“It was for me that
Jesus died! for me, and a world of men,
Just as sinful, and just as slow to give back His love again;
And He didn’t wait till I came to Him, but He loved me at my worst;
He needn’t ever have died for me if I could have loved Him first.”
And then he continues:—
Thou love such a man as me, my Saviour! Then I’ll
More heed to this wand’ring soul of mine, if it’s only for Thy sake.”
Yes, we are all of worth to God, but we must needs go to the Cross to learn how great is our worth; and, as we bow in its sacred shadow, may we learn to say: “For Thy sake, O Christ, for Thy sake, I’ll take more heed to this wandering soul of mine."
* * * * *
“O man, strange composite
of heaven and earth!
Majesty dwarfed to baseness! fragrant flower
Running to poisonous seed! and seeming worth
Choking corruption! weakness mastering power!
Who never art so near to crime and shame,
As when thou hast achieved some deed of name.”
* * * * *
“When ye pray, say.... Forgive us our sins.”—LUKE xi. 2, 4.
A recent writer has pointed out that sin, like death, is not seriously realized except as a personal fact. We really know it only when we know it about ourselves. The word “sin” has no serious meaning to a man, except when it means that he himself is a sinful man. And hence it comes to pass that we can still turn to the penitential Psalms, to the seventh chapter of Romans, to the Confessions of St. Augustine, or to the Grace Abounding of John Bunyan, and make their words the language of our own broken and contrite hearts. For when Bunyan and Augustine and Paul and the psalmists spoke of sin, they spoke not the thoughts of others, but their knowledge of themselves; they looked into their own hearts and wrote. That is why their words “find” us to-day. Nevertheless, paradox though it may seem, our greatest Teacher concerning sin, Himself “knew no sin.” Born without sin, living and dying without sin, Christ yet “knew what was in man,” knew the sin that was in man, and from His own sinless height once for all revealed and judged and condemned it. Let us seek, then, to learn the mind of Christ on this great matter.
And once more, as I have had occasion to point out in a previous chapter, we must not look for anything formal, defined, systematic in Christ’s teaching. We cannot open the Gospels, as we might some modern theological treatise, and read out from them a scientific exposition of sin—its origin, its nature, its treatment. The New Testament is not like a museum, where the flowers are dried and pressed,