**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!


A Sermon
by [?]

See the grandeur of redeeming liberality in the Apostle. In his heart of hearts he knows that salvation consists in nothing else than being one with Christ; that the only life of every man is hid with Christ in God, and to be found by no search anywhere else. He believes that for this cause was he born into the world,–that he should give himself, heart and soul, body and spirit, to him who came into the world that he might bear witness to the truth. He believes that for the sake of this, and nothing less,–anything more there cannot be,–was the world, with its endless glories, created. Nay, more than all, he believes that for this did the Lord, in whose cross, type and triumph of his self-abnegation, he glories, come into the world, and live and die there. And yet, and yet, he says, and says plainly, that a man thinking differently from all this or at least, quite unprepared to make this whole-hearted profession of faith, is yet his brother in Christ, in whom the knowledge of Christ that he has will work and work, the new leaven casting out the old leaven until he, too, in the revelation of the Father, shall come to the perfect stature of the fulness of Christ. Meantime, Paul, the Apostle, must show due reverence to the halting and dull disciple. He must and will make no demand upon him on the grounds of what he, Paul, believes. He is where he is, and God is his teacher. To his own Master,–that is, Paul’s Master, and not Paul,–he stands. He leaves him to the company of his Master. “Leaves him?” No: that he does not; that he will never do, any more than God will leave him. Still and ever will he hold him and help him. But how help him, if he is not to press upon him his own larger and deeper and wiser insights? The answer is ready: he will press, not his opinion, not even the man’s opinion, but the man’s own faith upon him. “O brother, beloved of the Father, walk in the light,–in the light, that is, which is thine, not which is mine; in the light which is given to thee, not to me: thou canst not walk by my light, I cannot walk by thine: how should either walk except by the light which is in him? O brother, what thou seest, that do; and what thou seest not, that thou shalt see: God himself, the Father of Lights, will show it to you.” This, this is the condition of all growth,–that whereto we have attained, we mind that same; for such, following the manuscripts, at least the oldest, seems to me the Apostle’s meaning. Obedience is the one condition of progress, and he entreats them to obey. If a man will but work that which is in him, will but make the power of God his own, then is it well with him for evermore. Like his Master, Paul urges to action, to the highest operation, therefore to the highest condition of humanity. As Christ was the Son of his Father because he did the will of the Father, so the Apostle would have them the sons of the Father by doing the will of the Father. Whereto ye have attained, walk by that.

But there is more involved in this utterance than the words themselves will expressly carry. Next to his love to the Father and the Elder Brother, the passion of Paul’s life–I cannot call it less–is love to all his brothers and sisters. Everything human is dear to him: he can part with none of it. Division, separation, the breaking of the body of Christ, is that which he cannot endure. The body of his flesh had once been broken, that a grander body might be prepared for him: was it for that body itself to tear itself asunder? With the whole energy of his great heart, Paul clung to unity. He could clasp together with might and main the body of his Master–the body that Master loved because it was a spiritual body, with the life of his Father in it. And he knew well that only by walking in the truth to which they had attained, could they ever draw near to each other. Whereto we have attained, let us walk by that.