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for my work; I engage in that work in the pulpit,, by the sick or dying hed; and the work is this: the new creation of men in Christ Jesus after the image of God; the resurrection of dead souls to life; the turning sinners from darkness, which they love, to light; the rescuing Satan's captives from his grasp; the binding the strong man, and the spoiling of his goods. And can I do this? Are these things possible with man? Is there in his brain's profoundest thoughts, in his most subtle or eloquent reasonings, in the tropes of his most brilliant imaginings, in his tongue's most breathing and burning words-is there inherent in the mere utterance of God's truth itself a power sufficient for this great end?
No, brethren, such a view of our work and its great end will constrain our assent to the applicability to our ministry of the assurance given to Zerubbabel by the mouth of Zechariah: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts;" and call forth the prayer: "Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live."
A second cause, which tends to obscure and weaken our practical realization of this momentous truth, is to be found in our self-confidence.
This is a danger to which we are exposed in unequal measure, the sanguine more than others; but it is a danger against which it becomes all to watch. It is difficult to combine activity and energy, a due, deep sense of our own responsibility for the exercise of our gifts and talents, with the abiding remembrance that, except the Lord, by his Spirit, be with us, nothing can be strong, nothing holy. And this is a danger which most besets the most gifted, and the most zealous and energetic. To such, "Not by might, nor by power," is a hard lesson. The man who has popular pulpit-powers, who is naturally of an active, practical turn, fitted for framing and conducting parochial machinery, whose mind is ever planning, whose bodily activity is untiring, how exposed is such a one to the danger of which I speak-the danger of forgetting that, if gifts and energy and tact be rested in, if they be not sanctified by prayer, and carried in lowly dependence to the footstool of the "God of all grace," a jealous God may withhold all blessings.
Who among us knows not the difficulty of going forth to his work each day, and each day returning from his work, in this spirit-"not by might, nor by power;" our little measure of might and power improved and "used to the utmost," but "trusted in not at all;" every sermon, every effort, every plan, anticipated and reviewed in this spirit: "Lord, do thou bless and prosper. Lord, do thou stablish and make strong?" How difficult to realize in our pulpits-when the subtle tempter whispers to our vain and silly hearts that we have been more than usually happy in the sermon we are about to preach, that there is some striking thought, some forcible illustration, some eloquent passage, in it-that, though Paul himself, yea, that though an angel from heaven were the preacher, neither Paul's a seraph's tongue could reach the heart! Though Paul be the preacher, there needs the Lord's hand to open Lydia's heart. And no less difficult to realize that, were Solomon's wisdom
and Moses' diligence ours, all were vain if the Spirit of God be neglected and forgotten. 0 tor more of self-diffidence, for more of humble dependence, for larger prayer! Then shall we be more honoured, when we more honour the Spirit of life and power and blessing.
As a third cause, I would specify the liability of this truth to perversion and abuse.
The whole doctrine of the Spirit's agency and influences is peculiarly liable to be dangerously misapplied by enthusiasts and fanatics. As the antinomian perverts to licentiousness the great and blessed doctrine that we are justiñed by faith only, without the deeds of the law, so will the unsober visionary exaggerate and misapply the vital truth of the offices and influences of the Holy Ghost. "His assistance is to be expected by us," observes the great and good man I have before cited*, as labourers in the vineyard, not as rhapsodists. We must expect a special blessing to accompany the truth; not to supersede labour, but to rest on and accompany labour." The man who applies to his own pulpit ministrations the special promise given to apostles: "Take no thought how or what ye shall speak; for it shall be given you in that same hour that ye shall speak," misapplies and wrests a promise obviously special. The man who practically applies the truth that, without the preventing, accompanying, and crowring blessing of the Spirit, he can achieve no true ministerial success, in such a manner as to relax his own utmost energies, to render him careless in the use and improvements of his gifts, and to weaken his own sense of responsibility, is, to use a common illustration, like the husbandman who should withhold the ordinary processes of agriculture in their season, and either neglect to sow, or leave the seed sown uncared for and untended, because the genial sunshine and the fructifying showers of heaven are not at his command, while yet they are indispensable for his crops.
It is with us in our ministry as in the work of grace in our own souls: God's work does not supersede ours. We cannot successfully work without him he works by us. In dependence, then, on the Spirit to fit us for our work and to bless us in it, our part is to be done. Sermons are to be studied; plans formed; institutions raised; body, mind, and spirit thrown into our great work. Every gift is to be consecrated, every talent improved-humbly, self-distrustingly, prayerfully; but diligently, unsparingly, devotedly. It must be labour in the Lord,' but labour still. The text did not release Zerubbabel and the Jews from the toil of building. When feeble women came to the door of the, sepulchre, they found the stone rolled away for them. When not feeble women only, but others able for the task, stood around the sepulchre of Lazarus, "Take ye away the stone, was the bidding of Jesus. To raise Lazarus was beyond their power; not so to take away the stone. "The grace of God" was "with me," writes St. Paul; yet "laboured" he "more abundantly than they all." This, then, reverend brethren, is our example in the application of this great truth. As on the one hand the most untiring labour, the most diligent use of the most shining Cecil's Remains, p. 208.
gifts, were presumption, if not sanctified and controlled by entire dependence upon the Spirit of God, so this dependence without diligence is mistake and folly.
DESIGN OF THE INCARNATION*.
As respects the purpose or object of the incarnation of the Son of God, the same holy scriptures which declare the fact also make known the in
tent. The Lord Jesus came into the world with a special object in view, viz., "to save sinners,' to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself," to destroy for ever the power of sin, Satan, and death, and to open unto us the gate of everlasting life. Surely he did not become flesh, and dwell among us, in order to amuse or make us wonder; or in order that we might hear of it as a marvellous great thing of other days and other lands, and be astonished and go on our way the same as ever; neither was it simply as a teacher of the word of God that the divine Saviour came and sojourned on earth; nor was it only to publish among men a more perfect moral system than had ever been known, and to set us an example of how a man may and ought to live. Such an object alone it were unworthy to attribute to the Lord of heaven and earth; and, if this had been all that he intended to perform or did perform, it could not meet the wants of sinful, guilty men, or satisfy the cravings of the hungry soul for immortality. It was for a higher and more glorious object that the Lord Jesus came and dwelt among us: it was to atone for the sins of the whole world: it was to suffer, and to die, and to save his people from their iniquities: it was (in the language of the prophet) to bear our griefs, and carry our sorrows, to be stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted: it was to be wounded for our transgressions, to be bruised for our iniquities, to have the chastisement of our peace upon him, and that with his stripes we might be healed: it was that the Lord might lay upon him the iniquity of us all it was that he might purchase the gift of the Holy Ghost, to sanctify and cleanse the hearts and purge the consciences of people; and that through the merits of the Redeemer we might receive pardon, be restored to the favour of our justly-offended Maker, and have good hope of eternal life. Away, then, with the flimsy pretensions and boasts of the Socinian, ah, and still worse (for the truth must be told) with his daring impiety to rob the Lord of light and life of the glory and worship which are his due! And, as for ourselves, while we look with holy horror and indignation upon tenets so pernicious and so unChristian, let us bless God that we are preserved from the wiles of the arch-deceiver, and that we have the pure and holy faith once delivered to the saints; and let us pray for those who know not what they do, that the Lord may visit not upon them the just consequences of their ignorance, hardness of heart, and contempt of his holy word. While we rejoice in the blessed privilege of assembling together to praise God the Father for the incarnation of his only -begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, let us remember who he is, and for From Spencer's "Christian Instructed."
what purpose he came: let us moderate our joy, or rather take heed that it be such a joy as, while it leads us to cling to him as one who was man, may make us continually and thankfully worship and adore him as God our Saviour. Let us meditate upon the wondrous love which is exhibited before us in the nativity of our Lord and Master; the love which the Father has, who gave his only-begotten Son to die for us; and the love which our Redeemer possesses, in that he came and died for us while we were yet sinners, rebels against his laws, and despisers of the riches of his grace. And, when we look upon the holy child, lying in a manger, in all the weakness and helples-ness of infancy, and then think that he is the mighty God, the Prince of peace, that he has stooped so low as to clothe himself with our nature, to take upon him all the infirmity and pain and trial and anguish, which are the lot of mortal man; when we see and think upon these things, which are too great and too mysterious for us to comprehend in their fulness and manifold relations, and to be reached and applied to the soul by living, active faith alone, O let us put away from us every proud thought: let us humble ourselves at the foot of the cross, and pray that we may imbibe the spirit of our Master, who died thereon; that we may have more and more of his self-denying, humble, and obedient spirit.
THE TRUE GLORY OF A CHURCH*.
second temple was, in many respects, vastly infe"AND I will be glorified, saith the Lord." The rior to the first. The difference caused great grief and lamentation amongst many of the Israelites. Many of the priests and Levites, and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house voice" (Ezra iii. 12). And to this inferiority we was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud have also an allusion in Haggai ii.: “In the seventh month, in the one and twentieth day of the month, came the word of the Lord by the prophet Haggai, saying, Speak now to Zerubbabel Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to to the residue of the people, saying, Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? And how do ye see it now? Is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing?" (Hag. ii. 1-3). And it is further to be remarked that many things, which chiefly contributed to, yea, which constituted, the glory of the first temple, were lost to the second; things which could never be replaced. The Shechinah, the bright cloud, the emblem of the Deity himself, was for ever relaw, which had been preserved in it. The Urim moved. The ark was lost, and the copy of the and Thummim too, by which God had been wont his will, was irrecoverably gone. And the fire, to communicate to his people the knowledge of which had descended from heaven, was extinct; so that they must henceforth use, in all their sacrifices, nothing but common fire. Whatever was
* From a sermon preached at the consecration of St. Mary, Ellerton, by the rev. J. D. Jefferson, M.A., incumbent of Thorganby, Yorkshire. London: Hatchards. York: Marsh. 1848.
most interesting to the ancient church had disap-
them all. We love and venerate the established church of our native country. We regard it as one of the purest and most efficient branches of the church, which Christ has purchased with his blood. God grant we may ever love and venerate it! Never was church more worthy of a nation's love and veneration. But what is it which invests the church of England with so much excellency and beauty? Its endowments? Its antiquity? The homage it has received from successive generations? The honour the state puts upon it? No, brethren. We do not lightly esteem these things. Far from it. But, if these were all the excellencies which our church had to boast of, and for which it was distinguished, even were it to fall to-morrow, we should hardly be inclined to stretch forth a hand for its preservation: we should scarcely be moved to shed a tear for it when it was gone. It is the exhibition it makes, in all its services, of a glorious Saviour; it is the clear and strong light in which it holds forth the Lord Jesus Christ; it is the way in which it makes fully known the truth as it is in him, the greatness of that salvation which is in him and in him alone, the extent of his love, the power of his grace, the all-sufficiency of his merits and atonement; it is this which gives our church its real glory. God grant that this glory may continue within it! God grant that it may shine in it brighter and brighter, even unto the world's end! It is possible that some reforms may be required in it, and may be desirable, in order to promote its great ficiency; but, O brethren, let them be reform which exalt nothing in our church above Chris and put no veil on Christ's glory and greatness. Innovations, of late years, have been attempted to be introduced. Innovations still seem to be threatening us. The worst, perhaps, which could threaten us, are those, which would substitute rites and ordinances for a SaAnd wherein consists the chief, the true glory viour's blood, penances and superstitious observof any church? Not, certainly, in the outward ances for his grace, a form of godliness for a show of costly magnificence. Not in the display heart-warm love for him, and an outward devoof architectural skill. Not in the gold and silver tion for practical obedience to his will. We may which gliter within. Not in the gorgeous adorn-ultiply houses of God in our land, yea, we may ment of high altars. Not in embroidered garments and precious stones. Not in these, or things like these, which, by their imposing appeal to the senses and the imagination, are calculated to attract the notice, and secure the attention, and captivate the heart of the carnal observer. O no. But it consists in the presence and in the manifestation within it of the Lord Jesus Christ. In his bodily presence, indeed, he is now removed far away from us. Having passed, through the grave and gate of death, to a joyful resurrection, he is ascended to his Father and our Father, to his God and our God. The celestial gates have expanded; and the triumphant Jesus, the King of glory, the Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle, has entered the heaven of heavens, and taken his place at the right hand of the Majesty on high, angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him. But there is a spiritual manifestation still made of him in our world through his gospel; and it is this which gives our churches their real glory. It matters not whether we speak of national churches, or of smaller communities of Christians, or of the mere buildings in which we worship, this is true of
cer it with churches; but all experience testifies and proves that they will be useless, that they will do our land no good whatever, unless the glorious gospel of Christ, "the desire of all nations," the Redeemer of sinners, the only Saviour of lost mankind, be plainly and fully and unreservedly proclaimed within them. We may half fill these churches with ministers: all experience proves that they will be scourges rather than blessings amongst us, unless they be humble, holy, devoted, and faithful men, who, like the apostle, "count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus their Lord" (Phil. iii. 8).
Are these instruments profited by such use, and are they not laid aside as soon as done with? It is possible, therefore, to make a very showy display out of the bounds of our station, and yet be very far from the blessing of God.
STRAYING FROM OUR APPOINTED SPHERE*. How sad a case is that which now so commonly prevails, when a man, having excited his ambition by a future prospect, proportioned in brilliancy to the tawdriness of his self-conceit, leaves the duties The work of his station will always be drudgery It is a severe task to the inof his proper sphere unfulfilled, to interfere with to the spiritualist. those of another; setting himself up as a bishop dolence, the vanity, the love of novelty and notoover other men's affairs; and is thus at once un-riety, which are generated by his speculative profitable in the post assigned to him, and a hin- flights; and, therefore, that part of the building drance in that which has been assigned to another! which was assigned to him in the edification of The proper duty of his post is too palpable for the glorious temple of the Lord's body is neglected. him, too much matter of fact and of common- Its architecture was too familiar, perhaps only a place. He finds it too material, too much of a plain course of stone, while he would be at pointconfinement for his enlarged and spiritualized ing a pinnacle; and the labour too mechanical, mind; and that duty, which clearly calls upon perhaps only laying a stone, when he would be him for exertion on the spot, is idly and capri- carving one. He therefore abandons his work to ciously forsaken for some imaginary occasion of set up for himself, and builds a castle in the airusefulness, just as the doll is thrown out of the a true modern architect's castle, fantastic, inconwindow by the child that cries for the moon. And, gruous, uninhabitable, and found to be in everyto come to the melancholy conclusion of the ab- body's way. But even this soon makes way for surdity, after having run about the country on his some other fabric of the fashion of the day, equally self-elected apostleship, and intruded with his own unsubstantial, equally absurd; and the builder is will on the duties of those who were posted by the succeeded by other builders, equally vain, equally will of God, after the work of disunion and con- giddy, equally babbling the dialect of Babel, fusion which his ambition and vanity have equally at home abroad and abroad at home, and wrought, he looks complacently and confidently carnalizing the spirit by the proud attempt to forward to the welcome of, "Well done, thou spiritualize the body. good and faithful servant." It never for a moment enters into a mind so fully prepossessed with the notion of its own merits, that there is another and very different salutation for those who have prophesied in the Lord's name, but whom he never SCIENTIFIC ECONOMY.-In the iron works of knew. And will the Lord know, does he recognize, any one who thinks to work out of his own Ystalifera, where the iron is smelted by the use of station? The man may, perhaps, point to some anthracite coal, advantage has been taken, in a most seeming good for a sign; but he shuts his eyes to ingenious manner, of an observation that the gases the positive evil. He may point to following which are evolved from the furnaces escape at a crowds; but does being followed by crowds place temperature which is about the melting point of brass. God at our head? Let him be assured that the By an arrangement, which is in its character exceedman who steps out of his proper station can no ingly simple, the hot gas is led off into another chan more know the Lord, and so be known by him, than he who knows the Lord will step out of his nel, by means of a strong current generated through a chamber and air-way, from a point just below the station. To do that is at once to abandon the very It is conducted (with very appointed spot of mutual recognition; for where top of the iron furnace. is it, but in the very execution of our duties under little heat lost in the passage) under the boiler of a his that the acquaintance is either begun or steam engine; and it is found to be at a sufficiently grace, maintained? For there is required the opening of high temperature to heat the boiler without the conthe heart in watchfulness and prayer, in self-sumption of any fuel whatever. Hence an immense examination, and in noting and putting to account the daily opportunities peculiar to the station, in the confidence of faith, in dependence upon divine In help, in reliance on heavenly promises. short, as well might the Jewish priest have sacrificed outside the temple, as the Christian priest offer the sacrifice of his body on that spot which the Lord has not appointed to him.
How utterly did God disapprove, through the mouth of his apostle, the doings of men who had even been commissioned by him through the manifestation of extraordinary spiritual gifts, but went out of their way, and abused them to the selfish purpose of obtaining the lead of a party? He tells them that, however God may have used them for his purposes, yet their relation to him, and his to then, is no closer, no higher, than what exists between the man and the trumpet which he sounds, or the cymbal which he strikes.
* From "The Ministry of the Body;" by the rev. R. W. Evans, B.D.
saving is effected. Although only one furnace and
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THE LAME MAN HEALED AT THE BEAUTIFUL tiful," would be a point where he might obtain GATE OF THE TEMPLE.
WE find in the third chapter of the Acts a most interesting account of a miracle wrought by Peter and John.
There was a man who had been lame from his birth, who was dependent for subsistence on the alms of the charitably disposed. And, as the temple was a place to which the multitudes of the Jews were continually thronging, it was thought that that gate, which was specially called "Beau
particular notice and relief. The two apostles were one day going to the sanctuary at the hour of public prayer (the ninth hour, that is about three o'clock in the afternoon); setting us an example, as their Master before them had done, that we should not forsake the assembling of ourselves together.
The lame man seeing them asked their charity. But they had neither silver nor gold to give. They had been poor labouring men before they were called to the apostleship; and their worldly con