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ther” with Christ " when we were dead in sins, hath He quickened us, and raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Thus “ we are members of His body, from His flesh, and from His bones : for whosoever eateth His flesh and drinketh His blood, hath eternal life,” for His flesh is meat indeed, and His blood is drink indeed; and “ he that eateth His flesh and drinketh His blood dwelleth in Him, and He in him '.
What a very different view of life do these doctrines present to us from that which the world takes. Only think of this one thing,—of the eagerness of the great mass of men after matters of time, after engagements of this world, after gain, after national aggrandizement, after speculations which promise public or private advantage; and having thought of this, turn back to the contemplation of Christ's cross, and then say, as candid men, whether the world, and all that is in the world, is not as unbelieving now as when Christ came. Does there not seem too great cause to fear that this nation, in spite of its having been baptized into the Cross of Christ, is in so unholy a state, that, did Christ come among us as He came among the Jews, we should, except a small remnant, reject Him as well as they ? May we not be sure that men now-a-days, had they been alive when He came, would have disbelieved and derided the holy and mysterious doctrines which He brought? Alas! is there any doubt at all, that they would have fulfilled St. John's words,—“the darkness comprehended it not?” Their hearts are set on schemes of this world : there would have been no sympathy between them and the calm and heavenly mind of the Lord Jesus Christ. They would have said that His Gospel was strange, extravagant, incredible. The only reason they do not say so now is, that they are used to it, and do not really dwell on what they profess to believe. What! (it would have been said,) the Son of God taking human flesh, impossible! the Son of God, separate from God yet one with Him! “how can these things be?” God Himself suffering on the Cross, the Almighty Everlasting God in the form of a servant, with human flesh and blood, wounded, insulted, dying ? and all this as an Expiation for human sin? Why (they would ask) was an Expiation necessary? why could not the All-merciful Father pardon without one? why is human sin to be accounted so great an evil ? We see no necessity for so marvellous a remedy; we refuse to admit a course of doctrine so utterly unlike any thing which the face of this world tells us of. These are events without parallels; they belong to a new and distinct order of things; and, while our heart has no sympathy with them, our reason utterly rejects them. And as for Christ's miracles, if they had not seen them, they would not have believed the report; if they had, they would have been ready enough to refer them to juggling craft; if not, as the Jews did, to Beelzebub. Such will the holy truths of the Gospel ever appear to those who live to this world, whether they love its pleasures, its comforts, its prizes, or its struggles; their eyes are waxen gross, they cannot see Christ spiritually. When they see Him, there is no beauty in Him that they should desire Him. Thus they become unbelieving. In our Lord's words, “No servant can serve two masters : for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon 1.” When He said this, the Pharisees derided Him. And He said unto them, “Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts, for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” God grant that we may not be of those who “justify themselves before men,” and “deride” those who preach the severe doctrine of the Cross ! God grant that, if we have any misgivings about the corruptions and defects of the religion now so popular among us, we may have the grace forth with to desire honestly to know God's will! God grant that we may not attempt to deceive our consciences, and reconcile together, by some artifice or other, the sera vice of this world and of God! God grant that we may not pervert and dilute His holy Word, put upon it the false interpretations of men, reason ourselves out of its strictness, and reduce religion to an ordinary common-place matter,-instead of thinking it what it is, a mysterious and supernatural subject, as distinct from anything that lies on the surface of this world, as day is from night and heaven from earth!
2 Cor. v. 14. Rom. vi. 6. Eph. ii. 5, 6. v. 30. John vi. 54.
THE CROSS OF CHRIST THE MEASURE OF THE WORLD.
John xii. 32.
“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto
A GREAT number of men live and die without reflecting at all upon this state of things in which they find themselves. They take things as they come, and follow their inclinations as far as they have the opportunity. They are guided mainly by pleasure and pain, not by reason, principle, or conscience; and they do not attempt to interpret this world, to determine what it means, or to reduce what they see and feel to system. But when persons, either from thoughtfulness of mind, or from intellectual activity, begin to contemplate the visible state of things into which they are born, then forth with they find it a maze and a perplexity. It is a riddle which they cannot solve. It seems full of contradictions and without a drift. Why it is, and what it is to issue in, and how it is what it is, and how we come to be introduced into it, and what is our destiny, are all mysteries.