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The Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity.
LORD, we beseech Thee, grant Thy people grace to withstand the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil, and with pure hearts and minds to follow Thee the only God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
“ So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”—1 Cor. i. 7.
BELIEVER, when he looks towards his latter end,
thinks not of death, but of the coming of his Lord. Nay, he is in a state of expectation for that happy time, when he “shall know even as he is known.” Death does not visit him with terror, or with a curse ; Death is
of Christ to his soul. It is sad to part from those we love on earth, and the severing of ties is painful ; but yet “to depart, and be with Christ, is
; far better.” Let us endeavour to win to Christ especially the souls of those we love on earth, that we may meet them, too, in the coming of our Lord. With what gratitude will they embrace us upon the resurrection morning, in that land where there shall be no more parting or tears !
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind . . . And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."MATT. xxii. 37, 39.
E has not said, “Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God,
and love thy neighbour in His fear,” though these sentiments might as readily be extracted from the law of Moses ; first, because the good God wishes to be served rather from love than constraint, as He asks no more than what is reasonable, when He claims the unreserved service of His creatures, and, what is doubly reasonable, when His service coincides with their interest : “God loveth a cheerful giver." Secondly, because, though the fear of the Lord be the “ beginning of wisdom,” it is not the perfection thereof; therefore, it could not accurately be said to include the law and the prophets, which contain the whole. The sum of religion is the love of God. This is the mark to which our efforts should tend, and to which, if our fear of the Lord be sincere, we shall be guided day by day, till the path of the just hath brightened into perfect day. Then, landed on the shore, we shall know what that service of love is which feels no fear, and for the hardest work requires no argument or motive stronger than this—"Abba, Father.”
Yes, I would love Thee, blessed God!
Freely Thou gav'st Thy dearest Son
In Him, Thy reconciled face,
my foolish wandering heart,
The Lineteenth Sunday after Trinity.
O GOD, forasmuch as without Thee we are not able to please Thee; Mercifully grant, that Thy Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
“ Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”—EPH. iv. 30.
THESE words suggest two heads of meditation. In
the first place, the peculiar office of the Holy Spirit: He “SEALS us unto the day of redemption." This sealing implies two things. He marks you out as God's own and everlasting possession. “The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His.” (2 Tim. ii. 19.) Yes, the Lord knows and loves His people : they are His sealed ones.
They are not their own, for they “are brought with a price.” What a consolation is this ! You may be poor and despised, but you are rich in God's love, and honoured by Him. You may be friendless and forsaken, yet you are not left friendless or forsaken by Him. He, the Saviour, who died for you, “sticketh closer than a brother ;' " and this is His assurance, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” But, again, this " sealing” implies that the Holy Spirit separates you-keeps you apart from the rest of the world. How so? By the outward seal of holiness. “Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God." (2 Cor. iii. 2, 3.) The world knows the true believer by his outward walk, by the consistencies of his life, and his heavenly conversation. This outward visible holiness of the sealed one is strikingly expressed by the same word in Rev. vii. 3 : “Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads." But, in the second place, our text suggests an admonition : “Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God.” It is obviously impossible to specify every act by which the