THE CUP OF THE LORD BY A THO Y W. THOROLD, D.D.

Lord Bishop of Rochester

Can ye drink of the cup that I drink of, or be ye baptized with the baptism wherewith I am baptized .' — Mark x. 38. IT is common to blame these two disciples for what seems like selfishness, and even ambition, in making this petition to the Lord. Certainly the displeasure of their fellow-disciples, who may be supposed to have been in the secret of their motive more than we can be, gives colour to such censure. It is also easy to say that, in their inevitable ignorance of what their Master's cup and baptism could mean, they were somewhat in a hurry with their reply. It is, however, to be observed that Christ, Who knew them far better than they knew themselves, or than their fellows knew them, did not reprove them for motives which, had they really existed, would have drawn from Him an instant rebuke. Their petition must have had something right at

222 QUESTIO S OF FAITH I X I > DUTY the bottom of it. They wished to be at His right hand and His left hand, because they so dearly loved Him. Part of their petition he granted, part He deferred. His cup they should drink, His baptism they should share. But nearness to Him in His kingdom was a reward which could not be promised until the lives had been accomplished which could alone decide it. Every man shall finally receive in his body the things he hath done, whether they be good or bad. Until they are done, the balance cannot be struck, nor the crown fitted to the brow. What is this cup, this baptism of Jesus ? Is it for all to drink, or only for some to drink ? What shall come from drinking it ? How is it

that His right hand and left hand, in glory, have anything to do with partaking of His sorrow ? There are these three elements in the cup and baptism of Jesus which give it its supreme and exemplary value — loneliness, and martyrdom, and sacrifice. He was absolutely alone. Even the disciple whom He loved, and who leant on His breast at supper, was not in perfect sympathy with Him. He was seldom understood by those who loved Him best, and when He first disclosed His Passion, the temptation was suggested to Him by an apostle to put it away. In His last discourse He observed, with touching pathos, " Ye shall leave Me alone, yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me." When

SORROW 22} He fell into the hands of I lis enemies, " the3' all forsook llim and fled." Of all the thousands whom He had led, healed, taught, comforted during His earthly ministry, not one was man enough to stand by Him in Pilate's hall, and to say, " Crown Him," when the mob said, "Crucify Him." He was a martyr. lie witnessed for the truth by His life. When He could no longer speak for it, He died for it. He was King and Leader of the noble army of martyrs, who, fired by His example, inspired by His love, fortified by His grace, and saved by His Passion, loved not their lives unto the death. The other feature, which explains and unites all, was His absolute spirit of sacrifice. He was altogether and always for God. " Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God," was the sentence with which, so to speak, He became incarnate. " Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit," was the closing sentence in which His earthly life was ended. He never thought of Himself, spoke of Himself, acted of Himself. " I can of Mine own self do nothing ; as I hear I judge, and My judgment is just, because I seek not Mine own will, but the will of the Father which

hath sent Me." When we proceed to ask if this cup is for all For -whom to drink, or only for some to drink, on the ^")'" / ' threshold of so solemn a question these things must be premised. o human soul can be invited or permitted or enabled to share the

224 QUESTIO S OF FAITH A D DUTY Lord's sufferings in the sense of their atoning or satisfying for the sins of men. Only One Spirit has been bathed with the tears of a redeeming anguish. There is only one Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world. This premised, we reverently, wonderingly recall the apostle's prayer that he might know the fellowship of the Lord's sufferings, being made conformable unto His death ; and we attach to it a cognate and significant sentence out of a very profound Epistle written probably at the same time — "Who can rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the sufferings of Christ in my flesh for His body's sake, which is the Church." We also observe facts ; and it is a fact beyond dispute that in various ages of the Church, and in most critical epochs of her history, there have been royal heroic souls who have suffered for Christ, whether in the fire, or in the arena, with bonds and imprisonment — souls of whom the world was not worthy — kissing their chains and singing hymns of joy as the cruel flames reached their limbs — saints, of whom St. John wrote: "These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." Still further, in quiet homes, in days of peace and rest, on sick-beds, with duties foul, squalid, offensive, and unrequiting, in the wards of hospitals, with the wounded and dying on battle-fields, with tasks commonplace in out-

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ward garb, uninviting- and even perilous in actual experience, for Christ's sake, and to be closer to Mini, and to be ever deeper and more blessed in the fruition of Mis love, men and women have surrendered tender hopes, dropped noble enterprises, yielded self and fortune and opportunities, without a thought of murmuring, to Mini who embraced the cross for their salvation, and for Whom a thousand lives would be but a poor, meagre expression of the rapture and passion of their love. Henry Martyn knew something of his Saviour's solitariness. Xavier died, off the coast of China, of fever, with his real work but just begun. Savonarola, heroic among heroes, rejoiced to suffer shame for Mis name. Gordon had but one wish, to deserve to see His face. " One star differeth from another star in glory." Shall we grudge them the brightness of their crown — envy them the tender reverence of the wondering angels ? Yes, there are degrees of suffering for Christ, Degrees of and He, in His sovereign government of His m ' Church, mixes the cup and puts it to our lips, by which we are severally to glorify Him. Suffering is a form of service, and a very noble form, and a very blessed form. For sanctity goes with it more easily than with the activities of strength or zeal. Let us accept humbly, thankfully, trustfully whatever He sends us, in whatever shape, at whatever time. We arc always to glorify Him ; we do not know how till He tells us. There arc also degrees of glory, at the right p

226 QUESTIO S OF FAITH A D DUTY hand, and at the left hand, in the mighty concourse of beatified souls. We shall see Him according to our spiritual eyesight, and our capacity of vision will depend on our usefulness and our holiness here. Let us observe further that before we

can know the fellowship of His sufferings — in other words, attain to conformity with His death to sin, to self, to the world — we must first have learnt the power of His resurrection. Being risen with Christ, we must seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God. There is no learning to suffer with Him but through sharing His risen life. But when we have learned the fellowship of His sufferings, even in a degree, we think no more of being first or second, on the right hand or on the left. To be with Him, where He is, that is all we care for. To be with Him will mean to be like Him. To be like Him is Heaven. O the joy to see Thee reigning, Thee, my ozvn beloved Lord! Every tongue Thy name confessing, Worship, honour, glory, blessing. Brought to Thee with one accord. Thee, my Master and my Friend, Vindicated and enthroned, Unto earth's remotest end Glorified, adored, and owned.

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