Galatians 3:28


Liberated from the tutelage of Law through faith and on account of his union with Christ, the Christian is exalted into the condition of a free son of God and enjoys the large privileges of sonship.

I. THE CONDITION OF SONSHIP. God is the Father of all mankind, and all human creatures, even the most ignorant, the most degraded, and the most vicious are naturally God's children. The prodigal son is still a son and can think of "my father." Nevertheless, it is clear that St. Paul often speaks of a sonship that does not belong to all men - a sonship which is the Christian's peculiar condition and is not even shared. by the Jew, a sonship which is not enjoyed by natural birth, but must be received by adoption, i.e. by a special act of Divine grace. What does this mean?

1. Near relationship with God. The son is most closely related to his father. But the disobedient child who forsakes his home is practically dead, for him practically the old relation is severed. It needs to be restored if he is to enjoy it again. The son, too, with St. Paul is not the young child in the nursery, but the older child admitted into the society of his father. The Jew was kept in the nursery separated from God by a "mediator" (ver. 19) and a "tutor" (ver. 24). The Christian is admitted into close fellowship with God.

2. Liberty. This is an idea always associated with St. Paul's description of sonship. The son is no longer the child "under guardians and stewards," who "differeth nothing from a bond-servant." He is a free man enjoying the confidence of his father. Such are Christians; to them the mind and will of God are revealed; they are free from restraints of formal Law; they are put in positions of trust.

II. THE ORIGIN OF SONSHIP.

1. Through rattle. This is an important point in the apostle's argument. So long as we have not faith we remain in tutelage and at a distance from God. Faith breaks the yoke and brings us into the presence of God. Faith teaches us to realize that God is our Father and to trust him fearlessly, and so to take the position of sons.

2. By union with Christ. Christ is the Son of God. Yet he is not desirous of keeping his privileges to himself. On the contrary, he laboured and suffered that his people might share them. The baptized, that is to say, all of the Galatian people who accepted Christianity as a religion, had happily gone further and really entered into the spirit of it. They had since backslidden, but they were no hypocrites. Living Christianity is "putting on Christ," being clothed with the spirit of Christ. They who do this through faith in Christ become one with him, and, as his brethren, become sons of his Father.

III. THE CONSEQUENCES OF SONSHIP.

1. Universal brotherhood. We are all one "in Christ Jesus." Here is the secret. The fraternity that sprang from the mere enthusiasm of philosophic philanthropy led to the guillotine. It is only union in Christ that secures true lasting union among men. As all colours melt into one common brilliancy under the rays of a very strong light, all distinctions vanish when Christ's presence is deeply felt.

(1) National distinctions vanish. The old antagonism of Jew and Gentile disappears. Christianity now tends to blend nations.

(2) Social distinctions vanish. Slaves are free in Christ. Free men are servants to Christ. The gospel is the enemy of all caste-feeling.

(3) Even distinctions of sex count for nothing. This meant much in ancient times, when cruel injustice was done to women. Women are under eternal obligations to the gospel, which has freed them from an unworthy bondage and given them their true place in the world.

2. The inheritance of ancient promises. The son of a king is an heir. What shall be the inheritance of a Son of God? To him it is said, "All things are yours." The Jew cherished the promises as a hope. The Christian enjoys the fulfilment of the promises. As yet the fulfilment is but partial, though enough to be an earnest of better things to come for those sons of God who are being made "meet for the inheritance of the saints in light." - W.F.A.







There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free. &&&
The Christian scheme is a uniting scheme, and all real saints are one in their glorious Head.

I. THERE IS A SENSE IN WHICH THE SAINTS ARE TOO MUCH ONE, VIZ., IN THAT WHICH IS EVIL. They spring from the same depraved original, and are partakers of the same corrupt nature. Though sin does not reign in them, it remains; and too frequently led away captive by it, they act in a manner displeasing to God.

II. THERE ARE MANY RESPECTS IN WHICH THE SAINTS ARE NOT ONE.

1. Natural capacity.

2. Temper and disposition.

3. External advantages.

III. YET THEY ARE REALLY ONE IN CHRIST JESUS. They are so by virtue of their union with Him, being thereby incorporated into one body, and animated by one spirit, also by virtue of their participation of Him.

1. They are equally objects of the Divine love and favour. One saint may love God more than another; the same saint may love God more at one time than another; but God always loves all His people with the same everlasting, ardent, unalterable affection. Infinite love admits of no degrees.

2. They have the same spiritual privileges. The same gospel is preached, the same Spirit poured on them; they have one Lord, faith, baptism; justified by the same blood, adopted into the same family, regenerated by the same grace, and preserved by the same power.

3. They all hold the Head, Christ Jesus. Differing in circumstantials, they are united in essentials. Inwardly determined for God, they are outwardly obedient to Him. On the other hand, every unconverted man has more hearts than one, and more ways than one.

4. They have the same well-grounded hopes and expectations. As one Father begot them, so one heaven shall receive them. There they shall be one in those senses in which now they are not so, for they shall see eye to eye.

(B. Beddome, M. A.)

If there be any truth in revelation, any efficacy to follow the Saviour's prayer, any power in the Word of God accompanied by the Divine Spirit, an age must come when the Church will both be and appear to be one.

I. THERE IS AN ESSENTIAL UNITY IN THE CHURCH, INDEPENDENT OF THE PURPOSE, WILL, SCHEMES, AND DEVICES OF MAN. Sincere and intelligent faith brings souls, without the medium of an ecclesiastical organization, into union with Christ, and therefore with all the members of His spiritual Body which is the Church. There can no more be two Churches than there can be two suns in the solar system. All believers are one, but their unity ought to be visible.

II. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ESSENTIAL UNITY, DIVISIONS EXIST IN THE CHURCH. To turn from the ideal Church to that which appears to view is like looking off from a peaceful and tranquil lake to an ocean tossed with tempest. These divisions are in themselves injurious, for by splitting up the forces they take away that combined strength which the Church ought to present to the world; and they also show that bitterness of feeling exists. The clouds that are exhaled from the waters of strife hang, like a thick veil, over the bright orb of religion; religion is seen through them, no doubt, but like the sun seen through a mist — shorn of its beams, diminished in its effulgence. Religion suffers in consequence. "Divide and destroy" is the watchword of Satan, net of God.

III. WHAT KIND OF MANIFESTATION OF THIS UNITY SHOULD WE SEEK? Our differences of opinion are not trifles; they are serious matters. If one body of believers is right, then the others must be wrong. If all are wrong in some particulars, they should renounce their errors, and unite on the ground of the common truth. How is such a unity to be brought about?

1. By cultivating personal godliness to a much greater extent. Errors of judgment arise, in great measure, out of the corruption of the heart, and soul, and mind, not yet brought into subjection to the mind of Jesus.

2. Unity of affection. External union will never be brought about until men's hearts are knit together as thread is interwoven with thread.

3. Unity of persons. Every Christian grace must be seen. Not sectarian love.

4. Unity of action. Working together as labourers in the same vineyard. The oxen must be yoked quietly together (to use a familiar illustration) before they san draw together; the horses must be harnessed, and stand quiet without kicking each other, before they can draw together; we must be harnessed and yoked in love before we can unite externally.

IV. THE MEANS TO BE USED TO BRING ABOUT THIS DESIRABLE UNION.

1. We shall never obtain it unless we really do desire it. All must long and pray together for the healing of our unhappy divisions.

2. There must be a conviction abroad, that it is everybody's business to do what they can towards accomplishing it. Not ministers only, but lay people as well. The Church is made up of units; let all help.

3. The cultivation of personal religion. The olive branch can never flourish but in the rich soil of personal piety; let that soil be impaired, and the bitter aloe of contention, the thorn, the bramble, the briar, and the nettle of angry controversy will flourish luxuriantly. Man departs from his brother by departing from God; closeness to God will bring each one closer to his brother man. Only the constraining love of Christ can compress and concentrate the Church into a closer union.

4. Let each do what he can in his own narrow circle. Not necessary to wait for the working out of a huge scheme of general union. Heal up the little sores.

5. Be careful about controversy. Don't elevate secondary matters into primary. Study the unity of heaven, and try to realize it on earth. Pray for the Spirit's guidance.

(J. Angell James.)

Homilist.
I. THE ONENESS OF CHRIST AND THE CHURCH. The Church is:

(1)many;

(2)manifold; and yet

(3)from this very multitudinousness and manifoldness arises oneness.

II. THE TRUTH OF THE UNITY AND MANIFOLDNESS OF THE CHURCH IS THE BASIS OF NEW TESTAMENT MORALITY.

(Homilist.)

Here are the grounds and reasons for Christian unity.

I. THE GREAT END OF THE GOSPEL IS NOT ONLY TO SAVE, BUT TO MAKE ONE. One great fruit of sin is separation; the great object of the gospel is to bring about unity. Sin is extinguished by the cross; and Christ, the binding element, fills up the chasm between offended God and offending man — of twain making one new man, and so making peace.

II. OUR RELATIONSHIP TO EACH OTHER. All are sheep of the same fold.

III. CHRIST'S OWN COMMAND. "Love one another." "That they all may be one."

IV. THE SAFETY OF THE WHOLE BODY DEMANDS IT. To be insuperable, Christians must be inseparable. The strength of the Christian Church, like that of Napoleon's army, lies in consolidation, presenting a united front.

V. NECESSARY FOR THE EXTENSION OF CHRIST'S KINGDOM.

(J. Cumming, D. D.)

I. THE FUNDAMENTAL FACT.

1. In Christ, as the stone is in the building.

2. As the fugitive is in the city of refuge.

3. As in a seed.

II. THE GREAT CONSEQUENCES OF THIS FUNDAMENTAL FACT.

1. Distinction of nations ceases.

2. Distinction between man and man ceases.

3. Distinction between strong and weak ceases.The native consequence of a fallen state is the mastery of 'the strong over the weak. Might makes right. And to the everlasting disgrace of the male sex the woman became the bond slave of the stronger man. The only shield of woman's natural rights is the principle here stated. Thus with one stroke of the pen St. Paul settles the national, personal, and sexual rights of men. By one short sentence he solves the three greatest problems of human society — peace, liberty, fraternity. When all men ate one in Christ, earth will once more be a province of heaven.

(J. G. Murphy, LL. D.)

Look around on all creation, and you will find what metaphysicians have called the "monad," that is, the ultimate principle of unity, pervading all, but diversity its continual development, characteristic of all. The cloud takes its multifarious shapes from the wind, its varied splendours from the sunbeam, but its substance remains continually the same. The fable varies in the incident and the story, but the moral is essentially the same; the music has many variations, but the old air, the original air or melody may be detected like a chord in the midst of all these variations. Animal life,. from the humblest zoophyte up to man, the very perfection of physical life, presents every variety of organization, and yet its essential characteristics are the same in the dog, the cat, the horse, and the man. Human life, again, has general characteristics of unity, but you will find the utmost diversity of development. It is to me one of the most extraordinary and inexplicable and mysterious phenomena of the world, that while in this assembly there may be 1,000 or 1,100 faces, with the same characteristic features in all, yet not one is the least like any of the others. The principle of unity pervades the whole; each face has the great, essential, elemental characteristics of a face; yet no two faces, for reasons we cannot explain, are so alike that one might be mistaken for the other. If, again, we take spiritual intelligence, we shall find the same characteristic unity with the same developed variety. For instance, man seems to me to be the lowest link in spiritual intelligence. He is the basis where soul or spirit is united to matter; the next grade is the angel, the next the archangel, then the cherub, and after that the seraph. Here are ascending-grades or diversities in heaven itself, and yet the fundamental characteristics of spiritual life are the same. If, again, I refer to the botanical kingdom, I find that every plant, tree, and flower, have each certain essential and elemental characteristics, and yet the utmost possible variety of development. The fragrance of a violet is perfectly distinct from that of a rose; the colour of a dahlia is totally different from the colour of a daisy. One flower differs from another in its shape, fragrance, appearance, stem, calyx, leaves, and yet all flowers have certain elemental and essential characteristics which distinguish the whole botanical kingdom. If I refer to the mineral kingdom, I find that all minerals are originated and guided by the same law; but one throws off its crystals in the shape of hexagons, another in the shape of pentagons; that is to say, the great law of crystallization in the mineral kingdom is the same, but the development of that law is as varied as variety can possibly be. The snowdrop, the raindrop, the snowflake, the buds of trees, and the blossoms of flowers — all things in the botanical kingdom, all things in the mineral, all in the animal kingdom, and all in nature, have each their own essential elemental characteristic unity, and yet in their developments we find the utmost possible varieties of that unity. And so, I would argue, there may be in the Church, where, I cannot but think, uniformity would be a blemish rather than a beauty.

(J. Cumming, D. D.)

Observing in a large circle a number of lines called by mathematicians "radii," we perceive that in proportion as each radius approaches the centre, it approaches the radius that is next to it; just in proportion to its nearness to the centre is its nearness to the others; and so it is with the Christian Church. It is one vast circumference, and just as we approach to Christ, in life and character, in the same proportion we draw near each other.

(J. Cumming, D. D.)

There lies, deep down in the heart of mankind, not always read aright by the spirit of man which is in him, but always read aright by Him who has all hearts in his hand, a craving, yearning, thirsting desire for this reversal of the curse of Babel — for this re-gathering and re-uniting which is to be found only in Christ. We speak of rest as man's want. But what rest? Not a rest of dreamy or dreamless slumber; not a rest of indolent self-indulgence; not a rest of undisturbed self-contained isolation: this cannot satisfy the want of a spirit come from and returning to God; this cannot fill the capacities of a heaven-born, everlasting existence. Underneath the longing for rest lies another longing — and that is for union, unity, oneness; for a voice to recall God's scattered ones from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea, and make for them one blessed home, not by building upon earth a tower whose top shall reach heaven, but by bringing down out of heaven that holy city of which God, God in Christ, shall be at once the Light, and the Presence, and the Temple. The heart craves union: till it finds union it cannot know rest. And this craving for union is often ignorant, often impatient, often perverse, often sinful. It does not, all at once, even when it hears the gospel, submit itself to God's will, to Christ's direction, as to the end to be sought, or the manner of the seeking. One man, his heart all athirst for that rest which is union, will look out for himself some earthly object, which he may deck with every fancied perfection, and then bow before it as his idol. Another, of a less refined mould and making, will even find a gross, base, and perishing union in some companionship in sinning. For the moment he finds himself less alone; for the moment he has slaked the thirst of his soul at a muddy and a broken cistern — even in a counterfeit union, to be followed by a more aching loneliness than the former. And if men happen to have a different conception of the natural dispersion — either because their affections are less lively, or their ideas wider and more philosophical — then they frame projects, larger or smaller, of combination and fellowship; they will unite men in leagues, societies, associations, which are to reform nations or remodel Churches: disappointed of unity here, they will seek it there: a new sect shall give them that sense of perfect harmony which older creeds and communions have failed to inspire: even an excluding process has been tried, where schemes of comprehension have been found vain: still beyond, a little beyond, has lain the goal of absolute oneness, and still a weary and foot-sore multitude have plodded and tramped after it — in vain! And then, all at once, there enters this world of dispersion and disunion — enters it, as by a small wicket-gate, in remote, insignificant Palestine — One who represents Himself as possessing, for all mankind, for all time, not only the secret of rest, but the very rest itself — One who cries aloud in the temple-court, crowded for a great festival, in words absolutely unique, probably, in philosophy or in religion, "If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink" — drink, as He explains Himself, a water which is absolutely satisfying, because it brings into the soul that kind of rest which is union, union with God, and so union with itself and with its brother. "Ye are all one in Christ Jesus." In Him the dispersion is regathered. All things, St. Paul says, in heaven and in earth are gathered together in Him. It seems as though even angels who never fell are in some manner interested and concerned in that regathering. Certainly the dead, equally with the living, are so. And I desire to say to you, this last night, how alone you and I can ever henceforward be at one. Each separately must enter into, must put on, must invest himself with Jesus Christ. Are the words ambiguous? You know what they say. They bid you to cast all your burden of guilt — is it not heavy? too heavy for you? — upon Christ as your atonement. They bid you to cast all your burden of sin and sorrow and conscious weakness — is it not heavy? too heavy for you? — upon Christ as your friend. Then are you inside Him. He includes, He contains you — and in the dread day of days, when the Avenger of blood looks for you, he shall find only Christ — only Jesus Christ and Him crucified, Him risen I In the exercise of that incorporation, of that union, of that oneness, will our true fellowship henceforth be found. You might detain me, you might pursue me, and yet we might not be one — not one person certainly! But if you and I are all inside Christ, then we must be at one. Then all minor differences, of place and intercourse, sink at once into nothing. Place and sight may make the difference of pleasure, of comfort, of expressed communion, of conscious unity. But they make no difference whatever, as to the reality, as to the essence of union. You may worship here, and I there — you may kneel at these rails, I at others — what then? We are all one person in Christ. In the face of such union, let us learn — it is a hard lesson — let us learn to despise and trample under foot all other. What is neighbourhood? What is co-existence? Men live next door to each other, and never meet — meet, and never commune — commune, and never are one. At last a call comes — one goes forth, at the summons of business, of necessity, of the gospel, to a distant shore — seas roll between — they never see, they never hear of each other more — yet, for the first time, they may be one — one person — in Christ. The communion of saints is between them — and therefore the life of life — the resurrection of the dead, and the life everlasting. Now first they are one. Days may pass, months, years, quarters of centuries — but that bond is fastened between them which cannot be broken. Now life is seen to be death, and death life. Now they know, or they shall know, that the Babel-dispersion is a Christ-gathering. They may have loved each other here, and trembled at the great parting. Now they know that that parting is the groat, the first, the final reunion. Or, it may be, here they have not loved equally, not happily, not without doubting. One loved more than the other — the lavished love seemed to be wasted. There was no felt reciprocity — it was all on one side. O, look forward! Spend all your thoughts upon the union in Christ! Make your friend love Him, then he will at last love you!

(Dean Vaughan.)

I. THIS IS A DOCTRINE INSISTED ON THROUGHOUT THE NEW TESTAMENT.

II. THE ANCIENT WORLD DID NOT RECOGNIZE THE ONENESS OF THE RACE.

1. Savage tribes preyed on each other as they do now.

2. Jew and Greek were at irreconcilable enmity.

3. Philosophers taught that there was an immutable distinction between freeman and slave, male and female.

III. CHRISTIANITY CAME TO CHANGE ALL THAT and —

1. To teach the vivifying doctrines of the Fatherhood of God, and the brotherhood of man.

2. To die that all might be gathered into His fold.

IV. This unity in Christ makes us feel at one with the great and good;

(1)of all ages;

(2)of all climes;

(3)of all denominations;

(4)of all sorts of society.

(Archbishop Taft.)

On a sweet summer evening a traveller looked along the valley on this peaceful scene, when a shower of rain was falling. Suddenly the sun broke out, and flung a bright bow on the cloud, that, like that of mercy, discharged its showers on all. The rainbow encircled within its arms suburb and city, lofty church and humble meetinghouse. And was it not a true and happy fancy that saw in this heavenly bow an emblem of that covenant which, irrespective of minor differences, embraces all believers within the same arms of mercy?

(Dr. Guthrie.)

Souls have no sexes and Christ is no respecter of persons. The servant paid the half-shekel as well as the master (Exodus 30).

(Trapp.)

There are two distinct thoughts in these most wonderful words. St. Paul affirms, first, that the greatest natural differences between men are, as we see them, only temporary, provisional, preparatory.

2. This transformation of the circumstances of human existence has found already a pledge of its accomplishment. Deeper than all which divides you, stronger than all which comes from trine, and place, and circumstance, is this bond of one underlying life which has now been made known in the Son of Man, the Son of God.

3. We are to regard believers not as a family inspired by common affections and with common aims, but as one man, one body quickened by one Spirit, through which the one Lord is manifested to the world. But this doctrine that we men are one man, this doctrine, as it is called, of the solidarity of humanity, is no novelty to the Christian teacher. He finds in it part of the truth which the Incarnation proclaims. "Ye all are one man in Christ Jesus." This truth, as we reflect upon it, reveals to us the fulness of life, the promise of life, the motive of life.

I. THE FULNESS OF LIFE. When St. Paul declared the impossibility of distinctions between peoples and classes, he did not look to their destruction, but to their perfect use — to their consecration. Again and again it has happened in times of great conflict or peril that the thought of education, and rank, and sex, has passed away, and each one who has had to face the struggle has remembered only that he is an Englishman, or a man. All that he had, all that he was before, remained unchanged; every gift and every power was made to serve the immediate end; but larger interests asserted their supremacy, and the soul acknowledged the claim. So it is with the nobler conflict to which we are called as believers in Christ. We all bring to it the fullest offering of individual service; we keep back nothing, and we rest in nothing. Whatsoever we have that is special is the sign whereby God has revealed His purpose for us. But this is the common thought which hallows every effort, which nerves us for concentrated labour, which bears us beyond the narrow limits of personal aim, which binds together with the strength of their manifold energies the scholar, and the artist, and the craftsman, "I am a Christian." By that confession we know the vastness, the fulness of life in its unity in Christ.

II. THE PROMISE OF LIFE. The unseen life is greater than we know; now and then the veil is lifted from some dark scene, and-through sordid and repulsive surroundings, light and tenderness and self-sacrifice flash out; revealed, not created, by the circumstances through which it is seen. A time of wide distress shows us what the heart of the vast masses of the people is — beating with the one life, and loyal beyond hope to truth and righteousness. Then, when the deep foundations are being laid open; then, when we remember how the Son of Man has fulfilled man's destiny — we are sure that there shall never be one lost virtue, sure that the one life with its purifying energy will not fail, sure that it is life and not death which is the seal of humanity.

III. THE MOTIVE OF LIFE. To work for ourselves is a necessity. If then, we can be enabled to feel that our true self is in Christ, who has taken humanity to Himself, the whole aspect of the world is changed. Can we imagine any motive for labour more inexhaustible or more inspiring than this conviction that the well-being of the whole is imperilled in the least member; that subtle influences pass ever over each one of us at every moment which must work for all time; that at every moment we are all entering on the inheritance of the one life, marred or made richer, as it may be, by the action of our fellows? "Ye all are one man in Christ Jesus." It is through us that Christ works. He is the vine, we are the branches; but where, without the branches, is the manifold fertility of the vine? He is the head, we are the members; but where without the members is the prevailing energy of the body? "Ye all are one man in Christ Jesus." As we ponder the words and follow them beyond this region of conflict and succession, they disclose a prospect in which our souls can rest.

(Canon Westcott.)

There are three classes of obstacles to all union, and therefore to Christian union, and to the realization of the wondrous prayer of the Lord Jesus. These difficulties arise out of a threefold distinction that may be made among human beings. The Apostle Paul, in my text, does in three different ways divide mankind. He makes a threefold separation of the human race into two dissimilar classes, which, though here and there correspondent with one another, are by no means parallel the one to the other. This classification is governed by(1) the great intellectual differences and antagonisms among men;(2) the chief emotional and constitutional differences of character; and(3) the prodigious distinctions effected by external circumstances. It is true that St. Paul presents these three antitheses in a pictorial fashion, in a vivid and concrete form, before our consideration, but it is none the less obvious that he is thinking of more than the literal meaning of his own words.

I. The first of these divisions was based on that great antagonism which was so admirably expressed in the apostle's day by the intellectual differences obtaining between the Jew and the Greek. The Jew, strictly speaking, was the member of the holy family, the descendant of Abraham and Israel, a representative of that well-known nationality which had better reasons: than any other Oriental people possessed, to believe that it was the special object of Divine care, and providence, and government. Thus the Jew became the type of all who, in every age of the Church, are, by their education, their mental habits, their strong dispositions, disposed to lay violent stress on the external sign, on the old tradition, even to the exclusion of the realities which are indicated by them. Now let us look at the other great type of intellectual character — the Greek. The term, even in the Acts of the Apostles and elsewhere in the — New Testament, meant more than a Gentile proselyte to the faith of Christ; and the word "Grecian" or "Hellenist" meant more than a Greek-speaking Jew. It is capable of proof that there was in Judaism a Grecized party even before the time of our Lord, and it is quite clear that the Grecian converts to the faith of Jesus were rather characterized by the freshness of their ideas, the freedom of their speculations, the liberty which they claimed from oppressive rite and ceremonial, than by their mother-tongue. No classes of mind could be more directly opposed and dissimilar in their modes of working than those of the pure Jew and pure Greek. To Jewish conservatism the Greek opposed an incessant love of change; to the Jewish love of tradition and dependence upon the wisdom of the ancients the Greek offered endless speculation and elaborate guesses after truth; instead of the Jewish dogma the Greek luxuriated in the last logical puzzle. By the side of the stern exclusiveness of the Jewish Monotheism, the Greek prided himself in a Pantheon of deities, who were admitted on equal and easy terms to the reverence of the Hellenes. The mind of the Jew was hampered in its philosophical researches by a language of great metrical power, but of comparative rigidity of movement and excessive externality and objectivity; the Greek used the most flexible and delicate instrument of thought which human minds had ever fashioned. The Jew accepted the supernatural with child-like simplicity, and asked eagerly for more; the Greek sought after the causes of things, the meaning of words, the essence of government, the unseen and intangible realities. It is not a wonderful thing that St. Paul should have said, "The Jew requires a sign, the Greek seeks after wisdom." The unrestrained liberty of the Greek was not without its serious dangers when it was brought by Divine grace within the limit of the true Church. If the two types of mental character of which I have spoken be found within the Church of Christ, we may expect sharp and sustained antagonism. Even regeneration will not change these grave and fundamental differences of mental constitution. How difficult must it ever prove for these two kinds of men to feel the deep-hidden unity which is possible between them! To put the matter in a concrete form, how difficult for one who imagines religious life to be inseparably associated with form, ceremonial, priesthood, sacraments, liturgies, elaborate dogmatic creeds and transcendental propositions, even to believe in the Christianity of another, whose only notion of it is a holy life, free from all these restraints; who thinks, speculates, philosophizes, and tries to prove all things, and only to hold fast that which is good! Verily, if these tendencies are left to themselves unchecked and unchastised, very distant will be the day when Jew and Greek shall be one.

II. The second of them is the great constitutional and emotional difference of character expressed by the antithesis of male and female. It is not merely the difference of sex of which the apostle is speaking, but rather of the great types of character, which, though not confined to either sex, are best expressed by the terms masculine and feminine. By masculine character, we mean the predominance over the passions of reason and conscience, the energy of will, the submission to law, the conscious pride of independence, strength, self-sufficiency, robust and vigorous life. By feminine character, whether seen in woman or man, we mean the predominance of the affections, the delight of dependence, the unreasoning consciousness of right, the strength of submission, the power of suffering, self-sacrifice, and waiting. In the one there is more power to act, in the other to endure. The strength of the one is energy, and of the other is rest. Both may be led to do what is good; but the one because it is right, and the other because it is lovely. The one looks at religion as a system of principles, the other as the expression of deep feelings. The one sees no religion in mere states of mind, devotional postures, strong sentiments; and the other cannot understand the religion of mere principle and energy. How shall these two types of character be harmonized?

III. The third great decision is that due to differences arising out of external circumstances. The bond and the free are the terms which Paul used to describe this great contrast. But though formal slavery be abolished, the distinction between different classes of men is not obliterated. The struggle between capital and labour, and the contrast between rank and wealth and power on the one hand, poverty, dependence, and obscurity on the other, are as vigorous and obvious as they ever were. How hard it is to bridge the gulf between the lordly owner of a county and the half-clad, unclean, besotted, diseased inmate of some hovel within sight of his palace! How difficult to make even Christian people lay down their pride, and their caste, and love one another with a pure heart fervently! Legislation, common griefs and joys, healthful literature, and free press, are bringing these separate classes into one another's view, and some of the reserve and mutual antipathy may be overcome in the foremost of the nations; but still within the Church, as well as outside its pale, there are the bond and the free. In the person of Jesus Christ is found the true point of contact for them all.

1. That the intellectual antagonism between Jew and Greek, of every age and Church, finds in Christ its true counteraction. The modern representative of the Jew within the Church, when he looks through the form and the letter, and the medium and the visible sign, to the reality which makes him Christian, heartily confesses that it is Christ crucified who satisfies his search. The Jew and Greek of St. Paul's day meet before the cross. "Come," says the Hebrew of Hebrews to the sinner of the Gentiles, "come, brother; thou who weft afar off art made nigh by the blood of Jesus. He is our peace, who has made both of us one, and hath broken down the wall of partition between us: Let thee and me clasp hands before the cross, for we two have access by one Spirit unto the Father." And the Greek responds, "I verily am no more stranger or foreigner, but a fellow-heir and of the same body, and partaker of Divine promise." There is now neither Jew nor Greek; they are both one in Christ Jesus.

2. Christ Jesus is the mediating power between the masculine and feminine mind. Christ is the well-spring of the strong motives to right action and of the deepest passions of holy love. As the mountain torrent may leap with wild pomp and energy from the same water-shed from which, by a quieter transit, other and a gentle stream may wind its way to the great ocean, "reflecting far and fairy-like from high the immortal lights which live along the sky," so too from the same fountain of deep emotions and great purposes varied lives may flow. As the two streams of water mingle at length, to do ever after a united work, so the two classes of mind, when they learn the lesson that from the one Christ they both derive their life and hope, then, "like friends once parted, grown single-hearted," their love begins to abound.

(H. R. Reynolds, B. A.)

I.All distinctions are lost.

II.All differences harmonized.

III.All hearts united.

IV.All personal accomplishments ignored.

I.Its foundation.

II.Completeness.

III.End.In Christ we have —

I.One foundation of hope.

II.One pattern of imitation.

III.One motive of action.

IV.One object of triumph.Observe —

I. The test — if ye are Christ's, by faith — redeeming grace — holy consecration.

II. The privilege — then are ye Abraham's seed included in the covenant — heirs of God, of every blessing, of heaven.

III. The foundation of it — the free — unmerited — unchangeable promise of God.

(J. Lyth.)

I. The great central truth of Christian union is the central truth of Christianity itself, which is Christ crucified. Destroy the centre of any system, you have destroyed the system itself. Now, beloved, a great and essential doctrine is placed before you here. All believers are one in Christ Jesus. They have a vital union with Jesus. That includes, too, this great and precious truth — accepted and justified in Christ Jesus. Again, this being in Christ involves our preservation. The child of God is kept not by any power of his own.

II. The consequent unity of all believers in the Lord. The unity of the Church of Christ does not spring out of anything in that Church, but out of the oneness of that Church in Christ. Unity pervades all God's works and operations — unity, not uniformity. You will find a marvellous richness of diversity in all the works of God. There is unity and there is diversity. The family of God is essentially one, and yet constituted into different households. Now I would remind you, in the first place, beloved, that the unity of the Church of God grows out of the unity of all believers in Christ the one Head. All true believers hold Christ the one Head of the Church. Then, brethren, the essential unity of the Church consists in the indwelling of the self-same Spirit. Every believer is a temple of the Holy Ghost. All believers in Christ then are essentially one. And, brother, how much is there in the circumstances of a child of God to unfold the essential unity of the Church of God? We have the same trials, afflictions, temptations; we take, oftentimes, the same dreary, lonely, tiresome path. O, how much is there in God's providential dealings with us in our trials, our sorrows, our temptations, to knit the saints of God more closely to their Head!

III. And now, in conclusion, let me remind you that there grows out of this great and precious truth some solemn obligations and precious blessings. I will, in the briefest manner, refer to this point; and, first, with regard to obligations set forth in the Scriptures. If we are in Christ, and Christ is the centre of our union, then we are bound to recognize the unity of God's dear ones. We are to recognize it. We are to hail a brother in Christ as a brother wherever we find him. My beloved hearers, the world is a keen observer of the Church of God. The world cares not one iota how we differ on points of Church government, or of doctrine, but the world looks at the Church of God in its union. It expects to find oneness, brotherly love, sympathy, co-operation. Therefore, I earnestly implore you, first to recognize the unity of all God's dear saints with one another, and then to express and manifest a loving spirit. Brethren, shall I advert for a moment to the blessings that will accrue from your recognition and manifestation of this great and glorious truth, the essential unity of the Church? Let me remind you that your happiness will be promoted by it. And not only your happiness, but your holiness will be promoted by your recognition of brotherly love. I will only add that usefulness is another blessing that springs from the recognition and manifestation of union. Beloved, we are useful, not as we stand out in our individual isolated con. dition. We are useful for Christ in combination — combination of judgment, of heart, of purpose.

(Octavius Winslow, D. D.)

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