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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" ST. PAUL tells the Corinthians that in every thing they are enriched by the grace of God given them by Jesus Christ. Let us examine the full meaning of these words. In this instance you see that St. Paul is not thanking God that the Lord had given the Corinthians any particular thing which they had not before. As Christians they had, of course, received new and peculiar gifts; and of these the Apostle speaks fre quently in other places ; but this is not what he is speaking of here. What he says is, " they are enriched in every thing" meaning evidently that every thing they had before has received now a new value. They had the
340 THE RICHES OF GRACE. thing before, no doubt, but that same thing is now spiritualized, and, if we may use the term, Christianized. This is the doctrine of the Sunday, and the Gospel shows us the same by an example, the Commandments. They were of God; they had existed long before Christ s coming in the flesh. There they were still, those same Commandments. Even now that Christ was come, they were in no way changed. u Think not that I am corne to destroy the law and the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil." The Commandments themselves were not changed, but the sense in which they were to be taken was changed; it was a broader, fuller, more complete sense than they had borne heretofore. The Command ments were "enriched," and this is one of those things for which the Apostle thanks God. How they were enriched we may see from the Sermon on the Mount. And this will form a good instance of the difference between the law of bondage and the law of liberty,
the old covenant and the new, the treating us as " servants," and the treating us " as sons." The original commandment was stern, hard, definite, and decisive : " Thou shalt do no murder ;" " thou shalt not steal ;" " thou shalt
THE RICHES OF GRACE. 341 not covet." Even when it speaks of God, the tenor of it is much the same : " Thou shalt have none other gods but Me ;" " thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image;" " remember that thou keep holy." It is the stern, authoritative command which a master gives his servants: "I say to this man, Go, and he goeth ; and to another, Come, and he cometh ; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it." Beyond the general motive that these were the commands of the God who had brought out those whom He thus commanded " from the land of Egypt and the house of bondage," there is nothing about love, or thankfulness, or personal gratitude. No doubt the deliver ance from the house of bondage is typical; and in its typical meaning it affected every individual of the chosen race. But of that those who were called upon to keep the com mandments could understand little. Their gratitude, if they felt it, was on account of an historical, not a personal blessing; and their chief moving power was fear, and not love. These were the commandments under the law of bondage ; but when the Lord had dis closed to us a new covenant, He, preserving the very same commandment for the rule and 94
342 THE RICHES OF GRACE. guidance of His followers, gave the motive power of them all. Thou shalt LOVE the Lord thy God. " Fear," says St. Thomas Aquinas " belongs to slaves love to sons. Fear is a compul sion, love is a freedom. Whoso serves God in fear escapes punishment, but has not the reward of righteousness, because he did well
unwillingly. God does not desire to be serv ed servilely by man, as a master, but to be loved as a father, for that He has given the Spirit of Adoption to men." This is called the " law of liberty " by the Apostles. In one sense, it is, no doubt, far more lax than that of the Old Testament, which, therefore, they call " the law of bon dage ;" 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 that commandment, renders it impossible for man to put it aside, by substituting for it, " Thou shalt love the Lord thy God." The law of bondage commands us to do no murder. The law of liberty, by telling us to " love our neighbour as ourselves," even while it makes us the judges of our own motives, and the measurers of our own deeds, makes it also
THE RICHES OF GRACE. 343 impossible for the man who loves himself to hate his neighbour. The law of liberty, while it treats us crea tures endowed by God with reasoning facul ties, and not " as horse and mule, which have no understanding, whose mouths must be held by bit and bridle," has in reality added to our duties, not diminished from them ; for to everything that we had before, it has added responsibility. He who is commanded not to murder, and not to steal, and not to bear false witness, and not to covet, has sim ply to abstain from murder, and to keep his hands from picking and stealing, and his tongue from evil speaking, lying, and slander ing. But when that same man is told to do to others as he would they should do to him, then he has to weigh his own duties, to set himself his own tasks, and to measure by his own measure his own performance of them. Of course by stealing he determines his own restitution, and by murder his own punish ment; but the system of liberty and selflegislation goes far beyond this. If a man covets his neighbour s house and lands, I do not see how he can escape without giving him his own house and lands. If he exacts all his neighbour s time in attendance upon him and his selfishness, he must, by his own rule.
344 THE RICHES OF GRACE. devote all his own time to the service of his neighbour. This is the law of liberty. We are not tied down by God to particular rules, but we are called upon to be our own lawgivers, and to tie ourselves down. All motives are taken away except one, which is to influence and regulate everything. The Lord does not say as Moses said, " Whoso doeth this, shall surely die ;" that shall be " visited to the third and fourth generation." What the Lord says is simply, " Thou shalt love the Lord thy God." He who does that will take a pleasure in doing all that God takes a plea sure in, just as a child would take a pleasure in the act of pleasing its parent. " Dutiful " might have been the word to express this if we had not the word "affectionate, which implies dutiful and something more. The dutiful please God, the affectionate take a pleasure in pleasing Him. Do you observe the force of the expression in the Gospel for the day, the second is like unto it. Why like? Why is loving our neighbour like loving God? Does it not mean that it is the same moving power that is influencing us still ? God loves our neigh bour, God would wish our neighbour s wel fare, temporal and spiritual, and we love God ;
THE RICHES OF GRACE. 345 we would please Him, therefore, by doing that which gives Him pleasure. How can we, then, hate him whom God loves, and do harm to him whom God would prosper? " On these two commandments," says our Saviour, adapting His words to our compre hension, and dividing the idea, that we may see the two forms of it, " on these two com mandments hang all the law and the pro phets." But there is only one commandment, Love God; for there is another sense in which the Christian may take that saying of St. John, " Whoso loveth Him that begat, loveth Him also that is begotten of Him; for of His own will begat He us." We are His children by adoption and grace; and if we love the Father, and have no means of
showing our love to Him by reason of the immeasurable distance by which we are re moved from Him, we have at least the power of showing our love to Him by loving His children, and serving Him by serving them. "Beloved," says St. John, commenting on this very subject, " we are now the sons of God; we had not this particular reason be fore, but we have it now." Our Lord recurs to this sentence at a very solemn period of His ministry; it is when He is taking leave of His disciples pre-
346 THE ETCHES OF GRACE. paratory to giving them the greatest proof of love which it was possible to afford : " A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another, as I have loved you; that ye also love one another." Now hear St. John s comment upon this. u He that saith he abideth in Him, ought himself so to walk even as He walked. Breth ren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment, which ye had from the beginning. Again, a new commandment write I unto you, which thing is true in Him and in you." It is not a new commandment that we love one another, but a very old commandment, with a new and additional motive for keeping it, a new debt of gratitude which we can not repay, or hope to pay directly, and, at the same time, a new means opened to us whereby we are graciously permitted to repay it indirectly. And now the only thing that remains is to explain why it is, in any sense, a new com mandment why, if the Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world, the command ment, as we have it now, was not given from the foundation of the world. If we are living under a law of liberty now, and are per mitted to set ourselves our own tasks of love,
THE RICHES OF GRACE. 347 and to fix our own means of showing our gratitude, why was it not so always? why were kings and prophets, who desired to see
the things which we see, denied the blessing of seeing them ? or, in other words, why are we more fit to live under a law of liberty than God s Church under the Mosaic dispen sation ? I cannot tell you why it pleased the Lord to send the Holy Ghost upon us, and not upon them. I cannot tell why it pleased His inscrutable Wisdom that Christ should die, and obtain for His people gifts from Hea ven at the particular time in which He did die, and not a hundred or a thousand years before ; but grant that, and the rest is easy. It is because we are fitted for the law of liberty, and they were not. It is because consciences enlightened by the Holy Ghost are, so to speak, self-directing; and con sciences not so enlightened are not self-di recting ; or rather, to speak more accurately, because God, not having made their bodies His temple and His dwelling-place, governed them from without; but having made us His temple and His dwelling-place, governs us from within. The commandments are the same; the God who gave them is the same; it is the Residence of that God that is chang-
348 THE RICHES OF GRACE. ed. He did work on us, He does work in us, " both to will and to do of His good plea sure;" and therefore it is that, though the commandments are in reality old, older than Moses, as old as the fall of man, which made them necessary at all, to us they are new; that is, the light in which we see then is new. We could not be trusted to our own guidance then. We can be trusted now; for, by the Holy Ghost that is in us, we have now GRACE to withstand the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the Devil ; we have GRACE to enable us to follow with pure hearts and minds the only God; and this we have through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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