Images de page

the city where the stones were made ready. All the preparations were made in silence and secrecy down beneath the tread of busy life; and then, when the great blocks were cleft from their bed, hewn, shaped, polished and fitted for their place, they were hoisted through a shaft to the temple platform and lifted to their exact position. So all the preparations for character go forward in silence and secrecy; but the results are manifest in the structure which, for glory or shame, mysteriously grows before our eyes.




For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.— 1 Cor. xi: 10.

In the December number the reasons were given for believing that the Greek word rendered "power" in this passage was used also for a head-dress. To the quotation from Lucian there made, I would add one from the "Descriptions of Callistratus, No. 5," where a statue of Narcissus is the subject. In speaking of the perfect carving of the marble, he says: "The stone, although of one color, assumed the condition of the eyes, and preserved the representation of the disposition, and exhibited perceptions, and showed emotions, иai прòs τpixμatos ἐξουσίαν ἠκολούθει εἰς τὴν τριχὸς καμπὴν λυόμενος.” The Latin translator most strangely renders éžovóiar by luxuriam, and supposes an "abundance of hair" is intended. But it is certainly easier to render this last sentence "and (the stone) yielding itself to the waving of the hair followed according to the head dress." Certainly exusia cannot have here the meaning of power or authority. As regards the other obscure words of our text, "because of the angels," the notion that the messengers of the pagan authorities are referred to has nothing to support it. The reference, here and in Rev. i: 20, to the ministers of the Church, is equally unsupported. Angels, in the New Testament, are always the heavenly intelligences sent to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation. The four apparent exceptions, out of the nearly 200 instances of the word's use in the New Testament, are Luke vii: 24; ix: 52; 2 Cor. xii: 7; Jas. ii: 25, and in each of these cases the context indicates the earthly character of the ayyeλos. We have no such context here to lead us away from the usual meaning of the word. The trouble with us, which makes us seek for some other meaning here, is, that we do not sufficiently appreciate the fact that an innumerable company of angels is ever engaged in ministering for the Church, and that the angels are expressly declared to be personally attached to God's saints on earth, and are called “their angels." (Matt. xviii: 10.)

The apostle, in the chapter from which our text is taken, is enjoining decent behavior in the assemblies of Christians; and one of the points of decency is the wearing of a head covering of some sort by the women. If a woman sit bareheaded in the assembly she brings reproach upon the Church, acting as if she were a loose character; and she insults the angels of God who are present, though unseen. This appeal to our holy unseen friends in the meetings of Christians, is very effective.



The hour cometh and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship Him.-John iv: 23. IT is to the last clause that your attention is now called: "For the Father seeketh such to worship Him."

I have thought much during the last summer, dear brethren, upon the subject of preaching to you on the topic of worship, that is presented to us in this passage. It is important in itself, of great practical interest to us, and necessary to have frequently brought before our mind. Intentionally, the bringing forward of this matter has been delayed until all the families of the congregation should have come from their country homes, which is now substantially the case.

It would be very easy to find a text upon this particular theme from the Old Testament, although I have taken one from the New. Has the question ever come into your minds, why the New Testament dwells comparatively little upon this matter of worship, and that we have so much of it in the Old? It is well worth thinking about, and the answer to it serves to throw some light upon the topic with which we are now engaged. There was an absolute necessity for the Old Testament to teach the human race the elementary ideas upon the subject of worship. It was necessary to show men that God was to be worshiped, and not His creatures, the works of His hands. It was necessary to show men the character of this Being that is worshiped, and the mode in which men ought to come before Him—

not with the crude, idolatrous rites to which they were accustomed in connection with their heathen form of supplication. Accordingly the Old Testament deals very much with these particular themes, and sets before us with particular fullness, the experimental side of the matter, the feelings that ought to enter into true worship, as, for example, throughout the book of Psalms. Now it was not necessary for the New Testament to travel over this same ground, it was not necessary to revert fully to these great topics settled once for all in the Old Testament. It is true, a great change came in the style and character of worship. The ceremonial law, having done its work, was put aside, and the Gospel dispensation came in, and it became proper that the mode of teaching and expression of religious feeling should be adapted to the new conditions of things, and there the New Testament is clear and full and explicit. It does not, howtraverse the same ground that is gone over in the Old Testament. It says to men: "Forsake not (forget not) the assembling of yourselves together.". Do not let that usage die out; do not let worship and worshiping arrangements lose their proper place in your thought. But it assumes that they would have present to their minds the great leading truths touching the nature and character of worship, as such, presented to us in the Old Testament.


In this particular passage, part of which makes the text, Jesus Christ is speaking with the woman of Samaria. He knew very well the character and standing of the woman, as she was made soon to recognize. It is well worth considering the way in which he approached this woman. It was not with sensational stories, it was not with pa

*Stenographically reported by Arthur B. Cook. [Many of the full sermons and condensations published in this REVIEW are printed from the authors' manuscripts; others are specially reported for this publication. Great care is taken to make these reports correct. The condensations are carefully made under our editorial supervision.-ED.]

thetic appeals. It was with the calm, simple statement of the weightiest things that belong to the kingdom of Christ. Indeed, if you look at the two chapters, the 4th and the 3d, you will see that there is a remarkable similarity between the way in which our Lord discourses to Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, and this poor Samaritan woman. I say it is an instructive study. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is for all, high and low, rich and poor, educated and ignorant, Jew and Samaritan. In many instances mistakes are made in the way of supposed simplifying and popularizing of the Gospel. It may be stated without fear, in its integrity to all. It lifts up the ignorant and unlearned as it comes in contact with their minds, and it humbles and brings down the learned as they sit at the feet of the Great Teacher. There is a sense, of course, in which we are, as ministers, to accommodate our teaching to the intelligence of the people, a sense in which we are to become all things to all men; but men sometimes carry that concession a little too far, and would learn with advantage from the method pursued by our Blessed Lord. A skilful oculist, in dealing with abnormal or diseased eyes, will direct the procuring of suitable glasses, adapted to the peculiarities of those eyes; but to the average human being the light of God's sun is the same blessed boon in all ages and in all lands. And it is so with the light of the Sun of righteousness. shine, and we need not be afraid touching the consequences.

Let it

In the second place, I want to remark to you that, in speaking to you of worship, I would not wish to convey the idea that your religion is to consist in any exclusive way in your church connections, your Sabbath keeping, your worship and service, and your benevolence. I should be sorry to convey that impression to you, while magnifying worship. If you are truly religious, you are religious always and everywhere, and these forms of service are only special and appropriate ways in which the religious life kindled within you by

the Spirit of God openly expresses itself. Hardly anything of its kind could be more mischievous, than the impression that religion is a state of feeling and a mode of expression that we are to cultivate on the Sabbath and in the church, and on week days when we come in contact with the clergy or with the church, or with works of benevolence, but that, as for the rest of our life, that is secular. Such an impression is mischievous, and it is entirely with out foundation in the Word of the Lord. It tends to repel honest minds from the truth and the Church, and from Christ Himself, and it makes a most injurious distinction between the elements of our life, as if, one large part of them being religious, another large part of them may be non-religious; as if one portion may be spiritual, but another large portion may be wholly and absolutely secular. If we are religious, we are religious through and through, and we are religious everywhere and in every relation and duty and type of our lives. In the Lord we live and move and have our being, and if we be His we are His "all the time," and in all conditions and circumstances; and I do not want you to take up the notion for a moment or to carry it away with you, that your religion is to be a thing of the Sabbath, and the worship, and the service, and the benevolence. It is to be characteristic of you as long as you are here and however you may be placed, until you come into the kingdom of your Father above, where there will be no temptation to anything but complete consecration to Him. This our Lord continually teaches to men, and whether they go up to Jerusalem to feasts and sacrifices, or whether, like the Samaritans, they go to their Mount Gerizim, the obligagation is still the same founded upon the fixed nature of Deity. God is a spirit and is to be worshiped in spirit and in truth, and "the Father seeketh such to worship him."

I. In the first place, let me call your attention in expounding this truth, to the nature of worship. The very word itself may help to give us a suggestion as

to its meaning. It is contracted, as some of you know from the longer word worth-ship, and the idea in the old Saxon substantive was that the word "worth-ship" could be applied to persons in acknowledgement of the good qualities or worth that they were acknowledged to possess, and so our Saxon forefathers came to say "Your Worth-ship," just as moderns say, "Your Lordship," meaning, You are in the state of a person that has solid worth, as " Your lordship" means, You are a Lord and entitled to be so esteemed and honored." Then the noun came to be in the verbal form, and to worship was to recognize the worth of the person to whom the worship is addressed. To worship God is to recognize in appropriate ways the worth that is in Him. We have one use of the word in our King James' version, illustrating the point thus made to you. You remember how Christ directs His hearers, when invited to a feast, to take the lowest seat, and then when he who gives the feast comes in, he will say, "Go up higher;" "and so," He adds, "thou shalt have worship from them that sit at meat with thee," i. e., thou shalt have recognition of the worth that is in thee. Having regard to the change in the significance of the word, you will see that in the Revised Version that word is dropped and the word glory is put in its place.

Worship, then, is the recognition of the qualities and characteristics that belong to Deity: His love, His power, His goodness, His truth, His mercy, His holiness, His grace. When we worship we recognize appropriately these infinite perfections. I have sometimes heard critics of Christians describe their impressions of that form of prayer that is called extempore, and raise this question: "What is the use of these men telling God what He is and what qualities He has?" What is the use? They allude, of course, to that portion of prayer that is known as adoration. It would not be worth while to answer the criticism, if the answer did not throw light upon the topic we have be

[blocks in formation]

1. There never have been Christian prayers composed anywhere that have not this element of adoration in them, and that do not tell to God the qualities and characteristics that belong to Him, " notwithstanding that He knows them. If men are to tell nothing to God but that He does not know, then their lips will be sealed forever, both in prayer and praise.

2. If this criticism has any foundation, it lies against the inspired saints, in a very remarkable and striking way. "The heaven is thy throne and the earth is thy footstool. What house shall we build thee, and where is the place of thy rest?" "Thy hand hath made all things." "Lord, thou hast been our dwelling-place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting thou art God." "Thou art glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonderful."

I do not need to repeat text after text in this strain. What are all these, except inspired saints telling to God the properties that He has revealed in Himself, telling Him the things that He knows, telling them over and over again, speaking, before Him, as well as they can, the worth that they believe to be in Him? Are we to criticise these saints? That would be to criticise the Spirit that inspired them, to find fault with the Deity.

3. It is impossible, in the nature of the case, that there should be communion with the Father, fellowship with God, without this element enter

ing into it. We speak of communion, for example, or fellowship, between a husband and wife, one of the most sacred forms of fellowship. Is that fellowship living only when the one tells the other things that the other does not know? And the same thing applies to every communication that is made between two intelligent beings, more particularly wherever a favor is sought from the one by the other. He who

presents a petition to the king will very naturally state in the foreground of his petition the good qualities which he recognizes in the sovereign and which warrant the hope that his petition will be granted. Even letters to ministers, asking favors, in the very nature of the case, are apt to begin in some such way as this. So that when adoration enters into our petitions and prayers and we tell God what He has revealed Himself as being, we are worshiping in the truest, most literal and real sense of the word, recognizing the worth in Him, the infinite perfections that He has revealed; and being creatures, as we are, we cannot have fellowship with Him without engaging in this holy exercise.

II. In the second place, we notice the object of worship. That is the Supreme One, the Creator of all and the Father of all. He is the Maker of all things; He is invisible, eternal and incomprehensible. He dwells in light, inaccessible and full of glory. He has revealed himself, however, in Jesus the Son, who is the brightness of His glory and the very image of His person, who is the same in substance with Him, His equal in power and in glory, and who is therefore worshiped with the Father. And the things of Christ are taken and revealed to men by the Divine Spirit, the Holy Ghost, who teaches our spirits, who changes the trend of our being and turns it Godward, who enlightens the intellect, who touches the affections, who renews the soul, who makes us new creatures. Father, Son and Holy Ghost: and here the Divine ends, and here worshiping ends. It goes no farther. I notice, in a book by Canon Freemantle, which has some good things and some very weak things in it, that he speaks with a certain degree of toleration, at least, of the declaration of a Positivist to the effect that humanity and the world and space, these three, made his Trinity. I wonder if he would feel free to say, "Glory be to humanity, glory be to the world, glory be to space?" What absolute nonsense, when we come to think of it!

Father, Son and Holy Ghost-one

God revealed in Christ-this is the object of worship, the only object. That is the Scriptural doctrine. That is the Protestant doctrine, the doctrine of the Reformation as distinguished from the doctrines that were taught before the Reformation. That doctrine is disregarded, that truth is violated, when any worship is given to creatures. "Oh," but says some one, "they make a distinction in the words; and what harm, after all, can it do to a devout soul that it makes its appeals to the saints and to the angels?" What harm can it do? That is a very fallacious and deceptive way of putting a thing of the kind. When I make my appeal to saints and angels, I being here on the earth and they in heaven, I invest them for the time with attributes that are the exclusive possession of the Deity. I give them for the time the glory that is the Lord's only. Is that of no consequence? Is it not true that He will not give His glory to another? What right have I to do it when He has expressly forbidden it? Suppose you take a prayer-book and read in it, "Lord have mercy upon us! Christ have mercy upon us!" and then a rubric and direction, and the "Hail, Mary!" ten times. What is it but what the Apostle describes as worshiping and serving the creature more than the Creator, who is God over all, blessed forever? It is wrong, then, and we have to keep to the Scriptural, the Protestant ground. God only is to be worshiped, and homage is to be rendered to the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost.

III. So much upon that part. Take then, in the next place, the rule of worship. If God is the object to be wor shiped, then He has to prescribe the way, and He has done that from the beginning. We make no positive statement about it, for we have only inferences, but I do not believe that men invented the sacrificial system. I think God taught it to men. And there is a good deal that is plausible, I think one might say probable, in the suggestion that has been made again and again on high authority, that when man was clothed with

« PrécédentContinuer »