THE TWO NATURES OF CHRlST.*
It is the question of the ages. Propounded eighteen centuries ago, it ha» been a living question ever since, and it was never agitated so much as now. Every year the press brings forth its new life of Christ. The term " Christology " is a coinage of our own generation, and it indicates that the study of Christ's person has become a science by itself. The New Testament of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ wins more readers to-day than any other book in the world. The character of Christ is the standard of all excellence, even by the confession of those who are enemies to his gospel; and he himself declares that by our attitude toward him we shall be judged. The question "What think ye of the Christ? " is asked of each one of us to-night; it will be asked of us when we stand at last before God ; and the answer will determine our eternal destiny. I am glad that the Scriptures enable us to answer it aright. They point us to the two natures of our Lord which united constitute him the ladder from earth to heaven. On the one hand, he is the Son of Man; on the other hand, he is the Son of God. It is my purpose, first, to show what these phrases mean; and then, secondly, to draw from them certain important practical lessons.
Observe then that Christ is Son of Man. This can mean nothing less than that Christ is true man. It means much more besides, but let us first grasp and insist upon this. Christ is man. The ancient docetic view which held so strongly to his divinity that it left no room for his humanity — the view that in the incarnation Deity passed through the body of the Virgin as water through a reed, taking up into itself nothing of the human nature through which it passed— this was all an ignoring and a contradiction of Scripture. When the New Testament assures us that Jesus Christ was the Son of David and of the stock of Israel, when it describes him as sitting weary upon Jacob's well, as sleeping upon the rower's cushion, as suffering upon the cross, and as breathing out his soul in death, there is one thing which we cannot mistake and that is that this Son of Man is man. And that not. simply as respects the reality of his human body. He had a human mind also, and that mind was subject to the ordinary laws of human development. He grew in wisdom, as well as in stature and in favor with God and man. In his mother's arms he was not the omniscient babe that some have supposed. In his later years he suffered, being tempted, as he could not have suffered, if all things had been open to his gaze. Even to the last, it would seem that he was ignorant of the day of the end, for "of that day," he tells us, "knoweth no man, neither the angels of God, neither the Son, but the
*Preached in Sa(re Chapel, Cornell Uersity, May 25, 1S84. as a sermon on the text. Mat. 22 : 42- "What think ye of the Christ 1 Whose son is he?"
Father." Not till his twelfth year, at his interview with the doctors in the temple, does he apparently become fully conscious that he is the Sent of God, the Son of God; and even then he must learn obedience to parents, and prepare for his public ministry by the gradual growth of mind and heart and will, amid the humble duties of son, brother, citizen, and member of the Jewish Synagogue.
There are two pictures by modern artists, the one of which illustrates the false, and the other the true view of Jesus' human development. The first is by Overbeck, the celebrated German painter. It represents the child Jesus at play in Joseph's work-shop. Child as he is, his great future sacrifice looms up before him continually, and even in his play he is fashioning sticks and blocks into the shape of a cross, and so is rehearsing in his infancy the tragedy of Calvary. I see no indication in Scripture that this conception is true, or that the great future experiences of our Lord were ever thus early anticipated. The second picture is by Holman Hunt, the Englishman. It is entitled '' The Shadow of the Cross." It also represents the carpenter's shop at Nazareth. At the close of a weary day, when the level rays of the setting sun are streaming through the door, Jesus, the carpenter, turns from his tail and stretches out his arms in sheer fatigue. The shadow of those outstretched arms, and of that relaxed and tired form, is thrown upon the opposite wall. There the long upright saw, and the smaller tools ranged transversely, make the rude semblance of a cross, and the shadow of the Savior falls upon it. At one side, Mary, the mother of Jesus, weary of the long delay in the manifestation of her Son, has been trying to revive her faith in those old promises that had accompanied his birth, by opening the casket in which had been kept the gold, frankincense and myrrh, which the wise men from the east had brought. The sudden stopping of Jesus' work startles the mother, and turning to look at the Savior, her eye falls upon that prophetic cross upon the wall and the shadowy form of her Son stretched upon it, and the sword pierces her own heart also. But Jesus does not see the cross; his face is turned from it. His is still a countenance of youthful energy,— weariness and sadness, if you please, but still, not yet of anguish; his hour is not yet come. Holman Hunt's picture is truer to the gospel narrative than Overbeck's. Instead of fashioning crosses, Jesus was far more probably, as Justin Martyr, the old church Father, tells us, making ploughs and yokes, and so by hard manual toil supporting the widowed mother whom Joseph's death had left dependent upon his care. Jesus walked by faith, not by sight. His knowledge was a growing knowledge. His prayers were real prayers — full of strong crying and tears. He was made perfect through suffering. And all this testifies that he was one of us — a veritable man like ourselves.
But was there nothing peculiar about the humanity of Jesus? Ah yes, he was not only man — he was the ideal man. When he is called Son of man, it is intimated that he is man in the highest possible sense, the central, typical man, in whom is realized the perfect idea of humanity as it existed in the mind of God. By this I do not mean that in all respects this glory belonged to him in the days of his flesh. Those were days of humiliation. I do not know that the man Christ Jesus was surpassingly beautiful in his physical form. At first sight, it might seem strange that we have no authentic description of Jesus' person. Whether he was great or small of stature, we know not. The passage in Josephus with respect to his appearance is unquestionably spurious, and the portrait said to have been presented to King Abgarus does not date back further than to the seventh century. Was our Lord exceptionally noble, or exceptionally mean, in person? We cannot say with certainty. Scripture has been cited to sustain each hypothesis. In the synagogue of Nazareth, the "gracious words that proceeded out of his mouth " would almost seem to betoken the noble presence and winning manner of the natural orator; while, on his way to Jerusalem to suffer, there was a majesty of mien which so deeply impressed the disciples that they were amazed and afraid. But then we read in the prophets, that "his visage is more marred than any man ;" "he hath no form nor comeliness, and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him." So the Byzantine painters conceived that they had full warrant for representing Christ as emaciated, and aged before his time,—did not the people say to this young man: "Thou art not yet fifty years old?" But on the other hand, the Italian painters represented him as the model of all manly beauty,—did not the Psalmist say: "Thou art fairer than the children of men?" Perhaps the truth is midway between the two. Christ joined himself to our average humanity; so far as personal advantages were concerned, taking that which is neither exceptionally mean nor exceptionally noble. But just as there are persons, undistinguished from the rest, who in times of sorrow seem positively ugly, but through whose plain features at other times of spiritual exaltation the rapt soul seems to shine so gloriously that the poor earthly investiture is transfigured, and you wonder that you ever thought of them as other than beautiful, so it may be that the Son of man, in his common, every-day, working garb of humanity, appeared only as the man of sorrows, while to little children there was a smile that drew them to his arms, to earnest seekers of salvation he was full of grace and truth, and to his trusted followers upon the mountain-top there was the flashing forth of a supernatural majesty and glory. So he teaches us that mere physical endowments are not the noblest, but that if we seek first the kingdom of God even these things shall be added to us, as "the head that once was covered with thorns, is crowned with glory now."
Of what temperament was Jesus? Mercurial or saturnine, lymphatic or phlegmatic, nervous or equable, sanguine or calm? Who does not perceive, the moment the question is asked, that none of these temperaments predominated in him? The story of his life gives us illustrations of the best features of them all. He can be swift and direct as the thunderbolt against hypocrisy; he can be deep and icalm as the summer sea, when he comforts his disciples. Who ever thinks of Christ as a Jew? There was no Jewish grasping or bigotry in him. All the free spirit and aesthetic insight of the Greek, all the Roman reverence for law, all the Hebrew worship of holiness, all the love that breaks down the barriers of the nations and makes all races one — all these were in Christ. What woman, though she were the tenderest and most delicate of all, ever thought that Jesus would be more able to sympathize with her if he were woman instead of man? Chaucer wrote long ago: "Christ was a maid, though shapen as a man." All the spiritual excellences of both the sexes were in him,—he possessed the feminine as well as the masculine virtues. Indeed, without gentleness and sympathy no high manhood is possible. True manhood is something more than mere masculinity. Plato says that each human being is but ar moiety of the perfect creature, wandering through the wide and barren earth to find its other half. Shakspeare echoes the thought when he declares that:
"He is the half part of a blessed man.
Left to be finished by such as she;
And she a fair divided excellence,
Whose fullness of perfection lies in hiui."
And so Tennyson says:
"Yet in lone years liker must they grow;
The man be more of woman, she of man;
He gain in sweetness and in moral light,
Nor lose the wrestling thews that throw the world."
And the same poet addresses Christ and says:
"Thou seemest human and divine,
The highest, holiest manhood, t hou;
Our wills are ours, we know not how;
Our wills arc ours to make them thine."
Have we ever reflected that all the qualities which attract our love in men, aye, even in the dearest object of our earthly affection, exist in Christ in infinitely greater degree and abundance? All true aud noble souls, whether regenerate or unregenerate, are but faint reflections of this glory of him who is original and only light of the world. All the excellencies of character that appear in John, Paul, Augustine, Luther; the intellectual acumen, the emotional fervor, the power of conscience, the energy of will, that make great thinkers, great friends, great reformers, great men, are only scattered rays, which find their focus in the humanity of Christ. He is no still Thomas a Kempis — seraphic in devotion, but holding himself aloft from his age and making little impression on it; he is no fiery John Kuox — stern and hard in all his indignant righteousness; but he has all the good in both of these, with none of their defects, — aye, all the good of a thousand others like them melted into one. He includes in himself all objects and reasons for affection and worship, so that love him as we may Ave never can love too much, but must ever come infinitely short of his desert. He includes in himself all the possible perfections of humanity — all the perfections needful to make him our eternal model .— all the perfections which finite humanity is progressively to realize through the ages that are to como.
I have said that Christ is man, and that he is the ideal man. But I must lead you further. Christ is the life-giving man. He not only has humanity, and perfect humanity, but he gives it to others. He is not simply the bright, consummate flower of the race, the noblest fruit from this human stem, but he is a new beginning and fountain-head of humanity, the second Adam, in whom the race that had been despoiled of its inheritance in the first Adam finds its true source of spiritual life. So absolutely new is this beginning, this inauguration of a fresh and pure humanity within the bounds of the old race, that skeptics have denied the possibility of it, and have called it an effect without a cause. But we are persuaded that the same God who created humanity at the first was perfectly capable of recreating it, when it had apostatized and rebelled. God is a sufficient cause. We do not need to explain Christ by his natural antecedents. We grant that the absence of narrow individuality, the ideal uersal manhood which we find in Christ, could never have been secured by merely natural laws of propagation. Much less, without taking into account a recreating act of God, could we explain the existence of man without sin. Here is one, holy, harmless, undefiled, separated from sinners; one who never prays for forgiveness, but who imparts it to others; one who challenges his bitterest enemies to convince him of the least sin; one who alone of all mankind can say: "The prince of the world cometh; and he hath nothing in me "— nothing of evil desire or tendency on which his subtlest temptations can lay hold.
Now the very idea of such a man as this surpasses all human powers of invention, for meri invent characters like their own. The source of it can only be in a real life once lived here upon the earth; and if that life once was lived, it must have come from God. Corrupted human nature cannot produce that which is uncorrupt. '' That which is born of the flesh is flesh." "Had Christ been only human nature," says Julins Miiller, "he could not have been without sin; but life can draw even out of the putrescent clod materials for its own living." The new science recognizes more than one method of propagation even in the same species; and while the supernatural conception of Christ is a mystery to us, it is a mystery that well nigh explains every other mystery. The only explanation of such a humanity as Christ's is that it came from God by a new impulse of that power which created man at the beginning. And so Christ becomes not only the embodiment of all that is noble in the old humanity, but also the fountain-head and beginning of a new humanity — a new source of life for the race. Here is a new vine, whose roots are in heaven, not on earth, a vine into which the degenerate, half-withered branches of the old humanity may be grafted, so that they may have life divine. "The first Adam was made a living soul; this last Adam a life-giving Spirit." A new race takes its origin from Christ, as the old race took its start from Adam. "He shall see his seed,"—he shall be the centre and source of a new humanity. The relation of the Christian to Christ supersedes all other relationships, so that "he that loveth father or mother more than me "— that is, values more highly his natural ancestry than he values his new spiritual descent and relationship,—"is not worthy of me." Christ's human nature is a human nature that is germinal and capable of self-communication, and it constitutes him the spiritual head and beginning of a new and holy race. O, thou wonderful Savior, who hast not only life in thyself but the power of an endless life, that thou mightest be the first born among many brethren, the founder of a new city and kingdom of God, help us to see how great a thing is that humanity which thou hast taken to thyself, and the glorious possibilities of which thou hast undertaken to set forth before the uerse!
Thus we have seen that the phrase "Son of man " intimates that Jesus is man, possessed of all the powers of a normal and developed humanity ; that he is the ideal man, furnishing in himself the pattern which humanity is progressively to realize; and that he is the self-propagating man, who in the power of the Spirit raises up for himself a new race which shall answer to the idea of humanity as it first existed in the mind of God. But there is more than this in the phrase "Son of man." That phrase intimates also that he is more than man. Suppose I were to go about proclaiming myself "Son of man." Who does not see that it would be mere impertinence, unless I claimed to be something more. "Son of man? But what of that? Cannot every human being call himself the same?" When one takes the title "Son of man" for his characteristic designation, as Jesus did, he implies that there is something strange in his being Son of man; that this is not his original condition and dignity ; that it is condescension on his part to be Son of man. In short, when Christ calls himself Son of man, it implies that he has come from a higher level of being to inhabit this low earth of ours. And so, when we are asked "What think ye of the Christ? whose son is he?" we must answer, not simply, He is Son of man, but also, He is Son of God.
Jesus himself was conscious of this divine Sonship. Looking back into the depths of eternity past he could say: "Before Abraham was, I am;" "O, Father, glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was." Even here in his earthly life he is not confined to earth; he can speak of "the Son of man which is in heaven," and can say, "I and my Father are one." He exercised divine powers and prerogatives, when he said to the raging sea, "Peace, be still"; and to the troubled soul, "Thy sins be forgiven thee." John saw the evidence of Deity when Jesus showed that he "knew what was in man." Thomas saw the evidence of Deity when the resurrection-body of Christ passed through the solid walls of that upper chamber and appeared in the midst of the disciples when the doors were shut. At the beginning of Christ's ministry, Nathanael could say: "Thou art the Son of God, the King of Israel." When that ministry was half finished, Peter could say: "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." And after its close the beloved disciple could write: "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth."
These testimonies that Christ is the Son of God are drawn from the Scriptures. But there is proof nearer at hand, in the experience of every Christian. Every soul redeemed from sin recognizes Christ as an absolutely perfect Savior, perfectly revealing the Godhead, and worthy of unlimited worship and adoration,— that is, recognizes Christ as Deity. But Christian experience also recognizes that through Christ it has introduction and reconciliation to God as one distinct from the Son, one who was at enmity with it on account of its sin, but is now reconciled by Jesus' death. In other words, while recognizing Jesus as God, we are also compelled to recognize a distinction between the Father, and the Son through whom we come to the Father. So in like manner, when our eyes are first opened to see Christ as a Savior, we are compelled to recognize the work of a divine Spirit in us, who has taken of the things of Christ and has shown them to us, and this divine Spirit we necessarily distinguish both from the Father and from the Son. Thus the Christian doctrine of the Trinity is only a transcript of Christian experience; and the hymns and prayers of the church addressed in all ages to the Holy Spirit and to Christ, equally with the Father, are witness that this doctrine is the truth of God. Although this experience cannot be regarded as an independent witness to Jesus' claims, since it only tests the truth already made known in the Bible, still the irresistible impulse of every person whom Christ has saved to lift his Redeemer to the highest place, and to bow before him in the lowliest worship, is strong evidence that only that interpretation of Scripture can be true which recognizes Christ's absolute Godhead.
There is one other proof that Christ is the Son of God. It is found in Christian history. The essential difference between ancient and modern civilization lies in the changed view of the relation of the individual to the state. In classic times the individual was held to exist for the sake of the state. In modern times the state exists for the sake of the individual. Then the individual had no freedom and no rights — he was but an appendage and servitor in the train of the conquering state. Now the state finds its highest glory in protecting the rights, and in securing the development, of the least and lowest of its corporate members. The dignity of woman, and the sacredness of human life, are evidences of a new spirit animating our modern civilization — a spirit utterly unknown to the most cultivated nations of antiquity. What has wrought the change? Nothing but the death of the Son of God. When it was seen that the smallest child and the lowest slave had a soul of such worth that Christ left his throne and gave up his life to save it, the world's estimate of values changed, and modern history began. And so history itself is a testimony to the Deity of Christ; for unless Christ had been felt to be infinite and divine, this change from the old to the new never could have been wrought. Is it possible that this most beneficent change in history has been the result of belief in a lie? Oh, no! Christ is the centre of history. Without him history has no order, and no philosophy of history is possible. The scattered events of the world's life-time have no meaning, until they are looked at in their relation to Jesus Christ and his kingdom. Just as the heavens were a maze and tangle till the Ptolemaic system was exchanged for one in which the sun and not the earth was the centre, so human history, is an inextricable labyrinth until Christ, the Sun of righteousness, is recognized as the centre around which all persons and events revolve. Heathen and Jewish history respectively were but the negative and positive preparations for his coming. The modern world, so far as it has in it the elements of truth and righteousness, is but the outgrowth of the principles which he introduced in his incarnation, his doctrine, and his death. Nations grow in power, according as they accept his law; and more and more it is demonstrated that the kingdoms that will not serve him shall perish. For to the Son it has been said : "Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever."
So we have before us a wonderful twofold being, not only Son of man, but also Son of God. And now, among the lessons of the theme, let us consider, first, our need of Christ's humanity. We need a Savior that is truly man, one who will bring down God to our human understanding, one who will give us a brother's sympathy and example, one who has trod the same paths of suffering which we have to tread, one who has been tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin. It is not enough for us to have a divine Redeemer. It is not enough for us to have a Redeemer whose humanity is merely nominal. There was an old patristic notion that Christ's humanity, in union with his deity, was like a drop of honey mingled with the ocean; but it was rightly judged heretical, for it was as much as to say that the huinanity of Christ is so swallowed up in his deity as to be altogether lost. We need to maintain the unchanged and perfect humanity of our Lord, as much as we do the unchanged and perfect divinity. The ages when the church has lost sight of the humanity have been ages of the greatest declension in doctrine and practice. One of the greatest pictures in the world, Michael Angelo's tremendous fresco of the Last Judgment, in the Sistine Chapel at Rome, is an illustration of that declension. How well I remember the day when its awful granduer first rose before me! On the left, I seem still to see the dead rising from their graves and making their way to meet the Judge. Righteous and wicked alike come before him. The martyrs come, bringing the instruments of their martyrdom, as evidences of their love for their Lord. There is St. Sebastian, with the arrows with which he was pierced ; there is St. Catherine with the wheel on which the body was broken. Heavenly messengers bear aloft Christ's crown of thorns, the nails that were driven through his hands and feet, the pillar to which he was chained when they scourged him, the cross upon which he hung during those long hours of agony,— all these as pledges of salvation for the saints, but as swift witnesses against the wicked. The wicked come despairing before their Judge; and, as they receive their doom, they pass downward and are caught by fiends and devils. And who is the Judge? A wrathful Jupiter, with no trace of human compassion upon his brow, but grasping thunderbolts and hurling them against his foes. So Michael Angelo pictured Chrisjt! But the most striking and fearful feature of the picture is the presence of the Virgin Mary, at her Son's right hand, and the turning of her head away from the condemned. That the merciful mother of our Lord should refuse to interfere in their behalf, is the last element in the cup of the misery of the wicked. See what resulted from forgetting the humanity of Jesus! Men must have a compassionate and tender being, to intercede for them. So they elevated the Virgin to the place of Christ, and made her the only advocate for sinners. To call Christ only God, is as pernicious an error as to call him only man. When men ignore the merciful and faithful High-priest, who can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, they fall into the worship of Mary and the invocation of the saints. When men deny the living human Christ, who is with us alway unto the end of the world, they must have some substitute, and they find it—oh, how poor and mean ! — in the "real presence" of the wafer and the mass.
We need Christ's humanity — that is the first lesson. But there is a second. It is this: We need Christ's divinity also. For only as Christ is divine, can he make an infinite atonement for us. There is a debt to be paid, which we can never pay ourselves, — a reparation to be made, which we can never render. Every soul convinced of sin, feels that none but an infinite Redeemer can ever save it. God must suffer, if man is to go free. He could not suffer, if he were only God. He can suffer, because-he is not only God, but also man. Just as my soul could never suffer the pains of fire, if it were only soul, but cau suffer those pains in union with the body; so the otherwise impassible God can suffer mortal pangs, through his union with humanity, which he never could suffer, if he had not joined himself to our nature. There is such a union with humanity — a union so close that Deity itself is brought under the curse and penalty of the law. Shall we say with John of Damascus, that, as the man who fells a tree does no harm to the subeams that illuminate it, so the blows that struck Christ's humanity caused no pain to his Deity? On the contrary, it was the very greatness of his Deity that made his agony ineffable. Because Christ was God, did he pass unscorched through the fires of Gethsemane and Calvary? Ah, rather say, because Christ was God, ho underwent a suffering which was absolutely infinite. In that infinite suffering, we see the cup of God's just indignation drunk to the very dregs; the otherwise unappeasable demands of violated conscience satisfied. Christ's flesh is meat indeed, and Christ's blood is drink indeed! Because Christ is God, his atonement is sufficient. Because he is God, the union which he effects with God is complete. If he were only man or angel, he would still be finite; the gulf between him and God would still be infinite; he never could bring us nearer to God than he was himself. But since he is God, he is able to bring us to the very holy of holies, to the very heart of God, to living union with the* Father of our spirits; nay, in him we become partakers of the divine nature, one spirit with the Lord — we dwelling in God, and God dwelling in us; an indissoluble and eternal fellowship with the Father and with the Son and with the Holy Ghost. We need his humanity,— but ah, what should we do without his Deity? A human Savior alone can never reconcile nor re-unite me to God. But a divine Savior can.
"Jesus, my (!o<l I I know his name.
His name is ail my trust;
Nor will he put my soul to shame,
Nor let my hope be lost."
Yes, he has both — the human sympathy and the divine power — and he has them now. And here is the third lesson: We need this humanity and this deity perfectly and eternally united in the one person of our Lord. And so it is. Christ did not take human nature, as some of those Indian gods are fabled to have done. The Hindoo avatars were only tempory unions of deity with humanity, and after that humanity had been drawn for a little time into the the brightness of the godhead, it was cast aside, as a worn out garment, and Buddha returned alone to his heaven. How different is the union of humanity with Deity in Christ! Forever stands our humanity in heaven. It has ascended the throne of the uerse. It has entered into the partnership of the Trinity. It is the pledge and earnest of our glorification. We too shall reign with Christ; we shall judge angels; "round about his throne," in the striking language of the Revised Version, "are four and twenty thrones," on which the representatives of the redeemed shall sit; and all things shall be ours, because we are Christ's, and Christ is God's. Let us not lose the blessing of this great truth, that Christ has taken our whole humanity with him, and that there in heaven he still has the pierced hands and feet that were nailed to the bitter cross for us. There he has a human soul, now capable of divine love and intervention in our behalf. There he has a human body, of wonderful beauty and of wonderful powers, the model and the pledge of our resurrection-body. Everything that took place in Christ shall take place in us. He wrought nothing for himself alone, but all for the race of which he became a part. "For he that sanctifieth, and that they are sanctified are all of one," — of one body, I think the meaning is, — " for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren." "Therefore our citizenship is in heaven; from whence also we wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall fashion anew the body of our humiliation, that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, according to the working whereby he is able even to subject all things unto himself."
We need his humanity; we need his Deity; we need this humanity aud this Deity united in one person. But there is a last lesson: We need to recognize this humanity and this Deity, and to recognize them now. When a beggar girl is taken by a king to be his bride, she does well to reflect, not only upon the greatness of his love, but also upon the return of love she owes to him. How infinite the debt we owe to Christ! How infinite the honor of serving him! To be the servant of such a Lord — this is to be higher thau the kings of the earth! No human being ever reaches so high a place as when he prostrates himself absolutely at the feet of Jesus, and lays there all that he is and all that he has forever. It is a mark of Paul's progress in Christian experience that in his later epistles he ceases to call himself "apostle of Jesus Christ," and designates himself simply as "Christ's servant." In his earlier letters, it is "Paul, apostle of Jesus Christ;" in the later, it is: "Paul, a servant a bond-servant, a slave — of Jesus Christ." So he followed Christ'sVwn example, who came not to be ministered unto, but to minister; not to be served, but to serve. Let us all consecrate ourselves to the same blessed service. When every Christian shall be in reality what the Pope of Rome in one of his titles professes to be—"a servant of servants for Jesus' sake — then the world shall recognize the glory of him who is Son of man and Son of God.
"Oh, not to fill the mouth of fame
My longing heart is stirred;
Oh, give me a diviner name,
Call me thy servant, Lord!
"Sweet title that delighteth me.
Name earnestly Implored;
Oh, what can reach the dignity
Of thy true servant, Lord!
"No longer would my soul be known
As self-sustained and free;
Oh, not my own, oh, not my own —
Lord, I belong to thee I"
Serve Christ, and he will reveal himself to you. The path of service is the path of knowledge. You shall see this Son of man and Son of God, when you once begin to obey him. For ho himself has said: "He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me, * * * and I will love him and will manifest myself to him." A few years ago in one of our eastern cities there lived a physician of eminence, whoso practice among the sick and the suffering had given him a large experience of the miseries of the world. He was one of those who are sometimes said constitutionally to be doubters, and his doubts turned upon the person and the work of Christ. He could see the beauty of Christ's character, but the possibility of Deity being united with humanity in him he could not see. He cotdd see the attractiveness of the Christian scheme — Christ putting his own mighty shoulders under all our load of sin and penalty, aud bearing the burden that we might go free — but the possibility of this he conld not understand. And so he went on, the opportunities for religious service in his profession putting his conscience under a heavier and heavier load of obligation, but his speculative doubts growing thicker and thicker, until it sometimes seemed to him as if all the lights of heaven had gone out. One day he met an evangelical minister in whom he had confidence, and with the first word the trouble of his soul was made known. "I have had the greatest trial of my life this morning." "How so?" replied his friend. "Why, I have just been to the bedside of a poor woman who has but a few hours to live, and as I was standing there it suddenly flashed upon my mind that her soul was in worse case than her body — she seemed the very image of conscious guilt and despair. And, do you know? it seemed to me at that moment that, if I believed as you do in Christ, it would have been a great privilege to kneel down by her bedside and to commend the poor woman to his mercy." "Oh, my friend!" said the minister, "God has put that into your heart. Follow that impulse. We will not stop to settle the question who and what Christ is. You know that somewhere in the uerse Christ lives — his life did not go out in darkness like an extinguished taper. And he is true — he said that he would hear men's prayers, whenever they called upon him. And he is more able now, than he was when he heard the poor blind beggar's cry. Go back to that bedside, and God go with you!" And the resolve was taken. The physician went once more into that sick room, and there for the first time in all his life he knelt in prayer to Jesus. He prayed Christ to teach that poor woman's soul the way to God. But as he prayed, Christ taught his soul the way to God. The one act of recognizing and obeying Christ was the door through which Christ himself entered into his heart, and in the consciousness that Christ had forgiven his sins and saved his soul he could doubt no longer about Christ's divinity, but he fell at Christ's feet like Thomas, crying "My Lord and my God!"
Oh, friend to whom I speak! I pray you to recognize Christ now! This particular message from God will never come to you — the preacher you may never see — again.
"We twain have met like ships upon the sea —
Who hold an hour's converse — so short, so sweet:
One little hour, and then away they speed,
On lonely paths, through mist and cloud and foam,
To meet no more."
Ah! I mistake, we shall meet, not many months and years from now,— shall meet before the throne of that once crucified, now crowned and sceptred Savior, once known only in his character as Son of man, then known chiefly in his character as Son of God. Be thankful that it is yet one of the days of the Son of man. Listen to me, while I urge yon to recognize him now as Son of God. Now you may think that you do not need him; but then you will see that you have no other need. Now, death and eternity may seem far away; but then, they will be the overmastering facts of your experience. When I was a mere child I remember riding from the city of my residence toward the great lake that skirts our State upon the north. I remember the first distant momentary glimpse of its far line of blue, and the feeling of mystery and awe which that glimpse inspired within me. From the summit of the last hill-top as we pressed onward, I remember the yet more solemn feeling with which I looked upon the great waters that stretched away before me, now so deep and cold, so fathomless and illimitable. But when we came down to the water's edge and I was led out into the rolling waves, there seemed to be nothing but the sea — the solid shore had vanished. I was overwhelmed and lost, but for my father's voice lifted up to encourage, and my father's hand stretched out to hold me up. So as we go in the journey of life, as youth grows into manhood and manhood into age, death and eternity assume larger and larger significance. The first distant glimpse of them may overawe the soul, but the final stepping down into the flood is a unique experience — it cannot be anticipated. But to him who has recognized Christ as Son of man and Son of God, death has no terrors; for Christ himself has said: "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee, and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee." Death may be mighty, but Christ is the Conqueror of death, and his pierced right hand can help us through the flood and open to us the gates of Paradise upon the other side. And therefore, in life, in death, on earth, in heaven, this Christ, Son of God and Son of man, is the only hope of me, a sinner; and to you, my fellow-sinner, bound with me to his judgment seat, I commend this Christ as the one and only Savior, and pray you in his stead that you accept him and be saved. "What think ye of the Christ? Whose son is he?" God grant that every one of us may reply: "He is the Son of man and Son of God, my Redeemer and my King!
"Happy, if with my latest breath
I may but (rasp his name;
Preach him to all, and cry in death:
'llehold. behold the Lamb I'"