« 上一页继续 »
the ritualist,“What must I do to be saved ?” he is not content to give the apostle's answer, “ Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.” Something more must be done. Divers injunctions as to baptism, sacrament, and confession are given. Alas, he does not say Amen to God's gospel. Neither does the Rationalist. His is the opposite extreme. The cross to him is but a common tree, an ordinary piece of wood. No stain of propitiatory blood can his eye discover thereon. He regards the sacrifice of Jesus as that of a high-minded enthusiast, nothing beyond. Like poor Mary, he, “supposing Him to be the gardener," merely a moral husbandman, fails to see in Him the Lord of the vineyard. Ask him what you must do to be saved, and he says, Be brave, truthful, patriotic, pure; forgetting to say, first of all, “ Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” Naaman the Syrian was staggered at the utter simplicity of the remedy which Divine and sovereign wisdom presented. He has followers now.
Not of their number let us be. Never presuming to dictate as to the method of our rescue, we should be thankful to be saved on any terms. Beggars must not be choosers. Without an hour's further hesitancy, let us descend into the “river of the water of life," that we may be healed of our dire spiritual leprosy. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have eternal life.” “And let all the people say, Amen!"
“ LITTLE FRUIT." The pastor sat alone in his study: 1 'not myself, but Christ Jesus my before him lay an open Bible, but he Lord:'-twenty years, and all so heeded it not; pressing both hands barren still! O Father, why, oh to his broad forehead, he thought, why, is it thus with me?"The and thought painfully. There was a | forehead again rested in the outsadness in his whole bearing, which spread palm. It was a time of even a stranger would have marked; temptation. Oh, for some gentle there was an expression in the tight woman's hand to rest upon that pressed lips and bowing head, which fevered brow!-oh, for some holy must have awakened sympathy. At voice of sympathy-God-sent-to last the pastor's grief found vent in
lead that sufferer to the Book and
to the throne ! "Little fruit! little fruit!” he “And why a woman's hand p" asks murmured. This was his sorrow. one;—"and a woman's voice ?” For "Twenty years of labour-twenty this,-that Edward Deans needed years of prayer-twenty years of just such a cheer, to aid, to symseed-sowing, -and yet so little fruit ! | pathise : for this,-that in years long, Twenty years of faithful preaching long buried, he had loved, and had 01. Christ crucified,-has it been called his bride, a flower which the faithful, O my God?”-and the pale angel-reaper had marked for his face looked upward. “I thank Thee own bright spoil. And, oh, if any that I can say, that by Thy grace need the holy influence which Chrisnou hast enabled me to preach tian woman sheds,---it is the weary,
trembling, doubting man who sows fidence, a sense of frailty as concerned God's seed, and looks in vain for himself, of strength as concerned fruit !
his Master; a sadness as regarded Not that he should be weary, trem- the appearance of the fruit of his bling, doubting. No,-for has he labours, a calm joy as regarded the not the promise ?-and is it not his “ Well done!” which he might hope mission to work on; and, praying to hear. for a blessing, feel that the results And at last he could look up, and are God's ? But he is human, and with his finger on the page, exclaim, he faints, and questions his voca- | “O Father, I am happy! happy in tion; yet pens his sorrow from all Thee!” These words had met his mortal eyes, -as, too, he pens his sight, and had been graven on his joy, when at the last he hears the | heart, voice from heaven which bids him "For we are unto God a sweet work and wait. Then, oh for wifely savour of Christ in them that are touch and voice and sympathy! saved, and in them that perish ;-to then, oh for social hearth and the one we are a savour of death woman's loving care !
unto death, and to the other a savour But the pastor thinks not of all of life unto life. And who is suffithis; he repines not that no Mary | cient for these things?” dwells in house as well as heart; his “Then, O my Father, although love for her lives still,—will ever | in sadness I labour, and have been, live; and they shall meet in heaven. and am, alas, alas! to many 'a Yet all unconsciously he yearns for savour of death unto death,' still am the gentle touch, and for one cheer- | I unto Thee as 'a sweet savour!'” ing glance of those bright eyes! It | There was peace in those dear words. comes not yet, but He who bade the The pastor at M- had, indeed, reaper take the flower, has not for- seen little fruit of his twenty years' gotten him from whose grasp it was | of toil. Youths had grown to men torn; and, speaking as He would of middle age; strong frames had have prompted those loved lips to bowed to age and feebleness; chilspeak, the Master bids the tried one dren had sprung to manhood; and rise and pray!
hoary hairs had been covered with It is not prayer at first; there are the valley clod: yet few had heard words and thoughts, but there is his message; few had given themfeeling, aspiration, nowhere; that selves to God. Sabbath after Sabis not prayer. But what is this? bath he held up the Cross; they succeeding as calm death succeeds listened, but they did, as far as he life's tumult,--deep, incomprehen could see, no more. It was a Phasible, sublime; the head upraised, risaic district: religion was respectthe lips just parted; no sigh, no able. Fathers went to sing and word, no sound; only that look ; pray and listen, because it was well angels regarding it; Göd delighting | to set a decent example to their in it!
families; youths, because they had Long time spent thus leads the been taught to think it a good steppastor to his seat again,-again to the ping-stone to honour; children, open Bible;--not now a disregarded because led by those above them; page,but a loved counsellor, a Heaven nearly all with some idea that they sent guide. Far on towards the sum were nearer heaven for it. And yet, mer midnight sat he thus, examining let me not speak too harshly,- let himself as to the performance of his me not include all the hearers of holy work,-as to his faithfulness in Mr. Deans in this description,-oh, his great calling. And the result never !—for there were a few who, was a deep humility, but a holy con- though amongst earth's poorest,
were heaven's richest ones. Oh, dwelt upon these very doubts and blessed to the pastor's heart is the fears; he strove to clear the path, fixed gaze of one such loved disciple! and he succeeded. Up leaped the dear indeed the pressure of the trembling soul; the Spirit, through hand, and the low murmur of grati the word, brought sweetest peace; tude for the "word spoken in sea and, all triumphant now, the timid,
trusting one turned homeward; and And had Mr. Deans forgotten ere Mr. Deans could visit her, she these? Oh, no; but he wanted was dead! more, more yet : yes, and God gave He knew not.this till heaven had him more; but He saw not fit to let opened her gates; till Jesus, with him know and feel it. At least not those wide-spread arms of love, had yet ; heaven should reveal it all. smiled the, “ Well done, good and
In a far recess of that quiet faithful !” Then, all. this, and a chapel sat, week by week, a tall lad thousand things like these, burst on of sixteen: a lad of slumbering in his gladdened sight, and he felt that tellect, of noble heart. Mr. Deans God had given him, all unworthy, a had marked him often tremblingly ; ) | rich harvest of immortal souls. for a brow so high and broad, an eye And wilt not thou, O fainting so flashing, a lip so curled at times | labourer, 0 tried and tempted with high disdain, a bearing so erect, servant,-wilt not thou look to that spoke to him,-of what? Of a fear “Bravely done!”--those open arms ? ful future; for the boy's father was Oh, pause not thou to doubt; but an infidel. But the lad left the work, work on, till heaven shall neighbourhood, bearing with him a! —all rejoicing—show what thou, Bible, the gift of Mr. Deans; and weak in thyself but strong in God, after years found him,—what ? An hast done!" ambassador for Christ, an instru And ye, who listen week by week, ment of good to thousands of un and, listening, are fed; ye, over dying souls !
whom the pastor joys or sorrows,There was a secret disciple in that and for whom he ever prays,-oh, have congregation,-a frail woman, whom not ye your work? Where are your consumption warned that death was wrestlings at the throne of grace, coming. Constitutionally melancholy, your thoughtful listenings, your she was a trembling babe in Christ; constant aids? Oh, if your pastor yet still,-oh, blessed words !--she sees but “little fruit,” stay not to was in Him. Burdened, weak, and dwell upon his lack of faith, his fainting, she came forth for the last feeble working; but, hastening to time to the loved sanctuary. “Am the closet, ask, in all sincerity, if I His, or am I not?” she asked there be fault with you! continually. The preacher rose : he
THE SAVIOUR'S SYMPATHY WITH SORROW.
BY EDWARD LEACH.
" Jesus wept.”—John si 35. The scene at the tomb of Lazarus touches very closely our tenderest feelings. There is a sacredness surrounding the solemn grave that men of all temperaments feel alike. In the sombre, awe-inspiring presence of death, humanity is troubled, the heart is touched, grief bursts the
barriers of contentionalism ; the strongest mind becomes softened, and the sympathies of kindred hearts are powerfully evoked. Grief at the grave becomes the parent of grief; sorrow the incentive to sorrow. There, all the feelings of our common nature merge into one form of outward expression; and as we view the tomb, the remains of the de. parted one about to be lowered therein, and the spectacle of sadness surrounding us, human syrpathy refuses to be pent up, and irresistibly demands its full and complete utterance. The scene at Bethany's grave seems perfectly natural. The surging sea of grief does not ap. pear to be out of character. But it had a unique element. The Son of God, clothed with human nature, was there, not as a disinterested spectator, but as a loving, sympathising friend. He beheld the sad sight of human grief, and His great heart was touched. He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. Possessing all the refined sensibilities of the most womanly heart, He was moved by the sight of suffering, and He wept. He wept not because He was angry with the display of human infirmity. The majesty of His tender sympathy was too great for that! The silent tears He sheds are the fittest expression of the gentle love which directed every beneficent act of His life. And to us, who live in the full light of the gospel revelation, these tears of the Redeemer are very precious. They unfold, as words cannot, truths of value untold. They soothe sorrowful hearts and staunch the wounds of grief. “We have not an high-priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted as we are yet without sin. Let us, therefore, come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time o
“ Jesus wept."
This beautifully sublime, yet brief—and it is sublime in its brevityexpression of one of the most touching incidents in the life of Jesus would not have been recorded in Holy Writ had not the Holy Spiri intended the magical words to convey a lesson to us. Christ's tears like Christ's reticence, are pregnant with big sermons. They hav taught His Church for all ages how generous is His sympathy, how suited to comfort us in our days of affliction, and to help us amid th disciplines of life.
FIRST, LET US WITNESS FOR A MOMENT THIS SUBLIME SPECTACLE O THE SON OF MAN IN TEARS. “Jesus wept." There is a solemnity attache to this scene which claims our utmost reverence. The place on which w stand is, emphatically, holy ground. The Redeemer's tears link Divin power to human weakness; bring the sadness of man into immediat contact with the sympathy of God. Here Jesus is glorified ; Christ 1 revealed ; infinite love unbosomed; His gracious purpose exhibited His mediatorship appears. Here mercy touches sorrow; Divine con passion is infused into human grief. The testimony of the Spirit here, revealing at once the humanity and the Divinity of Christ-H humanity, that He weeps; His divinity, that He weeps without sin. N greater sign from heaven need man want; for here a weeping Saviou resembles man in the feelings of his inmost soul. A Brother born to adversity; a Mediator who having experienced, though sinlessly, our infirmities, is able to succour those similarly tried. Ah, brethren, the Saviour who wept at the sight of human suffering was none other than He who poured out His soul, even unto death, on the cross. And when at the grave of the friend whom He had saved from eternal death, His eyes o'erflowed with grief, the Son of God was, in the fullest and completest sense, Man.
There are two false constructions that have been put upon Christ's weeping. The Jews deemed Him powerless in the presence of death ; that at the grave He was conquered; that these tears were wasted. Now this misconception was met by the miracle which followed. In His love the Master could have prevented the death of Lazarus, but He chose to glorify His Father the more by raising him from the dead. Facts prove therefore that He did not weep because of His inability to remove the sorrow of His friends. Again, the emotions of the Saviour were not passions. They were under His control. They were voluntary. Of His own Divine will He wept with the mourners. Then, too, his weeping was sinless. Men are hurried on by the overpowering influence of their own emotions. Grief with them often becomes tyrannical. But Christ being God as well as man, nothing could exercise dominion over Him.
SECONDLY, WHAT DO THE REDEEMER'S TEARS TEACH ? He wept, it seems to me, through sympathy with sorrow. We never read that Christ shed tears for Himself. His tears were unselfish. He wept over the fair, but sin-stricken, unrepentant Jerusalem-for its sins and sorrows. | Not as women weep sentimentally over some graphically portrayed scene in the novelist's pages, but out of compassion for the sinners whom Mercy had wooed, but whom unbelief and unrelenting hardness of heart kept from His greatness and goodness. But here, at Bethany, He weeps with humanity in its trials. That He should weep for me as a sinner is strange, but something to be understood, because the Holy Spirit has revealed the secret impulse, the hidden cause. But when I read of Christ's weeping with me in my grief, being touched by feel. ings to which I am consciously subject, I feel my nearness to Him, His compassion having insinuated itself into my inmost heart, and causing me to cry out, “My Lord and my God!" Overjoyed at the thought of this community of emotions, my heart leaps into the ecstatic experience of him who said so trustfully, “ Whom have I in heaven but Thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee.” And, just as with human friendship, he who manifests his brotherly sympathy, even to tears, when the sorrows of earth pierce our souls, becomes to us alway the closest and choicest of friends,--so Christ, by His sympathy with His people's sorrows, becomes increasingly dear to their hearts, and is knit by ties indissoluble to their affections. Like the noble tree that is wounded itself, when it gives the balm, He “in His measure feels afresh what every member bears."
Again, do not His tears show that He has stores of sympathy in Him ?