« AnteriorContinuar »
every heart amid high and low, and rich and poor, in joy and in sorrow, in life and in death, that hath been or that is comforted, sustained, soothed, and blest, and made mighty in God to the pulling down of the strongholds of sin, — in short, every meliorating, redeeming, overcoming, regenerating, and sanctifying influence that has gone forth, and that still goes forth from the same Jesus, do but constitute the legitimate tribute to the energy of obedient faith divine, that swelled the bosom of Jesus of Nazareth.
And since the world alone is the wide and sufficient witness to the value and the power of obedient faith as manifested in the fruits thereof in Jesus, who will not learn the mighty and world-overcoming lesson ? Who will not henceforth live in faith and abide therein, whatever mission may be given them, or through whatever scenes they may be called to pass ? Who will not have faith in God, though the voices of his spirit may bid to as dark, and to all human appearance to as hopeless, a mission as was that of the Despised, the Rejected, and the Crucified. With such an example before us of the divine, and all-prevailing, and all-conquering energy of lowly and obedient faith in the humblest bosom, will not the world, with one wide chorus of glad hosannas, ask, and seek, and knock, for the faith that overcometh the world in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We will not longer dwell on the pattern of faith given us in Jesus, save but to be reminded, that the same fountain from which to draw thereof is open to us, even as it was to him, and that we have the blessed assurance of his own words, that whosoever believeth on him, the works
that Jesus did shall he do also, and even greater works shall he do, because Jesus hath gone to the Father. That if we abide in him and his words abide in us, may ask what we will and it shall be done unto us, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. Truly is Jesus the way amid the great deeps of faith. Let us rise up and follow.
5. Jesus is our pattern in suffering for the sins of others. His, we repeat, was emphatically a life of sorrows. The persecutions and exile of his infancy and childhood; the scorn, rejection, and contempt wherewith he was viewed by all those esteemed the wise, venerable, and judicious of the land ; the pity of friends and kindred; the false accusations, attempts ever to entrap and find occasion against him, with abounding hatred and envy, these all were sins of others from which he suffered. They were heaped upon him without number and without mercy.
And who does not know how trying it is to be ever misapprehended and misinterpreted, scorned and hated,
his best motives, his kindest purposes, all set down in malice, and ascribed to wickedness? Even angel-deeds of mercy and love, which none could deny, were ascribed to demoniac agency, and those demonstrations of the Spirit and of power whereby he would glorify God and bless his children, bearing witness to divine truths, were denounced as madness, or condemned as treasonable and blasphemous. All these were wrongs which he suffered from others. His heart was continually saddened, and his spirit most deeply tried, by the sins they ever heaped upon him, or committed against him.
And how were these sins of others borne by him ? They were borne by him without the least departure from the perfect will of God, or from his spirit. They were borne in the exercise of divine forbearance, long-suffering, forgiveness, and love. He endured them all in the very spirit to which he would win those who were heaping their sins upon him. When he received a blow, he so bore it as to disarm the hand that inflicted it, and win its possessor's heart to his own heavenly spirit and forgiving love. He so bore all wrong as would most tend to extract the wrong from the bosom of the sinner, and implant instead his own heavenly spirit there.
We, as disciples of Jesus, are as solemnly under obligation, before God and all the good, to follow the example of Jesus, in so bearing the sins of others as to take them
away, as we are to be followers of his in resisting temptation, or in prayerfulness, or in keeping the Father's commandments, through obedient faith. If a brother or sister wrong us, no matter in what respect or to what extent, we are under the most solemn of all obligations as Christians, to the extent of our ability, so to bear that wrong as most effectually to take away from the heart of the offender the evil disposition, and win to the love, and holiness, and heavenly spirit we breathe in return. For example, if any one has assailed my person, or my reputation, or burned my dwelling, or laid low my kindred, and I can so bear his sins as to feel towards him as God feels towards the sinner, - to wit, as having no pleasure in his death, but only that he turn and live,
- if I can convince him that he has injured one who still loves him and desires to do him all kindness, and
to save, and protect, and reclaim him, — in a word, if I can so love my enemy and do good to him that hateth me as to convince him that he has injured one who loved him better than a brother, and who would even lay down his life for him, should need be, and so win him to regret the wrong he has done, and thereby take away all the disposition to do me wrong from his bosom, then have I so borne his sins as to take them away. I have so been a follower of Christ in taking away the sins of my brother, as Jesus took away the sins of the world. Thus should we ever, like Jesus, so bear the sins of others as to soften the heart, draw the sinner unto us by suffering love, and by the same alchemy divine convert hatred into love, his sin into holiness, happiness, and blessedness for ever, both to himself and to others. Thus should every life become a life of redeeming love through him who was lifted up, and every disciple a taker-away of the sins of the world. Then, and only then, shall we be true to Jesus, our pattern, and to the coming of the Father's kingdom and the doing of his will on earth as it is done in heaven. 6. Jesus is our pattern in suffering discipline.
We read, that though he were a son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered. That it pleased the Father, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. If we would be of those many sons whom God would bring to glory, we must tread the path our Master trod, and bear the cross he bore. Suffering discipline is as essential to develop and perfect the spirit, as trial or exercise is to develop the body. Often and fatiguing trial of the young body is necess
cessary to develop and bring to maturity its strength and varied powers. Many a movement, which seemed at first utterly unattainable, comes at length to be as familiar as the play of the lungs, and to be performed as unconsciously. So is it with the Christian virtues and the moral and spiritual powers of our being. They need oft-repeated and painful trial to their full development and exercise. Faith, patience, resignation, self-denial, and self-immolation can only come into existence and exercise within one's soul, according as there is occasion for them. They never could have been manifested in the life of Jesus, save as there was suffering discipline to call them forth. The suffering and the discipline of Jesus, then, were to the end that he might be to the world a perfect pattern.
So should it be with all who would be true to the divine pattern God has given us in Jesus. We can only be strengthened and perfected in the moral and spiritual powers of our being, according to the trials through which we pass. The trial, too, must ever come at our sorest and our weakest point ; otherwise that peculiar weakness, that especial point of peril and moral death, can never be overcome. There is it, above all other points, that we need trial. It would do no especial good were it to come only where we are already victors and rejoicing in our strength. No; it must come where we most need it, and just in proportion as we there meet and overcome it will be the accession of strength, and blessing, and moral glory to our souls.
Hence the suffering discipline of life ever has a high and holy end, if we will but improve it aright. Not one sorrow is appointed in vain. Not one trial but