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himself of them, if he goes into societies where
nothing of them will be recognized, if he exercises
himself in the opposite of these, d3ing everything
he can to materialize and sensualize his mind,
he is fighting against God ; to use Apostolic
speech he is grieving the Spirit of God, he is try-
ing to put out the fire lit within him ; he is doing
what in him lies to *' quench the Spirit." Thus
the case is represented to us by our Lord and
His Apostles.

Their teaqhing explains to us the meaning ot
our inward dissatisfactions. This nature of ours
must ever be a problem to us, **the flesh lust-
ing against the Spirit and the Spirit against the
flesh," a problem insoluble until we recog-
nize that the nature of God is round about
us, that " in Him we live, and move, and have our
being," as much and as really as the flowers and
birds live, and move, and have their being in the
sun-impregnated atmosphere. Then we begin to
understand why conscience will not rest, why the
heart within us is not at peace, why the mind
cannot be kept from thinking, why unsyllabled
prayers move noiselessly within our souls. It is


the voice of the Holy Spirit within saying to us,
* ' This is not your rest ; there remaineth a rest for
the people of God."

That which M. de Laveleye has written of so-
ciety in general is true of every individual life :
** There is in human affairs one order which is the
best. That order is not always the one which
exists ; but it is the order which should exist for
the greatest good of humanity. God knows it
and wills it ; man's duty it is to discover and
establish it."



Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. —
Ephesians, i : 23.

THE questions, what is a Christian church?
what its relation to the Christ from whom
it takes its name ? what the conditions of mem-
bership in it? what its relation to society in
general, and all such questions, have to be
answered in the light of the Person and work of
Him who is its Head. The Church is called the
body of Christ. Through his body a man holds
communication with the outer world and works in
and on that outer world. So through His church
Jesus the Christ acts upon society, upon men in
general. I do not say that this is the only me-
dium through which He works and acts, but it is
the principal medium. A church, then, must be
organically fitted to express the mind and will of
Christ. Every thing ecclesiastical which is not so
fitted is an encumbrance, a hindrance, and not a


So far as any church expresses only the mind of
man in any age or generation, so far it is defec-
tive. Ecclesiastical constitutions exist in which
our Lord has no direct and immediate influence.
There is so much put between Him and His
church that His aspect to the members must be
like that of a man at the small end of an inverted
telescope. Everything \Vhich comes between the
soul of man and the Christ which is not transpa-
rent, yea, which has not in it the power of
bringing this Christ nearer to the soul, is so much
hindrance to a human spirit in its strivings God-

In inquiring as to the nature of the Church of
Christ, the following ideas demand recognition : —

1. Christ Jesus is its head; its sole head, its
source of doctrine, of law and of order. He only
has authority. " One is your Master even Christ,
and all ye are brethren."

Of course in every society there must be a
head. Even a mob must have a leader. There
must in every society be law and order. Other-
wise there can be no peace and no progress. The
self-will of the individual becomes everything.
And in such a state of things there can be no co-
operated movement. The simpler any organiza-
tion is the more catholic it is, and the more
competent for the highest ends. The sole head-
ship of Christ in the Church is the basis doctrine


of all law and order. That headship was distinctly
acknowledged by the Apostles. Passages from
the Gospels and Epistles might be quoted if it
were necessary, to prove how jealously this head-
ship was guarded, both by our Lord himself and
by his Apostles. " No servant can serve two mas-
ters," is our Lord's warning to those who would
try the experiment of a double allegiance.

In the Epistle to the Komans, St. Paul almost
indignantly repudiates the idea of one member of
the church claiming authority over another when
he asks: '*Who art thou that judgest another
man's servant ? To his own master he standeth or
falleth." In the light of such passages as these, it
is strange that such abuses as exist should have
crept into the ecclesiastical world. Lordship in
the Church, says Wycliffe, is forbidden, brother-
hood is commanded. I know of nothing of more
practical importance than that we should never
forget that Headship and Authority in the Church
are vested in One and in One only. Let us not
abuse the idea by inferring that there is no
Authority, and that men can do in the church as
the whim takes them. Nothing could be farther
from the truth of things than such an inference.
There are law and order in the Church, but the
law is not derived from man, and the order is not
such as he has instituted. Therefore is the law so
sacred and the order so impressive. Its very sim-


plicity may mislead us ; not having our eyes open to
perceive that the simplest ideas are parental, that
they contain in them no end of fruitiul and legiti-
mate applications. There cannot be room for a
doubt, that our Lord, in giving two sacraments,
and in instituting a ministry, intended a visible
Church on earth. There can be as little room for
doubt that He intended that the acknowledgement
of His sole headship over them, should be the first
and chief sign of membership in that church.
The man who has no ability of owning the master-
ship of any one but himself and his own will, has
no place and can have no place in the Christian
Church. He is self-excluded.

If we are willing to submit to be taught by
Christ, to be guided by Him, to be controlled by
Him, we are of his Church. That willingness is
God's call in us. And whatever special experiences
we may have or may not have, they are entirely
unreliable, entirely deceitful indeed, if we have
not that willinofness. Havino^ that willingness
however inexperienced we may be, however
uninstructed, however spiritually dull and incapa-
ble, or however richly endowed with the capacity
of spiritual perception, we are without doubt
under the influences of the Spirit of God and are of
that numberless number who constitute the church
of Christ. Let me say plainly that genuine self-
depreciation is no disqualification for membership


• in the church of Christ ; rather is it of the nature
of qualification; the consciousness of ''not be-
ing good enough," is no disqualification but
otherwise ; if that feeling be genuine and not
assumed, it is an element in self-knowledge. The
feeling ' I shall never be able to be consistent ' is
no disqualification, or the whole membership
would have to step down and out. Christ is able
to keep us from falling away from Himself, and that
is the crucial thing. Our ability is not self-
derived, it is imparted. Willingness to be led
and guided, and saved from sin and its
consequences by Him who is the Head of the
Church — this is the essential thing in qualification.
Without this willingness we have no place and no
right in the Church of Christ.

2. The membership of the Church is a brother-
hood. If we have the ability of the subordination
of our own wills to the will of Christ, the practical
result will be, that we shall be of the same feeling
and disposition as all others dowered with the
same ability. The spirit of brotherhood will be
in us. For when anything of the love of God
enters the heart, the love of man comes with it.
The one is the result and the sign of the other.
And the love of man is not some sentimental
feeling which is here to day and gone tomorrow.
It is that disposition which shows itself in
sympathy and goodwill, which is pained when it


pains others, which seeks to be united with others
in all such acts of generous helpfulness as are
feasible. It is the diametric opposite of the spirit
of judgment and accusation. It takes note of the
Master's words, '^ Judge not that ye be not judged ;
condemn not that ye be not condemned." When
circumstances forbid it to do good it resolutely
refuses to do evil to any man. If it can find a
good motive for an action it refuses to believe in
a bad one. It seeks to be in unity with all who
in sincerity submit to our Lord Jesus Christ. It
is ever mindful of the Savior's prayer, *' That they
all may be one as thou. Father, art in me and I in
thee, that they may be one in us, that the world
may know that thou has sent me." To be brothers
of all who will have us for brothers, brothers of
all ' ' who name the name of Christ and depart
from iniquity," this is the aim, the hope, the
ambition of the true Christian. Our minds and
hearts need society. God has so constituted us
that we cannot stand alone. The individual as an
individual is not God's idea of man but the
individual in family relationships. We know this
because God has made family relationship
necessary to the perpetuation of the human race.
Yea, he speaks of the church as a family, *< Of
whom the whole family in heaven and earth is
named." So a disciple of Christ standing apart
in his individualism is not God's idea of a Christian,


but a disciple in the family, one of many.
*' Members of one body, every act of separation
and self-will, is an offence against that body and
against its head." ''One is your master, even
Ciirist, and all ye are brethen," this brief sentence
covers the whole ground. All else in practical
church life is included in, and derived from, these
two abilities, the ability of the subordination of
our own self-will to the will of Christ, and the
ability of persistent untiring brotherliness in
speech and conduct.

It is necessary to add that the members of the
Church of Christ are called by other names than
this of " brethren." This indicates the tone and
temper of their minds. They are called
" believers " and ''disciples," which words indi-
cate their standing towards their Lord. They are
called "saints," that is, separated ones, which word
implies that they refuse to be controlled by the
world's ideas and fashions, whenever those ideas
and fashions militate against the simplicity
and sincerity of their allegiance to Christ. It
is necessary to add further that the Church of
Christ is not democratic, but theocratic. The
people are not the fountain of law and order.
They have no right to affirm who shall be the head
of the Church ; that is settled — settled forever.
Nor have they any right to say what truths shall
be taught, and what doctrines affirmed ; that also


is settled and settled forever. The Church of
Christ is a witnessing church. " Ye are my wit-
nesses," saith the Lord. " Thus it is written that
the Christ should suffer, and rise again from the
dead the third day ; and that repentance and re-
mission of sins should be preached in his name
unto all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
And ye are witnesses of these things." This from
St. Luke. And again in the beginning of the
Acts of the Apostles : ' ' But ye shall receive
power, when the Holy Ghost is come upon you,
and ye shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem
and in all Judea and Samaria and unto the utter-
most parts of the earth."

The Church of Christ is not charged with cre-
ating or inventing anything. It has to be the
witness to the facts and truths revealed concern-
ino^ God and man in and through Jesus Christ. It
is charged with the grand and glorious responsi-
bility of taking these revealed facts and truths to
all who bear the name of man, from one end of
the earth to the other. For God Almighty never
gives a man a truth for his own private use.
Every revealed truth belongs to the whole hu-
manity. Wherever the sun shines there it is
God's will that His revealed truth should shine.
It is necessary that we should distinctl}^ recognize
that though these facts and truths may suggest
views, and start opinions in men's minds, yet that


those views and opinions are not the foundation
on which the Church is built. Other foundation
can no man lay than that is laid, Jesus Christ.
Endless confusion has arisen in the ecclesiastical
world from a non-recognition of the distinction
between men's views and opinions on the facts and
truths of Holy Writ, and the facts and truths
themselves. However many sects and denomina-
tions you may have, there is ])ut one Church of
Christ. However multitudinous the views and
opinions of men on religious themes, there is but
'' one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and
Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and
in you all." The Church derives its facts and
truths, its law and order from Christ, not from
the people — it is theocratic, not democratic.

This also must be added, that the church is the
dwelling place of the Holy Spirit of God, which
fact is evidence by these fruits of the S})irit
which hang thick and threefold upon it, as upon a
tree of life. *'The fruits of the Spirit are love,
joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, meekness, temperance (or self-con-
trol.)" These abound in every true Christian

We must not omit to add, that the Church is
Christ's great Teacher to the nations. The last
great command to the Apostles runs thus: "Go
ye and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing


them into the name of the Father and of the Son
and of the Holy Ghost ; teaching them to observe
all things whatsoever I commanded you ; and lo,
I am with you alway, even unto the end of the
world." If the Church abdicates this position, or
does not recognize it, it lives outside its commis-
sion and opportunity. I venture to say that there
is no other power adequate to educate the mind of
a nation or a man. I need not remind you how
far short of its opportunity and commission the
Church of Christ has fallen, when we take into
consideration its relation, not only to individuals,
but to nations. The truth of the Gospel has even
been so used as to promote selfishness. Many a
man has been taught that the beginning, middle,
and end of Christianity is to save his own soul.
Of course that is the beginning of Christianity, but
it is not the middle and end. When once a man
has been brought into right relations toward God,
by the acceptation of Jesus Christ as his Redeemer,
Lord, and Master, practicall}^ he is brought into
new relations towards men. He begins to recos:-
nize that he owes duties to the family, and to the
nation. He begins to feel the misery and mean-
ness of a life which lives to get and not to give.
His eyes are opened to see that this is the kind of
life most antasfonistic towards the life of God.
The parasite on the tree which drains away its life
but adds nothing to the life of the tree, is the fit


symbol of the man who gets everything out of the
nation he lives in, and gives back nothing so far
as his own will and purpose is set to do it. The
Church's commission includes the teachership of
the nation in all highest things pertaining to
national life.

And lastly, the church is the beginning of that
permanent society which God is organizing to
embody and express his will. The Book of the
Revelation of St John gives intimations of a
perfected society into which there enters nothing
that defileth, neither that which believeth or
maketh a lie, a society of the pure and true, or
rather of those who are purified and made true, men
from all ages and all nations, all kindreds and all
tongues, a society of men like in sympathy and
disposition though various in many other w^ays.
The Christ of God is the centre of that society ;
its inspiration ; its archetype ; a society based on
inward character not on anything else, the inward
character being attested by outward allegiance to
this Christ of God. In that society we shall get
the perfection of communion, the ideal fellowship,
all lovelessness gone, no envy there, no hatred,
nothing that leads to schism, no insincere man
there, no unbrotherly man, the society of which
the church on earth has been, in its best estate,
only the promise and prefiguration. John the
Divine saw it in vision, and he wrote *' Behold the


tabernacle of God is with men and he shall dwell
with them, and they shall be his people, and God
Himself shall be with them, and be their God.
And he shall wipe away every tear from their
eyes ; and death shall be no more ; neither shall
there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain any more ;
the first things are passed away."

*' And there shall be no curse anymore; and
the Throne of God and of the Lamb shall be
therein ; and his servants shall do him service ;
and they shall see his face, and his name shall be
in their foreheads. And there shall be night no
more ; and they need no light of lamp, nor light
of the Sun, for the Lord God shall give them light,
and they shall reign forever and ever."


Be not deceived; God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man
soweth, that shall he also reap. — GalatianSy vi : 7.

THE fact of Retribution is necessarily a very
serious one to all who are not '' past feel-
in":." We find the law of retribution workins:
here in our life. It cannot be denied. The nat-
ural inference is that a law here indicates a
similar law beyond the period and condition we
call temporal. Ostrich-like, we may hide our
heads in the sand and refuse to see that which is
disagreeable. It is wiser and better always to
face facts, never to ignore them, never to close
our eyes to them. Interrogate them. Ask them
what they mean and what they have to teach.
Let us take what we do know and let it lead us to
inferences consistent with it as to that which we
do not know. Let us have the courage resolutely
to stand by the laws and facts which are revealed.
We recognize in ourselves, and so in other men,
a sense of a righteousness which ought to be



obeyed and maintained ; and we recognize also a
condition of feeling, mind, will, life, that is not
according to righteousness. All our efforts to
make righteousness and unrighteousness the same,
or the one a modification of the other, are failures.
We recognize also that unrighteousness brings
penalty. It is so in society, although society may
set up a very untrue standard of right and wrong,
artificial, not according to the standard which God
has set up in our consciences and in the Christ.
Yea, material rewards may come to men who are
persistently acting on principles of unrighteous-
ness, acting selfiishly, i. e. in an ungodly manner.
Very often it is so. This brings in confusion of
mind. It creates perplexity. So much so that
many men are led by it to the illegitimate infer-
ence, that verily there is no special reward for
the righteous, verily there is no God that judgetli
in the Earth. And as material rewards are the
only ones that men of perverted minds and cor-
rupted feelings appreciate, the acting so as to get
these material rewards is common. Not only do
industry and faithfulness bring these material
rewards, but oftentimes dishonesty, shrewdness,
heartlessness in bargaining and in taking advan-
tage of men, bring them. Gambling brings
them ; gambling in many forms. Herein is the
source of one of the strongest and most universal
temptations of our life. A man does not seem any


the worse, so far as the outside appearances of his
life are concerned, because of transactions that are
not honorable and honest. Oftentimes he seems
better ; he has acquired wealth and seems to have
acquired importance.

And this fact alone ought to be enough to assure
us that material rewards are not the only or the
chief rewards which God gives. Man looks at
the outward appearance, God looks at the heart,
at that which is inward. Intellectual shrewd-
ness and uuscrupulousness often bring gold to
the coffers, but they never bring sensitiveness
to the conscience, nor purity into the feeling,
nor piety into the heart. Much otherwise. The
man who has educated himself into that state in
which he has ceased to be a tender-hearted, humane,
brotherly man , and has sunk into a mere trafficker,
to whom there is only one hell, to be poor, and
only one heaven, to be rich, that man is not to be
admired. If you have any feeling to expend on
him, let it be pity, although even that will by no
means be appreciated. If we are to understand
anything about Eetribution, about the law of
rewards and punishments, we must look deeper
than the outside, into the heart and intellect and
conscience, the inward condition.

Righteousness and unrighteousness, happiness
and misery, are not expressible in terms of ma-
terial gifts. The kingdom of God is within you.


saith the Lord ; so is the kingdom of the Devil.

Thus, it is evident that in considering this theme
of Retribution, we have to look below the surface.
We have to school ourselves into the recognition
that a man is rich or poor real!?/ not according to
what he has but according to what he is.

Every one knows how vigorous, of late years,
has been the assault upon the idea of a material
hell. And many there be who seem to have
explored the Universe and have not found it. If
they would explore some of the courts and alleys
of our great cities, if they would go into some of
the dens and dungeons which, to thousands of
people, supply the only place they can call home,
if they would acquaint themselves with the horrors
of society in some of their most terrific, loathesome
and appalling forms, it would surely dawn upon
them that there was a use even yet for the word
**hell," even in its material expression. I am
quite ready to admit that nowhere in the Universe
can 3^ou find God's Hell, but you can find that
which man has made. I hope that none of us may
ever find that which was prepared for the devil
and his angels. Men have heen determined, I
know, to make the idea of hell ridiculous.
Granted that the materialism is only imagery,
taken from the refuse heaps and the purifying fires
which consumed the putrefying carcases of the
Judean valleys, yet imagery has something behind


it which it bodies forth. The whole material world
is, I apprehend, but a parable of the spiritual

You know how valorously men have contended
against the continuousness of the punishment of sin,
but every man w^ho sees below the surface of
things must recognize that a man can sooner be
divorced from his shadow than punishment can
be separated from sin. Sin is self-willed separa-
tion from God, unrepentant lawlessness of soul,
and as long as sin continues the punishment which
is inherent in it, the punishment which comes from
the indwelling opposition of the soul to God,
whatever it be, must continue. The proof that
one form of the presentation of a fact cannot be
the true one, is no argument that all presentations
of it are untrue. No one has ever yet discovered
a way to make a hardened, unrepenting man
righteous or happy, so long as he continues
in that condition.

No one has ever yet discovered a method to
prevent the working of the law, *' whatsoever a
man soweth that shall he also reap." No man has
ever discovered where there is an element of
injustice in the principle on which judgment turns,
that a man should receive the deeds done in the
body according to that he had done, whether it
be good or bad.

Nor has any one discovered a way whereby a


man shall still be a man and yet be deprived of his
power of choice, so as to be made righteous
against his own will or wash. While it is
altogether unbecoming of us to dogmatize on the
only partially revealed future, yet we must not
shrink from utterance of truth and fact as revealed
in us, in the recognized laws of our nature,
especially when they are clearly corroborated by
the teachings of Scripture. The soul needs
medicine as well as food.

I am not competent fully to expound all our
Lord's words on retribution. As far as my ow^i

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