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meant, and sincerely and truly meant, as much. It meant that the offerer felt himself a child of Providence—a recipient of costly favours; one who owed his all to God; who was in no proper moral sense his own; who looked on bis possessions and on himself as Divine property, as now and evermore the Lord's; and while he humbly expressed his hope of mercy, through the institute of sacrifice, he also devoutly and thankfully expressed by sacrifice the sentiment of entire personal consecration to God; the desire to give up all he had and was into his heavenly Parent's hand.
The past responsibility of guilt removed by an atoning sacrifice, there remained still other responsibilities. Abel did not cease to be responsible when he had killed his lamb. The great duties of life were before him ; the duties of morality and religion, and every day was to be one of service, each becoming purer, holier, brighter than the foregoing. And when we have got rid of the responsibility of past guilt, through faith in His blessed sacrifice, personal responsibility still cleaves to us. There are yearly, daily, hourly duties before us, till years, and days, and hours for us shall end. We do not much like the old-fashioned phraseology of duties towards "ourselves, and our neighbours, and God," because all duties are owing to God; but what is meant is right and just enough, that is, that duty covers all relations, temporal and spiritual-covers everything, both relative and personal. We come to the cross, and we look on the crucified One, and we lose our burden, not that we may get free from all bonds, but that we may feel all holy bonds the more. We get rid of what is burdensome in religion without losing anything that is binding. The yoke remains, but it is now easy. The burden, but it is now light. Gospel freedom is not licentiousness-not liberty to do wrong. It is only emancipation from the devil's slavery, from lust's despotism, from fashion's restraints, from the world's charms; as for the rest it is power to do right, pleasure to do well.
How was Abel to meet the responsibilities of after life ? Only by another kind of sacrifice which his offering truly represented. We miss much of precious truth, if we merely look at Abel approaching God as a sinner, and saying, "Have mercy on me, O Lord.” When we are told that " he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts;” do we not see a further signification than that developed by ideas of substitution and atonement; see we not also the idea of self-sacrifice ? Did not that penitent and believing one, as he sought remission of sin through the shedding of blood, also desire to devote himself, as a living sacrifice, acceptable in God's sight? We think he did. With the sinner we see the saint. Most assuredly there is no other method than that of self-sacrifice by which we can meet the responsibilities of the future. Trace every Christian duty to its root, and you will find it here. It is the surrender of ourselves, of our pleasure, and our inclination to God, so that we may have our hearts back
again, baptized with Divine love, and stamped with the Divine likeness. We think of an angel's self-sacrifice as full of nought but pleasure, but in a sinner's self-sacrifice, or in an imperfectly renewed creature's self-sacrifice, will there not be more or less of pain ? Are we unconscious of the pain ? Is that unconsciousness the result of our having become so much like the angels; or is it not rather that we have not attained to the thorough making of a sacrifice at all ?
Acceptance through the vicarious offering is a great motive to the presentation of the personal one. That God accepted Abel, and saved and blessed him in the exercise of his mercy, was a reason why he should go on serving Him in newness of life. That God has redeemed us through Christ, has put to our account the righteousness of His beloved and perfect Son, is a reason why we should devote to Him our residue of days in the loving sacrifice to His service of our whole selves.
Portraits of Christ.
It is a striking proof of the spirituality | hold of by us to keep ourselves at some of our religion, that so little should have slight elevation, through whatever can been left us by inspiration respecting | affect the senses, and work on us through the merely private story of our Saviour. them. The truth itself passing from us, While we have different accounts of His we try to make some image of it, and public life and of His death, His infancy compromise with ourselves, by superand youth are passed over with a few stitious devotion to an outward object, words by two of the writers of the Gospel for the blindness which has lost sight of History, and altogether by Mark and what appeals only to the soul. As the John; and in none of them is there the church in any age has declined, its reslightest hint as to His personal appear ligious machinery, if we may so speak, ance. “Christ, after the flesh," has left has increased. If the faith which realizes no trace behind him: it is to the works the invisible were wanting to attract men He did, the words He spoke, His glorious | upwards, an excitement was supplied to death and resurrection, and His ascension the senses to stimulate them into some to His Father, we are introduced by each semblance of spiritual vitality. If we do evangelist in succession.
not naturally fly towards heavenly things, That this silence should be so profound we must be raised to them; or if we canrespecting the merely human details of not by any outward influences be thus the incarnation, is exactly what mightlifted, we get gradually content with a have been expected in a religion which notion, that somehow we have brought seeks to raise us above appearances to them down to our reach. The relics, and realities, and to lose the temporary in the pictures, and images, which at first were eternal. It is an inherent tendency in only to fire the thoughts and wing them our nature to sink from the height of the upwards, become themselves sacred, and purely spiritual, as if it were too pure attract the worship of the crowd. and rare an element for us to breathe, The whole history of natural as well till, to prevent a total immersion in the as revealed religion illustrates these things of time, and forgetfulness of un. characteristics of our nature. The gods feen truths, every help is in turn laid of Egypt were originally only symbols or uieroglyphies of the Supreme Deity, but who had been taught by the personal they came at length themselves to be followers of our Lord appear to have thought divine, till animals and plants of cherished whatever they had learned all kinds were adored as true divinities, from their teachers of His unwritten and the Koman satirist could mock the earthly life, which was but the first step Forshippers, by saying that they grew towards a worship of the merely human their gods in their gardens; and one of and non-essential. The spirit of St. the early fathers could tell us how he | Paul, who had apparently seen Christ went into a magnificent Egyptian tem- only in His glory, was wholly opposed to pie, where, after much bowing and many setting a value on these traditions of His solemnities on the part of the priest, he earthly life, and led him to announce that pas led through rich curtains and veils to it was not Christ after the flesh, but the the holy place, and told he was in the pre- risen and glorified Saviour to whom his sence of the god, whom he discovered in thoughts would be directed. the person of an ape on the capital of one! The first traces of likenesses of Christ of the gorgeous pillars. In Greece and are to be found among the Carpocratians, Pome the philosophers were always ready an obscure Egyptian sect of the second to say that they did not worship the century, whose doctrines were so gross statues of the gods, but the hidden as to make it natural that they should presence of the divinity which dwelt in seek such additions. Jesus was with them after consecration; and even in them only the child of Joseph and Mary, Madagascar there is a ceremony called although acknowledged as the Saviour of Prashta Paranu, which is supposed to mankind--if, indeed, that could well be f: an image for worship by bringing called salvation, which not only perdon the deity it represents to dwell in mitted, but inculcated licentiousness as ! Yet, invariably, all this airy phi- the fulfilment of the laws of our nature. losophizing is lost on the multitude, who | Tertullian tells us that Tiberius, who take that to be a god which is spoken died only four years after the crucifixion, of as such, and worship the likeness as had already wished to put the statue of beartily as they could the reality. An. Christ among those of the deities of tiquity is as full of miracles wrought by Rome, but was opposed by the Senate ; idols, and of their winking, sweating, but the story is so improbable, on many and weeping on suitable occasions, as grounds, that it has no value. A truer Popers used to be in England before the instance of intended honour to Him, Reformation, and as it is still on the from a pagan, was that shown by the Continent. In the Greek church, the Emperor Alexander Severus, who set up pictures intended at first only to teach His image in his private chapel, along the eye, have for ages been substituted with those of Abraham, Orpheus, and for the faith they sought to embody, and Apollonius, taking them all alike as his are as much gods to the peasantry of household gods. In the catacomb of Russia as images have been to others Calixtus, on the Appian Way, at Rome, elsewhere. The panic that all but ruined there is a well-known portrait in a ike Russian campaign of 1812, when it large medallion, which is generally conEs thought the French had captured sidered to represent our Lord. And in the sacred picture of Smolensko, and the the Pontian catacombs on the Via Pormed delight with which it was hailed, tuensis, there is another picture of a when carried before the army to quell the similar kind. Both agree with the excitement, could not have been greater description given in the letter of Lentad the canvas been a visible appearance tulus. In this letter by Lentulus, who of God Himself.
(though contrary to history) has been Even in the time of the Apostles, the called the predecessor to Pontius Pilate tendency to materialize the objects of in the government of Palestine, Christ is faith seems to have shown itself in its described as "a man of lofty stature, of gerin, in the fondness with which those serious and imposing countenance, in
spiring love as well as fear in those who | which both assert its possession. A behold Him. His hair is the colour of miraculous copy of it, made on a brick, wine (meaning, probably of a dark was once in existence, having been colour), straight, and without lustre as granted to the Emperor Nicephorus, low as the ears, but thence glossy and who brought it from Edessa to Constancurly, flowing upon the shoulders, and tinople in the year 968. But where it divided down the centre of the head, after is now no one knows, nor is it known the manner of the Nazarenes. The fore- | whether any one below an emperor ever head is smooth and serene, the face with had a duplicate made for his benefit. out blemish, of a pleasant, slightly ruddy Once begun, this new source of honour colour. The expression noble and en- , and profit to the church was not likely gaging. Nose and mouth of perfect to stop. In the thirteenth century, at its form ; the beard abundant, and of the commencement, Europe rang with the same colour as the hair, parted in the announcement of a likeness of Christ middle. The eyes blue and brilliant. miraculously imprinted on the handkerHe is the most beautiful among the chief of an ancient nun, who was hence children of men.” Of similar character called Veronica, that is by a little transis the description given about the middle position of letters—the true image. It of the eighth century, by John of has since still more miraculously inDamascus, taken, as he avers, from creased to three, which are now at Iden, ancient writers. “Jesus," he says, “was in Andalusia, at Milan, and Rome. St. of stately height, with eyebrows that Veronica was one of the primitive met together, beautiful eyes, regular martyrs, but her handkerchief lay hidden nose, the hair of his head somewhat for centuries before its treasures were curling, and of a beautiful colour, with discovered, and they had already been black beard and corn-yellow complexion, outshone by the discovery of two of the like his mother (on which circumstance napkins of Christ -- that, we presume, the greatest stress is laid), with long which was at the tomb—which are now fingers," &c. Later descriptions are more at Besangon and Turin, respectively, embellished, and evidently follow, in with Christ's portrait on them. some particulars, that type of the | But these miraculous likenesses were Saviour's countenance which painters not the only memorials of the Saviour had meanwhile adopted. Augustine, how. found out in the darker ages of the ever, tells us, that in his day (A.D. 410) | church. Strange to say, they lighted on there were innumerable likenesses accord images and paintings of Him made by ing to the fancy of those who made them, his contemporaries. St. Luke, it seems, but that there was an utter ignorance of was a great painter as well as a phywhat Christ's features really had been. sician. There is a picture of Christ as a
It was not to be expected, however, boy of thirteen, by the Apostle, in the that the church in its growing corruption church of St. John Lateran, at Rome. would give up an object so fitted to meet | At Lucca thev show another, cut out of its degraded aspirations, and hence what cedar wood by Nicodemus; and an could not be got by human means was account of a third, painted by no humbler speedily obtained by miracle. Images a personage than the devil, and repronot made with hands began to come into duced by Dupuy, in Paris, for circulation vogue. In the great image controversy in thousands by the priests, is given in which began to distract the churches in the April number of the “ News of the the eighth century, constant reference Churches" in the last year. Like its was made to one which had been sent to asserted author, it bears a lie on its face, King Abgarus, "an image formed by in painting Him who saw no corruption God, which the hands of men had not as a peeled and half-decayed corpse. It made." It still survives, but unfortu- was wrested-as the letter-press beneath nately it is impossible to decide between it avers-from the devil, by the name of the rival claims of Genoa and Rome, Jesus having been uttered in his hearing
when he had brought it as the price of powder, when they had come to worship a young man's soul. At the sacred sound the brass, and forgot that it was the be dropped it, and fled back without the power of God, and not the brazen image, soul to hell!
that had been so mighty; and it is well Maclaurin, in his grand sermon on for us that the body is for ever veiled to “Glorying in the Cross of Christ," poursus here in which our Lord lived and OFEr the whole subject of likenesses of died, since it was not the dying human Christ the light of his finished eloquence. frame, but the indwelling holiness and It is surely little worth for us, who have the union with the Godhead that made the risen Lord, to crave a sight of His Him our Redeemer. Protestants may humiliation-little worth for us to wish well afford the Church of Rome all the that which we would forthwith abuse to advantage she can derive from what our own injury. It was well for the degrades the worshipper as much as it Israelites when the serpent that had once dishonours Christ. saved their forefathers was bruised to
Admonitory Thoughts in commencing the Year.
“WHEN I consider that yesterday was “There can be no greater folly than to the conclusion of the last year, and that I neglect the present only season of preparam now entered on another, it is season- ing for an unavoidable time of extremity. able to reflect on the mutable condition Our Lord in the parable calls the five and short duration of all things in this negligent virgins foolish. If a man world which are measured by time; that, throw away his estate in folly and vanity, as they have their beginning, so they have the world will brand him with the name their end; and that the distance or space of a fool, and justly. If a man throw of time between the one and the other is away his health and life, there is folly in very little. Let me not, then, O my soul, that, too; but for a man to throw away his rejoice and please myself too much in new soul, and all his hopes of well-being enjoyments, remembering that a change for eternity, is the rankest of all folly ; may be at hand, and that the end is cer- yet is the world so full of such fools, that tain." -John Shower.
very few give it its true name. He must
be greatly plagued with blindness and "It often occurs to me, when thinking stupidity that is not convinced that that is of and regretting not being permitted to the greatest folly that shuts a man etersee the striking scenes of this globe, how nally out of heaven and locks him up in soon I shall be summoned to see things hell."--Trail. inexpressibly more striking and awful in
IV. the unknown world to which departing “Stir up, O my soul, thy sincere spirits will take their flight. May what desires and all thy faculties, to do the remains of life be, above all things, de- remnant of the work of Christ appointed voted to the great concern of being thee on earth, and then joyfully wait for prepared for that inevitable and marvel- the heavenly perfection, in God's own lous flight and vision! Which of us is time. Thou canst truly say, “For me to to go first remains yet to be seen. The live is Christ.' It is His work for which one of our number that had the longest thou livest. Thou hast no other business dwelt on this earth has taken the lead, of such moment in the world. But thou and has now beheld what is infinitely doest this work with a mixture of many beyond all mortal conception.”—John oversights and imperfections, and too Foster, to his mother.
| much troublest thy thoughts with distrust