« EelmineJätka »
be magnified in your body, whether by life or by death. For you to live shall be Christ and to die
« Blessed for ever and ever be that mother's child,” says the judicious Hooker, “ whose faith bath made him the child of God! The earth may shake, the pillars of the world may tremble under us, the countenance of the heaven may be appalled, the sun may lose his light, the moon her beauty, the stars their glory; but concerning the man that trusted in God, if the fire have proclaimed itself unable as much as to singe a hair of his head, if lions, beasts ravenous by nature and keen with hunger, being set to devour, have as it were religiously adored the very flesh of the faithful man, what is there in the world that shall change his heart, overthrow his faith, alter his affection towards God, or the affection of God to him? If I be of this note, who shall make a separation between me and my God? Shall tribulation, or anguish, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword ? No: I am persuaded that neither tribulation, nor anguish, nor persecution, nor fumine, nor nakedness, nor peril, nor sword, nor · death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor power, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall ever so far prevail over me. I know in whom I have believed; I am not ignorant whose pre
cious blood hath been shed for me; I have a Shepherd full of kindness, full of care, and full of power; unto him I commit myself; his own finger bath engraven this sentence in the tables of my heart, Satan hath desired to winnow thee as wheat, but I have prayed that thy faith fail not. Therefore, the assurance of my hope I will labour to keep, as a jewel, unto the end; and by labour, through the gracious mediation, of his prayer, I shall keep it *."
* Hooker's Works, vol. iii. p. 534. Oxford edition, 1807
THE TRIUMPH OF THE CHRISTIAN MINISTER.
2 CORINTHIANS, II. 14. Now thanks be unto God which always causeth
us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every
place. It is a peculiar encouragement to the Christian minister to contemplate the example of the holy Apostles; for, whatever difficulties he may now meet with in the discharge of his high office, he perceives that they were assailed by much greater. He knows also that the power of diyine grace is not less at the present time, than at the first propagation of the Gospel. He believes that the doctrine of the cross of Christ remains the same; and that, though the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit have long ceased, yet that bis ordinary and most important operations still continue in the church. He hopes therefore,—to recur to the allusion in the text, -that he may also be carried forward, in some measure like the Apostle, in a spiritual triumpb, whilst the vivifying fragrance of the
knowledge of Christ is scattered around him as he proceeds.
The immediate occasion of Saint Paul's expressing this sentiment were the glad tidings which he had received of the church at Corinth, together with the door opened to him of the Lord at Troas. These auspicious circumstances drew forth from him the striking expressions of gratitude and praise which we are now to consider.
We may notice then,
II. The special blessing which he communicates.
III. The gratitude which he offers to God for it.
1. THE CHRISTIAN MINISTER'S TRIUMPHNow thanks be to God which always causeth us to triumph in Christ.
The Roman triumph to which the Apostle refers, is well known. It was the celebration of a victory gained in war. The procession advanced through the streets of Rome to the Capitol, conducting the successful general and his army; whilst the attendant captives followed the triumphal car. The altars smoking with incense, and the applauses and benedictions of the multitude, proclaimed its approach. Thus the Apostle describes himself as led, from city to city, from province to province, in a mo
ral triumph over the powers of darkness and the idolatrous opposition of the heathen world, whilst the name and grace of Christ his Saviour, as a sweet savour of life, was diffused wherever he came. The Christian minister also in every age partakes, in his more limited measure, of a like exultation, in proportion as vice and ignorance are overcome, and the spiritual dominion of Satan is vanquished and destroyed.
For if the idea of a triumph implies that there has been a CONQUEST achieved, surely the success of the Gospel of Christ has now, as well as in the days of St. Paul, the best title to this distinction. For what is conversion to God but the submission of the understanding and will of fallen sinners to the law of holiness, the conquest of the inner man, the establishment of the doctrine of Christ, on the rains of self-righteousness and of pride, and the erection within us of a kingdom of grace, and peace, and joy? In effecting this, we have not now indeed, like the Apostles, to resist the authority of learning, and rank, and power, of intellectual habits and social usages openly marshalled against Christianity. But we have still the ignorant and obdurate heart of man to conquer. We have still to remove settled prejudices against spiritual religion. We have still to cope with the love of the world, the dominion of passion, the force of evil customs, the maxims