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tians, as was the case with their brethren at Jerusalem, still cherished the remembranee of their ancient festivals, those holy and stated seasons. which Moses had commanded them, "they observed days, and months, and times, and years." They were scrupulous about common things, especially about the use of meats; rejecting as polluted everything that had been offered as a sacrifice in an idol temple. On the other hand, the Gentile Christians treated such matters with indifference; they neither observed the Jewish feast days, nor made any distinction in articles of food. They considered that if taken moderately, and after thanksgiving, all meats were alike serviceable for their good, and might be indulged in without questioning as to the purpose for which they had first been employed. But this difference of opinion about things in themselves indifferent, had unfortunately, as is sometimes the case now, become the cause of difference and strife in the Church. The Jewish members were scandalized at what they thought too free a license, in the conduct of their Gentile fellows, while these in return mocked at the particular notions of the Jews-hence arose jealousies, and feelings of dissatisfaction; and the bond of love so much insisted on in the New Testament as the basis of all virtues, was daily in danger of being broken.
To put a stop to this evil, the Apostle in the chapter from whence the text is taken, urges upon both parties the duties of Christian forbearance. Without asserting that either side was right, he shows that both were wrong; wrong for disputing about questions of such minor importance; and he calls upon them to remember the weightier matters of their holy religion, to consider that vital Christianity does not consist in external performance,-in eating, or abstaining from certain meats and the like; but in the enjoyment of the Gospel graces, and in the practice of the Gospel virtues: "in righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." Further, he warns those who were contentious, and forward in condemning their brethren, to take heed lest by so doing they should seem to encroach upon the awful privileges of the Almighty. "Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth,"-adding, as the strongest reason against such rash, and uncharitable censure, a declaration of that solemn account which each would have to give of his own conduct before God the Judge of all. "But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and
every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God."
Such appears to be the connexion of the text with the general argument in the fourteenth chapter:-a chapter which they will do well to study, who are tempted either to give, or take offence too readily in matters pertaining to religion. A chapter which, while it presents a sorrowful picture of the dissensions of the early Christians, might, without wresting its meaning at all from the truth, be made to reflect as in a mirror the likeness of the Church as it is now. But to go further into this subject, would divert me from the particular course I have proposed to myself to-day; which is to set before you, and press upon your consideration, the simple but solemn lesson which the text affords; independently of the circumstances under which it was originally written. For, my brethren, though I am not generally desirous of placing too much stress upon separate texts of Holy Scripture, without considering their bearing upon the whole argument of the context;-a practice that is often attended with danger,-yet in the present instance, the words before us contain a doctrine so complete in itself, and so full of valuable warning, that no risk, I think, can be incurred by such a proceeding, while, under God's blessing, some benefit may be expected from it.
Let us, then, look at the text in this light as a statement of Holy Scripture personally addressed to every Christian hearer.-" So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God."
Every word in this short sentence may with advantage be treasured up in our hearts, and may help, if duly reflected on, and digested, to increase our knowledge of the way of life, by showing us our real condition, and business in the world, and the relation in which we stand to a just but jealous God.
First, then, the Apostle says, "Every one of us shall give an account."-Observe how comprehensive this language is. Not only the wise, and the rich, and the learned, and the men of high station in the world, are here intended: but the poor, and ignorant, and unlearned as well—" Every one of us"-high and low, rich and poor, one with another, have an account to give. Doubtless that account will fall heavier upon some than upon others: to whom much is given of them shall much be required. To whom the Lord has entrusted many things, of him will He ask the more. But of all a reckoning will be demanded: all, no matter what their degree and condition in this life, will have to answer in the day of judgment. Answer for what? the Apostle tells you: for himself. "Every one of us shall give account of himself."
brethren, Saint Paul is not content with a general declaration respecting human responsibility: he does not merely say, "Every one shall give an account:" for then there might have been a loophole for the negligent and unfaithful to escape. For instance, I can suppose such a person reasoning after this fashion-"It cannot be a great matter to me what is said in the Bible about the day of account, I am but a poor man, and have but few things committed to my care: I have neither houses nor lands, nor riches, nor worldly goods; I have no great talents to misuse: no opportunities of doing good to neglect: why, then, should I be afraid of the final reckoning? surely the just God will not look for a harvest where He has sown no seed. Surely He will not require at my hands an account like that which may well be asked of the wealthy and the great?"
To foreclose such false reasoning as this is, Saint Paul takes care to add something more particular about the account to be given. He says, " Every one of us shall give account of himself." Yes, my brethren, in this single word "himself," lies the real burden of your obligation,-we shall all, be our station here what it may, be our talents and opportunities ever so great, or ever so small, have to give account each for himself. "We must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, that