Colossians 2:7
As ye received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him.

I. THE RECEPTION OF CHRIST IS THE SUBSTANCE OF CHRISTIANITY.

1. This includes the reception of him doctrinally, as the historical Person Jesus, and the acceptance of him as Lord. The false teachers misrepresented his true character in these respects.

2. But it expressly points to a believing reception of himself as at once the sum and substance of all teaching and the foundation of all hope for man. Those who thus receive him

(1) become sons of God (John 1:11, 12);

(2) receive the promise of an eternal inheritance (Hebrews 9:15), are co-heirs with himself (Romans 8:17);

(3) receive the very Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:9);

(4) receive rest for the soul (Matthew 11:28);

(5) possess security that he will save to the uttermost (Hebrews 7:25).

II. THE WALK MUST CORRESPOND TO THE SPIRITUAL RECEPTION. "So walk ye in him." This implies:

1. That we are carefully to guard the true doctrine of Christ's person. One apostle rejoiced to hear that his children" walked in truth" (2 John 1:4). There were men who "walked not after the traditions which they received of the apostle" (2 Thessalonians 3:6). Let us give earnest heed to what has been "received of the Lord" and. is delivered "to his apostles" (1 Corinthians 11:23). Let us not "lose what we have wrought" (2 John1:9).

2. That we are to walk in all holy obedience to Christ's commands. "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you" (John 15:14).

3. But the passage essentially means that we are to walk in Christ as the sphere or element in which our life is to find development. We are to walk in him as the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and our life is to be the life of faith in the Son of God (Galatians 2:20). All our strength, guidance, motives, are to be found in him. "His grace will be sufficient for us," as he "dwells in our hearts by faith."

III. THE CONDITIONS OF A HOLY WALK IN CHRIST. "Having been rooted and being built up in him, and being established in your faith, even as ye were taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving." There is here an expressive variety of metaphor.

1. The believer must be firmly rooted in Christ. This is done once for all in regeneration. It is a past act. The tree may shake in its topmost branches, but its roots are firm because they grasp the solid earth. So the firmness of believers is due to Christ (John 10:28, 29), and his sap makes them fruitful (John 15:5). The believer is to "cast forth his roots as Lebanon," and thus he will "grow up unto him in all things."

2. He must be built upon Christ as the Foundation.

(1) There is no other foundation (1 Corinthians 3:11). As the foundation upholds the house, so is the believer upheld by Christ (Matthew 16:18).

(2) The building is progressive - "being built up in him" (1 Corinthians 3:9-15). The believer is to receive "the strengthening of his faith" in Christ. Thus the body of Christ "maketh increase of itself in love."

3. He must be established in faith. "Established in your faith, even as ye were taught."

(1) Faith is the great means of giving stability to life. "It is a good thing that the heart be established with grace" (Hebrews 13:9).

(2) Faith itself needs stability. The Gnostics exalted knowledge above faith, but faith holds the key of the soul's position. "Therefore be not faithless, but believing;" "Lord, increase our faith." The strong faith of Abraham gave him the stability that marked his singularly consistent and holy career.

(3) Faith must have constant reference to its grounds in the Word - "even as ye were taught." The Colossians were not to follow the false teachers, but Epaphras, their teacher.

4. There must be an abounding faith mingled with thanksgiving. "Abounding therein with thanksgiving."

(1) We cannot trust God too much. We ought, therefore, to pray continually, "Lord, increase our faith." We ought also to add to our faith every other Christian grace (2 Peter 1:5).

(2) Our faith must overflow with thanksgiving. We must be sensible of our mercies and privileges, and thus we shall get the comfort and benefit of them by "giving of thanks." - T.C.







As ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord so walk ye in Him.
This letter was written under opposite feelings — feelings that never seem absent from the apostle — the most intense faith in the gospel and the most intense fear for it. No shadow of doubt crossed his mind that it was God's gospel, and that the whole power of God went with it; and yet he was filled with fear for it and its success in the world. This seems a strange contradiction, but it was no difficulty of St. Paul's day, it is the difficulty of all times. We believe in the gospel, and yet we are constantly seeking to preserve it. Why? We are afraid for the gospel not because it is not Divine, but because it is. The world may be trusted to provide for its own. Its products grow naturally, as weeds grow. But the Divine gift comes from another clime, and because it will not thrive without care and culture we fear. It is because it is the ark of God we carry that we tremble as we put our hands to it. The ark will never perish, but the hands that bear it may falter, and for a time let it fall into the hands of its enemies. The Church shall never perish, but there is no promise that the living branch shall not be scathed by unbelief or godlessness. Because of the preciousness of the treasure we hold in earthen vessels, we rejoice and tremble as we receive it in trust from God. As we send out new missionaries, and as the faith of Christ passes into new recepticles, we think of how the faith shall be preserved. We know of the Divine Word which is a light to our path, and the creeds and sacraments; but our text speaks of another safeguard. If the Colossians were to be rooted and built up and preserved from the corruptions of the world, philosophy, and vain deceits, it was not to be by the possession of the Word, creeds, and sacraments, but in addition by walking in Christ as they had received Him. Activity in Christian life and work serves to defend and preserve the faith.

I. Because IT IS PERPETUALLY PROVING IT. Christianity is a science, the knowledge of God; but it is an applied science, and the application of the science of the knowledge of God is walking with God. Astronomy is a science; navigation is astronomy applied to practice. Every time the sailor unfolds his map at sea, and is enabled to mark the very spot where his ship is, he has a fresh proof that astronomy is true. There is many a captain who carries his vessel into port who is quite sure that his nautical tables are true, who cannot astronomically prove them; but he has practical proofs, and the oftener he avails himself of that, the surer he is.

1. So it is with our faith. The Trinity, Incarnation, Atonement, are mysterious things; but we prove them as we find this to be true, that the faith which makes us know Him makes us know ourselves, and brings us into a nearer, living, and deeper communion with Him.

2. Prayer is a mystery. Who can prove to us how and why it is answered? But who knows that prayer is answered? He who has gone down upon his knees and has risen with new light and strength. So walk in Christ, so carry and work the mysteries of faith into your life, and then you will have continued proofs of the truth of your faith.

II. Because USE IS A MEANS OF SAFETY. That which we possess, however precious, we are more likely to lose if we lock it up than if we use it daily. It may be stolen long before we get to know it. But what we constantly use we miss directly it is gone. So with the Christian faith. It is those portions that we live by and in, that as we daily use them it becomes impossible to lose. But let there be any part of your creed that is not woven into daily life, and the adversary may be stealing it before you wist.

III. Because IT TENDS TO THE SANCTIFICATION OF THE SOUL, If the mystery of the faith is to be held in a pure conscience, then as the conscience grows purer will be the surer grasp of the mystery of faith. It is in the light of the single eye that God's truth reveals itself. If the treasure be held in earthen vessels, then it depends upon the purity of the vessel whether its contents be preserved in sweetness. And among purifying methods activity is one of the most effective. An article in constant use often keeps itself clean.

(Bishop Magee.)

I. THE GREAT BLESSING. "Ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord."

1. Acceptance of Christ. A voluntary act.

2. Possession of Christ. Having received Him He is ours, and we share all His acts.(1) Christ died: we die with Him (Galatians 2:20), and so are free from the penalty of sin in the eyes of the law.(2) Christ was buried (ver. 12) and we with Him, and so became dead to our former life (Romans 6:4).(3) Christ rose, and we rise with Him into newness of life (ver. 13).(4) Christ is at the right hand of God, and we ascend with Him into the honours and safety of the heavenly life (Colossians 3:1-3).

II. THE URGENT DUTY.

1. Walk, implying —(1) Progress, not only motion. There may be motion in the sap of a plant, but the plant is fixed; and in a ball struck by a bat, but that is forced, not voluntary; but 8 walk implies personal activity. So in the Christian walk.

(a)We must not stay at the starting-point.

(b)We must not loiter, "Forgetting the things behind."

(c)We must not walk as in a circle, "laying again the foundation of repentance," etc.(2) Change of scene, in a walk our eyes are ever dwelling on something fresh. So we must ever be finding something new in Christ.(3) Our walk is to be "in Him." He is to be seen in us. Others are to know our Master by our life.

2. Rooted in Him.(1) The root gives stability to the tree. Those trees are most stable whose roots take the largest and deepest hold.(2) The life of a tree depends upon its rootedness; uproot it and you destroy it. So we die if not rooted in Christ our Life.

3. Built up in Him.

(1)Constant additions.

(2)Growing solidity.

(3)Ultimate perfection.

(4)Exhibition of the Architect's skill, patience, and power.

4. Stablished in the faith. We must have Christ in us or we shall be overthrown. We are not to be a vane turning at every breath of wind, nor a plant taking such slight hold that some stronger blast will overthrow; but like an oak or a house on a rock, so stablished that no power can move. This is necessary in view of the various influences to which Christian life is exposed.

III. The STRONG MOTIVE.

1. The obligation — "As." Having received Christ we are bound to walk in Him.

2. The appeal — "Ye." Think of what you were and what Christ has made you. Show your gratitude by walking in Him.

(J. Gill.)

I. THE CHRISTIAN LIFE BEGINS IN A PERSONAL RECEPTION OF CHRIST. "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord." Religion is the receiving of a Divine gift. It is the growth and development of the supernatural in man. Christ is received —

1. As the Christ. The Colossian heresy aimed at subverting the true idea of the Anointed One, commissioned by the Father to effect the reconciliation of the world to Himself; it interposed a series of angelic mediators. To receive the Son of God effectually is to receive Him in all that He claimed to be, and to do, as the Divine, specially-anointed Son, who is the only mediator between man and God. It is of unspeakable importance to catch the true idea of the character and office of Christ at the beginning of the Christian life.

2. As Jesus the Lord. Our reception of Christ does not place us beyond the reach of law, but creates in us the capacity for rendering an intelligent and cheerful obedience.

3. By an act of faith. To receive Christ is to believe in Him.

II. THE CHRISTIAN LIFE IS GOVERNED BY THE LAW OF CHRIST, To walk in Christ implies —

1. A recognition of Him in all things. In everything that constitutes our daily life — business, home, society, friendships, pleasures, cares, etc., we may trace the presence of Christ and recognize His rule.

2. A complete consecration to Him.

3. A continual approximation to the highest fife in Him.

III. THE CHRISTIAN LIFE IS SUPPORTED AND ESTABLISHED BY FAITH IN FULLY DECLARED TRUTH,

IV. THE CHRISTIAN LIFE HAS ITS MOST APPROPRIATE OUTFLOW IN THANKSGIVING. This is the end of all human conduct. Thanksgiving should be expressed in every word and appear in every action.

(G. Barlow.)

I. THE CHRISTIAN'S DOWNWARD GROWTH. "Rooted in Him." All of strength and fruitfulness there is in us depends on the depth with which we strike down into the life and love of God. Measuring and grasping the love of God, Paul begins downward. "Rooted and grounded." We can only reach loftily upward, and broadly outward, as we strike deeply downward. For as the height of a tree is generally in proportion to its depth, the outreaching of its branches according to the down-striking of its roots, so a Christian cannot fail of attaining to a lofty lily, if only he can first attain to a lowly life. We can see at a glance how much depends on this being rooted in Christ.

1. Our fruitfulness. A fruitfulness that continues in spite of surrounding drought, and barrenness, and death — how shall it be maintained? I recently witnessed the effects of long continued drought. The growing corn stood parched and earless. The reason is not simply the long absence of rain in summer, but also the superabundance of rain in spring — that on this account the roots of the corn and wheat ran along on the surface without striking down into the bottom soil. The plants had such prosperous rains in spring that they made no provision for a dry time by going down into the rich depths.

2. Our strength. You have seen the oak smitten by the whirlwind, and how with its giant arms it has caught the tempest in its embrace, and hurled it back, defeated, while itself stood firm and unmoved in its rooted strength. It is pitiful to see a godless man trying to be steadfast in affliction. He has no hidden hold on God by faith and prayer; he has not been sinking his faith deeper and deeper into the heart of Christ as the years rolled on. And now, when the shock comes, he has nothing to hold him. His friends try to prop him up with prudential maxims. But props can never take the place of roots.

3. Purity. "Consider the lily how it grows." It is in the stream, but not of it. Down deep into the rich and nourishing earth it strikes its roots, and so grows on the nutriment of the hidden soil. If you can reach down into God, and feed altogether on Him, you may present the beautiful spectacle.

II. THE CHRISTIAN'S UPWARD GROWTH. "Rooted and built up in Him."

1. Not built up as the house is built, with materials gathered here and there, and wrought together from without. The tree builds itself from the heart, and so does the Christian. Morality seeks to overlay men with good works. Its office is to get them to take on goodness in successive layers, by contact with good men and good books. Here is organic growth as against mechanical, vital increase as against artificial.

2. The duty of habitual aspiration after the highest attainments in grace is here urged. It has been said that no man can gaze on the marble statue of the Apollo Belvidere without standing more erect, and dilating his form in unconscious imitation. If the perfect physical form produces such impression, how much more the man who is perfect in spiritual stature and in moral greatness — the man Christ Jesus?

III. THE CHRISTIAN'S OUTWARD GROWTH. "Abounding therein with thanksgiving." This is the branching out into all service, and fruitfulness, and praise.

1. The one significant fact concerning the gifts of God to us is their exceeding abundance. The grace of God which bringeth salvation "was exceeding abundant." The mercy of God is "abundant mercy." "The Holy Ghost is shed forth abundantly." It is "our God who will abundantly pardon." "An entrance be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of God." And as though to sum up all, the apostle writes of Him who is "able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think."

2. What is the abundance bestowed for except that it may flow out in abounding blessings to others?

(A. J. Gordon, D. D.)

I. CHRISTIAN CONSCIOUSNESS IN ITS APPREHENSION OF CHRIST. "Ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord."

1. There are two opposing theories as to the Person of Christ — the rationalistic, which rules out His Godhead; the revealed, which is the basis of the catholic faith. The one holds to Him as the perfection of humanity, the other as the incarnation of Deity.

2. Two systems of theology widely distinct are dependent on these theories. The one puts man at the centre, and is wholly human; the other enthrones God, and is essentially Divine. Two of the widest extremes of religious life flow from these systems. The first is a religion of self-development, and depends on personal culture. In the second, regeneration is a supernatural birth superinduced by a power coming directly from God. The one has its type in education, the other in faith.

3. There is only one Christ. He is not a variable or divisible quantity. His personality is definite, His claims absolute, His work specific.

4. It is within the one or the other of these systems that we must posit our decisions. We cannot accept of both. If the one is true the other is false. We must be for Christ or against Him.

II. CHRISTIAN CONSCIOUSNESS IN ITS RECEPTION OF CHRIST. "Ye have received."

1. There is agreement with some shades of difference in the terms receiving, believing, trusting, Christ. He who intelligently believes the testimony, trusts in the promise and receives the gift. "To as many as received Him," etc. Here are two things implied.(1) Faith receives the whole Christ. All that we see of the incarnate Word in His acts, teaching, death, etc., Christian faith accepts. And then a supernatural person necessitates a supernatural mission; and also the system being given, we should expect to find what we do find, a supernatural person its central figure. Christ and His system are co-ordinate and identical. Accept of Christ, and you must receive His truth. Receive the record, and you must accept His person. Faith thus makes all the truth a welcome guest to the Christian heart.(2) On the side of faith Christ asks and gets the whole of man. The full integrity of the mental and moral life goes over in this act of faith to Christ. Thus there is a virtual exchange of two individual persons, a mutual transfer of relations and interests, out of which comes the sublime unity of a new and indivisible life. "I am crucified with Christ," etc.

2. The life of faith, as embodied in the moralities of Christian living, is thus provided for, and follows this consecrating act. "Rooted and built up and stablished."(1) Life has its genesis in a root — faith in Christ. All life is a feeding thing. From the flower in the wall up to the brain and soul all things live by what they feed upon. In all life there is that into which life strikes its root.(2) Growth is a result of manifold processes. It is not a mechanical product. You can fabricate material structures: growth is an organic creation. To make an atom or a world or to destroy them may require no more than the instant volition of God. To grow a grain of wheat He employs the grandest forces in the universe; and these are yoked by a thousand subtle laws kept at work by His personal will. How much more grand are the agencies with which He originates, feeds, and glorifies life in the soul of man is seen in this, that in the one service He harnesses law, and in the other He incarnates Himself. "He is our life."(3) In the fervid enunciation of figures the apostle appears for a moment to get into a complication of incongruous similitudes — "walking" implying action, "rooted" demanding rest; and yet there is consistency. Progress upward in the corn, e.g., comes out of fixedness of root. Unroot it, and you kill its growth. So we "grow up in all things into Christ" only as we rest in the fixedness of faith.

III. CHRISTIAN CONSCIOUSNESS IN ITS SUBJECTION TO CHRIST,

1. The emphasis is on the word "Lord." What is this sovereign headship of Christ?(1) In the Church mediatorially, "He is the head of the body"; administratively, "He is Lord of all"; virtually, and in fact, "He is our life."(2) Higher up in the ranges of spiritual life "in all things He has the pre-eminence." God has highly exalted Him. All the angels of God worship Him.(3) In the material worlds "He is before all things, and by Him all things consist." They are what He makes them and where He places them. They get their use and glory as He employs them. All agencies, influences, events, ages, are tributary to Christ.(4) So in the future of the world's history "He must reign." Man's proud intellect, his enterprise, wealth, art, science, etc., are coming, and must finally come, to serve Him.

2. But there is a more close and vital relation in the faith that gives to Christ the lordship over His people. What, then, is the dominion under which we voluntarily place ourselves in our surrender to Christ?(1) Its sphere is specific. "The kingdom of God is within you" — where the personality of the man is.(2) Its claim is absolute. "Ye are not your own." Christ claims to be monarch absolute over mind, body, etc., because all has been "bought with a price."(3) And the mind is free and unconstrained in its surrender. Man's will is free; and yet how man may exert that freedom, on what objects, for what ends, and with what results, is to be determined by the authority of the Lord Christ. "One is your Master."

(J. Burton.)

Suppose that you should go to a baker's window, and stand there for an hour, and stare at the bread, I do not think that the sight would fill you much. No, you must eat, or else there might be tons of bread within reach, and yet you would die of famine. You might be buried in a grave of bread, and it would be of no use to you. Even manna would not nourish you unless you ate it. You must receive food into yourself, or it is not food to you. The Saviour Himself, if you do not receive Him by faith, will be no Saviour to you.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

There is great safety in going back to first principles. To make sure of being in the right way, it is good to look back at the entrance. Well begun is half done. The Colossians have commenced well; let them go on as they have begun.

I. THE FACT STATED. Sincere believers have "received" Christ. This is the old gospel word. Here is no evolution from within, but a gift from without heartily accepted by the soul. This is free grace language; "received," not earned or purchased. Not received Christ's words — though that is true, for we prize every precept and doctrine — but received Christ. Observe —

1. The personality of Him whom they received. "Christ Jesus the Lord," His person, Godhead, humanity, Himself into their

(1)knowledge;

(2)understanding;

(3)affections;

(4)trust;

(5)as their life at their new birth, for when they received Him He gave them power to become the sons of God.

2. The threefold character in which they received Him..

(1)As Christ anointed and commissioned of God;

(2)as Jesus, the Saviour to redeem and sanctify them;

(3)as the Lord to reign and rule over them with undivided sway.

3. The looking away from self in this saving act of reception. It is not said, as ye have fought for Jesus and won Him; or, studied the truth and discovered Christ Jesus; but, as ye have "received" Him. This strips us of everything like boasting, for all we do is to receive.

4. The blessed certainty of the experience of those to whom Paul wrote: "As ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord." They had really received Jesus; they had found the blessing to be real: no doubt remained as to their possession of it.

II. THE COUNSEL GIVES: "So walk ye in Him." There are four things suggested by "walk."

1. Life.

2. Continuance.

3. Activity.

4. Progress.

III. THE MODEL WHICH IS PRESENTED TO US. We are to walk in Christ Jesus the Lord "as we received Him." And how was that? We received Him —

1. Gratefully.

2. Humbly.

3. Joyfully.

4. Effectually.

5. Unreservedly.Thus we should continue to walk in Him, evermore in our daily life excelling in all these points. Alas, some have never received Jesus! Our closing words must be addressed to such.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

It was quite in accordance with Paul's logical mind that he should often place what he is teaching in a proposition: "As ye have received, so walk." All true religion lies in that analogy.

I. THE RECEPTION.

1. As what?

(1)As Christ, the anointed of God;

(2)as Jesus, your Divine Saviour;

(3)as Lord, the King of your heart.

2. How? By an act of faith. Faith was the hand that took the inestimable gift.

3. Whither? Into your hearts.

4. With what consequence? He became united to your very being, and is now your own.

II. THE WALK.

1. As the reception was an act of faith, so the walk must be a walk of faith.

2. As we received pardon for sin, so we must walk in liberty, free from the bondage of sin and fear.

3. As we received Christ Jesus as Lord, so we must walk in the path of His commandments.

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

We shall deal with the text —

I. BY WAY OF EXPOSITION.

1. The life of faith is represented as(1) receiving. This implies(a) the opposite of anything like merit.(b) A sense of realization making the matter a reality. One cannot receive a shadow or a phantom, but only something substantial. While we are without faith Christ is a name or a history merely. By the act of faith Christ becomes a real person in our consciousness.(c) Grasping it. What I receive becomes my own, so by faith Christ becomes my Christ. Look at some of the senses in which the word is used in Scripture, such as —(d) Taking — we take Christ into us as the empty vessel takes in water.(e) Holding — what we take in. A seive does not receive water. The life of faith consists in holding Christ within us the hope of glory. Believing. "He came to His own, and His own received Him not."(f) Entertaining. Thus the barbarous people at Melita received Paul. After we have found Christ we entreat Him to come in and sup with us.(g) Enjoying. We read of receiving the crown of life, which means enjoying heaven and being satisfied with its bliss; and so when we receive Christ we enjoy Him.(2) Receiving Christ. Salvation may be described as the blind receiving sight, the dead life, etc.; but we have not only received these things, we have received Christ, both as Saviour and Lord, in His Divinity and humanity.(3) This is a matter of certainty; and the apostle goes on to argue from it. It is not a supposition or a hope, or a trust, but a fact. "Ye have."

2. The walk of faith.(1) Walk implies

(a)action. The reception of Christ is not to be made a mere thing of thought for the chamber. We must not sit down in indolence, but carry into practical effect what we believe.

(b)Perseverance; not only being in Christ to-day, but all our life.

(c)Habit. A man's walk is the constant tenor of his life.

(d)Continuance. It is not to be suspended. How many people think that in the morning and evening they ought to come into the company of Christ, and then they may be in the world all day.(2) Christ is to be the element in which we are to walk. If a man has to cross a river, he fords it quickly, but just as we walk in the air are we to walk in Christ.(a) As Christ was when we received Him the only ground of our faith, so long as we live we are to stand to the same point.(b) We received Christ as the substance of our faith, and just as you then no more doubted the reality of Christ than your own existence, so walk ye in Him.(c) Then Christ was the joy of your souls; let Him always be so.(d) He was then the object of your love, and must be for ever.

II. BY WAY OF ADVOCACY. Suppose that having been so far saved by Christ we should begin to walk in some one else, what then?

1. What a dishonour to our Lord.

2. What reason is there for the change?

(1)Has Christ proved Himself insufficient?

(2)Can philosophy and vain deceit offer you a wisdom such as His?

(3)Do ceremonies tempt you? You have all that you can require in Christ.

3. What can your heart desire beyond God? Having Christ, you have God, and having God, you have everything.

III. BY WAY OF APPLICATION.

1. To those who complain of a want of communion. If it were worth your while to come to Him at first, it is worth while for you always to keep to Him.

2. To those who complain of a want of comfort. No wonder, if you do not live near the source of consolation.

3. To the inconsistent. When a man walks in Christ, he acts as Christ would act.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

In this statement of fact Paul's argument culminates. He appeals to their experience. They had received the doctrine of Christ from Epaphras, and He Himself had entered their hearts.

I. The ORIGIN of the Christly character. "Received Christ." which means to accept Him —

1. As the supreme object of the soul's love.

2. As the imperial guide of the soul's activities.

3. As the only Physician of the soul's diseases. This is the reception — not merely the reception of His doctrines into the intellect, but Himself into the heart as its moral monarch.

II. ITS PROGRESS. "Walk in Him." This implies —

1. A most vital connection with Him. "In Him." In His ideas, spirit, aims, character.

2. A possibility of walking out of Him. Peter did so. Man's liberty as a responsible being and the Word of God show this.

3. A real personal exertion. No one can walk for us.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

The lighthouse tower, that stands among the tumbling waves, seems to have nothing but them to rest on, yet there, stately and stable, it stands, beautiful in the calm, and calm in the wintry tempest, guiding the sailor on to his desired haven, past the rolling reef, through the gloom of the darkest night, and the waters of the gloomiest sea. Why is it stable? You see nothing but the waves, but beneath the waves, down below the rolling, tumbling billows, its foundation is the solid rock. And what that tower is to the house on yon sand-bank Christ's righteousness is to mine, Christ's works to my best ones.

(T. Guthrie.)

Gradual ascent is as necessary to the mind in order to its reaching a great idea, as it is to the body in order to its reaching a great height. We cannot ascend to the pinnacle of a cathedral, which towers aloft in air, without either steps or an inclined plane. We cannot reach the summit of a mountain without first toiling up its base, then traversing its breast, and then successively crossing the limits where verdure passes into crag, and crag into a wilderness of snow. Even when we have gained the highest point, we are still, it is true, at an infinite distance from the blue vault of the firmament which stretches above our heads. Still we have a better and more exalted view of what that firmament is: we have at least risen above the fogs and mists which obscure its glory; and the air which encompasses us is transparent to the eye, and invigorating to the frame. Now, the law of man's bodily progress is also the law of his mental progress. Both must be gradual. No grand idea can be realized except by successive steps and stages, which the mind must use as landing-places in its ascent.

(Dr. Goulburn.)

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