Imatges de pÓgina
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ledge then, when all shall be taught of God. For this we must wait His time and will. Let us now make sure, if by His grace we may, of the first and lowest elements of this science of all saints. As yet our sin passeth knowledge. Let us learn this first. This is enough for us on earth; and then, when we have learned to know this in a life of compunction, we shall hereafter know the love of Christ without measure in the fulness of eternal peace.

SERMON XIII.

A LIFE OF PRAYER A LIFE OF PEACE.

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PHILIPPIANS iv. 4, 5, 6.

Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

ST. PAUL, in these words, bids the Christians in Philippi to carry all their sorrows and fears to the throne of Christ. He specially bids them remember the nearness of our Lord; and the freedom we may use in speaking with Him. And in so doing he has taught us a great and blessed truth, needful for all men in all ages: I mean, that a life of prayer is a life of peace. It is not in times of persecution only, but at all times,

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that the presence and fellowship of Christ are the
peace and consolation of the Church. We are
born into a world of perturbations; we carry them
in our own heart. The world is the counterpart
of man's fallen nature, turbulent, restless, and dis-
tracted. Every man gives in his contribution of
disquietude; and the life of most men is made up
of cares and doubts, perplexities and forebodings,
of fruitless regrets for follies past, and of exag-
gerated thoughts of trials yet to come.
On men
who live without God in the world these things
press sorely. They fret and wear them without
alleviation. This is the "sorrow of the world"
that "worketh death." It is a bitter and embitter-
ing disquiet of heart. The plague of evil thoughts,
inordinate cravings, disappointments and losses,
vain hopes and wearing fears, these are by nature
the portion of us all. Even religious people have
their yoke of cares. But there is this difference
between them and others; they know where to
carry the recital of their troubles, where to lay
down their burden, and Who will bear their griefs
and take away their sorrows.

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1. St. Paul here tells us, first of all, that there is One, ever near us, who can fulfil all our desire, and over-rule all things in our behalf. "The Lord is at hand." How soon He may reveal Himself in person we know not; but soon or late, it is cer

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tain, that although unseen, He is ever near us. His presence departed not from the Church when He ascended into heaven. He is withdrawn from the eyes of our flesh; but in the sight of our hearts He is always visible. Though He be at the right hand of God, yet He is in the Church, and in our secret chamber. Though He is the Lord of heaven and earth, yet He is ever in the midst of us, watching and guiding, disposing all things for the perfection of His kingdom, and, in it, of each one of us. He is both able and willing to fulfil all our hearts' desires; and nothing is hid from His sight. He knows all; even our most unuttered thoughts, our most concealed desires; and with this assurance we might lay aside all our burdens. It might seem enough for us simply to cast all our care on Him, knowing that He careth for us; to refer ourselves to His love and wisdom, to His all-comprehending knowledge of our wishes and our wants. This would be a sure and sufficient pledge against all the evils we forebode and shrink from. But there is a relief in speaking out our wishes; and even this He does not deny us.

2. Therefore St. Paul tells us further, that we may make all our desires known unto God. We may speak with Him as a man speaks with his friend. We all know the relief, as we say, of unburdening ourselves, and opening our hidden cares,

even to an earthly companion. We seem to have laid off a weight when we have told our sorrow. When any one we love shares our anxiety, and divides our forebodings with us, we seem to have either only half the burden, or a twofold strength to bear it. We feel this relief all the more, in the measure in which our friend is wise and compassionate, loved by us, and loves us in return. And yet there is a point beyond which we do not reveal ourselves to our fastest and nearest friend. There is something of imperfection still in them that makes us lay bare only one side, and lay open only one chamber of our heart. There is always something still concealed, some reserved infirmity, something over which we must needs draw a veil and silence; which we would not that any fellow-creature should discern; which we can only shew to the world unseen, and to the eyes of Him "that searcheth the hearts, and trieth the reins." But with Him, not only is it impossible to conceal, but we do not desire to hide any thing from His sight. Though He be the Holy One of God, and "His eyes as a flame of fire," so piercing and so pure, yet we do not shrink from making all known to Him: for though He be perfect in purity, He is likewise ?. perfect in compassion: He is as pitiful as He is holy. We may come before Him, and say, "This have I done, and this have I left undone. I am sin

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