« السابقةمتابعة »
sublimest virtues of morality enforced by evangelical motives. You lose the beauty and strength of both, if you separate them from each other. For if you lessen the glory of the Redeemer, you lessen the motives to holiness; and if
you neglect the tendency of evangelical truth, you tarnish its beauty and glory. Let us consider both in connexion, and inquire what graces the Apostle would especially recommend, when he said, Let the same mind be in you, which was in Christ Jesus.
First: He proposed Christ Jesus as an example of humility, or lowliness of mind.
Humility cannot properly be predicated of the divine nature. Condescension may be ascribed to God, but not humility; for nothing less than the highest opinion of himself would be just, and according to truth.
But the Son of God having assumed human nature, could, in that nature, exercise humility; and his humility was unspeakably enhanced by the dignity of his person.
Never was any heart so lowly as that of our Lord Jesus; never one so sensible of the difference between God and man. Though he thought it not robbery to be equal with God, he was not impatient of such a state of humiliation as that in which he was placed, when treated as a worm, and no man.
He never thought it hard that God let him be so abased. He was not impatient for the end of his abasement, that he might show who he was.
He proved, and he sometimes assumed his dignity; he did not deny it; but he was not forward to claim it, and show it. He set an example of lowliness towards God; of condescension towards men, to persons of low degree, to little children ; and of meekness towards insulting enemies. But how is the force of all spoiled, if we deny that he was God manifest in the flesh. Was it humility in a mere man to forbear claiming equality with God ? Surely not. See a beggar, he does not think himself a nobleman; a minister of state, he does not think himself a king
SECONDLY : The mind that was in Christ Jesus, was eminently a mind which delighted in peace and concord.
As he manifested the most perfect union with his father
and the Holy Spirit, so he came into the world on purpose to make peace by the blood of his cross. Though he considered sinners as altogether inexcusable in their revolt from God, yet he became a Mediator for them with God; that he might restore them to the divine favor, and reconcile them to God. And he meant to unite them all in one body, whether Jews or Gentiles, that they might be united together here, and live in perfect harmony together in the upper world. O, show that the same mind is in you, which was in him. Let all see that you are his disciples, by your loving one another, and studying the things which make for peace. Yea, “ if it be possible, as much as in you lieth, live peaceably with all men.”
THIRDLY : Christ always manifested that the mind which was in him, was a pure and holy mind.
Though he was the friend of sinners, yet he was the enemy of sin. He was "holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners.” He had no taint of impurity himself; no one could convince him of sin ; and he never connived at it in others. He came to save his people from their sins;" to "purify unto himself a peculiar people.” Show that the same mind is in
you. Have "no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but reprove them." Show that like as he was, so are you, in this world. Keep yourselves from pollution, and labor to check the progress of sin.
FourthLY: The mind that was in Christ Jesus, was full of disinterested benevolence.
Though he was an enemy to sin, yet he was a friend to sinners. He came into the world " to seek and save the lost:" "not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and give his life a ransom for many.” Look not, then, on your own private concerns; but regard the interests of others. Having received so much from him, imitate his benignity. Christ's mind was full of mercy and compassion to the miserable. He “went about doing good," alleviating the distresses of the afflicted. Has he eased your sorrows ?
Has he poured balm into your hearts? God grant you may go and do likewise, all your days.
Fifthly: The mind of Christ was all obedience and fidelity to his Heavenly Father.
He always did the things which pleased his Father; he delighted to do his will; his law was in his heart. It was “his meat and drink" to fulfil the work assigned him.
Though a Son, yet learned he obedience.” What an honor has he put on the law ! its author became its subject! How worthy is it of your conforming to it in all things! Christ's obedience was the ground of your justification, and is the pattern of your sanctification. Show that his love constrains you. How can his righteousness seem fit to justify you, if it is not worthy of your imitation ?
SIXTHLY: If the mind be in us which was in Christ Jesus, we shall show it by resignation to the divine will.
What a spirit of resignation did Christ show in all his sufferings ! He was “ led like a lamb to the slaughter; and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth.” None else being perfectly innocent, ever suffered at all. And shall sinful man complain ? A saved sinner ? God forbid ! “When he was reviled, he reviled not again, but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously." Let the same mind be in us. “Not my will, but thine."
SEVENTHLY : The mind of Christ was dead to the world, and althogether heavenly.
May we also be mortified to the world, and heavenly minded. “They are not of the world,” said our Lord, “even as I am not of the world.” 0, make his words good. If ye be risen with Christ, set your affections on things above. If God give you little, think of the poverty of Christ, and be content with such things as you have ; for he has said, “I will never leave thee, I will never forsake thee.” If he has given more, use all for God's glory; dispense blessings to all around you. One of the Christian fathers, (Justin Martyr,) after sweetly discoursing of the justification of believing sinners, makes this improvement. “Having known him, with what joy wilt thou be filled ! how wilt thou love him who first loved thee! and loving him, thou wilt be an imitator of his benignity. And wonder not that it is possible for man to be an imitator of God. He may be so if he will. For it
is not by obtaining lordship over his neighbours, nor in wanting to have more than those that are weaker ; not in being rich and oppressing your inferiors; nor can any one imitate God in these things. These things are foreign from his majesty. But he who takes on himself the burden of his neighbour, and in whereinsoever he is superior, and another inferior, is inclined to benefit him ; who, with those things which he has received from God, supplying them that are destitute, becomes as it were a God to them who receive :-He is the imitator of God.” *
May you, my beloved, while your hearts are in heaven, with your treasure, your portion, your glorified Lord, use the world as not abusing it; and make it your main business to glorify God with your substance, your talents, your time, and all your powers and advantages. Glorify him by making him known to the ignorant, by relieving the needy, by laboring to recover the bond-slaves of vice, and by endeavoring to promote the kingdom of Christ at home and abroad. Show that you count nothing dear to you, in comparison of his glory, and the salvation of immortal souls.
THE CRIMINALITY OF SELFISHNESS.
Pul, ii, 21. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's.
The Apostle having strongly expressed his regard to the Philippians, assured them how much satisfaction he took in their spiritual prosperity, intimates his design with the
permission of the providence of Christ, to send Timothy soon to visit them, that he might be of good comfort when he was more certainly informed of their state. Upon which he remarks of Timothy, that he had no man like-minded, who would feel so natural a concern for their welfare ; for it was commonly the case with men, and too much so with the bulk of professors, that they were so intent upon some privato
* Epistola ad Diog netum.
interest of their own, as to become inattentive, at least in too great a degree, to the interest of others, and even to the honor and interest of Christ.
We may justly apprehend, my brethren, that if this evil was so common in the Apostle's days, and yet so inexcusable, it is probably not less common, and certainly not less criminal now. Surely it must be an interesting and profitable subject, to consider the evidence and the evil of that preference of sordid self-interest, to the advancement of the interest of Christ, which revelation and experience show to be too common, even among professors of the gospel; or, on the other hand, to show the rarity and reasonableness of a disinterested regard to the cause of Christ.
FIRST : It is very common for men to mind self-interest, and very rare for them to be thoroughly devoted to the interest of Christ.
The greater part of mankind are wholly under the influence of the most sordid selfishness. Too generally, indeed, they regard only their own inferior part, and are inattentive to their noblest concerns; living wholly without God in the world ; not acknowledging their dependance on his providence; still less realizing their need of his grace; and least of all aiming at his glory.
It is true, the wants and weaknesses of individuals constrain men to form social connexions, and to oblige them, in spite of native depravity, to pay some regard to the interests of others, in order to secure their own. Hence, in many, the grossest exercises of selfishness are often restrained, and more frequently hid and disguised ; and when discovered are condemned by the general vote of others. But self reigns, openly or secretly, in every unrenewed heart.
Most men, indeed, take a little circle beyond their own persons; they care at least for their families; many for a number of friends, some for a neighbourhood, or even for the inhabitants of their county.
But still, these are chiefly regarded on a selfish account, on account of their relation to one individual ; though, in many instances, the community would surely have been nearly of equal worth if that individual had never existed, or had never been in that connexion.