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The Church a Society of Saviors.

The Church a Society of Saviors.

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By Amory H. Bradford,

As Thou didst send Me into the world, even so sent I them
into the world." — John xvii. 18.
By Amory H. Bradford,

As Thou didst send Me into the world, even so sent I them
into the world." — John xvii. 18.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on May 10, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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THE CHURCH A SOCIETY OF SAVIORS. By Amory H. Bradford, As Thou didst send Me into the world, even so sent I them into the world." — John xvii. 18. These words are a part of the prayer of our Lord for His disciples just before His betrayal. The Supper had been eaten, and the shadow of impending calamity rested upon the company. The spirit of the Master was heavy as He drew near to Gethsemane and Calvary. For the last time during His earthly ministry He was alone with His disciples, and the words which He spoke to them were of the nature of a final exhortation. This prayer from beginning to end is the loftiest utterance in the Holy Scrip- tures. In that sacred hour when He was speak- ing what He desired to have His disciples remember for their inspiration and guidance after He had gone ; when He looked into the future and saw what trials would press upon them, He commended His companions to His Father and their Father, and spoke the words of our text : " As Thou didst send Me into the world, even so sent I them into the world." Similar words were uttered after the crucifixion and resurrection. The disciples were in an 138 The Church a Society of Saviours. upper room thinking of the One who had gone ; trying to understand their situation without Him who for months had been more than friend and brother, when suddenly He appeared in their midst. o door opened to admit Him ;
as a pure spirit He stood in their presence, and said, " Peace be upon you. As the Father hath sent Me, even so send I you." Here we have the charter of the Christian Church. The dis- ciples of Christ are the subjects of a Divine commission ; they are sent by their Master to continue His ministry ; that which He was they are to be. This text is susceptible of but one rational explanation. It distinctly states that when the Master left the earth He committed to His disciples His ministry ; that which He had been they were to be ; that which He had left incomplete they were to carry on to com- pletion. In this intercessory prayer He says, " I pray not for these only, but for those who shall believe on Me through their word." Thus He links together His disciples in all centuries, and makes the text refer to us as truly as to those to whom it was first spoken. In these days when the Church is confused with forms and ceremonies, with creeds and rituals, when we ask, What shall we believe ? when speculation is crowding itself into the place that belongs to life, it is well to heed that Divine declaration : " As Thou didst send Me into the world, even so sent I them into the The Church a Society op Saviours. 139 world." This prayer would never have been offered had there not been a vital relation between the Master and His followers. Christ's work is God's work, and yet ours. The Church is not a human society ; it is a communion of those who have received the Divine life. They may all hold the same creed, or they may not ; they may worship in the same or in different
forms. The Church is not a club. It is God in human hearts, doing the same things which He did in Jesus of azareth. Did He go about doing good? So will His followers. Was He sensitive to suffering and sorrow ? Was it impossible for Him not to attract the sick, blind, deaf, and those possessed with devils? There is a similar sensitiveness and attraction in those in whom He dwells. Was His life in union with the Father, so that He could say, "ot My will, but Thine " ? In like manner His followers lift up weak hands and breaking hearts, and cry in His words, " If it be possible, let this cup pass from me ; neverthe- less not as I will, but as Thou wilt." God has never been absent from the world. Therefore ours is not only a Divine, but a world-old and world-wide ministry. The same Spirit who brooded upon the face of the waters "in the beginning," who inspired prophets and psalm- ists, who descended upon Jesus of azareth, the Spirit of the Day of Pentecost, the Spirit who in these times is convicting of 14-0 The Church a Society op Saviours. sin and leading beneath, larger horizons and into fuller knowledge, has never been absent from humanity. The saving of men is an eternal process. Christians are in the world to he what Christ was, and to do what He did. He came to save, to comf ort, to bring in better conditions ; but before all these, to live in and before men the very life of God, so that they might have at least some dim idea of what the Divine is, of a higher realm, and of the Father who claims all

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