Devotional: May 7th
Worlds, as countless as the sands of the sea-shore, were his, and innumerable sovereignties lay low at his feet. Tell off the sum of what he renounced, world by world, host by host, and a life would not suffice. Suppose the renunciation gradual, and watch it from the throne of the universe. You would see the suns of least magnitude, the heavens of greatest distance vanishing one by one, very rapidly, from the face of the universe; worlds of greater magnitude following them into night; great spaces would begin to appear on the outskirts of creation; faster and faster the mighty dominions of God would flee away from the sceptre of the Son of God; at length he would be left alone with our system; finally, with our earth. He is yet King of kings, and Lord of lords. But now he leaves the throne of his glory; and infinitely descending, shines for an instant among the arch-angelic dignities; is presently seen among cherubim; then passes downward with an expiring glory, through powers and principalities. Vanishing from the heavens, he is seen on earth, not in the likeness of an angel, but as a man. He traverses the exalted ranks of humanity, and refuses to tarry in them; nor does renunciation begin to find its limits, until he has found for himself an abiding place as a Nazarene carpenter, the son of a carpenter. He enters on his ministry, and has not where to lay his head; receives with gratitude a cup of cold water; is made of so little reputation that he is accused of being in league with Satan, is denounced as a blasphemer, and an enemy of religion.
Thus poor did he become. Wherefore? For your sakes. That his example might take hold upon your consciences, and lead you to follow in this path of renunciation. He teaches you, like him, to lay aside glory, honor and power, wealth and comfort. But what glory have you, the very dregs of creation, to renounce? The thing is this. In departing from God you have made for yourselves a world of delusion, and constituted yourselves lord of that world. You have put yourselves in the place of God, as the lawgiver of yourselves; you have put your honor in the place of God's, and desired to have the whole creation enraptured with yourself, rather than God; yet were urgent to have all things declare your glory, rather than his. Renounce then, oh! renounce this usurped dignity, and the wealth that you have chosen to call yours. Follow the example of Christ, and become poor. This is needful in order that subsequently, through his poverty, you may be made rich. You must be changed into his image at the foot of the ladder, and then shall you ascend it with him, even the very ladder by whose multitudinous steps he came from his sublime throne to earth.
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