Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

before me are not ciphers, parts of a machine. They are disciplined, they are obedient to command, it is true ; but unless I am much mistaken, each man is like the Benjamites, a chosen man, trained personally to aim and to hit his mark; thus, though you are parts of a whole, there is the greatest scope for individuality, and the outcome of whatever science, and practised skill in eye and arm each several man has in him. To the routine of drill, you add the drawing out of those personal qualities, natural and acquired, which go to make a good marksman. This in itself is an education ; and thus while your daily work at home brings to the surface what is good in you,

this “holiday task,” if I may so term it, brings out another side of your whole being, and helps to develop the complete man. While the knowledge that your rifle work is not for self, but for country, cannot but make you give always a side glance towards the common weal, and so develop the good citizen in you.

Your movement, then, viewed morally and socially, goes far, I believe, to consolidate English society ; to bind us all more together ; to teach that the true good of one is the good of all, and that the good of all is the true good of each. Mr. Carlyle, in his last pamphlet published some years ago, looked upon this movement

our sheet anchor in this respect. On the other hand I met, some dozen years back, a member of “The International” (an organised body of men in different countries, you may recollect, having for its object the pulling down of society as it is, and erecting some Utopian scheme in its place), and I well remember the supercilious scorn, not untinged with fear, with which he spoke of your movement. Thus

as

the friends of order and its enemies alike testify that the Volunteer movement is one which tends to promote the solidarity and well-being of society.

IV. But there is a lesson behind in the more especial things of God. Roman society of that date was corrupt ; the army

alone maintained the earlier traditional virtues of Rome. It is remarkable that not a Roman centurion is mentioned in the New Testament but with commendation. This centurion had been long under its discipline, and had watched the effect of the same discipline upon his men. He had taken a pride in his profession; he had drunk in its spirit. When, then, Christ appeared, who "taught as one having authority," who "commanded " disease, and nature and unclean spirits, and they obeyed Him; the instinct, the cultured instinct, of the centurion led him to divine the cause which lay at the root of this obedience. He saw that Christ is the Lord of life and death, and of all things to them pertaining, youth, health, strength, age, weakness, and sickness. He divined at a glance-the glance of faith—that Christ has but to say to disease, “Go," and it goeth; to sickness, “Come," and it cometh; to death, “Do this,” and “it doeth it." Therefore he came to Christ on behalf of his sick servant, and prayed Him to give the word of command ; never doubting for a moment but that disease would hear it and obey, and the absent servant be cured by the all-present power and authority of Christ. Thus professional training, professional feeling, professional proficiency, professional enthusiasm, by suggesting an analogy in the mission and work of Christ, was the cause under God of bringing this man to acknowledge Christ to be the Lord.

Brethren of the Volunteers, go and do you likewise. Your officers, or the Commander-in-chief, give you sometimes orders, the exact object of which you cannot at the time understand ; yet you loyally obey. So God does much and commands many things to the Christian, the purport and wisdom of which he cannot understand. Yet, Christian, go thou too, and loyally and unhesitatingly obey.

And why cannot the private always understand the order given ? Because he is only in one part of the field, while the superior officer is at the post of observation, or has through others a complete knowledge of the whole situation. So Christian soldier, if you cannot see why God gives you such and such orders, or acts as He does in His governance of the world and of the Church : yet know this—He is God over all, before Whom past, present, and future are spread out like a map; His obscure orders, when your campaign shall be over, will have a complete justification, and you shall see and know it to the full.

Ever then trust loyally the high Captain of your Salvation for the issue of all ; meanwhile obey Him to the death in what He lays upon you as the immediate duties of the day.

133

SERMON XIV.

Church Helpers.

ROMANS XII. 8.

HE THAT GIVETH, LET HIM DO IT WITH SIMPLICITY ; HE THAT RULETH, WITH DILIGENCE; HE THAT SHOWETH MERCY, WITH CHEERFULNESS."

N addressing Church helpers, consisting as they

do of so many different classes of workers, it

is obvious that my words must be devoted to the general spirit in which that work is to be undertaken, rather than to the special work which Churchwarden or Ringer, Teacher or Visitor, Singer or Penny Bank Committee-man, has individually to fulfil.

I would draw your attention specially to three characteristic words—"Simplicity,” “Diligence," “ Cheerfulness," for I conceive that not only are they applicable to the three particular functions which they characterise"giving,” “ruling," "showing mercy," but they describe, if not completely, at least necessarily, the frame of mind

in which all our work for God should be undertaken in the Church.

The Church is God's Church ; the work is God's work ; you are set to do it by God, and, mark, you are set to do your own particular work and not anybody else's.

“God hath set some in the Church, apostles, prophets, teachers, after that, miracles, gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues." Settle it then with yourself that it is your own work you are accountable to God for and not another's.

I. Simplicity.

In the Sermon on the Mount, our Saviour specially commends the single eye, saying that with it the whole body is full of light; whereas if the eye be tainted (say) with specks, or mist, or colour-blindness, or disease generally, the body is either full of darkness, or the mind receives through it a corrupted account of the outside world. Apply this to the soul.

You look towards God ; His will streams in upon you, what He wants you to do, and the way in which He wants it done. This is enough for him who has a single eye ; he goes and does that will with simplicity; to him may be applied the words of Cæsar —“I came, I saw, I conquered;" but the double-minded man allows his view of the will of God to become tinged with false lights, derived not from God but from himself. “ If I do this, how will it affect me?” “Shall I be the loser or gainer by it?” “Will it entail trouble, reproach, persecution ?” “How shall I look in the eyes of the world ?” Here the eye is evil, and the whole soul full of darkness. Simplicity then should characterise all our work for God. “Lo, I

« PoprzedniaDalej »