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THE MIND OF CHRIST;
EXHIBITING THE MIND
WHICH OUGHT TO BE IN MAN, AS A NEW
PHILIPPIANS ii. 5.
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.
WHEN we affirm with confidence, upon St. Paul's authority, that "if any man be in Christ, "he is a new creature: old things are
passed away; behold, all things are become "new" to him; and when from thence we argue that man is bound under his new condition, by reason both of disabilities removed and strength supplied, to do the things which Christ says; it seems to me that a plain, practical examination of the mind which was in Christ Jesus, will be the best and simplest way of settling two most important points. First, it will best énable us to judge how far we may be answering the end of our own new creation unto good
works" in him; since this most surely must depend on the extent to which the mind that was in Jesus Christ is found in any of ourselves. And secondly, it will throw light-far clearer than can ever be derived from more or less contentious reasonings, even of the closest kindupon the possibility of our arriving at a state of mind and practice, which may without presumption be regarded as acceptable with God; or (what is in effect the same thing) upon the real, practical, nature of our Lord's example, as a pattern imitable by ourselves, exhibiting both what "new creatures" ought to be, and what they may become.
For these ends, I propose at present to consider the apostolic precept in the text;" Let this "mind be in you, which was also in Christ "Jesus." It will be seen by reference to the context, that the particular feature of this heavenly mind which the apostle had in view, when he was writing to the Philippians, was the exceeding condescension and humility of the Redeemer. But we will not confine inquiry now to this, or any single point. Let us take up the precept now in a more general way, and use it as a guide to lead us to a contemplation of our Saviour's
character at large. O that the mind were in us all, which was in Christ Jesus! We should not be the creatures which so many still are; doing so many things through strife or vain glory; looking every man on his own things only, in the spirit of selfishness"; but we should be, as the apostle bids us be, in lowliness of mind each esteeming other better than ourselves, and looking every man upon the things of others-not in that spirit of malicious curiosity, with which too many do regard their neighbour's doings or his business, but—in the spirit of love, and with the mind which Christ had, to help our brethren forward in the way that leadeth unto life. We should be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind; and present peace and joy would be our general recompence, and God would surely bless us and be with us, in our thoughts and in our deeds; and in our comings in, and in our goings out! For, we should then be seeking first his kingdom and his righteousness and who is he that doubts, that then all needful things of this life would be added unto us?
Unhappily, however, there is far too little of the mind of Jesus Christ, even in the very best of
b See the context.
cCf. Matt. vi. 33.
us; and in how many, none at all of it! Yet, Christian brethren, I will take on me to say this, and I would have you lay it well to heart that till at least some portion, and a growing and increasing portion of that heavenly disposition shall be formed and found within us, we may not hope that we are moving heaven-wards; we must not think ourselves among the sheep whom Christ will know, as being truly his, hereafter & we are not shewing forth the spirit of dutiful children, nor have we any right to reckon on a share in the inheritance of sons.
It is a matter, therefore, which concerns us very nearly, to keep in our remembrance always what the mind of Christ was; and carefully to search our spirits by the test, what portion of it may be traced within ourselves. Our Saviour has himself required of us to "learn of him. He "suffered for us, leaving us an example that "we should follow his steps f." Who, therefore, cannot see the downright folly of presuming to imagine that we ever can be with him where he is, without either ever loving one of the things or persons whom he loved, or caring for any of the things which he cared for?
Cf. John x. 14.
• Matt. xi. 29.
1 Pet. ii. 21.