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SERMON VII.

EFFECTS OF BELIEF ON THE MORAL AND

INTELLECTUAL FRAME.

ST. JOHN XIV. 22, 23.

Judas saith unto him, (not Iscariot), Lord, how is it that

thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world ? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

THERE were many times, of a surety, when, as it seems to us, our Lord might have said to His followers, as once He did say, “How is it that ye do not understand?' This case in the text was one where such surprise might well be felt. Ere He left them to go to His Father and their Father, to His God and their God,' He wished to tell them of the great comfort which would be sent to them from on high, and to teach them that He should ever thereafter be with His own in all ages of the world, to comfort, to guide, to teach and to bless. That He their meek and lowly Lord, was in the Father and the Father in Him, these were tidings of great joy. But He told them what, for them and their happiness, were greater things than even these. He told them that the Spirit of the Father and the Son would be with His, would abide with them for ever, and that if the branches were joined to the true vine by the tie of love, they should know of a truth that His life was theirs. He told them that, by the strength wherewith the heart of the believer should be strengthened, and the hope by which it should 'stand, and the wisdom, and the might, and the victory which it should have in a world which could not see nor comprehend such marvellous light, believers should know to their comfort that not only was He in the Father but they in Him. They should know that right dear in the sight of the everlasting Father were the saints and servants of His Son, and that they that love Him shall be loved of His Father, and He will love them, and by all these glorious tokens will manifest himself to them. But though to them, to whom He spake, the first fruits of these great promises were to be given, they were yet earthly, they understood not. They dreamt, it would seem, of some strange and marvellous way in which their bodily eye should again see their great Master, while He was hid from the

eyes

of other men. • How is it that thou wilt manifest thyself to us and not to the world ?? But He stopt not then to rebuke, but went on to renew the great promises He had made; and to shew them the way, the way of love, by which these promises were to be attained.

And since these glad and glorious promises are made to every child of God and every follower of His dear Son, let us, my brethren, consider them to-day to our comfort.

To our comfort shall I say, or to

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our ruin, utter and hopeless ? For 'utter and hopeless indeed must be our ruin, if to us such promises are made and such light is given in vain.

But before we gladden (or must I say, awe) our souls with the full view of these promises, let us look at the conditions and cautions with which they are made, let us be clear to whom and to whom alone our Master has made them. His words are, If a man love me, he will keep my words, and they set before us at once the two needful parts of a Christian life, and warn us against two of the great rocks on which the Christian is too apt to make shipwreck. They lead the eye and the thoughts at once to the heart within, and the hand without. They speak of the seed, love, and of the fruit, holiness. If a man love me, he will keep my words.

Not only do they say that in vain shall we cry Lord, Lord,' while our heart is far from Him, but far more than this. They say that he that loveth not, knoweth not God.' And they add that he must not only feel this love to God, but he must show it. “He that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen,' it were but a vain thought for such an one to believe that he loves God whom he hath not seen!' How, in what way of life, whether in the world, or in the cloister, we are to fulfil the law of love, to tame the unruly evils of our heart, to pluck out the right eye, to take up our cross, to deny ourselves, and to follow our betrayed and slain Master, that He tells us not. But howsoever and wheresoever, we must keep these and all His commandments. We must keep them, because unless we keep His words, we love Him not ;

unless we keep His words, we shall never see that God, whom we do not love; unless we keep His words, unless, by His grace we act as well as feel, and go through the fell struggle between flesh and spirit, the hidden process of delivering this marvellous compound of body and soul, of sense and spirit from the body of sin, cannot be accomplished.

Thus are we warned, first, against the cold heartless obedience to the letter of the law, which while it makes a show of serving God, allows, in truth, the

eye to be bent on the world and the world alone. This profiteth nothing, for we must love Him. And we are warned, next, against the fond dreams of the mystic, who thinks that all the mighty process of our second birth and our renewing, can be effected deep in the recess of the mind and heart. This too, like the other profiteth nothing, for we must keep His commandmentsi It is to them then that both love God and keep His commandments, that the great promise is made, that "God will manifest Himself unto them and not unto the world'.

Whatever may be the full meaning of these promises, they are to be something of which the world will take no note, or will not have the means of judging. The Christian is to go on his way rejoicing or sorrowing, as it may seem to the worldly eye, like other men. The common storms of life are of a surety to beat on him as much as on the worldly man, the storms of want, and woe, and sickness, and fraud, and hatred, and slander. Yet with all this, his lot must be one very unlike that of the worldly man. For God manifests Himself unto him, and not unto the world.'

Before we try to recall to our thoughts some of the endless ways in which the promise is fulfilled, let us remember that the first thing of all is, that this very love of Christ, this keeping of His commandments, is the fruit of the Spirit, is a pledge that God's Spirit as promised by His Son, is indeed working in our hearts, casting out from them all the evil by which they are turned away from God and from joy, taming unholy passion, humbling pride, and soothing anger. Without this, we are nothing; without this, vain were all we know, and all we do, vain were preaching, and vain were faith also !

Remember then, that in all we say, we go upon this one thing, that the ground stone is laid in our hearts, by the teaching and strengthening of the Spirit, lifting us from the dust, strengthening the weak hands, confirming the feeble knees, and leading us on, in a sense of our adoption into the privileges of children, and in a child-like spirit, to cry Abba, Father", to know our Father which is in heaven, to be loved by Him, and to desire His love.

In speaking of the promises made to Christians, to what should the follower of the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world, first look, but to that hope of pardon, without which, life has nothing to give which can comfort or cheer? That man indeed may not know or not remember that his

I Rom. viii. 15. Gal. iv. 6.

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