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questions on religious matters distress you? Is your soul in a maze, and unable to extricate itself ? Cut the knot-are these things revealed, or are they not? If they are," he that runs may read”—at least, as clearly as he is required. If not, what are they to thee? Keep to thine obvious duties, and leave them to themselves. The conclusion of the whole matter is this,-Let the obvious and possible commands of Christ be your object in all cases, and neither let yourself be disturbed by vain speculations in the course of examining His doctrine, nor depressed and excited by questions of hope and fear, which are the problems of His providence.

What can relieve the troubled soul,
When the dark waves of anguish roll,
When dangers press, when doubts annoy,
And foes are threatening to destroy ?

All human succour then is vain
The fainting spirit to sustain :
Jesus, 'tis Thine alone to ease
The suffering of such hours as these.

The Innocents' Bay.

THE COLLECT.

O ALMIGHTY God, who out of the mouths of babes and sucklings hast ordained strength, and madest infants to glorify Thee by their deaths ; Mortify and kill all vices in us, and so strengthen us by Thy grace, that by the innocency of our lives, and constancy of our faith even unto death, we may glorify Thy holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

THE EPISTLE.

GOD

Firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb,fc.-Rev. xiv. 4. IOD and the Lamb combined together to effect

a certain object—the salvation of lost sinners. This object required expensive means towards its accomplishment. Consequently, it must have been one which God and the Lamb had very much at heart. The fulfilment thereof is the completion of their design; consequently, we hear, “He shall see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied;" and the saved are here called “firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb." Now let me ask myself, do I anxiously desire to effect something which would peculiarly evince my gratitude to that God who spared not His own Son, and to that Saviour who loved me and gave Himself for me? Evidently, the way is open. Several of my fellow creatures are perishing around me, regardless of the priceless ransom which has been paid for them. O may I be made an instrument, in the hands of God my Saviour, in rescuing these brands from the burning, and gathering these mildewed ears into the granary of Grace! So, quickened and preserved together a faultless congregation, we shall join in a perpetual hallelujah to hymn His name, who washed us in His precious blood to make us kings and priests before Him—“ The Lord our Righteousness.”

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THE GOSPEL.

The angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt," c.—Matt. ii. 13.

GOD

OD could, if He pleased, have miraculously pre

vented the evil designs of Herod against His Son. Or, without a miracle, He might have defeated them by removing the tyrant by a natural death. He did neither the one nor the other ; but directed the guardians of the child to make use of the natural suggestions of prudence-quietly to withdraw from the approaching storm. How like is this to the conduct of our Lord on a similar occasion, when His life was threatened by an infuriated populace. He quietly made his way through them, and concealed Himself. Perfect holiness doth not court unnecessary danger, any more than perfect courage doth. It is only the indiscretion of fools which pulls evil on their own head and charges Providence with the consequences. Use all lawful prudence, exhaust every rational resource of self-preservation : otherwise, your confidence in Providence may be found presumption, and you may be said to "tempt the Lord your God." The counsels of the righteous, directed by the light from above, shall prosper. Joseph, in obedience to the heavenly intimation, escaped the snare.

But the wicked gropeth in darkness and often committeth crimes which are as gratuitous as they are evil. God resisteth the proud and maketh the thoughts of man to be in vain. The policy of Ahitophel spun the cord which ended his being. And though the design of Herod seems not to have so fatally hurt his secular prospects, it seems evidently to have failed of the end which he proposed, and to have involved him in crime which brought him no adequate return. Woe be to the man who lights not his lamp at the gates of Heaven! For, if he succeed in his devices, he gains a loss and if he miscarry, he has iniquity joined to disappointment.

Sweet lambs of Christ, unasked ye gave
Your lives for Him who came to save :
Ye smiled beneath the murderers' frown
Ye sported with your martyr's crown.

Oh what availed the murderers' guilt,
The martyr-blood the tyrant spilt ?
That martyr-blood is spilt in vain,
The infant Rival is not slain.

O’er Bethlehem's coasts a wail is spread,
And hearts are wrung, and joys are fled :
But One survives the carnage wild,
The Virgin-born, the Royal Child.

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