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cutting off the hand of evil practice. He simply keeps to the one thing, benevolence or selfishness, care for others or care only for our selves. Nothing enters into His account of the judgment, except what men have done, or what they have neglected to do, for the good of their fellow-men. He does not say, “ Come, ye blessed of my Father, for ye have trusted in me, ye

have been justified by faith;” neither does He say, “Come, ye blessed, for ye have mortified your flesh ; ye have denied yourselves and taken up your cross ;” neither does He say, “Come, ye blessed, for ye have prayed, and fasted, and continued in my Church, and received the Sacrament of my Body and Blood.”

All these things He urges upon men elsewhere, so that none can on any pretence be neglected; but here He confines Himself to the one mark of the Christian character, active care for the well-being of our brethren.

Now, my brethren, from all that I have said, we cannot but draw two lessons. One, of the utmost importance to us as ministers, the other, of the utmost importance to you as people.

First of all, there is a lesson for the preachers of Christ. It is quite plain that if we are to preach according to the word and will of Christ, we must preach something more than what men, in their ignorance, are pleased to call the “pure and simple Gospel.” We must preach what is called, and rightly, the Gospel, which is, that God, for the sake of Jesus, Whom He has set forth to be a full and all-sufficient Sacrifice, a Mediator and Advocate, is waiting to receive and accept every sinner, no matter what his past sin, and that no past sin need hinder any sinner from becoming a true saint of God.

This is what is called the Gospel, though in fact it is but a deduction from it; for the true Gospel is the record of the love of God the Father in the Incarnation, Life, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension of Jesus, as all for us.

We must set before you this, and yet if we are to be faithful to our Master we must set forth, without reserve, that you must pluck out the eye of lust and evil desire, that you must cut off the right hand of evil-doing, that you must deny yourselves and take up your cross, that you must be ready to forgive if you hope at last to be forgiven, and that you must expect a judgment which is to be according to your works-according to your deeds done in your bodies. All this is not what men call the Gospel, but that is no matter. The question for us ministers is this: “By whom are we to be judged ?" If we are to be judged at last by our flocks, we must please them. If we are to be judged by Christ, we must deliver His Message.

The other important lesson is for you. It is this: “Take heed what

ye

hear." If nothing in sermons about obedience, about benevolence, about charity, about doing good, about

you hear

forgiving; if you hear nothing about selfdenial, and the taking up of the cross; if you hear nothing about the cutting off of the offending limb, or enduring with difficulty to the end -then be assured you may hear what may please you, but you do not hear the whole counsel of God.

Anyhow, whether you hear it enforced upon you or not, you know the words of Christ; you know that He says,

“ Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” “Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.” “With what judgment ye judge ye shall be judged.” “Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, that when ye fail they may receive you into everlasting habitations.” Ye know what they have done to whom He will say at last, “Come, ye blessed of my Father;" and ye know what they have left undone to whom He will say, “ Depart, ye cursed.” Ye know these things. Do them. Begin to do them. Some, many-perhaps more than half of the immortal souls before me—have never made a beginning. And when you do make a beginning, you will very soon find that you stand in need of other words of Christ: of those words which assure sinners of full forgiveness for the past, and of those which assure them of strength for the future, to enable them to fulfil the will of God.

252

XX.

CHRIST HUMBLING THE PROUD.

St. LUKE xiv. 11. “For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

THESE words are the words of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Now, whatever we think of them and the lesson they contain, one thing is certain that He Himself, the Eternal Wisdom of God, thought very much of the lesson they teach us; for He has condescended to repeat these words no less than three times. It may

be well to call attention to the three occasions on which He does this.

The first we find in the Gospel of St. Matthew. Our Lord was inveighing against the religious pride of the Scribes and Phariseesthat they made their religion a means of selfassertion. “They love,” He says, “the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But be not ye called Rabbi: for One is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.

ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for One is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye

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called masters: for One is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant;" and He closes with the same words as those of the text, Whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

Another occasion is when He put forth the Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican. The Pharisee had boasted in the very temple of God that he was in God's sight better than his sorrowful sin-laden brother, and Christ the Justifier

pronounces that the one who humbled his soul before God went down to his house justified rather than the self-satisfied, selfcomplacent, self-asserting one. And the Saviour concludes the whole matter by saying again,

Every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; but he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

The third instance is the text. Christ had been invited to a feast by some leading Pharisee on the Sabbath day. As was His wont, He drew precious instruction from what He sam going on around Him. He watched the guests as they came in, intent upon their self-importance, and pushing forward to the places of honour-not so much the chief rooms, as it is in our translation, as the chief couches, or rather the most honourable parts of these and this gives Him occasion to say, “When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit

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