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Him. The struggle in such a heart as Abraham's, so tender, so loving, so pitiful, is beyond what we can conceive of. But the victory at length was
Abraham came out of the trial conqueror. He came out of it, too, with unstained handsfree from blood-guiltiness. Isaac was restored to him, as it were, even from the dead. And the only blood that flowed on that altar on Mount Moriah was the blood of a sacrifice which God Himself had provided.
Through all the record of the Old Testament we never again meet with a faith so sorely tried, an obedience so perfect. This great act stands alone. It is, with reverence be it said, only to be compared with the love of God in our redemption. That surrender by Abraham of his dearest treasure, that not withholding of his only son, the son that he loved, will serve, and only in part serve, to figure forth the tremendous price which has been paid for our ransom,— God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life ! — God spared not His own Son, but
, delivered Him up for us all !
In the light of that sacrifice, even Abraham's offering seems a small one. But it serves to recall it, and was intended to be the type of it. Never can we close that page of the Bible, Gen. xxii., never can we read the account of Abraham's great surrender, and not think of the mercy of God, as shown in our redemption. Never can we read of Isaac's unresisting submission to his father's will, without remembering Him who was led as a lamb to the slaughter — who did humble Himself, even to the death upon the cross, for us miserable sinners!
Oh, when we think of Him, and of what He has done and suffered for us, how surely must we feel our hearts within us swell with thankfulness and a holy joy! If Abraham, as we are told in the Gospel, rejoiced to see the day of Christ, and saw it, and was glad-saw it but in type and figure--what should be our rejoicing, what should be our gladness, who have seen the reality! Who can look back to the same Mount Moriah, and behold there not Isaac-not Isaac's substitute, the ram caught by his horns— but the very Lamb of God slain to take away our sins; and not ours only, but the sins of the whole world! Well might the Apostle write, well may we echo his words,— We joy in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom we have now received the atonement !
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a
child, I thought as a child ; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
It is of true manliness, brethren, that I would speak to you this morning; and you will see by the subject, that those of you whom I have more particularly in view are the candidates for confirmation: and such who, if not candidates, are of an age to be so, and who ought, were they well advised, now to present themselves for that holy rite of our Church.
What, then, is true manliness? What is it, in the best and scriptural sense of the word, to be a man ? True manliness means, as the text tells us, the putting away childish things—rising out of
the weakness, and frivolity of childhood into the measure of the stature of a ripe Christian.
In order to ascertain this, we shall have, in the first place, to consider what are the chief characteristics of childhood, what we see generally to be in young children. We see much that is pleasant and winning in them ; we see openness, and simplicity, and a comparative innocence, and an absolute ignorance of many things that we know to be evil. But we see, also, much that is not pleasant to see; we see foolishness, we see selfishness, we see an utter want of self-control. A child gives way to every impulse; a child, if not restrained by older hands, is governed by its appetites; a child measures all things by their relation to itself; a child shows little thought or care for others. These are the common faults of childhood ; these are the things which it behoves us, as we grow in years, to put away-not, indeed, to put away the better things of childhood, its innocence, its freedom from malice, its quick return out of illhumour: no; but retaining these, to put away the silliness of childhood, to put away its selfishness, to put away its petulance, its want of self-control, its impatience, and to learn to think and feel for others.
And, first, to put away silliness. There are many things that we pardon in a child because it is a child. If a child makes a foolish remark, or does a foolish act, we say, in excuse, “He is but a child— he will be wiser by-and-by.” But if, when the child grows up, and is still not wiser, if with increased years he shows no increase in wisdom, still says and does foolish things, we no longer excuse him; we say, by way of reproach of such a person, that he is childish, and ought at his age to know better
Here, then, is one of the faults to be corrected as we advance toward manhood-foolishness. You who are no longer in age children, you who have
come to years of discretion,” will do well to remember that one mark of true manliness, in man or woman, is not to say and do what is foolish. True manliness will be known, in your case, by a perceptible progress in sense and wisdom. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things !
Again, another fault very noticeable in childhood is selfishness. All young children, I believe, show this—all, almost without an exception, seem to think only, or chiefly about themselves. Hence the greediness in children-hence the egotism of children, the frequent use in their mouth of the words “I” and “me.'
And this is a fault that ought certainly to be