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that which was our duty to do.” Luke, sence of their glorious Creator ; privi17:10.
leged to gaze, so far as it is possible And if duty thus exclude merit, the for creatures to gaze without being condition of the angel, as much as that withered, on his unveiled lustres; and of the worm, excludes merit. If all fraught with the consciousness, that, which the angel has belong to the Crea- however wonderful their powers and tor; if that noble intelligence which capacities, they possess nothing which elevates him far above our own level God did not give, and which God might be the property of God; if that awful not instantly withdraw-angels must might, which could strew the ground feel that the attempt to deserve of the with the thousands of the Assyrian Almighty would be tantamount to an host, be communicated by Deity; if attempt to dethrone the Almighty, and that velocity of flight, which fits him that the supposing that more might be to go on embassages to the very out- done than is demanded by duty, would skirts of creation, be imparted by his be the supposing an eternity exhausted, Jaker-there must be a demand, an in- and time left for some praiseworthy alienable demand, upon the angel, for exploits. Angels must discern, with an every instant of his time, and for every acuteness of perception never reached fraction of his strength, and for every by ourselves whilst hampered by corwaving of his wing. Duty, the duty ruption, that each energy in their en. which is imposed upon him by the fact dowment constitutes a requisition for of his creatureship, can draw no fron- a contribution of glory to Jehovah; tier-line excluding from a required con- and that the endeavor to employ it to secration to God the minutest item of the procuring greatness, or happiness, those multiform possessions, which ren- for themselves, would amount to a base der him a splendid and masterful thing, and fatal prostitution, causing them to the nearest approach to Divinity in all be ranked with the apostate. And thus, that interminable series of productions upon the simple principle that "all which bounded into being at the call things come of God," and that only of of the Omnipotent.
his own can they give him, angels, who So that the angel, just as much as are vast in might, and brilliant in purithe meanest of creatures, must say of ty, would count it the breaking into reall that he can bring to God, of thine bellion to entertain the thought of the own do I give thee. It is, indeed, a possibility of merit ; and unless you costlier offering than the human eye could prove to them that God had given hath seen, or the human thought ima. less than all, that there were abilities gined. There is a fervor of affection, in their nature which they had derived and a grasp of understanding, and a from sources independent on Deity, strenuousness of labor, ay, and an in- and that, consequently, their duty totenseness of self-abasement and humi- wards God required not the dedication lity, which enter not into the best and of every iota of every faculty; unless purest of the oblations which are laid you could prove to them this,-and by ourselves at the feet of our Maker. you might prove this, when you could But as there is not one jot less than show to them two Gods, two Creadaty prescribes, neither is there one tors, and parcel out between two Aljot more. God gave all which is mighties the authorship of their surbrought to him. His the glowing love. passing endowments-you would make His the soaring intellect. His the aw- no way with your demonstration, that ful vigor. His the beautiful lowliness. it was possible for an angel to deserve And shall he be laid under obligation of God. You might accumulate your by his own? Shall he be bound to arguments. But as long as they reached make return, because he hath received not the point thus marked out, still, as of bis own? Oh, we may discuss, and the shining and potent beings came in debate, upon earth, the possibility, or from the execution of lofty commisthe impossibility, of creature-merit. sions, and poured into the treasury of But we may be sure, that, if the ques- their Maker the noble contributions of tion could be propounded to angels, the his accomplished purposes, oh, they thought of merit would be rejected as would veil their faces, and bow down treason. Standing in the immediate pre-l in lowliness, and confess themselves unprofitable; and in place of ground his probation-time, spurning back the ing a claim on the employment of their tempter, and swerving not an iota from energies in the service of Jehovah, re- loyalty and love; and had he then apverently declare that the non-employ-peared before his Maker, exclaiming, ment would have deserved the fire and now, O God, I have deserved immortathe rack; so that, throwing from them lity; why, this very speech would have as impious the notion of merit, they been the death-knell of our creation ; would roll this chorus through the and Adam would as actually have fallen, heavenly Temple, "all things come of and as actually have sent down the dark thee, and of thine own, O God, have bequeathments of a curse to his latest we given thee.”
posterity, by pretending to have meritNow if we bring down our inquiry ed because he had obeyed, as now that from the higher orders of intelligence he led the van in rebellion, and, breakto the lower, we, of course, carry with ing a positive law, dislocated the happius the proof which has been advanced ness of a countless population. of the impossibility of merit. If we We thus consider that the impossipass
from the case of angels to that of bility of human merit follows, as a comen, we may fairly apply the results rollary, on our demonstration of the of our foregoing argument, and consi- impossibility of angelic. But we shall der the one case as involved in the not content ourselves with inferring other. It will hardly be disputed, that, the one case from the other. Feeling if creatureship exclude the possibility deeply the importance of your underof merit from amongst angels, it must standing thoroughly why you cannot also exclude it from amongst men. We merit of God, we shall apply briefly our argue not, indeed, that merit is more text to the commonly-presumed instanout of the reach of one rank of beings ces of human desert. than of another. We simply contend You will find one man thinking, that, that with every rank of being merit is if he repent, he shall be pardoned. In an impossibility ; but, since a thing other words, he supposes that there is cannot be more than impossible, we, of a virtue in repentance which causes it course, do not speak of degrees of im- to procure forgiveness. Thus repentpossibility. And yet, undoubtedly, there ance is exhibited as meritorious; and is a sense in which an angel comes how shall we simply prove that it is nearer merit than a man. An angel not meritorious? Why, allowing that falls not short of duty, though it cannot man can repent of himself-which he exceed; and, therefore, it deserves no- cannot-what is the repentance on thing, neither wrath nor reward. A which he presumes? What is there in man, on the contrary, falls short of it of his own ? The tears? they are duty, and, therefore, deserves wrath ; but the dew of an eye which is God's. though, even if he fell not short, he The sighs ? they are but the heavings could not exceed, and, therefore, could of a heart which is God's. The resolunot deserve reward. So that the angel tions? they are but the workings of goes further than the man. The angel faculties which are God's. The amend. fulfils duty, but cannot overstep. The ment? it is but the better employment man leaves a vast deal undone which of a life which is God's. Where then he is required to do; and he must, at is the merit ? 0, find something which least, make up deficiencies, before he is, at the same time, human and excel. can think of an overplus. We may con- lent in the offering, and you may speak sider, then, that in proving the impossi- of desert. But until then, away with bility of creature-merit, when the crea- the notion of there being merit in reture is angelic, we have equally proved pentance, seeing that the penitent man it, when the creature is human. And must say, "All things come of thee, thus Heaven would have been as much and of thine own, O God, do I give a free-gift to Adam, had he never diso- thee.” beyed by eating of the fruit, as it now Again : some men will speak of being is to the vilest of his descendants, with justified by faith, till they come to asthe treason-banner in his hand, and the cribe merit to faith. "By faith,” is inleprosy spot on his forehead. Kad terpreted as though it meant, on acAdam walked unflinchingly through count of faith; and thus the great truth is lost sight of, that we are justi- of the pulse, every drawing of the fied freely "through the redemption breath; labor and strive, and be instant, that is in Christ." Romans, 3:24. But in season and out of season, and let the how can faith be a meritorious act? steepness of the mountain daunt you What is faith but such an assent of the not, and the swellings of the ocean deunderstanding to God's word as binds ter you not, and the ruggedness of the the heart to God's service? And whose desert appall you not, but on, still on, is the understanding, if it be not God's? in toiling for your Maker; and dream, Whose is the heart, if it be not God's? and talk, and boast of merit, when you And if faith be nothing but the render- can find the particle in the heap, or the ing to God that intellect, and that en- shred in the exploit, which you may exergy, which we have received from clude from the confession, all things God, how can faith deserve of God? come of thee, and of thine own, O God, Oh, as with repentance, so with faith ; have I given thee.” away with the notion of merit. He who Now we would trust that the imposbelieves, so that he can dare the grave, sibility of creature-merit has thus been and grasp eternity, must pour forth the established as an inference from the confession, "all things come of thee, statement of our text. We wish you and of thine own, o God, do I give thoroughly to perceive that merit is inthee.”
consistent with creatureship. We do And once more: what merit can not merely prove that this, or that, orthere be in works? If you give much der of being cannot merit. Merit is inalms, whose is the money?" The sil. consistent with creatureship. A creaver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith ture meriting of the Creator is an imthe Lord of Hosts." Haggai, 2:8. If possibility. When the archangel can you mortify the body, whose are the merit, the worm may merit. And he macerated limbs? If you put sackcloth alone who is independent; he who has on the soul, whose is the chastened spi- received nothing; he who is every thing rit? If you be moral, and honest, and to himself, as well as every thing to the friendly, and generous, and patriotic, universe, his own fountain of existence, whose are the dispositions which you his own storehouse of happiness, his exercise, whose the powers to which own harvest of glory; God alone can you give culture and scope? And if merit, and, therefore, God alone could you only use God's gifts, can that be redeem. meritorious? You may say, yes—it is We have now only, in conclusion, to meritorious to use them aright, whilst ask, whether you will keep back from others abuse them. But is it wicked- God what is strictly his own? Will ye ness to abuse? Then it can only be rob God, and pawn his time, and his taduty to use aright; and duty will be lents, and his strength with the world? merit, when debt is donation. You may Will ye refuse him what, though it canbestow a fortune in charity; but the not be given with merit, cannot be dewealth is already the Lord's. You may nied without ruin ? He asks your heart; cultivate the virtues which adorn and give it him; it is his own. He asks your sweeten human life; but the employed intellect; give it him; it is his own. powers are the Lord's. You may give He asks your money; give it him; it is time and strength to the enterprises his own. Remember the words of the of philanthropy; each moment is the apostle, "Ye are not your own; ye are Lord's, each sinew is the Lord's. You bought with a price.” 2 Cor. 6:20. Ye may be upright in every dealing of are not your own. Ye are bought, even trade, scrupulously honorable in all the if ye perish. Your bodies are not your intercourses of life; but" a just weight own, though you may enslave them to and balance are the Lord's, all the lust; they are God's, to be thrown to weights of the bag are his work.” Prov. the rack. Your souls are not your own, 16:11. And where then is the merit of though you may hide, and tarnish, and works? Oh, throw into one heap each degrade their immortality; they are power of the mind, each energy of the God's, to be chained down to the rock, body; use in God's service each grain that the waves of wrath may dash and of your substance, each second of your break over them. Oh, we want you; time; give to the Almighty every throb nay, the spirits of the just want you ; and the holy angels want you; and the I consider each limb as not destined to Father, and the Son, and the Holy corruption, but intended for illustrious Ghost want you; all but the devil and service, when, at the trumpet-blast of ruined souls want you, to leave off de- the resurrection, the earth's sepulchres frauding the Almighty, and to give him shall be riven. And I give God the soul, his own, yourselves, his by creation, his when the understanding is reverently doubly by redemption. I must give God turned on the investigations of celestial the body, I must give God the soul. I truth; when the will is reduced to meek give him the body, if I clothe the tongue compliance with the Divine will; and with his praises; if I yield not my mem- when all the affections move so harmobers as instruments of unrighteousness; niously with the Lord's that they fasten if I suffer not the fires of unhallowed on the objects which occupy his. This passion to light up mine eye, nor the it is to give God his own. Ö God!"all vampire of envy to suck the color from things come of thee.” The will to premy cheek; if | profane not my hands sent ourselves must come of thee. Grant with the gains of ungodliness; if I turn that will unto all of us, that we may conaway mine ear from the scoffer, and secrate unreservedly every thing to thy keep under every appetite, and wrestle service, and yet humbly confess that of with every lust; making it palpable that thine own alone do we give thee.
THE HUMILIATION OF THE MAN CHRIST JESUS.*
" And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death,
even the death of the cross.”—Philippians, 2:8.
We have been spared to reach once sins in his own body on the tree.” 1 Pet. more that solemn season at which our 2:24. It is still, however, most true, Church directs specially our attention that the preaching Christ Jesus and him to the sufferings and death of the Re- crucified, requires not, as it consists not deemer. There can never, indeed, be in, the perpetual recurrence to the slaythe time at which the contemplation of ing of our surety. The preaching of the the offering-up of our great high priest cross is not, necessarily, that preaching is at all out of place. Knowing the foun- which makes most frequent mention of dation of every hope, our thoughts the cross. That is the preaching of the should be continually on that substitu- cross, and that is the preaching of Christ, tion of the innocent for the guilty which which makes the crucifixion of the Son was made upon Calvary, when he "who of God its groundwork ; which offers did no sin, neither was guile found in no mercy, and exhorts to no duty, but his mouth,” 1 Peter, 2 : 22, " bare our on the distinct understanding that no
• I am indebted to Bishop Sherlock for much assistance in handling this and the following subject.
merey could be obtained, had not a Me appointment of our Church, which turns diator purchased it; no duty performed, our thoughts specially at particular had he not gained for us the power. times on particular doctrines; not at But when the groundwork has been tho- any season excluding their discussion, roughly laid, then, though it behoves us but providing that, at least once in the occasionally to refer to first principles, year, each should occupy a prominent and to exainine over again the strength place. of our basis, it is certainly not our busi. We would lead you, therefore, now ness to insist continually on the presen- to the survey of the humiliation of the tation of sacrifice; just as if, this one man Christ Jesus, and thus take a step article received, the whole were mas- in that pilgrimage to Gethsemane and tered of the creed of a christian. Calvary which, at the present time, is
For nothing do we more admire the enjoined on the faithful. services of our Church, than for the We bring before you a verse from the carefulness displayed that there be no well-known passage of Scripture which losing sight of the leading doctrines of forms the epistle of the day, and which the faith. It may be said of the Clergy furnishes some of our strongest arguof the Church of England, that they are ments against those who deny the dialmost compelled by the Almanac, if not vinity of Christ. It cannot well be disby a sense of the high duties of their puted, whatever the devised subterfuges calling, to bring successively before for avoiding the inferences, that St. Paul their congregations the prominent arti- speaks of the Mediator in three different cles of Christianity. It is not left to states; a state of glory, when he was tbeir own option, as it comparatively " in the form of God; a state of huwould be if they were not fastened to a miliation, when he assumed "the form ritual, to pass a year without speaking of a servant;" a state of exaltation, of the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, and when there was "given him a name Ascension of Christ, of the Trinity of which is above every name." It is furpersons in the Godhead, or of the out- ther evident, that the state of glory pouring of the Spirit. If they be dis preceded the state of humiliation; so posed to keep any of these matters out that Christ must have pre-existed in the of their discourses, the Collects bring form of God, and not have begun to the omitted doctrines before the people, exist when appearing on earth in the and convict the pastors of unfaithful form of a servant. Indeed the apostle ness. A dissenting congregation may is inculcating humility, and enforcing go on for years, and never once be di- his exhortation by the example of the rected to the grand doctrine of the Savior. "Let this mind be in you which Trinity in Unity. They are dependent was also in Christ Jesus.” You can reon their minister. He may advance quire no proof that the strength of this what he chooses, and keep back what exhortation lies in the fact, that Christ he chooses; for he selects his own les displayed a vast humility in consenting sons, as well as his own texts. An es- to become man; and that it were to tablished congregation is not thus de- take from it all power, and all meaning, peodent on its minister. He may be an to suppose him nothing more than a Unitarian in his heart; but he must be man. It is surely no act of humility to so far a Trinitarian to his people as to be a man; and no individual can set an declare from the desk, even if he keep example of humility by the mere being silence in the pulpit, that "the Catholic a man. But if one who pre-exists in anfaith is this, that we worship one God other rank of intelligence become a in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity."* And man, then, but not otherwise, there thus, whatever the objections which may be humility, and consequently exmay be urged against forms of prayer, ample, in his manhood. we cannot but think that a country with- We can, however, only suggest these ont a liturgy is a country which lies points to your consideration, desiring open to all the incursions of heresy. that you may be led to give to the
We obey, then, with thankfulness, the whole passage that attention which it