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WHO is this that comes forth and stands in such solitary grandeur, and utters such supreme and commanding claims? Who is this that puts Himself in the centre of our life, and all our life's work and sorrow, and exhorts and enjoins us to bear all and do all for Him? Who is this that not only speaks thus in the circle of a few admiring friends, who may have been drawn to Him by His virtues and wisdom, or by gratitude for services they had received at His hand; but Who sends the words ringing on with unimpaired tone through all lands and all ages and among all people, even those who have never seen Him, and expects the same homage from them as from those who beheld His face, and heard His voice, and observed His miracles from day to day? What one Person has a right to lift Himself into such preeminence, and dwarf, if I may so speak, the whole human race, by making Himself the end, object, inspiration and motive of all that is attempted or done?

It is impossible to read the words of our text, and meditate upon them seriously for a moment, without having these questions forced upon us.

You need not be told that all creatures possessing intelligence act from some consideration or other; or, to use the word of our text-they act for the 'sake' of something. Material things have, of course, no set and conscious purpose. The end they serve is one out of and beyond themselves. Sun, moon and stars revolve and shine for no 'sake' which they can comprehend, though they blindly accomplish, under the Divine hand, the most benign purpose. For His 'pleasure they are, and were created.'

When you rise higher and come into the sphere of animal life, you begin to see the idea of 'sake' appearing. It may be simply instinct, but still it is clearly something very like what is found in the region of humanity. You see, for example, that an animal does things for the sake of its offspring. The mother will seek for food for the sake of her offspring. She will deny herself for the sake of her offspring. Natural affection is prompting animals every day to do and endure for the sake of their offspring what apart from them they would neither do nor endure. And when from animals you come to man, you enter a region in which the element of sake is to be even more extensively in operation; for we are in presence of intel

ligence, will and moral affections, and a being so richly endowed must act for the sake of something or some one, and that which constitutes his sake, or motive, or spring, or impulse, that on account of which he acts or forbears to act, suffers or forbears to suffer, must determine the quality of his life. In other words, the higher the sake, the higher the man. All of you are living a life, at the root of which there is a strong and dominant reason, or several, that sway you in turns. There is no action you perform for which you have not some motive; and, taking your life as a whole, it will be seen to have some pervading moral colour, which is due to the nature of the influence which operates most generally upon you.

I say, some pervading colour; for in spite of our inconsistencies there is, for the most part, such a oneness in our life that it can be traced to some master-consideration. Occasional wavelets or ripples may be seen at times on the surface of our life which do not lie in the same direction, and still less in the direction of the main current; but they are nothing more than the ripples you see on a gusty day upon the surface of a river, which not only do not go very deep, but do not interfere with the settled, constant, irresistible movement of the river towards the sea. Our lives have a general tendency and direction which no mere superficial disturb ances will ever avail to arrest, and that general tendency or direction indicates what is the sake by which our life is controlled. You know yourselves how common it is for you, when you wish to give a condensed and summary expression of what you think about a man, to do it in a single word. You say of one, he lives for money. Meet him when you will, he is after money; converse with him when you will, his talk is of money. He estimates men by their money. If he speaks of the living, What have they, he asks, in the shape of money? and if he speak of the dead, he asks, How much have they left in the shape of money? He rises early, retires late, and eats 'the bread of carefulness' for the sake of money; and though you will find him at times performing actions which have no connection with the main drift of his life, they do not at all alter your conviction that the main drift of his life is money.

Or, the sake may not be money, but pleasure; money being in this case the means instead of the end. There are tens of thousands—and I fear they are on the increase—whose whole life is explained by this one word, pleasure. The idea of duty, of the service of others, of sacrifice, has never dawned upon their minds. You know that there is not a single day of their lives in which the most solemn question which they ever care to settle is this: What pleasure can I procure to-day and to-night? There are, of course, better lives than these. There are men who live for the sake of others. There are men who live for the sake of the poor, the ignorant the vicious. There are men who live for the sake of their country, and who, without any ambitious or selfish aims, consume their years and their strength in seeking to abate the ignorance, the crime and the wretchedness of their fellow-men. These live in a loftier region, and come near to that


loftiest of all which our text brings to our view-the region in which the Christian lives who is acting according to the obligations and privileges of that religion which he professes, and which has made him what he is. The lives which men spend upon the earth rise above each other according to the spirit and motive by which they are informed and impelled. The lowest is the sensual, and from that you may ascend and ascend until you reach that glorious life of which Christ is the source and end, the life which is the only one known in Heaven, and the life which we must live here if we are to be duly prepared for living it hereafter.

Now, it is not by any means an uncommon thing for men to be actuated in what they do by a regard for others. We do not always guide our life by simple considerations of what is in itself right, or what is in itself wrong. For, even where we do a thing which is in itself right, we often find that other influences operate upon us beside the mere sense that it is right. Not that such influences would perhaps induce us to disregard our sense of right; but, when once conscience is satisfied, they act upon us with a mighty force. And especially is this true when the actions we perform are those of kindness. Look at your own life, and see how much you have received in the shape of kindness; and how much, also, you have done in the shape of kindness for the sake of others. You remember the story of Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, who was unfortunately lamed when the servant was escaping with him. At a subsequent day, David made enquiry for any 'of the house of Saul' to whom he might 'show kindness for Jonathan's sake,' and there was one

'of the house of Saul, a servant whose name was Ziba. And when they had called him unto David, the king said, Art thou Ziba ? And he said, Thy servant is he. And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God unto him? And Ziba said unto the king, Jonathan hath yet a son, who is lame on his feet. And the king said unto him, Where is he? And Ziba said, Behold he is in the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, in Lo-debar....Now when Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, was come unto David, he fell on his face, and did reverence. And David said, Mephibosheth. And he answered, Behold thy servant! And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely show thee kindness for Jonathan thy father's sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually.'

And you are well aware that there are thousands of young men and women who are daily receiving kindness for their fathers' and mothers' sakes. And this is, in fact, one of the incidental blessings connected with having parents who, though now dead, were, when living, persons of worthy and estimable life. Their children inherit the advantages which the love of others for their memory can bestow, and many an applicant for some office of trust and emolument would be turned away from the door were it not that his face bears the lineaments of a departed and cherished friend, or his tones call back to memory the voice which will speak no more. Yes, every day help and comfort are being given for the sake of others; so that the principle which is contained in the text is by no means new or exceptional,

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but is as old and wide as the world. But in the text it comes before us in its highest and most glorious application. For My sake' sounds down upon us from heaven. Whose are the lips that utter it, that utter it now, that have uttered it for one thousand eight hundred years-that utter it not to me alone, but to all; that utter it, too, in relation not simply to one act of our life, but to every act? Nay, Who must He be Who can use language fit only for the lips of God?

I can conceive of no proof that can be more significant and more cogent of the essential Divinity of our Saviour than what is supplied in words like these. It is not that He declares in express language: 'I am God'; it is that here and elsewhere He prefers incidentally claims which have no force, save on the supposition that He is God. What man ever put forth such claims before? There were great men in the ancient dispensation, men who shone like stars while they lived, and now shine as stars in the firmament for ever and ever. There was the man who led the people of Israel from bondage, and stood upon the mount amid the lightnings and thunders, and conversed with God, and gave the law, and was the means of founding one of the great economies of the world. But Moses never said: "For my sake,' when he was urging the people to an obedient and godly life. There was the man who, when Moses had gone to Nebo's summit to lay down his commission and his life together, led the people across the Jordan, and was the instrument, in God's hands, of vanquishing their enemies and giving them possession of the promised inheritance; but Joshua never, in any address to the people of Israel, urged their loyalty to God, for his sake. There was the man whose hallowed lips were touched with fire-who saw the golden glory of the latter day, who prophesied in words clear as history itself, of the Lamb led to the slaughter, and of the Sheep dumb before His shearers who denounced the corruptions of the people, and exhorted them to return to the Lord their God; but Isaiah never enforced his expostulations and exhortations by saying: 'For my sake.' There was the man, greatest of all, until then, born of woman, the forerunner of Christ, around whose stirring and trumpet-tongued ministry trembling multitudes flocked, and by whom they were baptized unto repentance; but even John the Baptist never obtruded a personal consideration and said: "For my sake.' There was a man who stood before judges and kings as a witness for the Gospel, who was 'in labours more abundant'; who penned the records which, for the most part, have guided and sustained the faith and life of the Church in all ages; who was beheaded in Rome as a martyr; but even Paul never said: For my sake.' And angels have come from heaven, and have brought messages from God-messages of warning, of instruction, of consolation; but angels never sought to strengthen the force of their communications by saying: 'For my sake.' Whether men or angels, they have contented themselves with fulfilling the behests of Heaven; they have accounted themselves as servants of God; have hidden themselves behind the majesty of Him Who alone is great, and have felt that to stand presumptuously in

advance of God, or even coordinately at His side, as if they were His coequals, and to draw attention to their own persons by saying 'For my sake,' was to insult the glory of Him Who will not give His glory to another. We have, then, here:

I. A Person.

II. A unique Person.

III. A unique Person Who claims to be King of our life.

I. We have a Person.

Religions can accomplish more than philosophies, because philosophies concern themselves with ideas and abstractions, and religions concern themselves with persons. It is true that religions may have their philosophies, too, as there is no religion without its creed; but it is equally true that a person is a greater power than a creed, and men will die for a person when they will not die for a creed or an abstract principle. The distinctly personal element pervades the Bible; so pervades it, indeed, that the kingdoms both of truth and error have their kings-living, reigning kings. Religion, according to the Bible interpretation of it, is not merely a rejection of evil principles, and an adoption of good ones: it is the disavowal of one ruler, and the acceptance of another; it is a resistance of the devil, and it is a following of Christ. The conflict which is now taking place upon the arena of our world, is one which is directed and inspired by living persons. Mind is at work on both sides on the one side, it is the mind of the Prince of the power of the air; on the other, it is the Mind of Christ. And in proportion as we forget the one leader or the other, shall we lose the real earnestness of purpose with which we ought to carry on the strife. It is not enough that we believe there is evil in the world. This we must believe cannot, indeed, but believe. But we must believe that there is also a devil in the world: believe it because God says it, and believe it because the workings of evil cannot be explained without the existence of one who is directing them with an unceasing and malignant activity.

And as we must believe that there is a Satan in the world, so must we believe that Christ is in the world-not merely morality, but Christ; not merely culture, but Christ. Nor must we simply believe that He was once in the world, like others, but that He is in the world now-as really in it as we, though hidden from our natural sense. O! let us not suppose that He was but an expounder of certain truths which had an intrinsic value independently of Him, and that these are the same whether He liveth or liveth not, whether He is in the world or out of the world. There is this wide and immeasurable distance between Him and other teachers: they teach what is true independently of themselves; He teaches what is true, because of what He is in Himself. Newton was a teacher-a great teacher of truth; but not one of the truths which he taught owes its existence to him. It existed myriads of years before him; would have been discovered by others, and would be the same if Newton had gone into extinction. He uplifted a

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