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Lord came to the second, but not without trial; for when the axe was laid to the root of the tree, then were the hearts of believers and unbelievers made known. His fan was in His hand, and few of the sons of Levi were gathered into his barn. Behold the Lord, whom we seek, comes yet again to His temple. He knocks at the heart of each and every one of us. Admittance or refusal the touchstone of our trial-who may abide it?
He wishes to enter in, and dwell there ; "you with them and He with you, and both to be made perfect in one.” But you must not only remove your dearest idol, but pledge yourself, soul and body, to His service, or He will not enter. Behold, He knocks ! Tarry not; send Him not away for a more convenient season; close with Him at once, and you will have cause to bless the moment through the ages of eternity. It will tingle in your ears in the valleys of Paradise, when, robed in white, you will stand before His throne with palms in your hands, and sway a sceptre and wear a crown which will last when the crowns of this world are faded, and the kingdoms of this world are crumbled in the dust. “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock : if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and sup with him, and he with Me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne.”Rev. iii. 20, 21,
“ And the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consola. tion of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.”—LUKE Ü. 25.
UCH was the posture of a religious Jew in those
days—to await with spiritual expectation the Lord whom his people sought, and to watch His arrival at His temple. And such St. Paul implies to be the characteristic of a sincere Christian, whom he considers sufficiently described by the single note of " loving the appearance” of his Redeemer. Let our eyes be always forward to the Second Advent, as those of the fathers were towards the first.
Blessed are our eyes, for what they desired to see, we have seen. These things being so, then what need we have of watchfulness, of meditation, and prayer, to preserve the attitude required ! "And every one who hath this hope in him, purifieth himself even as He is pure.”
The Word, who dwelt above the skies
With God before the world began,
A helpless new-born Child of man.
Already on His sinless head
The streams of wrath begin to flow;
The lowliest poverty He bears,
That we may be with wealth supplied : He weeps, and by His precious tears
A guilty world is purified. A simple dress, a mean abode,
A life obscure His glory hide: Proud man, behold thy lowly God,
And let the sight destroy thy pride.
Saint Alatthias's Bay.
O ALMIGHTY God, who into the place of the traitor Judas didst choose Thy faithful servant Matthias to be of the number of the twelve apostles ; Grant that Thy Church, being always preserved from false Apostles, may be ordered and guided by faithful and true pastors; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
" And the lot fell upon Matthias ; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles."- ACTS. i. 26.
THE mode of the appointment of Matthias-namely,
by casting lots-is a pleasing recognition on the part of the Apostles, that the natural course of things are under Divine superintendence. All men must acknowledge that human affairs are governed to a great extent by what is popularly termed chance :
for we find the best contrived plans to miscarry from unforeseen obstacles, and foolish designs frequently crowned with success by an equally unexpected turn of events. “ Chance," says a Heathen writer (Sallust, Cat. Consp. cap. 8), rules everything ; she raises and depresses our fortunes more in the spirit of caprice than in accordance with established principles.” Epicureans and Theists agree in this;
the only difference being, that what is blind chance to these is chance intelligent to those. An unintelligent traveller who is conversant with several languages perceives no rule or design in the different jargons which he must speak; though the philologist has traced a law which binds the most distant to kindred. Similarly, in the walks of geology, astronomy, and the rest : where the ordinary observer sees but a mass of confusion, to the student nothing is without a reason, nor is he satisfied with his knowledge till he discovers it. And as it is with these, so it is with human affairs. Let analogy then, if not experience, teach us that the chance (so to speak) which governs them is no random irregularity, but moves upon wheels ordained by God, and laws which He has invented before the world was. O Lord, how great are Thy works ! and Thy thoughts are very deep. “How unsearchable are Thy judg. ments, and thy ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord, and who hath been his counsellor ?"