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Followers of God

Followers of God

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Published by glennpease

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children. EPHES. v. I.

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children. EPHES. v. I.

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Published by: glennpease on Jul 05, 2013
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FOLLOWERS OF GODBROOKE FOSS WESTCOTT, D.D., D.C.L.Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children. EPHES. v. I.I speaking this morning- of the great thought of the presence of God of the presence of Oneinfinitely holy and pure and just with us whoare sin-stained and weak, I said that if we couldregard it as sons, what was before unspeakablyawful would become full of hope and strength. Iwish, then, this evening to say something more indetail of this childly relation in which we stand toGod, and of the lessons which we can draw from it.The words of our earliest and most frequent prayerbring the idea constantly before us. It is familiarand yet it is inexhaustible.It is the great mark of the Gospel that its deepesttruths are presented to us in forms taken fromour daily life. It was given to transfigure all thatis earthly, and the shape in which it comes to usis itself the pledge of the fulfilment of its work.The cleansing water and the simple meal are madeSacraments revelations of divine mysteries. Theties of family are the chosen emblems of ourheavenly fellowship. One of these relations is setbefore us in the words which I have taken for my101102 VILLAGE SERMOS xntext a relation so familiar that few of us probablyever pause to reflect that the message which it
involves was once glad tidings to a world. TheHebrew prophets in rare passages had spoken of the God of Israel as "their Father." The oldestpoets of Greece, among whom the instinct of patriarchal life still survived, had sung of " theFather of gods and men " ; but it was with a newpower and a new meaning that the Lord revealedto us Our Father which is in heaven HisFather and our Father, and taught us the sublimetruth with which we preface our earliest prayer.But I do not wish now to dwell specially onthis idea of the Fatherhood of God, fertile as it iswith great thoughts and noble lessons, but ratheron the converse idea which it includes. The titlereveals to us not only the relation of God to theworld and to us, but also our relation to God. Weall learned or simple, rich or poor, old or youngare as children in His household, heirs indeed of aglorious inheritance, but yet children, and thennearest Him when we realise most fully our childlyduties at His feet. You will all remember thegracious words with which this relation is enforcedand blessed in the Services of our Church at themost solemn seasons. Suffer the little children tocome unto me, and forbid them not ; for of such isthe kingdom of God. Come, ye blessed children of my Father, receive the kingdom prepared for youfrom the beginning of the world. These are theearliest words of Christ with which we are welcomedto the font ; these are the latest words of Christwhich will be spoken over our closing graves ; andxii VILLAGE SERMOS 103blessed indeed shall we be, thrice blessed, if thetruth which they express follows us through life toguide, to chasten, to console.
True childliness is indeed the spring of humilityand the spring of strength; for humility and strengthare but different sides of the same virtue. It canfollow us with refreshing power through all thechanges of our circumstances. It can open to ussprings of blessing in all the relations of life, as ChristHimself has taught us as to our own character,as to others, as to the Revelation which God ispleased to make of Himself. As to ourselves :Except ye be converted, and become as little children,ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.As to our duty to others : Whoso shall receiveone such little child in My name receiveth Me.And again, as to the Revelation which God ispleased to make of Himself: Whosoever shall notreceive the kingdom of God as a little child shallin no wise enter therein. To become as littlechildren, to receive little children, to receive thetruth ourselves as little children, this is the sum.And there never was an age when the lessonwas more needed than that in which we live.In old times, when our mind could grasp allthat was known of the world, it was easy topreserve a constant sense of its unity, of its relationto men, of the relation of all created things to theOne Father ; but now it is otherwise. The endlessmultiplication of special researches, the severing of various branches of study, the infinite complexity of details into which all knowledge wanders, the verymid-day light with which the field of science is104 VILLAGE SERMOS xnflooded, serve to efface those grander outlines whichstand out clearly in the dawn. It is our gloryand our danger that the features of ature growdaily more familiar to us our glory if we do not

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