« ElőzőTovább »
apostle directs us here to give to the Father. It is not that we may not have our lawful affection for the useful things of life, but that we may have that energy and power of divine love within us, that will subordinate to itself
every other thing, that we may feel that if the friend we love comes between our heart and God, that friend must depart and take a second place, and not dethrone God, whether it be the wife of our bosom, or the friend who is dear to us as our own soul, or whether it be the things of life, nothing must come be tween us, and the ability to say " there is none on earth that I desire besides thee." This is what the apostle means when he says, “ If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
Here are the leading evils of which the Scriptures point out to us as that leaven of which our Saviour spoke in our text: “it was hid in three measures of meal till the whole was leavened.”
III. Let us in the last place, brethren, ask ourselves how are we to escape that evil leaven, or how are we to attain to that final blessedness? We have, blessed be God, simple clear teaching, and we have effectual power offered to us if we are only willing to submit to hat teaching, and to give ourselves up to that power. Oh! let us set before us eternity, let us feel all the weight of those awful words: “He that is unjust let him be unjust still, he that is filthy let him be filthy still, he that is holy let him be holy still :" and remember, that if we have nourished in ourselves, knowingly nourished in our hearts, the little leaven it will assuredly pervade the whole of our moral nature until no holiness will be found in us, and we shall be but one mass of sin. If we let the God-banishing thought to be even as a little principle within us, it will work on
until God is banished from our thoughts, and we shall first say to him, depart from us,” and he will
lastly to us, depart from me: he that is unholy let him be unholy still.” Now our Saviour gives us one declaration respecting the means of escaping that fearful judgment, that overspreading corruption, “Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath he cannot be my
disciple.” There must be an entire and perfect self-surrender, a self surrender of all that we value here, a surrender of all that we have; and if we do not, the little unsurrendered part will be the leaven of corruption that will overspread the whole mass. There must, therefore, be an entire self-surrender, or we have not begun to purge out the leaven of malice and wickedness that will corrupt our hearts. We have the means if this be the fundamental principle, and our great means is clinging faster to the truth which we have already received. The youthful Timothy was an appointed example to us how we are to escape from that evil leaven. If you turn again to the 3rd chapter of the Second Epistle to Timothy, you will find the apostle saying in the 14th and 15th verses, Continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them, and that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise even unto salvation through faith that is in Christ Jesus." Here then we have Timothy's instructors, “knowing of whom thou hast received them,” we have the means of instruction,—the “Holy Scriptures.” The especial person to whom he refers was Paul himself: “ And Timothy, my own son in the faith.” But there were two other instructors that Timothy had : "I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice.” Here then we have three means of instruction which are to keep us from the evils of the last day, domestic instruction, pastoral instruction, and both of those with the Holy Scriptures in their hands, " which are able to make us wise unto salvation through faith that is in Christ Jesus.” This is the external means then provided for our deliverance from evil men and seducers. If we turn to the 2nd chapter of the First Epistle of St. John, we shall find the apostle saying there in the 26th and 27th verses, “ These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you, but the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you, but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth and no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” Vain would be the outward teaching, vain would be the Holy Scriptures, if there were not within this holy unction. “These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you." You will be kept from the seductions by the anointing that abideth in you, that is truth and is no lie. And if we compare this with the apostle St. Jude, he tells us also respecting seducers in the 20th and 21st verses, how we are to keep ourselves from their seductions. “But ye beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” As the Christain church is a brotherhood, they are here represented in the associate character. If there be the inward unction that each individual has, there is the outward bond sanctified by the Spirit, which the whole community has. But seducers separate themselves, they know not the Spirit possessed by the true people of God. These build up themselves in their most holy faith, they pray for the power of the Holy Ghost, they keep themselves in the love of God, they look for the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. This is further confirmed by the voice of another prophet in the 3rd chapter of the Second Epistle of Peter. The apostle speaking of the errors of the wicked says, in the 17th and 18th verses,“ Ye therefore beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness, but grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, to him be glory both now and for ever, Amen.” Oh! brethren, how solemnly should the Saviour's warning fall upon our ears, how solemnly should the Saviour's teaching arouse our consciences, how vividly should the bright glow of eternal holiness keep itself before our minds, how fearfully should those words ring in our ears," he that is unjust let him be unjust still.” How earnestly should we remember that we are indeed a brotherhood in Christ, that we have our mutual influences, that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump;” and pray that we may be able to “purge out the old leaven,” that we may be a new lump, that we may indeed be building up each other n our most holy faith, keeping ourselves in the love of God, and preparing for the blessed brotherhood of the redeemed, when our blessed Saviour shall say to us,
Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”
THE MYSTERIES OF THE KINGDOM.
THE HIDDEN TREASURE.
St. MATTHEW, xiii. v. 44.---Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field, the which, when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.
Our state of renewal by grace is nothing more than our natural state freed from disorder and sin, and brought into abiding contact with the Divine Being. At the close of a parching, scorching summer day, the whole herbage looking drooping, ready to die, the night comes on, and the silent influences which accompany the darkness descend upon the drooping herbage, the morning arises, the face of nature is refreshed, and the light of heaven is resplendent from that restored renewed face of nature. Here is that which illustrates to us the operations of divine grace upon the natural condition of man, worn down with the burden of his corruption, wearied with the weight of his troubles, distracted by the perplexities of sin, man's nature is distorted, is corrupted, is defiled, and in the stillness of darkness God sends down the dew of his Spirit, the refreshing power is seen, the light of the Sun of righteousness rises upon his nature, and we perceive in the renewed soul the power of divine grace, and the beauty of the reflection of divine holiness.