« 上一頁繼續 »
Church and her children in a voice which could not be mistaken; telling her, by sufferings unheard of since the world's creation, and by atrocities endured by gentle women and martyred innocents, that she has not loved Him as she ought, or acted as became her high vocation; and warning her of greater evils yet in store, if she returns not to her first love and uses not her great opportunities. And now,at this time He is again threatening the whole of Europe with the clouds which portend a coming storm. The “sky is dark and lowering.” Men's hearts are failing them for fear,” and are filled with black forebodings, while armed men look upon each other, and are waiting for the expected signal which shall light the flames of universal war.
We must listen to these knocks, my brethren. They are calls to every one, because to all. They are not like individual chastisements, which speak to separate men, or families, or societies. They are chastisements to the whole Church, and they speak to every member of the Church, awakening all and each. If the Church has been lukewarm, it has been so because most of its members have had but little love, and have shut their door against Christ, whom they have treated as a stranger and took not in. If the Church is to be hot, if its lock is to turn, if its hinges are to move lightly, if Christ our Lord is to enter in and feast with it, and in return for love is to give the riches of His everlasting mercy, giving love to us first that we may love Him, and then giving more love that we may love Him more ;-if this is to be,-each door must open; each heart must grow more full of zeal; each ear must become sharper and more true; each conscience must become more awakened ; and each eye, each mind, each temper must become more spiritual, more saturated with the mind of Christ, more full of light from heaven. You, brethren, you, each separate one among you, must blow your own fire into more fervent heat; you, each of you, must be more watchful, more careful, more full of every good work. Faith must root itself more deeply; hope must reach further forward, waiting patiently; love must burn more brightly. We must forget time, which is fleeting. We must live for eternity.
Listen then. The Lord is knocking Hearken. His hand is lifted. It falls upon your door. His voice speaks to you. He says, “I knock; these blows are from Me. I give them because I love you, and you love not as I would have you love Me. I strike because I would strike love from you, as iron strikes fire from flint. I knock, but I knock softly now, because I would soften you. I speak, but I speak in whispers, because I would not break your ear with a voice more loud than thunder. Listen and open, and let Me in, that I may feast you on My love. But, if you hear Me not, I will come again, in clouds and great glory. I will come and mount upon that throne before which the earth and heaven shall vanish; and you, too, shall then flee away, and be carried into everlasting ruin, if now you will not love that Saviour who then will be your judge.'
THE UNITY OF THE CHURCH.
Preached at the time of the Consecration of St John's Church, as the last of
a Course of Sermons.
EPH. iv, 4.
THE subject of the first in that course of sermons THE
which has been preached during the past week from this pulpit was Love; Love, as taught by the precepts and illustrated by the character of St. John the beloved. The subject of the last sermon in that course, to which you are now about to listen, is Unity. And I am sure you will agree with me in thinking that the end is of a piece with the beginning. Love and unity agree together. Unity proceeds from love. Love is the sap which circulates life throughout the tree. Unity is the fruit which the sap produces as the full outcoming of life. Where the one is there will the other be also. But love is the
and unity is the consequence. So that we shall wisely end with unity as we began well with love.
My subject is unity, or, which is the same thing, the unity of Christ's Church. I am about to speak to you on the nature of the body of Christ, in so far as respects its unity. My purpose is to expound to you the text, which asserts in four words, and those
as plain as they are full of meaning, that “there is one body.” It announces a fact. That which it declares is not a mere supposition, not a bright creation of man's inventive faculties, not a dream of the night, or a bold fight of the imagination, or an unreal fancy, but a fact. There is. There is a body. Nor only this. But, more plainly still, this body is one; there is one body. This society which is, is one society. Unity is a characteristic of it. It belongs to its essence that it is one. That is what the text asserts. And I should wish to unfold the substance of its meaning. I cannot now attempt to exhaust the subject, for it is very wide, or to lay bare before you all its fulness, for it is very deep; but I shall endeavour, with the help of God, to give you some clear conception as to what this oneness of the Church is, and to lead you to some practical conclusions which may aid you in giving effect to the doctrine and bringing it to bear upon your common
I. If we look for the ultimate grounds of the Church's unity, we must find them in the profound secrets of the Divine nature, and in the unity of God. There is one Church because there is one God. In God there are several Persons,—the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit,-yet one God. In the Church there are many members, yet but one boily. It is our Lord Himself who carries us up to the mystery of the Blessed Trinity as the basis of the Church's unity, when He says, “ That they may be one, as We are.” And again, “ That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us. And yet once more, “ The glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them, that they
Thon. And ace says, "TM
may be one, even as We are one. I in them and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one." So that the ultimate ground of the unity of the body is the unity of God.
The connecting link which joins these two unities together is the Person of our Lord, the Son of God. “I in them and Thou in Me," binds the Church to God, and makes it one as God is one. There is
one God and Father of all.” There is and His name one.” Our Lord Jesus Christ entering into our flesh became the King of an universal kingdom, and the new head of a vast family which filled the earth. The incarnation of the Son is the earthly foundation, as the unity of the Godhead is the heavenly groundwork of the Church. It is an acknowledged truth that men, as sons of Adam, are blood over the whole earth." It is a parallel doctrine that all regenerate men,-in other words, all members of the visible Church, are of the one blood of Jesus Christ. He is the new Adam, the head of a new redeemed race," which were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God,"-on whom He pours the life blood of His quickening Spirit, that all through Him may be revived. This is one of the great doctrines of the New Testament, which most distinctly teaches, throughout its whole course, that all Christians are united to each other in the new Adam, who is the Lord Jesus Christ; the instruments of union being the one Baptism, in which all are joined to their Redeemer, and the one bread and cup of the Lord's Supper, in which the union is continued which the first of the two sacraments began. Thus there is one Church because there is one Saviour.