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Published by glennpease

Lord Bishop of Rochester

Wilt thou lay dawn thy life — JOHN xiii. 38.

Lord Bishop of Rochester

Wilt thou lay dawn thy life — JOHN xiii. 38.

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Published by: glennpease on Jun 14, 2013
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SACRIFICEBY ATHOY W. THOROLD, D.D.Lord Bishop of RochesterWilt thou lay dawn thy life — JOH xiii. 38.The spirit of sacrifice is the supreme virtueof our religion. The habit of it tests itssolidity, the motive of it indicates its value. Itis quite a mistake to suppose that Christ's claimfor a total surrender to Him invariably acts as ahindrance or paralysis to devotion. With somenatures, and at certain periods of life, and whenthe heart is first entranced by the divine sweet-ness, the value of any possession consists simplyin this, that we can give it or use it for Him.othing goes so far or operates so quickly toconvince the world outside that we are inearnest, and that Christ is worth everything wecan do or suffer for His cause, as the radianceof the living joy which inspires a transfiguredheart to follow the Lamb whithersoever Hegoeth. The martyrs had as much to do withthe victory of the Cross as the preachers had.Suffering was even more potent because lessliable to misconstruction than activity.But it is not only of the sacrifices which (irethe Church with joy and awe the world intosilence that I want to write now. It is of 298 QUESTIOS OF FAITH AD DUTYsomething much humbler, and more common-place, and yet perhaps more useful for our dailymodern life, that I would suggest some prac-tical reflections. Lofty sacrifices and deaths of agony which write themselves in letters of fireon the memory of the world are rare and withinthe scope of few. ay, heroic as they are, andseem to be to the bulk of men and women, theyare by no means so difficult as patient continu-
ance in well-doing. Mr. Maclaren, I think, hasobserved somewhere that where ten might beready quickly and sharply to die for Christ, onlyone would consent really to live for Him. Inthe passage before us St. Peter offered to diefor Christ, and we know what that ended in.His duty then was to confess Him in his life ;in the end of the years he should stretch forthhis hands, and another should gird him andcarry him whither he would not.The sacrifices I would speak of now, whichno one can evade or ignore, but which show thereal though invisible dividing line between thosewho are scarcely saved and those who shall havean abundant entrance, are for home as well asabroad, for kinsfolk, neighbours and friends, aswell as for the distant heathen ; apparently onlyfor man's sake, they are really even more forChrist's sake, and they have a preciousness inHis sight which will surprise us when we seeHim as He is. They are habits rather thanisolated acts, the offspring more often of a strong,"THIGS WHICH CAOT BE MOVED" 299resolute sense of duty than of an enthusiasmwhich at first blazes so fiercely that it is aptto burn itself out, and then a fatal chill fallsupon the soul. Reaction is a law of our moralnature, but it is as perilous as it is inevitable.What a gulf, though soon traversed, we secbetween Simon Peter smiting the servant of thehigh priest and hotly affirming, an hour after-wards, " I know not the man ! "Let me give some concrete and quite familiarillustrations of the operation of this spirit of sacrifice in the often homely task of diminishingthe temptations and elevating the moral sense,and regulating the habits and guiding the reli-gion of our neighbours. It is only the spiritand motive of sacrifice which will justify themas reasonable or even tolerable. Apart fromChrist, and simply as a new sort of self-display,
they become an arrogant and burdensometyranny. First, there is the much debatedquestion (can it be debated too much?) of theM r . . ,. .-, . . ' , . The use ef use of intoxicating liquors. I his is a subject intoxi-on which an honest and fearless thinker is very c jji u n f rSMapt to fall between two stools, and he must notbe too much troubled if he does. ever tostand alone, means never to be a witness forChrist. That to make, or sell, or in moderationuse such things, is to defy God and to temptman is a baseless and mischievous paradox.Shall we cast a slur on the spotless Saviour,Who first manifested Mis glory in the turning of 300 QUESTIOS OF FAITH AD DUTYwater into wine, presumably for the enjoymentof His fellow-guests ; Who was Himself calleda wine-bibber, and took no pains to denythe fact, though He observed the inconsistencyof the accusation ; Who in ordaining the blessedsacrament which is to us at once the memorialof His death, the promise of His return, thevehicle of His presence to the faithful, and thespiritual communion of those who feed on Himthere, deliberately ordained wine as one of theelements of the Eucharistic feast ? If it is lawfulto use it, it must be lawful both to make and tosell it. What we should inexorably press is theprevention of adulteration, the diminution of perilous facilities, the curtailing of the hours of sale, the protection of young girls and children

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