صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

he wages of sin be death, “ the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

THE GOSPEL.

I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now beer with Me three days, and have nothing to eat.”—MARK viii. 2.

THIS multitude, the greater

part of which most pro

bably remained in unbelief, may however convey a lesson to many modern Christians respecting the obligation of attending means of grace. Divers of them

came from far,” and exposed themselves to the danger of fainting and fatigue. Their anxiety to satisfy their knowledge respecting the pretensions of the alleged Messiah, or at least to obtain some spiritual instruction from so distinguished a moral Teacher, has, humanly speaking, something commendable in it, especially when we consider the pains and obstacles which might have excused them. Would that many among us made as little of the difficulties which prevent their church attendance as this incredulous crowd did of the circumstances which discouraged their following Jesus! And, as the Lord miraculously provided for those whose thirst for knowledge made them suitable objects of His compassion, so I think it very likely that He, in His common providence, would overrule and shape the current of events to suit the exigences of those whom regular

attendance upon the standing system of religious worship exposes occasionally to inconvenience of different kinds. Nay, further : as “he who saveth his life shall lose it,” I believe that the sensitive concern for self-preservation, which cheats the soul of its spiritual meals, excludes their bodies likewise from the particular protection of Providence-a more valuable insurance than our short-sighted cautions. If these reflections be correct, and if the multitude were generally unprofitable hearers, the passage may be an encouragement to all unconverted as well as converted among us, who prefer the acquisition of religious instruction to the gratification of personal ease. Just as Jesus loved the young man, although he would not follow Him (Mark x.), because he showed a certain anxiety for God's service; so had He compassion upon this giddy multitude, because they came from afar to to hear His words, though they do not seem to have believed

upon

Him.

O God of Jacob, by whose hand

Thy people still are fed;
Who, through this weary pilgrimage,

Hast all our fathers led :

Our vows, our prayers, we now present

Before Thy sacred throne :
God of our fathers, be our God,

And all our children own!

Through each perplexing path of life,

Be Thou our constant guide ; Give us each day our daily bread,

And all we need provide.

Protect us with Thy constant care,

Till all our wanderings cease ; And at our Father's blest abode

Our souls arrive in peace.

The Eighth Sunday after Trinity.

THE COLLECT.

O God, whose never failing providence ordereth all things both in heaven and earth; We humbly beseech Thee to put away from us all hurtful things, and to give us those things which be profitable for us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

THE EPISTLE.

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear ; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father."-Rom. viii. 15.

THESE words tell you, in the first place, what you

have ceased to be; and, in the second place, what you have now become. You have ceased to be in a state of bondage—that is to say, a spiritual bondage to sin and Satan. “ Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.” (John viii. 34.) And is not obedience to sin a state of slavery? It has become a proverb. We say of the drunkard (for instance), he is “the slave of drink.” Why? Because, though with tears, at times, he acknowledges that every fresh indulgence degrades him more and more in the eyes of God and man, yet, poor slave ! he cannot master his appetites. But, again, the fear of death keeps in a state of bondage the natural man. “Christ came that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, even the devil, and deliver them who, through fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage." (Heb. ii. 15.) So much for what we have ceased to be. But, in the next place, what have we become? The adopted sons of God. « Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed on us, that we should be called the sons of God." The Spirit of adoption implies a spirit of love in us towards God “ Father,” as opposed to the spirit of bondage, implying fear, for "perfect love casteth out fear." Again, by consequence, it implies the spirit of obedience ; " for this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments." Finally, the Spirit of adoption implies the spirit of earnest prayer, “whereby we cry, Abba, Father!” What a beautiful picture is this, and full of consolation ! In the hour of trial and temptation,

our

« السابقةمتابعة »