Matins, Twentieth Sunday after Trinity, 1875.
** As many as are led by the Spirit of God they are the sons of God," —
Rom. viii. 14.
*' Led by the Spirit of God V How shall I best lead your
minds into the realm of thought at the threshold of which
these words stand ? How may we all — how may you and
I — ^become conscious of being led by the Spirit of God ? If
I am to frame an answer suited to our standpoint here on
earth, as human beings with the history of Humanity in the
past behind us, and the hidden future before us, I must say
" By throwing ourselves into S3anpathy with the highest life
of Humanity in the present and in the past." This to some
of you may seem scarcely moulded in the right form. Let
me therefore put it otherwise. Let me say : " By having a
living faith in the Incarnation of our Blessed Lord, and in
the doctrine of the Divine Humanity of which that Incarna-
tion is the eternal witness.'*
If the union of the Divine with the Human in the person
of Jesus Christ has any significance for us at all, it is this —
that we are to see in it the assurance of the union of the Di-
vine with all Humanity. In its highest efforts Humanity is
ever divinely aided. Good and noble work in the world has
only been done by men led by the Spirit of God If we then
are to be blest with the consciousness of having the Divine
Spirit for our guide, we must certainly also possess the con-
sciousness of being in sympathy with the noblest endeavours
put forward by men of other days, .or by those who are still
184 The Sons of God.
in our midst If we have not this consdousness we <
have the other. If we are not in loving sympathj with our
Im^heni and sisters whom we have seen — ^if we are growing
up in utter indifference to the thoughts of our fatheis trea-
sured up for us in the literature of the world, how can we be
in loving union with the Father whom we have not seen?
how ran we be in conscious union with that Divine Spirit,
in whom alone we can live the true spiritual life and have a
true Hj^iritual being?
A real faith in the doctrine of the Divine Humanity — ^in
the tmth that Humanity only progresses in the heavenly life
by the divine aid which is brought to each and every human
Moul journeying on the pathway of the redeemed, — ^a real faith
in this great life-giving truth of our Christian religion will
urge us to enter into sympathy with the saintly souls of Chris-
tendom, and to know something of the eflforts of the heroic
ones who have been the divinely-appointed leaders of human
thouglit and the reverent enquirers into the mysteries of
There have been saintly ones on earth, to live in S3niipathy
with each one of whom is a discipline good for our own
spiritual growth. Their thoughts have been treasured up
and are part of the solace of suffering Humanity ; the memory
of their loving deeds has never departed from the minds of
men ; no spring-time has come when flowers have not been
placed on their graves ; the year has never been which has
not known of the tearful yearning of hearts touched with the
sweetness, and tenderness, and undying love of those who-
long ago lived in such close communion with their Lord.
These saintly ones were led by the Spirit of God, and were
and arc the sons and daughters of God ; and we, if we would
be led by the same Spirit — if we would become children of
God — must be possessed with a longing to enter into com-
munion with them, to feel conscious that we are of the same
erhood — the same sisterhood — ^with them ; so that from
The Sons of God. 185
such sweet consoling consciousness we may rise to the more
blessed assurance that the same Divine Spirit which was their
Guide is guiding ourselves ; that the same Blessed Saviour
who was their Brother is a Brother with whom we dwell in ^
constant heart-nearness ; that the same Eternal Father has
called us with them to be his sons and daughters.
And the great thinkers of the world, the men who have
enriched the world with their thoughts, who have had a
clearer insight than their fellows into the marvels of creation,
and whose endeavours to impart to an unbelieving world the
truths which have dawned upoi;i themselves have oft been
toilsome and heroic, — with these I maintain Christian men
should ever have keen and lively sympathy. A real faith in
the teachings of Christianity — in the Divine guidance of
Humanity — requires this. It is a great mistake for Christians
to keep aloof from the ever-progressive labours of the higher
intellect of mankind. Their so doing provokes the complaint
from those who keep outside the Christian Church that the
salvation of the soul is oft accompanied by the ruin of the
mind. Much mischief too is wrought by well-meaning Chris-
tian workers, who might quietly and modestly do much-
needed evangelising work, pushing themselves noisily to the
front, and parading not only their own want of culture, but
also their own lack of sympathy with the higher culture of
their fellows, and helping to spread abroad the notion that
popular Christianity is a jumble of inconsistencies, and that
religious life can be fostered by wild talk, and by the popular-
ising of hymns whose jingling melodies tempt the profane to
form irreverent parodies of sacred words. Doubtless un-
cultured preachers of an imperfect Gospel may be the means
of turning some from wrong-doing to right-doing ; but in the
long run all efforts to sever Christian teaching from the
higher culture which is ever advancing in God's world will
lead to disaster, and to a lowering of the Christian standard.
This ought, however, to be kept at a high level ; and the
i86 The Sons of God.
spasmodic attempts which are being made even among edu-
cated people to cast out of Christian teaching everything
that is of value as a purifying and elevating mental discipline,
and to bring down the religious life to an imbecile devotee-
ism, ought to be discouraged
" As many as are led by the Spirit of God they are the
Sons of God."
Many years have passed over the world since these words
were penned by the Apostle. All through the long years
they have been verified in the experience of the Christian
Church. The words contain the very statement of the work
of the Holy Spirit, which we were only lately considering.
Read by the light of the doctrine of the Incarnation, what a
depth of suggestiveness is revealed in them ! Sons of God
— " children of God \ and if children then heirs \ heirs of
God, and joint heirs with Christ!" Sons of God, and there-
fore inheritors with Christ of the Divine atiu-e — sharing
with Him the blessedness of union with the Divine ! O do
we contemplate sufficiently this central doctrine of the Chris-
tian system — this doctrine of the Incarnation, the practical
import of which is that we must each of us submit to be led
by the Spirit of God in order that we may become Sons of
God, in order that the Divine may be incarnate in us as it
was in Jesus. In Him we have to behold God manifest in the
flesh. He, the Son of God, lived on earth in order to reveal
to us alike how much of the Human there is in the Divine and
how much of the Divine there is in the Human. And the higher
life of Humanity on earth is but a continuation of the life
of our Lord — a continued revelation to us of the divine
sympathy and aid imparted to man, a continued revelation
to us of the Divineness of Redeemed Humanity. The work
of Christ on earth did not cease with the glorification, the
sanctification, the sacrifice of His own humanity on the cross
of Calvary ; it has been prolonged in the experience of His
.on earth ; His life has been prolonged in the lives
The Sons of God. 187
-of all who by submission to the guidance of the divine Spirit
have been brought into union with Him.
Here is a befitting theme for the contemplation of Chris-
tian men and women — the story of the work of Christ among
the souls of His human brethren — the story which tells how,
under the transforming influence of the Divine Spirit, ser-
vants of sin became children of God. Far more interest
•ought this story of the Divine with man, of the heroic endea-
vours of the human soul to reach forward to heavenliness —
far more interest ought it to have for us than the novels, the
light literature, with which we fritter away our time and waste
our languid sympathies. O that there might be enkindled
within us all what has been called the enthusiasm of hu-
manity, the desire that the life which throbs within our own
50uls shall be in unison with the highest type of Humanity in
the past, which is none other than the life of Christ perpetu-
ated on earth ! O let us, who call ourselves Christians, not
be put to shame by those in our midst to whom the life of
Christ is a myth, to whom God even is the creation of the
human mind, and who, without any faith in an unseen world,
or in any immortality for the human soul save that which is
to be enshrined in the memories of the generations yet to
come, are nevertheless rearing, for their own constant con-
templation, a Religion of Humanity — a worship of the heroic,
the noble, the great, in the life of man ; let us not be put to
shame by these. In the imperfect presentations of Christi-
anity which they have come into contact with, the doctrine of
the Divine Humanity has been cast out ; but they would have
found it in the purer form had they but sought for it But
that they have found a semblance of it is a proof that God
does not allow His children, earnestly craving for truth, to
wander too far from Him.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful