p. 34But still we read in Scripture of another sacrifice—a sacrifice which Christian people are called to offer. Thus in this text St. Paul says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” To this appeal the words in our Communion Service are the Christian’s reply:—“And here we offer and present unto thee ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice unto thee.” It clearly remains, therefore, for us to examine the character of this second sacrifice, and also its relationship to the great and perfect sacrifice completed on the cross for sin. This, then, if God permit, shall be our subject this morning. May the Lord dispose our hearts to bring to Him this holy sacrifice, that we, if we live, may live not unto ourselves, but unto Him “that died for us, and rose again!” 喀嚓
是一 This, then, being the case, we see at once why there is not more self-sacrifice for God. The reason clearly is, that there is a want of the deep sense of mercy. The sacrifice of Christ is not sufficiently realised, and the result is that the self-sacrifice is withheld. I fear there is a great want of self-sacrifice even among those who hold the truth. Surely there are many whose religion never costs them any real personal self-denial. They pass through life easily and respectably, but refer matters more to their p. 44own inclination than to the call of God. They are more ready to pay others to work than to work themselves, and are prone to stand aloof from distasteful service, if, as they say, it does not suit them; or, as they might say, they do not like it. So, again, but few deny themselves in giving, and though many are liberal, there are few whose personal comforts are really diminished by their liberality. Now, why is this? and how is it that the great salvation has not more power over us? Is it not that the salvation itself is not enough felt and appreciated? It is true of us, as it was of the Corinthians, that “we know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, though He was rich, yet for our sakes became poor, that we through His poverty might be rich.” But though we know it, we do not deeply feel it. It is like paint lying on the surface, but it is not burnt into us, so as to become part and parcel of ourselves. Everything may be correct; our doctrine scriptural, and our principles sound: but neither one nor the other has gone home to the inmost soul with such power that we have learned to “count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord.” What is it, then, that we want? What p. 45must lie at the root of all? A more powerful sense of mercy, a deeper conviction of need, a clearer perception of what Christ has done for us, a more thorough appreciation of His perfect sacrifice; and when that is given, we shall be better able to understand the appeal,—“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” I have quoted the passage from Rome in which it says there is “body, soul, and divinity.” But what does any one of those passages say about soul and divinity? If He had meant to teach us that the bread was changed into His broken body, what one word is there about the soul, or the Godhead? All that is added by Rome, and the whole fabric of superstition based upon it is without a shadow of foundation in the word of God. It is a vast superstructure, but, as far as the teaching of Holy Scripture is concerned, utterly baseless.
In 1 Cor. x. 17; xi. 26, 27, 28, we are all p. 13said to partake of bread: “Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.” 一股 We studied last Sunday the one perfect and final sacrifice made for the sins of the whole world, when our Lord Jesus Christ completed our propitiation on the cross. We found that that sacrifice differed from those of the ceremonial law, in the great fact that it was once and for ever; that it was so perfect, so complete, so fully sufficient to satisfy the whole claim of the law, that when it was once offered there was no place left for repetition, perpetuation, or addition. The veil of the temple was then rent from the top to the bottom, and there was no space left for any further rending. The Lord himself said, “It is finished;” so the whole was done, and done for ever.
I verily believe that the fact of this Divine appointment of the ministry is too often forgotten; and that thereby God’s people—and more particularly God’s faithful ministers—often miss the great encouragement to be derived from it. There is a tendency in some minds to suppose that God gives a special blessing on irregular efforts, and that the stated ministry of God’s word in church is not accompanied by the same blessing as the preaching of laymen in town-halls, iron-rooms, and theatres. God forbid that I should speak with the smallest disrespect of these irregular efforts, for I rejoice in the zeal of those who make them, and I firmly believe that in many cases God has greatly blessed them; so that, if only these gentlemen would but be content to act with God’s appointed p. 51ministry, instead of taking their own course entirely independent of it, I believe we might, with great advantage to ourselves and our people, avail ourselves of their devotedness and power. But it would be a sin to believe that God’s blessing is limited in any way to that which is irregular; that the only fleece on which the dew fails to distil is that which He Himself has placed to catch it. If He Himself has given us our ministry, if He has made us overseers of the flock, it would be doubting the fundamental principles of Divine fidelity to believe that having called us, having placed us, and having Himself given us our great commission, He would leave us to struggle on alone, untaught, unaided, and unblessed by the presence and power of the Holy Ghost. We may apply to the ministry what St. Paul says to the Christian,—“Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it;” and all of us, whether ministers or people, while we look for great gifts, great blessings, and great results, may rest assured that God is faithful, and will never leave those whom He Himself has appointed for His work. 的手 Sometimes it will be necessary to apply it to individuals, when the conscience is troubled by the conviction of sin. Our Church alludes to this in two passages often referred to. The first is from the close of the invitation to the Lord’s Supper,—“And because it is requisite that no man should come to the Holy Communion but with a full trust in God’s mercy, and with a quiet conscience; therefore, if there be any of you, who by this means cannot quiet his own conscience herein, but requireth further counsel or comfort, let him come to me, or to some other discreet and learned minister of God’s word, and open his grief: that by the ministry of God’s holy word he may receive the benefit of absolution, together with ghostly counsel and advice, to the quieting of his conscience, and avoiding of all scruple and doubtfulness.” ”