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He built the world, now in the world is content to work at Joseph's bench.
He who created matter, who impressed upon the wood and metal the laws which should never as long as this world lasts, be broken, is willing to be bound by those His laws; to find the wood tough, the metal dull, the work heavy, and to toil in the sweat of His human brow.
Behold, O men, the humility of your God! witness Him thus emptying Himself of His glory! and why? “For us men and for our salvation He came down from Heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made Man." Shall not we then empty ourselves of our tinsel pride, and for Jesus' sake walk humbly with our God? for Jesus' sake walk in humility and charity with all men ? This would cement society together, this would make men one.
IV. But if you will look in Exodus, you will see how God gives minute directions, how the Tabernacle, that moveable Temple, should be built. It was a great work of carpentry, a great work of upholstery. Twenty boards having two tenons each, and fitted into forty sockets prepared for them below, formed each side of it; and bars of wood overlaid with gold crossed these twenty boards, and shooting through rings, bound them all together. Over these were spread for a roof, first, ten curtains of fine twined linen, with beautiful symbolical embroidery upon it ; and over these, eleven curtains of goat's hair ; with ram's skins and badger's skins above, outside, to protect all from the weather. And these curtains were fastened by loops, and by hooks, or taches of gold or of brass. All this was revealed to Moses by God.
Why should God condescend to such minutia of the carpenter's and of the upholsterer's art? Why again should God give to Noah the carpenter, so exact a pattern of that ship which he was to build and save a world by ? Surely the answer is not far to seek. As Christ would be the Good Shepherd, to seek out, and to bring home lost mankind; so is Christ the master builder, who will build all Christian men into a living temple for God. In the Church of Christ, some men are like the taches, of strong mind and character, calculated to lay hold of their fellows, others, like the loops, more calculated to be laid hold of by the stronger natures ; some are like the tenons at the foot of the boards, abie only to fall into places made for their reception; some like the sockets, capable of laying fast hold of others, and retaining them in the Tabernacle of our God; yet each,—be he of commanding nature, or of yielding, -suited to stand alone against a world, or to act only in sympathy and in union with his brethren,-each has in the Church his appropriate place from God, each has a position fixed for him here; as indeed each has his mansion, his abiding place, prepared in Heaven.
Christ is not only the Great Artificer of God in nature “ by Whom He made the world,” but He is also God's great Builder in redemption, by Whom the Church is built of living stones, compacted together, and joined in Him.
As, then, Christ the King became a carpenter in our common world, to show us that all men should be one in heart and feeling, in spite of outside distinctions; so in the realm of grace, in the Kingdom of Heaven, He will do the work of a Divine builder, He will build
into His Church, each to fulfil our allotted office according to His plan and by His placing. When I see, Sunday by Sunday, this great body of faces upturned towards this pulpit ; when I see, Sunday by Sunday, many (would to God it were more) at the Holy Communion; when, year by year, I see new Christians coming to their Confirmation, and being placed in their own position in the Temple of our God; when I see some engaged diligently as teachers, some in searching for and relieving the sick, some in reclaiming the drunkard, some in teaching men thrift, some in singing more especially God's praises, some in one Divine work, some in another,—when I am privileged to see all this, can I say I built this up? can I say my fellows in the ministry built it up? can I say anyone, or any hand amongst us built it up ? No: joying and beholding your order, I must, when I contemplate this our living temple of human souls, lift up my eyes and heart to Christ in Heaven and say, “Is not this the Carpenter ?” The unity. of this tabernacle is wrought by no human Moses, the unity of this ark upon the waters by no human Noah. Christ the Divine Architect once planned, Christ the Divine Builder still completes this joyous work of framing all men into one in Himself.
And when a better day shall dawn, and all the building be completed, every board in its proper place, each socket, each tenon fitted to one another, then just as when God laid the foundation of the earth, and laid the measures thereof, and stretched the line upon it, and fastened the foundations thereof, the morning stars sang together, and all the Sons of God shouted for joy;
so will a greater chorus of redeemed mankind mingling with the angel host, give praise to the Builder of our New Jerusalem, and among their strains, I think I catch the exclamation, “Is not this the Carpenter ? who toiled for us in humble Nazareth! who built for us the eternal city of our God!”
SERMON III. .
ST. MATTHEW'S DAY, IN EMBER WEEK.
St. MATTHEW IX. 9.
AND AS JESUS WENT FORTH FROM THENCE, HE SAW A MAN, NAMED MATTHEW, SITTING AT THE RECEIPT OF
CUSTOM : AND HE SAID UNTO HIM, FOLLOW ME.
OLLOW ME,” these are ever the words of
Christ; to each one of us, in every variety
of way. To St. Matthew, by word of mouth ; generally to you and me by baptism, by preaching, by the Word of God; specially to one or another of us by sickness, by losses, by bereavement; by good luck, by prosperity, by happiness; by conscience, by hopes, by fears; in divers tones it is still the voice of Christ, louder or softer, saying, “ Follow Me."