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it has been mocked at and scorned as a villanous hypocrisy, seeking some sinister object, or as a mean and pusillanimous cringing, which men of spirit must abhor. But ultimately the day shall come, when love shall assume her real and deserved station in the scale of worth; when her veil shall be withdrawn, and she shall unfold her golden pinion, and sun her celestial and amaranthine plumage triumphantly in the very brightness of the throne of God. Then it shall be seen that even in the days of her dark pilgrimage on earth, when to the multitude her loveliness was unrevealed, there was more real splendour in the kindly offices, the affectionate wish, and the resolute self-denial, and the enduring long-suffering patience of Christian love, however imperfect, than in all the pageantry of talent, wealth, or power; and that "though a man speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, he is but as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal."
Brethren, there is in the blessed apostle who wrote this letter, a most lovely specimen of this same grace of charity, even at the moment when he is inculcating it in the Corinthian church. He says at the close of the former chapter," and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way," evidently intimating his desire to press, as a matter of pastoral duty and authority, this duty on them, and to lead them to examine themselves by it. But the moment he comes in the next chapter to speak up
on this essential quality, this touchstone of a proper state of heart, he turns at once to himself, and makes it a personal matter. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal." This is a pattern for us to follow. We must make this a personal concern also. We must bring it home to our own bosoms. It matters little what we think or know of other men, or what is the relation which we bear to the standard of other men's conformity to the will of God. We must come individually to this, "Though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and give my body to be burned, and have not charity, I am nothing." It is a powerful test, but we must not spare ourselves with respect to it; for our life is in it. If this love is not the predominant principle in our minds, a principle increasing in its influence, and like the rising sun, dissipating the dusky vapours of earth, and hastening to the meridian in our souls, we are not the Lord's. This is the essential distinction between the child of light and of darkness, between the man of God and the man of this world. Our pride, our selfishness, our tumultuous passions, must habitually give way. We must be living in the spirit of our Master. And let no man shrink from the test. Let him bring all his inconsistencies up to it. Let him be humble and broke before God for them. Let him not be ashamed to own that his nature is the reverse of this gracious
principle; but that he is seeking the dominion of love. And oh! that the God whom we serve, and whose glory is to love and to be loved, would shine forth in all the victorious majesty of his love in Christ Jesus, and take a triumphant possession of our hearts. If God in Christ were but manifested to us in all his real loveliness and glory, the tumult of human passion would totally subside, and the reign of perfect love begin.
THE GLAD TIDINGS.
ACTS XIII. 18.
Be it known unto you, therefore, men and brethren, that through this man, is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins.
WE are met together on this occasion for what is called a Missionary object; that is, for the purpose of contributing to send the gospel message to heathen lands to provide that pecuniary assistance which is necessary, in order that our unenlightened brethren of mankind may have the opportunity of knowing what the almighty Maker of the world has done for our redemption.
At such a time, it seems natural and desirable that we should ourselves consider accurately what is the nature of the message which we are about to send to them, in order that we may administer to each other all proper encouragement in looking forward to the result. And this may be still more
desirable, when we consider that even in this late period of the church's history, there is a difference among good men in some respects as to what is the nature of the message to be delivered, and what the effects to be produced.
The substance of that message will of course be gathered in its simplest and best form, from the ministrations of those, who were first authorized by the divine founder of our faith to carry the word of life to the nations. An accurate examination of their words will go far to determine any controversy on this point. May we be guided in that examination by the Spirit of truth.
I have selected, with the view now stated, an instance of the preaching of St Paul to a congregation of Jews and Gentiles, assembled in a synagogue in a heathen city. Paul had been separated or set apart by the church of Antioch in Syria, according to the distinct intimation of the Spirit of God, to go forth with Barnabas and preach the word of God. In the course of his journeying he reached Antioch in Pisidia, a district of Asia Minor; and there, as he was wont, he entered into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, where were assembled a number of native Jews, and of devout proselytes from among the Gentiles; and on their being requested if they had any word of exhortation to speak, he delivered that address which we have now before us.
After giving a very concise view of the early