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Saint Stephen's Day.

THE COLLECT.

GRANT, O Lord, that in all our sufferings here upon earth for the testimony of Thy truth, we may stedfastly look up to heaven, and by faith behold the glory that shall be revealed ; and being filled with the Holy Ghost, may learn to love and bless our persecutors by the example of the first martyr, St. Stephen, who prayed for his murderers to Thee, O blessed Jesus, who standest at the right hand of God to succour all those that suffer for Thee, our only Mediator and Advocate. Amen.

THE EPISTLE.

HERE

Stephen, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven,fc.-Acts vii. 55. ERE is an instance of the death of a believer.

The “way of death is once to be trodden by all” --by me also. Travellers climbing dangerous precipices are encouraged by the guide encountering the difficulties before them. Let me then revert for encouragement to the manner of Stephen's death. Few have encountered a more painful end; as painful mine is not likely to be. But was this holy martyr fluttered, or perplexed, or frightened thereby ? No; his steady eye was fixed with confidence on his Saviour, and through Him he beheld a joyful admission to the mansions of the blest. So

may mine

eye

in faith behold my Saviour, and so may my peace be made with God before that trying hour shall come !

THE GOSPEL.

" O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not !-Matt. xxiii. 37.

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HI
ERE is blessed comfort for thee, O my soul! Those

who resisted the invitations of grace and treated with violence the heralds who offered it, our Lord would have gladly received, had they only returned. Who then need despair ? who, looking back upon the dark passages of his life, and the acts which he wishes most sincerely to be undone, need fear himself disqualified by the past, if he only resolve to seek refuge in Jesus ? Lord, give me that holy resolution! It is Thou only that can work in me both to will and to do. Draw me unto Thee, oh my Father, that thus being gathered under the sheltering wing of Jesus, I may rest secure from the storm of Thy indignation around me. But, oh my soul, delay not to accept thy invitation to pardon. The time is shortly at hand when all things shall come to an end, and the only question shall be, who is and who is not under the wing of Christ? And those who seek not His wing now, shall not find it then. Those who despise His salvation now, shall not receive it then. Let us “kiss the Son, therefore, lest he be angry, and so we perish from the way. . . . Blessed are all they which put their trust in Him.”

The martyr first, whose eagle-eye

Could pierce beyond the grave ;
Who saw his Master in the sky,

And called on Him to save.

Like Him, with pardon on His tongue,

In midst of mortal pain,
He prayed for them that did the wrong,

Who follows in his train ?
A noble army-men and boys,

The matron and the maid,
Around the Saviour's throne rejoice,

In robes of light arrayed.

Saint John the Ebangelist's Day.

THE COLLECT.

MERCIFUL Lord, we beseech Thee to cast Thy bright beams light upon thy Church, that it being enlightened by the doctrine of Thy blessed Apostle and Evangelist Saint John may so walk in the light of thy truth, that it may at length attain to the light of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

THE EPISTLE.

THE

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” –1 JOHN i. 9. NHE weight of past transgressions, and of accounts yet

uncancelled, might be the great considerations which would discourage me from coming to God. But why should I now hold back? The way is clear. Let me

Let me shut my eyes to the past. I am born again this day—anew. God has buried my former life. He has forgiven me. “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.” Faithful—because He hath promised Just–because the price of my pardon was paid when the Lord Jesus died for me, “the just for the unjust.” Whatever the Lord requires, that let me do. No sacrifice is too great for Him who loved me. Nothing could hold me back but the feeling that it were useless, and that there rests a stain on my character which God cannot well forget. But here again is the promise, “ If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

go on.

THE GOSPEL.

If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee ? follow thou Me." -JOHN xxi. 22.

"FOLLOW thou Me,” that is

, Attend to thy proper

duty, without being diverted from it by impertinent considerations. What had the extent of St. John's life to do with the interruption of St. Peter's discipleship? Just as much as many of our excuses have to do with the neglect or mismanagement of present duty. Commit the future to God : the secret things belong unto Him. Let a working faith be ours—let the event be His. Be thou the instrument: let Him be the workman; and rejoice in the Lord's work, as the Lord in the creation rejoiced in His own. Do speculative

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