This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
UPPER CA ADA TRACT SOCIETY
Because he preached unto them Jesus and the Resurrection. ACTS xvii. 1 8. THERE are times in the life of every thoughtful man when he is thrown back suddenly, as it were, upon the foundations of his faith. owhere else can he find the strength to support him, or the light to make his way plain. It may be that he has been startled and discouraged by some religious doubt which has been presented to him, perhaps an old foe with a new face. Or, his mind has been exercised by some of the many social questions which seem to seek in vain for an answer in our own day. Or, he has been perplexed by the mystery which enshrouds some of God s dealings with the world. It may be that some personal misfortune has burst upon him, and found him unprepared; or, that the death angel has swept down, and the shadow of those dark wings has been cast upon the bright ness of his home. In any case, as a Christian, he believes that a revelation was made which was to be sufficient for his spiritual wants ; a gospel preached which was to give rest to the weary and light to all who sat in darkness and the shadow of death. ot improbably, 278
OUTLI ES O VARIOUS PASSAGES he discovers that his mind has been dwelling far too much on some particular article of his belief, or on some special form of worship. These do not suffice. He wants something wider and deeper by far. He must search the Scriptures. 1 That which he requires may be found in the Person and the Work of Jesus Christ. I. Many strange and disquieting thoughts must have occupied the minds of the Apostles when the divine Master was risen from the dead. Most anxious, perhaps, they would be about that sacred office which He called upon them to fill, that teaching which He sent them forth to bear to all the nations of the world. But when He had passed from their sight up into the heavens, and when the Holy Spirit had come down, this point, at all events, seemed clear. The Spirit did guide them into all the truth. They preached Jesus and the Resurrection. This was the foundation of the faith. This was the basis of Christianity. They had been intrusted with no code of laws. They had received no special ritual, no elaborated forms of
worship. On a few points, indeed, the words of the Master had been precise and clear ; and two outward signs of inward grace had been ordained by Christ Himself. But this was almost all. As social or ecclesiastical questions arose one after another, we see how carefully the Apostles had to feel their way. That doctrine of the Resurrec tion it was which was to do the mighty work of regenerating the world. Hence, it was preached everywhere. The seed was sown even where the soil seemed unsuitable, and the climate hopeless. To the bigoted dwellers at Jerusalem and to the more liberal Jews of the dispersion ; to the rough peoples among the highlands of Asia Minor and to the polished inhabitants of the most learned of ancient cities, the message was the same. By many, as might have been expected, it was received with mocking incredulity or grave suspicion. Some, when they heard it, seemed driven almost to frenzy ; others, as here at Athens, took the preacher for a mere babbler, a picker up of trifles, or a setter forth of strange gods. And yet, in spite of all, this teaching overthrew the citadels of heathenism, and made its way into the very heart of the world. II. S. Paul preached Jesus and the Resurrection. The Saviour not only died but rose again. To the Apostles this meant a new birth of their hopes and their faith. This very nature seemed trans formed. When the cloud hid their Lord from their sight, and the sun of His presence was withdrawn, it was only that the light might be more diffused, that it might be visible for ever, and everywhere. It was a change from the seen to the unseen, from the personal presence to the presence through His indwelling Spirit. Thus, how immeasurably Christian faith gains by this revelation of the Resur rection of Jesus. It declared a new life, a life in Christ, and through 279
FIRST SU DAY AFTER EASTER Christ a personal union with the Father of all. It declared the con tinuity of that life. * Because I live, ye shall live also. More, far more, than a personal Saviour to follow, and to love, and to obey ; a living power which makes that following, that love, that obedience to be possible. It is the crown of the Christian s faith that life flows into him from his Risen Lord, because he is in Christ. This union is the means whereby true lasting life is brought to body and to soul. Imagination loves to dwell on some hero of past days ; or some saint whose life seemed to reflect, though dimly, the image of his Lord ; or some dear friend who, though gone, has left * a line of light upon our path of life. We gladly pass over their failings, and we do not
care to note that, perhaps, their virtues all seem to run, as it were, in one groove. This is really only a memory, not a person ; it is void of life. But our faith goes out to a Person, a Person who lives now, and in whose life our whole being is centred. III. Let us look at one more of the wants of the human heart. It is, perhaps, the keenest and most inspiring of all its needs. It is the watchword of the Resurrection, Hope. The subject of hope has always had a charm for the writer and the poet ; there is something so essentially human about it. Sometimes, we know, hope acts as a false stimulant, and speaks with but a siren tongue. Still, in the world s common tracks, hope is a blessed and constant force. It brightens and strengthens all that it touches; now inspiring the young mother, as she looks upon her new-born child ; now the young man as he resolves to do his devoir, like a brave Christian knight, in the battle of life which is before him ; now inspiring the bold heart and experienced head of the older man as he plans and labours to bow before him the opposing forces of the world. Hope lives essentially on the future. But what if that future be destroyed, or if it be bounded by some dark impenetrable wall which even thought cannot pass ? Hope bounded by time and sight cannot satisfy man s strange and complicated nature. Faculties he has which cannot belong simply to the present. Thought will on beyond. Memory, imagination, above all love, speak to him with no uncertain voice of some lasting dwelling-place. The chief characteristic of the ancient world was the living for the present. The striking feature in the writings of the more thoughtful was the absence of hope, the deep melancholy which seems to pervade them. The Apostle branded the unconverted Gentiles as men * having no hope, and without God in the world. Some of them might speculate on the immortality of the soul, but it was a mere groping in the midst of material darkness. It was Jesus Christ who gave spiritual life to the first century, and He is the Christ of this nineteenth century of ours. We might well 280
OUTLI ES O VARIOUS PASSAGES expect some approach to perfection in this long lapse of time. We might well expect that each succeeding age would give a better record of work done for Him. It is not so. There have even been dark times when Christianity seemed doomed, and despair, like that of the ancient world, was settling on men s minds. And yet if the
wave has recoiled, the next wave has been higher, and the tide has still flowed on. The renovating power of Christ has brought life out of seeming death. The leaven has been at work. There has been growth as well as life. And the world is more Christian and better than it was. I know there are those who deny this. I know there are those who seem to love to brood over all the evil there is in the earth, and can see neither goodness nor beauty around them. ature is cruel, pitiless, inexorable. Man is vile, and woman, if possible, is viler still. Society is corrupt to the core, and the gigantic cities of our age are but masses of seething vice. Alas, there is some truth here, but it is not the whole truth. There is sin and misery enough. We cannot shut our eyes to them. But go out on some bright morning at this Resurrection season of the year ; or go out and breathe God s fresh air after some time of anxiety or hard work, and see ature, cruel, if you will, but how beautiful she is, and what a blessing comes to your very soul from all those bright handiworks of God ! Go out into any of those cities ; and see how much is being done to develop the mind and improve the social status of mankind. See how Chris tian men, and especially Christian women, are labouring to rescue from pollution some for whom Christ died, to raise up those whom sorrow or sickness has cast down, to make known the blessed Gospel of our Lord then go home, and try to render the little circle near you happier and better ; and I do not doubt you will own it is not such a bad world after all, and that there are signs full of life and of hope, signs of the indwelling Spirit of Christ. Only a few days before his death, an American poet, whose works have been much read in this country, finished a poem in these words, the last lines he ever wrote : Out of the shadow of night, The world moves into light, It is daybreak, everywhere. Yes, * daybreak everywhere. Let us not look down, but up in faith for the glorious sunrise. And if doubt or despondency weigh upon us, if difficulties loom big before us, let us turn for a few moments off life s dusty road, kneel down by the highway side, and think upon the great subject of the Apostle s preaching * Jesus and the Resurrection. ARCHDEACO PRESCOTT.
1. 68 FREE BOOKS http://www.scribd.com/doc/21800308/Free-Christian-Books
2. ALL WRITI GS http://www.scribd.com/glennpease/documents?page=970