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SUBJECT :--The Christian Character Higher than any other.
“What do ye more than others " ?-Matt. v. 48.
Analysis of Homily the Four Hundred and Sixty-sebentų. These words imply a great truth, namely, that the Christian character is superior to any other character sustained by man. Four facts will show the truth of this :- 1. IT IS BUILT UPON HIGHER CONVICTIONS THAN THAT OF ANY OTHER CHARACTER. All moral character must be resolved into beliefs of some kind or other; moral character grows out of beliefs. The Christian has higher convictions on at least three things :-First : The theory of duty. He regards the will of God as the standard of all obligation. Secondly : The theory of absolution. He regards the mediation of Christ as the only ground of pardon and reconciliation with God. Thirdly: The theory of spiritual culture. Belief in the gospel, righteous activity, and the agency of the Spirit. Another fact which will show the superiority of the Christian to any other is :-11. IT IS INSPIRED BY A DIVINER DISPOSITION THAN THAT OF ANY OTHER CHARACTER. All have some one presiding disposition as the fontal spring of action. The Christian's is LOVE-disinterested, self-sacrificing, practical, all-embracing love :—a philanthropy like that of Christ's, springing from piety to the Infinite Father. Another fact which will show that it is higher than that of any other is :-III. IT IS ENGAGED IN A SUBLIMER MISSION THAN THAT OF ANY OTHER CHARACTER. The Christian consecrates his energies to the extension of Christian rectitude, the moral progress of humanity, and the working out of the divine plan in all things. IV. IT IS MOULDED AFTER A HIGHER TYPE THAN THAT OF ANY OTHER CHARACTER. It is formed after the “image of God," as delineated in the transcendently glorious life of Christ. To be a Christian is to be Christ-like-is to be changed into His image, from glory to glory, by the Spirit of God. Such, then, is the Christian character, and gloriously true it is that --" The Christian is the highest style of man."
SUBJECT :- The Sinner a Blind Traveller.
“They shall walk like blind men because they have sinned against the Lord.”—Zeph. i. 17.
Analysis of Homily the Four Hundred and Sixty-eighth.
The sinner is on a journey, step by step he is moving on to a destination. But how does he walk? The text tells us as a blind man.
How does the blind man walk ? I. UNNA
Though a few men may be born blind, vision is one of the chief attributes of humanity. The world is spread out in beauty and lighted up with glory, that man might see and admire. Without the human eye all the beauties of nature would go for nothing.
Blindness is unnatural. So is sin. The life of sin is a life of unnatural
II. PRIVATIONALLY. What does the blind lose ? The great world of beauty and sublimity, the great firmament of burning worlds, and all the exquisite, and exhilirating sensations of vision, are excluded from him. What does the sinner lose ? Peace of conscience-harmony of feeling-fellowship with the Infinite-power over deathblessed hope of heaven, &c. III, SERVILELY. The blind man must slavishly depend on others to guide him on his way. We have seen him feeling his way with the stick, led by a little child, and sometimes dependent even on a dog. The sinner, however he may boast of his independency, is a slave to the world. He is the servant of sin—a tyrant. He has no true independency. IV. PERILOUSLY. The blind man always feels himself in danger when alone. The sinner's walk is perilous indeed. His danger is great—ever accumulating, and ever approaching. Such then is the walk of the sinner. But moral blindness is worse far than corporeal. (1) The one is a calamity, the other is a crime. (2) The one is to be pitied, the other is to be condemned. The one can be turned to a good account, the other cannot.
Realized, the Ground
“ Christ in you, the hope of glory.”—Col. i. 27. Analysis of Homily the Four Hundred and Sixty-ninth.
Taken out of the glorious context, in which the setting of this gem is so precious, these words convey an entirety of meaning, which may find some portion of the expression of itself in the title we have given to this subject.
I. THE CHRIST OF SCRIPTURE IS PRESENTED TO US. « The image of the invisible God,” of whom it is declared that, “ It pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell,” is the glorious object the Bible continually, directly, and indirectly presents to us. First : In prophetic anticipation. The Divine character is ever represented by human attributes in every recorded ante-Christian age ; so that a divine humanity was in some sense understood by all those who are declared to have given witness to Christ. “Search and see.” Secondly: In actual human life. Most real was that grand human life of Christ. To us it ever seems that that almighty heart longed to pour itself out for man ; was strengthened till His work was accomplished. And then, when the hour came, and His heart broke and poured forth a cataract of love on sin-soiled humanity, He found relief, and cried, “It is finished." Thirdly: In apostolical realization. From the doubtful period of “ Art thou he that should come ?” to the time of full flowing faith declaring itself in the gushing “My Lord and my God," many realised to themselves the Christ of God. II. THE CHRIST OF SCRIPTURE BECAME TO US THE CHRIST OF THE MIND. First : In conscious capacity for apprehending Him. “We have heard him ourselves.” “ That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith.” Secondly : In the ever growing power of realizing Him. “Follow on to know the Lord.” “I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." Thirdly: In the absorption of our being into His. “That they also may be one in us." III. THE IN-DWELLING CHRIST IS ANTICIPATED HEAVEN. First : Incipient heaven apprehends the perfect heaven.
« Now we know in part, then shall we know even as also we are known.” Imperfection grasps at perfection. Secondly: The humiliating termination of life only contrasts with the glorious potentialities of the consciousness. The Christian sees the death of death in his passage into the eternally glorious land, being far off when he beholds perfectly “the King in His beauty.” “We shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” Thirdly : Promised vision of Christ's glory is the natural completion of the whole Christian life.
W. R. PERCIVAL.
Theological Notes and Queries.
[The utmost freedom of independent thought is permitted in this department. The reader must therefore use his own discriminating faculties, and the Editor must be allowed to claim freedom from responsibility.]
P. M. H. the injustice to suppose that he himself is in any doubt about the answer to his query. I cannot think that when he sings
" There we shall see his face
And never never sin," he has any lurking suspicion that his hopes are resting on a peradventure. To suppose that after the redeemed are brought home they may again wanderthat all the sufferings of Christ, and work of the Spirit, and final resurrection, beatitude will leave the saints in no safer a position than that of Adam in Paradisethat after the accomplishment of our Lord's mission, which
IS IT POSSIBLE FOR SAINTS IN
HEAVEN TO FALL ? REPLICANT. In answer to QUERIST No. 24, p. 484. I will not do
was emphatically “to destroy equality with angels, there is no the works of the devil,” those evidence at all that the angels works of darkness should again now in heaven are peccable. We break out, close to the throne of have every reason to believe that God that the “ Lamb's Wife" angels generally have passed should prove unfaithful—is some- through a state of probation, and thing so incongruous in itself, that their present condition is and so opposed to the whole tenor fixed. 2 Peter ii. 4. But unless of Scripture, and theory of the the contrary could be proved, gospel covenant, that it cannot which is impossible, no argument be taken as a possible alternative, can be drawn from them as to but must be propounded for the the saint's liability to sin. mere sake of eliciting more direct (2) There seems an assumpproofs to the contrary than are tion on the part of the Querist, usually thought necessary to be that absolute free agency includes adduced.
a power to sin. Perhaps in one I know not whether this text sense it may ; but we must recolcomes up to our friend's standard lect that sin is a question of will of intelligent grounds of evi- rather than of ability. If a saint dence, but it is abundantly satis- in heaven never wills to sin, to factory to my own mind. Rev. abstain from sinning is at once iii. 12. “ Him that overcometh his highest felicity and truest will I make a pillar in the temple liberty ; at the same time we of my God, and he shall go no have the highest authority for more out; and I will write upon applying to such a being a phrase him the name of my God," &c. expressive of inability, and for When we consider all that is saying that “he CANNOT sin" comprehended in these promises, 1 John iii. 9. But then this inaand who it is who promises | bility lies not in a limitation of it-in perpetuity-I confess that action, but in a rectitude of choice. my faith asks for no higher assur- The free agency which the gospel ance on the subject.
promises is not an oscillation beThere seem, however, two tween good and evil, but an identimisconceptions involved in the fication with good. (John viii. 36. mode of putting this Query, Rom. vi. 18.) Can the Holy One which require a word or two. (1) of Israel sin ?-yet is He not The redeemed are identified, by infinitely free ?-Ě. J. J. the Querist, with angels. This is a great mistake. The “ children of the resurrection " do in
Queries to be answered in our next deed resemble angels in one ne
Number. gative feature of their physical 25.—” A wise Father spareth constitution (Matt. xxii. 30), but not the rod.'' Is this proverb in moral position they differ to- in harmony with Christianity, or tally. The holy angels are not does it contain one of those things sinners saved by grace; they have
which Christ came to put away ? been preserved, not redeemed ; Our progress as a Christian peothey are unfallen and innocent, ple is greatly dependent upon not pardoned and regenerate. the diffusion of sound scriptural A“man-angel ” were as impos- | views, and the strict literal intersible a hybrid, as the centaur himself. But supposing that the
pretation of this saying of Solo
mon has rightly or wrongly prosaints in glory are on an exact duced no small amount of human