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“ And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, and sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding : and they would not come.”—MATT. xxii. 1, 2, 3.
HE language which the Gospel addresses unto man
is not the language of command simply, but of invitation, or, more properly, that of a royal invitation, which includes command. When the subject receives an invitation to court, though few men would be found who would not consider themselves too highly honoured to think of other reasons for complying, yet every such invitation is a command. Do we feel ourselves as much honoured, at whose hearts Jesus stands and knocks ? Be not unmindful of the special favour accorded to us by God. Millions have perished who have never heard of this salvation ; there are millions more who never shall ; and no message of grace, as far as we know, has been sent to the fallen angels. Again, mark the open hospitality of our King. He takes not the first refusal, but sends a pressing message by another deputation. He presents the entertainments in the most attractive form, and finally does not proceed to extremities with the refractory subjects, till they have proceeded to extremities with Him. When we have
such an invitation from such a quarter-not to a feast or court party, but to the more solid blessings of life, immortality, and the favour of Jehovah ; if we are not wholly buried in the things of sight and sense, how
“make light of it” ?
Return, and come to God;
Cast all your sins away ;
Repent, believe, obey !
Say not ye cannot come;
For Jesus bled, and died,
Should ever be denied.
Say not ye will not come;
'T is God vouchsafes to call;
On whom His wrath shall fall.
Come, then, whoever will ;
Come, while 't is called to-day ;
Repent, believe, obey !
The Twenty-first Sunday after Trinity.
GRANT, we beseech Thee, merciful Lord, to Thy faithful people pardon and peace, that they may cleansed from all their sins, and serve Thee with a quiet mind; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
“ For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”—EPH. vi. 12.
ET not the violence of the internal struggle dis
courage us from perseverance in the work begun; but, rather, “count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience." Keep in mind the words of God to Abraham, “Now I know that thou fearest God, because thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, from me.” And a stronger proof of faith in the case of many is such a violence done their fallen nature-stronger than the sacrifice of a son—stronger than the cutting off a right hand, or plucking out a right eye. Those who have faced pain, and martyrdom, and ascetic severity, have failed in charity ; for the nature of man often rebels more against virtue than pain, more against Christian humility than gratuitous suffering. If we would prepare ourselves for the spiritual strife, we shall do well to act to the letter upon the advice which the apostle suggests. It is the wisdom of God, and experience will confirm it; for nothing is fitter for assuaging the fire of temptation, than the self-application of the mysteries of the kingdom. I have known when a due entertainment of the meekness of Christ calmed passion—when the remembrance of his lowly and single-minded eye to His father's glory curbed ambition. I have known when the remembrance of His sufferings and perfect satisfaction, gave lightness to the fainting pilgrim, and nerved him again for his journey heavenwards. But as it is absolutely necessary that counter principle should be brought to strengthen us, whose battle is not merely with flesh and blood, but with principalities, powers, and spiritual antagonists, we should never forget the apostle's other admonition,
“ to pray always” for those spiritual assistances which God has promised to give to those who ask it of Him : weak though we be, His strength shall be made perfect in our weakness ; are more than conquerors through Him that loved us."
“ Sir, come down ere my child die. Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth.”—John iv. 49, 50.
THE nobleman's son was at the point of death ; the
father applied to Jesus for help, and by reason of the faith of the father the son was cured. The father of the lunatic boy applied to Jesus for relief (Mark ix.), and by reason of his faith the child was dispossessed. The mother of the Syrophænician maid applied to Jesus when her daughter suffered from an unclean spirit (Mark vii.), and though she received some discouragement at first, yet the faith of the mother prevailed, and the daughter was restored. Were these instances recorded without design, or were they not rather intended as an encouragement to the parents of unhappy children, in other ages, to apply for their spiritual rescue to the Great High Priest? Parents let not this lesson be lost upon you. Intercede with God for your children, with all the earnestness of faith and hope ; and though their hearts be long closed