In the same spirit it was, too, that Bishop Patteson was enabled to sacrifice so many of his natural tastes and inclinations, and to throw himself and all his varied powers and gifts heartily into this missionary enterprise; that he taught himself to love his native pupils and companions with an affection that drew their hearts mightily to him, and through him to the Saviour. This spirit in him it was, in which, as his beloved pupil the Rev. Henry Tagalana, said of him after his death, "he loved them all alike"--this, and not his linguistic skill and other talents, gave him his marvelous power.
And now brethren, let us apply these thoughts more closely to the subject of the Melanesian Mission, brought under our special notice by the solemn service in which we are engaged. The whole history of that mission is an illustration of love going forth in self-sacrifice and proving a marvellous power. Look first at its founder, the first and only Bishop of New Zealand, with us in spirit, as we well know, this day, and with his whole heart offering up his son for this work. Which of those of us who were privileged to live or labour under him does not remember with admiration and thankfulness the many and rare gifts wherewith God endowed him? And yet, which of us would attribute his greatness and his world-wise influence to those gifts, and not rather to the spirit of love to God and man in which these gifts were exercised? to that spirit in which he ever, gladly, devoted himself to the sick, the prisoner, the mourner, and the destitute, to the lonely settler in the back woods, to the Native of this country, and the Melanesian Islands?
And this self-sacrificing love is our , as Christians. Our duty did I say? It is a necessity in our existence, if Christians indeed. It is the outward sign and evidence of the spirit working within. Christ "laid down His life for [6/7] us;" by so doing He redeemed us to God; He purchased us; and our acceptance of Him as our Saviour (and we all Him our Saviour) implies that we have put ourselves in to His hands for the accomplishment of our salvation, and of such purposes as He may see fit to use us for. We owe it to Him, in pursuance of that we have already done, ; day by day to place our lives at His disposal for the brethren's sake; for use by Him in our households, in society, in the Church at home, in the Church abroad, or among the heathen, as He through the Holy Spirit shall direct. As a rule, we need not, we should not sacrifices for ourselves; it is habitual self-denial, readiness to offer the sacrifice that may be called or, rather than asceticism, to which He calls most of us. But we may well be anxious when the course of our lives runs so smoothly that it seems as though there were no special cross for us to bear, no special sphere demanding self-sacrifice; in such case we must look more carefully into ourselves and around us, and see whether "for the Kingdom of Heaven's sake" there is not some self-denial we might with advantage practice, some self-humiliation we might voluntarily subject ourselves to.
But once more. Self-sacrificing love is the source and secret of all true spiritual power in men; and in proportion to the reality of the self-sacrifice is the power. No doubt a certain power is exercised by the possession of knowledge, and of the gifts of eloquence, languages, influence, and the like; and we all should do our best to improve our knowledge, and should 'covet earnestly the best gifts;' but the power which results from the possession of all gifts even, is not permanent or far reaching, where love is wanting. All history teaches this! How did Napoleon realise this when he contrasted his empire and influence with that of Christ? and inferred from the contrast Christ's Divinity! Whereas on the other hand, the power that goes forth even from the unlearned, ungifted, humble servant of Christ "whose one oblation is a life of love," is beyond estimation, and extends far further than is at all realised by men generally. Education, experience, natural abilities, rank, favourable circumstances and surroundings generally, must ever give a man great advantages; and all the love in the world does not, in , make up for the absence of these; but, intrinsically, it is better and more powerful than all of them. Love is as the rays of the sun that speedily bring about what the boisterous tempest failed to accomplish; it penetrates, it opens, it subdues the heart that would fain resist its influence. And ere its mission is fulfilled, it will bring all men under its in-[7/8]fluence; it will gather them beneath the shadow of the Cross, whereon its Incarnation is set forth crucified.
But, . Although in its practical exhibition, in the case of each of us, it is limited to "our neighbours;" yet, under that term, under certain circumstances, those are included to whom we do not ordinarily apply it. If the definition of the hymn be true--"Thy neighbour, it is he whom thou hast power to aid and bless,"--then, in their turn, and in varying degrees according to circumstances, the sick, the needy, and the outcasts of our cities, the prisoner, the afflicted, the resident in the country districts, deprived of the abundant means of grace we enjoy, and the inhabitants of the islands of the sea, claim our consideration, our self-sacrificing love.
Others for Language all their Care express,
And value Books, as Women Men, for Dress:
Their Praise is still--The Stile is excellent:
The Sense, they humbly take upon Content.
Words are like Leaves; and where they most abound,
Much Fruit of Sense beneath is rarely found.
False Eloquence, like the Prismatic Glass,
Its gawdy Colours spreads on ev'ry place;
The Face of Nature was no more Survey,
All glares alike, without Distinction gay:
But true Expression, like th' unchanging Sun,
Clears, and improves whate'er it shines upon,
It gilds all Objects, but it alters none.
Expression is the Dress of Thought, and still
Appears more decent as more suitable;
A vile Conceit in pompous Words exprest,
Is like a Clown in regal Purple drest;
For diff'rent Styles with diff'rent Subjects sort,
As several Garbs with Country, Town, and Court.
Some by Old Words to Fame have made Pretence;
Ancients in Phrase, meer Moderns in their Sense!
Such labour'd Nothings, in so strange a Style,
Amaze th'unlearn'd, and make the Learned Smile.
Unlucky, as Fungoso in the Play,
These Sparks with aukward Vanity display
What the Fine Gentleman wore Yesterday!
And but so mimick ancient Wits at best,
As Apes our Grandsires in their Doublets treat.
In Words, as Fashions, the same Rule will hold;
Alike Fantastick, if too New, or Old;
Be not the first by whom the New are try'd,
Nor yet the last to lay the Old aside.
You then whose Judgment the right Course wou'd steer,
Know well each ANCIENT's proper Character,
His Fable, Subject, Scope in ev'ry Page,
Religion, Country, Genius of his Age:
Without all these at once before your Eyes,
Cavil you may, but never Criticize.
Be Homer's Works your Study, and Delight,
Read them by Day, and meditate by Night,
Thence form your Judgment, thence your Maxims bring,
And trace the Muses upward to their Spring;
Still with It self compar'd, his Text peruse;
And let your Comment be the Mantuan Muse.
Again, true love, wherever it exists, is essentially self-sacrificing. Every peaceful and happy house is built up upon self-sacrifice; each quietly giving way in all matters, not of principle, to the other; each trying to think habitually of others first, and surrendering, whenever necessary, his or her own feelings, tastes, and wishes; his or her own personal comfort. Well, indeed, would it be if each person entering upon new relations or duties realised this; and then and there, in intention and resolve, in God's strength, and before Him offered this sacrifice! Habitual self-denial, resulting in having the actions, the words, the gestures, the very thoughts and feelings under control, is the secret of satisfactory domestic, social, political, religious relations; where this is practised in a spirit of love, persons may differ greatly upon principles even, and may urge their principles by every fair means that occurs to them without mutual bitterness. Ah! would it were so always when Christians differ!
Whoever thinks a faultless Piece to see,
Thinks what ne'er was, nor is, nor e'er shall be.
In ev'ry Work regard the Writer's End,
Since none can compass more than they Intend;
And if the Means be just, the Conduct true,
Applause, in spite of trivial Faults, is due.
As Men of Breeding, sometimes Men of Wit,
T' avoid great Errors, must the less commit,
Neglect the Rules each Verbal Critick lays,
For not to know some Trifles, is a Praise.
Most Criticks, fond of some subservient Art,
Still make the Whole depend upon a Part,
They talk of Principles, but Notions prize,
And All to one lov'd Folly Sacrifice.
 First, then, I would ask where outside the Christian Church is there one who ever explained the nature of love as did St. Paul in that wonderful description, of which an unconverted Jew of modern times said--"he would it were written in letters of gold, and set up in every house;" and further, where outside of Christianity is there exhibited anything approaching to the pure and self-sacrificing love here described? There have indeed been great philanthropists since the Christian era who have made no profession of Christianity; but these have no doubt imbibed more than they have been aware of of the Spirit of Christ. Before Christ came, there was nowhere anything worthy of the name of Christian love.
As a young boy, I watched this unbelievable life-long sacrifice that my grandfather exhibited and often wondered if I could ever show that much humility for those around me. After his passing, I knew that carrying on his humble legacy was something I no longer wanted to do, but something that I knew I had to do. After all, it would only be fair to honor someone who had dedicated their life to self-sacrifice; to put them in the spotlight for once, to hold them up for everyone to see.