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his own ignorance, to be right and to do right; who is trying to hold fast that Word which is speaking to him in his heart, though he can form no high notions at all about things in earth or heaven. There is the initiated man; he is the one who is learning the perfect lore; for God's own love is working in him ; God's own love is perfecting itself in him. He is keeping the commandments, and 'they are teaching him that in himself he is nothing; that 'in God he has everything that he wants.
It was so then; it is so now. I have seen hard fighters among poor men and rich men; some on sick beds and some in the world, in whom I am sure the love of God was perfecting itself. One longed to sit at their feet and learn their wisdom. But it was the wisdom of life, not the wisdom of letters; and in life it must be learnt. They were striving according to St. John's precept to walk even as Christ walked; to live, by daily trust and daily self-renunciation, as He lived. And since they could not do this by any efforts of their own—since all their efforts only showed them their own weakness—they learned to abide in Him; they learned the deepest of all secrets, by learning more than others of their own shallowness; they came to know God by finding that they could not be honest men without knowing Him.
THE OLD AND NEW COMMANDMENTS.
1 JOHN II. 6-11
He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He
walked. Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the Word which ye have heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in Him and in you : because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.
LAST week St. John was teaching us how very simple people, with no high imaginations and little acquired learning, may know God in the strictest sense of the word know. If they keep His commandments they acquire a knowledge of His character and of His ways, of what He is in Himself and of what He is to them, which can be reached in no other method. There are some expressions which he uses in reference to this subject that are very plain in themselves, just what you would suppose the fisherman apostle, writing for people of all kinds and classes and for those hereafter that might speak all varieties of languages, would use, and yet which, for that very reason, often puzzle scholars greatly Walk as He walked,'
abide in Him,'—they say, 'what can phrases like this signify?' A specially bad name has been found for them. They have been called mystical. It has been said that the people who resort to them fancy they have some peculiar affinity with the Divine nature.
It is quite right, as I think, to condemn that selfexaltation which leads one man to fancy he has spiritual privileges to which his brother is not entitled ; in fact, all boasting and exclusiveness of every sort and however justified. The more sacred the privileges asserted are, the more dangerous this presumption is; to plume ourselves on wealth, titles, fashion,-even office, even on stewardships for which we must give an account,-is not half so bad as pluming ourselves upon being admitted to intercourse with God. For the more nearly we approach to Him, the more should the sense of difference from other men disappear. And unhappily it is true enough that men were tempted in St. John's days, and are tempted in ours, to this vaunting. It did then, it has since, taken shapes to which this phrase mysticism may be lawfully applied. I spoke of them to you last Sunday. I spoke of men who in the early days of the Church exulted in their knowledge of mysteries, who identified this with the knowledge of God. I remarked that St. John was probably alluding to them, and was dealing them hard blows, when he connected the knowledge of God with keeping the commandments. And it is just when he is doing this, just when he is vindicating this knowledge for humble people, that he talks of abiding in God, and of walking as Christ walked. I believe the adoption of that language was precisely the best witness he could bear for the universality of the blessing he was announcing.
MOVING AND RESTING.
He will frame no fine, elaborate, out-of-the-way forms of speech, such as the men he complained of were continually inventing. The acts of life which are familiar to every peasant shall be the vehicle for conveying the greatest treasures of God to mankind. He is treating men as a race of spirits,of spirits with bodies which connect them with this earth. The relations between their bodies and the earth explain the relation between their spirits and Heaven. The power of moving from place to place is one of the most wonderful they have. Without a certain bodily organization, without frames curiously and wonderfully made, they could not do it; but with that bodily organization, with these wonderful frames, they could not do it, if there was not a spirit, a will, which bade the body go in a certain direction, which overcame its natural inertness. This spirit has a motion too. All its thoughts, wishes, impulses, are motions. And all these thoughts, wishes, impulses, may move downwards. The appetites of the body may determine which way they shall go. The things of earth, over which they have such a mighty dominion, may acquire a dominion over them. Or they may move upwards. These thoughts, wishes, impulses, may point to a Being from whom they are derived : they may seek for One in whose image they are made. Either course may be described as a walk; but the second is Christ's walk. This upward looking, this perpetual acknowledgment of a Father, describes the course of His Spirit. And if we confess Him to be our Lord and Head, we must confess it to be our course; the course for a man as he is distinguished from a mere animal.
We may confess it; but can we take this course merely because we see it is the right one? Here comes in the
are ever SO
other phrase. Our bodies rest as well as move; they abide in a place as well as change their place. Even in our railroad days we cannot quite forget that fact; fatigue and sickness fix it upon our minds, if we fond of roaming. Our bodies demand rest, and our spirits, our wills, say to them, 'Stop; stay at home.' Our spirits, then, know what rest means; they require a rest too. But what kind of rest? Are they to stop thinking, desiring, hoping ? That would be a miserable privilege to a weary spirit! For in its greatest weariness it dreads losing its powers; it dreads death.
No,' says St. John, the spirit's rest is to abide in the living Lord. It is weary of itself: it is weary of always seeking the objects which the ·body and the earth present to it. It wants to find One above itself, and yet like itself. Christ is the object · which is offered to it. The spirit of man has a home, ' a resting-place, while it trusts Him. And doing so, it
never can become lazy. It has found its centre, and 'therefore it can move without irregularity. It has found * Him by whom its powers of life are continually re'newed; therefore it can move without exhaustion. The 'man that abideth in Him ought himself so to walk even
as He walked.' As if he had said, “ To confess Christ is 'not merely to confess what is the right way for me. It
is to confess One who is keeping me in that way; who ' is holding me up that I may not wander from it.' Well ! if that is mystical, God make us all mystics; since this is not a high lore for a certain set of wise people; it is emphatically the lore for feeble tempted human beings such as we are.
But though St. John might not be setting up one class