Page images

He was not above respecting the Scribes who sat in Moses's seat; or observing all lawful commands and ceremonies,-even those which, not God only, but even the government and rulers of His country had established. He, though he brought a more glorious religion to light, was not neglectful of the religion of His country; and shall we desert ours for new inventions ? Shall we seek Christ among those who (by whatever name they call themselves,) have committed the great sin of causeless separation from the congregation of their fellow Christians; who have forsaken His Sacraments, and His lawful ministers; and who too often preach, I fear, doctrines ruinous to the truth, or to that godliness which is in Christ ? Be warned in time, my friends, when you are tempted, in future, to forsake this holy place, and such plain and honest counsel as I can give, for new altars and new teachers. When you are told “ that there can be no harm in hearing God's word, wherever and by whomsoever preached ;" be warned in time, that such are the usual acts of those false teachers described by St. Paul, “ which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins!: ” teachers who, as Saint Peter tells us, “ are presumptuous, self-willed, not ashamed to speak evil of dignities.”? And be warned, I say again, that a curse is denounced against those who, 1 2 Timothy, iii. 6.

2 2 Peter, ii. 10.

That we

having itching ears, after their own lusts, shall keep to themselves teachers, as St. Jude assures us, and who are to perish in the gainsaying of Corah. As long as the Scriptures are here read and preached, and as long as the Sacraments are here administered, this is the gate of the Lord ; the righteous shall enter into it.

The last, and most important lesson to be drawn from this Gospel is the advantage of early piety. “ Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” ought to train up a child in the way in which we would have him to go, is a truth so generally known, that it has passed into a proverb; and as far as the business of this world is concerned, it is a rule generally attended to. We hire out our sons to trades, as soon as they are fit for them ; we are anxious that, as early as possible, they should have habits of industry, and know how to earn their living; but we are much more careless for the inheritance which endureth for ever, — the knowledge of God which is to procure for them the favour of God and man. They are but children, it will be said ; but what was Jesus, when at the age of twelve years, His lips were learned in the Scripture, and His delight was in the house of God? Believe me, my young friends, for to you I now address myself, that same Christ, who took young children in His arms and blessed them ; who said, that, of such as these the Kingdom of Heaven was full, He is not inattentive to all that you say or think; but every good and every evil word which you utter is

open before His eyes, and noticed in His book. Imitate Him, then, and grow like Him in favour with God and man.

And let children, and grown men, and men of

every age, be warned, that, in the work of amendment of life, they have no time to lose. It is not the work of a day, to imitate the holiness of Christ, but may well take up all our thoughts, our pains, and our lives. And, short as this life must always be, — even in the midst of it, we are in death. When we have thought, that we had many years before us, that we might take our ease, eat, drink, and be merry, how dismal is the surprise to the careless soul, if God should, that night, require it of our hands ? And what reason have we for thinking, even if God should spare us to old

that we should have more power to repent than now? Is it easier to pull up a tree when young; or when its root is deep, and its timber strong ? wretched people do we see, who have put off, from time to time, the care of their souls; who are now grown old in sin; who have waked, indeed, to their danger ; but only to know, that their day of grace is over,-to gaze a little while with terror on the flames of hell which await them, and then to sink for ever. Be warned in


How many

time, ye that live carelessly: and flee for your lives, while your safety is yet possible; and repent you, while the power of the Lord is present to heal and to forgive.

And lastly, learn, that, if you would resemble Christ in early piety, you must imitate Him in the means which He took, of acquiring grace and knowledge: you must, like Him, be obedient to your parents ; like Him, be diligent in reading or learning the Scriptures : and, like Him, place your delight in the temple of the Lord.

means of


and is the armour of God; which will enable us in youth to lay a good foundation of faith and conscience; which will make us dear, alike to God and to man: and will carry us through the dangers of youth, of manhood, and of old age,

, to the happy home where we shall rest from our labours.

These are

power: this SERMON VII.


St. John, xv. 5.

Without Me ye can do nothing.

THESE words were addressed by our Lord to His Apostles as a reason for their patient continuance in His Church, and in the profession of a faith in Him, which He had represented under the similitude of a vine and its branches. “ As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. I am the vine, ye are the branches : he that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without Me ye can do nothing.” As if He had said, “Without that continual grace and spiritual assistance of the Holy Ghost, which I shall give to my faithful disciples, (as constantly, though as invisibly, as the tree yields sap to the nourishment of the branch which grows on it,) ye cannot bring forth the fruits of holiness and everlasting life; ye cannot make yourselves good; ye cannot convert, and change yourselves;

« PreviousContinue »