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III.

A TEST.

“Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which

I say ?”- LUKE VI. 46.

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This is one of those weighty sayings of Christ, which test and sift a man's Christianity. Whether we are Christians in fact and in reality, or Christians in name only and by profession, is determined by the question, whether or not we“ do the things which Christ says." Now, we are all too ready to take it for granted that we believe in Christ, and belong to Christ. We hear and read his sayings, and we approve of them, and we are led to fancy that this acquiescence in the truth is an evidence or indication of our faith. But all the while, this assent may never have penetrated deeper than the intellect; it may never have sunk down into the heart and the affections.

Whether we heartily and savingly believe, is best ascertained by the practical influence which our belief exercises upon us. Are we doing the things

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which Christ says, and continuing in his word? Then we are Christians in fact; then we are his disciples indeed. Are we hearing his sayings, but not doing them,--taking his name into our lips, and calling him Lord, but at the same time using no diligence in bringing his instructions to bear upon our practice,-paying to them a show of deference, but setting them aside whenever they clash with our convenience, our passions, or our worldly interest? Then we may profess and call ourselves Christians, but we have in reality nothing to do with Christ, savingly: we have just a name to live, but are in fact dead spiritually; we have something that we call faith, but we have not that faith which saves, which puts the soul into communion with Christ, and enables it to bring forth fruit, as the branch when it is grafted into the vine.

It is the characteristic of Christ's sheep, that they not only hear his voice, but that they follow him. It is the evidence of our love to him, that we not only give him fair words, but that we keep his commandments. It is the test which determines whether or not we actually belong to Christ, that we not only call him Lord, but do the things which he says,--the test which he himself shall apply when he shall sit upon the great white throne, and the dead, small and great, shall stand before him. They shall be judged out of those things which are written in the books, according to their works.

We are too apt to disunite in our minds the three inseparable offices of Christ--those of Priest, Prophet, and King. We are willing to take him for our High Priest, to offer himself a sacrifice, and to make atonement for our sins; but we do not wish to take him for our Prophet, to teach and guide us. Or if we sit before him as his people, and give audience to him with the outward ear, we refuse to take him for our King, to rule and govern us : we will not have this man to reign over us : we will not “do the things which he says."

But this separation of the saving offices of Christ is purely imaginary; it has no possible foundation in fact. If Christ is not enthroned as a King in your heart and affections, you have nothing to do with him as your great High Priest. If you are not habitually making his will your law, your pardon and acceptance with God is but a a dream. If you are not being made holy by his Spirit, you certainly are not justified by his blood and righteousness. If you are content with calling him Lord and King, and all the while are not making it the leading principle of your life, to do the things which he says, you are only deceiving and robbing your own soul, and your Christianity is but an empty name. Like Melchisedec, Christ must be both Priest and King. Where he pardons, he rules the heart; and the same faith through which the soul obtains an interest in his death and merits, invariably disposes that soul to submit to him as his willing subject.

But the very title which we are continually applying to Christ, convicts us of hypocrisy if we do not make it our business to yield allegiance to his will Are we not constantly in prayer ad-dressing him as “Lord”? Do we not frequently, in speaking of him, quote his rightful designation, “Our Lord”? Now, what is the meaning of this title? It simply means, “ Master,” – one who has authority over our actions, and rightfully claims our services. We call Jesus our Master and Lord, and we say well, for so he is. But where is the consistency in calling him “Lord,” if we do not the things which he says? It is neither more nor less than giving him a mock title. It is just as truly a mockery in the sight of God (though of a different kind), as the conduct of Pilate and his soldiers when they wrote over the

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cross, “ Jesus, the King of the Jews.” These men, ignorant who Jesus really was, acted in derision of him : we, knowing and confessing who he is, and putting upon him his legitimate designation of

King and Lord,” practically cast contempt upon this title, by not making it our study to obey him.

What would an earthly master think of that servant who, while professedly recognising his authority, should nevertheless refuse or neglect to follow his directions? Would he consider the mere fact of his being saluted "Master,” by that

“ servant, as any compensation for the disregard of his commands ? And shall not our heavenly Master say to us, as God said to the Jews of old, “ A servant honoureth his master : if then I be a Master, where is my fear?" or, “ Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?"

Brethren, Christ declares himself to be our Master and Lord, and we, all of us, by the very fact of our assuming the name of Christ---calling ourselves Christians-virtually recognise and endorse his claim, and profess subjection to him. All of us who have not repudiated our baptism, have, as it were, subscribed with our hand unto the Lord, and placed ourselves voluntarily under his rule and sceptre. It may, however, be useful,

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