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and angels—above all, in the presence of “the King."
But let us also remember that it will not only be worldly pride, self-assertion, and self-aggrandisement, which Christ will then rebuke, but He will far more severely rebuke these things in His Church, and in His ministers, and in those who are called “His own people."
Let me refer here to my own profession. Every clergyman who has pushed himself forward, either openly or covertly, to obtain preferment, in order that by means of that preferment he might wield power, or catch the eyes of men, will have to hear the words, "Give this man place;" and will begin with shame to take the lowest room.
So it will be with every one who, by courting popularity, has achieved a place in the eyes of his fellows above what God has marked out as bis proper one.
And so will it be even in what we may call the inner circle of God's grace.
Many a one who, relying on his spiritual discernment, or on his supposed hold of Christ, or on his powers of digesting what some think the strong meat of the Gospel, and is confident that he is “a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes”-many such a one will have to hear the words, “Give this man place "—this man whom thou didst deem un
enlightened, ignorant, legal, has a higher place in God's favour than thou hast; for “the kingdom of God is not in word but in power;" not in correctness of words, or in felicity of expression, or even in fervour and unction, but in the power of the Holy Ghost to cleanse the heart, and root out selfishness, and subdue evil habits, and order the paths in God's word. And many a one who has been for years in bitterness of soul, who has wondered whether the promises of the Gospel can be for such an one as himself, who has been content to be accounted what he really thinks himself to be, the last of all, shall hear the words, “Friend, go up higher, and shall have worship in the presence of those that sit at meat with him.”
How then, my brethren, are we to attain this Spirit? We cannot, be assured, work it in ourselves; for the true humble, lowly, meek, unassuming spirit is the Spirit of Jesus Himself, and so is the highest attainment of the Gospel. If there be a grace of the Christian which is the work of the good Spirit of God and of Christ it is this; but this fact is our encouragement, if we are desirous of having the Spirit of Jesus, and are ashamed of ourselves if we have it not; and this very fact, too, is our condemnation if we have it not. For of all promises of the Gospel the most unreserved and the freest are those which have to do with the conveyance of God's grace to us. And the
method which that Spirit will take in working in us this Spirit of Jesus is not hidden from
He will do what we should expect. He will show to us ourselves, and He will show to us the Saviour.
He will show to us ourselves, so as to convince us that if our fellow-men only knew, as God knows, what is, or what has been in uswhat sin, what uncleanness, what malice, what envy, what grudging, what emptiness, what cowardice, what vain and trifling thoughts, what self-esteem; then we should be too ready to take the lowest place; and if there were a lower we should be glad to hide ourselves in it.
He will show to us the Saviour; so that, seeing in Him the forgiving goodness and mercy of God, we should, like Israel of old,
open not our mouths any more for shame when He is pacified towards us after all that we have done."
He will show to us the Saviour; so that, seeing in Him the infinite condescension of the Deity, we shall have the same mind in us which was also in Him Who, "being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but took upon Him the form of a servant.”
THE WEDDING GARMENT.
St. MATTHEW xxii. 11, 12. When the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: and he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment ?"
The parable which forms the Gospel for to-day consists of two parts: the second part, that which contains the account of the man cast out because he was not furnished with the wedding garment, teaches a separate lesson from the first part, in which we have the King making a marriage feast, and calling certain guests who refused to come.
Inasmuch as the two parts of the parable most undoubtedly bear upon one another, it will be needful to run over somewhat briefly the first part, in order to prepare the way for a clearer exposition of the second.
In the first part of the parable we have a King brought before us making a marriage for His Son. This King is God.
The Son for Whom He makes a marriage is His only begotten Son Jesus Christ, Whom He sends into this world in order that out of it He may gather a faithful and holy people to be His church, i.e., His bride, to be united to Him in as close bonds as a bride is to her husband, and to be the object of His loving care throughout eternity.
The parable commences, not at the time when the marriage was first determined upon, or when the invitations were first sent out, but at a subsequent stage, when all things were ready, and the only thing wanted was the presence of certain guests who had long before been invited. The custom of the East differs from ours. They first send an invitation to those whom they wish to partake of their hospitality, and when the feast is prepared they send a second message to apprise the invited ones that everything is ready.
The first invited guests are the people of the Jews, for whom God had originally designed the blessings of the Gospel. God had, as it were, invited them in Abraham when He called him. He renewed the call through Moses and David and the various prophets, so that the Jews had a right to consider themselves as long-invited guests.
The time of the wedding was the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh, and the Redemption which He wrought out for all mankind whilst He sojourned here in the flesh.
After He had suffered for our sins and risen again for our Justification, and had sent down