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We are thus prepared, from our examination of the text, and the history of the Apostle, to define the true missionary spirit as exhibited by him, under two terms: Sympathy with Christ, and Sympathy with sinners.
1. Sympathy with Christ. Among the truths which our Apostle preached, there is none that he dwells upon with more frequency or delight than the close union of the believer with Christ. That he is not his “own but bought with a price,” and therefore bound to serve his Lord with all his powers, is not enough to declare how completely he and every ransomed sinner is identified with the Savior. Our beloved Lord had set the example of describing the relation as of a more generous and elevating character. “Henceforth I call you not servants, but friends, for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth.” Nay, friendship is not sufficient to declare the entire intimacy; the believer is one with Christ, a member“ of his body, of his flesh and of his bones,” making, with the rest of the Church, that blessed “body” which shall be glorified throughout eternity as “the fullness of him that filleth all in all ;" so that the life, the strength, the grace that is in the Head, pervades each member of all the body. Yet this comes through the work of Christ for the sanctification of the sinner who believes unto himself. The believer is “crucified with Christ,” and in that crucifixion the sinful life, which was forfeit to the law and which held him afar from God, dies; but he, by the same token, is risen with Christ, and the life he now lives in the flesh, he lives by the faith of the Son of God, who
loved him and gave himself for him ; and this life is the spirit of Christ which consecrated him and consecrates all his people to the glory of God in the salvation of sinners. It was for this end that Christ was born, having been conceived of the Holy Ghost; for this, he finished, in his death on the cross, his life of meek, devoted zeal; for this, he rose from the dead and assumed the riches of the Godhead at the right hand of the Father; and so for this, the sinner saved by grace is born again of the Holy Ghost, and, crucified unto the world, lives by the strength that is in Christ Jesus. The Creator had many worlds of light hymning his praise through the infinite universe; but the redemption of our lost world, and its restoration to loyalty and holiness and bliss, was to prove the most excellent of all his works, and to fill that universe with eternal anthems of adoration, higher in ecstasy than angel or archangel had ever reached. Oh, what a glory must that be when its development and manifestation was “ the joy set before him,” for which the Only-begotten stooped to assume our nature, and in our likeness to be faithful unto death, and to “endure the cross, despising the shame”! So the believer, like his Lord, counts all things as loss, nay, as vile, compared to the glory of God he has been called to advance by his instrumentality for the salvation of sinners. As the spirit of Christ fills his soul, he glows with the assured expectation of his Savior's glory, and, thankful, beyond all power of language to express, that he has been taken from the depths and the very gates of hell, to work together with God in this his greatest work, he surrenders himself with exulting joy to the divine impulse pervading all his faculties, which sweeps him on to the sublime service. Then it is that he feels the closest fellowship with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ; and as the Son is one with the Father, so he is one with them.
What love for the souls of men must have yearned in the divine bosom of the Son, when from the bosom of the Father he considered our danger, our misery, and our ruin, and came down in the form of a servant, the likeness of our flesh, to pass through our temptations, and sorrows, and pains; to expire on the shameful cross where men reviled him, and it pleased even the Father to bruise him! and, as the life-tide flowed from His pierced heart into the heart of the penitent crucified with him, so the believer yearns over the wretchedness, and sin, and suffering of all for whom his Master died. His Lord spared not himself-how shall he withhold any thing that he has, by nature or grace, from the same charity! His Lord, though rich, for the sake of sinners “ became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich ”-how shall he keep back any portion of his means from the spread of the glad tidings! His *Lord endured the contradiction of sinners against himself, shrunk from no loss of worldly honor, encountered all worldly shame, nay, counted not his own life dear unto him—what, then, can the work of salvation demand from the Christian-of patience, and reproach, and self-devotion, that he is not glad to render ? His Lord wrought while it was day, with all his mediatorial energy; nay, now on the throne of his glory he wields all his mediatorial sovereignty, for the accomplishment of his ardently expected triumph in the redemption of the world—and the believer is faithful until death, never asking or desiring rest until he is satisfied in the satisfaction of Christ with the travail of his soul. So the Apostle felt, and reasoned, and labored, and suffered, and died. The missionary spirit was his life, his joy, his reward, and his dignity.
Ah! my friends, I have described the believer as the theory of the Gospel declares that he ought to be; but who comes up to the pattern of longsuffering, and love, and self-sacrifice which the Apostle sets us after the pattern of Christ? Oh, were we full of sympathy with Christ, and did the love of Christ pervade our souls, were we indeed so crucified and risen with Christ that we could look upon
the world as Christ looked on it from the bosom of his Father, from the cross of his shame, and now looks on it from the throne of his glory, there would be no lack of men to carry the Gospel to those that sit in darkness, no lack of money to send them forth, no lack of effectual, fervent prayer to bring down the Spirit of grace and success.
. Vain are all our efforts, and plans, and laborious counsels, until we aspire to a closer sympathy with Christ, for the glory of God in the salvation of sinners !
2. Sympathy with sinners. Our divine Lord had no tolerance for sin, but rather than it should go unpunished, he bowed his fainting head to drink the cup of his Father's wrath against us. Yet he had a deep sympathy with the sinner. He felt for
our utter ruin; but he also felt for our weakness, ow ignorance, our evil habits enslaving us to evil, our temptations of the world, the fleshı, and the devil. lic took upon him tiesh and blood, with all their concomitants of trial and poverty, that lie might assure is of his acquaintance with our wants and distresses. He “ came not to condemn the world, but that the world through lim might be saved." And this is seen through all his mediatorial career
Ilis greatest argument with the impenitent heart is his love, and tenderness, and pity. Tie bears with us in our follies and our rebellions ; he pleads for us with the Father that we may be spared; he sends his blessings of providence even on the vile and unjust; he laments and weeps over us even at the moment of our worst rebellion ; he entreats for us on the cross, and, now on the throne, he prays for us continually. Even the woes he pronounced upon the self-righteous and intolerant, have in them more of pity than denunciation. - Alas for you!” he says, as if his righteous indigmation as well-nigh swallowed up in his anguislı for their cternal doom. You hear no harsh word from his lips; you will hear none until, his work of salvation accomplished, he shall assume his office of Judge and Avenger.
Yet there was a form of sympathy with sinners, which the postle had, and we should have, that could not cuter the Savior's merciful heart. kuew no sin ; " we are sinners ; all sinners are our fellow-simers. Take the worst sinners, those who have carried their outrages against purity, and truth, and justice, to their extremest violence, who