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the land, than the ranks of Christ's army to-day are to the mighty multitudes that shall one day name His name, and follow His banner. Let us live in the future, and lay strongly hold on the distant; for both are our Lord's, and by so doing we shall the better do our Master's work in the present, and at hand.
He has set us the example of a penetrating gaze into heathenism, which reveals beneath its monotonous miseries, the souls that are his. We ought to look on every field of Christian effort with the assurance that there—there are some who will hear His voice. As it was when He came, so it is ever and everywhere. The world is being prepared for the Gospel. In some broad regions, faith in idolatry is dying out, and the moral condition of the people is undergoing a slow elevation. Individuals are being weaned from their gods, they know not how, and they will not know why till they hear of Christ. He sees in every land where the Gospel is being taken-a people prepared for the Lord. He sees the gold gleaming in the crevices of the caves, the gems roagh and unpolished lying in the matrix. He looks not merely on the great mass of idolators, but He sees the single souls who shall hear. It is for us to look on the same mass with confidence caught from His. Neither apathetic indifference, nor faint-hearted doubt should be permitted to weaken our hands. The prospect may seem very dark, the power of the enemy very great, our resources very inadequate ; but let us look with Christ's eye, we shall know that everywhere we may hope to find a response to our message. Who they may be we know not. How many they may be we know not How they may be guided by Him we know not. But He knows all. We may know that they are there. And, as we cannot tell who they are, but only that they are, we are bound to cherish hopes for all--the most degraded and outcast of our race. We have no right to give up any field or any man as hopeless. Christ's sheep will be found coming out of the midst of wolves and goats. Darkness may cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but if we look upon it as Christ did, and as He would have us to look, we shall see lights flickering here and there in the obscurity, which shall burst out into a blaze. The prophet eye, the boundlessly hopeful heart, the strong confidence that in every land where He is preached, there will be those who shall hear—these are what He gives us when He says, “Other sheep I have which are not of this fold."
There is one other thought connected with these words which may be briefly referred to. It is that even now, in all lands where the Gospel has been preached, there are those whom Christ has received, although they have no connection with his visible Church.
There are many goats within the fold. There are many sheep without it. Eren in lands where the Gospel has long been preached, we do not venture to identify the profession by Church fellowship with living union with Christ. Much more is this true of our Missionary efforts, and the apparent converts whom they make. The results that appear are no measure of the results that have actually been accomplished. We often hear of men who had caught up some stray word in a Bengali market-place, or received a tract by the roadside from some passing Missionary, and who, having carried away the seed in their hearts, had long been living as Christians remote from all churches and unknown by any. We can easily conceive that timidity in some cases, and distance in others, swells the ranks of these secret disciples. Though they follow not the footsteps of the flock, the Shepherd will lead them in their solitude. There will be
many more names in the Lamb's book of life, depend upon it, than ever are written on the roll calls of our Churches, or in Missionary statistics. The shooting stars that yearly fill our sky are visible to us for a moment, when their orbit passes into the lighted heavens, and then they disappear in the shadow of the earth. But astronomers tell us that they are always there though to us they seem to blaze but for a moment. We cannot see them, but they move on their darkling path and have a Sun round which they circle. So be sure that in many heathen lands there are believing souls, seen by us but for an instant and then lost, who yet fill their unseen place, and move obedient round the Sun of Righteousness. Their names on earth are dark, but when the mani. festation of the sons of God shall come, they shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and as the stars for ever and ever. Our work has results beyond our knowledge now. When the Church, the Lamb's wife, shall lift up her eyes at the end of the days, prophecy tells us that she shall wonder to see her thronging children whom she had never known till then and will say, " who hath begotten me these ? Behold I was left alone. These, where had they been ?” These were God's hidden ones, nourished and brought up beyond the pale of the outward Church, but brought at last to share her triumph, and to abide at her side. “Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold.”
What confidence then, what tender pity, what hope should fill our minds when we look on the heathen world! We must never be contented with present achievements. We are committed to a task which cannot end till all the world hears the joyful sound and is blessed by walking in the light of His countenance. When the great Roman Catholic Missionary, the Apostle of the East, was lying on his dying bed among the barbarous people whom he loved, his passing spirit was busy about his work, and, even in the article of death, while the glaring eye saw no more clearly and the ashen lips had begun to stiffen into eternal silence, visions of further conquests flashed before him, and his last word was “ Amplius"--Onward. It ought to be the motto of the Missionary work of us who boast a purer faith to carry to the heathen and to fire our own souls. If ever we are tempted to repose, to despondency, to rest and be thankful when we number up our work and our converts, let us listen to His voice as it speaks in that supreme hour when He beheld the vision of the cross, and beyond it that of a gathered world. “Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold." We have here—II. Christ teaching us how to think of his work and ours.
" Them also I must bring." A necessity is laid upon him which springs at once from that Divine work which is the law of His life, and from His own love and pity. The means for accomplishing this necessary work are implied in the context as in other parallel Scriptural sayings, to be His propitiatory death. The instrumentality employed is not only His own personal agency on earth, nor only his throned rule on the right hand of God with power over the Spirit of holiness, but also the work of His Church and His work through them. Of that He is mainly speaking when he says, “ Them also I must bring.” Here, then, are some truths which ought to underlie and shape as well as animate our efforts for heathenism.
And first, remember that the same sovereign necessity which was laid on Hina presses on nis.
“The Spirit of life” which was in Christ had its " law," which was the will of God. That shaped all His being, and He set us the example of perfectly clear recognition of, and perfect obedience to it, from the first moment when he said, “I must be about my Father's business,” to the last, when He sighed forth, “ Father into Thy hands I commit my Spirit.” Hence the frequent sayings setting forth His work as determined by an imperative "must,” which, whether it be alleged in reference to some apparently small or to some manifestly great thing in His life is always equally imperative, and whether it seemed to be based on the need for the fulfilment of some prophetic word, or on the pro. prieties and congruities of sonship, reposes at last on the will of God. His final words on the Passover night, before he went out to Gethsemane in the moonlight, contain the influence which moulded His whole earthly life, “ As the Father gave me commandment, even so I do."
And this Divine will constitutes for him the deepest ground of the necessity in the case before us. The eternal counsels of God had willed that all the ends of the earth, should see the salvation of the Lord; therefore, whatever the toils and the pains, the loss and the death, He whose meat and drink was to do the will of him that sent him must give himself to the task nor rest till, one by one, the weary wanderers are brought back on his shoulders and folded in his love.
In all which, let us remember, Jesus Christ is our pattern, not in his work for the salvation of men, but in the spirit in which he did his work. The solemn law of duty before which he bowed His head is a law for us also. The authoritative imperative which he obeyed has power over us. If we would have our lives holy and strong, wise and good, we must have the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus, making us free from the law of sin and death, for the obedience to the higher law enfranchises from slavery to the lower, and all other authority ceases over us when we are Christ's men. We are bound to service directed to the same end as His—even the salvation of the world. The same voice which says to him I will give thee for a light to the Gentiles, says to us, “ Ye are my witnesses, and my servant whom I have chosen.” The same will which hath constituted him the anointed prophet, says of us, “ Touch not mine anointed and do my prophets no harm." We are redeemed that we may show forth God's praises. Not for ourselves alone, nor for purposes terminating in our own personal acceptance with God, or the perfecting of our own characters, priceless as these are, but for ends which affect the world, has God had mercy on us. We are bought with a price that we may be the servants of God. We have received that we may give forth, “ God does with us, as we with torches do, not light us for ourselves.” “ Arise ! shine! for thy light is come.”
This missionary work of ours, then, is not one that can be taken up and laid down at our own pleasure. It is no excrescence, or accidental outgrowth of the Church's life. We are all too apt to think of it as an extra, a kind of work of supererogation, which those may engage in who have a liking that way, and which those who do not care about it may leave alone, and no harm done. When shall we come to feel deeply, con. stantly, practically, that it must be done, and that we are sinning when we neglect it! Dear brethren, have we laid on our hearts and consciences the solemn weight of that necessity which moulded his life? Have we felt the awful power of God's plainly-spoken will, driving us to this task ? Do we know anything of that spirit which hears everpealing in our ears that awful commandment, “ Go, go to all the world, preach, preach the Gospel to every creature?” God commands us to take the trumpet, and if we would not soil our souls with gross and palpable sin, we must set it to our lips and sound an alarm, that by His grace shall wake the sleepers, and make the boary walls of the robber-city, that has afflicted the earth for so many weary millenniums, rock to their fall, that the redeemed of the Lord may pass over and set the captives free!
If we felt this as we ought, surely our consecration would be more complete, and our service more worthy. A clear conviction of God's will pointing the path for us, is, in all things, a wondrous help to vigorous action, to calmness of heart, and thus to success. In this mighty work, it would brace us for larger efforts, and fit us for larger results. It would simplify and deepen our motives, and thus evolve from them nobler deeds and purer sacrifices. To all objections from so-called prudence, to all calculations from sparse results, to all cavils of onlookers who may carp and seek to hinder, we should have one all-sufficient answer. It is not for us to bandy arguments on such points as these. We care nothing for difficulties, for discouragements, for cost. We may think about these till we lose all the manly chivalry of Christian character, like the Apostle who gazed on the white crests of the angry breakers flashing in the pale moonlight, till he forgot who stood on the storm, and began to sink in his great fear. A nobler spirit ought to be ours. The toil is sore, the sacrifices many, and the yield seems small. Be it so. To all such thoughts we have one answer-oh! that we felt more its solemn powersuch is the will of God. We are doing as we are bid, and we mean to go on. “ Thom also must I bring,” says the Master. “ Necessity is laid upon me, yea, woe is me if I preach not the Gospel," echoes the Apostle. Let us, in the consecration of resolved hearts, and in trembling obedience to the Divine will, add our choral Amen, and in the face of all the paralysing suggestions of our own selfishness, and all the tempting voices of worldly wisdom and unbelieving scornfulness that would stay our enterprise, let us Aling back the grand old answer, “Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye, for we cannot bat speak the things which we have seen and heard."
We must not forget, however, that it was no abhorrent toil to which Christ reluctantly consented. But in this case, as always with Him, the words of prophecy were true. " I delight to do thy will.” The schism between law and choice had no existence for Him; and when He says that He must bring the wandering sheep into the fold, He means not more because of God's will than because of His own yearning desire to pour out the treasures of His mercy.
So it ought to be with us. Our missionary work should not be degraded beneath tho level of duty indeed, but neither should it be left on that level. We ought not only to be led to it by a power without, but impelled by an energy within. If we would be like our Master, we must know the necessity arising from our own heart's promptings, which leads us to work for Him. He has very imperfectly caught the spirit of the Gospel who has vever felt the word as a fire in his bones, making him weary of forbearing. If we only take to this work because we are bid, and without sympathy for men, and longing desire to bring them all to Him who has blessed us, we may almost as well leave it alone. We shall do very little good to anybody, to ourselves little, to the world less. That our own hearts may teach us this necessity, we must live near our Master, and know His grace for ourselves. In proportion as we do, we shall be eager to proclaim it, and not stand idling in a corner of the market-place, till some unmistakeable order sends us into the vineyard, but go for the relief of our own feelings. "This is a day of good tidings, and we cannot hold our peace,” said the poor lepers in the camp to one another. The same feeling that we must tell the good news just because we know it, and it will make our brethren glad, is part of the Christian character. A blessed necessity, then, is laid upon us. A blessed work is given us, which brings with it at once the joy of obedience to our Father's will, and the joy of gratifying a deep in. stinct of our nature. “ Them also must I bring," said the Saviour, because he loved men. “ To me who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches," echoes the Apostle. Let us live in the light of our Lord's eye, and drink deep of His spirit, till the task becomes a grace and privilege, not a burden, and till silence and idleness in His cause shall be felt to be impossible, because it would be violence to our own feelings, and the loss of a great joy as well as sin against our Father's will.
Consider again, by what means the sheep are to be brought to Christ. The context distinctly answers the question. There his propitiatory death is emphatically set forth as the power by which it is to be accomplished. The verse before our text says, “I lay down my life for the sheep;” that after our text says, “ Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life.” It is the same connexion of means and end as appears in the wonderful words with which He received the Greeks who came up to the feast, and heard the great truth, for want of which their philosophy and art came to nothing. " Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die it abideth alone""I, if I be lifted up from the earth will draw all men unto me."
Yes, brethren, the Cross of Christ, and it alone, gathers men into a unity ; for it alone draws men to Christ. His death as our propitiation, effects such a change in the aspects of the Divine government, and in the incidence of the Divine justice, that we who were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. His death as the constraining motive of life in the hearts which receive it, draws them away from their own ways by the cords of love, and binds them to Him. His death is his purchase of the gifts of that Divine Spirit for the rebellious, who now convinces the world and endows the Church, till we all come unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. The first begotten from the dead is therefore the prince of all the kings of the earth, and He so rules among the nations as to bring the world to Himself. The philosophy of history lies in the words, “ Other sheep I have; them also I must bring.”
Christian missions abundantly prove that the cross and the proclamation of the cross has this power, and that nothing else has. It is not the ethics of Christianity, nor the abstract truths which may be deduced from its story, but it is the story of the suffering Redeemer that gives it its power over human hearts, in all conditions and climates, and stages of culture. The magnetism of the cross alone is mighty enough to overcome the gravitation of the soul to sin and the world. We hear much now-a-days about a new reformation which is to be effected on Christianity, by purifying it of its historical facts and of its repulsive sacrificial aspect. When this done, and the pure spiritual ideas are disengaged from their fleshly garb, then, we are told, will be the apotheosis and glorification of Christ. This will be the real lifting up from the earth; this will draw all men. Aye! and when this is done what will be left ? Christianity will be purified back again into a vague deism, which one would have thought had proved itself toothless and impotent, centuries ago. Spiritualising will turn out to be very like evaporating, the residuum will be a miserably unsatisfactory something, near akin to nothing, and certainly incapable either of firing its disciples with a desire to spread their faith, if we may call it so by courtesy, or of drawing men to itself. A Christianity without