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The First Sunday after the Epiphany.
O LORD, we beseech Thee mercifully to receive the prayers of Thy people which call upon Thee; and grant that they may both Perceive and know what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfil the same; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
" For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office : so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.-Rom. xii. 4, 5.
HE fault which is here censured is not so much
pride as self-exaggeration : not so much a swelling concerning what we have, as a mistaken conceit about what we have not. We see men too generally disposed to overrate their abilities; it is indeed a failing; but one which even expediency requires to be restrained. It impairs the utility of a man to think too highly of his gifts : for this may prevent him from accepting the duties for which he is qualified, through hopes of being entrusted with the execution of those to which he may be inadequate. “ All members have not the same office." There
may be particular instances of universal geniuses. (I doubt whether there have been any, strictly speaking.) But, on the other hand, for a man to be discouraged at his deficiency in one thing, after he has proved himself competent in many things, would be absurd. This would be, to be discouraged at the usual course of Providence. The best way-judging from the text-and which most falls in with the views of the Creator, would seem to be for everyone, even the most diversely gifted, to choose some one department, and to cultivate it, as far as may be, to perfection-since the brevity of human life does not indeed admit of perfectly cultivating all the talents even which we possess.
“ All that heard Him were astonished at his understanding and answers.. And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them.''-LUKE ii. 47,51.
OW very little is known of the early days of the
Lord Jesus on earth. Human expectation might probably have presumed that every year of this precious
life would have been rendered remarkable by transactions as memorable as those of the last three. But the man Christ Jesus spent the chief part of his days in an obscure town of an obscure province, and in following the occupation of an obscure trade. The publicity of His life did not commence until the termination of it had almost appeared. “Man is impatient, and for precipitating things, but the Author of Nature and of Grace is slow and deliberate in all His movements.” Had the publicity of Jesus commenced a year, or even a day, sooner than it did, the disposition of His time, humanly speaking, would have been less calculated by that year or day to answer the grand objects of His mission—the glory of God and the salvation of lost sinners. For we know that every circumstance of His being was antedated and planned, by inscrutable Wisdom, to the best advantage, before He was born. So it is with the people of Christ. Those whom we should presume were most calculated to advance His glory in the most prominent circumstances, in many instances live and die in obscurity, or are cut off just when their usefulness begins to appear, while the wicked and worthless are permitted to live and occupy the most important positions, which they only serve to dishonour. Yet let us be sure that by all this the glory of God is not only not impeded, but that no other arrangement would answer this great end equally well. For " He hath made all things for Himself, even the wicked for the day of evil.” How unsearchable are the ways of Providence in the arrangement and disposition of human affairs !
Great God of providence! thy ways
Are hid from mortal sight;
Or clothed with dazzling light.
The wondrous methods of thy grace
Evade the human eye;
The farther off they fly.
But in the world of bliss above,
Where Thou dost ever reign,
And not a doubt remain,
The Second Sunday after the Epiphany.
ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who dost govern all things in heaven and earth; Mercifully hear the supplications of Thy
ople, and grant us Thy peace all the days of our life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
“ He that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.”-Rom. xii. 6.
T is not enough to give—we must give with a good
heart. What opportunities of obliging are likely to occur in my course to-day!—what necessities for counteracting perverse or unfriendly dispositions ? Let me endeavour to meet them, finding a pleasure in the act—"not grudgingly, nor of necessity,” but “with cheerfulness.” It is an unpleasant thing for myself to receive a favour as a great compliment. Similar must be the feelings of others. Let me study their feelings as much as my own. It were well to let them