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SUBJECT :- Human Exaltation and Humiliation Sources of
“Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: but the rich, in that he is made low."-James i. 9, 10.
Analysis of Homily the Four Hundred and Eighteenth.
CARISTIANITY is the true educator of humanity. It breathes the truest and sublimest philanthropy. In its light man feels that humanity is one. Through its sanctifying influence it connects man with all that is noble, good, and great! In its radiance poverty and riches are nothing. Moral character, principles, life, conduct, are everything.
This Scripture suggests to us the following things :
I. CHRISTIANITY TEACHES, THAT MAN HOWEVER LOW DEGREE IS MAN STILL. “Let the brother of low degree," &c. The too frequent error of the sons of poverty and toil is, that they are not men. The millions are not aware of the greatness of their nature. Depression, excessive toil, passion, animalism, and ignorance, eclipse their essence. To them its greatness is scarcely discovered. The conduct and language of the million are,—“I care for nobody, and nobody cares for me." It is possible to banter down human nature,—to speak of it as a thing so degraded and mean that it stinks in the nostrils of Heaven—as a thing past recovery! The tendency of much, which we hear from the pulpit, is to add to the weight of the sinner's already conscious guilt and burden. There is no propriety, much less piety, in such declamation. The Bible describes humanity's moral deformity; but, it takes care to stretch out the helping hand, to raise it from depravity and death! But man though fallen is still man. He has lost his Edenic manliness and glory—the image of God, but not his humanity. He still possesses intelligence, conscience, moral sensibility, and power to will. Though he is shorn of his Edenic strength and beauty, there is more divinity in the soul than there
is outward force in the material universe. The fact that man is under a redemptive scheme shows this. Redemption comes to him as an angel of light, and proposes to take the wanderer by the hand, and conduct him to the Great Father, -to glory, and perfection!
II. CHRISTIANITY TEACHES, THAT MAN HOWEVER EXALTED
POSITION IS BUT MAN. “But the rich," &c. It is as great an error in the rich to think too highly of themselves, as it is for the poor to think too meanly of themselves. The spirit of many is, that pence make shillings, shillings make pounds, and pounds make men. How common! but how erroneous this! Man is but man. He is not a demiGod; not an angel. He cannot be anything but human. It is our honor to be men ;-to be anything less is our disgrace.
Be men-be Christian men. The Pharaohs, Alexanders, Neroes, Napoleons, and Popes of our world, have often acted as if they were superhuman; but Jehovah has rebuked them in His anger, and taught them that they were but
Christianity gives us the true idea of humanity. Only let its light enter the mind, then the poor, the degraded, the rude barbarian, the privileged Jew, the philosophic Greek, and the cultivated European, will feel that they are men, and but men. The one is exalted, the other is made low.
III. CHRISTIANITY TEACHES THAT ALL MEN, INDEPENDENT OF CIRCUMSTANCES, ARE EQUAL.
The brother of low degree and the rich are one in everything which constitutes man. They are one physically. Gen. iii. 20 ; x, 32 ; Acts xvii. 26. Amongst all tribes we find reason and speech ; the same internal feelings, appetites, aversions, convictions; the same laws of health, sickness, enjoyments, disappointments, and death.
" Pierce my vein,
Search it, and prove now if it be not blood
They are one morally. “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” All are sinners by nature and by practice—there is no difference. Meet man where you may, he has the common marks of sin. There is no exception. Our common depravity proves the oneness of the race.
IV. CARISTIANITY TEACHES THAT MAN IS THE SUBJECT OF GREAT VICISSITUDE. The poor are exalted, the rich brought low. The rich often become poor, and the poor rich. If not so, the evils of casteism, exclusivism, &c. would be for ever perpetuated and augmented a thousand fold. That riches are not of human, but of Divine disposal. “Man proposes, but God disposes.” “The lot is cast into the lap," &c.
« Riches make to themselves wings,” &c. 1 Sam. ii. 1-10; Luke i. 46–54. That riches and poverty are no proof of Divine pleasure and displeasure. There is no favoritism with God, the Great Father. Often the impious are rich and the pious are poor.
The only test of Divine approval or disapproval is moral character. The pure, God-like, He approves. Character is all-important with God; and ought to be so with us. “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man,” &c. Jer. ix, 23, 24.
V. CHRISTIANITY TEACHES THAT THE EXALTATION OF THE POOR AND THE HUMILIATION OF THE RICH ARE SOURCES OF REJOICING. They now see their nature in the light of Christianity. Their errors are corrected; they now think of themselves as they ought to think; they now behold their equality with each other. Between them there is no feeling of superiority and inferiority. They rejoice in their common brotherhood and oneness. Their faith is tested. Which is the greater trial of the two-the exaltation of the brother of low degree, or the humiliation of the rich, is hard to say. It is well when the brother of low degree, who is exalted, is not elated above measure; and the brother of high degree, when he is made low, that he is not led to think his position beneath him. “Let both rejoice in their temptation, trials,” &c. James i. 2-12. Men rejoice because of their common brotherhood - their self-knowledge and estimation, their Christianity and the commonness of their salvation. They are one in Christ Jesus. They are “children of God," “heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.”
Christians! let us rejoice in the brotherhood of the race, and in the glorious light of Christianity. Exercise philanthropy to all men. Let not circumstances lead us to despise or think lightly of any man. Let us not admire men so much for their gold and silver, learning, and social and political influence, as for their God-likeness. Let character, purity, goodness, be with us as it is with God-all-important. Let us ever remember, that the strength and glory of humanity consist in its union with Emmanuel !
SUBJECT :- Who shall be Able to stand in the Last
“ Who shall be able to stand ?”–Rev. vi. 17.
Analysis of Homily the Four Hundred and Nineteenth. THERE will assuredly come a Day of Judgment. The material universe symbolically prophecies some such a moral crisis in the history of man. The flowing river, the growing plants, the breathing tribes, the planetary systems, all tend to a crisis. The unremitting increase from age to age in the human family, viewed in connexion with the limited capacity of this planet to sustain animal existence, irresistibly indi
cates some such a turning point in human history. The · universal and concurrent references of the human conscience through all ages and lands, give a high probability to the dawn of such a moral juncture.
The Bible settles the question. The sentence preceding the text calls it a GREAT DAY. It will be "great,” on account of the number and variety of the moral beings that will be assembled together; great, on account of the results which will then be effected,—redemptive providences ended, and the agencies of a righteous retribution brought into full play; great, on account of the thrilling interest it will awake through all the realms of moral existence the universe over; great, on account of the Divine glories that will then be displayed. “I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the heavens and the earth fled away,” &c. But in the sentence preceding the text, it is called the “great day of His wrath." Wrath in God is not like wrath in man; it is not a stormy passion, it is a calm principle: it is not directed against existence, but against its crimes, its vile character. It is LOVE putting itself in antagonism with the conduct of those who essay to break the order, mar the beauty, and destroy the blessedness, of the universe.
But our point now is :- Who shall be able to stand on that day? In order to illustrate this solemn question with that simplicity, that may make it spiritually serviceable to us now, I shall suppose a case :—What under a legal charge could enable you to look calmly forward to the coming-day of Trial, feeling that you could stand? We can only conceive of seven things which would answer this purpose. These we shall now state, in order to see which, if any, of these we have, or can have, to enable us to stand on the Day of Judgment.
I. A CONSCIOUSNESS OF INNOCENCE AND THE POWER OF SHOWING THAT THE CHARGE HAS NO FOUNDATION. The feel. ing of innocence in itself would, brace you with
and enable you to look onward with unperturbed heart to the day of trial. But if you feel that in connexion with this, you have the power of demonstrating your innocence to the full