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CAN any believer in Christ deliberately think upon
these and other similar teachings, and not be apprehensive that a great reformation remains to be effected among his followers : a reformation not less important than that which rescued us from the errors of the Romish church? How does our Protestantism compare with these precepts of our Divine Master? May we not be indulging our complacency a little too far since our escape from Rome? Have we not stopped the progress of a reformation which had far to conduct us before we adorned these doctrines of our Lord and Master? Where is yet the exemplification of Christianity, even as it may be looked for on Earth? There is reason to fear, that while, as Protestants, we deny the infallibility of the Pope, we are setting up one of our own. There is no greater enemy to the progress of truth than self-sufficiency. Spiritual arrogance is not rare among Protestants. “We are right, and you are wrong,” are assertions dealt out with unsparing frequency and energy.
28 A WARNING-WHERE ARE THE CHRISTIANS ?
But, in the present condition of Christianity, should not Christians qualify their opinions with—“Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief!" When we are divinely taught that if we had “ faith as a grain of mustardseed,” we could perform miracles, there is surely meaning enough in this expression to warn the followers of Christ not to be of those who “trust in themselves that they are righteous, and despise others.”
The precepts of Christ-how striking their point, their power, their purity, their simplicity, and their vast comprehensiveness !-These exhibit Christianity; but where is its exemplification? Where are the Christians of whom it may be said, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if love to one another,"_such love as Christ himself prescribes and characterizes? If no such exemplification, and no approach to it, can be found, may we not fear that this is the barrier which now stays the progress of Christianity? The world needs to be convinced
through other avenues than the ears. When the men of the heathen world look upon the Christian world, what do they behold ? Christianity ?-No! Civilization :-civilized men indebted to Christianity, but not repaying the obligation. They behold the evidences of science on every side; but illustrations of the pure teachings of Christ they find nowhere.
We shall not now dwell on this topic, but merely inquire, in passing, where we shall find any adequate exposition of the teachings of Christ. In Protestant religious literature, where is that treatise upon the Love of God, which does justice to the magnitude of the subject? Or in what system of divinity, or work upon theology, does this subject occupy the place it deserves ? It would appear as if theology should be developed from that point.
We may inquire, in like manner, where has the rule of our Saviour, “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do you even so to them,” received that full exposition its im
portance requires ? It covers the whole ground of man's duty to man; yet what space does it occupy in our religious literature? There are scores of thousands of theological works of Protestant origin, yet how few of these treat of Love to God, or, Love to Man! Where shall we find any adequate application of the command that we should “ love our neighbour as ourself,” to the constitution of society, as now existing in Christendom? If these commands are as broad and obligatory as their terms imply, they constitute the basis of the Christian system, and of all true social economy. No theology can be rightly framed, and no system of morals or politics can be rightly constructed, which have not this foundation, and of which the superstructure is not cemented by the same material. Yet, where is the system of theology which takes the love of God as its starting point, and the love of man as a chief element? This question is merely thrown out here: the subject will be resumed before we close.
THE MISSION OF CHRIST IN HIS OWN WORDS.
WE have glanced at the teachings of our Saviour. Let us also examine his own practical exposition of these teachings. He came into the world, not only to save, and to teach, but to exemplify his precepts. If his human lineage was noble, his birth was lowly in the extreme, His parents were not only poor and in humble life, but residents of a district despised by the rich and the great. He not only did not appear in the world as a noble or a king, but he did not come as a priest or a Levite. His ministry, which did not commence until he reached a ripened manhood, can be fitly characterized only in his own words. When John sent two of his disciples to Christ, to inquire, “ Art thou He that should come, or do we look for another?” The reply was not an exposition of his title to the