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to him. We have all listened, as it was read in the lesson, to the parable of the rich man robbing the poor man of his lamb. We understood and recognized perfectly each part of the allegory. We knew that the rich man signified David, and the poor man Uriah, and the lamb his wife, and the robbery was the adultery, followed by the murder; and we sat in judgment on David all the time, and were astonished that he did not see at once what it all meant, and that he did not quail before the prophet, and sink to the earth; and that, as a foolish bird, though the net to catch him was spread before his eyes, he flew into it, and pronounced judgment on himself.
What an instance, we say to ourselves-we, that have, or think that we have, some spiritual discernment—what an instance of the hardening, the blinding power of sin! Then we think of the Apostle's words, “ Exhort one another daily, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin," and perhaps we moralize on the connection between darkness and sin, and between folly and iniquity, and the need of constant self-examination and watching over our thoughts.
And all this is right, and true, and good, and we ought so to moralize; but let us take care lest in judging David we pass sentence on ourselves for this very fault of spiritual blindness arising from fleshly sin.
For there are other ways, numberless other ways, of losing our souls besides that into which David fell; and human life around us teems with parables upon which we are ever making our comments, and continually are we condemning and judging ourselves by our comments upon what goes on before us. And it is a blessed thing for us if God by His minister, or by the secret voice of His Spirit, says to us, to each
Thou art the man;" for when God does this it is that we may each of us say to Him, “I have sinned against the Lord;" and when God thus makes us confess our sins it is that He may say in His good time, “ The Lord also hath put away thy sin.”
Now let us one and all look to this.
I have no doubt but that when I was preaching the first part of this sermon, and showing how much more dreadful David's sin appeared because he had received such an anointing at God's hands, and had in after times acted on the faith of it—I have no doubt, I say, but that some said in their secret hearts, “If I had had such an anointing before my brethren I think I should have been preserved from such a fall.”
Well, but have you never had any anointing answering to this of David's? Has nothing ever been done to you by the minister of God's church which has signified to you or assured to you the favour of God ?
What says the Apostle Paul in the Epistle for this very day ?—“ Know ye not,” he says, " that so many of us as have been baptized into Jesus Christ have been baptized into His death. Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised
from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also should walk in newness of life.”
Now whatever obscurity there may be about some parts of this wonderful passage, one thing is abundantly certain, that the Apostle desired the Roman Christians to consider their baptism as a thing which brought them all under the most binding obligations possible to lead a holy life. There may be difficulties about the nature, and extent, and limits of the grace conferred or offered in baptism, but one thing is certain, that in it the man baptized contracts obligations “to walk in newness of life;" and I need hardly tell you that if a man is laid under obligations it can only be by his receiving benefits. You cannot hold a man responsible for any gift, unless you have actually given it to him. And so, when God by His Apostle holds all the baptized as bound to walk in newness of life by the very fact of their having been baptized, it stands to reason that God has in baptism either conferred some gift upon them, or so promised it that it is as good as a gift.
Well, then, you who judge David as the
greater sinner because of his past anointing in his youth, realize your own anointing
“ Thou art the man.'
Thou wast in baptism anointed with the Holy Spirit that thou mightest walk in newness of life, and now thou art walking and living as if thou hadst been there and then given up to the pomps and vanities of the world, and the lusts of the flesh. In the words of one of homilies, “ Thou hast been made a member of Christ, and hast since made thyself a member of the devil.”
As a great preacher of righteousness in the last century-one who one hundred years ago preached in this very church-the Rev. John Wesley, has said
“There is nothing under heaven that can excuse a lie, otherwise I should say to an open sinner, If you have been baptized, do not own it. For how highly does this aggravate your guilt! How will it increase your damnation ! Was you devoted to God at eight days old, and have you been all these years devoting yourself to the devil ? Was you, even before you had the use of reason, consecrated to God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and have you, ever since you had the use of it, been flying in the face of God and consecrating yourself to Satan? Does the abomination of desolation, the love of the world, pride, anger, lust, foolish desire, and a whole train of vile affections stand where it ought not? Have you set up all these accursed things in that soul which was once a temple of the Holy Ghost, set apart to be an habitation of God through the Spirit ?”
But I said that human life around us teems with parables upon which we are ever making our comments, and passing sentence on ourselves, as David did.
What more common than to see full-grown men, with the use of all their faculties, throwing away their chances of life?
They throw away precious time. They waste their substance. They enslave themselves to strong drink. They bet and gamble, i. e., they throw away money which does not belong to them after money which will be a curse to them if they gain it. If they lose they involve themselves, straiten themselves, pinch their families, or are ruined; and if they gain they are tenfold more under the dominion of Satan than before. They live beyond their means, that is, they use dishonestly the hardearned gains of others, for living beyond our means simply amounts to this in the end.
They live as if that is the most reputable old age
which subsists on one's friends, or ou public charity, or in the workhouse.
Well, there are some of these sad cases in every neighbourhood, and in one respect they may be said to be useful, for they supply texts to another class of people, to the prudent, far