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these events-any measure by which we may estimate their value?
She has done so in the Epistle for this day. The Epistle for this day forms part of a context in which the Apostle is teaching the Church humility, but not merely humility by itself, as is too often supposed, but humility joined with loving care for others. “Let nothing," he writes, “ be done through strife or vain-glory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” Let every man, that is, account himself as the servant of all, and just as servants have not to look to their own interests, but to the interests of their masters, so let it be with Christians. And then he cites the brightest example that can possibly be brought forward, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon
him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." Now a moment's consideration will serve to convince us that if this be really so—if it be actually true that He Who was anointed with ointment from the alabaster box, He Who was sold for thirty pieces of silver, He Who took
bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and said, This is my body; He Who endured such a paroxysm of agony at the thought of the approach of His sin-atoning sufferings that the pores of His body gave forth not sweat but blood; He Who was brought before the high priest of His own nation and religion, and condemned by him as a blasphemer, whilst during this time He was shamefully denied by His faithful and attached follower—if it be actually true that He Who was stripped, and scourged, and clothed in mockery with purple, and crowned with a crown of thorns, armed with long spikes that would pierce His temples all round—if it be true that He Who was nailed to the cross, and lifted up on it, in the vilest company that the prisons of Jerusalem could then afford—if it be true that He Who was mocked by the crowd, and upbraided by his fellow-sufferers, and endured the withdrawal of the face of His own Father, and at last gave up the Ghost-if it be true, I say, that He Who went through all this, and much more, was once in very deed in the form of God, i. e., in the form of the Being who made heaven and all its hosts of worlds, and earth and all its hosts of living creatures, and being in the form of the Omnipotent, “ thought it no robbery to be equal with Him"—then it is clear that nothing that has ever happened in this world, or in any other world, can be put into comparison for a moment with the events of Holy Week.
Let us look to this. In the beginning of the second proper lesson, the 26th of St. Matthew, we have the account of a woman pouring the contents of an alabaster box of very precious ointment on the head of One Who was sitting at meat; and she was naturally reproved for such seeming extravagance, for she wasted above the value of ten pounds of our money upon Him. But He Who sat at meat, instead of reproving her, commended her, and promised that she should have a world-wide reputation for having thus attempted to honour Him; so that wherever men read the account of His sufferings, there they should also read the account of this act of love and honour which this woman had done to Him: which thing has literally come to pass, as we this very morning are witnesses ; for here we have had read in our solemn worship this morning the account of this woman's deed, and it is similarly read in between twelve and fourteen thousand churches in Eng. land alone, and it is set forth in some shape or other in the services of this week in some two hundred thousand or three hundred thousand churches, perhaps more, in all parts of the world.
Now such a world-wide fame for such a deed would have been, in ordinary circumstances, out of all proportion to its importance, but not 80 by any means if He Who sat at meat had been but a few years before “in the form of God.”
It is clear too that if He had been only what He appeared to be, it would have been great waste, for it would have fed with a hearty meal above a hundred poor families; but if He Who was sitting at meat had been a little before" in the form of God," then, had the offering been worth ten thousand times as much, it would have been infinitely below His merits. All the gold, frankincense, myrrh-all the precious things of the mines, of the deep, of the garden of spices--all put together would have been unworthy of Him.
Again, a little after this, we read that He Who sat at meat after celebrating the Passover, “ took bread and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to his disciples, and said, Take, eat, this is my body;" and He intended this to be a perpetual memorial, for He said, "Do this in remembrance of Me."
Perhaps few of us have realized what a marvellous revolution in the worship of the civilized world has been brought about by these few simple words.
At the time when they were spoken both Jew and Gentile approached God by bloody sacrifices. By this extraordinary worship, for extraordinary it would seem to us if we could see one offered up—by this extraordinary worship, the Jew presented before God His own ordained prefigurement of some more perfect atonement which was to be; and the Gentile, amidst a load of ignorance, more un
consciously reminded God of the same. In the course of a few centuries all this was changed. The great characteristic act of worship of heathendom and Judaism, viz., bloody sacrifice, the slaughter of an animal with characteristic religious rites, gave way to a rite founded on the words said by this Man after supper-gave way, that is, to the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. It is true that superstitious incrustations, the inventions of men, soon began to disfigure the primitive simplicity of this act of praise and thanksgiving; but I have now only to do with the fact that in a comparatively short time the bloody sacrificial worship of the world passed away, and gave way to a worship of prayer, and praise, and thanksgiving, in all its leading features the same as that in which we shall, some of us at least, take part as soon as I have concluded this sermon.
If He Who sat at meat had been only what He seemed to be this change is unaccountable. If, on the contrary, He had been in the form of God, rightly claiming equality with God, the cbange (amazing though it be to those who know anything whatsoever of history) is yet natural.
If One in the form of God, when “found in fashion as a man," instituted a solemn memorial of His Death, so that by it His people should show forth His Death, then such a memorial rite must supersede all other rites, so that no other ordinance can be named besides it.