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heart, that opening of the eye to the real state of the soul, that conviction of sin which are the beginnings of true repentance. And then, when these have done their work, and a man thus moved has sorrowed deeply for his sins, and feels as the prodigal felt, that he is no more worthy to be called and treated as a son, and would be content with the lowest place in his Heavenly Father's house, so that he might only once more be received into its shelter, and yet has not courage to go back — dare not hope that he can be forgiven

-dare not even ask of God for mercy, but looks upon himself as cast out of the sight of His eyepast the bounds of His pardon—too great a sinner to obtain mercy; when such is the case- -at the very crisis, when a man is on the edge of despair - then again the blessed Spirit of God interposes, and saves the soul alive!

And bow? Why, in this way, even as in the other cases —by taking of the things of Christ and showing them unto us. By bringing to the sinner's failing spirit the great truth, that Jesus Christ died on his behalf. By lifting up his ' feeble hand to take hold upon the cross. By enabling him to say to God, and to say out of a believing heart, The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin ! For His sake, for Thy dear Son's sake, pardon my sin for it is great !

For, brethren, be assured of this, that when the soul grasps this great and saving truth—and it is only through the inward working of the Holy Ghost that it can do so— when a sinner, a penitent sinner, places his hope of pardon solely and entirely upon the sacrifice that has been made upon the cross—made once for all — then only will the cloud remove that was between him and God; then only will the chains fall off from him ; then only will he feel and know himself to be forgiven! Once more.

I have mentioned some of the chief trials and sorrows, bodily as well as spiritual, under which the Holy Ghost is our best and strongest Comforter. Let me mention this one besides — the trial which comes upon those who endeavour to live godly.

This, assuredly, is no fancied but a very real and heavy trial. To be the only religious person in an irreligious family — the only one in a house that fears God- to lack sympathy and fellowship in religion — to be alone in worship-alone at the Lord's table—alone in standing out against evil customs - all this is hard to bear for a Christian, especially hard to bear for a young Christian. It is difficult, most difficult, to walk ourselves with God, when all who are about us draw the other

way. is difficult to bear witness openly for Christ, and


to confess Him before men, when we have to do it without associates, and in the face of opposition.

But, difficult as it is, it may be done, and is done daily through the help of God's Holy Spirit. There are, I am persuaded, many instances of young persons passing unhurt through this very trial — witnessing a good confession - persisting in the face of cold looks and sneers, aye, and of direct hindrances, in avowing themselves to be on the Lord's side: answering to their taunting questioner -- Art thou also one of His disciples ? Yes, I am; and by God's grace I ever will be !"

There are, I repeat, examples not a few, of this bold, this courageous demeanour among the young—this manful avowal of Jesus for their Master. And in every such case the secret source of their strength has been the same—the Holy Ghost the Comforter. He it is that stands by and upholds a Christian in doing the thing that is right. He it is who makes up for the loss of other fellowship by His own indwelling presence. He it is who gives the brave heart and the single eye, and enables the young and the weak to endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. He it is who comes to their help when they are wavering, and whispers, Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life! He it is who establishes them in their

good choice, gives life and energy to their endeavours-makes them fervent in spirit, serving the Lord !

This is God's doing the work of the Holy Ghost. Oh that we might, each of us, experience His power in our own heart! Oh, that our heavenly Father, in answer to our earnest prayers, would indeed send to us, as He has promised, the light of His Holy Spirit, that we may have a right judgment in the things which concern our peace, and evermore rejoice in His holy comfort, through the merits of Christ Jesus our Saviour !




St. James, i. 22. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving

your own selves.

THESE words are from the Epistle for this Sunday, which, as well as the Epistle for last Sunday, is taken from the 1st chapter of St. James. They are well-known words: words often quoted, often made the text of a sermon: words that, in a short compass, contain a great amount of wisdommuch food for the soul. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves!

Now notice, first of all, the connexion of these words with what goes before them in the same 1st chapter of St. James's Epistle. At the 19th verse of that chapter we read :- Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow

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