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the inspiring accents of His holy tongue that caught the affectionate expression of His benevolent eye, and dwelt upon every energetic motion of His excited frame, derived not that benefit which might have been looked for from the exalted nature of all that had passed—what, oh! what can possibly be the effect, even of these heavenly doctrines, when they are repeated by mortal teachers—by erring men, uninspired and uninspiring? Alas! too readily may the effect be conjectured—too truly may the calamity be told !-A foolish man built his house upon the sand. The rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house ; and it fell, and great was the fall thereof!
In this respect, the New Covenant agreed with the Old. Christ descended from the Mount after the preaching of His divine system, to meet reproach, and neglect, and wounds, and death. Moses descended from the Mount with the two tables of the testimony written by the finger of God in his hands. He beheld the golden calf, of which the ungrateful and infatuated Israelites had made a Deity-he saw the rioting and drunkenness of the people—he saw them sit down to eat and to drink, and rise up to play—and full of just indignation, he desperately flung from him the two tables of the testimony, and broke them beneath the Mount !
The preacher of the Gospel—the minister of
God—the called, the consecrated servant of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, how is it that he descends from the Mount to which his vocation exalts him ? Much too frequently to perceive how futilely he has striven ; how very unimportant the result for which “he has opened his mouth.” With Moses, well may he exclaim _“Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold ;” and with Christ, “How often would I have gathered them together, as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, but they would not;"-and conclude in the emphatic language of Ezekiel, “ And they, rohether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they are a rebellious house,) yet shall know that there hath been a PROPHET among them.”
DOING ALL IN THE NAME OF CHRIST.
“ And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the
Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.".
The duty here enjoined by the Apostle is of large extent, and of vast importance : it is a duty which every one of us is called upon to consider with exact attention, and to practise with corresponding solicitude. Some senses, however, of the phrase, “ doing all in the name of the Lord Jesus," there are, which it is proper to guard against, and which, assuredly, the Apostle did not mean to inculcate. As for instance, when our Lord prophesied that “many should come in His name, saying, I am Christ”-it is manifest, that such an act would be a gross imposture and most blasphemous transgression. “We are ambassadors for Christ,” said the Apostles ; “we pray you in Christ's stead be reconciled.” A sense of this kind, belonging only to peculiar persons and arising from particular circumstances, is also inapplicable to the passage in the text; and they who, without an express mission, should thus act, would be deceivers and usurpers— would heinously offend against duty, and against the Majesty of God.
On the other hand, to do all in Christ's name signifies to do all for His honour, out of a principle of grateful love and reverence toward our gracious Redeemer. We ought to reflect maturely before proceeding upon any affair, whether it will please or displease Him who suffered for us, and who has procured so many excellent blessings to the human race by the bitter sacrifice of His own person. Thus, we shall necessarily do all in the name of Christ, instead of doing it in our own, and for the gratification of our own inordinate desires.
There is, indeed, a variety of modes by which we may exhibit this requisite affection. As His servants—as the dependants of a powerful Master, we should act in such a manner as may tend best to His interest. We are placed in this world by the Divine Will, and are commanded to pursue those courses which He knows to be the best calculated for the end originally proposed. And if our Saviour Himself could feel so strongly the necessity of fulfilling “the work which God gave Him to accomplish ”—could so entirely dedicate Himself to the “glory of God;” much more must it become us, in every respect inferior, to obey those injunctions which He came from heaven to reveal. We are, in the expression of the Apostle,
“servants of Jesus," not only as our Maker and Preserver, but also as our Redeemer. He ransomed us from death and sin; He purchased us at the greatest possible price; and having thus transferred to Himself our services, we are in duty bound to serve Him. We have freely contracted with Him as our Master, and we look toward Him for our reward. Our employments, therefore, cannot reasonably relate to our own pleasures ; and we can have no business that ought not to promote His glory. “Whether we eat or drink,” says St. Paul, “ or whatsoever we do, let us do all to the glory of God.” And in another place he advises, that “whatsoever we do, we should do it, heartily as to the Lord, and not unto men ; knowing that of the Lord we shall receive the reward of the inheritance ; for we serve the Lord Christ.”
Not only as to a Master, but as to a Lawgiver, are we required to do all in the name of Jesus. Our lives must proceed in conformity with His declared will. We must act, not merely from good principles, but also by proper rules-by those admirable and infallible ordinances which His word and example have prescribed. It is sufficiently obvious, that whatsoever is done against His authority or without His sanction, cannot be done in His name—that He will not accept of such an offering, and that iniquity of every degree will be finally and severely punished.