Imágenes de páginas


Scattered through these "pastoral Epistles" are certain important quotations described by the writer as “ Faithful Sayings ; " and these it is now proposed to consider in a brief series of papers. They are five in number. The earliest of these is a brief and pointed statement of the great central fact of the Gospel; a second characterises the work of the Christian ministry; the third is a succinct account of Christian experience; and the two last are apparently fragments of Christian hymns.

I. “FAITHFUL IS THE SAYING, AND WORTHY OF ALL ACCEPTATION, THAT CHRIST JESUS CAME INTO THE WORLD TO SAVE - SINNERS”(1 Tim. i. 15). How beautiful the simplicity of this " saying "-so ancient and yet 80 new! Here, indeed, we have in substance the "good news of great joy which prophets foretold, of which angels sang, and which the Church of the redeemed is charged to proclaim to a waiting world. This great salvation. “ began (we are reminded) to be spoken by the Lord;” and it is to words of the Lord Himself that we must trace the form of the " saying " before us. “I came," said He, "to call sinners to repentance." Let us think first of

1. The fact stated, --It brings before our view a world of sinners, guilty, depraved, lost. 6. There is none that sinneth

and the Saviour's mission, therefore, to the world, is not the work of one who comes only to seek out and save those who have fallen lowest, but, as St. Paul said when he stood in the midst of the world's intellectual metropolis, it was for “all men everywhere.” The lost condition of men is further indicated by the word used to express the nature of that mission — " to save.” They who need salvation must be in danger, in danger of that death of the soul which is at once sin's penalty and sin's necessary outcome. Sin is “transgression,” a going beyond the holy and happy bounds of the Divine law. It is “trespass,” an entering into the kingdom and power of darkness and despair. It is "iniquity," deviation from the straight path of rectitude. It is "sin,” the missing of life’s true aim, and a "coming short” of the glory of God.

The only salvation which would meet man's case is one that will save both from the guilt and power of sin ; and to do this, Christ Jesus came into the world. Here, then, our saying " brings to remembrance not only salvation needed, but a Saviour come to meet our sore need.

It is not without interest and instruction to notice the terms in which the earliest disciples spoke of the Saviour. In the first Gospels, and also the latest, the name (simply human, yet heaven-given) of Jesus appears as the designation, but also He is called “Master," i.e. " Teacher, “Rabbi," "Lord.” St. John, and also St. Mark, on the earliest page of their Gospels, add to the name borne by Him from infancy the word “Christ;" and, as might be expected, when the personal ministry receded into the past, the “ Teacher" is no

[ocr errors]

more so called, and we find more often the Lord Jesus Christ." To appreciate the meaning of the designation thus given, we must avoid the common mistake of regarding “ Christ” as a proper name. It is truly a term of office; and as the sacred oil was used when Elisha was called to be a prophet, Aaron to be a priest, David to be a king, so in this comprehensive term the Redeemer's threefold offices of Prophet, Priest, and King, are shadowed forth.

It is the last of these offices, however, which is more especially in view when this name is used. When the apostles proclaimed " this Jesus whom we preach unto you is Christ,” they meant especially to uphold Him before the eyes of men as “exalted to be a Prince," and to claim for Him the allegiance of His people and of all men as the long-foretold Messiah of Israel and Lord of the world.

In all the glory of His Divine mission, though in all the humiliation of humanity, Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. There was nothing in such a work to gratify Divine justice or holiness, if Divine love had not urged Him on. This greatest of graces in man is also the divinest attribute of God. Heavenly and eternal love devised means whereby His banished ones should be restored to HimAnd how was so great a mission to be accomplished? We can answer this question most simply, though not most fally, by recalling the words of Jesus : “For this cause came I into the world, that I might bear witness unto the truth.” Sinners are to be saved by the truth ; saints are to be sanctified by the truth. Yet this answer is but a meagre one, if we do not remember that Christ Jesus is Himself the truth, and that the saving truth is that which tells a lost world of a Redeemer who died for it, who wrought a perfect salvation—not merely announced one—who is the Truth because He is also the Way and the Life. St. Paul could not quote this saying without applying it to his own case. “Of whom,” he adds, “I am chief;” and further adds, “that in me the chief (the word is the same) Jesus Christ might show an example of all long-suffering."

To how many a singer has the Gospel word, thus applied to his own case, been a savour of life unto life!

2. This fact is worthy of the acceptation of all.-St. Paul when he wrote this "saying” down, was full of his own experience. He knew that it was a true saying, because he himself had been saved as a sinner in open rebellion, and those who have thus accepted it know its worth. Objections of this unbelieving age, literary, scientific, philosophical, cannot shake the faith of such. But how shall its worthiness be shown to those that have not yet accepted it, and that they may accept it? Some are asking the question now, Is this saying indeed true or is it all a dream—a bright imagination born of old-world faith and ideal hopes ? All that can here be attempted in answer is to indicate some lines of thought which, if followed up, may be helpful to any one who asks this question sincerely, and who has not surrendered, to the shallow materialistic atheism, now


becoming fashionable, his faith in a living God. Let such an one reflect on the antecedent probability that God would provide salvation for His lost creatures. That they greatly need it is but too evident. Conscience bears witness within, the page of history, the aspect of the world without. The morning newspaper in almost every column bears witness to the awful facts of sin and misery. The Infinite Eye looks down at this moment on a thousand million human beings all of whom are sinners, and has looked down for thousands of years on sin and misery untold, increasing in volume and intensity with the growth of the race. And all are the “ offspring" of a Being infinitely wise, infinitely powerful, infinitely good. Is it possible to believe this, and not also to believe that this beneficent Creator, from the very necessity of His own perfections, must also be a Redeemer ? that some plan must long ago have been initiated by Him which, working through the ages, shall bring good out of evil, and restore the redeemed world to purity and happiness?

Let such an one further reflect that all other plans have failed to initiate such a redeeming work. If the Gospel message is not thus worthy, no other message is. All other religions are dead or dying. Art, philosophy, science, law, have all had their opportunity, and all failed to meet the case. Systems of pure theism, nearest to Christianity and likest to it, have, within the last two centuries, been elaborated by a few solitary thinkers, but all that is best in them has been borrowed from Christianity, and they have utterly failed to prove themselves “the power of God unto salvation." In spite of all these, “ darkness covereth the earth and gross darkness the people."

Further, let it be remembered that the advent of a great salvation to arise out of the people of Israel had been prophetically revealed for ages before it appeared. The promise of the final victory of humanity over evil, handed down from the time of its first appearance in the world, became gradually more explicit. The descendants of Abraham, the people of Israel, the family of David, were one after another desig. nated. Prophets and psalmists in long succession upheld the hope of the people of God and prepared the way for its accomplishment.

Once more, such a salvation actually appeared in the world in the fulness of time. It was attested by Heaven-sent signs, sufficiently authenticated to convulse the civilised world. Christ Jesus not only came into the world to save sinners, but made the salvation of sinners an actual fact, from the very commencement of His appearance. Wherever He came, salvation stood revealed. And from that time to this, wherever this faithful saying has been proclaimed, it has found acceptance and proved its infinite worthiness. Men and women and children of every variety of race, of every degree of refinement, of all grades of crime, have proved it to be the power of God unto salvation. And at this moment in each quarter of the globe, and in almost every race of mankind, it is the one unique moral and spiritual force, never more powerful, never more aggressive than now, in the dark places of

the world, whether these are found in the slums of London or in the coral islands of the Pacific.

Surely it is worthy of the acceptation of all !

3. This fact is worthy of the full acceptation of each.Many of those truths which are most worthy receive but a partial and half acceptance from those who in some sense receive them. And this, alas, is too often the case with the “ glorious gospel of the blessed God.” How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation ? This and this alone can bring us from the depths of sin and shame and misery to the heights of eternal glory. Let us receive it immediately, joyfully, entirely, and eternity itself will not exhaust its exceeding worthiness!



“NEW YEAR's Day," said Jessie, duty neglected, forgetting also an. opening her blue eyes widely as the other, far more important, Jessie January sun streamed into her ran down to the breakfast-table, to room through the frosted windows, find upon her plate a new book, a “and my birthday, and the day for puzzle game, and a large box of my party.”

doll's furniture; while Tom, her Very much excited at this last only brother, rejoiced in the possesthought, Jessie sprang out of bed, sion of a new book and a pair of and began to dress herself in great skates. haste. As she drew on her soft It was a merry breakfast, and white stockings and buttoned her was scarcely over when Aunt Jane pretty Balmoral boots, Jessie Marvin with Sue and Mollie came thought,

in, followed soon by Aunt Lily Grey, “ Now this year I am going to with George and Willie. be very good all the year. I am quite “Now, children,” said mamma, resolved not to do a single naughty “you may play in the nursery or in thing, or say a single naughty word the yard till dinner-time, but be until next January. Let me see. pleasant and obliging. After dinWhat are the worst faults I must try ner you must all be dressed for to conquer ? Hasty temper is one Jessie's party at three o'clock. You –I do get cross awfully quick. are all old enough to keep out of Want of order is another; and, oh, mischief; so run along." dear, how I do hate bothering to For an hour or two the children put things to rights when they are were very happy in the nursery; in a mess! Look at this room. It but Tom having found out that will take an hour at least to make George and Sue had new skates with it tidy, and all the Marvins and them, was very impatient to go out Greys are coming early, to spend of doors and try his New Year's gifts, the day, so Aunt Jane and Aunt Being a good-natured boy, he had Lily can help mamma to get ready given way to Jessie's proposal to for my party. I can't fix it up now. play indoors awhile with her treaAnnie must do it to-day, and to- sures; but when he suggested a morrow I will begin in real, good skate on the duck-pond, there was earnest to be neat."

a glad shout of approval from all And leaving this daily morning but Jessie.

"I don't want to go out, Tom,” her arm, scattering its contents she said fretfully. “It's really right and left. mean of you, Tom, when Willie “Now,” said Aunt Lily, “tell and I have just got my puzzle nice-me the trouble. Why are you up ly started, and Mollie and Sue are here all alone, while the others are putting the new furniture in the enjoying themselves outdoors ?” baby-house."

"It is all Tom's fault," Jessie be"But we all brought our skates, gan in a loud tone; but suddenly Jessie,” said Sue, "and the new she stopped, blushing, and in a very ones you got at Christmas are love- low tone told her aunt the story, and ly. Do come.”

all her good resolutions. “Of course she'll come,” said “And I have been awfully angry, Tom, as the others gathered up hats, already, and just look at this room, furs, and gloves.

she said, sobbing, “ in spite of my “Of course I won't, then," said good resolutions." Jessie angrily. “You are a nasty, “Jessie,” her aunt said gently, mean thing, Tom, to break up all“ did you ask God's help when you my party, and you may just go off said your prayers this morning ? by yourselves, there !” and Jessie “I forgot my prayers,"

said concluded her angry speech by Jessie ; “I was in such a hurry to pushing all the pieces of her new see my presents.” puzzle down on the floor, and run "I think that is the secret of all ning off to her own room.

your trouble, Jessie. Your resoluThe others, who were well ac- tions needed a prayer to strengthen customed to Jessie's rages, as them. Jesus will help you to keep they called them, took up their them; if you ask Him, but alone skates and ran off

, laughing and our best resolves will avail us noshouting, to the duck-pond. It was thing. I will leave you alone now, not that they were not fond of the Jessie, dear, and I hope you will ask little girl, but because she so often for help and guidance for the new gave way to unreasonable anger, year opening to-day.” that they were used to seeing such Jessie stood silent where her aunt displays and did not much heed left her for a moment, and then them.

knelt down humbly to ask her In the mean time, Jessie had Saviour to help her in keeping her gone to her own room, very angry good resolutions, and leading her to at Tom and her cousins, and quite be one of His chosen children. resolved to play with them no more When she arose, comforted, she that day. The sight of the disorder began at once to put her room in she had left in the early morning order, finding it a long, wearisome brought to Jessie's mind all her task. But she persevered bravely good resolutions, and the conscious- till every article was in its place, ness of how poorly she was keeping the bed neatly made, and the dust them.

all carefully wiped away. The din"It is of no use to try to be good,” ner-bell rang as she finished, and she said aloud.

with a bright face she ran down to Why, Jessie, what a dreadful meet her cousins. speech !" said a cheerful voice in By the time the children were the doorway, and Aunt Lily came dressed and the nursery ready for in, bearing a waiter with a mon- company, those invited to Jessie's strous pound-cake upon it. “Can party began to come in, and the you make room anywhere for this ?” little hostess was soon surrounded she asked ; " the pantry is full.”. by a merry group of her school

Jessie swept across a table with fellows and friends.

« AnteriorContinuar »