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Christians glorying in particular teachers, rather than in their doctrines is
III. THE REDEEMER IS FOR GOD. "And Christ is God's." Jesus, as a Mediator, is the Messenger and Servant of the Eternal.
First Christ is God's Revealer. : He is the Word of God, (Logos). "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten of the Father, he hath declared him." (1) He reveals Him in creation. God's creative plan was wrought out by the hand of Christ; He, as the builder of the universe, revealed the mind of the infinite Architect. (2) He reveals Him in His personal ministry. He was the Image of the invisible God. He was the brightness of His Father's glory. His whole life here was a revelation of the Eternal, and amongst His last words on earth He said, "I have declared unto them thy name," &c.
Secondly Christ is God's Servant. He came here to work out God's great plan of saving mercy. "What the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh," &c.
Christ is God's Revealer and Servant in a sense in which no other being in the universe is, and therefore to Him men should give their undivided attention.
Learn from this subject-First: The infinite worth of Christianity. It gives "all things" to its true disciples. None of the "all things" specified here, are possessed by those who are not His genuine disciples. The ministry is not theirs. If they attend preaching, they are mere instruments in the hands of the preacher; they are carried away by the emotions of the hour. They do not possess the ministry, the ministry possesses them. The world is not theirs, however large a portion of it they claim legally. No portion of it is theirs, they are its. The world uses them as its tools. Life is not theirs : it is forfeited to justice; it is paralyzed by disease. They have no true enjoyment in it. Death is not theirs, they are its. Through fear of it, they are all their lifetime subject to bondage. Things present and things
to come are not theirs; they are the mere creatures of circumstances. It is Christianity alone that makes all these things man's. It attunes the soul to the influences of God, as the Æolian harp is attuned to the winds; and every passing breeze in its history strikes out in music the anthem, "The Lord is my portion, saith my soul." Learn-Secondly: The contemptibleness of religious sectarianism. How wretchedly mean and base does sectarianism appear in the light of this subject. The men who glory in their own theological peculiarities, ecclesiastical sect, and religious teachers, have never felt the grandeur contained in the text, that the universe is for the Church, the Church is for Christ, and that Christ is for God.
Brothers, One is our Master, even Christ. He is our Leader in things Divine. Let us test the doctrine of other teachers by His utterances. Let us learn of Him. Take the truth as it comes warm and fresh from His lips. His truth is for all. As the sun sheds his rays on all without distinction, as the flowers unfold beauty to every eye, as the winds breathe music to every ear, as the circling seasons pour in periodic order Heaven's blessings on all, so Christ's words are for all who have ears to hear.
SUBJECT:-The Natural illustrative of the Spiritual.
"The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit."-John iii. 8.
Analysis of Homily the Six Hundred and Fiftieth.
I. That the action of the Spirit, like the action of the wind, is BEYOND ALL HUMAN CONTROL. "The wind bloweth where it listeth." The wind is produced by, and moves in accordance with, certain laws which the Creator has ordained, and which His continual Providence keeps in exercise; it is, therefore, constantly under His immediate guidance, obedient to His command, and subject to His control. "He causeth His wind to blow." (Psalm cxlvii. 18.) "Stormy wind fulfilling His word." (Psalm cxlviii. 8.) The influence or action of the Spirit is
likewise under Divine guidance and restraint, and is subject to the volitions of the Divine will; "All these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will." (1 Cor. xii. 11.) But the action of the Spirit, and the action of the wind, while they are alike under Divine government, they are alike beyond human control. When they, obedient to God's will, are inactive, human power cannot evoke their exercise; or when that will causes their operation, human might cannot influence them in their course. We often speak of the freedom of the wind, whether in the summer's zephyr or the winter's storm; in either case it is reckless alike of our approval or dismay, our interest or our will. We are ignorant of the exact moment the storm rises or ceases. It gushes as from mountain caves, sounds among the hills, rushes down the valleys, sweeps across the plain and over the raging sea. The angel of the storm looses the steeds of the tempest, and away they bound as though intoxicated with liberty, careering in the wildness of unbridled freedom. We have no power over the tempest either to raise or quell it. It may uproot the forest trees, shatter the cotter's home, and threaten destruction to the drifting barque; and who of us can stay it in its course, or curb its reckless wrath? It laughs to scorn the impotency of the human voice, and the weakness of human might. On, on it speeds, even though a prince command, or nations rise to oppose. Even so the action of the Spirit is free, and beyond the range of human control; for the will and power to which it is subject is superhuman and Divine. Spiritual influences for good, move where, when, and how God pleases. They may gently operate on the heart of childhood, to draw the early affection to the Source of holy love; or they may come in the awakening and startling influences felt in riper years. They may be heard in the whisperings of the still, small voice; or in the thunder-tones which arouse the spiritually dead. They may come in the gentle breathing, as on Lydia's heart; or, as at Pentecost, in the sound as of a rushing, mighty wind. But however they come, we know
their source is God, and that He sent them, and directed them whither they should go. We cannot coerce the Divine will; and except God willed it, no effort on our part, nor the united effort of all the world, could cause a breath to breathe, or a solitary influence to be felt; but God-who is "no respecter of persons," and is infinite in His knowledge, supreme in His wisdom, and boundless in His love-cannot err, He does "all things well." In the world of matter there is nothing which of itself is capable of causing or resisting motion; but in the world of mind, we discern a power which is capable of causing or resisting within a certain sphere, and that is the faculty of the will, which will is never violated by any Divine decree, Rather, in the Divine government, God treats men as moral beings, within whose reach He has placed two powers, viz., the power of prayer, and the power of resistance.
The power of prayer.
It is our blessed privilege, because of the mercy of God in Christ, to approach the throne of grace as suppliants, and there to express our wants, confident that whatsoever we ask agreeably to His will, in the name of Jesus, believing, we shall receive. As the seaman may pray for favorable winds, so we may pray for spiritual influences, encouraged by the assurance that "He is willing to give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him." Seeing that God sitteth in the circle of the heavens, it is not for us to command, but humbly and reverently, as helpless and dependent beings, to fall at His feet, to breathe out our desires, to plead the promises, and to him who asks aright, God will speak the word and send forth the power. Thus, while human power is in itself perfect weakness, it becomes mighty, in that it has access to Him who presideth and "ruleth over all."
The power of resistance. It is possible for the human will to be in antagonism to the Divine, even as it was amongst those to whom it was said, "Ye do always resist the Holy Ghost; as your fathers did, so do ye." It is possible for a seaman, when the favorable wind springs up, to neglect the
opportunity, to leave the sails in their foldings, and the anchors resting in their security; instead of calling all hands to work, to raise the anchors, to spread the sails, and to direct the prow. So it is possible for souls to neglect the acceptable time," and "the day of salvation;" over whom the Saviour weeps, "How oft would I, but ye would not!" Let us beware of resisting the gracious strivings, of "quenching the Spirit" but; "work out our salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who worketh in us, to will and to do of his own good pleasure," and the spirit of God brooding over our hearts, shall cause the " new creation to emerge from the chaos of disordered nature, and giving all the glory to Jehovah we shall say, "Of his own will begat he us, with the word of truth."
II. The action of the Spirit, like the action of the wind, is MANIFEST TO HUMAN SENSIBILITY. "Thou hearest the sound thereof." There may be much that is hidden and obscured, connected with the action of both the wind and the Spirit, yet this much we do know concerning them-they manifest themselves; they give such evidence of their existence as precludes the probability of ignorance, or doubt, for at least one of our senses bears witness to their presence: we hear the wind and we feel the Spirit. He, who is the subject of spiritual influences, especially in the work of regeneration, will be as truly assured of their operation, as he who hears will be of the presence of the wind when the breezes sweep and play around him; and the one case is just as the other. The wind manifests itself. The sailor on the ocean in a storm is aware of it he hears it as it comes breathing from across the sea, stirring the waves, rocking his vessel, whistling among the cordage, and filling and swelling the sails; he knows when it increases in violence, for he hears it rushing along with greater fury, and he cannot be mistaken in its hoarse, sad moaning, as it sweeps on its strong wings over the foaming sea. Seated in our quiet home, we know when the storm rages, for it thunders down the aisles of forest trees, rattles