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21 Jerusalem-the Church-long desolate, being deserted by her own children, is amazed at finding herself surrounded by other children; even

the Gentiles.

places, and the land of thy destruction, shall even now be too narrow by reason of the inhabitants, and they that swallowed thee up shall be far away. The children which thou shalt have, after thou hast lost the other, shall say again in thine ears, The place is too strait for me; give place to me that I may dwell. 21 Then shalt thou say in thine heart, Who hath begotten me these, seeing I have lost my children, and am desolate, a captive, and removing to and fro? and who hath brought up these? Behold, I was left alone; these, where had they been? Thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders. 23 When kings and queens "seek first 25 And kings shall be thy the kingdom of God," and the honour nursing fathers, and their of his ordinances; they shall find queens thy nursing mothers: blessing at the hand of the Lord. they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me. 24 Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered? But thus saith the LORD, Even the captives of the mighty

24 It seemed to human view im

possible that the Church should be freed from the strong tyranny of the Chaldeans but with God all things are possible.

shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children. 26 And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and they

26 The enemies of God, who are united in a spirit of enmity against his religion and people, shall be consumed; one of another.

shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine: and all flesh shall know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.

Observe throughout this magnificent chapter, how powerfully the divinity of our Redeemer is displayed and insisted upon.

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THEN shall the righteous 1 Observe that the righteous and man stand in great boldness the wicked are supposed to be standbefore the face of such as ing before the judgment seat of God. have afflicted him, and made no account of his labours. When they see it, they shall be troubled with terrible fear, and shall be amazed at the strangeness of his salvation, so far beyond all that they looked for. And they repenting and groaning for anguish of spirit shall say within themselves, This was he whom we had sometimes in derision, and a proverb of reproach: 1we fools accounted his life madness, and his end to be without honour: how is he numbered among the children of God, and his lot is among the saints! Therefore have we erred from the way of truth, and the light of righteousness hath not shined unto us, and the sun of righteousness rose not upon us. We wearied ourselves in the way of wickedness and destruction: yea, we have gone through deserts, where there lay no way: but as for the

Irreligious men mock the faithful followers of the cross. They can see no honour in self-denial, no courage in self-controul, no safety in selfabasement. Theirs is ever the im

passioned language of Festus to St. Paul-" Paul, Paul, thou art beside thyself."

Remorse will force confession of

their own folly and madness. Time

will prove that it is true wisdom to aim at such a life as shall bring a man peace at the last. All else is comparatively of no worth.

way of the Lord, we have not known it. 8 What hath pride profited us? or what good hath riches with our vaunting brought us? All those things are passed away like a shadow, and as a post that hasted by; and as a ship that passeth over the waves of the water, which when it is gone by, the trace thereof cannot be found, neither the pathway of the keel in the ways; or as when a bird hath flown through the air, there is no token of her way to be found, but the light air being beaten with the stroke of her wings, and parted with the violent noise and motion of them is passed through, and therein afterwards no sign where she went is to be found; or like as when an arrow is shot at a mark, it parteth the air, which immediately cometh together again, so that a man cannot know where it went through even so we in like manner, as soon as we were born, began to draw to our end, and had no sign of virtue to shew;

8 In another world, the impenitent, though too late, will be amazed, that reckless of their soul's welfare, they should have idolised riches, pride, and things of this world: for these all pass away, like the froth of the wave, or the smoke of the flame; and are less than vanity.

but were consumed in our own wickedness. For the hope of the ungodly is like dust that is blown away with the wind; like a thin froth that is driven away with the storm: like as the smoke which is dispersed here and there with a tempest, and passeth away as the remembrance of a guest that tarrieth but a day. 15 But the right- 15 What a glorious prospect for the eous live for evermore; their faithful and the good! reward also is with the Lord, and the care of them is with the most High. Therefore shall they receive a glorious kingdom, and a beautiful crown from the Lord's hand; for with his right hand shall he cover them, and with his arm shall he protect them. He shall take to him his jealousy for complete armour, and make the creature his weapon for the revenge of his enemies. He shall put on righteousness as a breastplate, and true judgment instead of an helmet. He shall take holiness for an invincible shield. His severe wrath shall he sharpen for a sword, and the world shall fight with him against the unwise. Then shall the right aiming thunderbolts go abroad; and from the clouds, as from a well drawn bow, shall they fly to the mark. And hailstones full of wrath shall be cast as out of a stone bow, and the water of the sea shall rage against them, and the floods shall cruelly drown them. Yea, a mighty wind shall stand up against them, and like a storm shall blow them away: thus iniquity shall lay waste the whole earth, and ill dealing shall overthrow the thrones of the mighty.

Reader, now prepare for that day of final recompense; now, put away evil, and avoid the misery of everlasting death; now, cleave to that which is good, and gain life eternal through Jesus Christ our Lord.

EVENING. WISDOM OF SOLOMON Vi.

HEAR therefore, O ye kings, and understand; learn, ye that be judges of the end of the earth. people, and glory in the multitude of nations. For power is given you of the Lord, and sovereignty from the Highest, who shall try your work, and search out your counsels. Because, being ministers of his kingdom, ye have not judged aright, nor kept the law, nor walked after the counsel of God; horribly and speedily shall he come upon you: for a sharp judgment shall be to them that be in high places. For mercy will soon pardon the meanest but mighty men

Give ear, ye that rule the

3 We all are answerable to God for

the use of the talents-the advantages-committed to us. How fearfully is this responsibility increased to princes and governors! Power is a talent, given by the Lord; and He will watch the counsels of those to whose care he has entrusted it.

6" Unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required;" saith the Lord of life. (Luke xii. 48.)

shall be mightily tormented. For he which is Lord over all shall fear no man's person, neither shall he stand in awe of any man's greatness: for he hath made the small and great, and careth for all alike. But a sore trial shall come upon the mighty. Unto you therefore, O kings, do I speak, that ye may learn wisdom, and not

fall away.
10 For they that
keep holiness holily shall be
judged holy and they that
have learned such things shall

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10 Blessed encouragement for kings to rule in righteousness and holiness! Their labour shall not be in vain in

the Lord.

seen of them that love her, and

find what to answer. Where. fore set your affections upon my words; desire them, and ye shall be instructed. Wis- 12 Search the Scriptures: there shalt dom is glorious, and never thou find wisdom. fadeth away: yea, she is easily found of such as seek her. 13 Wisdom goeth before and preShe prevented them that pareth the way-or precenteth. Thus, desire her, in making herself when we pray God to "prevent first known unto them. Who- us in all our doings"- -we mean, so seeketh her early shall have "Go before, and prepare a holy and safe way for us in all our doings." no great travail: for he shall find her sitting at his doors. To think therefore upon her is perfection of wisdom: and whoso watcheth for her shall quickly be without care. For she goeth about seeking such as are worthy of her, sheweth herself favourably unto them in the ways, and meeteth them in every thought. For the very true beginning of her is the desire of discipline; and the care of discipline is love; and love is the keeping of her laws; and the giving heed unto her laws is the assurance of incorruption; and incorruption maketh us near unto God: therefore the desire of wisdom bringeth to 21 And when the chief shepherd a kingdom. If your de- shall appear, ye shall receive a crown light be then in thrones and of glory that fadeth not away*. sceptres, O ye kings of the people, honour wisdom, that ye may reign for evermore. As for wisdom, what she is, and how she came up, I will tell you, and will not hide mysteries from you: but will seek her out from the beginning of her nativity, and bring the knowledge of her into light, and will not pass over the truth. 23 Where envy is, there must be "Neither will I go with con- misery.

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suming envy; for such a man shall have no fellowship with

* In how affecting a strain does the Church in our Liturgy, having prayed for the stability of the sovereign's earthly crown, pass to an ardent supplication that after this life an eternal crown may await her, "and Enally after this life she may attain everlasting joy and felicity.”

wisdom.

24 But the multi

tude of the wise is the welfare of the world: and a wise king is the upholding of the people. Receive therefore

24 Let sovereigns weigh well their responsibility. Let them learn wisdom; that they may know how to govern for that is their proper study.

instruction through my words, and it shall do you good.

How happy for us, who live in a christian country, where our rulers may learn the art of good government by a diligent study of the Word and Will of the King of kings. For to rule a people either upon the narrow principles of mere human policy-which is always dangerous, and often wicked- -or upon any other principle than that laid down in the word of God, perils the welfare alike of princes and their people. (Eccles. x. 2.)

The Purification of St. Mary.

MORNING. WISDOM OF SOLOMON ix.

O God of my fathers, and Lord of mercy, who has made all things with thy word, and ordained man through thy wisdom, that he should have dominion over the creatures which thou hast made, and order the world according to equity and righteousness, and execute judgment with an upright heart: give me wisdom, that sitteth by thy throne; and reject me not from among thy children: for I thy servant and son of thine handmaid am a feeble person, and of a short time, and too young for the understanding All must feel the justice of this of judgment and laws. For reflection *. though a man be never so

perfect among the children of men, yet if thy wisdom be not with him, he shall be nothing regarded. Thou hast chosen me to be a king of thy people, and a judge of thy sons and daughters: thou hast commanded me to build a temple upon thy holy mount, and an altar in the city wherein thou dwellest, a resemblance of the holy tabernacle, which thou hast prepared from the beginning. And wisdom was with thee: which knoweth thy works, and was present when thou madest the world, and knew what was acceptable in thy sight, and right in thy commandments. 10 O send her out of thy holy heavens, and from the throne of thy glory, that being pre

10 Mark the wise distinction here drawn, between a presumptuous confidence in the aid of the Spirit, and a fatal neglect of it+.

* True wisdom is from above. The christian therefore looks to Heaven for blessing upon his counsels and conduct. Solomon the more deeply felt this as a king, because from the good or evil counsels of princes and governors, weal or woe cometh to the nations over whom they rule.

+ Solomon prays, as also in ver. 17, for the Holy Spirit from on high;

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