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when during His own ministry He began to lay the foundations of His future kingdom. His charge to His twelve disciples, when He sent them forth to aid His own labours, is intended, as is evident from the language, not only for their direction and encouragement at that time, but for the instruction of His Church in every age.* In this charge the principle of union in work for God by practical sympathy with those that themselves labour in it is emphatically taught; “He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth Me, receiveth Him that sent me.”of How wide a field of work for God through Christ do these words of our Blessed Saviour open to every willing heart! For the work of all who in heart and soul co-operate with the Church's witness to the truth and name of God is one work; and one with the work of Christ Himself.
This same principle is also very emphatically urged by the Apostle John in his third Epistle. He encourages the hospitable and * St. Matt. x. 5, &c.
+ St. Matt. x. 40-42.
apparently wealthy Gaius in his “faithful work towards them that are brethren and strangers withal ;" who for the sake of the Name went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles. therefore ought to welcome such, that we may be fellow-workers with the truth.” Every word and deed that strengthens the spirit of those that are testifying to the Name, and manifesting it to others as Jesus Himself did, is real union with them in their work for the truth."
It is well to meditate on such passages, that we may feel deeply their practical force and their application to ourselves, as regards our own work for God in the world. We shall thus be able to appreciate more fully St. Paul's careful and elaborate investigation, in the twelfth chapter of his First Epistle to the Corinthians, of the constitution of the Church as the spiritual Body of Christ, and the uniting in that one Body of all its members with their varied and exceedingly diverse functions and powers. For the purpose for which this Body has been constituted is not merely the mutual edification and strengthening of the members themselves. Above all it is that end for which Christ was born and came into the world — viz., to bear witness to the truth ; and the function of each several member of the Body is nothing else than his own particular share of that one work, to fulfil which he has been born again and taken into this family of God, and made a partaker of the Spirit of Christ.
THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST AS ONE OF DEVOTION
TO A SPECIAL WORK.
HAVING thus concluded, both from our Lord's own express directions to His disciples, and from the purpose with which He constituted His Church, what is that work, His fulfilment of which is the example and pattern for us to follow, we may return to the question what lessons we may learn for ourselves from that example, as to our own special work for God.
And first, the difficulty may present itself to our minds perhaps, that our work, even though its general and ultimate purpose may be the very same as that for which Christ received His mission from the Father, yet essentially differs from His in this respect, that it is special. Nothing is more apparent in St. Paul's illustration of the constitution and work of the Churchnor indeed is any principle of more importance for our own guidance as to work for God—than the limitation and definition of the work assigned to each member. It is this which makes it necessary for us to know God's will as to our own proper work. Then, so far as we know it, our part is to submit to it entirely, and follow it heartily, content to have no will but His, and never impatient because we are not engaged in other work which in our judgment would be preferable, so long as it is His will that we continue in that which to us may seem less useful, less honourable, or less spiritual. Of course, in this respect our Lord Jesus Christ is an example to us, in continuing for so many years in His
obscure home at Nazareth, subject to His parents, and learning lessons of spiritual wisdom, content to fulfil the will of His Father by passing through all the conditions of our human life, however inconspicuous to the world. But was He also equally an example in this respect, when the time came for Him to go forth into the world, to bear witness to the truth, and manifest the Name of the Father? For if He were not, it would seem that there must be so great a difference between our work and His, that His fulfilment of the work which God gave Him to do would not enable Him altogether to sympathise with us in some of the difficulties and trials of our faith which oftentimes present themselves to us in regard to our work for God, from the very fact of its limitation.
But we must here bear in mind the distinction which it was necessary to determine very clearly as to that particular work of Christ which is the standard for us to follow in our work. Undoubtedly in His work of the redemption of sinful man, there was no limitation. The propitia