« PreviousContinue »
JAMES ii. 26. "As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without
works is dead also."
A CHILD is born on shipboard, and continues to live there (so we will suppose) until consciousness of existence has been ennobled by the exercise of reason and reflection. The ship nears an Island in the ocean, and the intelligent child, struck with astonishment and lelight, exclaims~" What is that?! ... “ It is land, ny child.”
" And what is land ? and that ? and
?” " Trees, and hills, and beasts, and streams, and ark ! .. the hum of life! And, over that big sea hat we sail on, there is land like that, my child, for niles and miles, and it would take you days, and eeks, and months, Oh, what a time! to come to the ıd!" Like the Queen of the South, when she visited olomon, and saw his glory, and heard his wisdom, id no more spirit in her, so the little one's mind is Lralysed, palsied, with wonder.
My beloved brethren, we are voyagers. It was our hap to be born in a ship, (Gracious God !) even in the Ark of Christ's Church. When early consciousness is succeeded by intelligent enquiry, even such a sight as is there presented will arrest our attention. What is that ? (I allude to the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper.) It is an island in the ocean, reminding us of the Continent of Heaven. Visible things, instinct with life, reminding us, graciously, marvellously, of the great Continent of eternal life ; indeed, if rightly considered, a means whereby we receive the same, and a pledge to assure us thereof.
Come now, let us cast anchor on this little island, and refresh ourselves awhile with its fruits ; it may be we shall voyage on with greater joy. May the God of Heaven bless us, and cause us to see His wonders in the deep
I shall not detain you long. I do not intend formally to expound the words of the text to you; but if you will bear these words in your thoughts as I go on, you will find what I say (so I hope) an illustration of their meaning.
Body and spirit we find every where about us. Faith andworks we mustlook out for. Strange masses of matter endued with stranger life, are continually going to and
We are ourselves a strange compound of body and spirit. May we reflect on the constituent qualities of our world, our self, our character !
fro before us.
It is a wonderful picture that is drawn, or that we draw for ourselves, of the body of the world, without form and void, and darkness upon the face of the deep. But look a little further, and there is the Spirit of God, moving upon the face of the waters. We have nothing to do, morally, with the history of the world before this. We may study its body; go down, deeper and deeper; muse on its wonders ; say this or that, right or wrong.
The Scriptures afford us no help ; they are for the moral and spiritual needs of man, not to teach science or philosophy.
When it pleased the Almighty to make this world a theatre of life, Oh! what marvellous bodies! What marvellous Spirits moved about every where ! It was very good, so we are assured. Its affections were all right. The house and the tenants were both firm and spotless. God made man upright. A great change has been wrought ; we need not enquire how. We feel it to be a fact. Man has sought out numerous nventions ; and here we are, mortal and sinful. Moral Which part of us? The body, not the spirit, hat is immortal. And which is sinful ? Both. Do you doubt-What is anguish, and what is pain ? What, vut evil inhabitants of the spirit and the body?
It was of the dust of the earth that God made aan's body; so we may truly say— Our mother arth. -Our body holds kindred with the ground uner our feet. Surely we ought not to be proud of ur body; we ought not to pamper that ; put that