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shall be bound in heaven : and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Again " I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” These words show the true Church has power in Heaven to secure three things : a Divine ratification of its conduct; a full answer to its petitions ; and a personal fellowship with its Lord.
(To be continued.)
Germs of Thought.
SUBJECT :-The Glory of Christ's Moral Temper.
“But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.-Rom. viii. 9.
Analysis of Homily the Four Hundred and Forty-first.
The word freuna is used in two distinct senses in the New Testament, to designate the mind itself, also the temper of the mind,—the thinking intelligence and the master disposition that inspires and guides that intelligence. Though it is more frequently used in the former sense, the latter is the sense which we must attach to it here.
There are five reasons why I give it this interpretation in the text :
First : The interpretation is warranted by the context. In this very chapter we read of “the spirit of adoption," "spirit of bondage,” &c., i.e. the disposition of adoption, bondage, &c.
Secondly: This interpretation is required by the antithesis maintained in the text. The apostle throughout the chapter
is speaking of the spirit of the flesh. By the flesh he means not the substance of the body, but the perverted animal disposition ; and consequently by the spirit he must mean, not the substance spirit, but the disposition which animates it.
Thirdly : This interpretation is demanded by the scope of the argument. The apostle is pointing out the peculiar privilege of those who have received Christianity, and he says, they have the Spirit of God. Now, if by the spirit he meant the existence of the spirit, where is the privilege,—since God's Spirit is everywhere ? Everywhere, through nature, Providence, society–He is reproving the world, striving with it, &c.
Fourthly : This interpretation gives a practical meaning to the text. There are two ways in which we can understand being in the spirit of another. We may, for example, be said to be in the spirit of another when we have got the great idea which governs another, or when we have got the master disposition that inspires another.
Fifthly: This interpretation comprehends the beneficent agency of the Holy Spirit. To generate, nurture, and perfect in man the disposition of God, is the great aim of the Holy Spirit in all His operations in connexion with humanity.
Understanding then by the word spirit the moral temper of Christ, I shall call your attention to three facts suggested by the words, which show its transcendent importance.
I. CHRIST'S MORAL TEMPER IS IDENTICAL WITH THAT OF THE GREAT GOD. This is implied in the text,—“But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of his." The plain inference is that the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ are identical. “I and my Father,” says Christ, “are one;"-one not only in essence, but one in temper, in heart.
In looking at Christ's moral temper I discover at least three things in its relation to man which I am authorised to believe characterize the temper of the Infinite God.
First : Christ's temper was essentially benevolent. Read His biography, and where can you find one solitary act or single word indicating the malignant ? He wished well to all He met,—to the Universe. “He came not to destroy men's lives but to save them." Even His severest reproofs and denunciations were but the bass notes in the harmonies of His essentially loving nature. The blows He struck at the sinner were but to break his chains and set him free.
Secondly : Christ's temper was forgivingly benevolent. Examples of His forgiving love are numerous : The woman in Simon's house. The paralytic.
His prayer for His enemies on the cross, &c.
Thirdly: Christ's temper was earnestly benevolent. His benevolence was a burning passion. Mark His earnestness in His invitation,—" Come unto me all ye that labor,” &c. In the great day of the feast Jesus stood and cried, &c. Hear His wail over the doomed City: “O Jerusalem,” &c.
Now this sublime moral temper is identical with the moral temper of the great God of the universe. I look at Christ as He appeared in Judea eighteen centuries ago, and there I see the heart of God. The feelings that Christ displayed towards
race pulsate in the Infinite. This is a wonderful thought, a soul-elevating truth. Was Christ essentially benevolent? so is the Infinite-He is love. Was Christ forgivingly benevolent ? so is the Infinite-“Come now, and let us reason together," &c. Was Christ earnestly benevolent? so is the Infinite--" Oh Ephraim how shall I give thee up?" &c.
Do you want to know how God feels towards you as a sinner ?—The biography of Christ will answer.
II. CHRIST'S MORAL TEMPER IS COMMUNICABLE TO MAN. “If any man have not the spirit of Christ,” &c. This implies that the Spirit is obtainable.
That Christ's moral temper is communicable to man will appear from the following considerations :
First : Man is pre-eminently adapted to receive it. It agrees with his spiritual conformation. He is not formed to
receive evil;--for evil is incongruous with his constitution, is repugnant to his conscience. The soul is made to receive the inspirations of benevolence, to live in love as its vital atmosphere.
Secondly: Man is pre-eminently in want of this. The moral disposition of Christ is the crying want of humanity ; it is the only Spirit that can expel the demon passions of evil that reign within ; the only Spirit that can snap the chains that fetter his being ; the only Spirit that can light up his soul with truth and blessedness. This moral temper of Christ is to man the light of life.
Thirdly: Man has pre-eminent helps to this. What are the Scriptures, the Life of Christ, the Gospel Ministry, the influences of Heaven, but means to convey to man's heart the moral temper of Christ ? To have this Spirit manfested in our mortal bodies, is to realize the great idea of God in His dealings with us, all through life.
III. CHRIST'S MORAL TEMPER DETERMINES THE CONDITION
“He that hath not the Spirit of Christ is none of his.”
First: None of His loyal subjects. All who have this disposition delight in His law ; feel it their “meat and drink to do His will.” All others are miserable vassals. They serve Him, but against their will.
Secondly: None of His docile disciples. Love is essential to Christian knowledge. Without this eye, “the whole body full of darkness.” Without this, men may be dreamy speculators, captious cavillers, mechanical dogmatists, but not teachable disciples.
Thirdly: None of His loving friends. He that is not with me in this spirit is against me. The want of this constitutes man an enemy to Christ.
Fourthly: None of His co-heirs. Those that have this Spirit sit together with Him now, “heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ.” Christ's life was distinguished by—(1) A subordination of the material to the spiritual.—(2)
A subordination of the spiritual to Divine love. They who live thus are “ heirs” with Him.
From this subject we learn :-(1) That Christianity is a life. It is not a creed, it is not a form,-it is the life of Christ. (2) That Christianity is a Divine life ;-it comes from God to Christ, from Christ to man. The true Christian is one with THE INFINITE.
“AND WE HAVE KNOWN AND BELIEVED THE LOVE THAT GOD HATH TO US. GOD IS LOVE, AND HE THAT DWELLETH IN LOVE DWELLETH IN GOD, AND GOD IN HIM."
SUBJECT :--The Unbounded Beneficence of God in the History
of the Christian.
“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” -Rom. xv. 13.
Analysis of Homily the Four Hundred and Forty-second.
THERE are three things in this passage which serve to illustrate the wonderful kindness of God to those who are the true disciples of His Son.
1. THE CHARACTER HE ASSUMES TOWARDS THEM. “God of hope.” In this chapter the apostle speaks of the absolute One under two other appellations :-The God of patience, and the God of peace. PATIENCE implies in His universe the existence of something to provoke to indignation. That something is sin. The history of the Almighty towards us, and our race, is a history of patience. PEACE implies benevolence of nature, consciousness of rectitude ; and freedom from all anger, remorse, fear, which are necessary elements of inward commotion and outward war. God is peaceful in Himself. The storms of all the bells in His great universe ruffle not the infinite tranquillity of His nature. He is peace