a mysterious, nameless beauty,
 of which the child did not conceive. It is illusion still; but it has
 fulfilled the promise. In the realm of spirit, in the temple of the
 soul, it is the same. All is illusion; "but we look for a city which
 hath foundations;" and in this the promise is fulfilled.

 And such was Canaan to the Israelites. To some doubtless it was
 delusion. They expected to find their reward in a land of milk and
 honey. They were bitterly disappointed, and expressed their
 disappointment loudly enough in their murmurs against Moses, and their
 rebellion against his successors. But to others, as to Abraham, Canaan
 was the bright illusion which never deceived, but for ever shone
 before as the type of something more real. And even taking the promise
 literally, though they built in tents, and could not call a foot of
 land their own, was not its beauty theirs? Were not its trellised
 vines, and glorious pastures, and rich olive-fields, ministers to the
 enjoyment of those who had all in God, though its milk, and oil, and
 honey, could not be enjoyed with exclusiveness of appropriation? Yet
 over and above and beyond this, there was a more blessed fulfilment of
 the promise; there was "a city which had foundations"--built and made
 by God--toward which the anticipation of this Canaan was leading them.
 The Kingdom of God was forming in their souls, for ever disappointing
 them by the unreal, and teaching them that what is spiritual, and
 belongs to mind and character alone can be eternal.

 We will illustrate this principle from the common walks of life. The
 principle is, that the reward we get is not the reward for which we
 worked, but a deeper one; deeper and more permanent. The merchant
 labours all his life, and the hope which leads him on is perhaps
 wealth: well, at sixty years of age he attains wealth; is that the
 reward of sixty years of toil? Ten years of enjoyment, when the senses
 can enjoy no longer--a country seat, splendid plate, a noble
 establishment? Oh, no! a reward deeper than he dreamed of. Habits of
 perseverance: a character trained by industry: that is his reward. He
 was carried on from year to year by, if he were wise, illusion; if he
 were unwise, delusion; but he reaped a more enduring substance in
 himself.

 Take another instance: the public man, warrior, or statesman, who has
 served his country, and complains at last in bitter disappointment,
 that his country has not fulfilled his expectations in rewarding
 him--that is, it has not given him titles, honours, wealth. But
 titles, honours, wealth--are these the rewards of well-doing? can they
 reward it? would it be well-doing if they could? To _be_ such a man,
 to have the power of _doing_ such deeds, what could be added to that
 reward by having? This same apparent contradiction, which was found in
 Judaism, subsists too in Christianity; we will state it in the words
 of an apostle: "Godliness is profitable for all things; having the
 promise of the life that now is, as well as of that which is to come."
 Now for the fulfilment: "If in this life only we have hope in Christ,
 then are we of all men most miserable."

 Godliness is profitable; but its profit it appears, consists in
 finding that all is loss: yet in this way you teach your son. You will
 tell him that if he will be good all men will love him. You say that
 "Honesty is the best policy." yet in your heart of hearts you know
 that you are leading him on by a delusion. Christ was good. Was he
 loved by all? In proportion as he--your son--is like Christ, he will
 be loved, not by the many, but by the few. Honesty is _not_ the best
 _policy_; the commonplace honesty of the market-place may be--the
 vulgar honesty which goes no further than paying debts accurately; but
 that transparent Christian honesty of a life which in every act is
 bearing witness to the truth, that is not the way to _get on_ in
 life--the reward of such a life is the Cross. Yet you were right in
 teaching your son this: you told him what was true; truer than he
 could comprehend. It _is_ better to be honest and good; better than
 he can know or dream: better even in this life; better by so much as
 _being_ good is better than _having_ good. But, in a rude coarse way,
 you must express the blessedness on a level with his capacity; you
 must state the truth in a way which he will inevitably interpret
 falsely. The true interpretation nothing but experience can teach.

 And this is what God does. His promises are true, though illusive; far
 truer than we at first take them to be. We work for a mean, low,
 sensual happiness, all the while He is leading us on to a spiritual
 blessedness--unfathomably deep. This is the life of faith. We live by
 faith, and not by sight. We do not preach that all is
 disappointment--the dreary creed of sentimentalism; but we preach that
 _nothing_ here is disappointment, if rightly understood. We do not
 comfort the poor man, by saying that the riches that he has not now he
 will have hereafter--the difference between himself and the man of
 wealth being only this, that the one has for time what the other will
 have for eternity; but what we say is, that that which you have failed
 in reaping here, you never will reap, if you expected the harvest of
 Canaan. God has no Canaan for His own; no milk and honey for the
 luxury of the senses: for the city which hath foundations is built in
 the soul of man. He in whom Godlike character dwells, has all the
 universe for his own--"All things," saith the apostle, "are yours;
 whether life or death, or things present, or things to come; if ye be
 Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the
 _promise_."



 VII.

 _Preached June 23, 1850._

 THE SACRIFICE OF CHRIST.


   "For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge,
    that if one died for all, then were all dead; and that He died for
    all that they which live should not henceforth live unto
    themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again."--2
    Corinthians v. 14, 15.

 It may be, that in reading these verses some of us have understood
 them in a sense foreign to that of the apostle. It may have seemed
 that the arguments ran thus--Because Christ died upon the cross for
 _all_, therefore all must have been in a state of spiritual death
 before; and if they were asked what doctrines are to be elicited from
 this passage they would reply, "the doctrine of universal depravity,
 and the constraining power of the gratitude due to Him who died to
 redeem us from it." There is, however, in the first place, this fatal
 objection to such an interpretation, that the death here spoken of is
 used in two diametrically opposite senses. In reference to Christ,
 death literal--in reference to all, death spiritual. Now, in the
 thought of St. Paul, the death of Christ was always viewed as
 liberation from the power of evil: "in that he died, he died unto sin
 once," and again, "he that is dead is free from sin." The literal
 death then in one clause, means _freedom_ from sin; the spiritual
 death of the next is _slavery_ to it. Wherein then, lies the cogency
 of the apostle's reasoning? How does it follow that because Christ
 died to evil, all before that must have died to God? Of course that
 doctrine is true in itself, but it is _not_ the doctrine of the text.

 In the next place, the ambiguity belongs only to the English word--it
 is impossible to make the mistake in the original: the word which
 stands for _were_, is a word which does not imply a continued state,
 but must imply a single finished act. It cannot by any possibility
 imply that before the death of Christ men _were_ in a state of
 death--it can only mean, they became dead at the moment when Christ
 died. If you read it thus, the meaning of the English will emerge--"if
 one died for all, then all died;" and the apostle's argument runs
 thus, that if one acts as the representative of all, then his act is
 the act of all. If the ambassador of a nation makes reparation in a
 nation's name, or does homage for a nation, that reparation, or that
 homage, is the nation's act--if _one_ did it _for_ all, then _all_ did
 it. So that instead of inferring that because Christ died for all,
 therefore before that all were dead to God, his natural inference is
 that therefore all are now dead to sin.

 Once more, the conclusion of the apostle is exactly the reverse of
 that which this interpretation attributes to him: he does not say that
 Christ died in order that men might _not_ die, but exactly for this
 very purpose, that they _might_ die; and this death he represents in
 the next verse by an equivalent expression--the life of unselfishness:
 "that they which live might henceforth live not unto themselves." The
 "dead" of the first verse are "they that live" of the second.

 The form of thought finds its exact parallel in Romans vi. 10, 11.
 Two points claim our attention:--

   I. The vicarious sacrifice of Christ.
  II. The influence of that sacrifice on man.


 I. The vicariousness of the sacrifice is implied in the word "for". A
 vicarious act is an act done for another. When the Pope calls himself
 the vicar of Christ, he implies that he acts for Christ. The vicar or
 viceroy of a kingdom is one who acts for the king--a vicar's act
 therefore is virtually the act of the principal whom he represents; so
 that if the Papal doctrine were true, when the vicar of Christ
 _pardons_, Christ has pardoned. When the viceroy of a kingdom has
 published a proclamation or signed a treaty, the sovereign himself is
 bound by those acts.

 The truth of the expression _for all_, is contained in this fact, that
 Christ is the representative of Humanity--properly speaking, the
 representative of human nature. This is the truth contained in the
 emphatic expression, "Son of Man." What Christ did _for_ Humanity was
 done by Humanity, because in the name of Humanity. For a truly
 vicarious act does not supersede the principal's duty of performance,
 but rather implies and acknowledges it. Take the case from which this
 very word of vicar has received its origin. In the old monastic times,
 when the revenues of a cathedral or a cure fell to the lot of a
 monastery, it became the duty of that monastery to perform the
 religious services of the cure. But inasmuch as the monastery was a
 corporate body, they appointed one of their number, whom they
 denominated their vicar, to discharge those offices for them. His
 service did not supersede theirs, but was a perpetual and standing
 acknowledgement that they, as a whole and individually, were under the
 obligation to perform it. The act of Christ is the act of
 Humanity--that which all Humanity is bound to do. His righteousness
 does not supersede our righteousness, nor does His sacrifice supersede
 our sacrifice. It is the representation of human life and human
 sacrifice--vicarious for all, yet binding upon all.

 That He died for all is true--

 1. Because He was the victim of the sin of all. In the peculiar
 phraseology of St. Paul, he died unto sin. He was the victim of
 Sin--He died by sin. It is the appalling mystery of our redemption
 that the Redeemer took the attitude of subjection to evil. There was
 scarcely a form of evil with which Christ did not come in contact, and
 by which He did not suffer. He was the victim of false friendship and
 ingratitude, the victim of bad government and injustice. He fell a
 sacrifice to the vices of all classes--to the selfishness of the rich
 and the fickleness of the poor:--intolerance, formalism, scepticism,
 hatred of goodness, were the foes which crushed Him.

 In the proper sense of the word He was a victim. He did not adroitly
 wind through the dangerous forms of evil, meeting it with expedient
 silence. Face to face, and front to front, He met it, rebuked it, and
 defied it; and just as truly as he is a voluntary victim whose body
 opposing the progress of the car of Juggernaut is crushed beneath its
 monstrous wheels, was He a victim to the world's sin: because pure, He
 was crushed by impurity; because just and real and true, He waked up
 the rage of injustice, hypocrisy, and falsehood.

 Now this sin was the sin of all. Here arises at once a difficulty: it
 seems to be most unnatural to assert that in any one sense He was the
 sacrifice of the sin of all. We did not betray Him--that was Judas's
 act--Peter denied Him--Thomas doubted--Pilate pronounced sentence--it
 must be a figment to say that these were our acts; we did not watch
 Him like the Pharisees, nor circumvent Him like the Scribes and
 lawyers; by what possible sophistry can we be involved in the
 complicity of that guilt? The savage of New Zealand who never heard of
 Him, the learned Egyptian and the voluptuous Assyrian who died before
 He came; how was it the sin of all?

 The reply that is often given to this query is wonderfully unreal. It
 is assumed that Christ was conscious, by His Omniscience, of the sins
 of all mankind; that the duplicity of the child, and the crime of the
 assassin, and every unholy thought that has ever passed through a
 human bosom, were present to His mind in that awful hour as if they
 were His own. This is utterly unscriptural. Where is the single text
 from which it can be, except by force, extracted? Besides this, it is
 fanciful and sentimental; and again it is dangerous, for it represents
 the whole Atonement as a fictitious and shadowy transaction. There is
 a mental state in which men have felt the burthen of sins which they
 did not commit. There have been cases in which men have been
 mysteriously excruciated with the thought of having committed the
 unpardonable sin. But to represent the mental phenomena of the
 Redeemer's mind as in any way resembling this--to say that His
 conscience was oppressed with the responsibility of sins which He had
 not committed--is to confound a state of sanity with the delusions of
 a half lucid mind, and the workings of a healthy conscience with those
 of one unnatural and morbid.

 There is a way however, much more appalling and much more true, in
 which this may be true, without resorting to any such fanciful
 hypothesis. Sin has a great power in this world: it gives laws like
 those of a sovereign, which bind us all, and to which we are all
 submissive. There are current maxims in church and state, in society,
 in trade, in law, to which we yield obedience. For this obedience
 every one is responsible; for instance in trade, and in the profession
 of law, every one is the servant of practices the rectitude of which
 his heart can only half approve--every one complains of them, yet all
 are involved in them. Now, when such sins reach their climax, as in
 the case of national bankruptcy or an unjust acquittal, there may be
 some who are in a special sense, the actors in the guilt; but
 evidently, for the bankruptcy, each member of the community is
 responsible in that degree and so far as he himself acquiesced in the
 duplicities of public dealing; every careless juror, every unrighteous
 judge, every false witness, has done his part in the reduction of
 society to that state in which the monster injustice has been
 perpetrated. In the riot of a tumultuous assembly by night, a house
 may be burnt, or a murder committed; in the eye of the law, all who
 are aiding and abetting there are each in his degree responsible for
 that crime; there may be difference in guilt, from the degree in which
 he is guilty who with his own hand perpetrated the deed, to that of
 him who merely joined the rabble from mischievous
 curiosity--degrees from that of wilful murder to that of more or less
 excusable homicide.

 The Pharisees were declared by the Saviour to be guilty of the blood
 of Zacharias, the blood of righteous Abel, and of all the saints and
 prophets who fell before He came. But how were the Pharisees guilty?
 They built the sepulchres of the prophets, they honoured and admired
 them; but they were guilty, in that they were the children of those
 that slew the prophets; children in this sense, that they inherited
 their _spirit_, they opposed the good in the form in which it showed
 itself in _their day_, just as their fathers opposed the form
 displayed to theirs; therefore He said that they belonged to the same
 confederacy of evil, and that the guilt of the blood of all who had
 been slain should rest on that generation. Similarly we are guilty of
 the death of Christ. If you have been a false friend, a sceptic, a
 cowardly disciple, a formalist, selfish, an opposer of goodness, an
 oppressor, whatever evil you have done, in that degree and so far you
 participate in the evil to which the Just One fell a victim--you are
 one of that mighty rabble which cry, "Crucify Him, Crucify Him!" for
 your sin He died; His blood lies at your threshold.

 Again, He died for all, in that His sacrifice represents the sacrifice
 of all. We have heard of the doctrine of "imputed righteousness;" it
 is a theological expression to which meanings foolish enough are
 sometimes attributed, but it contains a very deep truth, which it
 shall be our endeavour to elicit.

 Christ is the realized idea of our Humanity. He is God's idea of Man
 completed. There is every difference between the ideal and the
 actual--between what a man aims to be and what he is; a difference
 between the race as it is, and the race as it existed in God's
 creative idea when he pronounced it very good.

 In Christ, therefore, God beholds Humanity; in Christ He sees
 perfected every one in whom Christ's spirit exists in germ. He to whom
 the possible is actual, to whom what will be already _is_, sees all
 things _present_, gazes on the imperfect, and sees it in its
 perfection. Let me venture an illustration. He who has never seen the
 vegetable world except in Arctic regions, has but a poor idea of the
 majesty of vegetable life,--a microscopic red moss tinting the surface
 of the snow, a few stunted pines, and here and there perhaps a
 dwindled oak; but to the botanist who has seen the luxuriance of
 vegetation in its tropical magnificence, all that wretched scene
 presents another aspect; to him those dwarfs are the representatives
 of what might be, nay, what has been in a kindlier soil and a more
 genial climate; he fills up by his conception the miserable actuality
 presented by these shrubs, and attributes to them--imputes, that is,
 to them--the majesty of which the undeveloped germ exists already.

 Now the difference between those trees seen in themselves, and seen in
 the conception of their nature's perfectness which has been previously
 realized, is the difference between man seen in himself and seen in
 Christ. We are feeble, dwarfish, stunted specimens of Humanity. Our
 best resolves are but withered branches, our holiest deeds unripe and
 blighted fruit; but to the Infinite Eye, who sees in the perfect One
 the type and assurance of that which shall be, this dwindled Humanity
 of ours is divine and glorious. Such are we in the sight of God the
 Father as is the very Son of God Himself. This is what theologians, at
 least the wisest of them, meant by "imputed righteousness." I do not
 mean that all who have written or spoken on the subject had this
 conception of it, but I believe they who thought truly meant this;
 they did not suppose that in imputing righteousness there was a kind
 of figment, a self-deception in the mind of God; they did not mean
 that by an act of will He chose to consider that every act which
 Christ did was done by us; that He imputed or reckoned to us the
 baptism in Jordan and the victory in the wilderness, and the agony in
 the garden, or that He believed, or acted as if He believed, that when
 Christ died, each one of us died: but He saw Humanity submitted to the
 law of self-sacrifice; in the light of that idea He beholds us as
 perfect, and is satisfied. In this sense the apostle speaks of those
 that are imperfect, yet "by one offering He hath perfected for ever
 them that are sanctified." It is true again, that He died for us, in
 that we present His sacrifice as ours. The value of the death of
 Christ consisted in the surrender of self-will. In the fortieth Psalm,
 the value of every other kind of sacrifice being first denied, the
 words follow, "then said I, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God." The
 profound idea contained, therefore, in the death of Christ is the duty
 of self-surrender.

 But in _us_ that surrender scarcely deserves the name; even to use the
 word self-sacrifice covers us with a kind of shame. Then it is that
 there is an almost boundless joy in acquiescing in the life and death
 of Christ, recognizing it as ours, and representing it to ourselves
 and God as what we aim at. If we cannot understand how in this sense
 it can be a sacrifice for us, we may partly realize it by remembering
 the joy of feeling how art and nature realize for us what we cannot
 realize for ourselves. It is recorded of one of the world's gifted
 painters that he stood before the master-piece of the great genius of
 his age--one which he could never hope to equal, nor even rival--and
 yet the infinite superiority, so far from crushing him, only elevated
 his feeling, for he saw realized those conceptions which had floated
 before him, dim and unsubstantial; in every line and touch he felt a
 spirit immeasurably superior yet kindred, and he is reported to have
 exclaimed, with dignified humility, "And I too am a painter!"

 We must all have felt, when certain effects in nature, combinations of
 form and colour, have been presented to us, our own idea speaking in
 intelligible and yet celestial language; when for instance, the long
 bars of purple, "edged with intolerable radiance," seemed to float in
 a sea of pale pure green, when the whole sky seemed to reel with
 thunder, when the night wind moaned. It is wonderful how the most
 commonplace men and women, beings who, as you would have thought, had
 no conception that rose beyond a commercial speculation, or a
 fashionable entertainment, are elevated by such scenes; how the
 slumbering grandeur of their nature wakes and acknowledges kindred
 with the sky and storm. "I cannot speak," they would say, "the
 feelings which are in me; I have had emotions, aspirations, thoughts;
 I cannot put them into words. Look there! listen now to the storm!
 That is what I meant, only I never could say it out till now." Thus do
 art and nature speak for us, and thus do we adopt them as our own.
 This is the way in which His righteousness becomes righteousness for
 us. This is the way in which the heart presents to God the sacrifice
 of Christ; gazing on that perfect Life we, as it were, say, "There,
 that is my religion--that is my righteousness--what I want to be,
 which I am not--that is my offering, my life as I would wish to give
 it, freely and not checked, entire and perfect." So the old prophets,
 their hearts big with unutterable thoughts, searched "what or what
 manner of time the spirit of Christ which was in them did signify,
 when it testified beforehand of the sufferings of Christ, and of the
 glory which should follow;" and so with us, until it passes into
 prayer: "My Saviour, fill up the blurred and blotted sketch which my
 clumsy hand has drawn of a divine life, with the fullness of Thy
 perfect picture. I feel the beauty which I cannot realize:--robe me in
 Thine unutterable purity:--

   "Rock of ages cleft for me,
    Let me hide myself in Thee."


 II. The influence of that Sacrifice on man is the introduction of the
 principle of self-sacrifice into his nature,--"then were all dead."
 Observe again, not He died that we might not die, but that in His
 death we might be dead, and that in His sacrifice we might become each
 a sacrifice to God. Moreover, this death is identical with life. They
 who in the first sentence, are called dead, are in the second
 denominated "they who live." So in another place, "I am crucified with
 Christ, nevertheless I live;" death, therefore--that is the sacrifice
 of self--is equivalent to life. Now, this rests upon a profound truth.
 The death of Christ was a representation of the life of God. To me
 this is the profoundest of all truths, that the whole of the life of
 God is the sacrifice of self. God is Love; love is sacrifice--to give
 rather than to receive--the blessedness of self-giving. If the life of
 God were not such it would be a falsehood, to say that God is Love;
 for even in our human nature, that which seeks to enjoy all instead of
 giving all, is known by a very different name from that of love. All
 the life of God is a flow of this divine self-giving charity. Creation
 itself is sacrifice--the self-impartation of the divine Being.
 Redemption too, is sacrifice, else it could not be love; for which
 reason we will not surrender one iota of the truth that the death of
 Christ was the sacrifice of God--the manifestation once in time of
 that which is the eternal law of His life.

 If man therefore, is to rise into the life of God, he must be absorbed
 into the spirit of that sacrifice--he must die with Christ if he would
 enter into his proper life. For sin is the withdrawing into self and
 egotism, out of the vivifying life of God, which alone is our true
 life. The moment the man sins he dies. Know we not how awfully true
 that sentence is, "Sin revived, and I died?" The vivid life of sin is
 the death of the man. Have we never felt that our true existence has
 absolutely in that moment disappeared, and that _we_ are not?

 I say therefore, that real human life is a perpetual completion and
 repetition of the sacrifice of Christ--"all are dead;" the explanation
 of which follows, "to live not to themselves, but to Him who died for
 them and rose again." This is the truth which lies at the bottom of
 the Romish doctrine of the mass. Rome asserts that in the mass a true
 and proper sacrifice is offered up for the sins of all--that the
 offering of Christ is for ever repeated. To this Protestantism has
 objected vehemently, that there is but one offering once offered--an
 objection in itself entirely true; yet the Romish doctrine contains a
 truth which it is of importance to disengage from the gross and
 material form with which it has been overlaid. Let us hear St. Paul,
 "I fill up that which is behindhand of the sufferings of Christ, in my
 flesh, for His body's sake, which is the Church." Was there then,
 something behindhand of Christ's sufferings remaining uncompleted, of
 which the sufferings of Paul could be in any sense the complement? He
 says there was. Could the sufferings of Paul for the Church in any
 form of correct expression be said to eke out the sufferings that were
 complete? In one sense it is true to say that there is one offering
 once offered _for_ all. But it is equally true to say that that one
 offering is valueless, except so far as it is completed and repeated
 in the life and self-offering _of_ all. This is the Christian's
 sacrifice. Not mechanically completed in the miserable materialism of
 the mass, but spiritually in the life of all in whom the Crucified
 lives. The sacrifice of Christ is done over again in every life which
 is lived, not to self but, to God.

 Let one concluding observation be made--self-denial, self-sacrifice,
 self-surrender! Hard doctrines, and impossible! Whereupon, in silent
 hours, we sceptically ask, Is this possible? is it natural? Let
 preacher and moralist say what they will, I am not here to sacrifice
 myself for others. God sent me here for happiness, not misery. Now
 introduce one sentence of this text of which we have as yet said
 nothing, and the dark doctrine becomes illuminated--"the _love_ of
 Christ constraineth us." Self-denial, for the sake of self-denial,
 does no good; self-sacrifice for its own sake is no religious act at
 all. If you give up a meal for the sake of showing power over self, or
 for the sake of self-discipline, it is the most miserable of all
 delusions. You are not more religious in doing this than before. This
 is mere self-culture, and self-culture being occupied for ever about
 self, leaves you only in that circle of self from which religion is to
 free you; but to give up a meal that one you love may have it, is
 properly a religious act--no hard and dismal duty, because made easy
 by affection. To bear pain for the sake of bearing it has in it no
 moral quality at all, but to bear it rather than surrender truth, or
 in order to save another, is positive enjoyment as well as ennobling
 to the soul. Did you ever receive even a blow meant for another in
 order to shield that other? Do you not know that there was actual
 pleasure in the keen pain far beyond the most rapturous thrill of
 nerve which could be gained from pleasure in the midst of
 painlessness? Is not the mystic yearning of love expressed in words
 most purely thus, Let me suffer for him?

 This element of love is that which makes this doctrine an intelligible
 and blessed truth. So sacrifice alone, bare and unrelieved, is
 ghastly, unnatural, and dead; but self-sacrifice, illuminated by love,
 is warmth and life; it is the death of Christ, the life of God, the
 blessedness, and only proper life of man.



 VIII.

 _Preached June 30, 1850._

 THE POWER OF SORROW.


   "Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed
    to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that
    ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh
    repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of
    the world worketh death."--2 Corinthians vii. 9, 10.

 That which is chiefly insisted on in this verse, is the distinction
 between sorrow and repentance. To grieve over sin is one thing, to
 repent of it is another.

 The apostle rejoiced, not that the Corinthians sorrowed, but that they
 sorrowed unto repentance. Sorrow has two results; it may end in
 spiritual life, or in spiritual death; and in themselves, one of these
 is as natural as the other. Sorrow may produce two kinds of
 reformation--a transient, or a permanent one--an alteration in habits,
 which originating in emotion, will last so long as that emotion
 continues, and then after a few fruitless efforts, be given up,--a
 repentance which will be repented of; or again, a permanent change,
 which will be reversed by no after thought--a repentance not to be
 repented of. Sorrow is in itself, therefore, a thing neither good nor
 bad: its value depends on the spirit of the person on whom it falls.
 Fire will inflame straw, soften iron, or harden clay; its effects are
 determined by the object with which it comes in contact. Warmth
 developes the energies of life, or helps the progress of decay. It is
 a great power in the hot-house, a great power also in the coffin; it
 expands the leaf, matures the fruit, adds precocious vigour to
 vegetable life: and warmth too developes, with tenfold rapidity, the
 weltering process of dissolution. So too with sorrow. There are
 spirits in which it developes the seminal principle of life; there are
 others in which it prematurely hastens the consummation of irreparable
 decay. Our subject therefore is the twofold power of sorrow.

    I. The fatal power of the sorrow of the world.
   II. The life-giving power of the sorrow that is after God.

 The simplest way in which the sorrow of the world works death, is seen
 in the effect of mere regret for worldly loss. There are certain
 advantages with which we come into the world. Youth, health, friends,
 and sometimes property. So long as these are continued we are happy;
 and because happy, fancy ourselves very grateful to God. We bask in
 the sunshine of His gifts, and this pleasant sensation of sunning
 ourselves in life we call religion; that state in which we all are
 before sorrow comes, to test the temper of the metal of which our
 souls are made, when the spirits are unbroken and the heart buoyant,
 when a fresh morning is to a young heart what it is to the skylark.
 The exuberant burst of joy seems a spontaneous hymn to the Father of
 all blessing, like the matin carol of the bird; but this is not
 religion: it is the instinctive utterance of happy feeling, having as
 little of moral character in it, in the happy human being, as in the
 happy bird.

 Nay more--the religion which is only sunned into being by happiness,
 is a suspicious thing: having been warmed by joy, it will become cold
 when joy is over; and then when these blessings are removed, we count
 ourselves hardly treated, as if we had been defrauded of a right;
 rebellious hard feelings come; then it is you see people become
 bitter, spiteful, discontented. At every step in the solemn path of
 life, something must be mourned which will come back no more; the
 temper that was so smooth becomes rugged and uneven; the benevolence
 that expanded upon all, narrows into an ever dwindling selfishness--we
 are alone; and then that death-like loneliness deepens as life goes
 on. The course of man is downwards, and he moves with slow and ever
 more solitary steps, down to the dark silence--the silence of the
 grave. This is the death of heart; the sorrow of the world has worked
 death.

 Again there is a sorrow of the world, when sin is grieved for in a
 worldly spirit. There are two views of sin: in one it is looked upon
 as wrong--in the other, as producing loss--loss for example, of
 character. In such cases, if character could be preserved before the
 world, grief would not come; but the paroxysms of misery fall upon our
 proud spirit when our guilt is made public. The most distinct instance
 we have of this is in the life of Saul. In the midst of his apparent
 grief, the thing still uppermost was that he had forfeited his kingly
 character: almost the only longing was, that Samuel should honour him
 before his people. And hence it comes to pass, that often remorse and
 anguish only begin with exposure. Suicide takes place, not when the
 act of wrong is done, but when the guilt is known, and hence too, many
 a one becomes hardened who would otherwise have remained tolerably
 happy; in consequence of which we blame the exposure, not the guilt;
 we say if it had hushed up, all would have been well; that the servant
 who robbed his master was ruined by taking away his character; and
 that if the sin had been passed over, repentance might have taken
 place, and he might have remained a respectable member of society. Do
 not think so. It is quite true that remorse was produced by exposure,
 and that the remorse was fatal; the sorrow which worked death arose
 from that exposure, and so far exposure may be called the cause: had
 it never taken place, respectability, and comparative peace, might
 have continued; but outward respectability is not change of heart.

 It is well known that the corpse has been preserved for centuries in
 the iceberg, or in antiseptic peat; and that when atmospheric air was
 introduced to the exposed surface it crumbled into dust. Exposure
 worked dissolution, but it only manifested the death which was already
 there; so with sorrow, it is not the living heart which drops to
 pieces, or crumbles into dust, when it is revealed. Exposure did not
 work death in the Corinthian sinner, but life.

 There is another form of grief for sin, which the apostle would not
 have rejoiced to see; it is when the hot tears come from pride. No two
 tones of feeling, apparently similar, are more unlike than that in
 which Saul exclaimed, "I have played the fool exceedingly," and that
 in which the Publican cried out, "God be merciful to me a sinner."
 The charge of folly brought against oneself only proves that we feel
 bitterly for having lost our own self-respect. It is a humiliation to
 have forfeited the idea which a man had formed of his own
 character--to find that the very excellence on which he prided
 himself, is the one in which he has failed. If there were a virtue for
 which Saul was conspicuous, it was generosity; yet it was exactly in
 this point of generosity in which he discovered himself to have
 failed, when he was overtaken on the mountain, and his life spared by
 the very man whom he was hunting to the death, with feelings of the
 meanest jealousy. Yet there was no real repentance there; there was
 none of that in which a man is sick of state and pomp. Saul could
 still rejoice in regal splendour, go about complaining of himself to
 the Ziphites, as if he was the most ill-treated and friendless of
 mankind; he was still jealous of his reputation, and anxious to be
 well thought of. Quite different is the tone in which the Publican,
 who felt himself a sinner, asked for mercy. He heard the contumelious
 expression of the Pharisee, "this Publican." With no resentment, he
 meekly bore it as a matter naturally to be taken for granted--"he did
 not so much as lift up his eyes to heaven;" he was as a worm which
 turns in agony, but not revenge, upon the foot which treads it into
 the dust.

 Now this sorrow of Saul's too, works death: no merit can restore
 self-respect; when once a man has found himself out, he cannot be
 deceived again. The heart is as a stone: a speck of canker corrodes
 and spreads within. What on this earth remains, but endless sorrow,
 for him who has ceased to respect himself, and has no God to turn to?


 II. The divine power of sorrow.

 1. It works repentance. By repentance is meant, in Scripture, change
 of life, alteration of habits, renewal of heart. This is the aim and
 meaning of all sorrow. The consequences of sin are meant to wean from
 sin. The penalty annexed to it is in the first instance, corrective,
 not penal. Fire burns the child, to teach it one of the truths of this
 universe--the property of fire to burn. The first time it cuts its
 hand with a sharp knife, it has gained a lesson which it never will
 forget. Now, in the case of pain, this experience is seldom, if ever,
 in vain. There is little chance of a child forgetting that fire will
 burn, and that sharp steel will cut; but the moral lessons contained
 in the penalties annexed to wrong-doing are just as truly intended,
 though they are by no means so unerring in enforcing their
 application. The fever in the veins and the headache which succeed
 intoxication, are meant to warn against excess. On the first occasion
 they are simply corrective; in every succeeding one they assume more
 and more a penal character in proportion as the conscience carries
 with them the sense of ill desert.

 Sorrow then, has done its work when it deters from evil; in other
 words when it works repentance. In the sorrow of the world, the
 obliquity of the heart towards evil is not cured; it seems as if
 nothing cured it: heartache and trials come in vain; the history of
 life at last is what it was at first. The man is found erring where he
 erred before. The same course, begun with the certainty of the same
 desperate end which has taken place so often before.

 They have reaped the whirlwind, but they will again sow the wind.
 Hence I believe, that life-giving sorrow is less remorse for that
 which is irreparable, than anxiety to save that which remains. The
 sorrow that ends in death hangs in funeral weeds over the sepulchres
 of the past. Yet the present does not become more wise. Not one
 resolution is made more firm, nor one habit more holy. Grief is all.
 Whereas sorrow avails _only_ when the past is converted into
 experience, and from failure lessons are learned which never are to be
 forgotten.

 2. Permanence of alteration; for after all, a steady reformation is a
 more decisive test of the value of mourning than depth of grief.

 The susceptibility of emotion varies with individuals. Some men feel
 intensely, others suffer less keenly; but this is constitutional,
 belonging to nervous temperament, rather than to moral character.
 _This_ is the characteristic of the divine sorrow, that it is a
 repentance "not repented of;" no transient, short-lived resolutions,
 but sustained resolve.

 And the beautiful law is, that in proportion as the, repentance
 increases the grief diminishes. "I rejoice," says Paul, that "I made
 you sorry, though it were but for a time." Grief for a time,
 repentance for ever. And few things more signally prove the wisdom of
 this apostle than his way of dealing with this grief of the
 Corinthian. He tried no artificial means of intensifying it--did not
 urge the duty of dwelling upon it, magnifying it, nor even of gauging
 and examining it. So soon as grief had done its work, the apostle was
 anxious to dry useless tears--he even feared lest haply such an one
 should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. "A true penitent," says
 Mr. Newman, "never forgives himself." O false estimate of the gospel
 of Christ, and of the heart of man! A proud remorse does not forgive
 itself the forfeiture of its own dignity; but it is the very beauty of
 the penitence which is according to God, that at last the sinner,
 realizing God's forgiveness, does learn to forgive himself. For what
 other purpose did St. Paul command the Church of Corinth to give
 ecclesiastical absolution, but in order to afford a symbol and
 assurance of the Divine pardon, in which the guilty man's grief should
 not be overwhelming, but that he should become reconciled to himself?
 What is meant by the Publican's going _down to his house_ justified,
 but that he felt at peace with himself and God?

 3. It is sorrow with God--here called godly sorrow; in the margin
 sorrowing according to God.

 God sees sin not in its consequences but in itself: a thing infinitely
 evil, even if the consequences were happiness to the guilty instead of
 misery. So sorrow according to God, is to see sin as God sees it. The
 grief of Peter was as bitter as that of Judas. He went out and wept
 bitterly; how bitterly none can tell but they who have learned to look
 on sin as God does. But in Peter's grief there was an element of hope;
 and that sprung precisely from this--that he saw God in it all.
 Despair of self did not lead to despair of God.

 This is the great, peculiar feature of this sorrow: God is there,
 accordingly self is less prominent. It is not a microscopic
 self-examination, nor a mourning in which self is ever uppermost: _my_
 character gone; the greatness of _my_ sin; the forfeiture of _my_
 salvation. The thought of God absorbs all that. I believe the feeling
 of true penitence would express itself in such words as these:--There
 _is_ a righteousness, though I have not attained it. There is a
 purity, and a love, and a beauty, though my life exhibits little of
 it. In that I can rejoice. Of that I can feel the surpassing
 loveliness. My doings? They are worthless, I cannot endure to think of
 them. I am not thinking of them. I have something else to think of.
 There, there; in that Life I see it. And so the Christian--gazing not
 on what he is, but on what he desires to be--dares in penitence to
 say, That righteousness is mine: dares, even when the recollection of
 his sin is most vivid and most poignant, to say with Peter, thinking
 less of himself than of God, and sorrowing as it were with God--"Lord,
 Thou knowest all things, Thou knowest that I love Thee."



 IX.

 _Preached August 4, 1850._

 SENSUAL AND SPIRITUAL EXCITEMENT.


   "Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of
    the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be
    filled with the Spirit."--Ephesians v. 17, 18.

 There is evidently a connection between the different branches of this
 sentence--for ideas cannot be properly contrasted which have not some
 connection--but what that connection is, is not at first sight clear.
 It almost appears like a profane and irreverent juxtaposition to
 contrast fulness of the Spirit with fulness of wine. Moreover, the
 structure of the whole context is antithetical. Ideas are opposed to
 each other in pairs of contraries; for instance, "fools" is the exact
 opposite to "wise;" "unwise," as opposed to "understanding," its
 proper opposite.

 And here again, there must be the same true antithesis between
 drunkenness and spiritual fulness. The propriety of this opposition
 lies in the intensity of feeling produced in both, cases. There is one
 intensity of feeling produced by stimulating the senses, another by
 vivifying the spiritual life within. The one commences with impulses
 from without, the other is guarded by forces from within. Here then is
 the similarity, and here the dissimilarity, which constitutes the
 propriety of the contrast. One is ruin, the other salvation. One
 degrades, the other exalts. This contrast then is our subject for
 to-day.


 I. The effects are similar. On the day of Pentecost, when the first
 influences of the Spirit descended on the early Church, the effects
 resembled intoxication. They were full of the Spirit, and mocking
 bystanders said, "These men are full of new wine;" for they found
 themselves elevated into the ecstasy of a life higher than their
 own, possessed of powers which they could not control; they spoke
 incoherently and irregularly; to the most part of those assembled,
 unintelligibly.

 Now compare with this the impression produced upon savage
 nations--suppose those early ages in which the spectacle of
 intoxication was presented for the first time. They saw a man under
 the influence of a force different from and in some respects inferior
 to, their own. To them the bacchanal appeared a being half inspired;
 his frenzy seemed a thing for reverence and awe, rather than for
 horror and disgust; the spirit which possessed him must be they
 thought, divine; they deified it, worshipped it under different names
 as a god; even to a clearer insight the effects are wonderfully
 similar. It is almost proverbial among soldiers that the daring
 produced by wine is easily mistaken for the self-devotion of a brave
 heart.

 The play of imagination in the brain of the opium-eater is as free as
 that of genius itself, and the creations produced in that state by the
 pen or pencil are as wildly beautiful as those owed to the nobler
 influences. In years gone by, the oratory of the statesman in the
 senate has been kindled by semi-intoxication, when his noble
 utterances were set down by his auditors to the inspiration of
 patriotism.

 It is this very resemblance which deceives the drunkard: he is led on
 by his feelings as well as by his imagination. It is not the sensual
 pleasure of the glutton that fascinates him; it is those fine thoughts
 and those quickened sensibilities which were excited in that state,
 which he is powerless to produce out of his own being, or by his own
 powers, and which he expects to reproduce by the same means. The
 experience of our first parent is repeated in him: at the very moment
 when he expects to find himself as the gods, knowing good and evil, he
 discovers that he is unexpectedly degraded, his health wrecked, and
 his heart demoralized. Hence it is almost as often the finer as the
 baser spirits of our race which are found the victims of such
 indulgence. Many will remember while I speak, the names of the gifted
 of their species, the degraded men of genius who were the victims of
 these deceptive influences. The half-inspired painter, poet, musician,
 who began by soothing opiates to calm the over-excited nerves, or
 stimulate the exhausted brain, who mistook the sensation for somewhat
 half divine, and became morally and physically wrecks of manhood,
 degraded even in their mental conceptions. It was therefore, no mere
 play of words which induced the apostle to bring these two things
 together. That which might else seem irreverent appears to have been
 a deep knowledge of human nature; he contrasts, because his rule was
 to distinguish two things which are easily mistaken for each other.

 2. The second point of resemblance is the necessity of intense
 feeling. We have fulness--fulness, it may be, produced by outward
 stimulus, or else by an inpouring of the Spirit. What we want is life,
 "more life, and fuller." To escape from monotony, to get away from the
 life of mere routine and habits, to feel that we are alive--with more
 of surprise and wakefulness in our existence. To have less of the
 gelid, torpid, tortoise-like existence. "To feel the years before us."
 To be consciously existing.

 Now this desire lies at the bottom of many forms of life which are
 apparently as diverse as possible. It constitutes the fascination of
 the gambler's life: money is not what he wants--were he possessed of
 thousands to-day he would risk them all to-morrow--but it is that
 being perpetually on the brink of enormous wealth and utter ruin, he
 is compelled to realize at every moment the possibility of the
 extremes of life. Every moment is one of feeling. This too,
 constitutes the charm of all those forms of life in which the gambling
 feeling is predominant--where a sense of skill is blended with a
 mixture of chance. If you ask the statesman why it is, that possessed
 as he is of wealth, he quits his princely home for the dark
 metropolis, he would reply, "That he loves the excitement of a
 political existence." It is this too, which gives to the warrior's and
 the traveller's existence such peculiar reality; and it is this in a
 far lower form which stimulates the pleasure of a fashionable
 life--which sends the votaries of the world in a constant round from
 the capital to the watering place, and from the watering place to the
 capital; what they crave for is the power of feeling intensely.

 Now the proper and natural outlet for this feeling is the life of the
 Spirit. What is religion but fuller life? To live in the Spirit, what
 is it but to have keener feelings and mightier powers--to rise into a
 higher consciousness of life? What is religion's self but feeling? The
 highest form of religion is charity. Love is of God, and he that
 loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. This is an intense feeling,
 too intense to be excited, profound in its calmness, yet it rises at
 times in its higher flights into that ecstatic life which glances in a
 moment intuitively through ages. These are the pentecostal hours of
 our existence, when the Spirit comes as a mighty rushing wind, in
 cloven tongues of fire, filling the soul with God.


 II. The dissimilarity or contrast in St. Paul's idea. The one fulness
 begins from without, the other from within. The one proceeds from the
 flesh and then influences the emotions. The other reverses this order.
 Stimulants like wine, inflame the senses, and through them set the
 imaginations and feelings on fire; and the law of our spiritual being
 is, that that which begins with the flesh, sensualizes the
 Spirit--whereas that which commences in the region of the Spirit,
 spiritualizes the senses in which it subsequently stirs emotion. But
 the misfortune is that men mistake this law of their emotions; and the
 fatal error is, when having found spiritual feelings existing in
 connection, and associated with, fleshly sensations, men expect by the
 mere irritation of the emotions of the frame to reproduce those high
 and glorious feelings.

 You might conceive the recipients of the Spirit on the day of
 Pentecost acting under this delusion; it is conceiveable that having
 observed certain bodily phenomena--for instance, incoherent utterances
 and thrilled sensibilities coexisting with those sublime
 spiritualities--they might have endeavoured, by a repetition of those
 incoherencies, to obtain a fresh descent of the Spirit. In fact, this
 was exactly what was tried in after ages of the Church. In those
 events of church history which are denominated revivals, in the camp
 of the Methodist and the Ranter, a direct attempt was made to arouse
 the emotions by exciting addresses and vehement language. Convulsions,
 shrieks, and violent emotions, were produced, and the unfortunate
 victims of this mistaken attempt to produce the cause by the effect,
 fancied themselves, and were pronounced by others, converted. Now the
 misfortune is, that this delusion is the more easy from the fact that
 the results of the two kinds of causes resemble each other. You may
 galvanize the nerve of a corpse till the action of a limb startles the
 spectator with the appearance of life. It is not life, it is only a
 spasmodic hideous mimicry of life. Men having seen that the spiritual
 is always associated with forms, endeavour by reproducing the forms to
 recall spirituality; you do produce thereby a something that looks
 like spirituality, but it is a resemblance only. The worst case of all
 occurs in the department of the affections. That which begins in the
 heart ennobles the whole animal being, but that which begins in the
 inferior departments of our being is the most entire degradation and
 sensualizing of the soul.

 Now it is from this point of thought that we learn to extend the
 apostle's principle. Wine is but a specimen of a class of stimulants.
 All that begins from _without_ belongs to the same class. The stimulus
 may be afforded by almost any enjoyment of the senses. Drunkenness may
 come from anything wherein is excess: from over-indulgence in society,
 in pleasure, in music, and in the delight of listening to oratory,
 nay, even from the excitement of sermons and religious meetings. The
 prophet tells us of those who are drunken, and not with wine.

 The other point of difference is one of effect. Fulness of the Spirit
 calms; fulness produced by excitement satiates and exhausts. They who
 know the world of fashion tell us that the tone adopted there is,
 either to be, or to affect to be, sated with enjoyment, to be proof
 against surprise, to have lost all keenness of enjoyment, and to have
 all keenness of wonder gone. That which ought to be men's shame
 becomes their boast--unsusceptibility of any fresh emotion.

 Whether this be real or affected matters not; it is, in truth, the
 real result of the indulgence of the senses. The law is this: the
 "crime of sense is avenged by sense which wears with time;" for it has
 been well remarked that the terrific punishment attached to the
 habitual indulgence of the senses is, that the incitements to
 enjoyment increase in proportion as the power of enjoyment fades.

 Experience at last forbids even the hope of enjoyment; the sin of the
 intoxicated soul is loathed, detested, abhorred; yet it is done. The
 irritated sense, like an avenging fury, goads on with a restlessness
 of craving, and compels a reiteration of the guilt though it has
 ceased to charm.

 To this danger our own age is peculiarly exposed. In the earlier and
 simpler ages, the need of keen feeling finds a natural and safe outlet
 in compulsory exertions. For instance, in the excitement of real
 warfare, and in the necessity of providing the sustenance of life,
 warlike habits and healthy labour stimulate, without exhausting life.
 But in proportion as civilization advances, a large class of the
 community are exempted from the necessity of these, and thrown upon a
 life of leisure. Then it is that artificial life begins, and
 artificial expedients become necessary to sharpen the feelings amongst
 the monotony of existence; every amusement and all literature become
 more pungent in their character; life is no longer a thing proceeding
 from powers _within_, but sustained by new impulses from without.

 There is one peculiar form of this danger to which I would specially
 direct your attention. There is one nation in Europe which, more than
 any other, has been subjected to these influences. In ages of
 revolution, nations live fast; centuries of life are passed in fifty
 years of time. In such a state, individuals become subjected more or
 less to the influences which are working around them. Scarcely an
 enjoyment or a book can be met with which does not bear the impress of
 this intensity. Now, the particular danger to which I allude is French
 novels, French romances, and French plays. The overflowings of that
 cup of excitement have reached our shores. I do not say that these
 works contain anything coarse or gross--better if it were so: evil
 which comes in a form of grossness is not nearly so dangerous as that
 which comes veiled in gracefulness and sentiment. Subjects which are
 better not touched upon at all are discussed, examined, and exhibited
 in all the most seductive forms of imagery. You would be shocked at
 seeing your son in a fit of intoxication; yet, I say it solemnly,
 better that your son should reel through the streets in a fit of
 drunkenness, than that the delicacy of your daughter's mind should be
 injured, and her imagination inflamed with false fire. Twenty-four
 hours will terminate the evil in the one case. Twenty-four hours will
 not exhaust the effects of the other; you must seek the consequences
 at the end of many, many years.

 I speak that which I do know; and if the earnest warning of one who
 has seen the dangers of which he speaks realized, can reach the heart
 of one Christian parent, he will put a ban on all such works, and not
 suffer his children's hearts to be excited by a drunkenness which is
 worse than that of wine. For the worst of it is, that the men of our
 time are not yet alive to this growing evil; they are elsewhere--in
 their studies, counting-houses, professions--not knowing the food, or
 rather poison, on which their wives' and daughters' intellectual life
 is sustained. It is precisely those who are most unfitted to sustain
 the danger, whose feelings need restraint instead of spur, and whose
 imaginations are most inflammable, that are specially exposed to it.

 On the other hand, spiritual life calms while it fills. True it is
 that there are pentecostal moments when such life reaches the stage of
 ecstasy. But these were given to the Church to prepare her for
 suffering, to give her martyrs a glimpse of blessedness, which might
 sustain them afterwards in the terrible struggles of death. True it is
 that there are pentecostal hours when the soul is surrounded by a kind
 of glory, and we are tempted to make tabernacles upon the Mount, as if
 life were meant for rest; but out of that very cloud there comes a
 voice telling of the Cross, and bidding us descend into the common
 world again, to simple duties and humble life. This very principle
 seems to be contained in the text. The apostle's remedy for this
 artificial feeling is--"Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns,
 and spiritual songs."

 Strange remedy! Occupation fit for children--too simple far for men:
 as astonishing as the remedy prescribed by the prophet to Naaman--to
 wash in simple water, and be clean; yet therein lies a very important
 truth. In ancient medical phraseology, herbs possessed of healing
 natures were called simples: in God's laboratory, all things that heal
 are simple--all natural enjoyments--all the deepest--are simple too.
 At night, man fills his banquet-hall with the glare of splendour which
 fevers as well as fires the heart; and at the very same hour, as if by
 intended contrast, the quiet stars of God steal forth, shedding,
 together with the deepest feeling, the profoundest sense of calm. One
 from whose knowledge of the sources of natural feeling there lies
 almost no appeal, has said that to him,

    "The meanest flower that blows can give
     Thoughts that too often lie too deep for tears."

 This is exceedingly remarkable in the life of Christ. No contrast is
 more striking than that presented by the thought, that that deep and
 beautiful Life was spent in the midst of mad Jerusalem. Remember the
 Son of man standing quietly in the porches of Bethesda, when the
 streets all around were filled with the revelry of innumerable
 multitudes, who had come to be present at the annual feast. Remember
 Him pausing to weep over his country's doomed metropolis, unexcited,
 while the giddy crowd around Him were shouting "Hosanna to the Son of
 David!" Remember Him in Pilate's judgment-hall, meek, self-possessed,
 standing in the serenity of Truth, while all around Him was
 agitation--hesitation in the breast of Pilate, hatred in the bosom of
 the Pharisees, and consternation in the heart of the disciples.

 And this in truth, is what we want: we want the vision of a calmer
 and simpler Beauty, to tranquillize us in the midst of artificial
 tastes--we want the draught of a purer spring to cool the flame of our
 excited life;--we want in other words, the Spirit of the Life of
 Christ, simple, natural, with power to calm and soothe the feelings
 which it rouses: the fulness of the Spirit which can never intoxicate!



 X.

 _Preached August 11, 1850._

 PURITY.


   "Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled
    and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and
    conscience is defiled."--Titus i. 15.

 For the evils of this world there are two classes of remedies--one is
 the world's, the other is God's. The world proposes to remedy evil by
 adjusting the circumstances of this life to man's desires. The world
 says, give us a perfect set of _circumstances_, and then we shall have
 a set of perfect men. This principle lies at the root of the system
 called Socialism. Socialism proceeds on the principle that all moral
 and even physical evil arises from unjust laws. If the cause be
 remedied, the effect will be good. But Christianity throws aside all
 that as merely chimerical. It proves that the fault is not in outward
 circumstances, but in ourselves. Like the wise physician, who, instead
 of busying himself with transcendental theories to improve the
 climate, and the outward circumstances of man, endeavours to relieve
 and get rid of the tendencies of disease which are from within,
 Christianity, leaving all outward circumstances to ameliorate
 themselves, fastens its attention on the spirit which has to deal with
 them. Christ has declared that the kingdom of heaven is from within.
 He said to the Pharisee, "Ye make clean the outside of the cup and
 platter, but within ye are full of extortion and excess." The remedy
 for all this is a large and liberal charity, so overflowing that "Unto
 the pure all things are pure." To internal purity all external things
 _become_ pure. The principle that St. Paul has here laid down is, that
 each man is the creator of his own world; he walks in a universe of
 his own creation.

 As the free air is to one out of health the cause of cold and diseased
 lungs, so to the healthy man it is a source of greater vigour. The
 rotten fruit is sweet to the worm, but nauseous to the palate of man.
 It is the same air and the same fruit acting differently upon
 different beings. To different men a different world--to one all
 pollution--to another all purity. To the noble all things are noble,
 to the mean all things are contemptible.

 The subject divides itself into two parts.

    I. The apostle's principle.
   II. The application of the principle.

 Here we have the same principle again; each man creates his own world.
 Take it in its simplest form. The eye creates the outward world it
 sees. We see not things as they are, but as God has made the eye to
 receive them.

 In its strictest sense, the creation of a new man is the creation of a
 new universe. Conceive an eye so constructed as that the planets and
 all within them should be minutely seen, and all that is near should
 be dim and invisible like things seen through a telescope, or as we
 see through a magnifying glass the plumage of the butterfly, and the
 bloom upon the peach; then it is manifestly clear that we have called
 into existence actually a new _creation_, and not new objects. The
 mind's eye creates a world for itself.

 Again, the visible world presents a different aspect to each
 individual man. You will say that the same things you see are seen by
 all--that the forest, the valley, the flood, and the sea, are the same
 to all; and yet all these things so seen, to different minds are a
 myriad of different universes. One man sees in that noble river an
 emblem of eternity; he closes his lips and feels that GOD is
 there. Another sees nothing in it but a very convenient road for
 transporting his spices, silks, and merchandise. To one this world
 appears useful, to another beautiful. Whence comes the difference?
 From the soul within us. It can make of this world a vast chaos--"a
 mighty maze without a plan;" or a mere machine--a collection of
 lifeless forces; or it can make it the Living Vesture of GOD,
 the tissue through which He can become visible to us. In the spirit in
 which we look on it the world is an arena for mere self-advancement,
 or a place for noble deeds, in which self is forgotten, and
 GOD is all.

 Observe, this effect is traceable even in that produced by our
 different and changeful moods. We make and unmake a world more than
 once in the space of a single day. In trifling moods all seems
 trivial. In serious moods all seems solemn. Is the song of the
 nightingale merry or plaintive? Is it the voice of joy or the
 harbinger of gloom? Sometimes one, and sometimes the other, according
 to our different moods. We hear the ocean furious or exulting. The
 thunder-claps are grand, or angry, according to the different states
 of our mind. Nay, the very church bells chime sadly or merrily, as our
 associations determine. They speak the language of our passing moods.
 The young adventurer revolving sanguine plans upon the milestone,
 hears them speak to him as God did to Hagar in the wilderness, bidding
 him back to perseverance and greatness. The soul spreads its own hue
 over everything; the shroud or wedding-garment of nature is woven in
 the loom of our own feelings. This universe is the express image and
 direct counterpart of the souls that dwell in it. Be noble-minded, and
 all Nature replies--I am divine, the child of God--be thou too, His
 child, and noble. Be mean, and all Nature dwindles into a contemptible
 smallness.

 In the second place, there are two ways in which this principle is
 true. To the pure, all things and all persons are pure, because their
 purity makes all seem pure.

 There are some who go through life complaining of this world; they say
 they have found nothing but treachery and deceit; the poor are
 ungrateful, and the rich are selfish, Yet we do not find such the best
 men. Experience tells us that each man most keenly and unerringly
 detects in others the vice with which he is most familiar himself.

 Persons seem to each man what he is himself. One who suspects
 hypocrisy in the world is rarely transparent; the man constantly on
 the watch for cheating is generally dishonest; he who suspects
 impurity is prurient. This is the principle to which Christ alludes
 when he says, "Give alms of such things as he have; and behold all
 things are clean unto you."


 Have a large charity! Large "charity hopeth all things." Look at that
 sublime apostle who saw the churches of Ephesus and Thessalonica pure,
 because he saw them in his own large love, and painted them, not as
 they were, but as his heart filled up the picture; he viewed them in
 the light of his own nobleness, as representations of his own purity.

 Once more, to the pure all _things_ are pure, as well as all persons.
 That which is natural lies not in things, but in the minds of men.
 There is a difference between prudery and modesty. Prudery detects
 wrong where no wrong is; the wrong lies in the thoughts, and not in
 the objects. There is something of over-sensitiveness and
 over-delicacy which shows not innocence, but an inflammable
 imagination. And men of the world cannot understand that those
 subjects and thoughts which to them are full of torture, can be
 harmless, suggesting nothing evil to the pure in heart.

 Here however, beware! No sentence of Scripture is more frequently in
 the lips of persons who permit themselves much license, than the text,
 "To the pure, all things are pure." Yes, all things natural, but not
 artificial--scenes which pamper the tastes, which excite the senses.
 Innocence feels healthily. To it all nature is pure. But, just as the
 dove trembles at the approach of the hawk, and the young calf shudders
 at the lion never seen before, so innocence shrinks instinctively from
 what is wrong by the same divine instinct. If that which is wrong
 seems pure, then the heart is not pure but vitiated. To the right
 minded all that is right in the course of this world seems pure.
 Abraham, looking forward to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah,
 entreated that it might be averted, and afterwards acquiesced! To the
 disordered mind "all things are out of course." This is the spirit
 which pervades the whole of the Ecclesiastes. There were two things
 which were perpetually suggesting themselves to the mind of Solomon;
 the intolerable sameness of this world, and the constant desire for
 change. And yet that same world, spread before the serene eye of God,
 was pronounced to be all "very good."

 This disordered universe is the picture of your own mind. We make a
 wilderness by encouraging artificial wants, by creating sensitive and
 selfish feelings; then we project everything stamped with the impress
 of our own feelings, and we gather the whole of creation into our own
 pained being--"the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain
 together until now." The world you complain of as impure and wrong is
 not God's world, but your world; the blight, the dullness, the blank,
 are all your own. The light which is in you has become darkness, and
 therefore the light itself is dark.

 Again, to the pure, all things not only seem pure, but are really so
 because they are made such.

 1. As regards persons. It is a marvellous thing to see how a pure and
 innocent heart purifies all that it approaches. The most ferocious
 natures are soothed and tamed by innocence. And so with human beings,
 there is a delicacy so pure, that vicious men in its presence become
 almost pure; all of purity which is in them is brought out; like
 attaches itself to like. The pure heart becomes a centre of
 attraction, round which similar atoms gather, and from which
 dissimilar ones are repelled. A corrupt heart elicits in an hour all
 that is bad in us; a spiritual one brings out and draws to itself all
 that is best and purest. Such was Christ. He stood in the world, the
 Light of the world, to which all sparks of light gradually gathered.
 He stood in the presence of impurity, and men became pure. Note this
 in the history of Zaccheus. In answer to the invitation of the Son of
 man, he says, "Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor,
 and if I have done wrong to any man I restore him fourfold." So also
 the Scribe, "Well, Master, thou hast well said, there is one God, and
 there is none other than He." To the pure Saviour, all was pure. He
 was lifted up on high, and drew all men unto Him.

 Lastly, all situations are pure to the pure. According to the world,
 some professions are reckoned honourable, and some dishonourable. Men
 judge according to a standard merely conventional, and not by that of
 moral rectitude. Yet it was in truth, the men who were in these
 situations which made them such. In the days of the Redeemer, the
 publican's occupation was a degraded one, merely because low base men
 filled that place. But since He was born into the world a poor,
 labouring man, poverty is noble and dignified, and toil is honourable.
 To the man who feels that "the king's daughter is all glorious
 within," no outward situation can seem inglorious or impure.

 There are three words which express almost the same thing, but whose
 meaning is entirely different. These are, the gibbet, the scaffold,
 and the cross. So far as we know, none die on the gibbet but men of
 dishonourable and base life. The scaffold suggests to our minds the
 noble deaths of our greatest martyrs. The cross was once a gibbet, but
 it is now the highest name we have, because He hung on it. Christ has
 purified and ennobled the cross. This principle runs through life. It
 is not the situation which makes the man, but the man who makes the
 situation. The slave may be a freeman. The monarch may be a slave.
 Situations are noble or ignoble, as we make them.

 From all this subject we learn to understand two things. Hence we
 understand the Fall. When man fell, the world fell with him. All
 creation received a shock. Thorns, briars, and thistles, sprang up.
 They were there before, but to the now restless and impatient hands of
 men they became obstacles and weeds. Death, which must ever have
 existed as a form of dissolution, a passing from one state to another,
 became a curse; the sting of death was sin--unchanged in itself, it
 changed in man. A dark, heavy cloud, rested on it--the shadow of his
 own guilty heart.

 Hence too, we understand the Millennium. The Bible says that these
 things are not to be for ever. There are glorious things to come. Just
 as in my former illustration, the alteration of the eye called new
 worlds into being, so now nothing more is needed than to re-create the
 soul--the mirror on which all things are reflected. Then is realized
 the prophecy of Isaiah, "Behold, I create all things new," "new
 heavens and a new earth."

 The conclusion of this verse proves to us why all these new creations
 were called into being--"wherein dwelleth righteousness." To be
 righteous makes all things new. We do not want a new world, we want
 _new hearts_. Let the Spirit of God purify society, and to the pure
 all things will be pure. The earth will put off the look of weariness
 and gloom which it has worn so long, and then the glorious language of
 the prophets will be fulfilled--"The forests will break out with
 singing, and the desert will blossom as the rose."



 XI.

 _Preached February 9, 1851._

 UNITY AND PEACE.


   "And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also
    ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful."--Colossians iii.
    15.

 There is something in these words that might surprise us. It might
 surprise us to find that peace is urged on us as a duty. There can be
 no duty except where there is a matter of obedience; and it might seem
 to us that peace is a something over which we have no power. It is a
 privilege to have peace, but it would appear as if there were no power
 of control within the mind of a man able to ensure that peace for
 itself. "Yet," says the apostle, "let the peace of God rule in your
 hearts."

 It would seem to _us_ as if peace were as far beyond our own control
 as happiness. Unquestionably, we are not masters on our own
 responsibility of our own happiness. Happiness is the gratification
 of every innocent desire; but it is not given to us to ensure the
 gratification of every desire; therefore, happiness is not a duty, and
 it is nowhere written in the Scripture, "You must be happy." But we
 find it written by the apostle Paul, "Be ye thankful," implying
 therefore, that peace is a duty. The apostle says, "Let the peace of
 God rule in your hearts;" from which we infer that peace is
 attainable, and within the reach of our own wills; that if there be
 not repose there is blame; if there be not peace but discord in the
 heart, there is something wrong.

 This is the more surprising when we remember the circumstances under
 which these words were written. They were written from Rome, where the
 apostle lay in prison, daily and hourly expecting a violent death.
 They were written in days of persecution, when false doctrines were
 rife, and religious animosities fierce; they were written in an
 epistle abounding with the most earnest and eager controversy, whereby
 it is therefore implied, that according to the conception of the
 Apostle Paul, it is possible for a Christian to live at the very point
 of death, and in the very midst of danger--that it is possible for him
 to be breathing the atmosphere of religious controversy--it is
 possible for him to be surrounded by bitterness, and even take up the
 pen of controversy himself--and yet his soul shall not lose its own
 deep peace, nor the power of the infinite repose and rest of God.
 Joined with the apostle's command to be at peace, we find another
 doctrine, the doctrine of the unity of the Church of Christ. "To the
 which ye are called in one body," in order that ye may be at peace; in
 other words, the unity of the Church of Christ is the basis on which,
 and on which alone, can be built the possibility of the inward peace
 of individuals.


 And thus, my Christian brethren, our subject divides itself into these
 two simple branches: in the first place, the unity of the Church of
 Christ; in the second place, the inward peace of the members of that
 Church.


 The first subject then, which we have to consider, is the Unity of the
 Church of Christ.

 And the first thing we have to do is both clearly to define and
 understand the meaning of that word "unity." I distinguish the unity
 of comprehensiveness from the unity of mere singularity. The word one,
 as oneness, is an ambiguous word. There is a oneness belonging to the
 army as well as to every soldier in the army. The army is one, and
 that is the oneness of unity; the soldier is one, but that is the
 oneness of the unit. There is a difference between the oneness of a
 body and the oneness of a member of that body. The body is many, and a
 unity of manifold comprehensiveness. An arm or a member of a body is
 one, but that is the unity of singularity. Without unity my Christian
 brethren, peace must be impossible. There can be no peace in the one
 single soldier of an army. You do not speak of the harmony of one
 member of a body. There is peace in an army, or in a kingdom joined
 with other kingdoms; there is harmony in a member united with other
 members. There is no peace in a unit, there is no possibility of the
 harmony of that which is but one in itself. In order to have peace you
 must have a higher unity, and therein consists the unity of God's own
 Being. The unity of God is the basis of the peace of God--meaning by
 the unity of God the comprehensive manifoldness of God, and not merely
 the singularity in the number of God's Being. When the Unitarian
 speaks of God as one, he means simply singularity of number. We mean
 that He is of manifold comprehensiveness--that there is unity between
 His various powers. Amongst the personalities or powers of His Being
 there is no discord, but perfect harmony, entire union; and that
 brethren, is repose, the blessedness of infinite rest, that belongs to
 the unity of God--"I and my Father are one."

 The second thing which we observe respecting this unity, is that it
 subsists between things not similar or alike, but things dissimilar or
 unlike. There is no unity in the separate atoms of a sand-pit; they
 are things similar; there is an aggregate or collection of them. Even
 if they be hardened in a mass they are not one, they do not form a
 unity: they are simply a mass. There is no unity in a flock of sheep:
 it is simply a repetition of a number of things similar to each other.
 If you strike off from a thousand five hundred, or if you strike off
 nine hundred, there is nothing lost of unity, because there never was
 unity. A flock of one thousand or a flock of five is just as much a
 flock as any other number.

 On the other hand, let us turn to the unity of peace which the apostle
 speaks of, and we find it is something different; it is made up of
 dissimilar members, without which dissimilarity there could be no
 unity. Each is imperfect in itself, each supplying what it has in
 itself to the deficiencies and wants of the other members. So, if you
 strike off from this body any one member, if you cut off an arm, or
 tear out an eye, instantly the unity is destroyed; you have no longer
 an entire and perfect body, there is nothing but a remnant of the
 whole, a part, a portion; no unity whatever.

 This will help us to understand the unity of the Church of Christ. If
 the ages and the centuries of the Church of Christ, if the different
 Churches whereof it was composed, if the different members of each
 Church, were similar--one in this, that they all held the same views,
 all spoke the same words, all viewed truth from the same side, they
 would have no unity; but would simply be an aggregate of atoms, the
 sand-pit over again--units, multiplied it may be to infinity, but you
 would have no real unity, and therefore, no peace. No unity,--for
 wherein consists the unity of the Church of Christ? The unity of ages,
 brethren, consists it in this--that every age is merely the repetition
 of another age, and that which is held in one is held in another?
 Precisely in the same way, that is _not_ the unity of the ages of the
 Christian Church.

 Every century and every age has held a different truth, has put forth
 different fragments of the truth. In early ages for example, by
 martyrdom was proclaimed the eternal sanctity of truth, rather than
 give up which a man must lose his life.... In our own age it is quite
 plain those are not the themes which engage us, or the truths which we
 put in force now. This age, by its revolutions, its socialisms,
 proclaims another truth--the brotherhood of the Church of Christ; so
 that the unity of ages subsists on the same principle as that of the
 unity of the human body: and just as every separate ray--the violet,
 the blue, and the orange--make up the white ray, so these manifold
 fragments of truth blended together make up the one entire and perfect
 white ray of Truth. And with regard to individuals, taking the case of
 the Reformation, it was given to one Church to proclaim that salvation
 is a thing received, and not local; to another to proclaim
 justification by faith; to another the sovereignty of God; to another
 the supremacy of the Scriptures; to another the right of private
 judgment, the duty of the individual conscience. Unite these all, and
 then you have the Reformation one--one in spite of manifoldness; those
 very varieties by which they have approached this proving them to be
 one. Disjoint them and then you have some miserable sect--Calvinism,
 or Unitarianism; the unity has dispersed. And so again with the unity
 of the Churches. Whereby would we produce unity? Would we force on
 other Churches our Anglicanism? Would we have our thirty-nine
 articles, our creeds, our prayers, our rules and regulations, accepted
 by every Church throughout the world? If that were unity, then in
 consistency you are bound to demand that in God's world there shall be
 but one colour instead of the manifold harmony and accordance of which
 this universe is full; that there should be but one chaunted note--the
 one which we conceive most beautiful. This is not the unity of the
 Church of God. The various Churches advance different doctrines and
 truths. The Church of Germany something different from those of the
 Church of England. The Church of Rome, even in its idolatry, proclaims
 truths which we would be glad to seize. By the worship of the Virgin,
 the purity of women; by the rigour of ecclesiastical ordinances, the
 sanctity and permanence of eternal order; by the very priesthood
 itself, the necessity of the guidance of man by man. Nay, even the
 dissenting bodies themselves--mere atoms of aggregates as they
 are--stand forward and proclaim at least this truth, the separateness
 of the individual conscience, the right of independence.

 Peace subsists not between things exactly alike. We do not speak of
 peace in a single country. We say peace subsists between different
 countries where war _might_ be. There can be no _peace_ between two
 men who agree in everything; peace subsists between those who differ.
 There is no peace between Baptist and Baptist; so far as they are
 Baptists, there is perfect accordance and agreement. There may be
 peace between you and the Romanist, the Jew, or the Dissenter, because
 there are angles of sharpness which might come into collision if they
 were not subdued and softened by the power of love. It was given to
 the Apostle Paul to discern that this was the ground of unity. In the
 Church of Christ he saw men with different views, and he said So far
 from that variety destroying unity, it was the only ground of unity.
 There are many doctrines, all of them different, but let those
 varieties be blended together--in other words, let there be the peace
 of love, and then you will have unity.

 Once more this unity, whereof the apostle speaks, consists in
 submission to one single influence or spirit. Wherein consists the
 unity of the body? Consists it not in this,--that there is one life
 uniting, making all the separate members one? Take away the life, and
 the members fall to pieces: they are no longer one; decomposition
 begins, and every element separates, no longer having any principle of
 cohesion or union with the rest.

 There is not one of us who, at some time or other, has not been struck
 with the power there is in a single living influence. Have we never
 for instance, felt the power wherewith the orator unites and holds
 together a thousand men as if they were but one; with flashing eyes
 and throbbing hearts, all attentive to his words, and by the
 difference of their attitudes, by the variety of the expressions of
 their countenances testifying to the unity of that single living
 feeling with which he had inspired them? Whether it be indignation,
 whether it be compassion, or whether it be enthusiasm, that one living
 influence made the thousand for the time, one. Have we not heard how,
 even in this century in which we live, the various and conflicting
 feelings of the people of this country were concentrated into one,
 when the threat of foreign invasion had fused down and broken the
 edges of conflict and variance, and from shore to shore was heard one
 cry of terrible defiance, and the different classes and orders of this
 manifold and mighty England were as one? Have we not heard how the
 mighty winds hold together, as if one, the various atoms of the
 desert, so that they rush like a living thing, across the wilderness?
 And this, brethren, is the unity of the Church of Christ, the
 subjection to the one uniting spirit of its God.

 It will be said, in reply to this, "Why this is mere enthusiasm. It
 may be very beautiful in theory, but it is impossible in practice. It
 is mere enthusiasm to believe, that while all these varieties of
 conflicting opinion remain, we can have unity; it is mere enthusiasm
 to think that so long as men's minds reckon on a thing like unity,
 there can be a thing like oneness." And our reply is, Give us the
 Spirit of God, and we shall be one. You cannot produce a unity by all
 the rigour of your ecclesiastical discipline. You cannot produce a
 unity by consenting in some form of expression such as this, "Let us
 agree to differ." You cannot produce a unity by Parliamentary
 regulations or enactments, bidding back the waves of what is called
 aggression. Give us the living Spirit of God, and we shall be one.

 Once on this earth was exhibited, as it were, a specimen of perfect
 anticipation of such an unity, when the "rushing mighty wind" of
 Pentecost came down in the tongues of fire and sat on every man; when
 the Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in
 Mesopotamia, the "Cretes and Arabians," the Jew and the Gentile, each
 speaking one language, yet blended and fused into one unity by
 enthusiastic love, heard one another speak as it were, in one
 language, the manifold works of God; when the spirit of giving was
 substituted for the spirit of mere rivalry and competition, and no man
 said the things he had were his own, but all shared in common. Let
 that spirit come again, as come it will, and come it must; and then,
 beneath the influences of a mightier love, we shall have a nobler and
 a more real unity.


 We pass on now, in the second place, to consider the _individual
 peace_ resulting from this unity. As we have endeavoured to explain
 what is meant by unity, so now, let us endeavour to understand what is
 meant by peace. Peace then, is the opposite of passion, and of labour,
 toil, and effort. Peace is that state in which there are no desires
 madly demanding an impossible gratification; that state in which there
 is no misery, no remorse, no sting. And there are but three things
 which can break that peace. The first is discord between the mind of
 man and the lot which he is called on to inherit; the second is
 discord between the affections and powers of the soul; and the third
 is doubt of the rectitude, and justice, and love, wherewith this world
 is ordered. But where these things exist not, where a man is contented
 with his lot, where the flesh is subdued to the spirit, and where he
 believes and feels with all his heart that all is right, there is
 peace, and to this says the apostle, "ye are called,"--the grand,
 peculiar call of Christianity,--the call, "Come unto Me, all ye that
 labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

 This was the dying bequest of Christ: "Peace I leave with you, my
 peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth give I unto you:" and
 therein lies one of the greatest truths of the blessed and eternal
 character of Christianity, that it applies to, and satisfies the very
 deepest want and craving of our nature. The deepest want of man is not
 a desire for happiness, but a craving for peace; not a wish for the
 gratification of every desire, but a craving for the repose of
 acquiescence in the will of God; and it is this which Christianity
 promises. Christianity does not promise happiness, but it does promise
 peace. "In the world ye shall have tribulation," saith our Master,
 "but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." Now, let us look
 more closely, into this peace.

 The first thing we see respecting it is, that it is called God's
 peace. God is rest: the infinite nature of God is infinite repose. The
 "_I am_" of God is contrasted with the _I am become_ of all other
 things. Everything else is in a state of _becoming_, God is in a state
 of _Being_. The acorn has become the plant, and the plant has become
 the oak. The child has become the man, and the man has become good, or
 wise, or whatever else it may be. God ever _is_; and I pray you once
 more to observe, that this peace of God, this eternal rest in the
 Almighty Being, arises out of His unity. Not because He is an unit,
 but because He is an unity. There is no discord between the powers and
 attributes of the mind of God; there is no discord between His justice
 and His love; there is no discord demanding some miserable expedient
 to unite them together, such as some theologians imagined when they
 described the sacrifice and atonement of our Redeemer by saying, it is
 the clever expedient whereby God reconciles His justice with His love.
 God's justice and love are one. Infinite justice must be infinite
 love. Justice is but another sign of love. The infinite rest of the
 "_I am_" of God arises out of the harmony of His attributes.

 The next thing we observe respecting this divine peace which has come
 down to man on earth is, that it is a _living peace_. Brethren, let us
 distinguish. There are several things called peace which are by no
 means divine or Godlike peace. There is peace, for example, in the man
 who lives for and enjoys self, with no nobler aspiration goading him
 on to make him feel the rest of God; that is peace, but that is merely
 the peace of toil. There is rest on the surface of the caverned lake,
 which no wind can stir; but that is the peace of stagnation. There is
 peace amongst the stones which have fallen and rolled down the
 mountain's side, and lie there quietly at rest; but that is the peace
 of inanity. There is peace in the hearts of enemies who lie together,
 side by side, in the same trench of the battle-field, the animosities
 of their souls silenced at length, and their hands no longer clenched
 in deadly enmity against each other; but that is the peace of death.
 If our peace be but the peace of the sensualist satisfying pleasure,
 if it be but the peace of mental torpor and inaction, the peace of
 apathy, or the peace of the soul dead in trespasses and sins, we may
 whisper to ourselves, "Peace, peace," but there will be no peace;
 _there_ is not the peace of unity nor the peace of God, for the peace
 of God is the living peace of love.

 The next thing we observe respecting this peace is, that it is the
 manifestation of power--it is the peace which comes from an inward
 power: "Let the peace of God," says the Apostle, "rule within your
 hearts." For it is a power, the manifestation of strength. There is no
 peace except there is the possibility of the opposite of peace
 although now restrained and controlled. You do not speak of the peace
 of a grain of sand, because it cannot be otherwise than merely
 insignificant, and at rest. You do not speak of the peace of a mere
 pond; you speak of the peace of the sea, because there is the opposite
 of peace implied, there is power and strength. And this brethren, is
 the real character of the peace in the mind and soul of man. Oh! we
 make a great mistake when we say there is strength in passion, in the
 exhibition of emotion. Passion, and emotion, and all those outward
 manifestations, prove, not strength, but weakness. If the passions of
 a man are strong, it proves the man himself is weak, if he cannot
 restrain or control his passions. The real strength and majesty of the
 soul of man is calmness, the manifestation of strength; "the peace of
 God" ruling; the word of Christ saying to the inward storms "Peace!"
 and there is "a great calm."

 Lastly, the peace of which the apostle speaks is the peace that is
 received--the peace of reception. You will observe, throughout this
 passage the apostle speaks of a something received, and not done: "Let
 the peace of God rule in your hearts." It is throughout receptive, but
 by no means inactive. And according to this, there are two kinds of
 peace; the peace of obedience--"Let the peace of God rule" you--and
 there is the peace of gratefulness--"Be ye thankful." Very great,
 brethren, is the peace of obedience: when a man has his lot fixed, and
 his mind made up, and he sees his destiny before him, and quietly
 acquiesces in it; his spirit is at rest. Great and deep is the peace
 of the soldier to whom has been assigned even an untenable position,
 with the command, "Keep that, even if you die," and he obediently
 remains to die.

 Great was the peace of Elisha--very, very calm are those words by
 which he expressed his acquiescence in the divine will. "Knowest
 thou," said the troubled, excited, and restless men around
 him--"Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy master from thy
 head to-day?" He answered, "Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace." Then
 there is the other peace, it is the peace of gratefulness: "Be ye
 thankful." It is that peace which the Israelites had when these words
 were spoken to them on the shores of the Red Sea, while the bodies of
 their enemies floated past them, destroyed, but not by them: "Stand
 still and see the salvation of the Lord."

 And here brethren, is another mistake of ours: we look on salvation as
 a thing to be done, and not received. In God's salvation we can do but
 little, but there is a great deal to be received. We are here, not
 merely to act, but to be acted upon. "Let the peace of God rule in
 your hearts;" there is a peace that will enter there, if you do not
 thwart it; there is a Spirit that will take possession of your soul,
 provided that you do not quench it. In this world we are recipients,
 not creators. In obedience and in gratefulness, and the infinite peace
 of God in the soul of man, is alone to be found deep calm repose.



 XII.

 _Preached January 4, 1852._

 THE CHRISTIAN AIM AND MOTIVE.

   "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven
    is perfect."--Matthew v. 48.


 There are two erroneous views held respecting the character of the
 Sermon on the Mount. The first may be called an error of
 worldly-minded men, the other an error of mistaken religionists.
 Worldly-minded men--men that is, in whom the devotional feeling is but
 feeble--are accustomed to look upon morality as the whole of religion;
 and they suppose that the Sermon on the Mount was designed only to
 explain and enforce correct principles of morality. It tells of human
 duties and human proprieties, and an attention to these, they
 maintain, is the only religion which is required by it. Strange my
 Christian brethren, that men, whose lives are least remarkable for
 superhuman excellence, should be the very men to refer most frequently
 to those sublime comments on Christian principle, and should so
 confidently conclude from thence, that themselves are right and all
 others are wrong. Yet so it is.

 The other is an error of mistaken religionists. They sometimes regard
 the Sermon on the Mount as if it were a collection of moral precepts,
 and consequently, strictly speaking, not Christianity at all. To them
 it seems as if the chief value, the chief intention of the discourse,
 was to show the breadth and spirituality of the requirements of the
 law of Moses--its chief religious significance, to show the utter
 impossibility of fulfilling the law, and thus to lead to the necessary
 inference that justification must be by faith alone. And so they would
 not scruple to assert that, in the highest sense of that term, it is
 not Christianity at all, but only preparatory to it--a kind of
 spiritual Judaism; and that the higher and more developed principles
 of Christianity are to be found in the writings of the apostles.
 Before we proceed further, we would remark here that it seems
 extremely startling to say that He who came to this world expressly to
 preach the Gospel, should, in the most elaborate of all His
 discourses, omit to do so: it is indeed something more than startling,
 it is absolutely revolting to suppose that the letters of those who
 spoke _of_ Christ, should contain a more perfectly-developed, a freer
 and fuller Christianity than is to be found in Christ's own words.

 Now you will observe that these two parties, so opposed to each other
 in their general religious views, are agreed in this--that the Sermon
 on the Mount is nothing but morality. The man of the world says--"It
 is morality only, and that is the whole of religion." The mistaken
 religionist says--"It is morality only, not the entire essence of
 Christianity." In opposition to both these views, we maintain that the
 Sermon on the Mount contains the sum and substance of
 Christianity--the very chief matter of the gospel of our Redeemer.

 It is not, you will observe, a pure and spiritualized Judaism; it is
 contrasted with Judaism again and again by Him who spoke it. Quoting
 the words of Moses, he affirmed, "So was it spoken by them of old
 time, but _I say unto you_--" For example, "Thou shalt not forswear
 thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths." That is
 Judaism. "But I say unto you swear not at all, but let your yea be
 yea, and your nay nay." That is Christianity. And that which is the
 essential peculiarity of this Christianity lies in these two things.
 First of all, that the morality which it teaches is _disinterested_
 goodness--goodness not for the sake of the blessing that follows it,
 but for its own sake, and because it is right. "Love your enemies," is
 the Gospel precept. Why?--Because if you love them you shall be
 blessed; and if you do not cursed? No; but "Love your enemies, bless
 them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them
 which despitefully use you and persecute you, that ye may be the
 children of"--that is, may be like--"your Father which is in Heaven."
 The second essential peculiarity of Christianity--and this, too, is an
 essential peculiarity of this Sermon--is, that it teaches and enforces
 the law of self-sacrifice. "If thy right eye offend thee pluck it out;
 if thy right hand offend thee cut it off." This, brethren, is the law
 of self-sacrifice--the very law and spirit of the blessed cross of
 Christ.

 How deeply and essentially Christian, then, this Sermon on the Mount
 is, we shall understand if we are enabled in any measure to reach the
 meaning and spirit of the single passage which I have taken as my
 text. It tells two things--the Christian aim and the Christian motive.

 1st. The Christian aim--perfection. 2nd. The Christian
 motive--because it is right and Godlike to be perfect.

 I. The Christian aim is this--to be perfect. "Be ye therefore
 perfect." Now distinguish this, I pray you, from mere worldly
 morality. It is not conformity to a creed that is here required, but
 aspiration after a _state_. It is not demanded of us to perform a
 number of duties, but to yield obedience to a certain spiritual law.
 But let us endeavour to explain this more fully. What is the meaning
 of this expression, "Be ye perfect?" Why is it that in this discourse,
 instead of being commanded to perform religious duties, we are
 commanded to think of being like God? Will not that inflame our pride,
 and increase our natural vainglory? Now the nature and possibility of
 human perfection, what it is and how it is possible, are both
 contained in one single expression in the text. "Even as your Father
 which is in Heaven is perfect." The relationship between father and
 son implies consanguinity, likeness, similarity of character and
 nature. God _made_ the insect, the stone, the lily; but God is not the
 Father of the caterpillar, the lily, or the stone.

 When therefore, God is said to be our Father, something more is
 implied in this than that God created man. And so when the Son of Man
 came proclaiming the fact that we are the children of God, it was in
 the truest sense a revelation. He told us that the nature of God
 resembles the nature of man, that love in God is not a mere figure of
 speech, but means the same thing as love in us, and that divine anger
 is the same thing as human anger divested of its emotions and
 imperfections. When we are commanded to be like God, it implies that
 God has that nature of which we have already the germs. And this has
 been taught by the incarnation of the Redeemer. Things absolutely
 dissimilar in their nature cannot mingle. Water cannot coalesce with
 fire--water cannot mix with oil. If, then, Humanity and Divinity were
 united in the person of the Redeemer, it follows that there must be
 something kindred between the two, or else the incarnation had been
 impossible. So that the incarnation is the realization of man's
 perfection.

 But let us examine more deeply this assertion, that _our_ nature is
 kindred with that of God--for if man has not a nature kindred to
 God's, then a demand such as that, "Be ye the children of"--that is,
 like--"God," is but a mockery of man. We say then, in the first place,
 that in the truest sense of the word man can be a creator. The beaver
 _makes_ its hole, the bee _makes_ its cell; man alone has the power of
 _creating_. The mason _makes_, the architect _creates_. In the same
 sense that we say God created the universe, we say that man is also a
 creator. The creation of the universe was the Eternal Thought taking
 reality. And thought taking expression is also a creation. Whenever
 therefore, there is a living thought shaping itself in word or in
 stone, there is there a creation. And therefore it is, that the
 simplest effort of what we call genius is prized infinitely more than
 the most elaborate performances which are done by mere workmanship,
 and for this reason: that the one is produced by an effort of power
 which we share with the beaver and the bee, that of _making_, and the
 other by a faculty and power which man alone shares with God.

 Here however, you will observe another difficulty. It will be said at
 once--there is something in this comparison of man with God which
 looks like blasphemy, because one is finite and the other
 infinite--man is bounded, God boundless; and to speak of resemblance
 and kindred between these two, is to speak of resemblance and kindred
 between two natures essentially different. But this is precisely the
 argument which is brought by the Socinians against the doctrine of
 the incarnation; and we are bound to add that the Socinian argument is
 right, unless there be the similarity of which we have been speaking.
 Unless there be something in man's nature which truly and properly
 partakes of the divine nature, there could be no incarnation, and the
 demand for perfection would be a mockery and an impossibility.

 Let us then endeavour to find out the evidences of this infinitude in
 the nature of man. First of all we find it in this--that the desires
 of man are for something boundless and unattainable. Thus speaks our
 Lord--"What shall it profit a man if he should gain the whole world
 and lose his own soul?" Every schoolboy has heard the story of the
 youthful prince who enumerated one by one the countries he meant to
 conquer year after year; and when the enumeration was completed, was
 asked what he meant to do when all those victories were achieved, and
 he replied--to sit down, to be happy, to take his rest. But then came
 the ready rejoinder--Why not do so now? But it is not every schoolboy
 who has paused to consider the folly of the question. He who asked his
 son why he did not at once take the rest which it was his ultimate
 purpose to enjoy, knew not the immensity and nobility of the human
 soul. He could not _then_ take his rest and be happy. As long as one
 realm remained unconquered, so long rest was impossible; he would weep
 for fresh worlds to conquer. And thus, that which was spoken by our
 Lord of one earthly gratification, is true of all--"Whosoever drinketh
 of this water shall thirst again." The boundless, endless, infinite
 void in the soul of man can be satisfied with nothing but God.
 Satisfaction lies not in _having_, but in _being_. There is no
 satisfaction even in _doing_. Man cannot be satisfied with his own
 performances. When the righteous young ruler came to Christ, and
 declared that in reference to the life gone by, he had kept all the
 commandments and fulfilled all the duties required by the Law, still
 came the question--"What lack I yet?"

 The Scribes and Pharisees were the strictest observers of the
 ceremonies of the Jewish religion, "touching the righteousness which
 is by the Law" they were blameless, but yet they wanted something more
 than that, and they were found on the brink of Jordan imploring the
 baptism of John, seeking after a new and higher state than they had
 yet attained to,--a significant proof that man cannot be satisfied
 with his own works. And again, there is not one of us who has ever
 been satisfied with his own performances. There is no man whose doings
 are worth anything, who has not felt that he has not yet done that
 which he feels himself able to do. While he was doing it, he was kept
 up by the spirit of hope; but when done the thing seemed to him
 worthless. And therefore it is that the author cannot read his own
 book again, nor the sculptor look with pleasure upon his finished
 work. With respect to one of the greatest of all modern sculptors, we
 are told that he longed for the termination of his earthly career,
 for this reason--that he had been satisfied with his own performance:
 satisfied for the first time in his life. And this expression of his
 satisfaction was but equivalent to saying that he had reached the
 goal, beyond which there could be no progress. This impossibility of
 being satisfied with his own performances is one of the strongest
 proofs of our immortality--a proof of that perfection towards which we
 shall for ever tend, but which we can never attain.

 A second trace of this infinitude in man's nature we find in the
 infinite capacities of the soul. This is true intellectually and
 morally. With reference to our intellectual capacities, it would
 perhaps be more strictly correct to say that they are indefinite,
 rather than infinite; that is we can affix to them no limit. For there
 is no man, however low his intellectual powers may be, who has not at
 one time or another felt a rush of thought, a glow of inspiration,
 which seemed to make all things possible, as if it were merely the
 effect of some imperfect organization which stood in the way of his
 doing whatever he desired to do. With respect to our moral and
 spiritual capacities, we remark that they are not only indefinite, but
 absolutely infinite. Let that man answer who has ever truly and
 heartily loved another. That man knows what it is to partake of the
 infinitude of God. Literally, in the emphatic language of the Apostle
 John, he has felt his immortality--"God in him and he in God." For
 that moment, infinitude was to him not a name, but a reality. He
 entered into the infinite of time and space, which is not measured by
 days, or months, or years, but is alike boundless and eternal.

 Again, we perceive a third trace of this infinitude in man, in the
 power which he possesses of giving up self. In this, perhaps more than
 in anything else, man may claim kindred with God. Nor is this power
 confined to the best of mankind, but is possessed, to some extent at
 least, by all. There is no man, how low soever he may be, who has not
 one or two causes or secrets, which no earthly consideration would
 induce him to betray. There is no man who does not feel towards one or
 two at least, in this world, a devotion which all the bribes of the
 universe would not be able to shake. We have heard the story of that
 degraded criminal who, when sentence of death was passed upon him,
 turned to his accomplice in guilt, in whose favour a verdict of
 acquittal was brought in, and in glorious self-forgetfulness
 exclaimed--"Thank God, _you_ are saved!" The savage and barbarous
 Indian whose life has been one unbroken series of cruelty and crime,
 will submit to a slow, lingering, torturing death, rather than betray
 his country. Now, what shall we say to these things? Do they not tell
 of an indestructible something in the nature of man, of which the
 origin is divine?--the remains of a majesty which, though it may be
 sullied, can never be entirely lost?

 Before passing on let us observe, that were it not for this conviction
 of the divine origin, and consequent perfectibility of our nature,
 the very thought of God would be painful to us. God is so great, so
 glorious, that the mind is overwhelmed by, and shrinks from, the
 contemplation of His excellence, unless there comes the tender,
 ennobling thought that we are the children of God, who are to become
 like our Father in Heaven, whose blessed career it is to go on in an
 advance of love and duty towards Him, until we love Him as we are
 loved, and know Him almost as we are known.


 II. We pass on, in the second place, to consider the Christian
 motive--"Even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect." Brethren,
 worldly prudence, miscalled morality, says--"Be honest; you will find
 your gain in being so. Do right; you will be the better for it--even
 in this world you will not lose by it." The mistaken religionist only
 magnifies this on a large scale. "Your duty," he says, "is to save
 your soul. Give up this world to have the next. Lose _here_, that you
 may gain _hereafter_." Now this is but prudence after all--it is but
 magnified selfishness, carried on into eternity,--none the more noble
 for being _eternal_ selfishness. In opposition to all such sentiments
 as these, thus speaks the Gospel--"Be ye perfect." Why? "Because your
 Father which is in Heaven is perfect." Do right, because it is Godlike
 and right so to do. Here however, let us be understood. We do not mean
 to say that the Gospel ignores altogether the personal results of
 doing right. This would be unnatural--because God has linked together
 well-doing and blessedness. But we do say that this blessedness is not
 the motive which the Gospel gives us. It is true the Gospel
 says--"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth; blessed
 are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy; blessed are they which
 do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled."
 But when these are made our motives--when we become meek in order that
 we may inherit here--then the promised enjoyment will not come. If we
 are merciful merely that we may ourselves obtain mercy, we shall not
 have that in-dwelling love of God which is the result and token of His
 forgiveness. Such was the law and such the example of our Lord and
 Master.

 True it is that in the prosecution of the great work of redemption He
 had "respect to the recompense of reward." True it is He was
 conscious--how could He but be conscious--that when His work was
 completed He should be "glorified with that glory which He had with
 the Father before the world began;" but we deny that this was the
 _motive_ which induced Him to undertake that work; and that man has a
 very mistaken idea of the character of the Redeemer, and understands
 but little of His spirit, who has so mean an opinion of Him as to
 suppose that it was any consideration of personal happiness and
 blessedness which led the Son of God to die. "For this end was He
 born, and for this end came He into the world to bear witness unto the
 Truth," and "to finish the work which was given Him to do."

 If we were asked, Can you select one text in which more than in any
 other this unselfish, disinterested feature comes forth, it should be
 this, "Love ye your enemies, do good and lend, hoping for nothing
 again." This is the true spirit of Christianity--doing right
 disinterestedly, not from the hope of any personal advantage or
 reward, either temporal or spiritual, but entirely forgetting self,
 "hoping for nothing again." When that glorious philanthropist, whose
 whole life had been spent in procuring the abolition of the
 slave-trade, was demanded of by some systematic theologian, whether in
 his ardour in this great cause he had not been neglecting his personal
 prospects, and endangering his own soul, this was his magnanimous
 reply--one of those which show the light of truth breaking through
 like an inspiration. He said, "I did not think about my own soul, I
 had no time to think about myself, I had forgotten all about my soul."
 The Christian is not concerned about his own happiness; he has not
 time to consider himself; he has not time to put that selfish question
 which the disciples put to their Lord, when they were but half
 baptized with His spirit, "Lo, we have left all and followed Thee,
 what shall we have therefore?"

 In conclusion we observe, there are two things which are to be learned
 from this passage. The first is this, that happiness is not our end
 and aim. It has been said, and has since been repeated as frequently
 as if it were an indisputable axiom, that "Happiness is our being's
 end and aim." Brethren, happiness is _not_ our being's end and aim.
 The Christian's aim is perfection, not happiness, and every one of the
 sons of God must have something of that spirit which marked their
 Master; that holy sadness, that peculiar unrest, that high and lofty
 melancholy which belongs to a spirit which strives after heights to
 which it can never attain.

 The second thing we have to learn is this, that on this earth there
 can be no rest for man. By rest we mean the attainment of a state
 beyond which there can be no change. Politically, morally,
 spiritually, there can be no rest for man here. In one country alone
 has that system been fully carried out which, conservative of the
 past, excludes all desire of progress and improvement for the future:
 but it is not to China that we should look for the perfection of human
 society. There is one ecclesiastical system which carries out the same
 spirit, looking rather to the Church of the past than to the Church of
 the future; but it is not in the Romish that we shall find the model
 of a Christian Church. In Paradise it may have been right to be at
 rest, to desire no change, but ever since the Fall every system that
 tends to check the onward progress of mankind is fatally, radically,
 curelessly wrong. The motto on every Christian banner is "Forwards."
 There is no resting in the present, no satisfaction in the past.

 The last thing we learn from this is the impossibility of obtaining
 that of which some men speak--the satisfaction of a good conscience.
 Some men write and speak as if the difference between the Christian
 and the worldly man was this, that in the one conscience is a
 self-reproaching hell, and in the other a self-congratulating heaven.
 Oh, brethren, is this the fact? Think you that the Christian goes home
 at night counting up the noble deeds done during the day, saying to
 himself, "Well done, good and faithful servant?" Brethren, that habit
 of looking forwards to the future prevents all pride and
 self-righteousness, and makes our best and only rest and satisfaction
 to consist in contemplating the future which is bringing us nearer and
 nearer home. Our motto, therefore, must be that striking one of the
 Apostle Paul, "Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching
 forth to those things which are before, I press towards the mark for
 the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."



 XIII.

 _Preached January 4, 1852._

 CHRISTIAN CASUISTRY.


   "Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become
    uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be
    circumcised. Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is
    nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God. Let every man
    abide in the same calling wherein he was called. Art thou called
    being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free
    use it rather. For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant,
    is the Lord's freeman; likewise also he that is called being free,
    is Christ's servant. Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the
    servants of men. Brethren, let every man wherein he is called
    therein abide with God."--1 Corinthians, vii. 18-24.

 The whole of these seven chapters of the First Epistle of the Apostle
 Paul to the Corinthians, is occupied with questions of Christian
 casuistry. In the application of the principles of Christianity to the
 varying circumstances of life, innumerable difficulties had arisen,
 and the Corinthians upon these difficulties had put certain questions
 to the Apostle Paul. This seventh chapter contains the apostle's
 answer to many of these questions. There are however, two great
 divisions into which these answers generally fall. St. Paul makes a
 distinction between those things which he speaks by commandment and
 those which he speaks only by permission; there is a distinction
 between what he says as from the Lord, and what only from himself;
 between that which he speaks to them as being taught of God, and that
 which he speaks only as a servant, "called of the Lord and faithful."

 It is manifestly plain that there are many questions in which _right_
 and _wrong_ are not variable, but indissoluble and fixed; while there
 are questions, on the other hand, where these terms are not fixed, but
 variable, fluctuating, altering, dependent upon circumstances. As, for
 instance, those in which the apostle teaches in the present chapter
 the several duties and advantages of marriage and celibacy. There may
 be circumstances in which it is the duty of a Christian man to be
 married, there are others in which it may be his duty to remain
 unmarried. For instance, in the case of a missionary it may be right
 to be married rather than unmarried; on the other hand, in the case of
 a pauper, not having the wherewithal to bring up and maintain a
 family, it may be proper to remain unmarried. You will observe
 however, that no fixed law can be laid down upon this subject. We
 cannot say marriage is a Christian duty, nor celibacy is a Christian
 duty; nor that it is in every case the duty of a missionary to be
 married, or of a pauper to be unmarried. All these things must vary
 according to circumstances, and the duty must be stated not
 universally, but with reference to those circumstances.

 These therefore, are questions of casuistry, which depend upon the
 particular _case_: from which word the term "casuistry" is derived. On
 these points the apostle speaks not by commandment, but by permission;
 not as speaking by God's command, but as having the Spirit of God. A
 distinction has sometimes been drawn with reference to this chapter
 between that which the apostle speaks by inspiration, and what he
 speaks as a man uninspired. The distinction, however, is an altogether
 false one, and beside the question. For the real distinction is not
 between inspired and uninspired, but between a _decision_ in matters
 of Christian duty, and _advice_ in matters of Christian prudence. It
 is abundantly evident that God cannot give advice; He can only issue a
 command. God cannot say, "It is better to do this;" His perfections
 demand something absolute: "Thou shalt _do_ this; thou shalt _not_ do
 this." Whensoever therefore, we come to advice there is introduced
 the human element rather than the divine. In all such cases therefore,
 as are dependent upon circumstances the apostle speaks not as
 inspired, but as uninspired; as one whose judgment we have no right to
 find fault with or to cavil at, who lays down what is a matter of
 Christian prudence, and not a bounden and universal duty. The matter
 of the present discourse will take in various verses in this
 chapter--from the tenth to the twenty-fourth verse--leaving part of
 the commencement and the conclusion for our consideration, if God
 permit, next Sunday.

 There are three main questions on which the apostle here gives his
 inspired decision. The first decision is concerning the sanctity of
 the marriage-bond between two Christians. His verdict is given in the
 tenth verse: "Unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let
 not the wife depart from her husband." He lays down this principle,
 that the union is an indissoluble one.

 Upon such a subject, Christian brethren, before a mixed congregation,
 it is manifestly evident that we can only speak in general terms. It
 will be sufficient to say that marriage is of all earthly unions
 almost the only one permitting of no change but that of death. It is
 that engagement in which man exerts his most awful and solemn
 power,--the power of responsibility which belongs to him as one that
 shall give account,--the power of abnegating the right to change,--the
 power of parting with his freedom,--the power of doing _that_ which in
 this world can never be reversed. And yet it is perhaps that
 relationship which is spoken of most frivolously, and entered into
 most carelessly and most wantonly. It is not an union merely between
 two creatures, it is an union between two spirits; and the intention
 of that bond is to perfect the nature of both, by supplementing their
 deficiencies with the force of contrast, giving to each sex those
 excellencies in which it is naturally deficient; to the one strength
 of character and firmness of moral will, to the other sympathy,
 meekness, tenderness. And just so solemn, and just so glorious as
 these ends are for which the union was contemplated and intended, just
 so terrible are the consequences if it be perverted and abused. For
 there is no earthly relationship which has so much power to ennoble
 and to exalt. Very strong language does the apostle use in this
 chapter respecting it: "What knoweth thou, O wife, whether thou shalt
 _save_ thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt
 save thy wife?" The very power of _saving_ belongs to this
 relationship. And on the other hand, there is no earthly relationship
 which has so much power to wreck and ruin the soul. For there are two
 rocks in this world of ours on which the soul must either anchor or be
 wrecked. The one is God; the other is the sex opposite to itself. The
 one is the "Rock of Ages," on which if the human soul anchors it lives
 the blessed life of faith; against which if the soul be dashed and
 broken, there ensues the wreck of Atheism--the worst ruin of the soul.
 The other rock is of another character. Blessed is the man, blessed is
 the woman whose life-experience has taught a confiding belief in the
 excellencies of the sex opposite to their own--a blessedness second
 only to the blessedness of salvation. And the ruin in the other case
 is second only to the ruin of everlasting perdition--the same wreck
 and ruin of the soul.

 These then, are the two tremendous alternatives: on the one hand the
 possibility of securing, in all sympathy and tenderness, the laying of
 that step on which man rises towards his perfection; on the other hand
 the blight of all sympathy, to be dragged down to earth, and forced to
 become frivolous and common-place; to lose all zest and earnestness in
 life, to have heart and life degraded by mean and
 perpetually-recurring sources of disagreement; these are the two
 alternatives, and it is the worst of these alternatives which the
 young risk when they form an inconsiderate union, excusably
 indeed--because through inexperience; and it is the worst of these
 alternatives which parents risk--not excusably but inexcusably--when
 they bring up their children with no higher view of what that tie is,
 than the merely prudential one of a rich and honourable marriage.

 The second decision which the apostle makes respecting another of the
 questions proposed to him by the Corinthians, is as to the sanctity of
 the marriage bond between a Christian and one who is a heathen. When
 Christianity first entered into our world, and was little understood,
 it seemed to threaten the dislocation and alteration of all existing
 relationships. Many difficulties arose; such for instance, as the one
 here started. When of two heathen parties only one was converted to
 Christianity, the question arose, What in this case is the duty of the
 Christian? Is not the duty separation? Is not the marriage in itself
 null and void? as if it were an union between one dead and one living?
 And that perpetual contact with a heathen, and therefore an enemy of
 God, is not that in a relation so close and intimate, perpetual
 defilement? The apostle decides this with his usual inspired wisdom.
 He decides that the marriage-bond is sacred still. Diversities of
 religious opinion, even the farthest and widest diversity, cannot
 sanction separation. And so he decides in the 13th verse, "The woman
 which hath an husband that believeth not, if he be pleased to dwell
 with her, let her not leave him." And, "if any brother hath a wife
 that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not
 put her away," v. 12.

 Now for us in the present day, the decision on this point is not of so
 much importance as the reason which is adduced in support of it. The
 proof which the Apostle gives of the sanctity of the marriage is
 exceedingly remarkable. Practically it amounts to this;--If this were
 no marriage, but an unhallowed alliance, it would follow as a
 necessary consequence that the offspring could not be reckoned in any
 sense as the children of God; but, on the other hand, it is the
 instinctive, unwavering conviction of every Christian parent, united
 though he or she may be to a heathen, "My child is a child of God,"
 or, in the Jewish form of expression, "My child is _clean_." So the
 apostle says, "the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and
 the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your
 children unclean; but now they are holy," for it follows if the
 children are holy in this sense of dedicated to God, and are capable
 of Christian relationship, then the marriage relation was not
 unhallowed, but sacred and indissoluble.

 The value of this argument in the present day depends on its relation
 to baptism. The great question we are deciding in the present day may
 be reduced to a very few words. This question--the Baptismal
 question--is this:--whether we are baptized because we _are_ the
 children of God, or, whether we are the children of God because we are
 _baptized_; whether in other words, when the Catechism of the Church
 of England says that by baptism we are "made the children of God," we
 are to understand thereby that we are made something which we were not
 before--magically and mysteriously changed; or, whether we are to
 understand that we are made the children of God by baptism in the same
 sense that a sovereign is made a sovereign by coronation. Here the
 apostle's argument is full, decisive, and unanswerable. He does not
 say that these children were Christian, or clean, because they were
 _baptized_, but they were the children of God because they were the
 children of one Christian parent; nay more than that, such children
 could scarcely ever have been baptized, because, if the rite met with
 opposition from one of the parents, it would be an entire and perfect
 veto to the possibility of baptism. You will observe that the very
 fundamental idea out of which infant-baptism arises is, that the
 impression produced upon the mind and character of the child by the
 Christian parent, makes the child one of a Christian community; and,
 therefore, as Peter argued that Cornelius had received the Holy Ghost,
 and so was to be baptized, just in the same way, as they are adopted
 into the Christian family and receive a Christian impression, the
 children of Christian parents are also to be baptized.

 Observe also the important truth which comes out collaterally from
 this argument--namely, the sacredness of the impression, which arises
 from the close connection between parent and child. Stronger far than
 education--going on before education can commence, possibly from the
 very first moments of consciousness, we begin to impress ourselves on
 our children. Our character, voice, features, qualities--modified, no
 doubt, by entering into a new human being, and into a different
 organization--are impressed upon our children. Not the inculcation of
 opinions, but much rather the formation of principles, and of the tone
 of character, the derivation of qualities. Physiologists tell us of
 the derivation of the mental qualities from the father, and of the
 moral from the mother. But be this as it may, there is scarcely one
 here who cannot trace back his present religious character to some
 impression, in early life, from one or other of his parents--a tone, a
 look, a word, a habit, or even, it may be, a bitter, miserable
 exclamation of remorse.

 The third decision which the apostle gives, the third principle which
 he lays down, is but the development of the last. Christianity he
 says, does not interfere with existing relationships. First he lays
 down the principle, and then unfolds the principle in two ways,
 ecclesiastically and civilly. The principle he lays down in almost
 every variety of form. In the 17th verse, "As God hath distributed to
 every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk." In the
 20th verse, "Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was
 called." In the 24th verse, "Brethren, let every man wherein he is
 called therein abide with God." This is the principle. Christianity
 was not to interfere with existing relationships; Christian men were
 to remain in those relationships in which they were, and in them to
 develope the inward spirituality of the Christian life. Then he
 applies this principle in two ways. First of all, ecclesiastically.
 With respect to their church, or ecclesiastical affairs, he says--"Is
 any man called being circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised. Is
 any man in uncircumcision? Let him not be circumcised." In other
 words, the Jews, after their conversion, were to continue Jews, if
 they would. Christianity required no change in these outward things,
 for it was not in _these_ that the depth and reality of the kingdom of
 Christ consisted. So the Apostle Paul took Timothy and circumcised
 him; so, also, he used all the Jewish customs with which he was
 familiar, and performed a vow, as related in the Acts of the Apostles,
 "having shorn his head in Cenchrea; for he had a vow." It was not his
 opinion that it was the duty of a Christian to overthrow the Jewish
 system. He knew that the Jewish system could not last, but what he
 wanted was to vitalize the system--to throw into it not a Jewish, but
 a Christian feeling; and so doing, he might continue in it so long as
 it would hold together. And so it was no doubt, with all the other
 apostles. We have no evidence that before the destruction of the
 Jewish polity, there was any attempt made by them to overthrow the
 Jewish external religion. They kept the Jewish Sabbath, and observed
 the Jewish ritual. One of them, James, the Christian Bishop of
 Jerusalem, though a Christian, was even among the Jews remarkable and
 honourable for the regularity with which he observed all his Jewish
 duties. Now let us apply this to modern duties. The great desire among
 men now, appears to be to alter institutions, to have perfect
 institutions, as if _they_ would make perfect men. Mark the difference
 between this feeling and that of the apostle, "Let every man abide in
 the same calling wherein he was called." We are called to be members
 of the Church of England--what is our duty now? What would Paul have
 done? Is this our duty--to put such questions to ourselves as these?
 "Is there any single, particular sentence in the service of my Church
 with which I do not entirely agree? Is there any single ceremony with
 which my whole soul does not go along? If so, then is it my duty to
 leave it at once?" No, my brethren, all that we have to do is to say,
 "All our existing institutions are those under which God has placed
 us, under which we are to mould our lives according to His will." It
 is our duty to vitalize our forms, to throw into them a holier, deeper
 meaning. My Christian brethren, surely no man will get true rest, true
 repose for his soul in these days of controversy, until he has learned
 the wise significance of these wise words--"Let every man abide in the
 same calling wherein he was called." He will but gain unrest, he will
 but disquiet himself, if he says, "I am sinning by continuing in this
 imperfect system," if he considers it his duty to change his calling
 if his opinions do not agree in every particular and special point
 with the system under which God has placed him.

 Lastly, the apostle applies this principle civilly. And you will
 observe he applies it to that civil relationship which of all others,
 was the most difficult to harmonize with Christianity--slavery. "Art
 thou called," he says, "being a servant? Care not for it." Now, in
 considering this part of the subject we should carry along with us
 these two recollections. First, we should recollect that Christianity
 had made much way among this particular class, the class of slaves. No
 wonder that men cursed with slavery embraced with joy a religion which
 was perpetually teaching the worth and dignity of the human soul, and
 declaring that rich and poor, peer and peasant, master and slave, were
 equal in the sight of God. And yet, great as this growth was, it
 contained within it elements of danger. It was to be feared, lest men,
 hearing for ever of brotherhood and Christian equality, should be
 tempted and excited to throw off the yoke by _force_, and compel their
 masters and oppressors to do them right.

 The other fact we are to keep in remembrance is this--that all this
 occurred in an age in which slavery had reached its worst and most
 fearful form, an age in which the emperors were accustomed, not
 unfrequently, to feed their fish with living slaves; when captives
 were led to fight in the amphitheatre with wild beasts or with each
 other, to glut the Roman appetite for blood upon a Roman holiday. And
 yet fearful as it was, the apostle says, "Care not for it." And
 fearful as war was in those days, when the soldiers came to John to be
 baptized, he did not recommend them to join some "Peace Association,"
 to use the modern term; he simply exhorted them to be content with
 their wages.

 And hence we understand the way in which Christianity was to work. It
 interferes indirectly and not directly with existing institutions. No
 doubt it will at length abolish war and slavery, but there is not one
 case where we find Christianity interfering with institutions, as
 such. Even when Onesimus ran away and came to Paul, the apostle sent
 him back to his master Philemon, not dissolving the connection between
 them. And then, as a consolation to the servant, he told him of a
 higher feeling--a feeling that would make him free, with the chain and
 shackle upon his arm. And so it was possible for the Christian then,
 as it is now, to be possessed of the highest liberty even under
 tyranny. It many times occurred that Christian men found themselves
 placed under an unjust and tyrannical government, and compelled to pay
 unjust taxes. The Son of Man showed his freedom not by refusing, but
 by paying them. His glorious liberty could do so without any feeling
 of degradation; obeying the laws, not because they were right, but
 because institutions are to be upheld with cordiality.

 One thing in conclusion we have to observe. It is possible from all
 this to draw a most inaccurate conclusion. Some men have spoken of
 Christianity as if it was entirely indifferent about liberty and all
 public questions--as if with such things as these Christianity did not
 concern itself at all. This indifference is not to be found in the
 Apostle Paul. While he asserts that inward liberty is the only true
 liberty, he still goes on to say, "If thou mayst be free use it
 rather." For he well knew that although it was possible for a man to
 be a high and lofty Christian even though he were a slave, yet it was
 not probable that he would be so. Outward institutions are necessary
 partly to make a perfect Christian character; and thus Christianity
 works from what is internal to what is external. It gave to the slave
 the feeling of his dignity as a man, at the same time it gave to the
 Christian master a new view of his relation to his slave, and taught
 him to regard him "not now as a servant, but above a servant, a
 brother beloved." And so by degrees slavery passed into freed
 servitude, and freed servitude, under God's blessing, may pass into
 something else.

 There are two mistakes which are often made upon this subject; one is,
 the error of supposing that outward institutions are unnecessary for
 the formation of character, and the other, that of supposing that they
 are _all_ that is required to form the human soul. If we understand
 rightly the duty of a Christian man, it is this: to make his brethren
 free inwardly and outwardly; first inwardly, so that they may become
 masters of themselves, rulers of their passions, having the power of
 self-rule and self-control; and then outwardly, so that there may be
 every power and opportunity of developing the inward life; in the
 language of the prophet, "To break the rod of the oppressor and let
 the oppressed go free."



 XIV.

 _Preached January II, 1852._

 MARRIAGE AND CELIBACY.


   "But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth that
    both they that have wives be as though they had none; and they
    that weep as though they wept not; and they that rejoice as though
    they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed
    not; and they that use this world as not abusing it: for the
    fashion of this world passeth away."--1 Corinthians vii. 29-31.

 The subject of our exposition last Sunday was an essential portion of
 this chapter. It is our duty to examine now the former and the latter
 portions of it. These portions are occupied entirely with the inspired
 apostolic decision upon this one question--the comparative advantages
 and merits of celibacy and marriage. One preliminary question,
 however, is to be discussed. How came it that such a question should
 be put at all to the apostle?

 In the church at Corinth there were two different sections of society;
 first there were those who had been introduced into the church through
 Judaism, and afterwards those who had been converted from different
 forms of heathenism. Now it is well known, that it was the tendency of
 Judaism highly to venerate the marriage state, and just in the same
 proportion to disparage that of celibacy, and to place those who led a
 single life under a stigma and disgrace. Those converts therefore,
 entered into the Church of Christ carrying with them their old Jewish
 prejudices. On the other hand, many who had entered into the Christian
 Church had been converted to Christianity from different forms of
 heathenism. Among these prevailed a tendency to the belief (which
 originated primarily in the oriental schools of philosophy) that the
 highest virtue consisted in the denial of all natural inclinations,
 and the suppression of all natural desires; and looking upon marriage
 on one side only, and that the lowest, they were tempted to consider
 it as low, earthly, carnal, and sensual. It was at this time that
 Christianity entered into the world, and while it added fresh dignity
 and significance to the marriage relationship, it at the same time
 shed a splendour and a glory upon the other state. The virginity of
 the mother of Our Lord--the solitary life of John the Baptist--the
 pure and solitary youth of Christ Himself--had thrown upon celibacy a
 meaning and dignity which it did not possess before. No marvel
 therefore, that to men so educated, and but half prepared for
 Christianity, practices like these should have become exaggerations;
 for it rarely happens that any right ideas can be given to the world
 without suffering exaggeration. Human nature progresses, the human
 mind goes on; but it is rarely in a straight line, almost always
 through the medium of re-action, rebounding from extremes which
 produce contrary extremes. So it was in the Church of Corinth. There
 were two opposite parties holding views diametrically opposed to one
 another--one honouring the married and depreciating the unmarried
 life--the other attributing peculiar dignity and sanctity to celibacy,
 and looking down with contempt upon the married Christian state.

 It is scarcely necessary to remind ourselves that this diversity of
 sentiment has existed in the Church of Christ in almost all ages. For
 example in the early ages, in almost all the writings of the Fathers
 we have exaggerated descriptions of the dignity and glory of the state
 of celibacy. They speak as if the marriage state was low, carnal, and
 worldly; and the other the only one in which it is possible to attain
 to the higher spiritual life--the one the natural state, fit for man,
 the other the angelic, fit for angels. But ordinarily among men in
 general, in every age, the state of single life has been looked down
 upon and contemned. And then there comes to the parties who are so
 circumstanced a certain sense of shame, and along with this a
 disposition towards calumny and slander. Let us endeavour to
 understand the wise, inspired decision which the Apostle Paul
 pronounced upon this subject. He does not decide, as we might have
 been led to suppose he would, from his own peculiarity of disposition,
 upon one side only; but raises into relief the advantages and
 excellencies of both. He say that neither state has in itself any
 _intrinsic_ merit--neither is in itself superior to the other. "I
 suppose, then," he says, "that this is good for the present distress.
 Art thou bound unto a wife? Seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed
 from a wife? Seek not a wife. But and if thou marry, thou hast not
 sinned: and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless, such
 shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you." That is, I will
 spare you this trouble, in recommending a single, solitary life. You
 will observe that in these words he attributes no intrinsic merit or
 dignity to either celibacy or marriage. The comparative advantages of
 these two states he decides with reference to two considerations;
 first of all with respect to their comparative power in raising the
 character of the individual, and afterwards with reference to the
 opportunities which each respectively gives for the service of God.


 I. With respect to the single life, he tells us that he had his own
 proper gift from God; in other words, he was one of those rare
 characters who have the power of living without personal sympathy. The
 feelings and affections of the Apostle Paul were of a strange and rare
 character--tending to expansiveness rather than concentration. Those
 sympathies which ordinary men expend upon a few, he extended to many.
 The members of the churches which he had founded at Corinth, and
 Ephesus, and Colosse, and Philippi, were to him as children; and he
 threw upon them all that sympathy and affection which other men throw
 upon their own domestic circle. To a man so trained and educated, the
 single life gave opportunities of serving God which the marriage state
 could not give. St. Paul had risen at once to that philanthropy--that
 expansive benevolence, which most other men only attain by slow
 degrees, and this was made, by God's blessing, a means of serving his
 cause. However we may sneer at the monastic system of the Church of
 Rome, it is unquestionable that many great works have been done by the
 monks which could not have been performed by men who had entered into
 the marriage relationship. Such examples of heroic Christian effort as
 are seen in the lives of St. Bernard, of Francis Xavier, and many
 others, are scarcely ever to be found except in the single state. The
 forlorn hope in battle, as well as in the cause of Christianity, must
 consist of men who have no domestic relationships to divide their
 devotion, who will leave no wife nor children to mourn over their
 loss.

 Let this great truth bring its improvement to those who, either of
 their own choice, or by the force of circumstances, are destined
 hereafter to live a single life on earth; and, instead of yielding to
 that feeling so common among mankind--the feeling of envy at another's
 happiness--instead of becoming gloomy, and bitter and censorious, let
 them remember what the Bible has to tell of the deep significance of
 the Virgin Mary's life--let them reflect upon the snares and
 difficulties from which they are saved--let them consider how much
 more time and money they can give to God--that they are called to the
 great work of serving Causes, of entering into public questions, while
 others spend their time and talents only upon themselves. The state of
 single life, however we may be tempted to think lightly of it, is a
 state that has peculiar opportunities of deep blessedness.

 2. On the other hand, the Apostle Paul brings forward, into strong
 relief, the blessedness and advantages of the marriage state. He tells
 us that it is a type of the union between the Redeemer and the Church.
 But as this belongs to another part of the subject, we shall not enter
 into it now. But we observe, that men in general, must have their
 sympathies drawn out step by step, little by little. We do not rise to
 philanthropy all at once. We begin with personal, domestic, particular
 affections. And not only is it true that rarely can any man have the
 whole of his love drawn out except through this domestic state, but,
 also, it is to be borne in mind that those who have entered into this
 relationship have also their own peculiar advantages. It is true that
 in the marriage-life, interrupted as it is by daily cares and small
 trifles, those works of Christian usefulness cannot be so continuously
 carried on as in the other. But is there not a deep meaning to be
 learned from the old expression--that celibacy is an _angelic_ state?
 that it is preternatural, and not natural? that the goodness which is
 induced by it is not, so to speak, the natural goodness of Humanity,
 but such a goodness as God scarcely intended?

 Who of us cannot recollect a period of his history when all his time
 was devoted to the cause of Christ; when all his money was given to
 the service of God; and when we were tempted to look down upon those
 who were less ardent than ourselves, as if they were not Christians?
 But now the difficulties of life have come upon us; we have become
 involved in the trifles and the smallness of social domestic
 existence; and these have made us less devoted perhaps, less
 preternatural, less angelic--but more human, better fitted to enter
 into the daily cares and small difficulties of our ordinary humanity.
 And this has been represented to us by two great lives--one human, the
 other divine--one, the life of John the Baptist, and the other, of
 Jesus Christ. In both these cases is verified the saying, that "Wisdom
 is justified of all her children." Those who are wisdom's
 children--the truly wise--will recognise an even wisdom in both these
 lives; they will see that there are cases in which a solitary life is
 to be chosen for the sake of God; while there are other cases in which
 a social life becomes our bounden duty. But it should be specially
 observed here that _that_ Life which has been given to us as a
 specimen of life for all, was a social, a human Life. Christ did not
 refuse to mix with the common joys and common sorrows of Humanity. He
 was present at the marriage-feast, and by the bier of the widow's son.
 This of the two lives was the one which, because it was the most
 human, was the most divine; the most rare, the most difficult, the
 most natural--therefore, the most Christ-like.


 II. Let us notice, in the second place, the principle upon which the
 apostle founds this decision. It is given in the text--"This I say,
 brethren, the time is short: it remaineth that both they that have
 wives be as though they had none," "for the fashion of this world
 passeth away." Now observe here, I pray you, the deep wisdom of this
 apostolic decision. In point of fact it comes to this: Christianity is
 a spirit, not a law; it is a set of principles, not a set of rules; it
 is not a saying to us--You shall do this, you shall not do that--you
 shall use this particular dress, you shall not use that--you _shall_
 lead, you shall _not_ lead a married life--Christianity consists of
 principles, but the application of those principles is left to every
 man's individual conscience. With respect not only to this particular
 case, but to all the questions which had been brought before him, the
 apostle applies the same principle; the cases upon which he decided
 were many and various, but the large, broad principle of his decision
 remains the same in all. You may marry, and you have not sinned; you
 may remain unmarried, and you do not sin; if you are invited to a
 heathen feast, you may go, or you may abstain from going; you may
 remain a slave, or you may become free; in _these things_ Christianity
 does not consist. But what it does demand is this: that whether
 married or unmarried, whether a slave or free, in sorrow or in joy,
 you are to live in a spirit higher and loftier than that of the
 world.

 The apostle gives us in the text two motives for this Christian
 unworldliness. The first motive which he lays down is this--"The time
 is short." You will observe how frequently, in the course of his
 remarks upon the questions proposed to him, the apostle turns, as it
 were entirely away from the subject, as if worn-out and wearied by the
 comparatively trivial character of the questions--as if this balancing
 of one earthly condition or advantage with another, were but a solemn
 trifling compared with eternal things. And so here, he seems to turn
 away from the question before him, and speaks of the shortness of
 time. "The time is short!"

 Time is short in reference to two things. First, it is short in
 reference to the person who regards it. That mysterious thing _Time_
 is a matter of sensation, and not a reality; a modification merely of
 our own consciousness, and not actual existence; depending upon the
 flight of ideas--long to one, short to another. The span granted to
 the butterfly, the child of a single summer, may be long; that which
 is given to the cedar of Lebanon may be short. The shortness of time,
 therefore is entirely relative--belonging to us not to God. Time is
 short in reference to _existence_, whether you look at it before or
 after. Time past seems nothing; time to come always seems long. We say
 this chiefly for the sake of the young. To them fifty or sixty years
 seem a treasure inexhaustible. But, my young brethren, ask the old
 man, trembling on the verge of the grave, what he thinks of Time and
 Life. He will tell you that the three-score years and ten, or even
 the hundred-and-twenty years of Jacob, are but "few and evil." And,
 therefore, if you are tempted to unbelief in respect to this question,
 we appeal to experience--experience alone can judge of its truth.

 Once more, time is short with reference to its _opportunities_. For
 this is the emphatic meaning in the original--literally, "the
 opportunity is compressed, or shut in." Brethren, time may be long,
 and yet the opportunity may be very short. The sun in autumn may be
 bright and clear, but the seed which has not been sown until then will
 not vegetate. A man may have vigour and energy in manhood and
 maturity, but the work which ought to have been done in childhood and
 youth cannot be done in old age. A chance once gone in this world can
 never be recovered.

 Brother men--have you learned the meaning of yesterday? Do you rightly
 estimate the importance of to-day? That there are duties to be done
 to-day which cannot be done to-morrow? This it is that throws so
 solemn a significance into your work. The time for working is short,
 therefore begin to-day; "for the night is coming when no man can
 work." Time is short in reference to _eternity_. It was especially
 with this reference that the text was written. In those days, and even
 by the apostles themselves, the day of the Lord's appearance and
 second advent seemed much nearer than it was. They believed that it
 would occur during their own lives. And with this belief came the
 feeling which comes sometimes to all. "Oh, in comparison with that
 vast Hereafter, this little life shrivels into nothing! What is to-day
 worth, or its duties or its cares?" All deep minds have thought that.
 The thought of Time is solemn and awful to all minds in proportion to
 their depth--and in proportion as the mind is superficial, the thought
 has appeared little, and has been treated with levity. Brethren, let
 but a man possess himself of that thought--the deep thought of the
 brevity of time; this thought--that time is short, and that eternity
 is long--and he has learned the first great secret of unworldliness.

 2. The second motive which the apostle gives us is the changing
 character of the external world. "The fashion of this world passeth
 away"--literally "the _scenery_ of this world," a dramatic expression,
 drawn from the Grecian stage. One of the deepest of modern thinkers
 has told us in words often quoted, "All the world's a stage." And a
 deeper thinker than he, because inspired, had said long before in the
 similar words of the text, "the _scenery_ of this world passeth away."

 There are two ways in which this is true. First, it is true with
 respect to all the things by which we are surrounded. It is only in
 poetry--the poetry of the Psalms for example--that the hills are
 called "everlasting." Go to the side of the ocean which bounds our
 country, and watch the tide going out, bearing with it the sand which
 it has worn from the cliffs; the very boundaries of our land are
 changing; they are not the same as they were when these words were
 written. Every day new relationships are forming around us; new
 circumstances are calling upon us to act--to act manfully, firmly,
 decisively, and up to the occasion, remembering that an opportunity
 once gone is gone for ever. Indulge not in vain regrets for the past,
 in vainer resolves for the future--act, act in the present.

 Again, this is true with respect to ourselves. "The fashion of this
 world passeth away" in us. The feelings we have now are not those
 which we had in childhood. There has passed away a glory from the
 earth--the stars, the sun, the moon, the green fields have lost their
 beauty and significance--nothing remains as it was, except their
 repeated impressions on the mind, the impressions of time, space,
 eternity, colour, form; these cannot alter, but all besides has
 changed. Our very minds alter. There is no bereavement so painful, no
 shock so terrible, but time will remove or alleviate. The keenest
 feeling in this world time wears out at last, and our minds become
 like old monumental tablets which have lost the inscription once
 graven deeply upon them.

 In conclusion, we have to examine the nature of this Christian
 unworldliness which is taught us in the text. The principle of
 unworldliness is stated in the latter portion of the text; in the
 former part the apostle makes an application of the principle to four
 cases of life. First, to cases of domestic relationship--"it remaineth
 that they that have wives be as though they had none." Secondly, to
 cases of sorrow--"and they that weep as though they wept not."
 Thirdly, to cases of joy--"and they that rejoice as though they
 rejoiced not." And, finally to cases of the acquisition of worldly
 property, "and they that buy as though they possessed not." Time will
 not allow us to go into these applications; we must confine ourselves
 to a brief consideration of the principle. The principle of Christian
 unworldliness, then is this, to "use this world as not abusing it."
 Here Christianity takes its stand, in opposition to two contrary
 principles. The spirit of the world says, "Time is short, therefore
 use it while you have it; take your fill of pleasure while you may." A
 narrow religion says, "Time is short, therefore temporal things should
 receive no attention: do not weep, do not rejoice; it is beneath a
 Christian." In opposition to the narrow spirit of religion,
 Christianity says, "_Use_ this world;"--in opposition to the spirit of
 the world Christianity says, "Do not _abuse_ it." A distinct duty
 arises from this principle to use the world. While in the world we are
 citizens of the world: it is our _duty_ to share its joys, to take our
 part in its sorrows, not to shrink from its difficulties, but to mix
 ourselves with its infinite opportunities. So that if time be short,
 so far from that fact lessening their dignity or importance, it
 infinitely increases them; since upon these depend the destinies of
 our eternal being. Unworldliness is this--to hold things from God in
 the perpetual conviction that they will not last; to have the world,
 and not to let the world have us; to be the world's masters, and not
 the world's slaves.



 XV.

 _Preached January 11, 1852._

 THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH A FAMILY.


   "Our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and
    earth is named."--Ephesians iii. 14, 15.

 In the verses immediately before the text the Apostle Paul has been
 speaking of what he calls a mystery--that is, a revealed secret. And
 the secret was this, that the Gentiles would be "fellow-heirs and of
 the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ by the gospel."
 It had been kept secret from the former ages and generations; it was a
 secret which the Jew had not suspected, had not even dreamt of. It
 appeared to him to be his duty to keep as far as possible from the
 Gentile. Circumcision, which taught him the duty of separation from
 the Gentile spirit, and Gentile practices, seemed to him to teach
 hatred towards Gentile _persons_, until at length, in the good
 pleasure and providence of God, in the fulness of time, through the
 instrumentality of men whose _hearts_ rather than whose intellects
 were inspired by God, the truth came out distinct and clear, that God
 was the Father of the Gentiles as well as of the Jews, "for the same
 Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him."

 In the progress of the months, my Christian brethren, we have arrived
 again at that period of the year in which our Church calls upon us to
 commemorate the Epiphany, or manifestation of Jesus Christ to the
 Gentiles, and we know not that in the whole range of Scripture we
 could find a passage which more distinctly and definitely than this,
 brings before us the spirit in which it is incumbent upon us to enter
 upon this duty. In considering this passage we shall divide it into
 these two branches:--1st, the definition which the Apostle Paul here
 gives of the Church of Christ; and, 2ndly, the Name by which this
 Church is named.


 I. In the first place, let us consider the definition given by the
 Apostle Paul of the Christian Church, taken in its entirety. It is
 this, "the whole family in heaven and earth." But in order to
 understand this fully, it will be necessary for us to break it up into
 its different terms.

 1. First of all it is taught by this definition that the Church of
 Christ is a society founded upon natural affinities--a "family." A
 family is built on affinities which are natural, not artificial; it is
 not a combination, but a society. In ancient times an association of
 interest combined men in one guild or corporation for protecting the
 common persons in that corporation from oppression. In modern times
 identity of political creed or opinion has bound men together in one
 league, in order to establish those political principles which
 appeared to them of importance. Similarity of taste has united men
 together in what is called an association, or a society, in order by
 this means to attain more completely the ends of that science to which
 they had devoted themselves. But as these have been raised
 artificially, so their end is inevitably, dissolution. Society passes
 on, and guilds and corporations die; principles are established, and
 leagues become dissolved; tastes change, and then the association or
 society breaks up and comes to nothing.

 It is upon another principle altogether that that which we call a
 family, or true society, is formed. It is not built upon similarity of
 taste, nor identity of opinion, but upon affinities of nature. You do
 not _choose_ who shall be your brother; you cannot exclude your mother
 or your sister; it does not depend upon choice or arbitrary opinion at
 all, but is founded upon the eternal nature of things. And precisely
 in the same way is the Christian Church formed--upon natural affinity,
 and not upon artificial combination. "The family, the whole family in
 heaven and earth;" not made up of those who _call_ themselves
 brethren, but of those who _are_ brethren; not founded merely upon the
 principles of combination, but upon the principles of affinity. That
 is not a church, or a family, or a society which is made up by men's
 choice, as when in the upper classes of life, men of fashion unite
 together, selecting their associates from their own _class_, and form
 what is technically called a society; it is a combination if you will,
 but a society it is not--a family it is not--a Church of Christ it
 cannot be.

 And, again, when the Baptists or the Independents, or any other
 sectarians, unite themselves with men holding the same faith and
 entertaining the same opinions, there may be a _sect_, a
 _combination_, a _persuasion_, but a _Church_ there cannot be. And so
 again, when the Jew in time past linked himself with the Jew, with
 those of the same nation, there you have what in ancient times was
 called Judaism, and in modern times is called Hebraicism--a system, a
 combination, but not a Church. The Church rises ever out of the
 family. First of all in the good providence of God, there is the
 family, then the tribe, then the nation; and then the nation merges
 itself into Humanity. And the nation which refuses to merge its
 nationality in Humanity, to lose itself in the general interests of
 mankind, is left behind, and loses almost its religious
 nationality--like the Jewish people.

 Such is the first principle. A man is born of the same family, and is
 not made such by an appointment, or by arbitrary choice.

 2. Another thing which is taught by this definition is this, that the
 Church of Christ is a whole made up of manifold diversities. We are
 told here it is "the _whole_ family," taking into it the great and
 good of ages past, now in heaven; and also the struggling, the
 humble, and the weak now existing upon earth. Here again, the analogy
 holds good between the Church and the family. Never more than in the
 family is the true entirety of our nature seen. Observe how all the
 diversities of human condition and character manifest themselves in
 the family.

 First of all, there are the two opposite poles of masculine and
 feminine, which contain within them the entire of our Humanity--which
 together, not separately, make up the whole of man. Then there are the
 diversities in the degrees and kinds of affection. For when we speak
 of family affection, we must remember that it is made up of many
 diversities. There is nothing more different than the love which the
 sister bears towards the brother, compared with that which the brother
 bears towards the sister. The affection which a man bears towards his
 father is quite distinct from that which he feels towards his mother;
 it is something quite different towards his sister; totally diverse
 again, towards his brother.

 And then there are diversities of character. First the mature wisdom
 and stern integrity of the father; then the exuberant tenderness of
 the mother. And then one is brave and enthusiastic, another
 thoughtful, and another tender. One is remarkable for being full of
 rich humour, another is sad, mournful, even melancholy. Again, besides
 these, there are diversities of condition in life. First, there is the
 heir, sustaining the name and honour of the family; then perchance the
 soldier, in whose career all the anxiety and solicitude of the family
 is centred; then the man of business, to whom they look up, trusting
 his advice, expecting his counsel; lastly perhaps, there is the
 invalid, from the very cradle trembling between life and death,
 drawing out all the sympathies and anxieties of each member of the
 family, and so uniting them all more closely, from their having one
 common point of sympathy and solicitude. Now, you will observe that
 these are not accidental, but absolutely essential to the idea of a
 family; for so far as any one of them is lost, so far the family is
 incomplete. A family made up of one sex alone, all brothers and no
 sisters; or in which all are devoted to one pursuit; or in which there
 is no diversity of temper and dispositions--the same monotonous
 repeated identity--a sameness in the type of character--this is not a
 family, it is only the fragment of a family.

 And precisely in the same way all these diversities of character and
 condition are necessary to constitute and complete the idea of a
 Christian Church. For as in ages past it was the delight of the Church
 to canonize one particular class of virtues--as for instance, purity
 or martyrdom--so now, in every age, and in every individual bosom,
 there is a tendency to canonize, or honour, or reckon as Christian,
 only one or two classes of Christian qualities. For example, if you
 were to ask in the present day where you should find a type of the
 Christian character, many in all probability would point you to the
 man who keeps the Sabbath-day, is regular in his attendance upon the
 services of the Church, who loves to hear the Christian sermon. This
 is a phase of Christian character--that which is essentially and
 peculiarly the _feminine_ type of religion. But is there in God's
 Church to be found no place for that type which is rather masculine
 than feminine?--which, not in litanies or in psalm-singing does the
 will of God, but by struggling for principles, and contending for the
 truth--_that_ life, whose prayer is action, whose aspiration is
 continual effort?

 Or again, in every age, amongst all men, in the history of almost
 every individual, at one time or another, there has been a tendency
 towards that which has been emphatically named in modern times
 _hero-worship_--leading us to an admiration of the more singular,
 powerful, noble qualities of humanity. And wherever this tendency to
 hero-worship exists there will be found side by side with it a
 tendency to undervalue and depreciate excellences of an opposite
 character--the humble, meek, retiring qualities. But it is precisely
 for these that the Church of Christ finds place. "Blessed are the
 meek, blessed are the merciful, blessed are they that hunger and
 thirst after righteousness, blessed are the poor in spirit." In God's
 world there is a place for the wren and the violet, just as truly as
 there is for the eagle and the rose. In the Church of God there is a
 place--and that the noblest--for Dorcas making garments for the poor,
 and for Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus, just as truly as there is
 for Elijah confounding a false religion by his noble opposition; for
 John the Baptist making a king tremble on his throne; or for the
 Apostle Paul "compassing sea and land" by his wisdom and his heroic
 deeds.

 Once more, there are ages, as well as times in our own individual
 experience, when we set up charity as if it were the one only
 Christian character. And wherever this tendency is found there will be
 found at the same time, and side by side with it, a tendency to admire
 the spurious form of charity, which is a sentiment and not a virtue;
 which can sympathize with crime, but not with law; which can be tender
 to savages, but has no respect, no care for national honour. And
 therefore, does this principle of the Apostle Paul call upon us to
 esteem also another form or type of character, and the opposite one;
 that which is remarkable for--in which predominates--not so much
 charity as _justice_; that which was seen in the warriors and prophets
 of old; who perchance, had a more strong recoil from vice than
 sympathy with virtue; whose indignation towards that which is wrong
 and hypocritical was more intense than their love for that which is
 good: the material, the character, out of which the reformer and the
 prophet, those who are called to do great works on earth, are made.

 The Church of Christ takes not in one individual form of goodness
 merely, but every form of excellence that can adorn Humanity. Nor is
 this wonderful when we remember Who He was from whom this Church was
 named. It was He in whom centred all excellence--a righteousness
 which was entire and perfect. But when we speak of the perfection of
 righteousness, let us remember that it is made not of one exaggerated
 character, but of a true harmony, a due proportion of all virtues
 united. In Him were found therefore, that tenderness towards sinners
 which had no sympathy with sin; that humility which could be
 dignified, and was yet united with self-respect; that simplicity which
 is ever to be met with, side by side with true majesty; that love
 which could weep over Jerusalem at the very moment when He was
 pronouncing its doom, that truth and justice which appeared to stand
 as a protection to those who had been oppressed, at the same time that
 He scathed with indignant invective the Pharisees of the then existing
 Jews.

 There are two, only two, _perfect_ Humanities. One has existed already
 in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, the other is to be found only
 in the collective Church. Once, only once, has God given a perfect
 representation of Himself, "the brightness of the Father's glory, and
 the express image of His person." And if we ask again for a perfect
 Humanity, the answer is, it is not in this Church or in that Church,
 or in this man or in that man, in this age or in that age, but in the
 collective blended graces and beauties, and humanities, which are
 found in every age, in all churches, but not in every separate man.
 So, at least, Paul has taught us, "Till we _all_ come"--_collectively_
 not separately--"in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of
 the Son of God, unto a perfect man"--in other words, to a perfect
 _Humanity_--"unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of
 Christ."

 3. The last thing which is taught us by this definition is, that the
 Church of Christ is a society which is for ever shifting its locality,
 and altering its forms. It is the _whole_ church, "the _whole_ family
 in heaven and earth." So then, those who were on earth, and are now in
 heaven, are yet members of the same family still. Those who had their
 home here, now have it there.

 Let us see what it is that we should learn from this doctrine. It is
 this, that the dead are not lost to us. There is a sense in which the
 departed are ours more than they were before. There is a sense in
 which the Apostles Paul, or John, the good and great of ages past,
 belong to this age more than to that in which they lived, but in which
 they were not understood; in which the common-place and every-day part
 of their lives hindered the brightness and glory and beauty of their
 character from shining forth. So it is in the family. It is possible
 for men to live in the same house, and partake of the same meal from
 day to day, and from year to year, and yet remain strangers to each
 other, mistaking each other's feelings, not comprehending each other's
 character; and it is only when the Atlantic rolls between, and half a
 hemisphere is interposed, that we learn how dear they are to us, how
 all our life is bound up in deep anxiety with their existence.
 Therefore it is the Christian feels that the family is not broken.
 Think you that family can break or end?--that because the chair is
 empty, therefore he, your child, is no more? It may be so with the
 coarse, the selfish, the unbelieving, the superstitious; but the eye
 of faith sees there only a transformation. He is not there, he is
 risen. You see the place where he was, but he has passed to heaven. So
 at least the parental heart of David felt of old, "by faith and not by
 sight," when speaking of his infant child. "I shall go to him, but he
 shall not return to me."

 Once more, the Church of Christ is a society ever altering and
 changing its external forms. "The _whole_ family"--the Church of the
 Patriarchs, and of ages before them; and yet the same family.
 Remember, I pray you, the diversities of form through which, in so
 many ages and generations, this Church has passed. Consider the
 difference there was between the patriarchal Church of the time of
 Abraham and Isaac, and its condition under David; or the difference
 between the Church so existing and its state in the days of the
 apostles; and the marvellous difference between that and the same
 Church four or five centuries later; or, once again, the difference
 between that, externally one, and the Church as it exists in the
 present day, broken into so many fragments. Yet diversified as these
 states may be, they are not more so than the various stages of a
 family.

 There is a time when the children are all in one room, around their
 mother's knee. Then comes a time, still further on, when the first
 separation takes place, and some are leaving their home to prepare for
 after life. Afterwards, when all in their different professions,
 trades, or occupations, are separate. At last comes the time when some
 are gone. And, perchance, the two survivors meet at last--an old,
 gray-haired man, and a weak, worn-out woman--to mourn over the last
 graves of a household. Christian brethren, which of these is the right
 form--the true, external pattern of a family? Say we not truly, it
 remains the same under all outward mutations? We must think of this,
 or else we may lose heart in our work. Conceive for instance, the
 feelings of a pious Jew, when Christianity entered this world; when
 all his religious system was broken up--the Temple service brought to
 a violent end; when that polity which he thought was to redeem and
 ennoble the world was cast aside as a broken and useless thing. Must
 they not have been as gloomy and as dreary as those of the disciples,
 when He was dead who they "trusted should have redeemed Israel?" In
 both cases the body was gone or was altered--the spirit had arisen.

 And precisely so it is with our fears and unbelieving apprehensions
 now. Institutions pass--churches alter--old forms change--and
 high-minded and good men cling to these as if _they_ were the only
 things by which God could regenerate the world. Christianity appears
 to some men to be effete and worn out. Men who can look back upon the
 times of Venn, and Newton, and Scott--comparing the degeneracy of
 their descendants with the men of those days--lose heart, as if all
 things were going wrong. "Things are not," they say, "as they were in
 our younger days." No my Christian brethren, things are not as they
 then were; but the Christian cause lives on--not in the successors of
 such men as those; the outward form is altered, but the spirit is
 elsewhere, is risen--risen just as truly as the spirit of the highest
 Judaism rose again in Christianity. And to mourn over old
 superstitions and effete creeds, is just as unwise as is the grief of
 the mother mourning over the form which was once her child. She cannot
 separate her affection from that form--those hands, those limbs, those
 features--are they not her child? The true answer is, her child is not
 there. It is only the form of her child. And it is as unwise to mourn
 over the decay of those institutions--the change of human forms--as it
 was unwise in Jonah to mourn with that passionate sorrow over the
 decay of the gourd which had sheltered him from the heat of the
 noontide sun. A worm had eaten the root of the gourd, and it was gone.
 But he who made the gourd the shelter to the weary--the shadow of
 those who are oppressed by the noontide heat of life--lived on:
 Jonah's God. And so brethren, all things change--all things outward
 change and alter; but the God of the Church lives on. The Church of
 God remains under fresh forms--the one, holy, entire family in heaven
 and earth.


 II. Pass we on now, in the second place, to consider the name by which
 this Church is named. "Our Lord Jesus Christ," the Apostle says, "of
 whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named."

 Now, every one familiar with the Jewish modes of thought and
 expression, will allow here, that _name_ is but another word to
 express being, actuality, and existence. So when Jacob desired to
 know the character and nature of Jehovah, he said--"Tell me now, I
 beseech thee, thy _name_". When the Apostle here says, "Our Lord Jesus
 Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is _named_," it
 is but another way of saying that it is He on Whom the Church
 depends--Who has given it substantive existence--without Whom it could
 not be at all. It is but another way of saying what he has expressed
 elsewhere--"that there is none other name under heaven given among
 men, whereby we may be saved." Let us not lose ourselves in vague
 generalities. Separate from Christ, there is no salvation; there can
 be no Christianity. Let us understand what we mean by this. Let us
 clearly define and enter into the meaning of the words we use. When we
 say that our Lord Jesus Christ is He "of whom the whole family in
 heaven and earth is named," we mean that the very being of the Church
 depends on Christ--that it could not be without Him. Now, the Church
 of Christ depends upon these three things--first, the recognition of a
 common Father; secondly, of a common Humanity; and thirdly, of a
 common Sacrifice.

 1. First, the recognition of a common Father. That is the sacred truth
 proclaimed by the Epiphany. God revealed in Christ--not the Father of
 the Jew only, but also of the Gentile. The Father of a "whole family."
 Not the partial Father, loving one alone--the elder--but the younger
 son besides: the outcast prodigal who had spent his living with
 harlots and sinners, but the child still, and the child of a Father's
 love. Our Lord taught this in His own blessed prayer--"_Our_ Father;"
 and as we lose the meaning of that single word _our_, as we say _my_
 Father--the Father of _me_ and of _my_ faction--of _me_ and _my_
 fellow believers--_my_ Anglicanism or _my_ Judaism--be it what it
 may--instead of _our_ Father--the Father of the outcast, the
 profligate, of all who choose to claim a Father's love; _so_ we lose
 the meaning of the lesson which the Epiphany was designed to teach,
 and the possibility of building up a family to God.

 2. The recognition of a common Humanity. He from whom the Church is
 named, took upon Him not the nature merely of the noble, of kings, or
 of the intellectual philosopher--but of the beggar, the slave, the
 outcast, the infidel, the sinner, and the nature of every one
 struggling in various ways. Let us learn then brother men, that we
 shall have no family in God, unless we learn the deep truth of our
 common Humanity, shared in by the servant and the sinner, as well as
 the sovereign. Without this we shall have no Church--no family in God.

 3. Lastly, the Church of Christ proceeds out of, and rests upon, the
 belief in a common Sacrifice.

       *       *       *       *       *

 There are three ways in which the human race hitherto has endeavoured
 to construct itself into a family; first, by the sword; secondly, by
 an ecclesiastical system; and thirdly, by trade or commerce. First, by
 the sword. The Assyrian, the Persian, the Greek, and the Roman, have
 done their work--in itself a most valuable and important one; but so
 far as the formation of mankind into a family was the object aimed at,
 the work of the sword has done almost nothing. Then there was the
 ecclesiastical system--the grand attempt of the Church of Rome to
 organize all men into one family, with one ecclesiastical, visible,
 earthly head. Being Protestants, it is not necessary for us to state
 our conviction that this attempt has been a signal and complete
 failure. We now come to the system of commerce and trade. We are told
 that that which chivalry and honour could not do--which an
 ecclesiastical system could not do--personal interest _will_ do. Trade
 is to bind men together into one family. When they feel it their
 _interest_ to be one, they will be brothers. Brethren, that which is
 built on selfishness cannot stand. The system of personal interest
 must be shivered into atoms. Therefore, we, who have observed the ways
 of God in the past, are waiting in quiet but awful expectation until
 he shall confound this system as he has confounded those which have
 gone before. And it may be effected by convulsions more terrible and
 more bloody than the world has yet seen. While men are talking of
 peace, and of the great progress of civilization, there is heard in
 the distance the noise of armies gathering rank on rank: east and
 west, north and south, are rolling towards us the crushing thunders of
 universal war.

 Therefore there is but one other system to be tried, and that is the
 Cross of Christ--a system that is not to be built upon selfishness,
 nor upon blood, nor upon personal interest, but upon Love. Love, not
 self--the Cross of Christ, and not the mere working-out of the ideas
 of individual humanity.

 One word only in conclusion. Upon this, the great truth of the
 Epiphany, the Apostle founds a prayer. He prays, "For this cause I bow
 my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole
 family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you,
 according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by
 His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts by
 faith." This manifestation of joy and good to the Gentiles was,
 according to him, the great mystery of Love. A Love, brighter, deeper,
 wider, higher than the largest human heart had ever yet dreamed of.
 But the Apostle tells us it is after all, but a glimpse of the love of
 God. How should we learn it more? How should we comprehend the whole
 meaning of the Epiphany? By sitting down to read works of theology?
 The Apostle Paul tells us--No. You must love, in order to understand
 love. "That ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to
 comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length, and depth
 and height; and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge."
 Brother men, one act of charity will teach us more of the love of God
 than a thousand sermons--one act of unselfishness, of real
 self-denial, the putting forth of one loving feeling to the outcast
 and "those who are out of the way," will tell us more of the meaning
 of the Epiphany than whole volumes of the wisest writers on theology.



 XVI.

 _Preached January 25, 1852._

 THE LAW OF CHRISTIAN CONSCIENCE.


   "Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some, with
    conscience of the idol, unto this hour, eat it as a thing offered
    unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is denied. But meat
    commendeth us not to God: for neither if we eat are we the better;
    neither if we eat not are we the worse. But take heed lest by any
    means this liberty of yours become a stumbling-block to them that
    are weak. For if any man see thee which hast knowledge, sit at
    meat in the idol's temple, shall not the conscience of him which
    is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to
    idols; and through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish for
    whom Christ died? But when ye sin so against the brethren and
    wound their weak conscience ye sin against Christ. Wherefore if
    meat make my brother to offend I will eat no flesh while the world
    standeth, lest I make my brother to offend."--1 Corinthians viii.
    7-13.

 We have already divided this chapter into two branches--the former
 portion of it containing the difference between Christian knowledge
 and secular knowledge, and the second portion containing the apostolic
 exposition of the law of Christian conscience. The first of these we
 endeavoured to expound last Sunday, but it may be well briefly to
 recapitulate the principles of that discourse in a somewhat different
 form.

 Corinth as we all know and remember, was a city built on the sea
 coast, having a large and free communication with all foreign nations;
 and there was also within it, and going on amongst its inhabitants, a
 free interchange of thought, and a vivid power of communicating the
 philosophy and truths of those days to each other. Now it is plain,
 that to a society in such a state, and to minds so educated, the
 gospel of Christ must have presented a peculiar attraction, presenting
 itself to them as it did, as a law of Christian liberty. And so, in
 Corinth the gospel had "free course and was glorified," and was
 received with great joy by almost all men, and by minds of all classes
 and all sects; and a large number of these attached themselves to the
 teaching of the Apostle Paul as the most accredited expounder of
 Christianity--the "royal law of liberty." But it seems, from what we
 read in this epistle, that a large number of these men received
 Christianity as a thing intellectual, and that alone--and not as a
 thing which touched the conscience, and swayed and purified the
 affections. Thus this liberty became to them almost _all_--they ran
 into sin or went to extravagance--they rejoiced in their freedom from
 the superstitions, the ignorances, and the scruples which bound their
 weaker brethren; but had no charity--none of that intense charity
 which characterized the Apostle Paul, for those still struggling in
 the delusions and darkness from which they themselves were free.

 More than that, they demanded their right, their Christian liberty of
 expressing their opinions in the church, merely for the sake of
 _exhibiting_ the Christian graces and spiritual gifts which had been
 showered upon them so largely; until by degrees those very assemblies
 became a lamentable exhibition of their own depravity, and led to
 numerous irregularities which we find severely rebuked by the Apostle
 Paul. Their women, rejoicing in the emancipation which had been given
 to the Christian community, laid aside the old habits of attire which
 had been consecrated so long by Grecian and Jewish custom, and
 appeared with their heads uncovered in the Christian community. Still
 further than that, the Lord's Supper exhibited an absence of all
 solemnity, and seemed more a meeting for licentious gratification,
 where "one was hungry, and another was drunken"--a place in which
 earthly drunkenness, the mere enjoyment of the appetites, had taken
 the place of Christian charity towards each other.

 And the same feeling--this love of mere liberty--liberty in
 itself--manifested itself in many other directions. Holding by this
 freedom, their philosophy taught that the body, that is the flesh, was
 the only cause of sin; that the soul was holy and pure; and that
 therefore, to be free from the body would be entire, perfect,
 Christian emancipation. And so came in that strange, wrong doctrine,
 exhibited in Corinth, where immortality was taught separate from, and
 in opposition to, the doctrine of the resurrection. And afterwards
 they went on with their conclusions about liberty, to maintain that
 the body, justified by the sacrifice of Christ, was no longer capable
 of sin; and that in the evil which was done by the body, the soul had
 taken no part. And therefore sin was to them but as a name, from which
 a Christian conscience was to be freed altogether. So that when one of
 their number had fallen into grievous sin, and had committed
 fornication, "such as was not so much as named among the Gentiles," so
 far from being humbled by it, they were "puffed up," as if they were
 exhibiting to the world an enlightened, true, perfect
 Christianity--separate from all prejudices.

 To such a society and to such a state of mind, the Apostle Paul
 preached in all its length, breadth, and fulness, the humbling
 doctrines of the Cross of Christ. He taught that knowledge was one
 thing--that charity was _another_ thing; that "knowledge puffeth up,
 but charity buildeth up." He reminded them that love was the
 perfection of knowledge. In other words, his teaching came to this:
 there are two kinds of knowledge; the one the knowledge of the
 intellect, the other the knowledge of the heart. Intellectually, God
 never can be known. He must be known by Love--for, "if any man love
 God, the same is known of Him." Here then, we have arrived in another
 way, at precisely the same conclusion at which we arrived last Sunday.
 Here are two kinds of knowledge, secular knowledge and Christian
 knowledge; and Christian knowledge is this--to know by Love.

 Let us now consider the remainder of the chapter, which treats of the
 law of Christian conscience. You will observe that it divides itself
 into two branches--the first containing an exposition of the law
 itself, and the second the Christian applications which flow out of
 this exposition.

 I. The way in which the apostle expounds the law of Christian
 conscience is this:--Guilt is contracted by the soul, in so far as it
 sins against and transgresses the law of God by doing that which it
 believes to be wrong: not so much what _is_ wrong as what _appears_ to
 _it_ to be wrong. This is the doctrine distinctly laid down in the 7th
 and 8th verses. The apostle tells the Corinthians--these strong-minded
 Corinthians--that the superstitions of their weaker brethren were
 unquestionably wrong. "Meat," he says, "commendeth us not to God; for
 neither if we eat are we the better, neither if we eat not are we the
 worse." He then tells them further, that "there is not in every man
 that knowledge; for some with conscience of the idol, eat it as a
 thing offered unto an idol." Here then, is an ignorant, mistaken,
 ill-informed conscience; and yet he goes on to tell them that this
 conscience, so ill-informed, yet binds the possessor of it: "and their
 conscience being weak, is defiled." For example,--there could be no
 harm in eating the flesh of an animal that had been offered to an idol
 or false god; for a false god is nothing, and it is impossible for it
 to have contracted positive defilement by being offered to that which
 is a positive and absolute negation. And yet if any man thought it
 wrong to eat such flesh, to him it _was_ wrong; for in that act there
 would be a deliberate act of transgression--a deliberate preference of
 that which was mere enjoyment, to that which was apparently, though it
 may be only apparently, sanctioned by the law of God. And so it would
 carry with it all the disobedience, all the guilt, and all the misery
 which belongs to the doing of an act altogether wrong; or as St. Paul
 expresses it, the conscience would become denied.

 Here then, we arrive at the first distinction--the distinction between
 absolute and relative right and wrong. Absolute right and absolute
 wrong, like absolute truth, can each be but _one_ and unalterable in
 the sight of God. The one absolute _right_--the charity of God and the
 sacrifice of Christ--this, from eternity to eternity must be the sole
 measure of eternal right. But human right or human wrong, that is the
 merit or demerit, of any action done by any particular man, must be
 measured, not by that absolute standard, but as a matter relative to
 his particular circumstances, the state of the age in which he lives,
 and his own knowledge of right and wrong. For we come into this world
 with a moral sense; or to speak more Christianly, with a conscience.
 And yet that will tell us but very little distinctly. It tells us
 broadly that which is right and that which is wrong, so that every
 child can understand this. That charity and self-denial are
 right--this we see recognised in almost every nation. But the
 boundaries of these two--when and how far self-denial is right--what
 are the bounds of charity--this it is for different circumstances yet
 to bring out and determine.

 And so, it will be found that there is a different standard among
 different nations and in different ages. That for example, which was
 the standard among the Israelites in the earlier ages, and before
 their settlement in Canaan, was very different from the higher and
 truer standard of right and wrong recognised by the later prophets.
 And the standard in the third and fourth centuries after Christ, was
 truly and unquestionably an entirely different one from that
 recognised in the nineteenth century among ourselves.

 Let me not be mistaken. I do not say that right and wrong are merely
 conventional, or merely chronological or geographical, or that they
 vary with latitude and longitude. I do not say that there ever was or
 ever can be a nation so utterly blinded and perverted in its moral
 sense as to acknowledge that which is wrong--seen and known to be
 wrong--as right; or on the other hand, to profess that which is seen
 and understood as right, to be wrong. But what I do say is this: that
 the form and aspect in which different deeds appear, so vary, that
 there will be for ever a change and alteration in men's opinions, and
 that which is really most generous may seem most base, and that which
 is really most base may appear most generous. So for example, as I
 have already said, there are two things universally
 recognised--recognised as right by every man whose conscience is not
 absolutely perverted--charity and self-denial. The charity of God, the
 sacrifice of Christ--these are the two grand, leading principles of
 the Gospel; and in some form or other you will find these lying at the
 roots of every profession and state of feeling in almost every age.
 But the form in which these appear, will vary with all the gradations
 which are to be found between the lowest savage state and the highest
 and most enlightened Christianity.

 For example, in ancient Israel the law of love was expounded
 thus:--"Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy." Among
 the American Indians and at the Cape, the only homage perchance given
 to self-denial, was the strange admiration given to that prisoner of
 war who bore with unflinching fortitude the torture of his country's
 enemies. In ancient India the same principle was exhibited, but in a
 more strange and perverted manner. The homage there given to
 self-denial, self-sacrifice, was this--that the highest form of
 religion was considered to be that exhibited by the devotee who sat in
 a tree until the birds had built their nests in his hair--until his
 nails, like those of the King of Babylon, had grown like birds'
 talons--until they had grown into his hands--and he became absorbed
 into the Divinity.

 We will take another instance, and one better known. In ancient Sparta
 it was the custom to teach children to steal. And here there would
 seem to be a contradiction to our proposition--here it would seem as
 if right and wrong were matters merely conventional; for surely
 stealing can never be anything but wrong. But if we look deeper we
 shall see that there is no contradiction here. It was not stealing
 which was admired; the child was punished if the theft was discovered;
 but it was the dexterity which was admired, and that because it was a
 warlike virtue, necessary it may be to a people in continual rivalry
 with their neighbours. It was not that honesty was despised and
 dishonesty esteemed, but that honesty and dishonesty were made
 subordinate to that which appeared to them of higher importance,
 namely, the duty of concealment. And so we come back to the principle
 which we laid down at first. In every age, among all nations, the same
 broad principle remains; but the application of it varies. The
 conscience may be ill-informed, and in this sense only are right and
 wrong conventional--varying with latitude and longitude, depending
 upon chronology and geography.

 The principle laid down by the Apostle Paul is this:--A man will be
 judged, not by the abstract law of God, not by the rule of absolute
 right, but much rather by the relative law of conscience. This he
 states most distinctly--looking at the question on both sides. That
 which seems to a man to be right is, in a certain sense, right to him;
 and that which seems to a man to be wrong, in a certain sense _is_
 wrong to him. For example: he says in his Epistle to the Romans (v.
 14.) that, "sin is not imputed when there is no law," in other words,
 if a man does not really know a thing to be wrong there is a sense in
 which, if not right to him, it ceases to be so wrong as it would
 otherwise be. With respect to the other of these sides however, the
 case is still more distinct and plain. Here, in the judgment which the
 apostle delivers in the parallel chapter of the Epistle to the Romans
 (the 14th), he says, "I know, and am persuaded of the Lord Jesus, that
 there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth anything
 to be unclean, to him it is unclean." In other words, whatever may be
 the abstract merits of the question--however in God's jurisprudence
 any particular act may stand--to you, thinking it to be wrong, it
 manifestly _is_ wrong, and your conscience will gather round it a
 stain of guilt if you do it.

 In order to understand this more fully, let us take a few instances.
 There is a difference between _truth_ and _veracity_. Veracity--mere
 veracity--is a small, poor thing. Truth is something greater and
 higher. Veracity is merely the correspondence between some particular
 statement and facts--truth is the correspondence between a man's whole
 soul and reality. It is possible for a man to say that which, unknown
 to him is false; and yet he may be true: because if deprived of truth
 he is deprived of it unwillingly. It is possible, on the other hand,
 for a man to utter veracities, and yet at the very time that he is
 uttering those veracities to be false to himself, to his brother, and
 to his God. One of the most signal instances of this is to be seen in
 the Book of Job. Most of what Job's friends said to him were veracious
 statements. Much of what Job said for himself was unveracious and
 mistaken. And yet those veracities of theirs were so torn from all
 connection with fact and truth, that they became falsehoods; and they
 were, as has been said, nothing more than "orthodox liars" in the
 sight of God. On the other hand, Job, blundering perpetually, and
 falling into false doctrine, was yet a true man--searching for and
 striving after the truth; and if deprived of it for a time, deprived
 of it with all his heart and soul unwillingly. And therefore it was
 that at last the Lord appeared out of the whirlwind, to confound the
 men of mere veracity, and to stand by and support the honour of the
 heartily true.

 Let us apply the principle further. It is a matter of less importance
 that a man should state true views, than that he should state views
 truly. We will put this in its strongest form. Unitarianism is
 false--Trinitarianism is true. But yet in the sight of God, and with
 respect to a man's eternal destinies hereafter, it would surely be
 better for him earnestly, honestly, truly, to hold the doctrines of
 Unitarianism, than in a cowardly or indifferent spirit, or influenced
 by authority, or from considerations of interest, or for the sake of
 lucre, to hold the doctrines of Trinitarianism.

 For instance:--Not many years ago the Church of Scotland was severed
 into two great divisions, and gave to this age a marvellous proof that
 there is still amongst us the power of living faith--when five hundred
 ministers gave up all that earth holds dear--position in the church
 they had loved; friendships and affections formed, and consecrated by
 long fellowship, in its communion; and almost their hopes of gaining a
 livelihood--rather than assert a principle which seemed to them to be
 a false one. Now my brethren, surely the question in such a case for
 us to consider is not this, merely--whether of the two sections held
 the abstract _right_--held the principle in its integrity--but surely
 far rather, this: who on either side was true to the light within,
 true to God, true to the truth as God had revealed it to his soul.

 Now it is precisely upon this principle that we are enabled to indulge
 a Christian hope that many of those who in ancient times were
 persecutors, for example, may yet be justified at the bar of Christ.
 Nothing can make persecution right--it is wrong, essentially,
 eternally wrong in the sight of God. And yet, if a man sincerely and
 assuredly thinks that Christ has laid upon him a command to persecute
 with fire and sword, it is surely better that he should, in spite of
 all feelings of tenderness and compassion, cast aside the dearest
 affections at the command of his Redeemer, than that he should, in
 mere laxity and tenderness, turn aside from what seemed to him to be
 his duty. At least, this appears to be the opinion of the Apostle
 Paul. He tells us that he was "a blasphemer and a persecutor and
 injurious," that "he did many things contrary to the name of Jesus of
 Nazareth," that "being exceedingly mad against the disciples, he
 persecuted them even unto strange cities." But he tells us further
 that, "for this cause he obtained mercy, because he did it ignorantly
 in unbelief."

 Now take a case precisely opposite. In ancient times the Jews did that
 by which it appeared to them that they would contract defilement and
 guilt--they spared the lives of the enemies which they had taken in
 battle. Brethren the eternal law is, that charity is right: and that
 law is eternally right which says, "Thou shalt love thine enemy." And
 had the Jews acted upon this principle they would have done well to
 spare their enemies: but they did it thinking it to be wrong,
 transgressing that law which commanded them to slay their idolatrous
 enemies--not from generosity, but in cupidity--not from charity, but
 from lax zeal. And so doing, the act was altogether wrong.


 II. Such is the apostle's exposition of the law of Christian
 conscience. Let us now, in the second place, consider the applications
 both of a personal and of a public nature, which arise out of it.

 1. The first application is a personal one. It is this:--Do what
 _seems_ to _you_ to be right: it is only so that you will at last
 learn by the grace of God to see clearly what _is_ right. A man thinks
 within himself that it is God's law and God's will that he should act
 thus and thus. There is nothing possible for us to say--there is no
 advice for us to give, but this--"You _must_ so act." He is
 responsible for the opinions he holds, and still more for the way in
 which he arrived at them--whether in a slothful and selfish, or in an
 honest and truth-seeking manner; but being now his soul's convictions,
 you can give no other law than this--"You must obey your conscience."
 For no man's conscience gets so seared by doing what is wrong
 unknowingly, as by doing that which appears to be wrong to his
 conscience. The Jews' consciences did not get seared by their slaying
 the Canaanites, but they did become seared by their failing to do what
 appeared to them to be right. Therefore, woe to you if you do what
 others think right, instead of obeying the dictates of your own
 conscience; woe to you if you allow authority, or prescription, or
 fashion, or influence, or any other human thing, to interfere with
 that awful and sacred thing--responsibility. "Every man," said the
 apostle, "must give an account of himself to God."

 2. The second application of this principle has reference to others.
 No doubt to the large, free, enlightened mind of the Apostle Paul, all
 these scruples and superstitions must have seemed mean, trivial, and
 small indeed. It was a matter to him of far less importance that truth
 should be _established_ than that it should be arrived at truly--a
 matter of far less importance even, that right should be done, than
 that right should be done rightly. Conscience was far more sacred to
 him than even liberty--it was to him a prerogative far more precious
 to assert the rights of Christian conscience, than to magnify the
 privileges of Christian liberty. The scruple may be small and foolish,
 but it may be impossible to uproot the scruple without tearing up the
 feeling of the sanctity of conscience, and of reverence to the law of
 God, associated with this scruple. And therefore the Apostle Paul
 counsels these men to abridge their Christian liberty, and not to eat
 of those things which had been sacrificed to idols, but to have
 compassion upon the scruples of their weaker brethren.

 And this, for two reasons. The first of these is a mere reason of
 Christian feeling. It might cause exquisite pain to sensitive minds to
 see those things which appeared to them to be wrong, done by Christian
 brethren. Now you may take a parallel case. It may be, if you will,
 mere superstition to bow at the name of Jesus. It may be, and no doubt
 is, founded upon a mistaken interpretation of that passage in the
 Epistle to the Philippians (ii. 10), which says that "at the name of
 Jesus every knee shall bow." But there are many congregations in which
 this has been the long-established rule, and there are many Christians
 who would feel pained to see such a practice discontinued--as if it
 implied a declension from the reverence due to "that name which is
 above every name." Now what in this case is the Christian duty? Is it
 this--to stand upon our Christian liberty? Or is it not rather
 this--to comply with a prejudice which is manifestly a harmless one,
 rather than give pain to a Christian brother?

 Take another case. It may be a mistaken scruple; but there is no doubt
 that it causes much pain to many Christians to see a carriage used on
 the Lord's day. But you, with higher views of the spirit of
 Christianity, who know that "the Sabbath was made for man, and not man
 for the Sabbath"--who can enter more deeply into the truth taught by
 our blessed Lord, that every day is to be dedicated to Him and
 consecrated to His service--upon the high principle of Christian
 liberty you can use your carriage--you can exercise your liberty. But
 if there are Christian brethren to whom this would give pain--then I
 humbly ask you, but most earnestly--What is the duty here? Is it not
 this--to abridge your Christian liberty--and to go through rain, and
 mud, and snow, rather than give pain to one Christian conscience?

 To give one more instance. The words, and garb, and customs of that
 sect of Christians called Quakers may be formal enough; founded, no
 doubt, as in the former case, upon a mistaken interpretation of a
 passage in the Bible. But they are at least harmless; and have long
 been associated with the simplicity, and benevolence, and Christian
 humbleness of this body of Christians--the followers of one who, three
 hundred years ago, set out upon the glorious enterprise of making all
 men friends. Now would it be Christian, or would it not rather be
 something more than unchristian--would it not be gross rudeness and
 coarse unfeelingness to treat such words, and habits, and customs,
 with anything but respect and reverence?

 Further: the apostle enjoined this duty upon the Corinthian converts,
 of abridging their Christian liberty, not merely because it might give
 pain to indulge it, but also because it might even lead their brethren
 into sin. For, if any man should eat of the flesh offered to an idol,
 feeling himself justified by his conscience, it were well: but if any
 man, overborne by authority or interest, were to do this, not
 according to conscience, but against it, there would be a distinct and
 direct act of disobedience--a conflict between his sense of right and
 the gratification of his appetites, or the power of influence; and
 then his compliance would as much damage his conscience and moral
 sense as if the act had been wrong in itself.

 In the personal application of these remarks, there are three things
 which we have to say. The first is this:--Distinguish I pray you,
 between this tenderness for a brother's conscience and mere
 time-serving. This same apostle whom we here see so gracefully giving
 way upon the ground of expediency when Christian principles were left
 entire, was the same who stood firm and strong as a rock when any
 thing was demanded which trenched upon Christian principle. When some
 required as a matter of necessity for salvation, that these converts
 should be circumcised, the apostle says--"To whom we gave place by
 subjection, no, not for an hour!" It was not indifference--it was not
 cowardice--it was not the mere love of peace, purchased by the
 sacrifice of principle, that prompted this counsel--but it was
 Christian love--that delicate and Christian love which dreads to
 tamper with the sanctities of a brother's conscience.

 2. The second thing we have to say is this--that this abridgement of
 their liberty is a duty more especially incumbent upon all who are
 possessed of influence. There are some men, happily for themselves we
 may say, who are so insignificant that they can take their course
 quietly in the valleys of life, and who can exercise the fullest
 Christian liberty without giving pain to others. But it is the price
 which all who are possessed of influence must pay--that their acts
 must be measured, not in themselves, but according to their influence
 on others. So, my Christian brethren, to bring this matter home to
 every-day experience and common life, if the landlord uses his
 authority and influence to induce his tenant to vote against his
 conscience, it may be he has secured one voice to the principle which
 is right, or at all events, to that which seemed to him to be right:
 but he has gained that single voice at the sacrifice and expense of a
 brother's soul. Or again--if for the sake of ensuring personal
 politeness and attention, the rich man puts a gratuity into the hand
 of a servant of some company which has forbidden him to receive it, he
 gains the attention, he ensures the politeness, but he gains it at the
 sacrifice and expense of a man and a Christian brother.

 3. The last remark which we have to make is this:--How possible it is
 to mix together the vigour of a masculine and manly intellect with the
 tenderness and charity which is taught by the gospel of Christ! No man
 ever breathed so freely when on earth the air and atmosphere of heaven
 as the Apostle Paul--no man ever soared so high above all prejudices,
 narrowness, littlenesses, scruples, as he: and yet no man ever bound
 himself as Paul bound himself to the ignorance, the scruples, the
 prejudices of his brethren. So that what in other cases was infirmity,
 imbecility, and superstition, gathered round it in his case the pure
 high spirit of Christian charity and Christian delicacy.

 And now, out of the writings, and sayings, and deeds of those who
 loudly proclaim "the rights of man" and the "rights of liberty," match
 us if you can with one sentence so sublime, so noble, one that will so
 stand at the bar of God hereafter, as this single, glorious sentence
 of his, in which he asserts the rights of Christian conscience above
 the claims of Christian liberty--"Wherefore if meat make my brother to
 offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my
 brother to offend."



 XVII.

 _Preached May 16, 1852._

 VICTORY OVER DEATH.


   "The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.
    But thanks be to God which giveth us the victory through our Lord
    Jesus Christ."--1 Cor. xv. 56, 57.

 On Sunday last I endeavoured to bring before you the subject of that
 which Scripture calls the glorious liberty of the Sons of God. The two
 points on which we were trying to get clear notions were these: what
 is meant by being under the law, and what is meant by being free from
 the law? When the Bible says that a man led by the Spirit is not under
 the law, it does not mean that he is free because he may sin without
 being punished for it, but it means that he is free because being
 taught by God's Spirit to love what His law commands he is no longer
 conscious of acting from restraint. The law does not drive him,
 because the Spirit leads him.

 There is a state brethren, when we recognize God, but do not love God
 in Christ. It is that state when we admire what is excellent, but are
 not able to perform it. It is a state when the love of good comes to
 nothing, dying away in a mere desire. That is the state of nature,
 when we are under the law, and not converted to the love of Christ.
 And then there is another state, when God writes His law upon our
 hearts by love instead of fear. The one state is this, "I cannot do
 the things that I would"--the other state is this, "I will walk at
 liberty; for I seek Thy commandments."

 Just so far therefore, as a Christian is led by the Spirit, he is a
 conqueror. A Christian in full possession of his privileges is a man
 whose very step ought to have in it all the elasticity of triumph, and
 whose very look ought to have in it all the brightness of victory. And
 just so far as a Christian suffers sin to struggle in him and overcome
 his resolutions, just so far he is under the law. And that is the key
 to the whole doctrine of the New Testament. From first to last the
 great truth put forward is--The law can neither save you nor sanctify
 you. The gospel can do both; for it is rightly and emphatically called
 the perfect law of liberty.

 We proceed to-day to a further illustration of this subject--of
 Christian victory. In the verses which I have read out, the Apostle
 has evidently the same subject in his mind: slavery through the law:
 victory through the gospel. "The strength of sin," he says, "is the
 law." God giveth us the victory through Christ. And when we are
 familiar with St. Paul's trains of thinking, we find this idea coming
 in perpetually. It runs like a coloured thread through embroidery,
 appearing on the upper surface every now and then in a different
 shape--a leaf, it may be, or a flower; but the same thread still, if
 you only trace it back with your finger. And this was the golden
 recurring thread in the mind of Paul. Restraint and law cannot check
 sin; they only gall it and make it struggle and rebel. The love of God
 in Christ, that, and only that can give man the victory.

 But in this passage the idea of victory is brought to bear upon the
 most terrible of all a Christian's enemies. It is faith here
 conquering in death. And the apostle brings together all the
 believer's antagonists--the law's power, sin, and death the chief
 antagonist of all; and then, as it were on a conqueror's battle field,
 shouts over them the hymn of triumph--"Thanks be to God, which giveth
 us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ." We shall take up these
 two points to dwell upon.

    I. The awfulness which hangs round the dying hour.
   II. Faith conquering in death.

 That which makes it peculiarly terrible to die is asserted in this
 passage to be, guilt. We lay a stress upon this expression--the sting.
 It is not said that sin is the only bitterness, but it is the sting
 which contains in it the venom of a most exquisite torture. And in
 truth brethren, it is no mark of courage to speak lightly of human
 dying. We may do it in bravado, or in wantonness; but no man who
 thinks can call it a trifling thing to die. True thoughtfulness must
 shrink from death without Christ. There is a world of untold
 sensations crowded into that moment, when a man puts his hand to his
 forehead and feels the damp upon it which tells him his hour is come.
 He has been waiting for death all his life, and now it is come. It is
 all over--his chance is past, and his eternity is settled. None of us
 know, except by guess, what that sensation is. Myriads of human beings
 have felt it to whom life was dear; but they never spoke out their
 feelings, for such things are untold. And to every individual man
 throughout all eternity that sensation in its fulness can come but
 once. It is mockery brethren, for a man to speak lightly of that which
 he cannot know till it comes.

 Now the first cause which makes it a solemn thing to die, is the
 instinctive cleaving of every thing that lives to its own existence.
 That unutterable thing which we call our being--the idea of parting
 with it is agony. It is the first and the intensest desire of living
 things, to be. Enjoyment, blessedness, everything we long for, is
 wrapped up in being. Darkness and all that the spirit recoils from, is
 contained in this idea, not to be. It is in virtue of this
 unquenchable impulse that the world, in spite of all the misery that
 is in it, continues to struggle on. What are war, and trade, and
 labour, and professions? Are they all the result of struggling to be
 great? No, my brethren, they are the result of struggling _to be_. The
 first thing that men and nations labour for is existence. Reduce the
 nation or the man to their last resources, and only see what
 marvellous energy of contrivance the love of being arms them with.
 Read back the pauper's history at the end of seventy years--his
 strange sad history, in which scarcely a single day could ensure
 subsistence for the morrow--and yet learn what he has done these long
 years in the stern struggle with impossibility to hold his being where
 everything is against him, and to keep an existence, whose only
 conceivable charm is this, that it _is_ existence.

 Now it is with this intense passion for being, that the idea of death
 clashes. Let us search why it is we shrink from death. This reason
 brethren, we shall find, that it presents to us the idea of _not
 being_. Talk as we will of immortality, there is an obstinate feeling
 that we cannot master, that we end in death; and _that_ may be felt
 together with the firmest belief of a resurrection. Brethren, our
 faith tells us one thing, and our sensations tell us another. When we
 die, we are surrendering in truth all that with which we have
 associated existence. All that we know of life is connected with a
 shape, a form, a body of materialism; and now that that is palpably
 melting away into nothingness, the boldest heart may be excused a
 shudder, when there is forced upon it, in spite of itself, the idea of
 ceasing for ever.

 The second reason is not one of imagination at all, but most sober
 reality. It is a solemn thing to die, because it is the parting with
 all round which the heart's best affections have twined themselves.
 There are some men who have not the capacity for keen enjoyment. Their
 affections have nothing in them of intensity, and so they pass through
 life without ever so uniting themselves with what they meet, that
 there would be anything of pain in the severance. Of course, with them
 the bitterness of death does not attach so much to the idea of
 parting. But my brethren, how is it with human nature generally? Our
 feelings do not weaken as we go on in life; emotions are less shown,
 and we get a command over our features and our expressions; but the
 man's feelings are deeper than the boy's. It is length of time that
 makes attachment. We become wedded to the sights and sounds of this
 lovely world more closely as years go on.

 Young men, with nothing rooted deep, are prodigal of life. It is an
 adventure to them, rather than a misfortune, to leave their country
 for ever. With the old man it is like tearing his own heart from him.
 And so it was that when Lot quitted Sodom, the younger members of his
 family went on gladly. It is a touching truth; it was the aged one who
 looked behind to the home which had so many recollections connected
 with it. And therefore it is, that when men approach that period of
 existence when they must go, there is an instinctive lingering over
 things which they shall never see again. Every time the sun sets,
 every time the old man sees his children gathering round him, there is
 a filling of the eye with an emotion that we can understand. There is
 upon his soul the thought of parting, that strange wrench from all we
 love which makes death (say what moralists will of it) a bitter thing.

 Another pang which belongs to death, we find in the sensation of
 loneliness which attaches to it. Have we ever seen a ship preparing to
 sail with its load of pauper emigrants to a distant colony? If we have
 we know what that desolation is which comes from feeling unfriended on
 a new and untried excursion. All beyond the seas, to the ignorant poor
 man, is a strange land. They are going away from the helps and the
 friendships and the companionships of life, scarcely knowing what is
 before them. And it is in such a moment, when a man stands upon a
 deck, taking his last look of his fatherland, that there comes upon
 him a sensation new, strange, and inexpressibly miserable--the feeling
 of being alone in the world.

 Brethren, with all the bitterness of such a moment, it is but a feeble
 image when placed by the side of the loneliness of death. We die
 alone. We go on our dark mysterious journey for the first time in all
 our existence, without one to accompany us. Friends are beside our
 bed, they must stay behind. Grant that a Christian has something like
 familiarity with the Most High, _that_ breaks this solitary feeling;
 but what is it with the mass of men? It is a question full of
 loneliness to them. What is it they are to see? What are they to meet?
 Is it not true, that, to the larger number of this congregation, there
 is no one point in all eternity on which the eye can fix distinctly
 and rest gladly--nothing beyond the grave, except a dark space into
 which they must plunge alone?

 And yet my brethren, with all these ideas no doubt vividly before his
 mind, it was none of them that the apostle selected as the crowning
 bitterness of dying. It was not the thought of surrendering existence.
 It was not the parting from all bright and lovely things. It was not
 the shudder of sinking into the sepulchre alone. "The sting of death
 is _sin_."

 Now there are two ways in which this deep truth applies itself. There
 is something that appals in death when there are distinct separate
 acts of guilt resting on the memory; and there is something too in the
 possession of a guilty heart, which is quite another thing from acts
 of sin, that makes it an awful thing to die. There are some who carry
 about with them the dreadful secret of sin that has been done; guilt
 that has a name. A man has injured some one; he has made money, or got
 on by unfair means; he has been unchaste; he has done some of those
 thousand things of life which leave upon the heart the dark spot that
 will not come out. All these are sins which you can count up and
 number. And the recollection of things like these is that agony which
 we call remorse. Many of us have remembrances of this kind which are
 fatal to serenity. We shut them out, but it will not do. They bide
 their time, and then suddenly present themselves, together with the
 thought of a judgment-seat. When a guilty man begins to think of
 dying, it is like a vision of the Son of Man presenting itself and
 calling out the voices of all the unclean spirits in the man--"Art
 thou come to torment us before the time?"

 But my brethren, it is a mistake if we suppose that is the common way
 in which sin stings at the thought of death. Men who have lived the
 career of passionate life have distinct and accumulated acts of guilt
 before their eyes. But with most men it is not guilty acts, but
 guiltiness of heart that weighs the heaviest. Only take yesterday as a
 specimen of life. What was it with most of us? A day of sin. Was it
 sin palpable and dark, such as we shall remember painfully this day
 year? Nay my brethren, unkindness, petulance, wasted time,
 opportunities lost, frivolous conversation, _that_ was our chief
 guilt. And yet with all that trifling as it may be, when it comes to
 be the history of life, does it not leave behind a restless
 undefinable sense of fault, a vague idea of debt, but to what extent
 we know not, perhaps the more wretched just because it is uncertain?

 My Christian brethren, this is the sting of sinfulness, the wretched
 consciousness of an unclean heart. It is just this feeling, "God is
 not my friend; I am going on to the grave, and no _man_ can say aught
 against me, but my heart is not right; I want a river like that which
 the ancients fabled--the river of forgetfulness--that I might go down
 into it and bathe, and come up a new man. It is not so much what I
 have done; it is what I am. Who shall save me from myself?" Oh, it is
 a desolate thing to think of the coffin when that thought is in all
 its misery before the soul. It is the sting of death.

 And now let us bear one thing in mind, the sting of sin is not a
 constant pressure. It may be that we live many years in the world
 before a death in our own family forces the thought personally home.
 Many years before all those sensations which are so often the
 precursors of the tomb--the quick short cough, lassitude, emaciation,
 pain--come in startling suddenness upon us in our young vigour, and
 make us feel what it is to be here with death inevitable to ourselves.
 And when those things become habitual, habit makes delicacy the same
 forgetful thing as health, so that neither in sickness, nor in health,
 is the thought of death a constant pressure. It is only now and then;
 but so often as death is a reality, the sting of death is sin.

 Once more we remark, that all this power of sin to agonize, is traced
 by the Apostle to the law--"the strength of sin is the law;" by which
 he means to say that sin would not be so violent if it were not for
 the attempt of God's law to restrain it. It is the law which makes sin
 strong. And he does not mean particularly the law of Moses. He means
 any law, and all law. Law is what forbids and threatens; law bears
 gallingly on those who want to break it. And St. Paul declares this,
 that no law, not even God's law, can make men righteous in heart,
 unless the Spirit has taught men's hearts to acquiesce in the law. It
 can only force out into rebellion the sin that is in them.

 It is so, brethren, with a nation's law. The voice of the nation must
 go along with it. It must be the expression of their own feeling, and
 then they will have it obeyed. But if it is only the law of a
 government, a law which is against the whole spirit of the people,
 there is first the murmur of a nation's disapprobation, and then there
 is transgression, and then, if the law be vindicated with a high hand,
 the next step is the bursting that law asunder in national revolution.
 And so it is with God's law. It will never control a man long who does
 not from his heart love it. First comes a sensation of restraint, and
 then comes a murmuring of the heart; and last, there comes the rising
 of passion in its giant might, made desperate by restraint. That is
 the law giving strength to sin.

 And therefore brethren, if all we know of God be this, that He has
 made laws, and that it is terrible to break them; if all our idea of
 religion be this, that it is a thing of commands and hindrances--Thou
 shalt, and thou shalt not; we are under the law, and there is no help
 for it. We _must_ shrink from the encounter with death.


 We pass to our second subject--Faith conquering in death.

 And, before we enter upon this topic, there are two general remarks
 that we have to make. The first is, The elevating power of faith.
 There is nothing in all this world that ever led man on to real
 victory but faith. Faith is that looking forward to a future with
 something like certainty, that raises man above the narrow feelings of
 the present. Even in this life he is a greater man, a man of more
 elevated character, who is steadily pursuing a plan that requires some
 years to accomplish, than he who is living by the day. Look forward
 but ten years, and plan for it, live for it; there is something of
 manhood, something of courage required to conquer the thousand things
 that stand in your way. And therefore it is, that faith, and nothing
 but faith, gives victory in death. It is that elevation of character
 which we get from looking steadily and for ever forward, till eternity
 becomes a real home to us, that enables us to look down upon the last
 struggle, and the funeral, and the grave, not as the great end of all,
 but only as something that stands between us and the end. We are
 conquerors of death when we are able to look beyond it.

 Our second remark is for the purpose of fixing special attention upon
 this, that ours is not merely to be victory, it is to be victory
 through Christ "Thanks be to God which giveth us the victory through
 our Lord Jesus Christ." Victory brethren, mere victory over death is
 no unearthly thing. You may get it by infidelity. Only let a man sin
 long enough, and desperately enough to shut judgment altogether out of
 his creed, and then you have a man who can bid defiance to the grave.
 It was so that our country's greatest infidel historian met death. He
 quitted the world without parade and without display. If we want a
 specimen of victory apart from Christ, we have it on his death-bed. He
 left all this strange world of restlessness, calmly, like an unreal
 show that must go to pieces, and he himself an unreality departing
 from it. A sceptic can be a conqueror in death.

 Or again, mere manhood may give us a victory. He who has only learned
 not to be afraid to die, has not learned much. We have steel and nerve
 enough in our hearts to dare anything. And after all, it is a triumph
 so common as scarcely to deserve the name. Felons die on the scaffold
 like men; soldiers can be hired by tens of thousands, for a few pence
 a day, to front death in its worst form. Every minute that we live
 sixty of the human race are passing away, and the greater part with
 courage--the weak, and the timid, as well as the resolute. Courage is
 a very different thing from the Christian's victory.

 Once more brethren, necessity can make man conqueror over death. We
 can make up our minds to anything when it once becomes inevitable. It
 is the agony of suspense that makes danger dreadful. History can tell
 us that men can look with desperate calmness upon hell itself when
 once it has become a certainty. And it is this after all, that
 commonly makes the dying hour so quiet a thing. It is more dreadful in
 the distance than in the reality. When a man feels that there is no
 help, and he must go, he lays him down to die, as quietly as a tired
 traveller wraps himself in his cloak to sleep. It is quite another
 thing from all this that Paul meant by victory.

 In the first place, it is the prerogative of a Christian to be
 conqueror over Doubt. Brethren, do we all know what doubt means?
 Perchance not. There are some men who have never believed enough to
 doubt. There are some who have never thrown their hopes with such
 earnestness on the world to come, as to feel anxiety for fear it
 should not all be true. But every one who knows what Faith is, knows
 too, what is the desolation of Doubt. We pray till we begin to ask, Is
 there one who hears, or am I whispering to myself?--We hear the
 consolation administered to the bereaved, and we see the coffin
 lowered into the grave, and the thought comes, What if all this
 doctrine of a life to come be but the dream of man's imaginative mind,
 carried on from age to age, and so believed, because it is a venerable
 superstition? Mow Christ gives us victory over that terrible suspicion
 in two ways--first, He does it by His own resurrection. We have got a
 fact there that all the metaphysics about impossibility cannot rob us
 of. In moments of perplexity we look back to this. The grave has once,
 and more than once, at the Redeemer's bidding, given up its dead. It
 is a world fact. It tells us what the Bible means by our
 resurrection--not a spiritual rising into new holiness merely--that,
 but also something more. It means that in our own proper identity, we
 shall live again. Make that thought real, and God has given you, so
 far, victory over the grave through Christ.

 There is another way in which we get the victory over doubt, and that
 is by living in Christ. All doubt comes from living out of habits of
 affectionate obedience to God. By idleness, by neglected prayer, we
 lose our power of realizing things not seen. Let a man be religious
 and irreligious at intervals--irregular, inconsistent, without some
 distinct thing to live for--it is a matter of impossibility that he
 can be free from doubts. He must make up his mind for a dark life.
 Doubts can only be dispelled by that kind of active life that realizes
 Christ. And there is no faith that gives a victory so steadily
 triumphant as that. When such a man comes near the opening of the
 vault, it is no world of sorrows he is entering upon. He is only going
 to see things that he has felt, for he has been living in heaven. He
 has his grasp on things that other men are only groping after and
 touching now and then. Live above this world, Brethren, and then the
 powers of the world to come are so upon you that there is no room for
 doubt.

 Besides all this, it is a Christian's privilege to have victory over
 the fear of death. And here it is exceedingly easy to paint what after
 all is only the image-picture of a dying hour. It is the easiest thing
 to represent the dying Christian as a man who always sinks into the
 grave full of hope, full of triumph, in the certain hope of a blessed
 resurrection. Brethren, we must paint things in the sober colours of
 truth; not as they might be supposed to be, but as they are. Often
 that is only a picture. Either very few death-beds are Christian ones,
 or else triumph is a very different thing from what the word generally
 implies. Solemn, subdued, full of awe and full of solemnity, is the
 dying hour generally of the holiest men: sometimes almost
 darkness.--Rapture is a rare thing, except in books and scenes.

 Let us understand what really is the victory over fear. It may be
 rapture or it may not. All that depends very much on temperament; and
 after all, the broken words of a dying man are a very poor index of
 his real state before God. Rapturous hope has been granted to martyrs
 in peculiar moments. It is on record of a minister of our own Church,
 that his expectation of seeing God in Christ became so intense as his
 last hour drew near, that his physician was compelled to bid him calm
 his transports, because in so excited a state he could not die. A
 strange unnatural energy was imparted to his muscular frame by his
 nerves overstrung with triumph. But brethren, it fosters a dangerous
 feeling to take cases like those as precedents. It leads to that most
 terrible of all unrealities--the acting of a death-bed scene. A
 Christian conqueror dies calmly. Brave men in battle do not boast that
 they are not afraid. Courage is so natural to them that they are not
 conscious they are doing anything out of the common way--Christian
 bravery is a deep, calm thing, unconscious of itself. There are more
 triumphant death-beds than we count, if we only remember this--true
 fearlessness makes no parade.

 Oh, it is not only in those passionate effusions in which the ancient
 martyrs spoke sometimes of panting for the crushing of their limbs by
 the lions in the amphitheatre, or of holding out their arms to embrace
 the flames that were to curl round them--it is not then only that
 Christ has stood by His servants, and made them more than
 conquerors:--there may be something of earthly excitement in all that.
 Every day His servants are dying modestly and peacefully--not a word
 of victory on their lips; but Christ's deep triumph in their
 hearts--watching the slow progress of their own decay, and yet so far
 emancipated from personal anxiety that they are still able to think
 and to plan for others, not knowing that they are doing any great
 thing. They die, and the world hears nothing of them; and yet theirs
 was the completest victory. They came to the battle field, the field
 to which they had been looking forward all their lives, and the enemy
 was not to be found. There was no Foe to fight with.

 The last form in which a Christian gets the victory over death is by
 means of his resurrection. It seems to have been this which was
 chiefly alluded to by the Apostle here; for he says, "when this
 corruptible shall have put on incorruption ... _then_ shall come to
 pass the saying which is written, Death is swallowed up in victory."
 And to say the truth, brethren, it is a rhetorical expression rather
 than a sober truth when we call anything, except the resurrection,
 victory over death. We may conquer doubt and fear when we are dying,
 but that is not conquering death. It is like a warrior crushed to
 death by a superior antagonist refusing to yield a groan, and bearing
 the glance of defiance to the last. You feel that he is an
 unconquerable spirit, but he is not the conqueror. And when you see
 flesh melting away, and mental power becoming infantine in its
 feebleness, and lips scarcely able to articulate, is there left one
 moment a doubt upon the mind, as to _who_ is the conqueror in spite of
 all the unshaken fortitude there may be? The victory is on the side of
 Death, not on the side of the dying.

 And my brethren, if we would enter into the full feeling of triumph
 contained in this verse, we must just try to bear in mind what this
 world would be without the thought of a resurrection. If we could
 conceive an unselfish man looking upon this world of desolation with
 that infinite compassion which all the brave and good feel, what
 conception could he have but that of defeat, and failure, and
 sadness--the sons of man mounting into a bright existence, and one
 after another falling back into darkness and nothingness, like
 soldiers trying to mount an impracticable breach, and falling back
 crushed and mangled into the ditch before the bayonets and the
 rattling fire of their conquerors. Misery and guilt, look which way
 you will, till the heart gets sick with looking at it.

 Brethren, until a man looks on evil till it seems to him almost like a
 real personal enemy rejoicing over the destruction that it has made,
 he can scarcely conceive the deep rapture which rushed into the mind
 of the Apostle Paul when he remembered that a day was coming when all
 this was to be reversed. A day was coming, and it was the day of
 reality for which he lived, ever present and ever certain, when this
 sad world was to put _off for ever_ its changefulness and its misery,
 and the grave was to be robbed of its victory, and the bodies were to
 come forth purified by their long sleep. He called all this a victory,
 because he felt that it was a real battle that has to be fought and
 won before that can be secured. One battle has been fought by Christ,
 and another battle, most real and difficult, but yet a conquering one,
 is to be fought by us. He hath imparted to us the virtue of His
 wrestlings, and the strength of His victory. So that, when the body
 shall rise again, the power of the law to condemn is gone, because we
 have learned to love the law.

 And now to conclude all this, there are but two things which remain to
 say. In the first place, brethren, if we would be conquerors, we must
 realize God's love in Christ. Take care not to be under the law.
 Constraint never yet made a conqueror: the utmost it can do is to make
 either a rebel or a slave. Believe that God loves you. He gave a
 triumphant demonstration of it in the Cross. Never shall we conquer
 self till we have learned _to love_. My Christian brethren, let us
 remember our high privilege. Christian life, so far as it deserves the
 name, is victory. We are not going forth to mere battle--we are going
 forth to conquer. To gain mastery over self, and sin, and doubt, and
 fear: till the last coldness, coming across the brow, tells us that
 all is over, and our warfare accomplished--that we are safe, the
 everlasting arms beneath us--_that_ is our calling. Brethren beloved,
 do not be content with a slothful, dreamy, uncertain struggle. You are
 to conquer, and the banner under which we are to win is not Fear, but
 Love. "The strength of sin is the law;" the victory is by keeping
 before us God in Christ.

 Lastly, there is need of encouragement for those of us whose faith is
 not of the conquering, but the timid kind. There are some whose hearts
 will reply to all this, Surely victory is not always a Christian's
 portion. Is there no cold dark watching in Christian life--no struggle
 when victory seems a mockery to speak of--no times when light and life
 seem feeble, and Christ is to us but a name, and death a reality?
 "Perfect love casteth out fear," but who has it? Victory is by faith,
 but, oh God, who will tell us what this faith _is_ that men speak of
 as a thing so easy; and how we are to get it! You tell us to pray for
 faith, but how shall we pray in earnest unless we first have the very
 faith we pray for?

 My Christian brethren, it is just to this deepest cry of the human
 heart that it is impossible to return a full answer. All that is
 true. To feel Faith is the grand difficulty of life. Faith is a deep
 impression of God and God's love, and personal trust in it. It is easy
 to say "Believe and thou shalt be saved," but well we know it is
 easier said than done. We cannot say how men are to _get_ faith. It is
 God's gift, almost in the same way that genius is. You cannot work
 _for_ faith; you must have it first, and then work _from_ it.

 But brethren beloved, we can say, Look up, though we know not how the
 mechanism of the will which directs the eye is to be put in motion; we
 can say, Look to God in Christ, though we know not how men are to
 obtain faith to do it. Let us be in earnest. Our polar star is the
 love of the Cross. Take the eye off that, and you are in darkness and
 bewilderment at once. Let us not mind what is past. Perhaps it is all
 failure, and useless struggle, and broken resolves. What then? Settle
 this first, brethren, Are you in earnest? If so, though your faith be
 weak and your struggles unsatisfactory, you may begin the hymn of
 triumph _now_, for victory is pledged. "Thanks be to God, which" not
 _shall_ give, but "_giveth_ us the victory through our Lord Jesus
 Christ."



 XVIII.

 _Preached June 20, 1852._

 MAN'S GREATNESS AND GOD'S GREATNESS.


   "For thus saith the High and Lofty One that inhabiteth Eternity,
    whose Name is Holy. I dwell in the high and holy place--with him
    also that is of a contrite and humble spirit."--Isaiah lvii. 15.

 The origin of this announcement seems to have been the state of
 contempt in which religion found itself in the days of Isaiah. One of
 the most profligate monarchs that ever disgraced the page of sacred
 history, sat upon the throne of Judah. His court was filled with men
 who recommended themselves chiefly by their licentiousness. The altar
 was forsaken. Sacrilegious hands had placed the abominations of
 heathenism in the Holy Place; and Piety, banished from the State, the
 Church, and the Royal court, was once more as she had been before, and
 will be again, a wanderer on the face of the earth.

 Now, however easy it may be to contemplate such a state of things at a
 distance, it never takes place in a man's own day and time, without
 suggesting painful perplexities of a twofold nature. In the first
 place suspicions respecting God's character; and, in the second place,
 misgivings as to his own duty. For a faithless heart whispers, Is it
 worth while to suffer for a sinking cause? Honour, preferment,
 grandeur, follow in the train of unscrupulous conduct. To be strict in
 goodness, is to be pointed at and shunned. To be no better than one's
 neighbours is the only way of being at peace. It seems to have been to
 such a state as this that Isaiah was commissioned to bring light. He
 vindicated God's character by saying that He is "the High and Lofty
 One that inhabiteth Eternity." He encouraged those who were trodden
 down, to perseverance, by reminding them that real dignity is
 something very different from present success. God dwells with him,
 "that is of a contrite and humble spirit" We consider

    I. That in which the greatness of God consists.
   II. That in which man's greatness consists.

 The first measurement, so to speak, which is given us of God's
 greatness, is in respect of Time. He inhabiteth Eternity. There are
 some subjects on which it would be good to dwell, if it were only for
 the sake of that enlargement of mind which is produced by their
 contemplation. And eternity is one of these, so that you cannot
 steadily fix the thoughts upon it without being sensible of a peculiar
 kind of elevation, at the same time that you are humbled by a personal
 feeling of utter insignificance. You have come in contact with
 something so immeasurable--beyond the narrow range of our common
 speculations--that you are exalted by the very conception of it. Now
 the only way we have of forming any idea of eternity is by going, step
 by step, up to the largest measures of time we know of, and so
 ascending, on and on, till we are lost in wonder. We cannot grasp
 eternity, but we can learn something of it by perceiving, that, rise
 to what portion of time we will, eternity is vaster than the vastest.

 We take up for instance, the history of our own country, and then,
 when we have spent months in mastering the mere outline of those great
 events which, in the slow course of revolving centuries, have made
 England what she is, her earlier ages seem so far removed from our own
 times that they appear to belong to a hoary and most remote antiquity.
 But then, when you compare those times with even the existing works of
 man, and when you remember that, when England was yet young in
 civilization, the pyramids of Egypt were already grey with 1500 years,
 you have got another step which impresses you with a doubled amount of
 vastness. Double that period, and you come to the far distant moment
 when the present aspect of this world was called, by creation, out of
 the formless void in which it was before.

 Modern science has raised us to a pinnacle of thought beyond even
 this. It has commanded us to think of countless ages in which that
 formless void existed before it put on the aspect of its present
 creation. Millions of years before God called the light day, and the
 darkness night, there was, if science speaks true, creation after
 creation called into existence, and buried in its own ruins upon the
 surface of this earth. And then, there was a time beyond even
 this--there was a moment when this earth itself, with all its
 countless creations and innumerable ages, did not exist. And, again,
 in that far back distance it is more than conceivable, it seems by the
 analogy of God's dealings next to certain, that ten thousand worlds
 may have been called into existence, and lasted their unnumbered ages,
 and then perished in succession. Compared with these stupendous
 figures, 6,000 years of _our_ planet sink into nothingness. The mind
 is lost in dwelling on such thoughts as these. When you have
 penetrated far, far back, by successive approximations, and still see
 the illimitable distance receding before you as distant as before,
 imagination absolutely gives way, and you feel dizzy and bewildered
 with new strange thoughts, that have not a name.

 But this is only one aspect of the case. It looks only to time past.
 The same overpowering calculations wait us when we bend our eyes on
 that which is to come. Time stretches back immeasurably, but it also
 stretches on and on for ever. Now it is by such a conception as this
 that the inspired prophet attempts to measure the immeasurable of God.
 All that eternity, magnificent as it is, never was without an
 Inhabitant. Eternity means nothing by itself. It merely expresses the
 existence of the High and Lofty One that inhabiteth it. We make a
 fanciful distinction between eternity and time--there is no real
 distinction. We are in eternity at this moment. That has begun to be
 with us which never began with God. Our only measure of time is by the
 succession of ideas. If ideas flow fast, and many sights and many
 thoughts pass by us, time seems lengthened. If we have the simple
 routine of a few engagements, the same every day, with little variety,
 the years roll by us so fast that we cannot mark them. It is not so
 with God. There is no succession of ideas with Him. Every possible
 idea is present with Him now. It was present with Him ten thousand
 years ago. God's dwelling-place is that eternity which has neither
 past nor future, but one vast, immeasurable present.

 There is a second measure given us of God in this verse. It is in
 respect of Space. He dwelleth in the High and Lofty place. He dwelleth
 moreover, in the most insignificant place--even the heart of man. And
 the idea by which the prophet would here exhibit to us the greatness
 of God is that of His eternal Omnipresence. It is difficult to say
 which conception carries with it the greatest exaltation--that of
 boundless space or that of unbounded time. When we pass from the tame
 and narrow scenery of our own country, and stand on those spots of
 earth in which nature puts on her wilder and more awful forms, we are
 conscious of something of the grandeur which belongs to the thought of
 space. Go where the strong foundations of the earth lie around you in
 their massive majesty, and mountain after mountain rears its snow to
 heaven in a giant chain, and then, when this bursts upon you for the
 first time in life, there is that peculiar feeling which we call, in
 common language, an enlargement of ideas. But when we are told that
 the sublimity of those dizzy heights is but a nameless speck in
 comparison with the globe of which they form the girdle; and when we
 pass on to think of that globe itself as a minute spot in the mighty
 system to which it belongs, so that our world might be annihilated,
 and its loss would not be felt; and when we are told that eighty
 millions of such systems roll in the world of space, to which our own
 system again is as nothing; and when we are again pressed with the
 recollection that beyond those furthest limits creative power is
 exerted immeasurably further than eye can reach, or thought can
 penetrate; then, brethren, the awe which comes upon the heart is only,
 after all, a tribute to a _portion_ of God's greatness.

 Yet we need not science to teach us this. It is the thought which
 oppresses very childhood--the overpowering thought of space. A child
 can put his head upon his hands, and think and think till it reaches
 in imagination some far distant barrier of the universe, and still the
 difficulty presents itself to his young mind, "And what is beyond that
 barrier?" and the only answer is "The high and lofty place." And this
 brethren, is the inward seal with which God has stamped Himself upon
 man's heart. If every other trace of Deity has been expunged by the
 fall, these two at least defy destruction--the thought of Eternal
 Time, and the thought of Immeasurable Space.

 The third measure which is given us of God respects His character.
 His name is Holy. The chief idea which this would convey to us is
 separation from evil. Brethren, there is perhaps a time drawing near
 when those of us who shall stand at His right hand, purified from all
 evil taint, shall be able to comprehend absolutely what is meant by
 the Holiness of God. At present, with hearts cleaving down to earth,
 and tossed by a thousand gusts of unholy passion, we can only form a
 dim conception _relatively_ of that which it implies. None but the
 pure can understand purity. The chief knowledge which we have of God's
 holiness comes from our acquaintance with unholiness. We know what
 impurity is--God is _not_ that. We know what injustice is--God is
 _not_ that. We know what restlessness, and guilt, and passion are, and
 deceitfulness, and pride, and waywardness--all these we know. God is
 none of these. And this is our chief acquaintance with His character.
 We know what God is _not_. We scarcely can be rightly said to know,
 that is to feel, what God _is_. And therefore, this is implied in the
 very name of holiness. Holiness in the Jewish sense means simply
 separateness. From all that is wrong, and mean, and base, our God is
 for ever separate.

 There is another way in which God gives to us a conception of what
 this holiness implies. Tell us of His justice, His truth, His
 loving-kindness. All these are cold abstractions. They convey no
 distinct idea of themselves to our hearts. What we wanted was, that
 these should be exhibited to us in tangible reality. And it is just
 this which God has done. He has exhibited all these attributes, not in
 the light of _speculation_, but in the light of _facts_. He has given
 us His own character in all its delicacy of colouring in the history
 of Christ. Love, Mercy, Tenderness, Purity--these are no mere names
 when we see them brought out in the human actions of our Master.
 Holiness is only a shadow to our minds, till it receives shape and
 substance in the life of Christ. All this character of holiness is
 intelligible to us in Christ. "No man hath seen God at any time, the
 only begotten of the Father He hath declared Him."

 There is a third light in which God's holiness is shown to us, and
 that is in the sternness with which He recoils from guilt. When Christ
 died for man, I know what God's love means; and when Jesus wept human
 tears over Jerusalem, I know what God's compassion means; and when the
 stern denunciations of Jesus rung in the Pharisees' ears, I can
 comprehend what God's indignation is; and when Jesus stood calm before
 His murderers, I have a conception of what serenity is. Brethren,
 revelation opens to us a scene beyond the grave, when this shall be
 exhibited in full operation. There will be an everlasting banishment
 from God's presence of that impurity on which the last efforts have
 been tried in vain. It will be a carrying out of this sentence by a
 law that cannot be reversed--"Depart from me, ye cursed." But it is
 quite a mistake to suppose that this is only a matter of revelation.
 Traces of it we have now on this side the sepulchre. Human life is
 full of God's recoil from sin. In the writhings of a heart which has
 been made to possess its own iniquities--in the dark spot which guilt
 leaves upon the conscience, rising up at times in a man's gayest
 moments, as if it will not come out--in the restlessness and the
 feverishness which follow the efforts of the man who has indulged
 habits of sin too long,--in all these there is a law repelling
 wickedness from the presence of the Most High,--which proclaims that
 God is holy.

 Brethren, it is in these that the greatness of God consists--Eternal
 in Time--Unlimited in Space--Unchangeable--Pure in character--His
 serenity and His vastness arise from His own perfections.


 We are to consider, in the second place, the greatness of man.

   1. The nature of that greatness.
   2. The persons who are great.

 Now, this is brought before us in the text in this one fact, that man
 has been made a habitation of the Deity--"I dwell with him that is of
 a contrite and humble spirit." There is in the very outset this
 distinction between what is great in God and what is great in man. To
 be independent of everything in the universe is God's glory, and to be
 independent is man's shame. All that God has, He has from Himself--all
 that man has, He has from God. And the moment man cuts himself off
 from God, that moment he cuts himself off from all true grandeur.

 There are two things implied in Scripture, when it is said that God
 dwells with man. The first is that peculiar presence which He has
 conferred upon the members of His church. Brethren, we presume not to
 define what that Presence is, and how it dwells within us--we are
 content to leave it as a mystery. But this we know, that something of
 a very peculiar and supernatural character takes place in the heart of
 every man upon whom the gospel has been brought to bear with power.
 "Know ye not," says the Apostle, "that your bodies are the temples of
 the Holy Ghost." And again in the Epistle to the Ephesians--"In Christ
 ye are builded for an habitation of God through the Spirit." There is
 something in these expressions which refuses to be explained away.
 They leave us but one conclusion, and that is--that in all those who
 have become Christ's by faith, God personally and locally has taken up
 His dwelling-place.

 There is a second meaning attached in Scripture to the expression God
 dwells in man. According to the first meaning, we understand it in the
 most plain and literal sense the words are capable of conveying.
 According to the second, we understand His dwelling in a figurative
 sense, implying this--that He gives an acquaintance with Himself to
 man. So, for instance, when Judas asked, "Lord, how is it, that Thou
 wilt manifest Thyself to us and not to the world?" Our Redeemer's
 reply was this--"If a man love me, he will keep my words, and my
 Father will love him, and We will come unto him and make Our abode
 with him." In the question it was asked _how_ God would manifest
 Himself to His servants. In the answer it was shown _how_ He would
 make His abode with them. And if the answer be any reply to the
 question at all, what follows is this--that God making His abode or
 dwelling in the heart is the same thing exactly as God's manifesting
 himself to the heart.

 Brethren, in these two things the greatness of man consists. One is to
 have God so dwelling in us as to impart His character to us; and the
 other is to have God so dwelling in us that we recognise His presence,
 and know that we are His and He is ours. They are two things perfectly
 distinct To _have_ God in us, this is salvation; to _know_ that God is
 in us, this is assurance.

 Lastly, we inquire as to the persons who are truly great. And these
 the Holy Scripture has divided into two classes--those who are humble
 and those who are contrite in heart. Or rather, it will be observed
 that it is the same class of character under different circumstances.
 Humbleness is the frame of mind of those who are in a state of
 innocence, contrition of those who are in a state of repentant guilt.
 Brethren, let not the expression innocence be misunderstood. Innocence
 in its true and highest sense never existed but once upon this earth.
 Innocence cannot be the religion of man now. But yet there are those
 who have walked with God from youth, not quenching the spirit which He
 gave them, and who are therefore _comparatively_ innocent beings. All
 they have to do is to go on, whereas the guilty man has to stop and
 turn back before he can go on. Repentance with them is the gentle work
 of every day, not the work of one distinct and miserable part of life.
 They are those whom the Lord calls just men which need no repentance,
 and of whom He says, "He that is clean needeth not save to wash his
 feet."

 Now they are described here as the humble in heart. Two things are
 required for this state of mind. One is that a man should have a true
 estimate of God, and the other is that he should have a true estimate
 of himself.

 Vain, blind man, places himself on a little corner of this planet, a
 speck upon a speck of the universe, and begins to form conclusions
 from the small fraction of God's government which he can see from
 thence. The astronomer looks at the laws of motion and forgets that
 there must have been a First Cause to commence that motion. The
 surgeon looks at the materialism of his own frame and forgets that
 matter cannot organise itself into exquisite beauty. The metaphysician
 buries himself in the laws of mind and forgets that there may be
 spiritual influences producing all those laws. And this brethren, is
 the unhumbled spirit of philosophy--intellectual pride. Men look at
 Nature, but they do not look through it up to Nature's God. There is
 awful ignorance of God, arising from indulged sin, which produces an
 unhumbled heart. God may be shut out from the soul by pride of
 intellect, or by pride of heart.

 Pharaoh is placed before us in Scripture almost as a type of pride.
 His pride arose from ignorance of God. "Who is the Lord that I should
 obey His voice? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go."
 And this was not intellectual pride; it was pride in a matter of duty.
 Pharaoh had been immersing his whole heart in the narrow politics of
 Egypt. The great problem of his day was to aggrandise his own people
 and prevent an insurrection of the Israelites; and that small kingdom
 of Egypt had been his universe. He shut his heart to the voice of
 justice and the voice of humanity; in other words, great in the pride
 of human majesty, small in the sight of the High and Lofty One, he
 shut himself out from the knowledge of God.

 The next ingredient of humbleness is, that a man must have a right
 estimate of himself. There is a vast amount of self-deception on this
 point. We say of ourselves that which we could not bear others to say
 of us. A man truly humbled would take it only as his due when others
 treated him in the way that he says that he deserves. But my brethren,
 we kneel in our closets in shame for what we are, and we tell our God
 that the lowest place is too good for us; and then we go into the
 world, and if we meet with slight or disrespect, or if our opinion be
 not attended to, or if another be preferred before us, there is all
 the anguish of a galled and jealous spirit, and half the bitterness of
 our lives comes from this, that we are smarting from what we call the
 wrongs and the neglect of men. My beloved brethren, if we saw
 ourselves as God sees us, we should be willing to be anywhere, to be
 silent when others speak, to be passed by in the world's crowd, and
 thrust aside to make way for others. We should be willing to put
 others in the way of doing that which we might have got reputation for
 by doing ourselves. This was the temper of our Master--this is the
 meek and the quiet spirit, and this is the temper of the humble with
 whom the High and Lofty One dwells.

 The other class of those who are truly great are the contrite in
 spirit. At first sight it might be supposed that there must ever be a
 vast distinction between the innocent and the penitent. It was so that
 the elder son in the parable thought when he saw his brother restored
 to his father's favour. He was surprised and hurt. He had served his
 father these many years--his brother had wasted his substance in
 riotous living. But in this passage God makes no distinction. He
 places the humble consistent follower and the broken-hearted sinner on
 a level. He dwells with both, with Him that is contrite, _and_ with
 him that is humble. He sheds around them both the grandeur of His own
 presence, and the annals of Church history are full of
 exemplifications of this marvel of God's grace. By the transforming
 grace of Christ men, who have done the very work of Satan, have become
 as conspicuous in the service of heaven, as they were once conspicuous
 in the career of guilt.

 So indisputably has this been so, that men have drawn from such
 instances the perverted conclusion, that if a man is ever to be a
 great saint, he must first be a great sinner. God forbid brethren,
 that we should ever make such an inference. But this we infer for our
 own encouragement, that past sin does not necessarily preclude from
 high attainments. We must "forget the things that are behind." We
 must not mourn over past years of folly as if they made saintliness
 impossible. Deep as we may have been once in earthliness, so deep we
 may also be in penitence, and so high we may become in spirituality.

 We have so many years the fewer to do our work in. Well brethren, let
 us try to do it so much the faster. Christ can crowd the work of years
 into hours. He did it with the dying thief. If the man who has set out
 early may take his time, it certainly cannot be so with _us_ who have
 lost our time. If we have lost God's bright and happy presence by our
 wilfulness, what then? Unrelieved sadness? Nay, brethren, calmness,
 purity, may have gone from our heart; but _all_ is not gone yet. Just
 as sweetness comes from the bark of the cinnamon when it is bruised,
 so can the spirit of the Cross of Christ bring beauty and holiness and
 peace out of the bruised and broken heart. God dwells with the
 contrite as much as with the humble.

 And now brethren, to conclude, the first inference we collect from
 this subject, is the danger of coming into collision with such a God
 as our God. Day by day we commit sins of thought and word of which the
 dull eye of man takes no cognisance. He whose name is Holy cannot pass
 them by. We may elude the vigilance of a human enemy and place
 ourselves beyond his reach. God fills all space--there is not a spot
 in which His piercing eye is not on us, and His uplifted hand cannot
 find us out. Man must strike soon if he would strike at all; for
 opportunities pass away from him, and his victim may escape his
 vengeance by death. There is no passing of opportunity with God, and
 it is this which makes His long suffering a solemn thing. God can
 wait, for He has a whole eternity before Him in which He may strike.
 "All things are open, and naked to Him with whom we have to do."

 In the next place we are taught the heavenly character of
 condescension. It is not from the insignificance of man that God's
 dwelling with him is so strange. It is as much the glory of God to
 bend His attention on an atom as to uphold the universe. But the
 marvel is that the habitation which He has chosen for Himself is an
 impure one. And when He came down from His magnificence to make this
 world His home, still the same character of condescension was shown
 through all the life of Christ. Our God selected the society of the
 outcasts of earth, those whom none else would speak to.

 Brethren, if we would be Godlike, we must follow in the same steps.
 Our temptation is to do exactly the reverse. We are for ever wishing
 to obtain the friendship and the intimacy of those above us in the
 world. To win over men of influence to truth--to associate with men of
 talent and station, and title. This is the world-chase, and this,
 brethren, is too much the religious man's chase. But if you look
 simply to the question of resemblance to God, then the man who makes
 it a habit to select that one in life to do good to, and that one in
 a room to speak with, whom others pass by because there is nothing
 either of intellect, or power, or name, to recommend him, but only
 humbleness, _that_ man has stamped upon his heart more of heavenly
 similitude by condescension, than the man who has made it his business
 to win this world's great ones, even for the sake of truth.

 Lastly, we learn the guilt of two things of which this world is
 full--vanity and pride. There is a distinction between these two. But
 the distinction consists in this, that the vain man looks for the
 admiration of others--the proud man requires nothing but his own. Now,
 it is this distinction which makes vanity despicable to us all. We can
 easily find out the vain man--we soon discover what it is he wants to
 be observed, whether it be a gift of person, or a gift of mind, or a
 gift of character. If he be vain of his person, his attitudes will
 tell the tale. If he be vain of his judgment, or his memory, or his
 honesty, he cannot help an unnecessary parade. The world finds him
 out, and this is why vanity is ever looked on with contempt. So soon
 as we let men see that we are suppliants for their admiration, we are
 at their mercy. We have given them the privilege of feeling that they
 are above us. We have invited them to spurn us. And therefore vanity
 is but a thing for scorn. But it is very different with pride. No man
 can look down on him that is proud, for he has asked no man for
 anything. They are forced to feel respect for pride, because it is
 thoroughly independent of them. It wraps itself up in the consequence
 of its own excellences, and scorns to care whether others take note
 of them or not.

 It is just here that the danger lies. We have exalted a sin into a
 virtue. No man will acknowledge that he is vain, but almost any man
 will acknowledge that he is proud. But tried by the balance of the
 sanctuary, there is little to choose between the two. If a man look
 for greatness out of God, it matters little whether he seek it in his
 own applause, or in the applause of others. The _proud_ Pharisee, who
 trusted in himself that he was righteous, was condemned by Christ as
 severely, and even more, than the _vain_ Jews who "could not believe
 because they sought honour from one another, and not that honour which
 cometh from God only." It may be a more dazzling, and a more splendid
 sin to be proud. It is not less hateful in God's sight. Let us speak
 God's word to our own unquiet, swelling, burning hearts. Pride may
 disguise itself as it will in its own majesty, but in the presence of
 the High and Lofty One, it is but littleness after all.



 XIX.

 _Preached June 27, 1852._

 THE LAWFUL AND UNLAWFUL USE OF LAW.

 (A FRAGMENT.)


   "But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully."--1
    Tim. i. 8.

 It is scarcely ever possible to understand a passage without some
 acquaintance with the history of the circumstances under which it was
 written.

 At Ephesus, over which Timothy was bishop, people had been bewildered
 by the teaching of converted Jews, who mixed the old leaven of Judaism
 with the new spirituality of Christianity. They maintained the
 perpetual obligation of the Jewish law.--v. 7. They desired to be
 teachers of the law. They required strict performance of a number of
 severe observances. They talked mysteriously of angels and powers
 intermediate between God and the human soul.--v. 4. The result was an
 interminable discussion at Ephesus. The Church was filled with
 disputations and controversies.

 Now there is something always refreshing to see the Apostle Paul
 descending upon an arena of controversy, where minds have been
 bewildered; and so much is to be said on both sides, that people are
 uncertain which to take. You know at once that he will pour light upon
 the question, and illuminate all the dark corners. You know that he
 will not trim, and balance, and hang doubtful, or become a partisan;
 but that he will seize some great principle which lies at the root of
 the whole controversy, and make its true bearings clear at once.

 This he always does, and this he does on the present occasion.--v. 5
 and 6. He does not, like a vehement polemic, say Jewish ceremonies and
 rules are all worthless, nor some ceremonies are worthless, and others
 essential; but he says, the root of the whole matter is charity. If
 you turn aside from this, all is lost; here at once the controversy
 closes. So far as any rule fosters the spirit of love, that is, is
 used lawfully, it is wise, and has a use. So far as it does not, it is
 chaff. So far as it hinders it, it is poison.

 Now observe how different this method is from that which is called the
 sober, moderate way--the _via media_. Some would have said, the great
 thing is to avoid extremes. If the question respects
 fasting--fast--only in _moderation_. If the observance of the Sabbath
 day, observe it on the Jewish principle, only _not so strictly_.

 St. Paul, on the contrary, went down to the root; he said, the true
 question is not whether the law is good or bad, but on what principle;
 he said, you are both wrong--_you_, in saying that the observance of
 the law is essential, for the end of it is charity, and if _that_ be
 got what matter _how_--_you_, in saying rules may be dispensed with
 entirely and always, "for we know that the law is good."

    I. The unlawful use, and
   II. The lawful use of law.


 I. The unlawful use.

 Define law.--By law, Paul almost always means not the Mosaic law, but
 law in its essence and principle, that is, constraint. This chiefly in
 two forms expresses itself--1st, a custom; 2nd, a maxim. As examples
 of custom, we might give Circumcision, or the Sabbath, or Sacrifice,
 or Fasting.

 Law said, thou shalt _do_ these things; and law, as mere law,
 constrained them. Or again, law may express itself in maxims and
 rules.

 In rules, as when law said, "Thou shalt not steal"--not saying a word
 about secret dishonesty of heart, but simply taking cognizance of
 _acts_.

 In maxims, as when it admonished that man ought to give a tenth to
 God, leaving the principle of the matter untouched. Principle is one
 thing, and maxim is another. A principle requires liberality, a maxim
 says one-tenth. A principle says, "A merciful man is merciful to his
 beast," leaves mercy to the heart, and does not define how; a maxim
 says, thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out thy corn. A
 principle says, Forgive; a maxim defines "seven times;" and thus the
 whole law falls into two divisions.

   The ceremonial law, which constrains life by customs.
   The moral law, which guides life by rules and maxims.

 Now it is an illegitimate use of law. First. To expect by obedience to
 it to make out a title to salvation.

 By the deeds of the law, shall no man living be justified. Salvation
 is by faith: a state of heart right with God; faith is the spring of
 holiness--a well of life. Salvation is not the having committed a
 certain number of good acts. Destruction is not the having committed a
 certain number of crimes. Salvation is God's Spirit in us, leading to
 good. Destruction is the selfish spirit in us, leading to wrong.

 For a plain reason then, obedience to law cannot save, because it is
 merely the performance of a certain number of acts which may be done
 by habit, from fear, from compulsion. Obedience remains still
 imperfect. A man may have obeyed the rule, and kept the maxim, and yet
 not be perfect. "All these commandments have I kept from my youth up."
 "Yet lackest thou one thing." The law he had kept. The spirit of
 obedience in its high form of sacrifice he had not.

 Secondly. To use it superstitiously.

 It is plain that this was the use made of it by the Ephesian
 teachers.--v. 4. It seemed to them that _law_ was pleasing to God as
 restraint. Then unnatural restraints came to be imposed--on the
 appetites, fasting; on the affections, celibacy. This is what Paul
 condemns.--ch. iv., v. 8. "Bodily exercise profiteth little."

 And again, this superstition showed itself in a false
 reverence--wondrous stories respecting angels--respecting the eternal
 genealogy of Christ--awful thoughts about spirits. The Apostle calls
 all these, very unceremoniously, "endless genealogies," v. 4, and "old
 wives' fables."--ch. iv., v. 7.

 The question at issue is, wherein true reverence consists: according
 to them, in the multiplicity of the objects of reverence; according to
 St. Paul, in the character of the object revered ... God and Right the
 true object.

 But you are not a whit the better for solemn and reverential feelings
 about a mysterious, invisible world. To tremble before a consecrated
 wafer is spurious reverence. To bend before the Majesty of Right is
 Christian reverence.

 Thirdly. To use it as if the letter of it were sacred. The law
 commanded none to eat the shewbread except the priests. David ate it
 in hunger. If Abimelech had scrupled to give it, he would have used
 the law unlawfully.

 The law commanded no manner of work. The apostles in hunger rubbed the
 ears of corn. The Pharisees used the law unlawfully, in forbidding
 that.


 II. The lawful use of law.

 1. As a restraint to keep outward evil in check ... "The law was made
 for sinners and profane." ... Illustrate this by reference to capital
 punishment. No sane man believes that punishment by death will make a
 nation's heart right, or that the sight of an execution can soften or
 ameliorate. Punishment does not work in that way. It is not meant for
 that purpose. It is meant to guard society.

 The law commanding a blasphemer to be stoned, could not teach one
 Israelite love to God, but it could save the streets of Israel from
 scandalous ribaldry.

 And therefore clearly understand, law is a mere check to bad men: it
 does not improve them; it often makes them worse; it cannot sanctify
 them. God never intended that it should. It saves society from the
 open transgression; it does not contemplate the amelioration of the
 offender.

 Hence we see for what reason the apostle insisted on the use of the
 law for Christians. Law never can be abrogated. Strict rules are
 needed exactly in proportion as we want the power or the will to rule
 ourselves. It is not because the Gospel has come that we are free from
 the law, but because, and only so far, as we are in a Gospel state.
 "It is for a righteous man" that the law is not made, and thus we see
 the true nature of Christian liberty. The liberty to which we are
 called in Christ, is not the liberty of devils, the liberty of doing
 what we will, but the blessed liberty of being on the side of the law,
 and therefore unrestrained by it in doing right.

 Illustrate from laws of coining, housebreaking, &c. We are not under
 them.--Because we may break them as we like? Nay--the moment we
 desire, the law is alive again to us.

 2. As a primer is used by a child to acquire by degrees, principles
 and a spirit.

 This is the use attributed to it in verse 5. "The end of the
 commandment is charity."

 Compare with this, two other passages--"Christ is the end of the law
 for righteousness," and "love is the fulfilling of the law." "Perfect
 love casteth out fear."

 In every law there is a spirit; in every maxim a principle; and the
 law and the maxim are laid down for the sake of conserving the spirit
 and the principle which they enshrine.

 St. Paul compares God's dealing with man to a wise parent's
 instruction of his child.--See the Epistle to the Galatians. Boyhood
 is under law; you appeal not to the boy's reason, but his will, by
 rewards and punishments: Do this, and I will reward you; do it not,
 and you will be punished. So long as a man is under law, this is
 salutary and necessary, but only while under law. He is free when he
 discerns principles, and at the same time has got, by habit, the will
 to obey. So that rules have done for him a double work, taught him the
 principle and facilitated obedience to it.

 Distinguish however.--In point of time, law is first--in point of
 importance, the Spirit.

 In point of _time_, Charity is the "end" of the commandment--in point
 of _importance_, first and foremost.

 The first thing a boy has to do, is to learn implicit obedience to
 rules. The first thing in importance for a man to learn is, to sever
 himself from maxims, rules, laws. Why? That he may become an
 Antinomian, or a Latitudinarian? No. He is severed from submission to
 the _maxim_ because he has got allegiance to the _principle_. He is
 free from the rule and the law because he has got the Spirit written
 in his heart.

 This is the Gospel. A man is redeemed by Christ so far as he is not
 under the law; he is free from the law so far as he is free from the
 evil which the law restrains; he progresses so far as there is no evil
 in him which it is an effort to keep down; and perfect salvation and
 liberty are--when we,--who though having the first fruits of the
 Spirit, yet groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, "to wit,
 the redemption of our body"--shall have been freed in body, soul, and
 spirit, from the last traces of the evil which can only be kept down
 by force. In other words, so far as Christ's statement is true of
 _us_, "The Prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me."



 XX.

 _Preached February 21, 1853._

 THE PRODIGAL AND HIS BROTHER.


   "And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I
    have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad:
    for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; was lost, and
    is found."--Luke xv. 31, 32.

 There are two classes of sins. There are some sins by which man
 crushes, wounds, malevolently injures his brother man: those sins
 which speak of a bad, tyrannical, and selfish heart. Christ met those
 with denunciation. There are other sins by which a man injures
 himself. There is a life of reckless indulgence; there is a career of
 yielding to ungovernable propensities, which most surely conducts to
 wretchedness and ruin, but makes a man an object of compassion rather
 than of condemnation.

 The reception which sinners of this class met from Christ was marked
 by strange and pitying mercy. There was no maudlin sentiment on his
 lips. He called sin sin, and guilt guilt. But yet there were sins
 which His lips scourged, and others over which, containing in
 themselves their own scourge, His heart bled. That which was
 melancholy, and marred, and miserable in this world, was more
 congenial to the heart of Christ than that which was proudly happy. It
 was in the midst of a triumph, and all the pride of a procession, that
 He paused to weep over ruined Jerusalem. And if we ask the reason why
 the character of Christ was marked by this melancholy condescension it
 is that he was in the midst of a world of ruins, and there was nothing
 there to gladden, but very much to touch with grief. He was here to
 restore that which was broken down and crumbling into decay. An
 enthusiastic antiquarian, standing amidst the fragments of an ancient
 temple surrounded by dust and moss, broken pillar, and defaced
 architrave, with magnificent projects in his mind of restoring all
 this to _former_ majesty, to draw out to light from mere rubbish the
 ruined glories, and therefore stooping down amongst the dank ivy and
 the rank nettles; such was Christ amidst the wreck of human nature. He
 was striving to lift it out of its degradation. He was searching out
 in revolting places that which had fallen down, that He might build it
 up again in fair proportions a holy temple to the Lord.

 Therefore He laboured among the guilty; therefore He was the companion
 of outcasts; therefore He spoke tenderly and lovingly to those whom
 society counted undone; therefore He loved to bind up the bruised and
 the broken-hearted; therefore His breath fanned the spark which seemed
 dying out in the wick of the expiring taper, when men thought that it
 was too late, and that the hour of _hopeless_ profligacy was come. It
 was that feature in His character, that tender, hoping, encouraging
 spirit of His which the prophet Isaiah fixed upon as characteristic.
 "A bruised reed will He not break."

 It was an illustration of this spirit which He gave in the parable
 which forms the subject of our consideration to-day. We find the
 occasion which drew it from Him in the commencement of this chapter,
 "Then drew near unto Him all the publicans and sinners for to hear
 Him. And the Pharisees and Scribes murmured, saying, This man
 receiveth sinners, and eateth with them." It was then that Christ
 condescended to offer an excuse or an explanation of His conduct. And
 His excuse was this: It is natural, humanly natural, to rejoice more
 over that which has been recovered than over that which has been never
 lost. He proved that by three illustrations taken from human life. The
 first illustration intended to show the feelings of Christ in winning
 back a sinner, was the joy which the shepherd feels in the recovery of
 a sheep from the mountain wilderness. The second was the satisfaction
 which a person feels for a recovered coin. The last was the gladness
 which attends the restoration of an erring son.

 Now the three parables are alike in this, that they all describe more
 or less vividly the feelings of the Redeemer on the recovery of the
 lost. But the third parable differs from the other two in this, that
 besides the feelings of the Saviour, it gives us a multitude of
 particulars respecting the feelings, the steps, and the motives of the
 penitent who is reclaimed back to goodness. In the two first the thing
 lost is a coin or a sheep. It would not be possible to find any
 picture of remorse or gladness there. But in the third parable the
 thing lost is not a lifeless thing, nor a mute thing, but a being, the
 workings of whose human heart are all described. So that the subject
 opened out to us is a more extensive one--not merely the feelings of
 the finder, God in Christ, but besides that, the sensations of the
 wanderer himself.

 In dealing with this parable, this is the line which we shall adopt.
 We shall look at the picture which it draws of--1. God's treatment of
 the penitent. 2. God's expostulation with the saint. God's treatment
 of the penitent divides itself in this parable into three distinct
 epochs. The period of alienation, the period of repentance, and the
 circumstances of a penitent reception. We shall consider all these in
 turn.

 The first truth exhibited in this parable is the alienation of man's
 heart from God. Homelessness, distance from our Father--that is man's
 state by nature in this world. The youngest son gathered all together
 and took his journey into a _far_ country. Brethren, this is the
 history of worldliness. It is a state far from God; in other words, it
 is a state of homelessness. And now let us ask what that means. To
 English hearts it is not necessary to expound elaborately the infinite
 meanings which cluster round that blessed expression "home." Home is
 the one place in all this world where hearts are sure of each other.
 It is the place of confidence. It is the place where we tear off that
 mask of guarded and suspicious coldness which the world forces us to
 wear in self-defence, and where we pour out the unreserved
 communications of full and confiding hearts. It is the spot where
 expressions of tenderness gush out without any sensation of
 awkwardness and without any dread of ridicule. Let a man travel where
 he will, home is the place to which "his heart untravelled fondly
 turns." He is to double all pleasure there. He is there to divide all
 pain. A _happy home_ is the single spot of rest which a man has upon
 this earth for the cultivation of his noblest sensibilities.

 And now my brethren, if that be the description of home, is God's
 place of rest your home? Walk abroad and alone by night. That awful
 other world in the stillness and the solemn deep of the eternities
 above, is it your home? Those graves that lie beneath you, holding in
 them the infinite secret, and stamping upon all earthly loveliness the
 mark of frailty and change and fleetingness--are those graves the
 prospect to which in bright days and dark days you can turn without
 dismay? God in his splendours,--dare we feel with Him affectionate and
 familiar, so that trial comes softened by this feeling--it is my
 Father, and enjoyment can be taken with a frank feeling; my Father has
 given it me, without grudging, to make me happy? All that is having a
 home in God. Are we at home there? Why there is demonstration in our
 very childhood that we are not at home with that other world of God's.
 An infant fears to be alone, because he feels he is not alone. He
 trembles in the dark, because he is conscious of the presence of the
 world of spirits. Long before he has been told tales of terror, there
 is an instinctive dread of the supernatural in the infant mind. It is
 the instinct which we have from childhood that gives us the feeling of
 another world. And mark, brethren, if the child is not at home in the
 thought of that world of God's, the deep of darkness and eternity is,
 around him--God's home, but not his home, for his flesh creeps. And
 that feeling grows through life; not the fear--when the child becomes
 a man he gets over fear--but the dislike. The man feels as much
 aversion as the child for the world of spirits.

 Sunday comes. It breaks across the current of his worldliness. It
 suggests thoughts of death and judgment and everlasting existence. Is
 that home? Can the worldly man feel Sunday like a foretaste of his
 Father's mansion? If we could but know how many have come here to-day,
 not to have their souls lifted up heavenwards, but from curiosity, or
 idleness, or criticism, it would give us an appalling estimate of the
 number who are living in a far country, "having no hope and without
 God in the world."

 The second truth conveyed to us in this parable is the unsatisfying
 nature of worldly happiness. The outcast son tried to satiate his
 appetite with husks. A husk is an empty thing; it is a thing which
 looks extremely like food, and promises as much as food; but it is not
 food. It is a thing which when chewed will stay the appetite, but
 leaves the emaciated body without nourishment. Earthly happiness is a
 husk. We say not that there is no satisfaction in the pleasures of a
 worldly life. That would be an overstatement of the truth. Something
 there is, or else why should men persist in living for them? The
 cravings of man's appetite may be stayed by things which cannot
 satisfy him. Every new pursuit contains in it a new hope; and it is
 long before hope is bankrupt. But my brethren, it is strange if a man
 has not found out long before he has reached the age of thirty, that
 everything here is empty and disappointing. The nobler his heart and
 the more unquenchable his hunger for the high and the good, the sooner
 will he find that out. Bubble after bubble bursts, each bubble tinted
 with the celestial colours of the rainbow, and each leaving in the
 hand which crushes it a cold damp drop of disappointment. All that is
 described in Scripture by the emphatic metaphor of "sowing the wind
 and reaping the whirlwind," the whirlwind of blighted hopes and
 unreturned feelings and crushed expectations--that is the harvest
 which the world gives you to reap.

 And now is the question asked, Why is this world unsatisfying?
 Brethren, it is the grandeur of the soul which God has given us, which
 makes it insatiable in its desires--with an infinite void which cannot
 be filled up. A soul which was made for God, how can the world fill
 it? If the ocean can be still with miles of unstable waters beneath
 it, then the soul of man, rocking itself upon its own deep longings,
 with the Infinite beneath it, may rest. We were created once in
 majesty, to find enjoyment in God, and if our hearts are empty now,
 there is nothing for it but to fill up the hollowness of the soul with
 God.

 Let not that expression--filling the soul with God--pass away without
 a distinct meaning. God is Love and Goodness. Fill the soul with
 goodness, and fill the soul with love, _that_ is the filling it with
 God. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us. There is nothing else
 that can satisfy. So that when we hear men of this world acknowledge,
 as they sometimes will do, when they are wearied with this phantom
 chase of life, sick of gaieties and tired of toil, that it is not in
 their pursuits that they can drink the fount of blessedness; and when
 we see them, instead of turning aside either broken-hearted or else
 made wise, still persisting to trust to expectations--at fifty, sixty,
 or seventy years still feverish about some new plan of ambition--what
 we see is this: we see a soul formed with a capacity for high and
 noble things, fit for the banquet table of God Himself, trying to fill
 its infinite hollowness with husks.

 Once more, there is degradation in the life of irreligion. The things
 which the wanderer tried to live on were not husks only. They were
 husks which the swine did eat. Degradation means the application of a
 thing to purposes lower than that for which it was intended. It is
 degradation to a man to live on husks, because these are not his true
 food. We call it degradation when we see the members of an ancient
 family, decayed by extravagance, working for their bread. It is not
 degradation for a born labourer to work for an honest livelihood. It
 is degradation for them, for they are not what they might have been.
 And therefore, for a man to be degraded, it is not necessary that he
 should have given himself up to low and mean practices. It is quite
 enough that he is living for purposes lower than those for which God
 intended him. He may be a man of unblemished reputation, and yet
 debased in the truest meaning of the word. We were sent into this
 world to love God and to love man; to do good--to fill up life with
 deeds of generosity and usefulness. And he that refuses to work out
 that high destiny is a degraded man. He may turn away revolted from
 everything that is gross. His sensuous indulgences may be all marked
 by refinement and taste. His house may be filled with elegance. His
 library may be adorned with books. There may be the sounds in his
 mansion which can regale the ear, the delicacies which can stimulate
 the palate, and the forms of beauty which can please the eye. There
 may be nothing in his whole life to offend the most chastened and
 fastidious delicacy; and yet, if the history of all this be, powers
 which were meant for eternity frittered upon time, the man is
 degraded--if the spirit which was created to find its enjoyment in the
 love of God has settled down satisfied with the love of the world,
 then, just as surely as the sensualist of this parable, that man has
 turned aside from a celestial feast to prey on garbage.

 We pass on to the second period of the history of God's treatment of a
 sinner. It is the period of his coming to himself, or what we call
 repentance. The first fact of religious experience which this parable
 suggests to us is that common truth--men desert the world when the
 world deserts them. The renegade came to himself when there were no
 more husks to eat. He would have remained away if he could have got
 them, but it is written, "no man gave unto him." And this, brethren,
 is the record of our shame. Invitation is not enough; we must be
 driven to God. And the famine comes not by chance. God sends the
 famine into the soul--the hunger, and thirst, and the
 disappointment--to bring back his erring child again.

 Now the world fastens upon that truth, and gets out of it a triumphant
 sarcasm against religion. They tell us that just as the caterpillar
 passes into the chrysalis, and the chrysalis into the butterfly, so
 profligacy passes into disgust, and disgust passes into religion. To
 use their own phraseology, when people become disappointed with the
 world, it is the last resource they say, to turn saint. So the men of
 the world speak, and they think they are profoundly philosophical and
 concise in the account they give. The world is welcome to its very
 small sneer. It is the glory of our Master's gospel that it _is_ the
 refuge of the broken-hearted. It is the strange mercy of our God that
 he does not reject the writhings of a jaded heart. Let the world curl
 its lip if it will, when it sees through the causes of the prodigal's
 return. And if the sinner does not come to God taught by this
 disappointment, what then? If affections crushed in early life have
 driven one man to God; if wrecked and ruined hopes have made another
 man religious; if want of success in a profession has broken the
 spirit; if the human life lived out too passionately, has left a
 surfeit and a craving behind which end in seriousness; if one is
 brought by the sadness of widowed life, and another by the forced
 desolation of involuntary single life; if when the mighty famine comes
 into the heart, and not a husk is left, not a pleasure untried, then,
 and not till then, the remorseful resolve is made, "I will arise and
 go to my Father:"--Well, brethren, what then? Why this, that the
 history of penitence, produced as it so often is by mere
 disappointment, sheds only a brighter lustre round the Love of Christ,
 who rejoices to receive such wanderers, worthless as they are, back
 into His bosom. Thank God the world's sneer is true. It _is_ the last
 resource to turn saint. Thanks to our God that when this gaudy world
 has ceased to charm, when the heart begins to feel its hollowness, and
 the world has lost its satisfying power, still all is not yet lost if
 penitence and Christ remain, to still, to humble, and to soothe a
 heart which sin has fevered.

 There is another truth contained in this section of the parable. After
 a life of wild sinfulness religion is servitude at first, not freedom.
 Observe, he went back to duty with the feelings of a slave: "I am no
 more worthy to be called thy son, make me as one of thy hired
 servants." Any one who has lived in the excitement of the world, and
 then tried to settle down at once to quiet duty, knows how true that
 is. To borrow a metaphor from Israel's desert life, it is a tasteless
 thing to live on manna after you have been feasting upon quails. It is
 a dull cold drudgery to find pleasure in simple occupation when life
 has been a succession of strong emotions. Sonship it is not; it is
 slavery. A son obeys in love, entering heartily into his father's
 meaning. A servant obeys mechanically, rising early because he must;
 doing it may be, his duty well, but feeling in all its force the
 irksomeness of the service. Sonship does not come all at once. The
 yoke of Christ is easy, the burden of Christ is light; but it is not
 light to everybody. It is light when you love it, and no man who has
 sinned much can love it all at once.

 Therefore, if I speak to any one who is trying to be religious, and
 heavy in heart because his duty is done too formally,--my Christian
 brother, fear not. You are returning, like the prodigal, with the
 feelings of a servant. Still it is a real return. The spirit of
 adoption will come afterwards. You will often have to do duties which
 you cannot relish, and in which you see no meaning. So it was with
 Naaman at the prophet's command. He bathed, not knowing why he was
 bidden to bathe in Jordan. When you bend to prayer, often and often
 you will have to kneel with wandering thoughts, and constraining lips
 to repeat words into which your heart scarcely enters. You will have
 to perform duties when the heart is cold, and without a spark of
 enthusiasm to warm you. But my Christian brother, onwards still.
 Struggle to the Cross, even though it be struggling as in chains. Just
 as on a day of clouds, when you have watched the distant hills, dark
 and gray with mist, suddenly a gleam of sunshine passing over reveals
 to you, in that flat surface, valleys and dells and spots of sunny
 happiness, which slept before unsuspected in the fog, so in the gloom
 of penitential life there will be times when God's deep peace and love
 will be felt shining into the soul with supernatural refreshment. Let
 the penitent be content with the servant's lot at first. Liberty and
 peace, and the bounding sensations of a Father's arms around you, come
 afterwards.

 The last circumstance in this division of our subject is the reception
 which a sinner meets with on his return to God. "Bring forth the best
 robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his
 feet, and bring hither the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and
 be merry." This banquet represents to us two things. It tells of the
 father's gladness on his son's return. That represents God's joy on
 the reformation of a sinner. It tells of a banquet and a dance given
 to the long lost son. That represents the sinner's gladness when he
 first understood that God was reconciled to him in Christ. There is a
 strange, almost wild, rapture, a strong gush of love and happiness in
 those days which are called the days of first conversion. When a man
 who has sinned much--a profligate--turns to God, and it becomes first
 clear to his apprehension that there is love instead of spurning for
 him, there is a luxury of emotion--a banquet of tumultuous blessedness
 in the moment of first love to God, which stands alone in life,
 nothing before and nothing after like it. And brethren, let us
 observe:--This forgiveness is a thing granted while a man is yet afar
 off. We are not to wait for the right of being happy till we are good:
 we might wait for ever. Joy is not delayed till we deserve it. Just so
 soon as a sinful man trusts that the mercy of God in Christ has done
 away with his transgression, the ring, and the robe, and the shoes are
 his, the banquet and the light of a Father's countenance.

 Lastly, we have to consider very briefly God's expostulation with a
 saint. There is another brother mentioned in this parable, who
 expressed something like indignation at the treatment which his
 brother met with. There are commentators who have imagined that this
 personage represents the Pharisees who complained that Jesus was
 receiving sinners. But this is manifestly impossible, because his
 father expostulates with him in this language, "Son, thou, art ever
 with me;" not for one moment could that be true of the Pharisees. The
 true interpretation seems to be that this elder brother represents a
 real Christian perplexed with God's mysterious dealings. We have
 before us the description of one of those happy persons who have been
 filled with the Holy Ghost from their mother's womb, and on the whole
 (with imperfections of course) remained God's servant all his life.
 For this is his own account of himself, which the father does not
 contradict. "Lo! these many years do I serve thee."

 We observe then: The objection made to the reception of a notorious
 sinner: "Thou never gavest me a kid." Now, in this we have a fact true
 to Christian experience. Joy seems to be felt more vividly and more
 exuberantly by men who have sinned much, than by men who have grown up
 consistently from childhood with religious education. Rapture belongs
 to him whose sins, which are forgiven, are many. In the perplexity
 which this fact occasions, there is a feeling which is partly right
 and partly wrong. There is a surprise which is natural. There is a
 resentful jealousy which is to be rebuked.

 There is first of all a natural surprise. It was natural that the
 elder brother should feel perplexed and hurt. When a sinner seems to
 be rewarded with more happiness than a saint, it appears as if good
 and evil were alike undistinguished in God's dealings. It seems like
 putting a reconciled enemy over the head of a tried servant. It looks
 as if it were a kind of encouragement held out to sin, and a man
 begins to feel, Well if this is to be the caprice of my father's
 dealing; if this rich feast of gladness be the reward of a licentious
 life, "Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in
 innocency." This is natural surprise.

 But besides this there is a jealousy in these sensations of ours which
 God sees fit to rebuke. You have been trying to serve God all your
 life, and find it struggle, and heaviness, and dulness still. You see
 another who has outraged every obligation of life, and he is not tried
 by the deep prostration you think he ought to have, but bright with
 happiness at once. You have been making sacrifices all your life, and
 your worst trials come out of your most generous sacrifices. Your
 errors in judgment have been followed by sufferings sharper than those
 which crime itself could have brought. And you see men who never made
 a sacrifice unexposed to trial--men whose life has been rapture
 purchased by the ruin of others' innocence--tasting first the
 pleasures of sin, and then the banquet of religion. You have been a
 moral man from childhood, and yet with all your efforts you feel the
 crushing conviction that it has never once been granted you to win a
 soul to God. And you see another man marked by inconsistency and
 impetuosity, banqueting every day upon the blest success of impressing
 and saving souls. All that is startling. And then comes sadness and
 despondency; then come all those feelings which are so graphically
 depicted here: irritation--"he was angry;" swelling pride--"he would
 not go in;" jealousy, which required soothing--"his father went out
 and entreated him."

 And now brethren, mark the father's answer. It does not account for
 this strange dealing by God's sovereignty. It does not cut the knot of
 the difficulty, instead of untying it, by saying, God has a _right_ to
 do what He will. He does not urge, God has a right to act on
 favouritism if He please. But it assigns two reasons. The first reason
 is, "It was _meet_, right that we should make merry." It is meet that
 God should be glad on the reclamation of a sinner. It is meet that
 that sinner, looking down into the dreadful chasm over which he had
 been tottering, should feel a shudder of delight through all his frame
 on thinking of his escape. And it is meet that religious men should
 not feel jealous of one another, but freely and generously join in
 thanking God that others have got happiness, even if _they_ have not.
 The spirit of religious exclusiveness, which looks down contemptuously
 instead of tenderly on worldly men, and banishes a man for ever from
 the circle of its joys because he has sinned notoriously, is a bad
 spirit.

 Lastly the reason given for this dealing is, "Son, thou art always
 with Me, and all that I have is thine." By which Christ seems to tell
 us that the disproportion between man and man is much less than we
 suppose. The profligate had had one hour of ecstasy--the other had
 had a whole life of peace. A consistent Christian may not have
 rapture; but he has that which is much better than rapture:
 calmness--God's serene and perpetual presence. And after all brethren,
 that is the best. One to whom much is forgiven, has much joy. He must
 have it, if it were only to support him through those fearful trials
 which are to come--those haunting reminiscences of a polluted
 heart--those frailties--those inconsistencies to which the habit of
 past indulgence have made him liable. A terrible struggle is in store
 for him yet. Grudge him not one hour of unclouded exultation. But
 religion's best gift--rest, serenity--the quiet daily love of one who
 lives perpetually with his Father's family--uninterrupted
 usefulness--_that_ belongs to him who has lived steadily, and walked
 with duty, neither grieving nor insulting the Holy Spirit of his God.
 The man who serves God early has the best of it; joy is well in its
 way, but a few flashes of joy are trifles in comparison with a life of
 peace. Which is best: the flash of joy lighting up the whole heart,
 and then darkness till the next flash comes--or the steady calm
 sunlight of day in which men work?

 And now, one word to those who are living this young man's
 life--thinking to become religious as he did, when they have got tired
 of the world. I speak to those who are leading what, in the world's
 softened language of concealment, is called a gay life. Young
 brethren, let two motives be urged earnestly upon your attention. The
 first is the motive of mere honourable feeling. We will say nothing
 about the uncertainty of life. We will not dwell upon this fact, that
 impressions resisted now, may never come back again. We will not
 appeal to terror. That is not the weapon which a Christian minister
 loves to use. If our lips were clothed with thunder, it is not
 denunciation which makes men Christians; let the appeal be made to
 every high and generous feeling in a young man's bosom.

 Deliberately and calmly you are going to do _this_: to spend the best
 and most vigorous portion of your days in idleness--in uselessness--in
 the gratification of self--in the contamination of others. And then
 weakness, the relics, and the miserable dregs of life;--you are going
 to give _that_ sorry offering to God, because His mercy endureth for
 ever! Shame--shame upon the heart which can let such a plan rest in it
 one moment. If it be there, crush it like a man. It is a degrading
 thing to enjoy husks till there is no man to give them. It is a base
 thing to resolve to give to God as little as possible, and not to
 serve Him till you must.

 Young brethren, I speak principally to you. You have health for God
 now. You have strength of mind and body. You have powers which may fit
 you for real usefulness. You have appetites for enjoyment which can be
 consecrated to God. You acknowledge the law of honour. Well then, by
 every feeling of manliness and generosity remember this: now, and not
 later, is your time to learn what religion means.

 There is another motive, and a very solemn one, to be urged upon those
 who are delaying. Every moment of delay adds bitterness to after
 struggles. The moment of a feeling of hired servitude must come. If a
 man will not obey God with a warm heart, he may hereafter have to do
 it with a cold one. To be holy is the work of a long life. The
 experience of ten thousand lessons teaches only a little of it; and
 all this, the work of becoming like God, the man who delays is
 crowding into the space of a few years, or a few months. When we have
 lived long a life of sin, do we think that repentance and forgiveness
 will obliterate all the traces of sin upon the character? Be sure that
 every sin pays its price: "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also
 reap."

 Oh! there are recollections of past sin which come crowding up to the
 brain, with temptation in them. There are old habits which refuse to
 be mastered by a few enthusiastic sensations. There is so much of the
 old man clinging to the penitent who has waited long--he is so much as
 a religious man, like what he was when he was a worldly man--that it
 is doubtful whether he ever reaches in this world the full stature of
 Christian manhood. Much warm earnestness, but strange inconsistencies,
 that is the character of one who is an old man and a young Christian.
 Brethren, do we wish to risk all this? Do we want to learn holiness
 with terrible struggles, and sore affliction, and the plague of much
 remaining evil? Then _wait_ before you turn to God.



 XXI.

 _Preached May 15, 1853._

 JOHN'S REBUKE OF HEROD.


   "But Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him for Herodias, his
    brother Philip's wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done,
    added yet this above all, that he shut up John in prison,"--Luke
    iii. 19, 20.

 The life of John the Baptist divides itself into three distinct
 periods. Of the first we are told almost nothing, but we may
 conjecture much. We are told that he was in the deserts till his
 showing unto Israel. It was a period probably, in which, saddened by
 the hollowness of all life in Israel, and perplexed with the
 controversies of Jerusalem, the controversies of Sadducee with
 Pharisee, of formalist with mystic, of the disciples of one infallible
 Rabbi with the disciples of another infallible Rabbi, he fled for
 refuge to the wilderness, to see whether God could not be found there
 by the heart that sought Him, without the aid of churches, rituals,
 creeds, and forms. This period lasted thirty years.

 The second period is a shorter one. It comprises the few months of his
 public ministry. His difficulties were over; he had reached conviction
 enough to live and die on. He knew not all, but he knew something. He
 could not baptize with the Spirit, but he could at least baptize with
 water. It was not given to him to build up, but it was given to him
 to pull down all false foundations. He knew that the highest truth of
 spiritual life was to be given by One that should come after. What he
 had learned in the desert was contained in a few words--Reality lies
 at the root of religious life. Ye must be real, said John. "Bring
 forth fruits meet for repentance." Let each man do his own duty; let
 the rich impart to those who are not rich; let the publican accuse no
 man falsely; let the soldier be content with his wages. The coming
 kingdom is not a mere piece of machinery which will make you all good
 and happy without effort of your own. Change yourselves, or you will
 have no kingdom at all. Personal reformation, personal reality, _that_
 was John's message to the world.

 It was an incomplete one; but he delivered it as his all, manfully;
 and his success was signal, astonishing even to himself. Successful it
 was, because it appealed to all the deepest wants of the human heart.
 It told of peace to those who had been agitated by tempestuous
 passion. It promised forgetfulness of past transgression to those
 whose consciences smarted with self-accusing recollections. It spoke
 of refuge from the wrath to come to those who had felt it a fearful
 expectation to fall into the hands of an angry God. And the result of
 that message, conveyed by the symbol of baptism, was that the desert
 swarmed with crowds who owned the attractive spell of the power of a
 new life made possible. Warriors, paupers, profligates--some admiring
 the nobleness of religious life, others needing it to fill up the
 empty hollow of an unsatisfied heart; the penitent, the heart-broken,
 the worldly, and the disappointed, all came. And with them there came
 two other classes of men, whose approach roused the Baptist to
 astonishment.

 The formalist, not satisfied with his formality, and the infidel,
 unable to rest on his infidelity--they came too--startled, for one
 hour at least, to the real significance of life, and shaken out of
 unreality. The Baptist's message wrung the confession from their
 souls. "Yes, our system will not do. We are not happy after all; we
 are miserable. Prophet, whose solitary life, far away there in the
 desert, has been making to itself a home in the mysterious and the
 invisible, what hast thou got to tell us from that awful other world?
 What are we to do?"

 These things belong to a period of John's life anterior to the text.
 The prophet has been hitherto in a self-selected solitude, the free
 wild desert, opening his heart to the strange sights and sounds
 through which the grand voice of oriental nature speaks of God to the
 soul, in a way that books cannot speak.

 We have arrived at the third period of his history. We are now to
 consider him as the tenant of a _compelled_ solitude, in the dungeon
 of a capricious tyrant. Hitherto, by that rugged energy with which he
 battled with the temptations of this world, he has been shedding a
 glory round human life. We are now to look at him equally alone;
 equally majestic, shedding by martyrdom, almost a brighter glory round
 human death. He has hitherto been receiving the homage of almost
 unequalled popularity. We are now to observe him reft of every
 admirer, every soother, every friend. He has been hitherto overcoming
 the temptations of existence by entire seclusion from them all. We are
 now to ask how he will stem those seductions when he is brought into
 the very midst of them, and the whole outward aspect of his life has
 laid aside its distinctive and peculiar character; when he has ceased
 to be the anchorite, and has become the idol of a court.

 Much instruction, brethren, there ought to be in all this, if we only
 knew rightly how to bring it out, or even to paint in anything like
 intelligible colours the picture which our own minds have formed.
 Instructive, because human life must ever be instructive. How a human
 spirit contrived to get its life accomplished in this confused world:
 what a man like us, and yet no common man, felt, did, suffered; how he
 fought, and how he conquered; if we could only get a clear possession
 and firm grasp of _that_, we should have got almost all that is worth
 having in truth, with the technicalities stripped off, for what is the
 use of truth except to teach man how to live? There is a vast value in
 genuine biography. It is good to have real views of what Life is, and
 what Christian Life may be. It is good to familiarize ourselves with
 the history of those whom God has pronounced the salt of the earth. We
 cannot help contracting good from such association.

 And just one thing respecting this man whom we are to follow for some
 time to-day. Let us not be afraid of seeming to rise into a mere
 enthusiastic panegyric of a man. It is a rare man we have to deal
 with, one of God's heroic ones, a true conqueror; one whose life and
 motives it is hard to understand without feeling warmly and
 enthusiastically about them. One of the very highest characters,
 rightly understood, of all the Bible. Panegyric such as we can give,
 what is it after he has been stamped by his Master's eulogy, "A
 prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. Among them that
 are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the
 Baptist." In the verse which is to serve us for our guidance on this
 subject there are two branches which will afford us fruit of
 contemplation. It is written, "Herod being _reproved_ by John for
 Herodias."

 Here is our first subject of thought. The truthfulness of Christian
 character.

 And then next, he "shut up John in prison."

 Here is our second topic. The apparent failure of religious life.

 The point which we have to look at in this section of the Baptist's
 life is the truthfulness of religious character. For the prophet was
 now in a sphere of life altogether new. He had got to the third act of
 his history. The first was performed right manfully in the
 desert--that is past. He has now become a known man, celebrated
 through the country, brought into the world, great men listening to
 him, and in the way, if he chooses it, to become familiar with the
 polished life of Herod's court. For this we read: Herod observed John,
 that is, cultivated his acquaintance, paid him marked attention, heard
 him, did many things at his bidding, and heard him gladly.

 For thirty long years John had lived in that far-off desert, filling
 his soul with the grandeur of solitude, content to be unknown, not
 conscious, most likely, that there was anything supernatural in
 him--living with the mysterious God in silence. And then came the day
 when the qualities, so secretly nursed, became known in the great
 world: men felt that there was a greater than themselves before them,
 and then came the trial of admiration, when the crowds congregated
 round to listen. And all that trial John bore uninjured, for when
 those vast crowds dispersed at night, he was left alone with God and
 the universe once more. That prevented his being spoilt by flattery.
 But now comes the great trial. John is transplanted from the desert to
 the town: he has quitted simple life: he has come to artificial life.
 John has won a king's attention, and now the question is, Will the
 diamond of the mine bear polishing without breaking into shivers? Is
 the iron prophet melting into voluptuous softness? Is he getting the
 world's manners and the world's courtly insincerity? Is he becoming
 artificial through his change of life? My Christian brethren, we find
 nothing of the kind. There he stands in Herod's voluptuous court the
 prophet of the desert still, unseduced by blandishment from his high
 loyalty, and fronting his patron and his prince with the stern
 unpalatable truth of God.

 It is refreshing to look on such a scene as this--the highest, the
 very highest moment, I think, in all John's history; higher than his
 ascetic life. For after all, ascetic life such as he had led before,
 when he fed on locusts and wild honey, is hard only in the first
 resolve. When you have once made up your mind to that, it becomes a
 habit to live alone. To lecture the poor about religion is not hard.
 To speak of unworldliness to men with whom we do not associate, and
 who do not see _our_ daily inconsistencies, _that_ is not hard. To
 speak contemptuously of the world when we have no power of commanding
 its admiration, _that_ is not difficult. But when God has given a man
 accomplishments, or powers, which would enable him to shine in
 society, and he can still be firm, and steady, and uncompromisingly
 true; when he can be as undaunted before the rich as before the poor;
 when rank and fashion cannot subdue him into silence: when he hates
 moral evil as sternly in a great man as he would in a peasant, there
 is truth in that man. This was the test to which the Baptist was
 submitted.

 And now contemplate him for a moment; forget that he is an historical
 personage, and remember that he was a man like us. Then comes the
 trial. All the habits and rules of polite life would be whispering
 such advice as this: "Only keep your remarks within the limits of
 politeness. If you cannot approve, be silent; you can do no good by
 finding fault with the great." We know how the whole spirit of a man
 like John would have revolted at that. Imprisonment? Yes. Death? Well,
 a man can die but once,--anything but not cowardice,--not
 meanness,--not pretending what I do not feel, and disguising what I do
 feel. Brethren, death is not the worst thing in this life; it is not
 difficult to die--five minutes and the sharpest agony is past. The
 worst thing in this life is cowardly untruthfulness. Let men be rough
 if they will, let them be unpolished, but let Christian men in all
 they say be sincere. No flattery, no speaking smoothly to a man before
 his face, while all the time there is a disapproval of his conduct in
 the heart. The thing we want in Christianity is not politeness, it is
 sincerity.

 There are three things which we remark in this truthfulness of John.
 The first is its straightforwardness, the second is its
 unconsciousness, and the last its unselfishness. The
 straightforwardness is remarkable in this circumstance, that there is
 no indirect coming to the point. At once, without circumlocution, the
 true man speaks. "It is not lawful for thee to have her." There are
 some men whom God has gifted with a rare simplicity of heart, which
 make them utterly incapable of pursuing the subtle excuses which can
 be made for evil. There is in John no morbid sympathy for the
 offender: "It is not lawful." He does not say, "It is _best_ to do
 otherwise; it is unprofitable for your own happiness to live in this
 way." He says plainly, "It is wrong for you to do this evil."

 Earnest men in this world have no time for subtleties and casuistry.
 Sin is detestable, horrible, in God's sight, and when once it has been
 made clear that it is not lawful, a Christian has nothing to do with
 toleration of it. If we dare not tell our patron of his sin we must
 give up his patronage. In the next place there was unconsciousness in
 John's rebuke. We remark, brethren, that he was utterly ignorant that
 he was doing a fine thing. There was no sidelong glance, as in a
 mirror, of admiration for himself. He was not feeling, This is brave.
 He never stopped to feel that after-ages would stand by, and look at
 that deed of his, and say, "Well done." His reproof comes out as the
 natural impulse of an earnest heart. John was the last of all men to
 feel that he had done anything extraordinary. And this we hold to be
 an inseparable mark of truth. No true man is conscious that he is
 true; he is rather conscious of insincerity. No brave man is conscious
 of his courage; bravery is _natural_ to him. The skin of Moses' face
 shone after he had been with God, but Moses wist not of it.

 There are many of us who would have prefaced that rebuke with a long
 speech. We should have begun by observing how difficult it was to
 speak to a monarch, how delicate the subject, how much proof we were
 giving of our friendship. We should have asked the great man to accept
 it as a proof of our devotion. John does nothing of this. Prefaces
 betray anxiety about self; John was not thinking of himself. He was
 thinking of God's offended law, and the guilty king's soul. Brethren,
 it is a lovely and a graceful thing to see men natural. It is
 beautiful to see men sincere without being haunted with the
 consciousness of their sincerity. There is a sickly habit that men get
 of looking into themselves, and thinking how they are appearing. We
 are always unnatural when we do that. The very tread of one who is
 thinking how he appears to others, becomes dizzy with affectation. He
 is too conscious of what he is doing, and self-consciousness is
 affectation. Let us aim at being natural. And we can only become
 natural by thinking of God and duty, instead of the way in which we
 are serving God and duty.

 There was lastly, something exceedingly unselfish in John's
 truthfulness. We do not build much on a man's being merely true. It
 costs some men nothing to be true, for they have none of those
 sensibilities which shrink from inflicting pain. There is a surly
 bitter way of speaking truth which says little for a man's heart. Some
 men have not delicacy enough to feel that it is an awkward and a
 painful thing to rebuke a brother: they are in their element when they
 can become censors of the great. John's truthfulness was not like
 that. It was the earnest loving nature of the man which made him say
 sharp things. Was it to gratify spleen that he reproved Herod for all
 the evils he had done? Was it to minister to a diseased and
 disappointed misanthropy? Little do we understand the depth of
 tenderness which there is in a rugged, true nature, if we think that.
 John's whole life was an iron determination to crush self in
 everything.

 Take a single instance. John's ministry was gradually superseded by
 the ministry of Christ. It was the moon waning before the Sun. They
 came and told him that, "Rabbi, He to whom thou barest witness beyond
 Jordan baptizeth, and all men come unto Him." Two of his own personal
 friends, apparently some of the last he had left, deserted him, and
 went to the new teacher.

 And now let us estimate the keenness of that trial. Remember John was
 a man: he had tasted the sweets of influence; that influence was dying
 away, and just in the prime of life he was to become _nothing_. Who
 cannot conceive the keenness of that trial? Bearing that in mind--what
 is the prophet's answer? One of the most touching sentences in all
 Scripture--calmly, meekly, the hero recognises his destiny--"He must
 increase, but I must decrease." He does more than recognise it--he
 rejoices in it, rejoices to be nothing, to be forgotten, despised, so
 as only Christ can be everything. "The friend of the bridegroom
 rejoiceth because he heareth the bridegroom's voice, this my joy is
 fulfilled." And it is _this_ man, with self so thoroughly crushed--the
 outward self by bodily austerities, the inward self by Christian
 humbleness--it is this man who speaks so sternly to his sovereign. "It
 is not lawful." Was there any gratification of human feeling there? Or
 was not the rebuke unselfish? Meant for God's honour, dictated by the
 uncontrollable hatred of all evil, careless altogether of personal
 consequences?

 Now it is this, my brethren, that _we_ want. The world-spirit can
 rebuke as sharply as the Spirit which was in John; the world-spirit
 can be severe upon the great when it is jealous. The worldly man
 cannot bear to hear of another's success, he cannot endure to hear
 another praised for accomplishments, or another succeeding in a
 profession, and the world can fasten very bitterly upon a neighbour's
 faults, and say, "It is not lawful." We expect that in the world. But
 that this should creep among religious men, that _we_ should be
 bitter--that we, _Christians_, should suffer jealousy to enthrone
 itself in our hearts--that we should find fault from spleen, and not
 from love--that we should not be able to be calm and gentle, and
 sweet-tempered, when we decrease, when our powers fail--_that_ is the
 shame. The love of Christ is intended to make such men as John, such
 high and heavenly characters. What is our Christianity worth if it
 cannot teach us a truthfulness, an unselfishness, and a generosity
 beyond the world's?

 We are to say something in the second place of the apparent failure of
 Christian life.

 The concluding sentence of this verse informs us that John was shut up
 in prison. And the first thought which suggests itself is, that a
 magnificent career is cut short too soon. At the very outset of ripe
 and experienced manhood the whole thing ends in failure. John's day of
 active usefulness is over; at thirty years of age his work is done;
 and what permanent effect have all his labours left? The crowds that
 listened to his voice, awed into silence by Jordan's side, we hear of
 them no more. Herod heard John gladly, did much good by reason of his
 influence. What was all that worth? The prophet comes to himself in a
 dungeon, and wakes to the bitter conviction, that his influence had
 told much in the way of commanding attention, and even winning
 reverence, but very little in the way of gaining souls; the bitterest,
 the most crushing discovery in the whole circle of ministerial
 experience. All this was seeming failure.

 And this, brethren, is the picture of almost all human life. To some
 moods, and under some aspects, it seems, as it seemed to the psalmist,
 "Man walketh in a vain shadow and disquieteth himself in vain." Go to
 any churchyard, and stand ten minutes among the grave-stones; read
 inscription after inscription recording the date of birth, and the
 date of death, of him who lies below, all the trace which myriads have
 left behind, of their having done their day's work on God's
 earth,--that is failure or--seems so. Cast the eye down the columns of
 any commander's despatch after a general action. The men fell by
 thousands; the officers by hundreds. Courage, high hope,
 self-devotion, ended in smoke--forgotten by the time of the next list
 of slain: that is the failure of life once more. Cast your eye over
 the shelves of a public library--there is the hard toil of years, the
 product of a life of thought; all that remains of it is there in a
 worm-eaten folio, taken down once in a century. Failure of human life
 again. Stand by the most enduring of all human labours, the pyramids
 of Egypt. One hundred thousand men, year by year, raised those
 enormous piles to protect the corpses of the buried from rude
 inspection. The spoiler's hand has been there, and the bodies have
 been rifled from their mausoleum, and three thousand years have
 written "failure" upon that. In all that, my Christian brethren, if we
 look no deeper than the surface, we read the grave of human hope, the
 apparent nothingness of human labour.

 And then look at this history once more. In the isolation of John's
 dying hour, there appears failure again. When a great man dies we
 listen to hear what he has to say, we turn to the last page of his
 biography first, to see what he had to bequeath to the world as his
 experience of life. We expect that the wisdom, which he has been
 hiving up for years, will distil in honeyed sweetness then. It is
 generally not so. There is stupor and silence at the last. "How dieth
 the wise man?" asks Solomon: and he answers bitterly, "As the fool."
 The martyr of truth dies privately in Herod's dungeon. We have no
 record of his last words. There were no crowds to look on. We cannot
 describe how he received his sentence. Was he calm? Was he agitated?
 Did he bless his murderer? Did he give utterance to any deep
 reflections on human life? All that is shrouded in silence. He bowed
 his head, and the sharp stroke fell flashing down. We know that, we
 know no more--apparently a noble life abortive.

 And now let us ask the question distinctly, Was all this indeed
 failure? No, my Christian brethren, it was sublimest victory. John's
 work was no failure; he left behind him no sect to which he had given
 his name, but his disciples passed into the service of Christ, and
 were absorbed in the Christian church. Words from John had made
 impressions, and men forgot in after years _where_ the impressions
 first came from, but the day of judgment will not forget. John laid
 the foundations of a temple, and others built upon it He laid it in
 struggle, in martyrdom. It was covered up like the rough masonry below
 ground, but when we look round on the vast Christian Church, we are
 looking at the superstructure of John's toil.

 There is a lesson for us in all that, if we will learn it. Work, true
 work, done honestly and manfully for Christ, _never_ can be a failure.
 Your own work, my brethren, which God has given you to do, whatever
 that is, let it be done truly. Leave eternity to show that it has not
 been in vain in the Lord. Let it but be work, it will tell. True
 Christian life is like the march of a conquering army into a fortress
 which has been breached; men fall by hundreds in the ditch. Was their
 fall a failure? Nay, for their bodies bridge over the hollow, and over
 them the rest pass on to victory. The quiet religious worship that we
 have this day--how comes it to be ours? It was purchased for us by the
 constancy of such men as John, who freely gave their lives. We are
 treading upon a bridge of martyrs. The suffering was theirs--the
 victory is ours. John's career was no failure.

 Yet we have one more circumstance which _seems_ to tell of failure. In
 John's prison, solitude, misgiving, black doubt, seem for a time to
 have taken possession of the prophet's soul. All that we know of those
 feelings is this:--John while in confinement sent two of his disciples
 to Christ, to say to Him, "Art thou He that should come, or do we look
 for another?" Here is the language of painful uncertainty. We shall
 not marvel at this, if we look steadily at the circumstances. Let us
 conceive John's feelings. The enthusiastic child of Nature, who had
 roved in the desert, free as the air he breathed, is now suddenly
 arrested, and his strong restless heart limited to the four walls of a
 narrow dungeon. And there he lay startled. An eagle cleaving the air
 with motionless wing, and in the midst of his career brought from the
 black cloud by an arrow to the ground, and looking round with his
 wild, large eye, stunned, and startled there; just such was the free
 prophet of the wilderness, when Herod's guards had curbed his noble
 flight, and left him alone in his dungeon.

 Now there is apparent failure here, brethren; it is not the thing
 which we should have expected. We should have expected that a man who
 had lived so close to God all his life, would have no misgivings in
 his last hours. But, my brethren, it is not so. It is the strange
 truth that some of the highest of God's servants are tried with
 darkness on the dying bed. Theory would say, when a religious man is
 laid up for his last struggles, now he is alone for deep communion
 with his God. Fact very often says, "No--now he is alone, as his
 Master was before him, in the wilderness to be tempted of the devil."
 Look at John in imagination, and you would say, "Now his rough
 pilgrimage is done. He is quiet, out of the world, with the rapt
 foretaste of heaven in his soul." Look at John in fact. He is
 agitated, sending to Christ, not able to rest, grim doubt wrestling
 with his soul, misgiving for one last black hour whether all his hope
 has not been delusion.

 There is one thing we remark here by the way. Doubt often comes from
 inactivity. We cannot give the philosophy of it, but this is the fact,
 Christians who have nothing to do but to sit thinking of themselves,
 meditating, sentimentalising, are almost sure to become the prey of
 dark, black misgivings. John struggling in the desert needs no proof
 that Jesus is the Christ. John shut up became morbid and doubtful
 immediately. Brethren all this is very marvellous. The history of a
 human soul _is_ marvellous. We are mysteries, but here is the
 practical lesson of it all. For sadness, for suffering, for misgiving,
 there is no remedy but stirring and doing.

 Now look once more at these doubts of John's. All his life long John
 had been wishing and expecting that the kingdom of God would come. The
 kingdom of God is Right triumphant over Wrong, moral evil crushed,
 goodness set up in its place, the true man recognised, the false man
 put down and forgotten. All his life long John had panted for that;
 his hope was to make men better. He tried to make the soldiers
 merciful, and the publicans honest, and the Pharisees sincere. His
 complaint was, Why is the world the thing it is? All his life long he
 had been appealing to the invisible justice of Heaven against the
 visible brute force which he saw around him. Christ had appeared, and
 his hopes were straining to the utmost. "Here is the Man!" And now
 behold, here is no Kingdom of Heaven at all, but one of darkness
 still, oppression and cruelty triumphant, Herod putting God's prophet
 in prison, and the Messiah quietly letting things take their course.
 Can that be indeed Messiah? All this was exceedingly startling. And it
 seems that then John began to feel the horrible doubt whether the
 whole thing were not a mistake, and whether all that which he had
 taken for inspiration were not, after all, only the excited hopes of
 an enthusiastic temperament. Brethren, the prophet was well nigh on
 the brink of failure.

 But let us mark--that a man has doubts--_that_ is not the evil; all
 earnest men must expect to be tried with doubts. All men who feel,
 with their whole souls, the value of the truth which is at stake,
 cannot be satisfied with a "perhaps." Why, when all that is true and
 excellent in this world, all that is worth living for, is in that
 question of questions, it is no marvel if we sometimes wish, like
 Thomas, to see the prints of the nails, to know whether Christ be
 indeed our Lord or not. Cold hearts are not anxious enough to doubt.
 Men who love will have their misgivings at times; that is not the
 evil. But the evil is, when men go on in that languid, doubting way,
 content to doubt, proud of their doubts, morbidly glad to talk about
 them, liking the romantic gloom of twilight, without the manliness to
 say--I must and will know the truth. That did not John. Brethren, John
 appealed to Christ. He did exactly what we do when we pray--and he got
 his answer. Our Master said to his disciples, Go to my suffering
 servant, and give him proof. Tell John the things ye see and
 hear--"The blind see, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor
 the Gospel is preached." There is a deep lesson wrapped up in this. We
 get a firm grasp of truth by prayer. Communion with Christ is the best
 proof of Christ's existence and Christ's love. It is so even in human
 life. Misgivings gather darkly round our heart about our friend in his
 absence; but we seek his frank smile, we feel his affectionate grasp:
 our suspicions go to sleep again. It is just so in religion. No man is
 in the habit of praying to God in Christ, and then doubts whether
 Christ is He "that should come." It is in the power of prayer to
 realize Christ, to bring him near, to make you feel His life stirring
 like a pulse within you. Jacob could not doubt whether he had been
 with God when his sinew shrunk. John could not doubt whether Jesus was
 the Christ when the things He had done were pictured out so vividly in
 answer to his prayer. Let but a man live with Christ anxious to have
 his own life destroyed, and Christ's life established in its place,
 losing himself in Christ, that man will have all his misgivings
 silenced. These are the two remedies for doubt--Activity and Prayer.
 He who works, and _feels_ he works--he who prays, and _knows_ he
 prays, has got the secret of transforming life-failure into
 life-victory.

 In conclusion brethren, we make three remarks which could not be
 introduced into the body of this subject. The first is--Let young and
 ardent minds, under the first impressions of religion, beware how they
 pledge themselves by any open profession to more than they can
 perform. Herod warmly took up religion at first, courted the prophet
 of religion, and then when the hot fit of enthusiasm had passed away,
 he found that he had a clog round his life from which he could only
 disengage himself by a rough, rude effort. Brethren whom God has
 touched, it is good to count the cost before you begin. If you give up
 present pursuits _impetuously_, are you sure that present impulses
 will last? Are you quite certain that a day will not come when you
 will curse the hour in which you broke altogether with the world? Are
 you quite sure that the revulsion back again, will not be as impetuous
 as Herod's, and your hatred of the religion which has become a clog,
 as intense as it is now ardent?

 Many things doubtless there are to be given up--amusements that are
 dangerous, society that is questionable. What we give up, let us give
 up, not from quick feeling, but from principle. Enthusiasm is a lovely
 thing, but let us be calm in what we do. In that solemn, grand
 thing--Christian life--one step backward is religious death.

 Once more we get from this subject the doctrine of a resurrection.
 John's life was hardness, his end was agony. That is frequently
 Christian life. Therefore, says the apostle, if there be no
 resurrection the Christian's choice is wrong; "If in this life only we
 have hope in Christ, then are we of all men most miserable." Christian
 life is not visible success--very often it is the apparent opposite of
 success. It is the resurrection of Christ working itself out _in_ us;
 but it is very often the Cross of Christ imprinting itself on us very
 sharply. The highest prize which God has to give here is martyrdom.
 The highest style of life is the Baptist's--heroic, enduring, manly
 love. The noblest coronet which any son of man can wear is a crown of
 thorns. Christian, _this_ is not your rest. Be content to feel that
 this world is not your home. Homeless upon earth, try more and more to
 make your home in heaven, above with Christ.

 Lastly we have to learn from this, that devotedness to Christ is our
 only blessedness. It is surely a strange thing to see the way in which
 men crowded round the austere prophet, all saying, "Guide us, we
 cannot guide ourselves." Publicans, Pharisees, Sadducees, Herod,
 whenever John appears, all bend before him, offering him homage and
 leadership. How do we account for this? The truth is, the spirit of
 man groans beneath the weight of its own freedom. When a man has no
 guide, no master but himself, he is miserable; we want guidance, and
 if we find a man nobler, wiser than ourselves, it is almost our
 instinct to prostrate our affections before that man, as the crowds
 did by Jordan, and say, "Be my example, my guide, my soul's
 sovereign." That passionate need of worship--hero-worship it has been
 called--is a primal, universal instinct of the heart. Christ is the
 answer to it. Men will not do; we try to find men to reverence
 thoroughly, and we cannot do it. We go through life, finding guides,
 rejecting them one after another, expecting nobleness and finding
 meanness; and we turn away with a recoil of disappointment.

 There is no disappointment in Christ. Christ can be our souls'
 sovereign. Christ can be our guide. Christ can absorb all the
 admiration which our hearts long to give. We want to worship men.
 These Jews wanted to worship man. They were right--man is the rightful
 object of our worship; but in the roll of ages there has been but one
 man whom we can adore without idolatry,--the Man Christ Jesus.


 THE END.

 _Spottiswoode & Co., Printers, New-street Square, London_



                     A SELECTION FROM THE NOTICES

                                  OF

                       MR. ROBERTSON'S SERMONS,

                              AND OF THE

                 LIFE AND LETTERS OF F.W. ROBERTSON.

                 BY THE REV. STOPFORD A. BROOKE, M.A.



 [BLACKWOOD'S MAGAZINE, August, 1862.]

   "For while hapless Englishmen complain in the papers, and in
    private, in many a varied wail, over the sermons they have to
    listen to, it is very apparent that the work of the preacher has
    not fallen in any respect out of estimation. Here is a book which
    has gone through as great a number of editions as the most popular
    novel. It bears Mudie's stamp upon its dingy boards, and has all
    those marks of arduous service which are only to be seen in books
    which belong to great public libraries. It is thumbed,
    dog's-eared, pencil-marked, worn by much perusal. Is it then a
    novel? On the contrary, it is a volume of sermons. A fine, tender,
    and lofty mind, full of thoughtfulness, full of devotion, has
    herein left his legacy to his country. It is not rhetoric or any
    vulgar excitement of eloquence that charms so many readers to the
    book, so many hearers to this preacher's feet. It is not with the
    action of a Demosthenes, with outstretched arms and countenance of
    flame, that he presses his gospel upon his audience. On the
    contrary, when we read those calm and lofty utterances, this
    preacher seems seated, like his Master, with the multitude
    palpitating round, but no agitation or passion in his own
    thoughtful, contemplative breast. The Sermons of Robertson, of
    Brighton, have few of the exciting qualities of oratory. Save for
    the charm of a singularly pure and lucid style, their almost sole
    attraction consists in their power of instruction, in their
    faculty of opening up the mysteries of life and truth. It is pure
    teaching, so far as that ever can be administered to a popular
    audience, which is offered to us in these volumes."


 [EDINBURGH CHRISTIAN MAGAZINE.]

   "They are Sermons of a bold, uncompromising thinker--of a man
    resolute for the truth of God, and determined in the strength of
    God's grace to make that truth clear, to brush away all the
    fine-spun sophistries and half-truths by which the cunning sins of
    men have hidden it.... There must be a great and true heart, where
    there is a great and true preacher. And in that, beyond everything
    else, lay the secret of Mr. Robertson's influence. His Sermons
    show evidence enough of acute logical power. His analysis is
    exquisite in its subtleness and delicacy.... With Mr. Robertson
    style is but the vehicle, not the substitute for thought.
    Eloquence, poetry, scholarship, originality--his Sermons show
    proof enough of these to put him on a level with the foremost men
    of his time. But, after all, their charm lies in the warm, loving,
    sympathetic heart, in the well-disciplined mind of the true
    Christian, in his noble scorn of all lies, of all things mean and
    crooked, in his brave battling for right, even when wrong seems
    crowned with success, in his honest simplicity and singleness of
    purpose, in the high and holy tone--as if, amid the discord of
    earth, he heard clear, though far off, the perfect harmony of
    heaven; in the fiery earnestness of his love for Christ, the
    devotion of his whole being to the goodness and truth revealed in
    him."


 [CHURCH OF ENGLAND MONTHLY REVIEW.]

   "It is hardly too much to say, that had the Church of England
    produced no other fruit in the present century, this work alone
    would be amply sufficient to acquit her of the charge of
    barrenness.... The reputation of Mr. Robertson's Sermons is now so
    wide-spread, that any commendation of ours may seem superfluous.
    We will therefore simply, in conclusion, recommend such of our
    readers as have not yet made their acquaintance, to read them
    carefully and thoughtfully, and they will find in them more deeply
    suggestive matter than in almost any book published in the present
    century."


 [MORNING POST.]

   "They are distinguished by masterly exposition of Scriptural
    truths and the true spirit of Christian charity."


 [BRITISH QUARTERLY.]

   "These Sermons are full of thought and beauty, and admirable
    illustrations of the ease with which a gifted and disciplined mind
    can make the obscure transparent, the difficult plain. There is
    not a Sermon that does not furnish evidence of originality without
    extravagance, of discrimination without tediousness, and of piety
    without cant or conventionalism."


 [ECLECTIC REVIEW.]

   "We hail with unaffected delight the appearance of these volumes.
    The Sermons are altogether out of the common style. They are
    strong, free, and beautiful utterances of a gifted and cultivated
    mind. Occasionally, the expression of theological sentiment fails
    fully to represent our own thought, and we sometimes detect
    tendencies with which we cannot sympathize: but, taken as a whole,
    the discourses are fine specimens of a high order of preaching."


 [GUARDIAN.]

   "Very beautiful in feeling, and occasionally striking and forcible
    in conception to a remarkable degree.... Even in the imperfect
    shape in which their deceased author left them, they are very
    remarkable compositions."


 [CHRISTIAN REMEMBRANCER.]

   "We should be glad if all preachers more united with ourselves,
    preached such Sermons as these."


 [WESTMINSTER REVIEW.]

   "To those who affectionately remember the author, they will
    recall, though imperfectly, his living eloquence and his living
    truthfulness."


 [GLOBE.]

   "Mr. Robertson, of Brighton, is a name familiar to most of us, and
    honoured by all to whom it is familiar. A true servant of Christ,
    a bold and heart-stirring preacher of the Gospel, his teaching was
    unlike the teaching of most clergymen, for it was beautified and
    intensified by genius. New truth, new light, streamed from each
    well-worn text when he handled it."


 [BLACKWOOD'S MAGAZINE.]

   "When teaching of this description keeps the popular ear and
    secures the general attention, it is unquestionable proof that the
    office of the preacher has, in no way, lost its hold on the mind
    of the people. The acceptance of a voice so unimpassioned and
    thoughtful, so independent of all vulgar auxiliaries, so intent
    upon bringing every theme it touches to the illustration and
    sanctifying of the living life of the hour, that which alone can
    be mended, and purified, and sanctified, is a better tribute to
    the undying office of the preacher than the success of a hundred
    Spurgeons. Attention and interest are as eager as ever where there
    is in reality any instruction to bestow."


 [LITERARY GAZETTE.]

   "In earnestness of practical appeal, and in eloquent and graceful
    diction, Mr. Robertson has few rivals, and these characteristics
    are sufficient to account for his unusual popularity."


 [NATIONAL REVIEW.]

   "A volume of very fine Sermons, quite equal to the previous
    series."


 [BRIGHTON EXAMINER.]

   "There is in the Sermons in this volume the same freshness, vigour
    of thought and felicity of expression, as characterised whatever
    Mr. Robertson said."


 [ECONOMIST.]

   "Mr. Robertson's Sermons have the great and rare merit of
    neutralising by a more charitable and affectionate spirit, and by
    a wider intelligence, all that may appear rigid and _doctrinaire_
    in the Church of England. The result seems to have been his
    special mission: it most fully explains the mind of the man.... We
    recommend the Sermons to the perusal of our readers. They will
    find in them thought of so rare and beautiful a description, an
    earnestness of mind so steadfast in the search of truth, and a
    charity so pure and all-embracing, that we cannot venture to offer
    praise, which would be, in this case, almost as presumptuous as
    criticism."


 [SATURDAY REVIEW.]

   "When Mr. Robertson died, his name was scarcely known beyond the
    circle of his own private friends, and of those among whom he had
    laboured in his calling. Now, every word he wrote is eagerly
    sought for and affectionately treasured up, and meets with the
    most reverent and admiring welcome from men of all parties and all
    shades of opinion.... To those that find in his writings what they
    themselves want, he is a teacher quite beyond comparison--his
    words having a meaning, his thoughts a truth and depth, which they
    cannot find elsewhere. And they never look to him in vain.... He
    fixes himself upon the recollection as a most original and
    profound thinker, and as a man in whom excellence puts on a new
    form.... There are many persons, and the number increases every
    year, to whom Robertson's writings are the most stable,
    satisfactory, and exhaustless form of religious teaching which the
    nineteenth century has given--the most wise, suggestive, and
    practical."


 [BRIGHTON HERALD.]

   "To our thinking, no compositions of the same class, at least
    since the days of Jeremy Taylor, can be compared with these
    Sermons delivered to the congregation of Trinity Chapel, Brighton,
    by their late minister. They have that power over the mind which
    belongs only to the highest works of genius: they stir the soul to
    its inmost depths: they move the affections, raise the
    imagination, bring out the higher and spiritual part of our nature
    by the continual appeal that is made to it, and tend to make us,
    at the same time, humble and aspiring--merciful to others and
    doubtful of ourselves."


 [From a SERMON preached at the CONSECRATION of the BISHOP of NORWICH,
 by the REV. J.H. GURNEY, late of MARYLEBONE.]

   "I do not commit myself to all his theology; I may differ from the
    preacher in some things, and listen doubtfully to others. But I
    know of no modern sermons at once so suggestive and so
    inspiriting, with reference to the whole range of Christian duty.
    He is fresh and original without being recondite: plain-spoken
    without severity; and discusses some of the exciting topics of the
    day without provoking strife or lowering his tone as a Christian
    teacher. He delivers his message, in fact, like one who is
    commissioned to call men off from trifles and squabbles, and
    conventional sins and follies, to something higher and nobler than
    their common life: like a man in earnest, too, avoiding
    technicalities, speaking his honest mind in phrases that are his
    own, and with a directness from which there is no escape. O that a
    hundred like him were given us by God, and placed in prominent
    stations throughout our land!"


 [GUARDIAN.]

   "Without anything of that artificial symmetry which the
    traditional division into heads was apt to display, they present
    each reflection in a distinct method of statement, clearly and
    briefly worked out; the sentences are short and terse, as in all
    popular addresses they should be; the thoughts are often very
    striking, and entirely out of the track of ordinary sermonising.
    In matters of doctrine such novelty is sometimes unsafe; but the
    language is that of one who tries earnestly to penetrate into the
    very centre of the truth he has to expound, and differs as widely
    as possible from the sceptic's doubt or the controversialist's
    mistake. More frequently Mr. Robertson deals with questions of
    practical life, of public opinion, and of what we may call social
    casuistry--turning the light of Christian ethics upon this
    unnoticed though familiar ground. The use of a carriage on Sunday,
    the morality of feeing a railway porter against his employers'
    rules, are topics not too small for illustration or application of
    his lessons in divine truth."


 [BRIGHTON GAZETTE.]

   "As an author, Mr. Robertson was, in his lifetime, unknown; for
    with the exception of one or two addresses, he never published,
    having a singular disinclination to bring his thoughts before the
    public in the form of published sermons. As a minister, he was
    beloved and esteemed for his unswerving fidelity to his principles
    and his fearless propagation of his religious views. As a
    townsman, he was held in the highest estimation; his hand and
    voice being ever ready to do all in his power to advance the moral
    and social position of the working man. It was not till after his
    decease, which event created a sensation and demonstration such as
    Brighton never before or since witnessed, that his works were
    subjected to public criticism. It was then found that in the
    comparatively retired minister of Trinity Chapel there had existed
    a man possessed of consummate ability and intellect of the highest
    order; that the sermons laid before his congregation were replete
    with the subtleties of intellect, and bore evidence of the keenest
    perception and most exalted catholicity. His teaching was of an
    extremely liberal character, and if fair to assign a man possessed
    of such a universality of sympathy to any party, we should say
    that he belonged to what is denominated the 'Broad Church.' We,
    with many others, cannot agree in the fullest extent of his
    teaching, but, at the same time, feel bound to accord the tribute
    due to his genius."


 [MORNING CHRONICLE.]

   "A volume of very excellent Sermons, by the late lamented
    Incumbent of Trinity Chapel, Brighton."


 [TITAN.]

   "But the Sermons now under notice are, we venture to say, taking
    all the circumstances into consideration, the most remarkable
    discourses of the age.... They are throughout vital with the
    rarest force, burning with an earnestness perhaps never surpassed,
    and luminous with the light of genius.... We suspect that even
    Brighton little knew what a man Providence had placed in its
    midst."

       *       *       *       *       *

 On the "_Analysis of Mr. Tennyson's In Memoriam_:"--

 [GUARDIAN.]

   "An endeavour to give, in a few weighty words, the key-note (so to
    speak) of each poem in the series. Those will best appreciate the
    amount of success attained by Mr. Robertson who try to do the same
    work better."

       *       *       *       *       *

 From a few of the Notices on Mr. Robertson's "_Lecture on the Epistles
 to the Corinthians_:"--


 [MORNING POST.]

   "It was Mr. Robertson's custom every Sunday afternoon, instead of
    preaching from one text, to expound an entire chapter of some book
    in the Scriptures. The present volume is made up from notes of
    fifty-six discourses of this kind. 'Some people were startled by
    the introduction of what they called secular subjects into the
    pulpit. But the lecturer in all his ministrations refused to
    recognize the distinction so drawn. He said that the whole life of
    a Christian was sacred--that common every-day doings, whether of a
    trade, or of a profession, or the minuter details of a woman's
    household life, were the arenas in which trial and temptation
    arose; and that therefore it became the Christian minister's duty
    to enter into this family working life with his people, and help
    them to understand its meaning, its trials, and its
    compensations.' It is enough to add that the lectures now given to
    the public are written in this spirit."


 [CRITIC.]

   "Such discourses as these before us, so different from the shallow
    rhapsodies or tedious hair-splitting which are now so much in
    vogue, may well make us regret that Mr. Robertson can never be
    heard again in the pulpit. This single volume would in itself
    establish a reputation for its writer."


 [BRIGHTON HERALD.]

   "... Were there no name on the title-page, the spirit which,
    shines forth in these lectures could but be recognized as that of
    the earnest, true-hearted man, the deep thinker, the sympathizer
    with all kinds of human trouble, the aspirant for all things holy,
    and one who joined to these rare gifts, the faculty of speaking to
    his fellow-men in such a manner as to fix their attention and win
    their love.... In whatever spirit the volume is read--of doubt, of
    criticism, or of full belief in the truths it teaches--it can but
    do good; it can but leave behind the conviction that here was a
    genuine, true-hearted man, gifted with the highest intellect,
    inspired by the most disinterested motives and the purest love for
    his fellow-men, and that the fountain at which he warmed his heart
    and kindled his eloquence was that which flows from Christ."


 [BRITISH QUARTERLY REVIEW.]

   "This volume will be a welcome gift to many an intelligent and
    devout mind. There are few of our modern questions, theological or
    ecclesiastical, that do not come up for discussion in the course
    of these Epistles to the Christians at Corinth."


 [MORNING HERALD.]

   "No one can read these lectures without being charmed by their
    singular freshness and originality of thought, their earnest,
    simple eloquence, and their manly piety. There is no mawkish
    sentiment, no lukewarm, semi-religious twaddle, smacking of the
    _Record_; no proclamation of party views or party opinions, but a
    broad, healthy, living, and fervent exposition of one of the most
    difficult books in the Bible. Every page is full of personal
    earnestness and depth of feeling; but every page is also free from
    the slightest trace of vanity and egotism. The words come home to
    the reader's heart as the utterance of a sincere man who felt
    every sentence which flowed from his lips."


 [PRESS.]

   "One of the most marked features of these lectures is the deep
    feeling which the preacher had of the emptiness and hollowness of
    the conventional religionism of the day. The clap-trap of popular
    ministers, the pride and uncharitableness of exclusive
    Evangelicalism, the pomp and pretension of ritualism and priestly
    affectation--the miserable Pharisaism which is lurking underneath
    them all--form the subject of many strikingly true and often
    cutting remarks. He has no patience with the unrealities of
    sectarian purism and pedantic orthodoxy. His constant cry, the
    constant struggle of his soul is for reality. Hence while his
    views of objective truth are at times deficient, or, at least,
    very imperfectly stated, he leaves a deep impress of subjective
    religion upon the mind, by a style of teaching which, far from
    uninstructive, is yet more eminently suggestive."


 [THE SPECTATOR.]

   "The _Notes on Genesis_--sketches more or less full of lectures on
    Genesis, delivered by Mr. Robertson--will be welcomed by the many
    who have read, with a profound interest, those writings of his
    which have already been given to the world.... Few will be able to
    read this volume without having brought before them certain
    passages out of their own lives, which they will be compelled to
    reconsider from a fresh point of view. As an interpreter of
    Scripture also, Mr. Robertson nowhere appears to greater
    advantage. While not ignoring difficult points, he is always
    looking for, and never fails to find, that which is profitable and
    edifying."

 From a few of the Notices on Mr. Robertson's "_The Human Race and
 other Sermons_."


 [THE ACADEMY.]

   "It need not be said that there is here much that is beautiful and
    happily expressed."


 [THE BRITISH QUARTERLY REVIEW.]

   "The volume is as fresh and striking and suggestive as any of its
    predecessors. For unconventional and spiritual conceptions of
    Bible teachings; for unexpected, penetrating, and practical
    applications of them, and for general spiritual truth and force,
    these Sermons and Notes of Sermons are as noble as their
    predecessors."


 [THE ENGLISH CHURCHMAN.]

   "We are glad to see the publication of the eloquent Sermons now
    before us, especially those of a devout and practical character,
    such as those on the human race and education."


 [THE CHRISTIAN WORLD.]

   "These Sermons exhibit many of those features of unsurpassable
    excellence which have gained for the preacher a reputation which
    has had no equal in our time. They are full of thought and
    suggestiveness, and are marked by that rare beauty of style which
    Mr. Robertson's readers have learned to associate with all his
    Sermons. His devoted admirers--and how numerous they are--will be
    sure to place this new volume upon their shelves."



                         A SELECTION FROM THE

                       NOTICES BY THE PRESS OF

                  "THE LIFE AND LETTERS OF THE LATE

                        REV. F.W. ROBERTSON."



 [THE SPECTATOR.]

   "No book published since the 'Life of Dr. Arnold' has produced so
    strong an impression on the moral imagination and spiritual
    theology of England as we may expect from these volumes. Even for
    those who knew Mr. Robertson well, and for many who knew _him_, as
    they thought, better than his Sermons, the free and full
    discussion of the highest subjects in the familiar letters so
    admirably selected by the Editor of Mr. Robertson's _Life_, will
    give a far clearer insight into his remarkable character and
    inspire a deeper respect for his clear and manly intellect. Mr.
    Brooke has done his work as Dr. Stanley did his in writing the
    'Life of Arnold,' and it is not possible to give higher praise....
    Everyone will talk of Mr. Robertson, and no one of Mr. Brooke,
    because Mr. Brooke has thought much of his subject, nothing of
    himself, and hence the figure which he wished to present comes out
    quite clear and keen, without any interposing haze of literary
    vapour."


 [THE CHRISTIAN WORLD.]

   "The Life of Robertson of Brighton supplies a very unique
    illustration of the way in which a man may attain his highest fame
    after he has passed away from earth. There are few who make any
    pretension to an acquaintance with modern literature who do not
    know something of Mr. Robertson's works. His sermons are
    indisputably ranked with the highest sacred classics.... The
    publication of his 'Life and Letters' helps us to some information
    which is very precious, and explains much mystery that hangs
    around the name of the great Brighton preacher. It will be
    generally admitted that these two volumes will furnish means for
    estimating the character of Mr. Robertson which are not supplied
    in any or all of his published works.... There was no
    artificiality or show about the pulpit production, no
    half-utterances or whispers of solemn belief; but there was the
    natural restraint which would be imposed by a true gentleman upon
    his words when speaking to mixed congregations. Many of us wanted
    to know how he talked and wrote when the restraint was removed.
    This privilege is granted to us in these volumes.... There was no
    romance of scene and circumstance in the life of Frederick
    Robertson; but there was more than romance about the real life of
    the man. In some respects it was like the life of a new Elijah....
    A more thoughtful, suggestive, and beautiful preacher never
    entered a pulpit; a simpler and braver man never lived; a truer
    Christian never adorned any religious community. His life and
    death were _vicarious_, as he himself might have put it. He lived
    and died for others, for us all. The sorrows and agonies of his
    heart pressed rare music out of it, and the experience of a
    terribly bitter life leaves a wealth of thought and reflection
    never more than equalled in the history of men."


 [THE GUARDIAN.]

   "With all drawbacks of what seem to us imperfect taste, an
    imperfect standard of character, and an imperfect appreciation of
    what there is in the world beyond a given circle of interest, the
    book does what a biography ought to do--it shows us a remarkable
    man, and it gives us the means of forming our own judgment about
    him. It is not a tame panegyric or a fancy picture. The main
    portion of the book consists of Mr. Robertson's own letters, and
    his own account of himself, and we are allowed to see him, in a
    great degree at least, as he really was.... It is the record of a
    genuine spontaneous character, seeking its way, its duty, its
    perfection, with much sincerity and elevation of purpose, many
    anxieties and sorrows, and not, we doubt not, without much of the
    fruits that come with real self-devotion; a record disclosing a
    man with great faults and conspicuous blanks in his nature."


 [THE MORNING POST.]

   "Mr. Brooke has done good service in giving to the world so
    faithful a sketch of so worthy a man. It would have been a
    reproach to the Church if this enduring and appropriate memorial
    had not been erected to one who was so entirely devoted to its
    service; and the labour of love, for such it evidently was, was
    committed to no unskilful hands.... Mr. Robertson's epistolary
    writings--gathered in these valuable volumes--often unstudied,
    always necessarily from their nature free and unrestrained, but
    evidencing depth and vigour of thought, clear perception, varied
    knowledge, sound judgment, earnest piety, are doubtless destined
    to become as widely known and as largely beneficial as his
    published Sermons. It is impossible to peruse them without
    receiving impressions for good, and being persuaded that they are
    the offspring of no ordinary mind."


 [THE MORNING HERALD.]

   "Mr. Brooke has done his own work as a biographer with good sense,
    feeling, and taste.... These volumes are of real value to all
    thoughtful readers. For many a year we have had no such picture of
    a pure and noble and well spent life."


 [THE ATHENÆUM.]

   "There is something here for all kinds of readers, but the higher
    a man's mind and the more general his sympathies, the keener will
    be his interest in the 'Life of Robertson.'"


 [THE NONCONFORMIST.]

   "As no English sermons of the century have been so widely read,
    and as few leaders of religious thought have exerted (especially
    by works in so much of an unperfected and fragmentary character)
    so penetrating and powerful an influence on the spiritual
    tendencies of the times, we can well believe that no biography
    since Arnold's will presently be possible to be compared with
    this, for the interest excited by it in the minds of readers who
    consciously live in the presence of the invisible and eternal, who
    feel the pressure of difficult questions and painful experiences,
    and who seek reality and depth, and freedom in the life and
    activity of the Church of Christ.... Mr. Brooke has produced a
    'Life of Robertson' which will not unworthily compare with Dean
    Stanley's 'Life of Arnold,' and which, with that, and Ryland's
    'Life of Foster,' and the 'Life of Channing,' is likely to be
    prized as one of the most precious records of genuine manly and
    godly excellence."


 [THE MORNING STAR.]

   "The beautiful work which Mr. Brooke has written contains few, if
    any, romantic episodes. It is the life of a man who worked hard
    and died early.... Mr. Brooke has acted wisely in allowing Mr.
    Robertson to speak so fully for himself, and in blending his
    letters with his narrative, and arranging them in chronological
    order. These letters are in themselves a mine of intellectual
    wealth. They contain little of table-talk or parlour gossip: but
    they abound with many of his best and most ripened thoughts on
    multitudes of subjects, political, literary, and scientific, as
    well as theological. We wish we could present our readers with
    extracts from them; but even if we had space, it would be unfair
    to the writer to quote disjointed fragments from a correspondence
    which now belongs to the literature of the country.... Mr. Brooke
    has performed his responsible task as a biographer and an editor
    in a spirit of just and discriminating appreciation, and with
    admirable ability."



                          LONDON: PRINTED BY
               SPOTTISWOODE AND CO., NEW-STREET SQUARE
                        AND PARLIAMENT STREET





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