Imágenes de páginas

sublimely strange, and withal so morally Divine and commanding, that it could scarcely fail to tell effectually upon the heart of the offender. It is in truth the conduct which the Infinite Father has pursued towards us, His offending offspring. He does not wait for us to go to Him. He comes to us and He presses for reconciliation.

But when you have entered his house, how are you to speak to him about his fault? In the language of crimination and anathema ? No, but in the calm, firm, dignified language of self-control, conscious rectitude, and Christian love. Let him feel that you are above the petty feeling of resentment, that you are more concerned about the bearing of his “fault” upon

him. self than upon you, and that your mission to him is to “overcome evil by good.” All this conversation, however, must in the first instance, be strictly private-"BETWEEN THEE AND HIM ALONE.” Do not blazon the matter abroad. A personal and private interview is the best to remove misunderstandings, to allay angry passions, and to rekindle old affections.

Should this fail, what is the next step in this policy?-(2) To visit him again in company with “one or two” other mutual friends. Do not let the failure of the first visit disgust or dishearten you. Follow it up by a second, and in the second take with you such a person or persons as shall sympathize with your generous object, and shall strengthen your influence for its achievement.

But should this fail, what next ? (3) Bring the matter under the notice of the community of which you are mutually members. “ Tell it unto the Church," &c. What for? That the indignation of the Church may be awakened, and its thunderbolts hurled at his guilty head ? No, but that it may by its admonitions, expostulations and prayers, help to “gain him” to a right state of heart, and to his old standing in the affections of the brotherhood.

But should this fail, what next? Nothing more you do to restore him. You have brought your individual influence upon him to restore him; you have taken


with you mutual friends to co-operate with you for the purpose, and lastly you have called in the concurrent influence of the whole Christian assembly, of which he and you are members ; you can do nothing more in the


of restoration. Your resources are exhausted. If the loving arguments, entreaties, and prayers, of a whole Church combined fail to raise this fallen one, what else have you ? Nothing. What then are you to do with this incorrigible brother ? Coerce him by threats, persecution, or penal inflictions ? No. Leave him alone. Separate from him. Have no more connexion with him than the old Jew would have with “a heathen man or a publican,”—than you would have as a religious man with a notorious sinner.

Who can conceive of a policy more admirably adapted to the end than this ? Nay it is the only policy that in the nature of the case can answer the end. If the end be to "gain”restore the offender, rather than to destroy him, it is the exclusive policy to be pursued !

All else must prove ineffectual. Severity, resentment, coercion, are in no wise adapted to gain the offending brother. These may kill the criminal but not the crime; destroy the enemy but not the enmity ; drive your offending brother farther away from you, but never draw him nearer-never “gain him.” Though the mere conventional Church has almost invariably in her practice set at naught this policy, the ideal, the true, Church has ever pursued it;—and inasmuch as all are bound to belong to the true Church it is binding alike upon every man.

Seeing that the principles of Christianity are of universal application, and all men are equally bound to become Christians, I regard this policy as binding upon the civil magistrate. Believing as I do, that the grand end of civil government, in relation to offenders, should be to "gain" them, to bring them back to a loyal and virtuous life ; to reform them, not to destroy them,- I cannot but regard the spirit of the policy which is here inculcated, as that which the very philosophy of our nature demands.

It would, I trow, be well even on political grounds, if something of this policy was adopted, in order to settle international disputes, and to regain the friendship of national offenders. The policy which is pursued for this purpose now with European powers is almost to the last degree absurd. The offended party, with a thousand tongues, dilates on its " honor,” trumpets its own greatness on every breeze, blazons to the world in the most exaggerated forms the faults of the offender, employs a frozen diplomacy to negotiate terms of reconciliation, and to

urge them by pointing to the cannon's mouth. Is this the way to restore friendship? O wisdom ! whither hast thou fled? In the cabinets of statesmen thou art seldom found ! When the philanthropic Sturge, on whom the grave has just closed, with two kindred souls and worthy friends, visited St. Petersburg to have an interview with the great Czar, to avert if possible that dire hurricane of war, whose thunders soon afterwards shook the world to its centre, and whose fiery bolts hurled unnumbered thousands of our fellow-men into eternity, the frothy press made the empty age laugh at him as a fanatic. Albeit, he played, I am bold to aver, the most sagelike part in the terrible drama of that war-generating hour. He did what no diplomatist could do, he passed from the kinghood to the manhood of the mighty autocrat. His quiet words of reason stirred the sympathies of the husband, the father, the man; and the defiant Emperor, that dared the opposition of three kingdoms, wept as a child as the few true words of Sturge distilled like dew upon his manly heart. Had a few statesmen, a few of the most influential men in the offended states “ doffed” their cold officialism, obtained an interview with him, talked to him as men, and used the whole of their moral influence, that war, whose enormous wickedness eternity alone can reveal, might have been averted. « WISDOM IS

WEAPONS OF WAR." War and wisdom are antipodes.

We turn now to the other side of the subject :

[ocr errors]









II. THE POWER “Verily I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall bind on earth 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 bought.

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 aveįpa 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., ie. 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 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.

Vol IX.

2 F

« AnteriorContinuar »