时间：<2020-07-14 17:42:20 作者：LW刘硕打关昕er8 浏览量：9777
This, then, being the case, we see at once why there is not more self-sacrifice for God. The reason clearly is, that there is a want of the deep sense of mercy. The sacrifice of Christ is not sufficiently realised, and the result is that the self-sacrifice is withheld. I fear there is a great want of self-sacrifice even among those who hold the truth. Surely there are many whose religion never costs them any real personal self-denial. They pass through life easily and respectably, but refer matters more to their p. 44own inclination than to the call of God. They are more ready to pay others to work than to work themselves, and are prone to stand aloof from distasteful service, if, as they say, it does not suit them; or, as they might say, they do not like it. So, again, but few deny themselves in giving, and though many are liberal, there are few whose personal comforts are really diminished by their liberality. Now, why is this? and how is it that the great salvation has not more power over us? Is it not that the salvation itself is not enough felt and appreciated? It is true of us, as it was of the Corinthians, that “we know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, though He was rich, yet for our sakes became poor, that we through His poverty might be rich.” But though we know it, we do not deeply feel it. It is like paint lying on the surface, but it is not burnt into us, so as to become part and parcel of ourselves. Everything may be correct; our doctrine scriptural, and our principles sound: but neither one nor the other has gone home to the inmost soul with such power that we have learned to “count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord.” What is it, then, that we want? What p. 45must lie at the root of all? A more powerful sense of mercy, a deeper conviction of need, a clearer perception of what Christ has done for us, a more thorough appreciation of His perfect sacrifice; and when that is given, we shall be better able to understand the appeal,—“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
But I do not deny that the text is one of considerable difficulty. The first great difficulty is to ascertain to whom the words were spoken. From Luke, xxiv. 33, we find that the persons present were “the eleven, and them that were with them;” and there is nothing in the record to decide whether the words were addressed to the eleven Apostles separately, or to the whole company—including, of course, laymen and women. My own belief is, that they were addressed to the eleven separately, and conveyed a special judicial power to these inspired men. That they possessed such a power p. 59is clear from history; for when Peter retained the sin of Ananias and Sapphira, God ratified his decision by their death; and when St. Paul passed sentence on the incestuous person at Corinth, he clearly claimed a supernatural power of judgment when he said (1 Cor. v. 3-5), “For I verily, as absent in body but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, to deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” So when he remitted the same sentence he clearly claimed special right to do so; as he said, “If I forgave anything, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it, in the person of Christ.” But if this were the case, and if the power was given to the Apostles as a part of their apostolic office, it follows that with the Apostles it must have ceased for ever. Accordingly, in our Lord’s words there is not the smallest hint at transmission; and as for the idea that the Apostles could transmit it to the Bishops, and the Bishops to the Presbyters, it is altogether without foundation p. 60in the word of God. In fact, the case of the Corinthians proves clearly that it was not so transmitted. There cannot be a doubt, that when the epistle was written there were Presbyters in the Church of Corinth; and it is clear that Titus had just been there on a special mission, for he it was who brought to St. Paul the tidings of the repentance of the Corinthians (2 Cor. vii. 6, 7, and xii. 17, 18). But yet none of these persons appear to have had a transmitted power. It was necessary to refer the case to St. Paul himself. He retained and he remitted; and he did both “in the person of Christ.”In that passage it is perfectly clear that our Lord Jesus Christ is said to forgive, and the Church to absolve. The change of words is most remarkable, and clearly proves the doctrine. The Church is said to have power to absolve; and the Lord Jesus Christ is entreated to forgive. The minister, therefore, absolves, and at the same time prays that the Lord may forgive: and who can doubt that, when the troubled heart truly repents and believes in Him, the prayer is answered, the forgiveness granted, and the absolution, or declaration, ratified in heaven?One thing is perfectly clear, that these sacrifices are not a supplement to the one great sacrifice for sin. They are not intended to supply any deficiency in the great work of our Blessed Lord. There is no deficiency there; and if there were, nothing that we could do would supply it. There is no deficiency, for by the “one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” And if there were deficiency, how could man supply it? Is there not something dreadful in the thought of a patchwork atonement, partly by the Son of God and partly by man; partly perfect, and partly imperfect; partly pure in all the infinite purity of God, and partly defiled with all the defilements of a fallen and sinful manhood? No! the propitiation is perfect, unmixed, and undefiled for ever. It is the sacrifice of the Son of God, and it stands alone for all eternity.
p. 281. That the sacramental bread is changed into the Lord Jesus Christ, the Living Saviour, God and man.
Again: it is not the office of the minister to forgive sins. If our Lord, in His words of John xx. 23, had really connected such a power with the ministry of reconciliation, it is most extraordinary that in all the many portions of the New Testament which relate to the ministry there is no allusion to it. There are three whole Epistles directed exclusively to the chief pastors of the Church, besides several addresses to presbyters both in the Acts and Epistles; and is it not a most remarkable fact, that there is not a single allusion in any one of these passages or epistles to the forgiveness of sins, as forming a portion of the ministry of reconciliation? There are full directions respecting preaching, praying, reproving, instructing, and behaviour to all the different classes of the flock, but of forgiveness of sin by the minister, not one word can you find anywhere; and yet forgiveness itself is the great subject of the p. 58whole New Testament. But it is always traced at once, without any intermediate mediation, to the Lord Himself. It is always ascribed to His blood, His redemption, and His grace, and is never once connected in any way with any power of forgiveness bestowed by a priest. I am not now dwelling on any one particular passage, but rather on the omission of the whole subject from the word of God; and I cannot but think that that omission is a proof, beyond contradiction, that the Apostles, writing by inspiration, did not understand our Lord as teaching in these words that the forgiveness of sin by a priest formed any part of the ministry of reconciliation.
I. On the authority of the ministry this text is perfectly clear; for the Apostle traces it to no human source when he says, “All things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.” The ministry, therefore, is a gift from God, and not a plan of human contrivance. It is not an arrangement adopted p. 49by the great Christian society as a means for its own improvement, but it is an institution by the authority of the Founder of that society, God Himself. Both the office and the men are gifts from God. In this passage he speaks of the office, and says, “God hath given us the ministry of reconciliation;” and in v. 19, “hath committed to us the word of reconciliation.” The men, therefore, received their office from their God. Just so he said to Archippus (Col. iv. 17), “Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.” But perhaps the most striking passage on this subject is St. Paul’s address to the elders of the Church of Ephesus, in Acts, xx. 28; for he there teaches not merely that the ministry in general was given to these elders, but that they had been made by the Holy Ghost overseers of that particular people amongst whom they were called to labour. “Take heed, therefore, unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the Church of God which He hath purchased with His own blood.” Now, bear in mind that these persons were not apostles, nor persons holding any extraordinary office, as some did in those early days, but ordinary p. 50clergymen; some, probably, ordained by St. Paul himself, and some by Timothy, appointed to labour together amongst the rapidly increasing church in the large heathen town; and mark well the fact, that the Apostle does not say, “To which I appointed you,” or “to which Timothy appointed you,” but he regards the appointment as from God Himself, and says, “Whereof the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers.”Sometimes it will be necessary to apply it to individuals, when the conscience is troubled by the conviction of sin. Our Church alludes to this in two passages often referred to. The first is from the close of the invitation to the Lord’s Supper,—“And because it is requisite that no man should come to the Holy Communion but with a full trust in God’s mercy, and with a quiet conscience; therefore, if there be any of you, who by this means cannot quiet his own conscience herein, but requireth further counsel or comfort, let him come to me, or to some other discreet and learned minister of God’s word, and open his grief: that by the ministry of God’s holy word he may receive the benefit of absolution, together with ghostly counsel and advice, to the quieting of his conscience, and avoiding of all scruple and doubtfulness.”
The text stands very near the conclusion of a most important argument, in which the Apostle has been drawing the contrast between the Jewish sacrifices under the ceremonial law and the one perfect sacrifice wrought out for us by p. 19the Son of God on the cross. The contrast commences with the 25th verse of the 9th chapter, and extends to the 14th verse of the 10th; after which we are led to the practical application of the whole epistle. Let us, then, first, carefully study the point of contrast, and then the reason of it.One thing is perfectly clear. It is not done by the offering of any fresh sacrifice. This was the chief duty of the Jewish priests, but it forms no part of that of the Christian minister. From one end of the New Testament to the p. 56other you can find no allusion to any such thing as a Christian sacrifice for sin. The one sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ was once and for ever, final, complete, and sufficient for all the sins of the whole world. The work of sacrifice is finished, as we are taught in the words, “To wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself;” and if there can be no sacrifice, it is perfectly plain that there can be no sacrificing priest. Nor can the idea be gathered from the Prayer-book any more than it can from the New Testament. There is not an allusion there, either to a sacrifice or a sacrificing priest, except where it says, in Art. xxxi., “The sacrifices of masses, in the which it was commonly said that the priest did offer Christ for the quick and the dead, to have remission of pain or guilt, were blasphemous fables and dangerous deceits.” There is no Christian sacrifice recognised by the Church of England but the thankful dedication of heart and life on the part of those who have been saved by the sacrifice of the Lord. But this sacrifice requires no priest to offer it. It may rise at any moment, and from any place, from the depths of any thankful heart. Thus, according to our Communion Service, all offer p. 57it together, and the whole congregation having together met around their Father’s table, and together tasted the joys of their Father’s love, together bring their sacrifice, and say, “Here we offer and present unto thee, O Lord, ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice unto thee.”
“But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.”I have quoted the passage from Rome in which it says there is “body, soul, and divinity.” But what does any one of those passages say about soul and divinity? If He had meant to teach us that the bread was changed into His broken body, what one word is there about the soul, or the Godhead? All that is added by Rome, and the whole fabric of superstition based upon it is without a shadow of foundation in the word of God. It is a vast superstructure, but, as far as the teaching of Holy Scripture is concerned, utterly baseless.
In every work carried on by man we are perfectly certain to meet with human infirmity, and human error; and the work of the ministry forms no exception to the rule. It is carried on by common men, with common flesh and blood, exposed to the common temptations of common life, so that we are sure to find in it the common failures of our common humanity. Yet, with all this, it fills a most important place in the life of all of us. It not only imparts a distinctive character to our public worship, but it reaches our home life; so that there is not a family in a parish that is not, in some way or other, more or less affected by the ministry in p. 47the Church. The influence may not always be for good, but it always exists. In some cases it may be simply negative, and actually do harm by not doing good. In some cases it may be positively mischievous, as when it is made the means for the dissemination of deadly error. While in many it is made God’s means for conferring incalculable blessings; so that through it the young are instructed, the careless awakened, inquirers directed to the Lord Jesus Christ, and the children of God confirmed in faith and aroused to holy energy for their Lord. The position of a clergyman is such that the influence of his ministry is sure to be felt throughout his parish. He has the sacred privilege of leading the worship of the religious portion of his people. They are all brought into contact with his office, and all are, some way or other, affected by the manner in which that office is fulfilled.
p. 11The wafer, therefore, or the piece of bread, is here said to be after consecration nothing less than a real, living Saviour, with body, soul, and divinity, to be worshipped with that holy, reverential worship which belongs exclusively to the God of heaven and earth, for that is the meaning of the word Latreia. There is something very awful in such a statement. It shows that there can be no peace with Rome—no compromise, no middle path. If they are right, we are awfully wrong. If we are right, they are guilty of idolatry. If all these pieces of bread are living Saviours, we have been terribly guilty in never worshipping any one of them; but if, on the other hand, they have remained bread still—plain, simple, unchanged bread—then we have idolatry of the most unquestionable character when that bread is exalted by the priest for adoration, and men fall down and worship it as the living God.I have quoted the passage from Rome in which it says there is “body, soul, and divinity.” But what does any one of those passages say about soul and divinity? If He had meant to teach us that the bread was changed into His broken body, what one word is there about the soul, or the Godhead? All that is added by Rome, and the whole fabric of superstition based upon it is without a shadow of foundation in the word of God. It is a vast superstructure, but, as far as the teaching of Holy Scripture is concerned, utterly baseless.
What, then, is the relationship between our sacrifice and His? and how are they connected? There can be no doubt on this subject if we turn to the text, where we read, “I beseech you therefore, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice.” It is, therefore, the deep sense of unmerited mercy that is to p. 43call out the willing sacrifice from a saved and thankful people. This is just how it stands in our Communion Service. We first come with the confession of sin; we then partake of the sacred feast; and seek, by God’s grace, to realise in living faith the body broken and the blood shed for our sins; after which, but not before, we “offer and present to Him ourselves, our souls and our bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and lively sacrifice unto Him.” Our sacrifice, therefore, is the result of our deep sense of unmerited mercy shown in His perfect sacrifice on the cross. It is a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. It is the willing offering of those who have found mercy, and are most deeply and humbly thankful for it.II. We may turn, then, to our second subject, the relationship of this sacrifice to the great and perfect sacrifice offered once and for ever on the cross.