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We need not go far from home, then, to find those who fall short of Christ's standard of teaching and learning. We can hardly rebuke our neighbours of Rome while there is so much to correct in ourselves, or pluck at the beam in their eye while we carry a beam so blinding in our own. Let me, therefore, urge and even entreat you, once for all to ascertain exactly what it is that our Lord here enjoins upon you. Possibly, you may find St. Paul's doctrinal method of teaching more congenial to you than the moral teaching of Christ; the long chains of argument which the Apostle weaves may be more fascinating to you than the simple dictates of the Master. But St. Paul himself would be the very first to call you away from his words to the words of Jesus, to assure you that he could only very imperfectly express the grace and wisdom which fell from the Master's lips. Most of you are, as Protestants of all men should be, earnest advocates of a plain and literal obedience to the Divine commands. Remember, then, that the Great Commission was uttered ten years before St. Paul was converted to the Christian faith, and at least twenty years before he wrote his first Epistle. Only in a secondary sense, therefore, can St. Paul's writings be included in our Lord's 66 whatsoever I have commanded you." He is referring simply to the words which He Himself had uttered during His public ministry; and these very words, not mere Apostolic comments on them, He declares to be the staple and standard of Christian doctrine. Do you accept His declaration ? Do you admit that the words which fell from the Master's lips include all that men need to know, and must be of far greater worth than any other even of the inspired words? Is the Master more to you than the disciple? the Lord than the servant? Do you take the Gospels rather than the Epistles as the rule of your thoughts,

your convictions, your actions? If you do, let Christ's words pass in review before your minds. Mark with what comparative infrequency He speaks of the death, the sacrifice, by which He took away the sin of the world, how little there is of dogma on His lips, how little of judgment, of terror, although these topics are the very staple of our modern pulpits. If you ask Him what is the substance of the law and prophets and Gospel, He replies, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and thy neighbour as thyself." If you follow Him through His discourses and parables, you find Him speaking mainly of "the kingdom of heaven," which He had come to establish on the earth, inviting men to enter it, applying its laws to the infinitely varied conditions and needs of human life. He too speaks of repentance for sin and faith in God indeed; but, ah, how simply, how divinely! with what a tender grace, with what pity for the miseries of men dead in sin and alienated from God? with what readiness to help them from their sins, to reveal God to them as their loving patient Father in heaven! And no sooner have men come out of their sins and put their trust in God, than He teaches them new lessons of heavenly wisdom, and calls them to new tasks, to serve Him in serving their neighbours. I have no thought of undervaluing St. Paul's commentary on the words of Christ; but, after all, what is the commentary as compared with the very words themselves? It is nothing to us except as it explains them. It is injurious and misleading to us so soon as it leads us away from the grace and truth in them as, through our weakness, it very easily may. Could St. Paul come back to us and see how for the last three hundred years the Churches have busied themselves about the dogmas they have found mainly in his writings; how these dogmas, or our various apprehensions

of them, have divided instead of uniting the body of Christ; how we stand on our doctrinal bases and neglect the pure morality of Christ Himself, I am by no means sure that he would not fly back to heaven in a passion of regret that he had ever written a single word.

My friends, only as we recur to the very words of Christ himself and the spirit which breathes through them, only as we study His parables and discourses rather than the dogmas we find, or think we find, in St. Paul; only as we conform to the standard of our Lord, and teach and learn all things whatsoever He has commanded us, can we hope to feel Him with us always, and in the full power of His grace.

What a rebuke to our narrowness lies in that phrase, "all things whatsoever." Whatsoever Christ taught, must, we cheerfully admit, be worth hearing and learning. But if a minister take for his text, "Be not angry with thy brother;" or, "Thou shalt not lust in thine heart;" or, "Swear not at all;" or, "Give to him that asketh of thee, and from him that desireth to borrow of thee turn not thou away; or, "Take no thought for the morrow;" or, "Judge not that ye be not judged," or any such precept of the sweet healthy morality taught by Christ,-how many are ready to cry out that "the pure gospel," "the simple gospel," has not been given to them. Did Christ preach an impure gospel then? Or are these "babes in Christ" better judges than He of what His gospel should contain? If He says, "Teach all things whatsoever I have commanded you," are we to listen, dare we listen, to those who say, "Don't teach us all things, but go on repeating only a few of the things God commanded; so shall we get the gospel pure"?

But take another test of your obedience to Christ, your conformity to His standard of what we should learn and teach. We are to learn

whatsoever He has commanded us— to take the Gospel in its fulness, as it fell from His lips; but it is no less necessary that, so far as possible, we should take it from His lips, that we should ascertain whether all that purports to have been said by Him was really said by Him. We need not only to listen to all His commandments, but to have an accurate version of each one of His commandments.

Now His commandments come to us in a dead language, written in manuscripts of various dates, which frequently differ among themselves. Our Authorised Version was made from the most modern and least accurate of these MSS. by a number of clergymen so obscure that if I were to recite their names I doubt whether you would recognise more than one or two of them. Since that Version was made manuscripts a thousand years older than any they had have been discovered. Scholarship has made great advances. Yet in many of our congregations there seems to be an impression that the obscure clergymen who translated our English Bible from modern and comparatively inaccurate copies of the Original were specially inspired by God; and that it is a kind of heresy or sacrilege for a modern scholar to go back to the most ancient copies and give his translation of them! Nothing indeed would be more foolish of us than to jump at every new translation simply because it is new, or to listen submissively to every one who offers to instruct us. Nothing would be more foolish than that, except it be this-that when we have tried and approved teachers, who report to us what the ancient MSS. say, and how the best scholars of modern times read them, we should refuse to listen to these. If we really love the commandments of Christ, shall we not care to know exactly what He said? Shall we not gratefully accept whatever will help us to come more nearly to His very words?

If we do not thus accept it, it must be because we do not care much to know what Christ said; or, because we think it of slight importance to understand "all whatsoever" is contained in His Gospel; or, because we love ease, and use and wont, too much to enter on a study which calls for strenuous thought, and may disturb our present conceptions by enlarging them. So long as we spare any pains to acquaint ourselves with the exact words of Christ, we need not go to Rome for those who are unfaithful to His great commission.

Or, again, many of us who are thankful for new light, so that it be light, and who do in some sense care to know all things whatsoever Christ commanded us, nevertheless fall short of this high standard. In the scriptures of the New Testament, nay, in our Lord's own teaching, there are many connected discourses which require a continuous study we shrink from giving them; there are also some obscure passages which do not seem to us of the first importance, and the meaning of which we do not much care to penetrate. In every, or almost every congregation, intelligent Christian persons are to be found, and persons who up to a certain point are sincerely devoted to Christ, who can spend a whole evening pleasantly in chatting with their neighbours, but who never yet gave an entire evening to the study of one of our Lord's discourses, and would not find the evening go pleasantly if they did. They will give months to learning a new language, but not to learning all things whatsoever Christ has commanded them. Take up an old poem or a new science, explain its obscurities to them, and they are charmed; but take up an obscure mysterious Scripture, go patiently with them through all its difficulties, teach them to read intelligently what was meaningless before, and you are very lucky if you get their thanks, nay, if you escape their reproaches. They do not feel that whatsoever

Christ taught is of an infinite worth to them; they are not earnest in the endeavour to master all that He said; and therefore they do not prize as the best gift any teacher can confer upon them, a discourse which makes an obscure passage plain.

And yet it is only as we rise to this high standard, only as we heartily believe that all the words of Christ are spirit and life, and seek to acquaint ourselves with them all, that we enter into the promise, "Lo, I am with you alway, even to the end of the world!" For Christ still lives in the words He once spake, giving them life; His spirit still breathes in His sayings, making them "spirit," and a quickening spirit, to us. We may always find Him in His words. When He seems to have left our hearts and the world immediately around us, and we are faint and weary and can find no brightness, no hope in our life, we have only to open the Gospel with a sincere desire to find Him and do His will; and lo! His bright tender face breaks out upon us from the sacred page which records the parable He uttered or the work He did. He is with us, we with Him. We follow Him as He traverses the streets of Jerusalem, or passes through the villages of Galilee; we are in the throng which listens to Him, and learn with them; we witness His healing grace, and find health with the healed; He corrects our errors in correcting the errors of His disciples, and fills our hearts with hope as He assures them that he will be with them, a constant Presence, an unchanging Friend. Were we more with His Word we should be more with Him. Did we devoutly study whatsoever He has commanded us, we should find the strength to do His will. He would teach us that we might teach our neighbours; He would help us to help them. We should climb by His words, as by the golden rungs of the golden ladder, into the Heaven in which He dwells, and fill our hands

with treasures which wax not old, and come down to our earthly life with pure gladdened hearts to make many rich. If we are not strong and joyful in the Lord, it is only because we do not learn and teach all things whatsoever He has commanded us.

Oh! think of it-think of it yet once more! You believe that you owe what you prize most even in the civilization of these modern times to the wisdom and grace which came with Christ. You believe that you owe all your inward joy and peace in this life to Him and all your hopes of the life to come to the words He spake, and of which His life was the incarnation. And all the words He spake while He was on earth, all at least of which we have any record, would go within the compass of a single tract. Yet many of you are not familiar with them, or have never studied them in their sequence and

connection. You hope to meet Him some day in heaven, to fall before Him in adoration, to praise and bless Him for the words which brought you eternal life. But if He turn upon you, and ask, "Have you then acquainted yourselves with all things whatsoever I commanded you?" what will you reply? How can you expect Him to speak new words to you until you have mastered those which are already in your hands? What can you hope but that He will send you back to learn the lessons you ought to have learned before?

Would it not be wise of you, then, if indeed you are conscious that there are still many words of His of which you know little or nothing, to resolve that you will read no book, that you will acquaint yourselves with no other words, until you have mastered all things whatsoever He commanded you?


"WHAT a prosy subject!" I fancy I hear some one saying after looking at this heading. "How provokingly unsentimental!" Yes, reader, the subject is decidedly prosy, and possibly its treatment may be so too. I suppose that few people like work for its own sake, and it may be fairly questioned whether any do. And yet it is of work that we are about to write. There is a story told of a servant girl seeking a situation who replied when asked if she were afraid of work, "O dear no, Sir! I could lie down and sleep by the side of it." Doubtless, many of us could exhibit an equal amount of courage. But if we are not afraid of work, we often fight shy of it; we reduce its quantity as much as possible, or hand it over to other people. We always

feel moved to smile when we hear a preacher exhort his congregation to "reduce to practice" the principles they are taught, feeling assured that the reduction is sure to be performed in a sense, if not exactly that of the preacher. Men are apt to say," Work! who has not already more than enough of it?

There is little else from Monday morning to Saturday night. Even on Sunday we are not always sure of escaping the thought of it, for, every now and then, the minister, instead of preaching comfortable doctrine, will choose such texts to discourse upon as,-'Son, go work to day in my vineyard,' or, 'Work while it is called to day' &c, &c." They who speak thus, will doubtless say as they see our title-But of course there are none such among the readers of the General Baptist Magazine—“ Here is the old subject again! Work! Work! Everlasting Work! when shall we be allowed to rest from it? When will preachers and writers grow weary of its sound?" To which question we must provokingly answer, We hope never! Or at least not until all the work is done.

After all, this dislike of work is but the dislike of a name. We frequently expend much more strength on what we call our pleasures than we do on what we call our work. We who are young, and who should therefore be the chief workers, can keep such hours, and

go through such exercises, when we are at play, as would kill us soon, or prove impossible tasks, if what we do were regarded as work. Therefore the idea of work is not found in activity, but in certain notions which we attach to our actions. The work which occupies our attention just now is regarded as pleasure by healthy souls, because it is "work for God." To such souls the indication of God's will is like a stream of sunshine gilding the most unpleasant task, the otherwise most menial or inglorious work, with a glory which renders its performance the most congenial of employments.

To such,

Christ's "yoke is easy, and His burden is light." To such, our subject will be neither prosy nor devoid of sentiment.

Our churches have recently completed their denominational year, and it seems fitting that we should look back awhile on its labours and acquisitions. It may be thought that we have had an abundance of retrospect already at our Annual Meetings. But those meetings had this year an unusual character, and while we have been examining the footprints of the fathers it is to be feared that we have not been so careful as we might to "ponder the path of our feet." In casting our eyes over the wide field of a century, there is danger of overlooking the ground which lies close to us. The design of these lines is to draw off the reader's eyes for a time from the remote, and to fix them on what is near-to make such observations on the work for God done during the past year, as shall, if possible, cheer, stimulate, and strengthen us for the accomplishment of greater things during the year on which we have entered.

Our work for God is-as all work for God must be to increase goodness in ourselves and around us. But this end is accomplished by various means, and very much of what has been done is not to be represented by either words or figures, can only be estimated indeed by Him who "knows our works, our labours, and our patience." We will confine ourselves to what is known.

We must rejoice over the formation of two new churches whose members number ninety-two. Would that they were three or four times as many! Three new chapels have been erected. Four chapels have cleared off their debt, and nine others have reduced

their's. There are many who will be able heartily to sympathize with the friends among whom these things have been done. But only they who have had experience in such work can fully realize the wear and tear of body and mind which accompany such efforts. We can understand the anxiety of the farmer about the weather, and the hopes and fears of the share-monger or stock-broker in prospect of a European War. The expenditure of muscle and brain in the ordinary business of life; the keen-eyed watchfulness of the political economist, and the clever scheming of the thrifty housewife who in expending her sovereign demonstrates the law of "the divisibility of matter" in a way which would puzzle any other natural philosopher, these things we know something about. But they who build chapels and clear off chapel debts not unfrequently have to combine all these qualities, and make use of all these talents and powers. What deepsea soundings in the ocean of possibilities! What measurings of the depths of the pockets and the breadths of the sympathies of surrounding friends! What strange combinations of daring and caution! What wearying yet unwearied exertions of body, soul, and spirit, have been witnessed again and again, when the lengthening of the church's cords, or the strengthening of her stakes, has become a necessity or a duty! We are inclined to rejoice with, and to congratulate, our friends who have accomplished such tasks, and we find it all the easier to "rejoice with them that do rejoice" because their success is ours.

It would be exceedingly interesting to review the work done by our 4,393 Sunday School Teachers among their 32,416 Scholars-to calculate the number of lessons prepared and imparted during the year, and to speculate upon the results. But this would be very difficult and perhaps not very profitable. The work of the Sunday school Teacher should be the last to be judged by its present or ascertainable results. Let us therefore pass on to notice some more palpable evidences of the work of the churches.

During the year we have received into our communion by baptism 1,201 persons. It is to be presumed that the greater number of these-nearly all indeed-are new converts. If so, who

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