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Saint Peter's Day.

THE COLLECT.

O ALMIGHTY God, who by Thy Son Jesus Christ didst give to Thy Apostle Saint Peter many excellent gifts, and commandedst him earnestly to feed Thy flock; Make, we beseech Thee, all Bishops and Pastors diligently to preach Thy holy Word, and the people obediently to follow the same, that they may receive the crown of everlasting glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

THE EPISTLE.

And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent His angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod.—Acts xii. 11.

ANY are the afflictions of the righteous, but the

Lord delivereth him out of them all.” When things are ever so dark, He can restore light: as He

“MANY

that ties the knot can best unloose it. The righteous need never therefore be dispirited like other men : for he may always presume, either that the affliction does not touch him in any material part, or that, if it does, a ready expedient will be found for its removal. I have no doubt there are states of affliction which would be unsuited to, and injure materially Christians in particular stages of their development ; and from such they may reasonably hope for exemption at the hands of “the Father of Spirits,” who, like a wise schoolmaster, varies His discipline according to the temper and character of the subject He deals with. Let the Christian in no case conclude, that the affliction which he bears or apprehends falls under such exception. But he may always assume the general position that, should it be so, he shall be delivered. The wisdom of Divine Providence is indeed so great, that we are frequently compelled to admit that it has been brought about by means quite natural, and of which a far-seeing perspicacity might have foreseen the plan. Though in other instances the interposition may be esteemed as extraordinary, as in the case of Peter-a peculiar interposition in an ordinary age being equivalent to a miracle in an age which abounded in miracleslet us learn, therefore, from the Epistle, that as in our darkest trials there is always hope, so we “should always pray and never faint."

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THE GOSPEL.

And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona : for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven.”—MATT. xvi. 17.

“N

O man can call Jesus Christ Lord, but by the Holy

Ghost.” Peter had the evidences of Christianity, to which Christ appealed as proofs of His mission, wrought before his eyes. Yet unless the Father had opened his heart, they would have been lost upon him. “By grace we are saved through faith, and that not of ourselves : it is the gift of God.” Peter knew who Christ was, but did he know who revealed it to him when others doubted ? He may, or he may not: if he attributed it to his own intelligence, he was mistaken. Flesh and blood have not enabled us, any more than Peter, to call Jesus Christ, Lord. If we have been led to acknowledge His sceptre, and to swear by His law, we have reason to feel the more deeply indebted to a higher Power. We should have slept the sleep of death, denying, or practically denying, the Lord who bought us. “But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, ... and hath raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” If the whole work of our happiness be thus, from beginning to end, the work of God; if we be indebted for every step in our progress

to the Hand which arrested our downward course; what loving and beneficent ideas should this reflection give us of our Father which is in heaven! How calculated to increase the love of God in our hearts !

How helpless guilty nature lies,

Unconscious of its load!
The heart, unchanged, can never rise

To happiness and God.

Can aught beneath a power divine

The stubborn will subdue ?
"T is Thine, eternal Spirit, Thine

To form the heart anew.

"T is Thine the passions to recall,

And upwards bid them rise:
And make the scales of error fall

From Reason's darkened eyes.

To chase the shades of death away

And bid the sinner live!
beam of heaven, a vital ray,
"T is Thine alone to give.

O change these wretched hearts of ours,

And give them life divine !
Then shall our passions and our powers,

Oh God, be only Thine.

Saint James the Apostle.

THE COLLECT.

GRANT, O merciful God, that as Thine holy Apostle Saint James, leaving his father and all that he had, without delay was obe. dient unto the calling of Thy Son Jesus Christ, and followed Him ; so we, forsaking all worldly and carnal affections, may be evermore ready to follow Thy holy commandments; through Jesus Christ. Amen.

THE EPISTLE.

And he killed James the brother of John with a sword.”-ACTS xii. 2.

DO

O not expect that virtue will always be rewarded

in this world, and that the right course shall necessarily be the successful one. It is no doubt the case that tales of fiction generally make the good to turn out happy, and the bad to meet with a bad end ;

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