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THE SERVICE AT FIRST CHDECH. First Church was comfortably filled at the morning service. Mr J. Ximson, the organist, played ‘Waft her, angels,’ and one or two light pieces by way of prelude, and the order of service was as follows:—Hymn 2, tune ‘ Regent square'; Psalm 96, single chant by Jones ; hymn 438, tune by Dykes ; hymn 379, tune ‘ Armageddon ’; doxology ‘ Tiberias ’; and as an outgoing voluntary Mr Timson played a grand solemn march in E liar, by Henry Smart. The musical service was very nicely rendered. Principal Rainy preached from Mark ill., 31-35 ; “ There came then His brethren and His mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling Him. And the multitude sat about Him, and they said unto Him, Behold, Thy mother and Thy brethren without seek for Thee. And He answered them, saying, Who is My mother or My brethren ? And He looked round about on them which sat about Him, andaaid, Behold My mother and My brethren ! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is My brother and My sister and mother.” Our Lord was of the seed of David according to the flesh, and in His incarnation He took upon himself not simply a connection with one family or one race. He was the man Christ Jesus, and His coming concerned every man. And yet, by the very act of His coming, He had a special connection with one family, and we might be sure He felt in all proper force the ties which God meant men to feel in all families. He put from Him nothing that was human except what was sinful. Everything that was human dwelt with him in special strength, and it was interesting to notice how this comes before us in the Scriptures. We found a competition, as it were, arising between those natural ties, or the claims that were made in the strength of these natural ties, and our Lord’s fidelity to His work. When a boy in the Temple He made it plain that one great consideration prevailed with Him : “ Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business ? ” And at the marriage in Cana His mother’s interference was rebuked, gently but firmly. In the text the circumstances were to be observed. There was a great confluence of people to hear Him and to see His mighty works, and He was busily engaged in his great mission. The Pharisees and the Scribes blasphemously and spitefully imputed His activity, which was so insatiable and selfsacrificing, to a sort of diabolical inspiration which was carrying Him on. Even those in His own house thought it was high time to interfere and to get Him away, because it seemed to them there was something insane about His going so far and doing so much. His friends said “He is beside Himself ” —so prompt was the wisdom of the flesh to condemn consuming earnestness in the cause of God when it travelled in any degree beyond the bounds of precedent. While Christ, then, was proceeding with His work His brethren aud mother came to use their influence in getting Him away out of this excitement, either by directly persuading Him or by diverting His mind from the intense occupancy of His Father’s will, and bringing Him to what they considered safer and sounder channels of life. We need not doubt that the motive of His relatives in thus interfering was one of kindness. His mother might not have gone the length of thinking that He was beside Himself, bat oven she might have feared that things were going too far, and that the excitement was getting to a dangerous pitch, and that she would therefore extricate Him from it. No doubt they relied on this to influence Him: that He would feel that they had a feeling of kindness towards Him. It was as if they had said to themselves “ Here is His own flesh aud blood, and surely He must yield something to us.” How did He deal with the application ? He gave it no hearing, no entertainment. He would have nothing to do with His mother aud His brethren. “I have others; these are My mother and My brothers.” What, someone would say, was there nothing due to human affection and kindliness of brethren ? Was nothing due to it, though it might be unwise unbelief on their part, even say when it was unwise ? Was there not something harsh in His reply? Yes, there was and is something due to these near and dear ties. There was a place for them, and in that place onr Lord’s affection and reponse to affection was deeper and truer and tenderer than ours. But here, on this holier ground—when the question was of His doing the Saviour’s work and accomplishing the Father’s will— He would allow no interference; and when this was attempted He regarded it as an insolent intrusion that mast be conclusively and peremptorily shut out. He had to take on Himself the pain and trembling that went with it as part of His appointed trial. We might take it that this was no solitary experience. The minds and hearts of those about Him were too far out of sympathy with His mind to understand the sources of His conduct. They would be puzzled because they did not understand the tire of devotedness that burned in His mind. Besides, we knew positively that at this time His brethren did not believe in Him, and much of the kindness and affection shown by His family would be in the direction of swaying Him away from His service. Thus we might know that when He calls one of ns to submit to any of these great domestic trials, and when He calls us to follow Him and submit to the pain of beiug misunderstood, and causing grief to some of those who love us well, but not wisely—when He calls us to any of these trials, let us be sure that He knows perfectly the pain, and also knows the benefit that goes with it, for He has walked this very path. In the next place, look at the motive, as it were, with which Christ explained His attitude. He told them there were others who had the nearest and dearest place for Him. From relatives He might part, but there were some never to be parted from—there were bonds never to be broken —there was a relation which could not he untied. Those who did the will of God ; those into whose heart the Father’s word had come; those whom the Father’s word had persuaded; those who bad been drawn to begin, like their great Lord and Master, the doing of the Father’s will—these were forever to the heart of Christ His nearest kindred, His more than flesh and blood. The bond between Him and them was a bond that went deeper than the flesh in earthly life. It was like that incomprehensible bond that united Himself and the Father in Heaven. Well, what were we to make of this ? We had a great concern in this business, It sounded very high—“ Whosever shall do the will of God.” What could we say to it? Were we the men and women who could stand up aud say we were doers of the will of God? or were we not rather mangling that will and marring it ? We should better understand this teaching if we remembered that those who were spoken of as Hia mother and His brethren were simply earnest hearers sitting at His feet. Vie know that they must have been very impel feet men and womon, and yet our Lord did not shut them out. What a simple beginning it would be with many there; but still it was a beginning a beginning to believe, and our Lord did not quench the smoking flax. And that set us at the right point of view, became it enabled us to understand the character in which God was speaking. Did He mean to say “ I am fit company for them, and they for mo; they are doing the Lord’s will, and so

am I, and we meet on common ground, and therefore they are my brethren ” ? That was far from the real their Saviour that he was their father and brother. He saw those who were to be rescued by His blood. They had a great deal of guilt, and His blood was to wash it away. They were very defective in ail »f ways, »nd Ho was to brii-; f'mmi in completion, i.i.p- -.••• -■ ■-■j llis redeem an-1 • •••.ineri-y ar.< ! - ,;i 1 l \cj UrTt. i*, ; u.titi hrotii") ■: lul i*'r tvvttbiv .... i. s them o-a i •■••mi-' Interfere. N-o- tout there was any thing to shut them out, but only the teaching ..i a needed lesson. If. was not that our Port! was insensible to ..•urthiy tiea-tbe influence of home, tho wonderful lies,that make families what they arc. He felt them all with all the open heart of a perfect man. He knew all these things —He had wept with the sister r-t the brothers griive ; but all these were us nothing to be compared with the ties that linked Him to the sinner. It was to this love wo came w hen we came to Christ—a love most wonderful, most personal, most dear. The preacher went ou to remind his hear ers that this love w r as not only given but received : it was a love that asked no recompense, but asked that it bo welcomed and reciprocated ;_and the sermon was brought to a close with in assurance that the man who succeeds in life is the man who becomes a doer of God’s will, and that the man who does not is a failure and a bankrupt. SERVICE AT KNOX CHURCH, In the evening Principal Rainy preached at Knox Church to a very large congregation, which began to assemble an hour before the time for the commencement of the service. The rev. gentleman took for hia text St. John iv., 10, in which Christ is described as saying to the woman of Samaria at Jacob’s well “If thou knowest the gift of God and who it is that saith to thee ‘ Give me to drink, that wouldeat have asked of Him and He would have given thee the living water. The whole conversation at the well, said the preacher, was wonderfully striking and impressive, especially as it was between two persons who seemed to be remo\ ed from one another, morally and spiritually, as far as it was possible to conceive. On the one side there was the Son of God, on the other the woman of Samaria, with her unfortunate history, her bad life, and her light humor. In the words of the text, Christ indicated to the woman and to all that there were things that if realised by men and women would produce a great change in their attitude and bring them to a new position, from which great and beneficial results would flow. He spoke of a gift—the gift of God—and he wished the woman and all people to understand that this gift it was in a special manner their need to have. If they asked what this gift of God was he supposed there could be but one answer it was the gift of eternal life, and nothing else. The knowledge thatsuch a gift was obtainable might perhaps serve only to awaken a feeling of despair in their hearts, inasmuch as when the revelation of it came over the mind of a fallen creature it brought with it a sense of the great unworthiuess of oneself, and therefore seemed so difficult of attainment. Let them look at this gift as Christ looked at it. His life itself was the life eternal, and He came into the world to work out a great work_ and revelation. They saw the life eternal in Him and in all like Him. To be good one must be ail that is good, must be imbued with all that is good; _ one’s life must harmonise with all that is true and lovely and of good report. Then how, practically, were the human heart and life to make room for such a gift as was promised ? One found it hard to look on it as practicable—it seemed so impossible. It was as a vision, a piece of poetry, a great ideal that might have gleamed on men in every age, Christ’s love there is that understands all tho difficulties of bringing men above the ordinary range of their lives that love that comes low to reach tiiem - tho love of Him who is ready to take up their case, which seems so hard, and make them understand. They would see that one of the things that Christ impressed on them was that they must ask. Let them see how they must ask for this gift of God; how come under its revelations. Christ has said “IsayunuO you, ask and it shall be given ; seek and ye Shall find ; knock and it shall be opened unto you." Prayer was the means by which they were to ask for and obtain tlm precious gift, Ik was a great moment in the life of any of them when his heart was o.ought to ask for that gift Christ hud said be would give them the living water—and what was that but an earnest, a foretaste of life eternal. It was His Holy Spirit, whose gracious work it was to make His promises teal to them. Oh, to get them made a little real, to give them a little power—a little hold on God ! It is the Spirit that opens their hearts and makes them feel that it was jiot alone the gift of the Spirit that they received. As it was now, what poor thoughts of God, of the life eternal, and of Christ himself, Christian people were content with J Let them be ashamed of it—let them go to school again to learn at Christ’s feot how they ought tothinkol the gift, and of God from whom it came, and of the Saviour who bought it; let them be stirred up to think of the gift as sometimes glorious in the nature of it and something most real and fruitful in the experience of it. If there were any there who had not met with Christ, now was the time. The Samaritan woman had had her turn long longago, but now it was their turn. “Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation. Now was Christ come to their door, and the -rift of God stood before them ; that wonderful power of God, that wonderful power of iove, that wonderful power of gladness—gladness that had no fear in it and no threat —stood before them. Principal Rainy will lecture hi K“°x Church on Wednesday evening upon ‘ Phases of Church Life in Scotland.”

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PRINCIPAL RAINY IN THE PULPIT., Issue 7989, 19 August 1889

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PRINCIPAL RAINY IN THE PULPIT. Issue 7989, 19 August 1889

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