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serene, thankful, gentle, affectionate, sweet-tempered, pleasant, hopeful; it is graceful, tender, touching, winning. All this were the Christians of the New Testament, for they had obtained what they desired. They had desired to sacrifice the kingdom of the world and all its pomps for the love of Christ, whom they had seen, whom they loved, in whom they believed, in whom they delighted; and when their wish was granted, they could but “rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for, behold, their reward was great in heaven':” blessed were they, thrice blessed, because they in their lifetime had evil things', and their consolation was to come here
Such, I say, was the joy of the first disciples of Christ, to whorn it was granted to suffer shame and to undergo toil for His Name's sake; and such holy, gentle graces were the fruit of this joy, as every part of the Gospels and Epistles shows us. “We glory in tribulations," says St. Paul, “knowing that tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope, and hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us!.” Again, "Even unto this present hour we both hunger and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling-place, and labour working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless ; being persecuted, we suffer it; being defamed, we intreat; we are made as the filth of the earth, and are the off-scouring of all things unto this day." How is the
1 Luke vi. 23.
3 Luke xvi. 25.
very same character set before us in the Beatitudes, so holy, so tender, so serene, so amiable! “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven; blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted; blessed are the meek, they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peace-makers, they which are persecuted for righteousness sake!.” And again, “Let your communication be yea, yea, nay, nay; for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil ?." “I
That resist not evil; but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also :” “love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you ; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.” Again, “ Judge not, that ye be not judged; . . . and why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye??" And again, “In your patience possess ye your souls *.” Again, “If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another's feet.” Again, "By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another." And again, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid ®." Or again, consider the special prayer which the Lord Himself taught us, as a pattern of all prayer, and see how it corresponds to that one idea of a Christian
I Matt. v. 3-10. 4 Luke xxi. 19.
9 Matt. y. 37.
* Matt. vii. 1. 3. 6 John xiv. 27.
which I have been drawing out. It consists of seven petitions; three have reference to Almighty God, four to the petitioners; and could any form of words be put together which so well could be called the Prayer of the Pilgrim ? We often hear it said, that the true
of serving God is to serve man, as if religion consisted merely in acting well our part in life, not in direct faith, obedience, and worship: how different is the spirit of this prayer! Evil round about him, enemies and persecutors in his path, temptation in prospect, help for the day, sin to be expiated, God's will in bis heart, God's Name on his lips, God's kingdom in his hopes : this is the view it gives us of a Christian. What simplicity! what grandeur! and what definiteness! how one and the same, how consistent with all that we read of him elsewhere in Scripture !
Alas! my brethren, so it is, when you have subjects like this dwelt upon, too many of you are impatient of them, and wish to hurry past them, and are eager to be reminded by the preacher in the same breath with his presenting them-nay, you remind yourselves—that you of this day can have no immediate interest in them,that times are changed. Times are changed, I grant; but without going on to the question of the obligation now of such a profession of the Gospel as I have been describing, do persuade yourselves, I entreat you, to contemplate the picture. Do not shut your eyes, do not revolt from it, do not fret under it, but look at it. Bear to look at the Christianity of the Bible; bear to contemplate the idea of a Christian, traced by inspiration, without gloss, or comment, or tradition of man. Bear
to hear read to you a number of texts; texts which might be multiplied sevenfold; texts which can be confronted by no others; which are no partial selections, but a specimen of the whole of the New Testament. Before you go forward to the question, “How do they affect us, must we obey them, or why need we not ?” prevail on yourselves to realize the idea of a Scriptural Christian, and the fact that the first Christians really answered to it. Granting you have to apply and modify the pattern given you, before you can use it yourselves, which I am not denying, yet after all, your pattern it is; you have no other pattern of a Christian any where. No other view of Christianity is given you in Scripture. If Scripture is used, you must begin with accepting that pattern; how can you apply what you will not study ? Study what a Bible Christian is; be silent over it; pray for grace to comprehend it, to accept it.
And next ask yourselves this question, and be honest in your answer. This model of a Christian, though not commanding your literal imitation, still is it not the very model which has been fulfilled in others in every age since the New Testament was written ? You will ask me in whom? I am loth to say ; I have reason to ask you to be honest and candid; for so it is, as if from consciousness of the fact, and dislike to have it urged upon us, we and our forefathers have been accustomed to scorn and ridicule these faithful, obedient persons, and, in our Saviour's very words, to “cast out their name as evil, for the Son of man's sake." But, if the truth must be spoken, what are the humble monk, and the holy nun, and other regulars, as they are called, but
Christians after the very pattern given us in Scripture? What have they done but this—perpetuate in the world the Christianity of the Bible? Did our Saviour come on earth suddenly, as He will one day visit it, in whom would He see the features of the Christians whom He and His Apostles left behind them, but in them? Who but these give up home and friends, wealth and ease, good name and liberty of will, for the kingdom of heaven? Where shall we find the image of St. Paul, or St. Peter, or St. John, or of Mary the mother of Mark, or of Philip's daughters, but in those who, whether they remain in seclusion, or are sent over the earth, have calm faces, and sweet plaintive voices, and spare frames, and gentle manners, and hearts weaned from the world, and wills subdued ; and for their meekness meet with insult, and for their purity with slander, and for their gravity with suspicion, and for their courage with cruelty; yet meet with Christ every where-Christ, their all-sufficient, everlasting portion, to make up to them, both here and hereafter, all they suffer, all they dare, for His Name's sake ?
And, lastly, apply this pattern to yourselves; for there only will you have power to apply it rightly. You know very well, most of us know it too well, that such precepts and examples do not directly apply to every one of us. We are not severally bound to give up the world by so literal a surrender. The case of Ananias and Sapphira is enough to show us this. Their sin lay in professing to do what they need not have done; in making pretence of a voluntary renunciation which they did not execute. They kept back part of the price of