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His spoken words in the Gospel, are the accepted rule of our actions; that we try— try to the uttermost—to do His bidding. As obedient children, not fashioning ourselves according to the former lusts in our ignorance - not leading that mere animal, sensual life which they lead who know not Godbut as He which hath called us is holy, so being holy ourselves in all manner of conversation. He that saith he abideth in Him, ought himself also so to walk even as He walked.
Here, then, is a matter for each man's selfinquiry. Are we following Jesus Christ ? Are we framing our lives, and the lives of our families, by that divine model which is set up for us in the Gospel ? Are we studying to be blameless in our words, blameless in our deeds ? Do we put from us all evil things, and all that prompts to evil ? Do we keep guard over the thoughts of our heart ? Do we check there, at their very source, the beginnings of mischief —the impure desire, the unlawful wish, the covetousness, and greed, and lust, and anger, which, alas ! do by nature lodge in us? Let the inquiry occupy your thoughts at this
Be sure, brethren, that to be abiding in Christ, it is not enough that we confess Jesus Christ for our Saviour. We must, as I have said, be also His disciples — we must be learners in His school - we must be sharers in His yoke - we must walk ourselves in the steps of His most holy life.
Lastly. To abide in Christ implies that we diligently use the Christian
grace, — prayer to God in His Son's name, the public worship of God, as He is revealed to us in the Gospel — and, most of all, that greatest of our privileges, the Holy Communion, or the sacrament of the Lord's Supper.
I cannot understand, how any one who really loves the Lord Jesus Christ, and leans on His atoning sacrifice for pardon and acceptance with God, can yet live year by year without once coming to the Lord's Table—in the continued neglect of an ordinance which Christ Himself, and no other, no less Person, has appointedappointed too for this end, to be the bond of union between Himself, and His people. For in that holy feast, as our English Service so beautifully, and so truly puts it, —“We dwell in Christ, and Christ dwells in us; we are one with Christ, and Christ with us!” Time does not allow me to enlarge upon this
I leave it to your own thoughtful consideration. And I pray God that you may be guided to a right judgment of, and a right practice in a matter which does so seriously concern
The hours of life are running on; the shadows of evening are stealing over us; the day of grace is hastening to its end. Now is our salvation, or our condemnation, nearer than when we believed ! Soon must we stand before our God in judgment. Soon must we give an account for things committed, and for things omitted. Oh, then, let us be prepared! Oh, if till now any part of our preparation has been forgotten, or deferred, let us see to it at once! Oh, let not the year end, till we have done what we could to attach ourselves firmly to the Lord's side-till we have made it plain that He, the Lord, and not the world and its customs, is our Master, and that whatsoever He saith unto us in His Gospel -saith clearly, saith in a way not to be disputed
we will do it! Abide in Him ; that, when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming!
SECOND SUNDAY IN ADVENT.
EARLY KNOWLEDGE OF GOD'S WORD.
2 TIM. iii. 15.
From a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which
are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
THE Collect of to-day brings before us a very great subject, even the preciousness of God's written word. “Blessed Lord,” we say, “who hast caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning.” But it is not only on the preciousness of God's word that I wish to speak, but, as the text would show, on the importance of teaching that word early to our children; causing them to become acquainted with it, as was the young Timothy, from quite tender years. From a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus !
And, first, let me recall to you what a blessing beyond expression it is, to have, as we have, God's written word—and how wonderfully it has been preserved to us.
Parts of the Bible are at least three thousand years old. The first five books of the Old Testament - the books of Moses — and some few more, go back to the earliest day of which any record in human writing remains. And these early books are among the most valuable of all. They tell us things which we could never have found out of ourselves — Who made the world, and how He made it-what the state of man was at the beginning—how he fell, and what hope he has of being restored — the promise of a Saviour Who should bruise the serpent's head—the wickedness of the world, which provoked God's wrath and caused the flood ;-all this, and much more, we learn from the earliest pages of the Bible; from those books of Moses to which our Lord so often refers in the Gospel.
And this precious gift of God's written word has been, I said, marvellously preserved to us. For long years, for centuries, it was a sealed book-shut up in a language which only the learned could read. But at the Reformation that