Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

of men, he cares only for the praise of God, the approbation of heaven. He treats this world's wealth as but dross; he wants none of it unless acquired in ways wholly above suspicion; he is not grieved when he loses it; he will not admit its importance in the service of God. The world cannot understand this, and reckons such a man an imbecile or poseur. Again the servant of God cares but little for the world's pleasures; many of them he loathes and denounces as impure and hateful in God's eyes. Others he despises as childish and a waste of time. The world resents such disparagement of its good things; it takes it as a personal affront that its pleasures should be scorned, perhaps even characterized as unholy and profane. It cries indignantly to the servant of God, Whom makest thou thyself? The believer must be able to answer truthfully, "If I honour myself, my honour is nothing; it is my Father That honoureth me." Are our lives so faithful at heart to God, are they so sincere in their use of His ordinances, that one can say without unreality: "Now I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me?"

Second Thought.-The most solemnizing fact of our religion is this, that it compels us to assume these tremendous responsibilities, and then holds us to the strictest account for our fidelity

to them. We cannot diminish anything from our liability. If we are Christians at all, we are perforce members of Christ, the children of God, inheritors of the kingdom of heaven; and as such we are being daily judged in heaven. We are obliged to maintain these high claims before the world. We may indeed plead our personal insufficiency, but we may not make little of the gifts of grace. We must reply to the world's demands as to the position we take, that it is the Father Who has honoured us with that exceeding great privilege which is our glory. And then we must expect to be constantly humiliated by the taunts of men, the opportunity of which we ourselves afford them by our inconsistencies and lapses. It is not very often that the accusations of those who hate our religion are wholly unfounded; at least it is true that if the particular failings with which they charge us are not sustained by the facts, there are others quite as serious of which we might justly be accused. All of that is unimportant however in comparison of our daily judgment in the eyes of heaven. We walk in the presence of a great cloud of witnesses, witnesses who encompass us on every side, and whose lives are wholly spotless and pervaded with the love of God. They may be thought of as saying to us, "It is our Father That hath honoured you, of Whom ye

are ever protesting to the world that He is your God." Can they go on to say, "Yet ye have not known Him?" Are our lives a lie in heavenly places, because we are taking high ground for God and His honour outwardly among men, and in our innermost hearts are unfaithful to our heavenly calling?

Third Thought.-One trembles as one thinks of such things, yet one cannot draw back. There are unhappily some who overwhelmed at the thought of all that which their Christian profession involves have despaired, and lapsed into indifference, perhaps into sin. There are others who have tried to satisfy conscience by taking a lower standard and affecting great fidelity to that, while they get along pleasantly with the world, no longer exciting its animosity. Nothing could be much more deplorable than such a state of affairs. Our Lord said of His Father to the Jews, "If I should say, I know Him not, I shall be a liar like unto you." St. Peter says: "It had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them." To lapse into sin through weakness and the stress of temptation is bad enough, but it is not to be compared in grievousness with the deliberate lowering of one's relig

ious standard, because one cannot endure the hardness of the yoke of Christ. That is very like sinning against the Holy Ghost. It must needs be, in the case of every truly earnest believer, that the sense of his responsibility grows more and more tremendous to him with advancing years, and seems almost unbearable. The remedy is that God always provides sufficient grace for our needs, and with the advancing years the consciousness of the divine power which can sustain one grows equally with the sense of one's responsibility.

LXXVI.

"Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto Him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. Then took they up stones to cast at Him; but Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by."-St. John viii. 56-59.

Exposition.-Isaac Williams comments thus: "Not, says Augustine, because he saw it, but he rejoiced that he might see it; rejoiced in hope that he might see it in knowledge. He saw Christ already with God the Father, ere yet He had come in the flesh; though not thereby to depart from the bosom of the Father. But it might be doubted whether He is here speaking of His coming in the flesh, or of that day of the Lord that knoweth not rising or setting. But I doubt not that Abraham saw the whole. The same writer says that on sending his servant to seek a wife for Isaac his son, the account indicates that he knew of God being

« EdellinenJatka »