James Smith, 1860
To know more of Christ, and be more like Christ — are two of the principal things we have to attend to. In order to this, we must . . .
study God's Word,
be much at God's throne of grace,
depend on the empowerment of the Holy Spirit,
and walk in fellowship with God's church.
We must, especially towards the members of the church, imitate the example of Christ; to this Paul urges the Philippians by very powerful motives, and among others says, "If there is any tender mercy . . . be like-minded." Philippians 2:1.
THERE IS TENDER MERCY IN CHRIST. His heart is most tender. He is touched with the feeling of your infirmities. He will sympathize with you in all your sorrows, trials, troubles, and distresses. He will assist you in all your lawful undertakings, and in all your attempts for the good of others, and his Father's glory. He will be a Savior to you, do the part of a Savior for you, and perfect your deliverance from all that is sinful and injurious.
His mercy is hearty, welling up from his inmost soul.
His mercy is inward, in his nature.
His mercy is incomparably tender and sensitive.
His mercy is abiding, never failing or changing — but enduring forever.
THERE IS TENDER MERCY IN CHRISTIANS. Christians are like Christ, for they have his nature, they are created anew in him, and after his likeness.
If therefore there is mercy in you — then sympathize with Jesus, and endeavor by all means to preserve harmony, union, and love in the church.
Sympathize with the apostle, in his sorrows, occasioned by divisions and disagreements; and in his joys, occasioned by their unity, peace, and prosperity.
Sympathize with each other, and seek in every way to promote each other's welfare, both temporal and spiritual.
Sympathize with lost sinners, let there be tender pity for all who are perishing in sin — let this lead to individual effort, if possible to rescue them from ruin. Let your endeavors after this object be constant and energetic — and be much in earnest fervent prayer, for God's blessing to accompany your feeble efforts.
A Christian without tender mercy, is like a body without breath: and yet there are some who profess Christ, that . . .
oppress the poor,
neglect the sick,
squander much on the indulgence of the flesh,
and give little or nothing to the Lord's cause.
In vain do we profess Christ, if we are not in some measure like Christ. He bids us to be as he was, and do as he did. and says, "If you love me, keep my commandments." If we have any tender mercies — we should prove it. Paul directs us to do so, "Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, tender mercy, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another; if any man have a quarrel against any — even as Christ forgave you, so also do you."
So our Lord directs us also, putting it in a most strong and touching light, "Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, even as I had pity on you."
Jesus should be our example, the model which we strive to copy every day. "Leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps." 1 Peter 2:21
Beloved, there is not half that love and sympathy between Christians as there should be; if there was, the church would be united, peaceful, prosperous, and happy. There is but one church — members of different denominations should remember this. Every Christian is a brother, a sister, no matter what his creed, custom, or denomination. It is our spiritual nature that makes us one. If we have the new nature, the nature of Christ — we are one, differ as we may in some things; and we should encourage the feeling of oneness, and manifest it on all occasions.
It is a miserable thing, to be shut up in some ecclesiastical body called a church, so as to be separated from all other Christians, and not permitted to work with them, have fellowship with them, and travel in their company to Heaven. Happy is the large-hearted Christian, who while he holds fast and firm his own peculiar views, can give the heart and the hand openly and fearlessly to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity and truth.
Reader, how is it with you?
Have you enjoyed the consolation there is in Christ?
Do you live in spiritual fellowship with God, and his people?
Are you happy in being loved, and in loving others?
Do you sympathize with Jesus, and with his people?
Or are you a stranger to these things? If you are a Christian, then you know what these things are in your own experience; but if you know nothing of them — then you know not Christ, and your religion is but a name. Search and look, lest you be deceived! If you know anything of these things, seek to know more; and if you know them not, come as a poor sinner to Jesus, that you may at once be saved by him!