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of him, to keep the question of obeying him or not as much as possible out of our minds; not to alarm us by tempting us to any great sin, but to lull us by keeping us in the common routine of our duties, and contriving to present to us little temptations of indolence, of illtemper, and of selfishness, which we give way to imperceptibly, because they do not seem of sufficient importance to call our principles into question, or, in other words, to make us think whether we are pleasing or displeasing God. The effect is, I fear, that during too large a part of every day our state of mind is not such as it should be. God is not before our face continually; and the result shows itself, perhaps, in its earliest stage, in a want of concern for the souls of others. It is, indeed, unnatural that we should be anxious and watchful for our neighbours, when we are not watchful for ourselves. But this is not all our faith, ere long, will suffer also; for faith is not kept alive, in that sense in which the Scripture speaks of it, without a constant communion with God. the evidence is the same, but we

True it is,

are not in

the same condition to receive it; and much more than as a mere matter of evidence : faith is an abiding sense of God's reality, and

this we weaken by not thinking of God enough. Then, with our faith weakened, we do not overcome the world; we are not sharers with Christ in his victory.

Let us then remember the three points of the text on which I have been dwelling. Let us first steadily bear in mind that the writing is signed against us; that if we will serve Christ, we must be partakers of his sufferings; we must take up our cross, and follow him. Yet, though we know this, yet not the less for this knowledge, let us resolve to serve him steadily; and that we may serve him, let us, with our hearts opened towards heaven, and receiving fully into them the light of the Spirit of God, kneel down on our knees before him, not once a day, much less once a week only, but often, but perpetually; and yet more, when we cannot kneel down on our knees, let us, while standing or sitting, in the intervals of our work or of our amusement, link together, as it were, our more special and solemn devotions, by a golden chain of heavenward thoughts and humble prayers, not trusting to our general good intentions, but refreshing our continued decays and failings with as continued a recourse to the ever-open fountain of the grace of God.

SERMON XXII.

THE LORD'S DAY.

GENESIS II. 3.

And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

THERE are two ways of reading these early chapters of the Old Testament. One is, to take them as we find them, and to understand them according to the simple meaning of the words, just as if we knew nothing of any other book in the world; the other way is to interpret them by the New Testament, to suppose that the writer of them had as much revealed to him as we have now revealed to us, and that the Gospel is to be found as really, though not as plainly, in the first chapters of Genesis, as in the Epistles of St. Paul, St. Peter, and St. John.

For instance, in the story of Cain and Abel, those who follow merely the story itself, believe that God had no respect to the offering

of Cain, because it was offered insincerely or grudgingly; and that he had respect unto Abel's offering, because it was given out of a true and grateful heart. But those who find the Gospel in all this early history, believe that Abel's offering was respected because it was offered with faith in the blood of Christ, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. They say that Cain, not believing in, or despising the promised atonement, offered merely of the fruits of his land; but that Abel, understanding that without shedding of blood was no remission, offered the firstlings of his flock, as a type of Him who was to come.

Again, in a similar manner, with regard to the words of the text. Those who do not go beyond the story, consider the mention here made of God's blessing and sanctifying the seventh day as merely giving the reason why the commandment to keep the seventh day holy was afterwards given through Moses, that, as it is said in the fourth commandment itself, "In six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and rested the seventh day, wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it;" so, in giving an account of the creation the same thing was related, merely for the sake of those who already had

the commandment, as a reason and a sanction for keeping it. Others, again, who add to the letter of what they find written, believe that the commandment to keep the seventh day holy was given to man from the beginning of the world; that Adam observed it, and all the patriarchs; that it was only renewed by Moses, and not first given; and that therefore not the Jews only, but all mankind are bound always to obey it.

I will give another instance out of the same chapter. God there says to Adam, "In the day that thou eatest of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, thou shalt surely die." Now some understand by this no more than the first plain meaning of the words, that Adam should die instead of living for ever; that he should turn again to his dust, and then all his thoughts should perish. Others, again, knowing in how much fuller a sense the words "death" and "life" are frequently used in Scripture, take the threat uttered to Adam as conveying a much more awful meaning: they understand it as saying that he should die everlastingly, not once only, and then be as though he had never been born, but to be for ever lost to God and all happiness, and for ever feel that he was lost.

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