Page images
PDF
EPUB

of a very rapid speaker addressing a crowded audience. A noisy cough, a momentary disturbance, a fall in the preacher's voice, or (as I have so often had occasion to notice) a phonetic similarity in words that have nothing else in common—these, and many other causes, must necessarily interfere with the perfection of the reporter's work. I must add, too (though with a lively recollection of Mr. Fox's kind help in an hour of need), that no friend, however intimate, can be expected to be able to divine the actual meaning designed in a dubious passage, when he has not even heard the sermons preached.

This must be my apology for the book as it has hitherto appeared. I have endeavoured in revising it to make the sense as clear as may be, and here and there to save the patience and ingenuity of the reader, by omitting a redundancy, or supplying a flaw.

As I find by testimony that reaches me from various quarters that this little volume has been useful to many, it affords me much satisfaction to know that it is now about to be published at a much lower price, which will bring it within reach of a larger circle of readers, and I trust and pray that God will still be pleased to speak through its pages to the hearts of men.

W. HAY M. H. AITKEN.

Holmeside, Hazelwood, Derby,

July, 1876.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

All the “Mission Sermons” have just been again CAREFULLY
REVISED BY THE AUTHOR, and the whole of them Reprinted;
they are now being sold at 2s. 6d. per Vol., i.e., One Half of the
original Published Price. These NEW AND CHEAP EDITIONS
are issued at HIS EXPRESS WISH, in order that they may be
within the reach of all. As a large quantity must consequently be sold
to meet this great REDUCTION IN PRICE, it is hoped that the
Christian Public will aid, by every means, their extensive circulation.

*** Sermons 7 and 14 may be had separately: Price, Two-
pence each; also, a New Sermon by Rev. W. H. Aitken.

Subject: The Broken Altar.

9

I.

Christ Manifested to Destroy the Works

of the Devil.

“For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.”—1 JOHN iii. 8.

THE

THE “ manifestation” of “the Son of God” is the truth

which is being specially brought before us in this

season of our Christian year. You and I have but recently gathered round the lowly manger in which the newborn King was lying, and have contemplated “God manifest in the flesh."

In the portion of Scripture appointed for this day we have had another “manifestation” of God's glory in “His Holy Child Jesus.” And yet again, as the Sundays in Epiphany pass along, we shall have brought before us further “manifestations” of His work and character. The “manifestation" of His miraculous power at “the marriage feast." The “manifestation" of His lordship over nature when He calmed the stormy wave.

And therefore it is not inappropriate that we should consider, to-night, the grand purpose for which this "manifestation" has taken place.

Now the text brings before us, we must admit, only one half of this purpose ; but the one is so closely connected with the other, that it almost seems to comprehend it, or at any rate to suggest it to our minds. The object of “the manifestation of the Son of God” was, unquestionably, positive as well as negative. It was not merely the design of God to "destroy the works of the devil ; " it was also the design of God-in manifesting His Son”—to create in you and me the self-same image which existed in His blessed Son: so that His eternal purpose might be fulfilled : “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

B

But before this grand and positive end may be attained, it is obvious that all obstacles must be swept out of the way : and the first grand obstacle towards the completion of this glorious design which God Almighty is to accomplish, is indicated in this expression—"the works of the devil.” Till "s the works of the devil” are swept away, there is no such thing as attaining the end of man. I mean to say, that as long as you and I have “the works of the devil” in our hearts, so long it is impossible to fulfil the great purpose of our being. The man who has in him “the works of the devil” his life is a failure. Find me a man in whom “the work of the devil” is supreme, and I will find you one in whom the grand purpose of human existence is completely lost sight of. Let us find one in whom “the works of the devil” remain, and so far it becomes impossible for the work of God to be proceeded with. Let us find another in whom “the work of the devil” is broken down, swept away by the power of divine grace, so that God has free scope for the exercise of His benevolent purposes, in the creation of the new nature,-and we shall find one who is rapidly advancing towards the final goal, “the prize and mark of his high calling in Christ Jesus,” and attaining, more and more every day, to the glorious image of Christ.

Now these two things, dear friends, must go on side by side: the extermination of “the works of the devil," and the full development of the work of God the Holy Ghost, the Creator Spirit. And I think we may venture to say, that where God, by His destructive power, sweeps away “the works of the devil,” there is no fear but that the positive work will be carried on, side by side, with this process. The mind will not be reduced to a state of mere negation. God will not be satisfied merely with pulling down, but side by side He will build up. Let us be careful that we are co-operators with God first of all in this grand war in which He is engaged; that we are fellow-soldiers with Him in fighting against the powers of the devil; and then as we obtain more and more every day the victory, we shall be more and more in a position to realise the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Now brethren, if I thought myself called upon to-night to address my remarks mainly to those who are, in the spiritual sense of the word, God's children, whose hearts are at peace with God, and who are growing in grace, I should like very

« PreviousContinue »