« VorigeDoorgaan »
with God, and anxious to obtain it? Is he convinced that no man cometh unto the “ Father but by Christ ?" Is he seeking an interest in His blood, and the cleansing power of His grace?
Christ is moreover “the truth” in which we are to believe. Now truth, according to the meaning of the Hebrew term, is that which is worthy of dependence. Such is Christ. There is no danger of placing too much confidence in Him, for He is the Rock of ages. He is “ the “ truth," as all Divine truth has a relation to Him and centers in Him. In Him, as their point of concurrence, all the doctrines of Scripture meet.
Christ is called “ the truth" in opposition to shadows and to falsehood. The rites of the patriarchal and levitical dispensations were shadowy representations of Him who is the substance. All their value and importance arose from their relation to Him. They were of no use except as they were the means of conducting the minds of sinners to Him for salvation. But He is also “ the truth” in opposition to falsehood under all its varied forms. Man, as a fallen creature, and having a greater or less degree of consciousness of being so, has foolishly employed his vain imagination from the earliest ages in contriving schemes of salvation for himself. From Cain, the first deist, to his disciples in the present day, innumerable errors have been broached on the subject of religion. The early heathens, however, were the least heterodox; for they knew the necessity of a mediator, and had recourse to vicarious means of atonement. The Greeks and Romans deviated more widely from the original creed than their predecessors.
But their modern imitators, whether Moham. medans, Hindoos, papists, or protestant selfjusticiaries, have diverged further still by setting themselves up for their own saviours. As the truth, however, is “the same yesterday, to
day, and for ever,” error is likewise, under different modifications, essentially the same. It is a system of self-righteousness. In this its patrons have all agreed from the beginning. The true believer, while he renounces self, which, considered as a foundation for hope towards God is a lie, embraces “the truth;” for “Christ “is in him the hope of glory.” The truth is therefore said to " dwell in bim" and to make “ him free.” (2 John ii. ”
John viii. 32.) Christ is also « the life" which we are to receive, and by which we are to perform the functions of a living man. It is in vain that a way
is set before us, and that truth is exhibited to our embrace, unless we are made alive from the dead. Now Christ, as our Creator and Preserver, is the author and supporter of corporeal life. “ In Him” as God “ we live, and move, - and have our being.". All life, vegetable or animal, human or angelic, is His gift. But in a peculiar sense He is the life of the believing soul. This consists in its union with God, and both its comfort and activity proceed from free communion with Him. Christ is our life, as He is the medium of communion between us and God, by whom we are reconciled to Him, and through whom we receive all spiritual communications from Him. Christ is our life as He justifies by His blood, and quickens, sanctifies, and glorifies by the agency of His Spirit. (Comp.
John xv. 5. Col. iii. 4. John
. xi, 25.
Gal. ii. 20.)
How anxionsly should we inquire whether we be made alive by Him! Hunger and thirst, the faculties of seeing, hearing, tasting, feeling, and the power of motion, are, corporeally or spiritually, symptoms and evidences of life. Can we adduce proof that we are quickened to newness of life?
Now we pray in our collect that we may perfectly know the Son of God Jesus Christ in these views which are given of Him, that we may accurately understand the doctrine of the gospel, that we may cordially embrace it, firmly rely on it, uniformly adorn it, and at length be conducted by it to everlasting life. It is not enough to have heard of Christ, nor to understand the theory of the Gospel. The conscious mind cannot be satisfied without an experimental and growing acquaintance with Him. . (Phil. iii. 7--14.)
The end proposed in our petition for the knowledge of Christ is, “that, following the “ steps of the holy Apostles St. Philip and St. “ James, we may steadfastly walk in the way “ that leadeth to everlasting life, through the ~ same Jesus Christ our Lord.”
These holy men, like their brother St. Paul, “ determined to know nothing,” as the foundation of their hope, the source of their comfort, or the subject of their preaching, “but Jesus “ Christ and Him crucified." Christ was their “all and in all.” They walked in Him as the way to everlasting life; and by steadfastly persevering therein, attained the object of their devout desire. They now enjoy everlasting life, and have “set us an example that we " should follow their steps.” No holiness as the means, and no happiness as the end, is to
be attained without walking in the same way in which they walked, and that way is Christ.
But if we are treading in their steps, we shall be assailed by many temptations to deviate from their path. The allurements of the world, and the self-righteousness of our own bosoms, will
. try our fidelity to the utmost. In prosperity, outward or inward; in adversity, corporeal or spiritual, our steadfastness will be brought to the test. It is highly needful therefore that we should pray for persevering grace. He is unacquainted with the spiritual warfare, who doth not feel the propriety of our collect. O let us be “ followers of them, who through faith and
patience inherit the promises !” Let us walk in the same way, and lean on the same support, praying earnestly to God that He would enable us to follow their steps, and make us co-heirs with them of everlasting life.
ST. BARNABAS THE APOSTLE.
O Lord God Almighty, who didst endue thy holy Apostle Barnabas with singular gifts of the Holy Ghost; Leave us not, we beseech thee, destitute of thy manifold gifts, nor yet of grace to use them alway to thy honour and glory, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
proper and primary name of that ex
cellent man whom we now commemorate was Joses, which is the same as Joseph with a milder Greek termination. This was the name given him at his circumcision; to which after his conversion was added that of Barnabas by the Apostles, probably with a reference to those high qualifications for the ministerial office which he possessed and which are spoken of in our collect.
He was born in Cyprus, a celebrated island in the Mediterranean Sea, more memorable on account of our Apostle's nativity than of all its other advantages of soil and climate.
St. Barnabas was a descendant of the tribe of Levi in the line of the priesthood; which renders his conversion the more remarkable, since very few of the priests, comparatively, were, , during our Lord's personal ministry, obedient to the faith, their prejudices in favour of Judaism being peculiarly strong. But nothing is impossible to the grace of God. The parents of our Apostle were both wealthy and pious, and at a proper age he was placed under the care of