« 上一頁繼續 »
There was nothing which He did not do for us. “ Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” And yet He went a long way beyond this ; He laid down His life for His enemies. He was a servant of servants. And what has He taught us? He has taught us that it is man's glory to serve his fellow-men. To mind our own things, to look to our own concerns, to attend to our own interests, may be harmless, may be, though often it is not, free from sin; but that is all that can be said. It has no glory in it; there is nothing in this of the mind of Christ. The glory of a man is to act as St. Paul recommends when he says, “Look not every man at his own things, but every man also at the things of others.” Condescension to those who are low, self-sacrifice, self-abasement, the choosing for ourselves goods lower than we might enjoy, a readiness to take the lowest place, a desire to do good to all men in every possible way; these are the acts or dispositions of those who have the mind of Christ.
“Let this mind be in you,” in us. It was a mind like this which filled the breasts of those who take the foremost place upon the roll of greatness. The men who live longest in the world's memory are the men of sacrifice. Sacrifice is goodness, and goodness is greatness. Oh that God would give to us the spirit of sacrifice! That is what we need. We all need it. In this present age, with its eager activity, we are all too apt to look upon the world as a place in which we are to make ourselves easy, labouring hard here that here we may find our rest. We look to our own good. We teach our children that they too must do the same. We say to our sons, 'Go out into the world; push your way; make a fortune ; aim at eminence; get on. We say to our daughters, “Marry, settle well in life; get a home; be comfortable. Now, I am not saying that there is any positive sin in this ; but I say that we forget, I am afraid, habitually such sayings as these, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, ... Who emptied Himself and took on Him the form of a servant.” We forget that God became a servant of servants, and that God is our model, our pattern, our * example. Oh are there none among us capable of better things, coveting the mind of Christ ? No daughters who can bear to hear that there is something better upon earth than dress, and light reading, and vain talking, and gaiety, and the dance, and admiration? There are poor outcasts in the street to be drawn back into the fold of Christ, there are heathen to be converted, there are naked whom you may clothe, there are sick whom you may visit in their abodes of misery. Are there no daughters in the midst of us to whom words like these are music, potent as a spell to call them from looking for a home on earth to that bright spot, where their ascended Lord will make for them a better mansion in His own home above? Have we no fathers who will sacrifice their sons to Christ; devoting them to the ministry; biassing their young minds in the direct ion of the highest office which a man can fill; picking out the best and choicest among their number, because God should have nothing but the best; looking beyond this present world and transitory interests, and choosing rather for their child prosperity in time future than here in this shifting scene which we call the world ? In these and in many other ways we can imitate the mind of Christ.
May grace be given us to imitate in every way that good example. Time will soon be over. Our graves will soon be open to receive us. What will come next ? Where shall we go afterwards ? Shall we ascend to Heaven, whither our ascended Lord is gone before us? or shall we not? The answer to this will depend upon the answer which each of us shall then give to another question, Hast thou the mind of Christ?
ST. JOHN xix, 13–16.
“When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth,
and sat down in the judgment-seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew; Gabbatha. And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour; and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! But they cried out, Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Cæsar. Then delivered he Him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led Him away.”
My brethren, the words which I have just read to
you, out notice an extraordinary spectacle. They show us God Himself upon His trial before one of His own creatures, and condemned to death for saying that He was a king.
When the fact is stated, in this plain and undisguised manner, it appears so shocking and so impious as to be beyond belief. Yet this is the simple truth. The Son of God, in man's flesh, convicted first of blasphemy by His Jewish countrymen, and then accused of treason against Cæsar before the Roman governor, is sentenced to die as a subverter of the government, and, in virtue of that sentence, is actually put to death upon the cross. The chief
kings of the earth, Cæsar, acting by Pontius Pilate, his substitute and representative, condemns to death the King of Heaven.
The spectacle is indeed extraordinary, and the more closely we observe it the more extraordinary does it appear. For the part which Pilate played in this judicial murder of the Son of God was but a secondary part. Pilate believed Him to be innocent, and again and again avowed that such was his belief. Pilate, had he followed his own judgment, and listened to his own conscience, and been master of his own will, would have dismissed from the bar that meek and patient prisoner, without a stain on His character, without a blot upon His fair renown. Pilate had even made some weak efforts to resist the torrent of injustice, and to assert the strength and majesty of law, against the clamour of the populace who cried for blood. Indeed, he had actually gone so far as to declare his prisoner guiltless at the moment when he passed the sentence of condemnation, and to wash his hands before the whole multitude, to show that in yielding to their clamours he was no sharer in their guilt. But Pilate, albeit he was governor of Judæa, and representative of that stern justice and inflexible determination which were the chief characteristics of the iron rule of Rome, was a weak and vacillating creature, who bent before the strength of Jewish resolution as trees before a strong blast.
In reality, the leading actors in this dreadful tragedy were the Jewish people, and especially the Jewish priests. Pilate-judge though he was, and seated on that high tribunal which was erected on the tesselated Roman pavement, and personating, as he did, the