Sayfadaki görseller

and purpose of the Christian religion to remove everything which separates man from


and brother from brother, that so the whole world may be both inwardly and outwardly one. And when he adds, That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up unto Him in all things which is the Head, even Christ,” he no less manifestly teaches that truth is as far as love from a dividing temper. His language could hardly have been stronger. He speaks of those who are afflicted with this injurious and evil disposition, as though they were nothing but children, babes in knowledge and infants in perception of spiritual things. He likens them to a ship which has been abandoned upon the wide and pathless ocean, and now is floating, rudderless and aimless, upon troubled and unsteady waters, the victim of everchanging tempests, the sport of insolent and heady

He even goes so far, in the pealing burst and flash of his indignant spirit, as to declare, in terms which nothing could have justified except the enormity of the sin which he condemned, that the leaders of division are no better than cunning gamblers who throw the dice for souls, and cheat their followers by trick of hand and sleight of guileful policy, mocking them with a pretence of life, and making game

of their salvation. It was in terms like these that St. Paul considered it his duty to speak of division, as though it was in itself the evidence and fruit of all evil, and of unity, as if it was the crown and consummation of all that is high and good. Do then what you can to heal division and to remove so


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

great a plague from an afflicted Christendom. Labour for unity. It may be long before it comes, but it shall come at last. Do what you can to hasten its arrival. In the first place, abstain from everything which can stir up strife and so cause disunion, especially among those who are members along with yourselves of the One Catholic Church. “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.” And, on the other hand, “Be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ's sake, hath forgiven you.” “Be followers of God as dear children, and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us and given Himself for us." Look upon all the members of the Church as brothers, and live as brethren in love. And as to those who are not of us, strive not with them, condemn them not. Whatsoever is good in them—whatsoever is pure, lovely, honest, of good report,-recognize as God's work and thank Him for it. It were blasphemy against God's Holy Spirit to doubt or deny that what none but He could have accomplished is done by His hand. Love in them whatever is good and rejoice in it; but do not partake in their schism, which is sin. Be charitable always, but never compromise the truth, which is not yours to give away. And do what you can to bring others who are not of it into communion with that one body of which you are part. You belong, through God's mercy,

to a true branch of the Holy Universal Church. While other Protestant communities sacrificed the integrity of apostolic order for the sake of other truth, it pleased God to preserve to the Church of England the true outward framework of the body, as well as the inward life of the Spirit. That great blessing has been preserved to us that we might communicate it to these and other distant corners of the earth. Do what you can to propagate the Church. If Christians are to be one here, members of one body, ours is the body which must make them one.

Love the Church and spread it; not with strife but in meekness, not by contention but by love,

Be full of peace within and you will promote unity without. You will teach your fellow Christians; and then, but not till then, you will bring the heathen to the fold of the one Shepherd. For it is not till Christians are united that “the world will know that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.” There is one body. Do what you can to make the world one.



ST. LUKE xiv, 7-11. “ And He put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when

He marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them, When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; and he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher : then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased ; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

[ocr errors]

the gospel for to-day we have another instance

of the way in which the highest principles of religion may be brought to bear upon the commonest concerns of daily life. In a former gospel we were taught to consider the lilies, that we might learn from them the rules of ornament and dress. To-day, the Son of God descends from the throne of His glory to instruct us in the laws and principles of precedence, and to indicate a line of conduct by which a Christian will be sure to find his

proper place. The occasion which suggested the lesson was a feast, at which the guests were struggling for priority and engaging in an unworthy contest for the highest and most honourable seat. The

persons who were invited to the feast were striving one against another,



like horses when they run a race. And our Lord, pained at the spectacle, and shocked at the wrong feeling and worse taste which were evidenced by so selfish and discreditable a rivalry, seized at once the opportunity, and showed, in that simple and inoffensive manner which was natural and habitual to Him, that the way to settle the difficulty which lay before them was exactly the opposite to that which they were then following; that, in fact, they must reverse the rules of earthly races, and try-not who should come in first, but—who should be the last of all and the servant of all his brethren. So that the rule which he laid down is so simple that it cannot too soon be stated ;-the Christian, when a choice is open to him, will always choose the worst place. And in pointing this out He at the same time clearly shows us that no man can be too humble, and that the greatest persons are those who think least about their own dignity, and least esteem themselves.

There are several points in the whole circumstance, as recorded in the gospel, which are well worthy of our notice; and I would first remark on the relationship which obviously exists between good manners and religious principle.

I. It is evident that the Pharisees whom our Lord condemns were guilty of an act of rudeness, or, as we say, of bad manners, and it is no less plainly evident that they were sadly ignorant of the religion which they so formally and ostentatiously professed. Just before this, our Lord found fault with them for ignorance of the purposes of God in establishing the Sabbath as a day of rest, and then they provoked a fresh censure by an unseemly contest for priority of place.

« ÖncekiDevam »