Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

all faith so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity,” (which means love,) continues the great apostle, “suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things."*

a 1 Corinthians, xiii. 2—7.

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

These things have I written unto you concerning

them that seduce you. But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in

, ye need not that any man teach you : but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

The epistle, or letter, from whence our text has been taken, was written by St. John the Evangelist, the favourite Apostle of our Lord, and addressed-not to the church of any particular country, like the epistles of St. Paul, but to the whole body of Christians who were then in existence, and for such a reason is it usually designated the Epistle General of St. John. The èpistle now before us opens with a description of the person of our Lord, through whom it is declared that all members of his church may obtain eternal life. Such a declaration, however, is necessarily associated with the necessity of good works, of exhibiting a practi

eal no less than a verbal conformity with Christ. The truth of our profession, in fact, and the foundation of our hopes, altogether depend upon this necessary and important adjunct. “If we say,” St. John asserts, “ that we have fellowship with him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not the truth : but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth from all sin." Hence, brethren, it is evident that “there is not a just man upon earth that doeth good and sinneth not,” though an improvement in righteousness, and an earnest endeavour to approach nearer towards perfection, in proportion to the number of days and the other means of grace which are meted out to us, are most indisputably necessary. children,” the Apostle proceeds,

“ these things write I unto you,

that
ye

sin not; and if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous : and he is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”

Enough, I conceive, has been now said to satisfy us that good works are necessary, and that these must be based on the same foundation as were all those acts of piety and benevolence which were performed by Jesus Christ the righteous. This foundation, brethren, for it can be none other, is charity or love; for what was it, other than this, which prompted the Son of God to leave his place of exaltation in the heavens, to descend upon earth and

My little

assume the likeness of sinful mortals, and in their behalf to submit to a death infinitely more painful than in a Christian country the vilest and the most hardened malefactors are doomed to undergo. On the establishment therefore of this principle, of this truly Christian characteristic in our hearts, St. John very strongly insists. And when we consider that it is the absence of this divine principle from the hearts of men, which, and which alone, admits of those numerous divisions and disputes which are infinitely too prevalent even among those who call themselves Christians, we perceive how naturally and how directly the Apostle was led on to those cautions and exhortations which immediately precede our text, and to which, as he declares, our text refers. “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that Antichrist shall come, even now are there many Antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us : but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is Antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father. And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life. These things have I written unto you, concerning them that seduce you. But the anointing which ye

have

received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you : but as the same anointing teacheth

you

of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.”

Is it possible, brethren, I ask every one of you here assembled—is it possible, I ask, that any one of us can look at the present confused and distracted state of this Christian and our native country, without perceiving that this epistle is as applicable to the state of the Christian church at this identical period of our existence, as it was to that of the infant church which was coeval with the life of the Apostle St. John? That you may obtain, however, a correct idea of the extracts which have just been selected from this epistle, it is essential that you should accurately comprehend the import of certain terms or expressions which are here prevalent, and on which the spirit of the exhortations altogether depends, as well as their connection with or opposition to each other.

I would here, therefore, suggest or recall to your recollections, that the term “Christ,” as applied to our Lord and Saviour, signifies Him who, according to the

very ancient custom of anointing the ministers of God with oil, has been pre-eminently and spiritually anointed to perform the office of Saviour of the world. It is thus explained by the Apostle St. I Peter to Cornelius the Centuriona. “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with

a Acts, x. 33–43.

[ocr errors]
« ÎnapoiContinuați »