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It is empty
• Not what God says is truth, but what men think and men believe.' And we can fall in love with fame, and covet applause, and sell our souls for human favour, and be content to live for man's praise. My brethren, what is man's opinion ? It is a breath of air. It is frothy as the foam of the sea. and inflated as a bladder. It is light as a bubble which rises in the air and bursts. When man thinks as God thinks, man's opinion is of great value. When man and God differ, it matters nothing though all the world is one.
Pilate and the people have taught us something. Observe now the priests. We naturally turn to them for knowledge. What can they teach us now? They are only beacons. They warn us. They show us the rocks which lie beneath a smooth and specious show. They tell us how dangerous it is to possess the light unless we walk according to it. They proclaim to us that men may have the Bible on their lips, and Sacraments in their hands, and every privilege within their reach, and yet, for all this, may be as far from God as hell from Heaven. They prove to us that bigotry is as keen and as narrow as a razor's edge, and that intolerance is spiteful as a serpent, and that “ fear is cruel” as a tyrant, and that prejudice is biting as a frosty wind, and that hypocrisy is mean as an evil spirit, and that religious pride is stone-blind to truth. They indicate that party spirit will go all lengths in its malicious purposes, and scruple not to borrow both arts and weapons from Satan's armoury to fight on the behalf of what it calls the truth, and that at last it so fills its victims with every kind of strange delusion, that, while they charge others with the sin of blasphemy, they ascribe the works of God to
Beelzebub, and become themselves blasphemers against God the Holy Ghost.
And I might say much more; but these are some out of the many sins which darken the black spectacle, and force themselves on our reluctant view. And then, with all these sins before us, how aweful it is to call to mind, as call to mind we must, that a day is coming-a day how different from this-when our eyes shall see another spectacle, the spectacle of Gabbatha reversed; when he who now is judge shall be the criminal, and He who now is criminal shall be the Judge. During those forty days in which Moses went up to God upon the top of Sinai, he had a vision of the God of Israel, and he saw " under His feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of Heaven in its clearness. was the heavenly Gabbatha, paved with sapphire stones. And St. John saw the throne which was raised
upon that Gabbatha, the throne “set in Heaven," the “great white throne;" nor only the throne, but “Him that sat on it, from whose face the Heaven and the earth fled away, and there was found no place for them.” Before that throne will stand Pilate, and the Jewish priests, and the Jewish people, "they who pierced Him.” Nor these alone, but “every eye shall see Him." Your feet, my brethren, shall stand upon that sapphire pavement. Your eyes shall look upon that Judge. What then will you do now? What will you do this day? What will you think about your many sins ? Will
ome to Him while He is yet a guiltless victim standing before Pontius Pilate, hanging in His blood upon the cross? Will you not say from your heart, to-day especially, but every day as well “My Saviour, oh my Saviour, I mourn for all the sins of which I have been guilty. And I beseech Thee, now to plead for me, and now to save me. Be now my Advocate with the Father, and then, in that aweful day which is coming, Thou shalt not be my Judge. “By Thine Agony and Bloody Sweat, by Thy Cross and Passion, by Thy Precious Death and Burial,” Good Lord deliver me.'
1 CORINTHIANS xi, 24.
“ This do in remembrance of Me.” T NEED hardly remind you whose words these are, I or at what time they were spoken. I may call them the dying words of Him Who so loved us as we can never love Him. On the evening of the day before He suffered, He rehearsed that aweful sacrifice which was soon to be offered up for us on the accursed tree, and He asked, or I should say commanded, His disciples that His death should be shown forth until His second coming, by the eating of that bread which is His Body, and the drinking of that wine which is His Blood. “ This do in remembrance of Me." It is His own command and His own reason. He speaks in the imperative—“Do this.” And He adds the reason on account of which we must do it, “in remembrance of Me.” “Do this, that the memory of My love may not be lost upon the earth. Let it never be forgotten, as long as time shall last, that I did the thing which here is signified. I am about to die that all the world may live. Let this be published everywhere and always. Be this an ordinance for ever, that all mankind may know that I have died for them, and knowing this may
I. “ Do this." There is a distinct command. The voice of Him who spake as never man spake-the voice which rebuked disease and disease departedthe voice which “ rebuked the winds and the sea,
and there was a great calm”—the voice which said to the dead “ Arise," and they lived again—the voice of Christ is the voice which speaks here, and what it speaks is a command. In its tone there is authority. The mood in which it speaks is not indicative. He says not, This I do, or this I will do, or this I have done, and it concerns Me only. Nor is it conditional, This you may do if you will, or might do if it seem good to you. But it speaks in that mood in which commands are given. This you are to do. This you must do. “ Do this.” It is the voice of a superior addressing those who are beneath Him. The Shepherd directs His sheep. The Head of the Church gives orders to His members. The King of the true Israel issues His commands.
That every Christian should take part in that most holy ordinance which commemorates the dying love of Christ is an express command. Christ Himself commands it. If I would I might say more.
I might say that it is an honour, a blessing, a privilege, but I now say nothing but what we learn here. It is a duty, for it is a clear, distinct command. We are bound to do this. To do this is not an act of supererogation. He who does this is not a man who goes beyond what every Christian is bound to do; but not to do this is to fall short of that which is a binding obligation, from which nothing but necessity can set a Christian free. He who does this can only say, I am an unprofitable servant; I have done that which it was my duty to do.' And he who does