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acted through life upon this principle. He did not put Himself in antagonism with the recognized institutions and authorities of His country. Though He denounced, in no measured terms, dishonesties, carnalities, ambitions, iniquities, and all other moral evils, that worked like demons in the heart of society, you never find Him oppose the ordinances of the Temple, the constitution of the Sanhedrim, or even the political power which a foreign despot exercised over His country. He formed no anti-associations to battle with institutions. He worked in a far more philosophic and a far more effective way the ruin of all corrupt organizations : He indoctrinated the public mind with a class of truths that would so change the soil of society as to root out the old thistles and thorns, and produce trees whose fruit should be for the healing of the nations. Thus, too, the apostles acted. Whilst they were honest in their utterances, “ declared the whole counsel of God,” and feared not the frown of kings nor the thunder of opposing dynasties, they sought as much as possible to conciliate the spirit of the age in which they lived. Hear Paul. Many things are lawful for me, but not expedient.” Again, “Giving none offence, neither to the Jews nor to the Gentiles, nor to the Church of God; even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved." Again, “ It is good neither to eat flesh nor to drink wine, nor anything whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak."
II. THAT IT MAY BE SOMETIMES NECESSARY TO WAIVE A PER
SONAL PRIVILEGE IN ORDER TO AVOID COLLISION WITH EXISTING
INSTITUTIONS. “What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers ? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free.” “Jesus," says Olshausen, "here runs a parallel between earthly kings and earthly tribute, and the Heavenly King and spiritual contributions ; as with kings their own sons are free from taxes, so also are the sons of heaven. For what God's children possess belongs to God—they have no property exclusively their own-they contribute out of and into their own purses; they are therefore free.”
Christ and His disciples were free from any obligation to pay such taxes.
He might have stood upon this freedom, resisted the demand, and thus placed Himself in direct antagonism with the spirit of His age. But He did not do so; He waived the privilege in order to avoid such a position.
To guard you, however, against the idea that Christ encouraged in any way an unprincipled temporizing policy in thus endeavoring to avoid giving social offence, two things should be distinctly observed :
First : That the tribute to the Temple which He now paid was of Divine appointment. (Exodus xxx. 11-16.) It was not the tax of a heathen despot, to support a Pagan Temple, or to carry on the horrid trade of war.
I cannot suppose that Christ would have yielded to such impious and unrighteous imposts.
moral chivalry transcending that which heroic Daniel displayed, He would have resisted such iniquitous demands.
The other thing which should be observed in order to guard against mistake here is :
Secondly: That Christ, in yielding to the demand, only surrendered a personal privilege. Would Christ, think you, , have sacrificed any principle of truth,—any fundamental right of humanity, any moral claim of Heaven in order to guard against giving offence? Never. Banish the blasphemous thought! Sooner than sanction by word or deed the slightest departure from moral propriety, He would brave the stormiest rage of a thousand worlds. Had He been governed by the idea of not giving social offence, He could have lived and died in the warm bosom of the world's adoring love. It was because He loved principles more than applause that He lived a pauper's rather than a prince's life, and died a malefactor on the Cross rather than a worldlauded monarch in a palace.
III. THAT CHRIST'S DISCIPLES CAN AFFORD TO BE GENEROUS IN THEIR CONCESSIONS TO PUBLIC SENTIMENT. They can afford to be free and untrammeled in their intercourse with society, and liberal in their concessions to public customs and usages, for two reasons, which are here suggested :
First : The distinguishing spirit which inspires them. The spirit that moved and swayed Christ and His disciples is essentially opposed to that which permeates and controls the society of the world. They are opposed, as benevolence and selfishness, sincerity and falsehood, animalism and spirituality, godlikeness and devilism. The contrast therefore, is so great that the true disciple has no fear of being personally injured or misunderstood in any concession he may make to public usage. Christ knew that, the paying of the tax would not identify Him, or His disciples the least, either in personal feeling or in public estimation, with Temple services or Mosaic institutes. It is ever so. The more of the true Divine Spirit the man has in him, the better he can afford to eat and drink “with publicans and sinners,” and to regard all times and places as equally sacred. He knows that it “is not that which goeth into a man that defileth him;"_" that to the pure all things are pure.” It is not the men, I have learnt, that make the greatest grimaces at the world, most parade their "principles," and battle with society for what they call their "rights” who have within them most of the divine and magnanimous spirit of Christianity. As a rule, it seems to me, that the smaller a man is, in a moral sense, the more straitlaced he is in connexion with the world, the greater agitator against public institutions, and the greater censor of public conduct. As in literature, the smallest intellects are the readiest critics, so in morals, the smallest souls are the severest censors.
The other reason for enabling Christ's disciples to be generous towards the world, which is here suggested, is :
Secondly: The vast resources at their command. Though it seems that neither Christ nor His disciples had in their personal possession the money to meet this assessment, all nature was at their service. Christ had only to speak and kind nature would yield whatever was required. To Peter, He said, “Go thou to the sea and cast a hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up. And when thou hast opened his mouth thou shalt find a piece of money ; that take and give unto them for me and thee." He might have sent to the field as well as to the sea, to the plant as well as to the fish; in fact to anything in any part of nature, and He would have had whatever He needed. The miracle symbolizes this glorious truth; That nature is at the service of the good, and is ready at any time to yield to devout generous souls just as much as is required, and no more. Christ enunciated one of the most settled laws of His providential government, when He said “ Give, and it shall be given unto you.”
Brother, all nature will help thee to be just, generous, and magnanimous, in thy conduct towards society and the world. As she pours her bright beams and genial influences upon all, fans the breathing lungs both of the evil and the good with her waves of vital air, she helps thee to be generous by her example ; and as she is the ever-loyal liege of thy Great Master, she will help thee at His bidding, by yielding up of her treasures whatever thy love-expanding heart and liberal hand may require.
Great Nature, to great souls declares,
Germs of Thought.
SUBJECT :-Horeb; or, Great Mercies from unlikely Sources.
“Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink.”—Exodus xvii. 6.
Analysis of Homily the Four Hundred and Twentieth.
The principle, I take from this miraculous incident in the wilderness history of the Jewish people is, that great mercies often spring from most unexpected sources.
What is a greater natural blessing than water ? and where is there a more unlikely place to find it than in a flinty rock ?
Let us for a moment direct you for illustrations of this principle to the two great provinces of human life :-the secular and the spiritual.
FURNISH ABUNDANT ILLUSTRATIONS OF
I. THE SECULAR DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN HISTORY WILL
By secular mercies I mean, whatever in intellectual discoveries, mechanical inventions, commercial enterprizes, social reforms, political movements, tend to promotė man's physical wellbeing as a citizen of the earth.
First : Does intelligence conduce to this end ? Undoubtedly knowledge tends to make man secularly happy. How often then do you find streams of intelligence gushing from the most unlikely sources. Demosthenes was a stammererwould you expect him to furnish the finest specimens of oratory? Homer and Milton were blind—would you expect them to furnish the sublimest visions that ever charmed the souls of mortals ? Shakspere was the son of a butcherwould you expect him to furnish the most soul-quickening and revealing of all uninspired books? Would you expect the art of printing, that has opened the fountain of know