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what? To death. Observe this mind which was in Christ Jesus! See how deep it is, and how unfathomable by such poor creatures as we rejoice to be! He learns obedience as a son by the things which He suffers as a servant. His obedience is tested to the uttermost, and comes out of the fiery trial pure
and clean. The Son of God-He who knew in His divine mind that He was equal with God—is called upon to die in obedience to the law of God, which exacts death as penalty for sin, and in obedience to the law of man which, as interpreted by Scribes and Pharisees, condemns Him as guilty of the sin of blasphemy. And He obeys; He submits; He is perfectly patient; He opens not His mouth. He submits to man, because He would be obedient to God. And what a death! Not a common death. Any death we might have thought was too low for such as He, the flower of our race, the model man, the morning star of humanity. And yet He dies. Oh how does He die ? The death of the Cross— even the death of the Cross.” Oh what a mind was this which was in Christ Jesus! And this is a right mind; this is a sound mind; this is the mind which must be in you.” The mind of Christ brought Him to this depth. He became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross. How wonderful a mind was this! Not only does the sun become a star, and a star unnoticed and obscure ; but that star is extinguished, and is content though it be lost in night, and covered for some short space in a funereal gloom of darkness.
II. And now I can imagine that some may say, "Well, that may be the mind of Christ, and a wonderful and divine mind also, but such a mind as that is too wonderful for me. It may be high, but it is too high
for me ; I cannot attain to it.' Perhaps it is. Undoubtedly it is. It is a model, and a perfect model, which of course is beyond the common reach. But we can imitate it. We can follow in this track which shines before us like the pathway of a ship on which moonbeams fall. If we cannot attain to its full height, and be perfect even as our Father“ which is in heaven is perfect,” we can scale at least a few steps of this divine ladder, and we can climb to the top of some spiritual Pisgah from which, afar off, we can obtain a vision of this beautiful and promised mind.
And there is one thing which is not too high for men to aim at. If we cannot descend to the depth of our Lord's humility, we can catch that cheering inspiration which is wafted to our spirits from the thought of His recompense and reward. For there is here another side to the picture which St. Paul draws. It is not all humiliation. At the very point where His descent is lowest our Lord begins to rise. And He ceases not to rise till He has reached the highest limit of exaltation, winging His aspiring flight from the pit of death to the highest glories of Heaven. “God has highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in Heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Understand, my brethren, the truth which here St. Paul teaches. He says not that the Son of God, as God, was exalted to His former glory. That is true, but that would have been no requital for all that He endured through union with man. That which was exalted is a nature which had not been so high before. His Godhead had been in Heaven always, ever glorious, ever high. It was His manhood, His human body and human soul, added here on earth to His divine nature, which was translated from this planetary ball on which we now live to those high regions where Angels breathe in a serener atmosphere, and where Spirits are apparelled in celestial fire. When He ascended into Heaven Man went up. A body like this vile body of ours, though not vile, but bright, transparent, spiritual, ethereal, is now beside the throne of God. The name Jesus-His human name, the name which He bore as Son of Mary—is the highest of all names, “far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world but also in that which is to come.” “ Every creature which is in Heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea” give glory to the Lamb. As Jesus Christ He is called the Lord Jehovah, and " He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, King of Kings and Lord of Lords." The name of Jesus, with all that is represented and betokened by it, is now the dignity to which all honour is assigned, the power by which all good is effected, the channel of all communication between man and God, the fountain of all glory, the crown of all created things. Everything is now beneath the man Jesus; Angels and Archangels in Heaven, men who live in earth, the dead whose souls are in Hades, and whose bodies are in the tomb. Every tongue confesses His majesty, and gives to Him a glory which overflows from Him on that Eternal Father, who is all in all. As God He emptied Himself of all glory by taking on Him our flesh, and His recompense is that the flesh which He assumed is associated inseparably with the honour which is due to His Godhead,-one with it yet unconfused ; and that the men whom He redeems are adopted into the same dignity, placed next to Him in majesty, and shining as the stars of first lustre in that spiritual firmament of which He, their Lord, is the Sun.
This we can understand. We can all appreciate the value of a reward so high and so conspicuous as this. We can even be allured by the splendour of the promised prize. And though the course which we must run first may seem long, and the training for our race may appear to be laborious, and the goal may be distant, and the effort to excel painful, and our weights heavy, while indolence drags us back, and hope languishes, and faith sometimes may fail ; yet when we cast our looks forward unto Jesus, Author and Finisher, and see Him seated, afar off, as Judge, with wreaths of palm within His hand, encouraging us with His bright and loving eye, animating our hearts with His divine example ; while all the saints are around us, witnessing our struggle, clustering about our path like a sunlit cloud, cheering us with shouts of sympathy, and bidding us not to faint, because the end is near, and victory is certain, and our reward at hand; surely we can need no more than this to be induced to listen to St. Paul when he says to us, “Let this mind be in you ;" surely we shall be content to“ press towards the mark for the prize of our high calling," with all the eagerness of strenuous humility, when we know and are assured that the last
be the first in the heavenly contest, and that those who are the lowest in service and abasement here shall be the chief in authority where all are kings.
Goods are not gotten easily, and the best things are those which are the hardest won. The seed must be buried in the ground, and struggle through the hard soil, and contend with biting winds or parching droughts, before it blooms at last into the flower. The tiller of the soil must plough his land, and sow the seed, and root the noxious weeds out of the earth, and wait patiently, and cut down the corn, before he treasures up the harvest of the golden grain. The conqueror, moved by lust of empire, endures hardships, toiling in weary marches, passing through the fire of battles, tolerant of thirst and hunger, patient under difficulty, enamoured of danger, ignorant of fear; because he hopes that nations will be subject to his influence, and that history will write his exploits upon the scroll of fame. Men do not shrink from labour when hope can promise a reward, or recoil from pain when some real or apparent good is offered in the way of compensation. The effort seems light, the difficulties vanish, the pain is dulled, in the prospect of foreseen advantage. And some who might have shrunk from longing for the mind of Christ, when they look to the immediate and nearer consequences, have only to cast their eyes forward beyond this span of time, and then they will gladly endure the present humiliation for the sake of that future recompense, when those who have suffered with their Master here shall reign with Him in glory.
IV. Be then that mind in us, beloved brethren, which was in Jesus Christ our Lord. In Him pride was not. He did not mind “high things." The love of self was not the motive of His actions; He lived to serve others. This was the ruling principle of all His conduct. He came to be the servant of man.