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类型:奇幻地区:莫桑比克剧发布:2020-08-06 06:48:49

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But now, believing that there is no change whatever in the bread and wine鈥攖hat the bread remains bread, and the wine wine, what shall we say of the practice of adoring the bread as God Himself? What can we say of it? What is our duty to say of it? I doubt not that some may think me very uncharitable and bigoted, but these are days in which the truth must be spoken, and that truth I firmly believe to be that such worship is idolatry. I do not doubt that many are sincere and conscientious in adopting it. But that does not touch the question. Sincerity does not prove truth. Are there none sincere when they sacrifice their lives under the car of Juggernaut? Was not Saul of Tarsus sincere when he persecuted the Lord Jesus in the persons of His people? I fully admit likewise that the worship may in some be based on a deep sense of love and reverence for our blessed Lord. But, again, that does not touch the question. If it is bread, it is idolatry to worship it as God. If it be still a lifeless wafer, it is idolatry to adore it as a living Saviour. God forbid that I should speak harshly of many who have set us an example of self-denial; and p. 16it is in no harsh spirit that I speak as I do. We should rather feel the most tender compassion for conscientious persons, who have been thus misled. But whatever we may think of motives, it is impossible to alter the facts, and I see not how we can avoid the conclusion that such worship is an awful sin in the sight of God. It is almost impossible to turn aside the stern reproof of God by the ministry of His prophets, Isa. xliv. 16, 17: 鈥淗e burneth part thereof in the fire; with part thereof he eateth flesh; he roasteth roast, and is satisfied: yea, he warmeth himself, and saith, Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire: And the residue thereof he maketh a god, even his graven image: he falleth down unto it, and worshippeth it, and prayeth unto it, and saith, Deliver me; for thou art my god.鈥漀or, again, is this sacrifice the means whereby the great sacrifice is applied to the soul. This p. 41is a more common idea than the other, and one prevailing among many who are thoroughly opposed to Popery. It is in harmony with human nature to suppose that we must make our sacrifice in order to gain a share of the blessings of His. Thus people will sometimes give up, first one thing, and then another, hoping by these sacrifices to find peace through the blood of atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. They have no idea of being saved through anything but the great sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ; but they consider that they must make their sacrifice in order to secure the application of his work to themselves. This is the principle of almost all self-imposed mortifications. People hope through them to be partakers of reconciliation through the great atonement. Yet none of these things satisfy the soul. I have myself known persons who have resolutely made the effort, but utterly failed. They have become anxious about their soul, and set to work to reach the cross of Christ by personal self-denial. They have given up their different pursuits one by one; but at length they have found that nothing has done them any good. They have been just as far from the peace of reconciliation as they p. 42were the day they began. None of these sacrifices had helped them in the least. No, and none could help them. Nothing could help them but a free justification through faith, and faith alone; and that, thank God! at last they have found sufficient. And so will every other guilty sinner who throws himself in utter helplessness, to be freely forgiven, and freely saved, by the great grace of God in Christ Jesus. Let none suppose, then, that any sacrifice which we can render can ever make us partakers of the great salvation once purchased by the one sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. This salvation is given on altogether different terms. It is given as a free gift to those who can produce nothing; a gift bestowed in unfettered mercy on those who can only say, in the language of the hymn:鈥

But now, believing that there is no change whatever in the bread and wine鈥攖hat the bread remains bread, and the wine wine, what shall we say of the practice of adoring the bread as God Himself? What can we say of it? What is our duty to say of it? I doubt not that some may think me very uncharitable and bigoted, but these are days in which the truth must be spoken, and that truth I firmly believe to be that such worship is idolatry. I do not doubt that many are sincere and conscientious in adopting it. But that does not touch the question. Sincerity does not prove truth. Are there none sincere when they sacrifice their lives under the car of Juggernaut? Was not Saul of Tarsus sincere when he persecuted the Lord Jesus in the persons of His people? I fully admit likewise that the worship may in some be based on a deep sense of love and reverence for our blessed Lord. But, again, that does not touch the question. If it is bread, it is idolatry to worship it as God. If it be still a lifeless wafer, it is idolatry to adore it as a living Saviour. God forbid that I should speak harshly of many who have set us an example of self-denial; and p. 16it is in no harsh spirit that I speak as I do. We should rather feel the most tender compassion for conscientious persons, who have been thus misled. But whatever we may think of motives, it is impossible to alter the facts, and I see not how we can avoid the conclusion that such worship is an awful sin in the sight of God. It is almost impossible to turn aside the stern reproof of God by the ministry of His prophets, Isa. xliv. 16, 17: 鈥淗e burneth part thereof in the fire; with part thereof he eateth flesh; he roasteth roast, and is satisfied: yea, he warmeth himself, and saith, Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire: And the residue thereof he maketh a god, even his graven image: he falleth down unto it, and worshippeth it, and prayeth unto it, and saith, Deliver me; for thou art my god.鈥

THE MASS.

p. 281. That the sacramental bread is changed into the Lord Jesus Christ, the Living Saviour, God and man.Sometimes it will be necessary to apply it to individuals, when the conscience is troubled by the conviction of sin. Our Church alludes to this in two passages often referred to. The first is from the close of the invitation to the Lord鈥檚 Supper,鈥斺淎nd because it is requisite that no man should come to the Holy Communion but with a full trust in God鈥檚 mercy, and with a quiet conscience; therefore, if there be any of you, who by this means cannot quiet his own conscience herein, but requireth further counsel or comfort, let him come to me, or to some other discreet and learned minister of God鈥檚 word, and open his grief: that by the ministry of God鈥檚 holy word he may receive the benefit of absolution, together with ghostly counsel and advice, to the quieting of his conscience, and avoiding of all scruple and doubtfulness.鈥滱gain: it is not the office of the minister to forgive sins. If our Lord, in His words of John xx. 23, had really connected such a power with the ministry of reconciliation, it is most extraordinary that in all the many portions of the New Testament which relate to the ministry there is no allusion to it. There are three whole Epistles directed exclusively to the chief pastors of the Church, besides several addresses to presbyters both in the Acts and Epistles; and is it not a most remarkable fact, that there is not a single allusion in any one of these passages or epistles to the forgiveness of sins, as forming a portion of the ministry of reconciliation? There are full directions respecting preaching, praying, reproving, instructing, and behaviour to all the different classes of the flock, but of forgiveness of sin by the minister, not one word can you find anywhere; and yet forgiveness itself is the great subject of the p. 58whole New Testament. But it is always traced at once, without any intermediate mediation, to the Lord Himself. It is always ascribed to His blood, His redemption, and His grace, and is never once connected in any way with any power of forgiveness bestowed by a priest. I am not now dwelling on any one particular passage, but rather on the omission of the whole subject from the word of God; and I cannot but think that that omission is a proof, beyond contradiction, that the Apostles, writing by inspiration, did not understand our Lord as teaching in these words that the forgiveness of sin by a priest formed any part of the ministry of reconciliation.

Here, then, is our delightful assurance. We look back to the work of the cross, and there see the whole burden of all our sin borne by Him, and so put away for ever. We ask no further sacrifice, for we know that He made there upon the cross 鈥渁 full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world;鈥 and we now look to our Blessed Saviour as reigning and saving. Because He reigns we know that all is rightly ordered, and because He saves we believe that we ourselves shall be safe for eternity. We see many things in the world that are altogether opposed to what we think best; but we know that God has put all things under His feet, and given Him to be the Head over all things to His Church; and, therefore, that all is in His hand, and all will work together for good. We find deep sin in ourselves, and we know how hard a thing it is really to walk with God. We find defect in our prayers, defect in our faith, defect in our service, defect in our best efforts, p. 9defect everywhere; but we look up to yonder throne, and there we find a loving Saviour; one who knows our deep need,鈥攐ne who has died for us,鈥攐ne who loves us,鈥攐ne who can feel with us, and who vouchsafes to act as our Priest and Advocate, so that in the midst of all our shortcomings and deficiencies we may, in His Name, and through His most precious blood, 鈥渃ome boldly to the Throne of Grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.鈥漇ELF-SACRIFICE.

For the decision of this point, let us compare the 18th and 19th verses. In v. 18 we read,鈥斺淕od hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.鈥 But in v. 19 there is a slight variation; but one of great importance in the exposition of the passage; for we there find鈥斺淗ath committed to us the word of reconciliation.鈥 The word of reconciliation, therefore, is the substance of the ministry: the grand work is to make known the perfect reconciliation wrought out for us in Christ Jesus, to act on the example set us by St. Paul himself, when he burst out in the grand appeal which follows, and said,鈥斺淣ow, then, we are ambassadors for Christ. As though God did beseech you by us, we pray p. 63you in Christ鈥檚 stead, be ye reconciled unto God.鈥

But our Lord鈥檚 words may have been addressed to the whole company; and if so, the laity, and even the women, had as great a share in them as any others. Now, no one supposes that every Christian has the power of forgiving sin; and the only way of understanding our Lord鈥檚 language is to regard His words as conveying to His Church the power of Christian discipline. It is clear that such a power is essential to the well-being of the body; for the Church would cease to be a Church if its most sacred privileges were open indiscriminately to all kinds of characters. There must be the right of excluding the wicked, of admitting converts, p. 61of excommunicating those who disgrace their profession, and of restoring such persons when the Church is satisfied respecting their repentance. But this authority, if it is not given here, is given nowhere. When our Lord said, as we read in Matt. xviii. 18, 鈥淲hatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven;鈥 He gave His disciples the power of regulating Church order; and it is reasonable to suppose that in these words He gives a similar authority with reference to persons, for in the one passage it says 鈥渨hatsoever,鈥 and in the other 鈥渨homsoever.鈥

Then, again, with the place there has been a complete change in His employment. He was here to found His kingdom and to make atonement. He is there to carry out the results of that atonement and to reign. His office was represented by the high priest of old, who first in the outer court offered the sacrifice, and p. 7afterwards went in before the mercy-seat to sprinkle the blood. So Christ Jesus here on earth offered Himself as the sacrifice, and now He is gone into the holy of holies there to present the blood before the mercy-seat of God. Thus He is described by St. Peter (Acts, v. 31) as being exalted to be a 鈥淧rince and a Saviour;鈥 a Prince, because He is exalted as King of kings and Lord of lords; a Saviour, because as a living friend, He is saving those whom, when on earth, He redeemed by His blood. Every passage, therefore, which describes Him in His present condition, represents Him as in the possession of living power. Sometimes He is said to be reigning, as (1 Cor. xv. 25), 鈥淗e must reign till He hath put all enemies under His feet.鈥 Sometimes we see Him as the Priest (Heb. iv. 14), 鈥淪eeing then that we have a great High Priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God.鈥 Sometimes He is the Advocate (1 John, ii. 1, 2), 鈥淚f any man sin we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;鈥 and sometimes He is the loving Friend, watching the struggles of His faithful disciples, and waiting to welcome His dying servant in the solemn moments of his rough and stormy martyrdom. p. 8鈥淏ehold,鈥 said Stephen, 鈥淚 see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God;鈥 and so, having seen it, he followed up the vision by the dying prayer, 鈥淟ord Jesus, receive my spirit.鈥 (Acts, vii. 56.)鈥淏ut this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.鈥

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II. This then being, I trust, clear, our next subject will be the object of the ministry; and this is taught very clearly in the words,鈥斺淭he p. 52ministry of reconciliation.鈥 The reconciliation of the sinner to God is the great result, to attain which God founded the ministry. The question has been raised whether, by the reconciliation here mentioned, is meant the reconciliation of God to the sinner, or the reconciliation of the sinner to God. Surely both are included. In our guilty and ruined condition there is a double enmity. Man, through his corruption, is at enmity with God; and God, through His righteousness, is at enmity with rebellious man. And as there is a double enmity through sin, so, likewise, is there a double reconciliation through Christ. God, His law being satisfied, is reconciled to the sinner; and the sinner, his heart being changed, is reconciled unto God.3. Once more: the sacrifice involves the free gift of money. Money with most men lies very near the heart. Open the heart, and you open the purse. Let the heart become dull, lifeless, cold, and unfeeling, and the purse soon closes. Thus the sacrifice of Self is almost sure to lead to the offering of money. Cold hearts give little; but when the heart is full the offerings flow freely. The men of Macedonia were poor people, but no sooner had they given their own selves to the Lord than 鈥渢he abundance of their joy, and their deep poverty, abounded unto the riches of their liberality.鈥 Now these offerings p. 39are described in the Scriptures as a sacrifice to God. St. Paul alludes to them, in Philip, iv. 18. It is not perfectly clear whether he alludes to a contribution towards his own maintenance, or to the collection in which he took so deep an interest for the poor saints in Jerusalem; but, either way, he describes the offerings as an odour of a sweet smell, a 鈥渟acrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God.鈥 This gives a delightful view of contributions in a right spirit for the service of the Lord. It shows that the free and generous giver thereby offers a sacrifice well pleasing to God. It rebukes at the same time the niggardly and parsimonious spirit, the spirit that gives reluctantly, and complains of many calls. Yet I verily believe that to give freely can scarcely be called a sacrifice, for no money gives so much pleasure as that freely offered to the Lord鈥檚 service; and no people enjoy property so much as they do who are free and open-hearted givers. I have not the slightest hesitation, therefore, in appealing to you for free and generous offerings, for I can say as St. Paul said (Philip, iv. 17), 鈥淚 desire fruit that may abound to your account;鈥 and I am thoroughly persuaded, that no person who is induced to give freely will ever repent of p. 40鈥渁 sacrifice acceptable and well pleasing to God.鈥

The End1. There must be the sacrifice of our sins.The text stands very near the conclusion of a most important argument, in which the Apostle has been drawing the contrast between the Jewish sacrifices under the ceremonial law and the one perfect sacrifice wrought out for us by p. 19the Son of God on the cross. The contrast commences with the 25th verse of the 9th chapter, and extends to the 14th verse of the 10th; after which we are led to the practical application of the whole epistle. Let us, then, first, carefully study the point of contrast, and then the reason of it.

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