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There are still those who would fain persuade us that differences of opinion upon the person of our Lord are very much of the same class; but again we reyert to these questions, and we say they were not proposed by some narrow doctrinalist, thinking more of catechisms than of consistency; they were not asked by some speculative disputant, more anxious to settle curious questions than to build up godly characters. It was He who preached the sermon on the mount, and who said, “By their fruits ye shall know them,” who asked so earnestly, “What think ye of Christ? Whose Son is he? Whom do ye say that I am ?"
Let it not be supposed that what is now being written is out of harmony with the spirit of charity which was sought to be embodied in some previous passages. It is a prevalent fallacy that in the service of charity we must count religious opinions to be of very little importance. The very reverse is the case, for he who deems orthodoxy to be of little moment, and heterodoxy of little moment, cannot, so far as opinions are concerned, exercise any charity at all. You may as well talk of a man exercising patience where there are no trials, and of exercising meekness where there is no provocation, and of showing bravery where there is no danger. This is the true sphere and real action of charity, when one man can say to another, “I hold you to be in grievous error, I hold your errors to be of grave importance, but it is not for me to condemn you. While heartily repudiating your errors, I can believe in your sincerity and revere your earnestness, and I will strive to exercise toward you that spirit of forbearance and love which I desire you to exercise toward me." Indifference is not charity. The Saturday Review spirit, which seems to be this-Nothing is certain, nothing is real, nothing is true, and it is of no consequence—that is not charity. The apostles of laxity arrogate to themselves that they are also the great exemplars of charity. It is as great a mistake as when it is supposed that infidelity is always liberal-minded, and that it takes an unusually big brain to make a Rationalist. Laxity is not an atmosphere in which charity can live, or a field in which it can unfold its beauty and bear its blessed fruit. He who values truth very highly, and who holds his religious opinions very earnestly, he has the best opportunity of displaying the queen of the graces, for he can say, "I'll be firm to my convictions, but nevertheless will I be full of brotherly kindness to all who differ from me."
IV. Amidst the diversity of opinions concerning him, there was one which our Lord emphatically commended, and the possessor of which he pronounced to be blessed. It was that of Peter, who said, “ Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” If this were the only Scripture which recognised the Divine nature of the Saviour, we could not lay great stress upon it; but as it is only one amongst many, we may consider that Peter was beginning to see that which Jesus referred to when he said, “I and my Father are one." The apostle here standeth at the head of the long line of confessors—he standeth as one on whom the morning was just breaking. Though not as yet with full perception of its height and depth, and length and breadth, still he had a glimpse
of the great truth the holy Church throughout the world has never given up—that He who appeared in our nature and died for our sins was more than mere man, was higher than any of the angels, was God's own Son, in glory, majesty, and power, equal to the Eternal Father.
When Peter made this confession of faith, he was not corrected as holding exaggerated views of his Lord's greatness, but he was assured that his opinion was the gift of God; and because he had that clear view of the Saviour's Divinity, he was appointed to honour, and invested with authority. Thus the crowning lesson we learn from this Scripture is, the great practical importance of having clear, firm belief in the Gudhood as well as the manhood of Jesus. Apart from such belief, we cannot realize the full power of his example. He is our pattern of selfdenial, and it is with the story of his life and death we confront all selfishness. Who does not see that a belief in his Divinity must unspeakably increase an estimate of the magnitude of his self-sacrifice? If I held him to be only a man, I might ask, “When was he rich? How could he become poor who was never anything else ? True, he gave up three years of his life to teach his countrymen, and when in their malice they would have his life, he gave up that too.” On the shallow theory of his naked, simple humanity, how his self-denial melts into Comparative littleness! But take the other theory, that, though he was in the form of God, he was not eager to retain his equality with Godthat to save the world he stooped from the throne of Deity to the cross of the malefactor—then in what colossal proportions his self-denial stands before us, and, in the presence of such boundless generosity, all human selfishness must be constrained to hate itself, and to hide itself for ever!
If I esteemed him to be nothing but Son of Man, I might hold him forth as a pattern of lowliness ; for he had great wisdom, and was never proud of it; he had vast powers, and never displayed them in the spirit of vain-glory; and he was eminently holy, but never treated the worst with scorn. To all this add the truth of his Divinity—that he, though in the form of God, took upon himself the likeness of sinful flesh, and bumbled himself even to death; then the power of his example is overwhelming, and the marvel is that our foolish pride can live in its preBence for a moment.
We rejoice over his compassion, and we love to read of his tears over guilty Jerusalem. Yes, but recognise him to be God manifest in the flesh, and how the value of his compassion is increased! David Wept over transgressors. “Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because men keep not thy law.” Jeremiah was full of tenderness over perishing men.“ Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fourtain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people !” Paul so pitied his stubborn brethren that he could say he could wish himself accursed for their sake. We cannot und in the grief of these the gospel we find in the weeping of Christ Over Jerusalem. Why? Because they were men amongst men, and bəthing more. He was Immanuel, God with us. Believing in his Divinity, his very tears became ten thousand times more precious to us, for they tell us of the pity of God. Through his grief we get insight into the very heart of Deity, and learn how true it is that the Eternal desireth not the death of a sinner, but would rather he should turn from his evil way and live...
If space permitted, it would be easy to show that a recognition of Christ's Divine nature increases the power of every other truth concerning him. So far from being a merely speculative opinion, it is or ought to be the most practical article of our faith. It gives authority to hi teaching, it enforces his commandments, it imparts merit to his sacrifice and assures us of his mightiness to save unto the uttermost. It is no to be wondered that from the many thoughts men had about him oui Lord should take this one, and crown it with the glory of his approval and blessing.
We are told that after Diabolus was driven out of Mansoul, many Diabolians lingered about the town doing much mischief. Foremost amongst them was Wrong-Thoughts-of-Christ, a great disturber of the peace, a great hindrance to holiness, even where he is not a great destroyer of souls. Let there be close searching of the city, so that if he be still lurking in it he may be forth with cast out. Happy is he who, in freedom from error, can look up to his Lord and rightly answer his Lord's inquiry, “Whom say ye that I am ?"
TOILING IN ROWING.
BY THE REV. JOHN ALDIS, JUN. " And He saw them toiling in rowing, for the wind was contrary unto them."Mark vi. 48.
It is needless to recapitulate the bread that nourishes our bodies is circumstances with which the text is intended to lead us to thoughts of connected. Christ's feeding the mul. Him who is the Bread of Life. And titude-his retirement to the moun- so of many things ; perhaps, had we tain for prayer—the embarkation of eyes more spiritually enlightened, the disciples on the lake-the sudden we might say, of all things in creastorm against which they had to / tion. A living writer well says, struggle—the appearance of Jesus “ Nature is but a shell cast up by walking on the sea-his stilling the the ocean of His infinite love, in tempest, and their speedy arrival at which the childlike listener may their destination-are familiar to all hear, faintly and afar off, the everreaders of this magazine. But it is lasting melodies of its unfathoinable important to notice the typical cha- | waters.” racter of these events. There is And happy are we when we can much more in nature that is typical see all around us types of Christ and of spiritual realities than we are apt l of his work. This boat's crew is a to suppose. The vine is a type of fitting emblem of Christ's Church in Jesus; one object of its creation, all time; and the giorm on the lake, being to image him forth: “I am with the fierce wind, and the big the true (the original) vine." The waves against which the disciples
had to row, is a type of the diffi- | The messenger of death calls away culties the Church has to contend some who seemed to be pillars; or against ere the fair and quiet haven by other means helpers may be taken be reached. Then in the background away. And then, fewer men at the of the picture we have the Saviour's oars, those who remain must pull watchful eye, and at length the the harder. The retarding wind Saviour's gracious deliverance. “He sometimes comes from Heaven, and saw them toiling in rowing, for the no piety or earnestness can avert it; wind was contrary unto them." nothing remains but to toil in row.
1. The work of the Church is not ing. Or difficulties may arise from always smooth sailing, but sometimes the poverty of the instruments emtoiling in rowing, with the wind con ployed. If a man be rowing with a trury.
rude cudgel, he must pull harder to The passage of the Lake of Ga. get along than if he use a welllilee, surrounded as it was by hills formed oar. “ If the iron be blunt, crowned with woods and waving and he do not whet the edge, then corn, must have been a pleasant sail. 1 must he put to more strength.” And now that the Passover was nigh, There may be few helpers and small the new moon shed her peaceful talents; the feeble must pull very light over the calm waters; and hard when the wind is contrary. Or when the disciples set out they the hindrance may arise from spi. migut promise themselves an agree. ritual causes. There is a lack of able voyage at this delightful season faith, and Jesus does not many of the year. But a sudden storm of mighty works because of their unwind coming down through the belief. There is little prayer, and conmountain-passes, clouding the sky, sequently small blessings descend. and raising great waves on the ere There is a lack of union and love, while quiet sea, changed all this ; so and the peace-loving Heavenly Dove that the strong arms of these fisher must depart. In such ways the men could only lug the boat along at devil gains the advantage, and raises A sorry pace. Little prugress had | a storm on the sea. Then the earnest they made by nearly morning, few must toil in rowing, for the wind though all night they were toiling in is contrary. moming, for the wind was contrary. II. The Lord Jesus looks with ap.
Such is a picture of the Church's proval upon his people when they are work. It is sometimes easy and | still found toiling in rowing, though pleasant; the ship is wasted on by the wind be contrary. gentle zephyrs, the toil is easy, the He saw them, saw them with approgress rapid, and the oarsmen pull proval. And there is something merrily along. But,
truly noble about the conduct of 'The Christian Church is seldom long at
these disciples that night. Jesus ease,
had bidden them embark, and make When one trouble's over another doth for the other side. They did so; her seize."
but soon a tempestuous wind rose Now the storm comes, the wind is against them, directly opposing their contrary, and there is need for toil progress. Weak hearts might have ng in rowing. Sometimes there is a counselled, “It is no use oposing storm of persecution from without, this, let us put back again to land." and the Church has tribulation ten But these good men and true argued, days; iniquity abounds, and the love “ No; our Master has bidden us go of many waxes cold. Then the stout to the other side, and towards the Hearted need to toil in rowing. Or other side go we will." Probably Lying Providences visit the Church. | Judas would want to return to save his life and his bag of money ; per- / it comes to the tug and rub of the haps Peter would waver a little; thing, the crowds are absent, and perchance Thomas would conclude only the faithful few toil in rowing that they would all go to the bottom, when the wind is contrary. Many and yet his loving though doubting will stick to a Church when it is in a heart would say, “Let us go on, flourishing condition, congregations though we should die for him.” So large, and additions frequent, but they tugged away at the oars, though | forsake it when it is in low water. with little success. Six or eight Many cleave to it when all goes hours of that weary night thus smoothly, but get tired when there is passed away, and only three or four | discouragement and difficulty. Many miles of the journey were made. think solely of their own advantage But Jesus looked on with approval. and comfort; as long as this object “ He saw them toiling in rowing, for is gained, all well and good ; but if the wind was contrary unto them.” | anything arise to prevent their en
Alas! conduct the opposite of this joyment for a time; if they have to is sadly common--rowing in smooth bear the burden and share the solici. water, and leaving the ship to shift tude, their interest in the Church for herself when the wind is con declines; they will go ashore and trary. Perhaps you have seen a ves leave the ship to fare as best she Bel launched. Crowds of gaily dressed may. Churches as well as indi. and smiling people gather round the viduals may sometimes say,dock, and handkerchiefs wave, and
“The friends who in our sunshine live, hats are lifted high, with the loud When wintt r comes are flwn; huzza, as she glides heavily from her And he that has but tears to give cradle into the water. But that May weep those tears alone.” ship presently ploughs the briny | Oh! that it were true of all Chrisdeep, and all that bright and noisy tians, “ He saw them toiling in rowthrong is silent and far away ; only.ing, though the wind was contrary the stout-hearted mariners, toiling unto them." on through storm and tempest, are When a' kward rowers in a boat there.
encounter a storm, they begin On some calm day, when the ocean, to find fault with one another. in its “ many-twinkling smile," “ You are not pulling in time;" Aashes back the brightness of the | “You are not holding your par sun, and the peaceful deep mirrors aright;" “ You dip your oar in too clearly the azure of the eternal sky, deeply, and unless you take care you the pleasure-boats are crowded. But will upset the boat;” “ You are not on dark days, when old ocean scowls working hard enough ;” “You are and looks gloomy, and great waves steering in the arong direction." dash in anger on the shore, and the All very well to try and correct each biting wind blows far inland the other's faults ; but, after all, the briny spray and the feathery surf, most important matter is, that each none brave the sea but those who pull away at his own car. So if a with dauntless courage are bent on Church make little progress, there is the discharge of some important danger lest men begin to seek out business
what there is in everybody else that How often fares it thus with the proves a bindrance to success. It is Church! When some ecclesiastical very desirable when anything is seen ship is to be launched-some chapel | in another that prevents advanceopened or some minister ordained ment to point it out; but, after all, there will be plenty of admiring and the chief thing is, that each search sympathizing spectators. But when out what hindrance there is in him.