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ness, all its genial, quickening influence. No ; Jesus cannot die. He shall rise again, and live in the midst of
He shall cast away the cerements of a false theology ; he shall come forth from the tomb in which superstition has buried him. He shall be seen, shall be realized, shall be "comprehended,” shall be received. Yes; Jesus shall be what in anticipation he is so justly called,
the Redeemer of the world. The leaven of his life shall yet pervade and leaven the whole of mankind.
For there is a spirit in all men, which, if it be not repressed by the lusts of the flesh, the love of the world, or the pride of life, responds to the spirit that was in Jesus. Strictly speaking, he does not give, he never did give, the power to become the sons of God. This power is innate in every human soul. As the brilliant flower is folded up in the little dark seed, as the huge oak is involved in the acorn, so do the germs of the highest moral excellences lie inwrapped in the soul of man. Just as the ability to acquire knowledge is an attribute of the mind, 80 is the ability to become holy, Christlike, Godlike, an attribute of man's moral nature. It is this capacity which distinguishes bim from other animals. No one ever thinks of teaching a brute to understand the difference between right and wrong, any more than to calculate an eclipse, because the brute has not the capacity to do either. Books, apparatus, instructers, are appointed for the children of men, because they are able to become wise and good.
How wise a human being may become, how much knowledge he may acquire, it has not yet entered into the mind of any one - no, not of a Newton or Bacon to conceive. But how good a man may be, and ought to
be, has been revealed in the life and character of Jesus of Nazareth. He is the perfect man. He is the mark of our high calling. As he is holy, so are we called to be holy " in all manner of conversation."
Now, as we can become wise only so far as we exercise our mental faculties, so we can become good only so far as we exert our own power of choice between right and wrong, good and evil. One may be furnished with a thoroughly accomplished teacher of each and every branch of science, but he shall learn nothing except so far as he may apply the powers of his own mind. So, too, the experience and the counsels of all the saints may be proffered him, and of the beloved Son of God besides, but he shall grow in holiness only so fast and so far as he exerts himself to do what he perceives to be right. You will not make a child benevolent by setting him to commit to memory the most eloquent description of benevolence ever written; but if you can incite him to go and do a benevolent deed, the joy that will spring up in his bosom shall assure him, that his own true happiness is to be found in contributing to the happiness of others,
that true “self-love and social love are the same. Education, moral and intellectual, - education, as the etymology of the word itself intimates, means not so much the putting of any thing into the mind and heart, as the drawing out, unfolding, educing what God has implanted in the soul.
Such, however, is the common license of language, that there is no impropriety in saying of him who has quickened and assisted one to acquire, for instance, the science of mathematics, that he has given him the power VOL, XIX.
to measure the distance of the sun. There is no impropriety in saying of him who has been successful in leading a pupil to restrain his turbulent temper, that he has given him the power of self-government. Likewise, in the same sense, and with the greatest propriety, it may be said that Jesus has given and will give the power to become the sons of God to as many as receive him. By seeing what Jesus was, how he lived, how he loved, what were the principles that governed, the spirit that animated him, many in his day were waked from the sleep of indifference ; yes, raised even from the death of sin to the activity, the earnest, devoted, self-sacrificing life of the sons of God. Others at that time, and others still in all succeeding ages, by seeing the light of that Sun of Righteousness reflected from the lives of his true followers, and by contemplating his own perfect character as it is set before us in the narratives of his life, have been roused to throw off the dominion of sin, to withstand temptation, to become holy. And in this way it is, that the enlightening, sanctifying, saving influence of Christ is to flow throughout the family of man, and bring all in obedience to God.
I wish to enlarge upon this view of Christ, as the Redeemer of the world. It is very important that we apprehend aright the way in which he may redeem us. What are we to expect from him ? What must we do for ourselves ? What ought we to do for others ? These are questions of the highest moment. A theory is still prevalent in Christendom, a scheme of salvation, which I believe to be heaven-wide of the truth ; and which must be removed out of the way, banished from the human mind, before Christ can have free course, and be glorified in the salvation of the world. Only so far as he incites, persuades, leads men to become like himself, does he save them. And his influence in this way must be ever small upon those who are relying upon some supernatural effect to be wrought n them (they know not when, or how, if ever), by the direct exertion of almighty power, without any consideration of their own faith, or their own endeavours to become holy. Much less can the true saving power of Christ operate on those who really suppose themselves to be by nature wholly alienated from God, having no good or capacity for goodness in them; and that their escape from the desert of the divine wrath, and everlasting misery, is to depend upon the satisfaction Christ made to God for the sins of mankind, by his death upon the cross. Belief in such a dogma as this can have no influence in leading men to righteousness, but the reverse ; although no doubt some who believe it may be good. These persons, however, must have become good in spite of their professed faith, through the power of a faith not written in creeds, faith in their own capacity for goodness. None surely can come to God, unless they believe that he is, and that they are able to become like him.
There is in every soul a consciousness of its capacity for godliness, - a consciousness which can hardly be repressed and silenced even by the authority of the church. The mere description of conceivable good. ness, even though it be in a work of fiction, enkindles our aspirations. How much more, then, is an actual example of a perfectly pure, unsullied, godly life adapted to incite us to holy living. “Not theory but life produces life." Not by embracing any theories respecting the nature of Jesus shall we be redeemed from sin; but by attaining a vivid apprehension of his moral excellence. It is by enabling us to form a clear conception of true moral perfectness, that Jesus enkindles in us the aspiration for perfection. And this he has done by his life more than by his preaching. The most peculiar, the deepest moral influences of Christianity, I believe, flow from the character of its author. No influence is so quickening as example. It is a noiseless power, like all the other mightiest energies of nature, like attraction or gravitation ; but it works directly on the springs of action, on the issues of life. It is powerful for evil as well as for good. Few are so steadfast, so firm in virtue, that they may safely expose themselves to the corrupting influence of bad examples. "Lead us not into temptation," is the prayer which Jesus has enjoined upon all to use. “ Enter not into the path of the wicked ; go not in the way of evil men ; avoid it ; pass not by it ; tura from it and flee away,” is the advice of Solomon ; and it is not deemed over cautious by the truly wise of our day.
On the other hand, few are so brutish, few so dead, as to resist altogether, and for ever, the influence of unfeigned, persevering, earnest goodness." Let your light so shine before men,” said Jesus to his Apostles, “that they may see your good works, and” (as if it were a matter of course) “ glorify your Father which is in heav
1," Undoubtedly it was the obvious piety, benevolence, self-devotion of the first disciples, that made con