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Church. In the past ages it was a “ sect everywhere spoken against.” This has ever been true of His system. The worldly and the infidel have always spoken against it. But Simeon speaks here also of the influence which He would exert upon the mind of His mother. “A sword shall pierce through thy own soul.”
The calumnious words which many had uttered against her holy son, and the heartless cruelties she saw perpetrated on Him, went as a javelin to her heart. What mother's heart can estimate the agonies of Mary's bleeding bosom? Thus He reveals the thoughts of enemies and friends. How does Christ reveal men's thoughts
First : He does so by rousing them into action. Christ during His short public ministry woke up the mind of His country. The mind of Judea had been sleeping for ages. There was no independent thought anywhere. All was routine and monotony. There was scarcely a ripple of free thought upon the sea of Jewish intellect. The waters were stagnant, the machine was stationary.
But Christ soon changed the scene. He stirred the mental depths of His age, and made it surge with thoughts. He touched the springs of souls, and set the wheels of reason in rapid motion. Thus Christ always acts. He evokes thought.
His gospel is a thought-generating power.
He reveals men's thoughts :
Secondly: By discovering their moral character. Thoughts as they come out by the pressure and in the light of His system show their true character. The Scribes and Pharisees, and
many of the Jewish people stood as great saints till Christ came. His deeds and doctrines brought out their souls into the sunlight of eternal truth, and they appeared as black as hell. So it is now.
virtuous and moral until you press Christianity upon them in all the divinity of its claims, and then you see them corrupt as they are. Men, renowned for their refinement, will show their gross materialism, if you only press home upon them the spirituality of the gospel. Men, renowned for their intellectual freedom, will show their slavery to prejudice, only press home upon them the unsectarian doctrines of the gospel. Men, renowned for their generosity, will show their selfishness, only press home upon them the self-sacrificing spirit of the gospel. It reveals the thoughts of man, it shows men to themselves, to society, and to the universe. It is, as James says, mirror."
SUBJECT :- The Love of God.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”—John iii. 16.
Analysis of Homily the fonr Hundred and Sixty-sixth.
The subject of the text is God's love, as manifested in the plan of salvation.
God's love is seen :
I. IN THE GREATNESS OF THE GIFT WHICH HE HAS BE
“He gave his only begotten Son.” First: This gift infinitely surpasses in value all the preceding bestowments of God. However precious the innumerable natural blessings which have been bestowed on the human race from the time of Adam till now, we have every reason to believe that they are of minor importance in comparison with this. In granting this gift, “God commendeth his love." Secondly : This gift, in the course of God's future providence, can never be equalled. As in creation and providence, He has given innumerable blessings; He is capable of doing likewise again ; but He cannot confer another gift equal in value to this. It was "His only begotten Son." How amazing His love to fallen man ! God's love is seen :
OF THOSE ON
GIFT IS BESTOWED.
II. IN THE UNWORTHINESS
“ The world.” First: Mankind possessed no claim on God. Were the Divine Being under some obligation to man, His love in conferring on him this blessing, would not have been a matter of such great wonder and admiration ; but man lost every claim on God, when the crown of moral purity fell from his brow. Secondly : Mankind were destitute of everything that could attract God's favor. To have merited His affection, their conduct must have been in perfect unison with virtue ; but it is said, “There is none righteous, no not one.” Thirdly : Mankind in character were calculated only to repel the Divine nature. In how bright a contrast, then, does the love of God in Christ stand forth, beside the depravity of mankind. God's love is seen :
III. IN THE BENEFITS WHICH ACCRUE TO MAN FROM THIS
First : Escape from everlasting punishment,—"not perish.” The most terrible pictures of woe and distress that we behold in this world, can give us but a faint conception of the sufferings of the wicked in the future. We shudder at the very thought of plunging into the rolling sea of unquenchable fire. What, then, must be the reality? But God sent his Son into the world to rescue us from the “deep damnation” of sin. Secondly: Enjoyment of perfect happiness,—“life." See the progressive grades of this love. Not only are we saved from hell, but promised heaven. Thirdly : Enjoyment of perfect happiness without end, -"everlasting life.” This still enhances the love of God. God's love is seen :
First: They are obtainable through faith. Men labor hard to gain trifles; but salvation is obtained by simply believing. Secondly: They are thus obtainable universally," whosoever believeth." Such are a few aspects of this inexhaustible theme; each progressive ; each showing the love of the Father in a brighter light.
“ Bound, every heart, and every bosom burn;
SUBJECT :- The Christian Character Higher than any
“What do ye more than others" ?-Matt. v. 48.
Homily the Four Hundred and Sixty-sebenth.
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
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 deathma blessed 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. (3) The one can be turned to a good account, the other cannot.