forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded, through Jesus Christ our Lord."*

* Collect for the Twenty-fifth Sunday after Trinity.

[blocks in formation]



ON a former occasion I endeavoured to excite the attention of my hearers to the allimportant subjects of christian privilege and christian responsibility, by following up the train of reflections suggested by the solemn consideration, “I am a Christian -What then?" I observed, that the sense of responsibility which follows the enquiry, must be proportioned to the meaning attached to the profession-" I am a Christian." And this we found to be the case with several different classes of professed

Christians, whose ideas of the dignity of the christian name are lamentably low.

Now this suggests the importance of asking ourselves the previous question, "Am I a Christian? Have I really entered into the enjoyment of those privileges which belong to a Christian indeed? Have I even an adequate idea of what those privileges are?" To these enquiries we are immediately led by the first rejoinder, which the mind of the dying pastor suggested, in answer to its own interrogative: "I am a Christian-What then? Why, I am a redeemed sinner, a pardoned rebel, all through grace, and by the most wonderful means which infinite wisdom could devise."


My brethren! the frequency of custom has given us an unholy familiarity with the name of Christian, which requires that we should abstract our thoughts from much that is associated with it, before we can realize to our minds its full import. "The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch," and in the days of the Apostles.

And since that time, how much of “the world, the flesh, and the devil," has passed current under the abused name of Christian? Even in the Apostolic age, there were those who were called "Brethren,"* who disgraced their profession by the grossest immoralities. There were those also of whom the Apostle said, "They went out from us, that it might be manifested that they were not all of us;" and who yet carried with them into the world the usurped name of Christian, to bring discredit on the genuine coin by the baseness of the counterfeit. Since Christianity has been the professed religion of nations, how much ignorance, indifference, and inconsistency, has necessarily passed under its name! In one age of the Church, military enthusiasm for the recovery of the Holy Sepulchre out of the hands of infidels, led men into forgetfulness of him who died for their sins, and rose again for their justification." The empty sepul

* 1 Cor. v. 11.

1 John ii. 19.

chre usurped the honour due to the Throne of grace and glory. Whenever, and wherever the Church of Rome has maintained her ascendancy, ignorance and superstition have been the most prominent features in the distorted countenance of Christianity.

And how is it with ourselves? Too many of us are become familiar with all the forms of truth, till we are grown indifferent to the truth itself. We are accustomed to speak of our Christian name, till it no longer recalls to our minds that it was given us in token that we belonged to Christ, and were bound to be "his faithful servants and soldiers to our lives end." The idea that corresponds with the word Christian is so generalized, so diluted by the admixture of secular notions, that it presents to our minds rather "an inhabitant of a civilized country," than “a redeemed sinner, a pardoned rebel," a converted soul.

Let us then endeavour to separate it

« VorigeDoorgaan »