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of his Gospel. But yet there is a comfort for you, that may lawfully encourage you. They who were put out of the synagogue, who were persecuted and reviled everywhere for preaching the Gospel of Christ; they lived to see the day when the kingdom of Christ was greatly multiplied, and the synagogue of the Jews sunk before it. What if this be, in part at least, your case; if, by firmness, by union amongst yourselves,—(for they who feared the Lord, in the midst of wickedness, were wont to speak often one to another, and the Lord hearkened and heard it,)—by patient continuance in well-doing, and by a Christian prudence, teaching you not to disfigure your profession by any needless severity or by folly,-you could not only save yourselves from being corrupted, but turn back the torrent of evil upon itself, and win others from the service of Satan to join with you? What, if owing to your efforts, always in the strength, and with your sole trust in your Saviour's aid, it should be no more reckoned excusable to lie or to equivocate, no more thought honourable to be idle, no more thought poor-spirited to walk steadfastly in the path of duty ? Even this is not beyond hope, if we all of us here assembled, who do
love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity,-you in your station, and your teachers in theirs, — labour, with all holy diligence, to advance Christ's kingdom. But if not, - if this be denied you,—and if you must still have to struggle against triumphant evil,—still remember whose arm will never fail you, and think of that hour when the triumph will surely be your own to all eternity. Think of the blessedness of being confessed by Christ before his Father, and the holy angels, because you in the world had confessed him. Think of the glory of receiving such praise as the most sublime of poets has expressed, in a strain not surely uninspired by that “ Eternal Spirit” whose aid he had sincerely sought
“ Servant of God! well done! well hast thou fought
The better fight, who singly hast maintained
JOHN XIII. 13, 14.
Ye call me Master and Lord : and ye say well; for so I am.
If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye ought also to wash one another's feet.
Of all the words and actions of our Lord that have been recorded in the Gospels, there is none, perhaps, more remarkable, none more unlike every other system of morals with which we are acquainted, than the action alluded to in the text. It was done deliberately and purposely for our instruction; to leave us a lesson of a particular kind, such as Christ well knew that we most needed. Indeed, it is a lesson which we all need, the old and the young alike; we need it at every time of life, we need it at every age of the world, we need it in every condition of society: but yet, if there be one period of life, one age of the world, one country, and one particular condition, in which it be particularly wanted, I may say with truth that yours is that period of life, and that ours is that age of the world, that country, and that condition. Some of
have heard me, on other occasions, dwell on the fearful contrast between the effects which Christianity ought to have produced, and which are spoken of in Scripture as its natural consequences, and those which have actually flowed from it. Our Saviour said, “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one towards another.” This love of one another was to be the mark and seal of Christians; it was to distinguish them from other men; so that those who were not Christians, looking upon their lives, and seeing them free from the jealousies, the quarrels, the violent and bad passions of other men, might confess that God was in them of a truth, and that so heavenly a fruit could proceed from nothing else than the tree of life eternal. Now, if we look through history, or if, without going to books, we look round upon our own neighbourhood, - nay, even if we come still closer home, and look round our own household,
upon those with whom we eat and drink daily at the same table, — nay, if coming nearer still, we look upon our very own relations, the parents, the wives and husbands, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, between whom love might surely be expected to reign,—what is the sight that we shall witness ? But better and more fitting is it to look into one place which will speak more clearly and certainly to us than all the rest: let us each look into our own hearts, and ask our consciences what we find there. Alas, my brethren, if he only dwelleth in God who dwelleth in love, surely we are not in God, nor God in us.
Even the kindest and most benevolent of us all, they in whom, to the eyes of others, nothing ungentle, nothing uncharitable is visible, even with them the heart knoweth his own bitterness; they know-and God, who is greater than their heart, knoweth also—how much that is harsh, and selfish, and violent, and unkind, mingles itself with their inmost spirit; how far they are distant from that perfect love with which God loved us, and with which we ought also to love one another.
But the text speaks of one particular kind of love more especially,—the love of our poorer