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THE RICHES OF GRACE.

THE RICHES OF GRACE.

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Published by glennpease

1 Cor. i. 4.

" I thank my God always on your behalf) for the
grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; that
in every thing ye are enriched by Him"

1 Cor. i. 4.

" I thank my God always on your behalf) for the
grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; that
in every thing ye are enriched by Him"

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Published by: glennpease on Jan 19, 2013
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THE RICHES OF GRACE.EDITED BY THE REV. HENRY NEWLAND,1 Cor. i. 4." I thank my God always on your behalf) for thegrace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; thatin every thing ye are enriched by Him"ST. PAUL tells the Corinthians that in everything they are enriched by the grace of Godgiven them by Jesus Christ. Let us examinethe full meaning of these words.In this instance you see that St. Paul isnot thanking God that the Lord had giventhe Corinthians any particular thing whichthey had not before. As Christians theyhad, of course, received new and peculiargifts; and of these the Apostle speaks frequently in other places ; but this is not whathe is speaking of here. What he says is," they are enriched in every thing" meaningevidently that every thing they had beforehas received now a new value. They had the340 THE RICHES OF GRACE.thing before, no doubt, but that same thingis now spiritualized, and, if we may use theterm, Christianized.This is the doctrine of the Sunday, and theGospel shows us the same by an example, theCommandments. They were of God; theyhad existed long before Christ s coming inthe flesh. There they were still, those sameCommandments. Even now that Christ wascome, they were in no way changed. u Think not that I am corne to destroy the law andthe prophets. I am not come to destroy, butto fulfil." The Commandments themselveswere not changed, but the sense in whichthey were to be taken was changed; it wasa broader, fuller, more complete sense thanthey had borne heretofore. The Commandments were "enriched," and this is one of those things for which the Apostle thanksGod.How they were enriched we may see fromthe Sermon on the Mount. And this willform a good instance of the difference betweenthe law of bondage and the law of liberty,
 
the old covenant and the new, the treating usas " servants," and the treating us " as sons."The original commandment was stern, hard,definite, and decisive : " Thou shalt do nomurder ;" " thou shalt not steal ;" " thou shaltTHE RICHES OF GRACE. 341not covet." Even when it speaks of God, thetenor of it is much the same : " Thou shalthave none other gods but Me ;" " thou shaltnot make to thyself any graven image;"" remember that thou keep holy." It is thestern, authoritative command which a mastergives his servants: "I say to this man, Go,and he goeth ; and to another, Come, and hecometh ; and to my servant, Do this, and hedoeth it."Beyond the general motive that these werethe commands of the God who had broughtout those whom He thus commanded " fromthe land of Egypt and the house of bondage,"there is nothing about love, or thankfulness,or personal gratitude. No doubt the deliverance from the house of bondage is typical;and in its typical meaning it affected everyindividual of the chosen race. But of thatthose who were called upon to keep the commandments could understand little. Theirgratitude, if they felt it, was on account of an historical, not a personal blessing; andtheir chief moving power was fear, and notlove.These were the commandments under thelaw of bondage ; but when the Lord had disclosed to us a new covenant, He, preservingthe very same commandment for the rule and94342 THE RICHES OF GRACE.guidance of His followers, gave the motivepower of them all.Thou shalt LOVE the Lord thy God." Fear," says St. Thomas Aquinas " belongsto slaves love to sons. Fear is a compulsion, love is a freedom. Whoso serves Godin fear escapes punishment, but has not thereward of righteousness, because he did well
 
unwillingly. God does not desire to be served servilely by man, as a master, but to beloved as a father, for that He has given theSpirit of Adoption to men."This is called the " law of liberty " by theApostles. In one sense, it is, no doubt, farmore lax than that of the Old Testament,which, therefore, they call " the law of bondage ;" but in another it is far more stringent.The one binds the body, the other the soul,heart, and mind. The law of bondage says," Thou shalt have none other gods but Me."The law of liberty, relaxing the letter of thatcommandment, renders it impossible for manto put it aside, by substituting for it, " Thoushalt love the Lord thy God." The law of bondage commands us to do no murder. Thelaw of liberty, by telling us to " love ourneighbour as ourselves," even while it makesus the judges of our own motives, and themeasurers of our own deeds, makes it alsoTHE RICHES OF GRACE. 343impossible for the man who loves himself tohate his neighbour.The law of liberty, while it treats us creatures endowed by God with reasoning faculties, and not " as horse and mule, which haveno understanding, whose mouths must beheld by bit and bridle," has in reality addedto our duties, not diminished from them ; forto everything that we had before, it hasadded responsibility. He who is commandednot to murder, and not to steal, and not tobear false witness, and not to covet, has simply to abstain from murder, and to keep hishands from picking and stealing, and histongue from evil speaking, lying, and slandering. But when that same man is told to doto others as he would they should do to him,then he has to weigh his own duties, to sethimself his own tasks, and to measure by hisown measure his own performance of them.Of course by stealing he determines his ownrestitution, and by murder his own punishment; but the system of liberty and self-legislation goes far beyond this. If a mancovets his neighbour s house and lands, I donot see how he can escape without giving himhis own house and lands. If he exacts all hisneighbour s time in attendance upon him andhis selfishness, he must, by his own rule.

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