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cut off from human sympathy or from the offices of family kindness. There is still a great company with whom you may claim kindred, if so be that you yourself love God—a great company to whom your heart may go out, and from whom you will be sure to receive in return society, help, and comfort; and that company is the fellowship of all godly people — those who in every place are serving God. Whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother!

SERMON X.

FORSAKING THE ASSEMBLING TOGETHER.

HEB. X. 25.

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the

manner of some is.

THESE words occur in that eloquent exhortation to the Christians to hold fast the faith with patience and thanksgiving, which we read in the latter part of Heb. x.

After unfolding to them the great doctrine of the atonement, the sufficiency of the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross, and the insufficiency of the sacrifices which were offered by the law, the writer of the Epistle closes his argument with these encouraging words: Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and liring way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the rail, that is to say, His flesh; and having an High-priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith. Let us hold fast the profession of our hope without warering ; (for He is

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faithful that promised ;) and let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works : not

-(he adds) — not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another : and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching !

Now every word of this exhortation applies to ourselves. To us, as to the Hebrews, St. Paul

Draw near to God in full assurance of faith, have no doubt, no mistrust as to the power of Christ's death to reconcile you to God. Be sure that in Him you have redemption, even the forgiveness of sins. To us he would say, as to them, -Hold fast the profession of your hope

-let no man take it from you, keep it as an anchor of the soul, sure and stedfast. To us he would say, as to them, — Prove your religion by your practice ; consider one another, to proroke unto love and good works; be rivals in doing good, aim to excel in charity.

And so, too, with the particular charge in the text. The Apostle would assuredly address it to

H would insist upon the duty of acknowledging God's goodness and mercy, by meeting together for His worship. He would caution us as he did the Christians in his own day, Not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together; but to give open and outward proof that our hope was in Christ, by joining with our brethren in His worship; coming together on stated days to offer unto our God thanksgiving, and to rejoice before Him with psalms!

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I think there can be no dispute about this, that if St. Paul were now with us he would dwell in his exhortations upon the great duty of public worship; he would put it before us as a matter of the greatest moment, and he would allow no flimsy pretext or excuse for our neglect of it.

For indeed, brethren- need I say it ?—the duty of public worship is one of the very first of all duties one that is commanded us in the Bible—one that has to do with our welfare as separate individuals, and with the welfare of the whole nation. We cannot neglect such a duty and not be open to blame. It is right and necessary that we should be reminded of it; that we should be exhorted, as we are in the words before us, not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is !

It would seem from this, that even in the Apostle's day there were those who caused grief to their minister by not attending God's public worship; some who, for one cause or other, stayed at home when their brethren met together for common prayer.

And yet they were not wholly without excuse who did this. The assembling together for worship was a perilous matter in those early days of the Gospel. The Christians had to meet for their worship in secret hiding-places, in caves and dens of the earth. Public acknowledgment of Jesus Christ as Lord was forbidden under the most severe penalties; and mockings, yea bonds and imprisonment, it might be death itself, awaited those who were found gathered together to pray to and to praise their God.

And yet the early Christians did not generally shrink from their duty. It was only the manner of some, some few we may think, that was an exception to the common practice of the whole body.

In spite of persecution, in spite of loss of goods and personal inconvenience and danger, the early believers, from the very day of Pentecost, maintained the godly practice of meeting together at least every Lord's day, to worship God in Christ, to make a common united acknowledgment of their religion. All that believed were together and they continued stedfastly in the Apostle's doctrine and fellowship; and in breaking of the bread, and in the appointed times of prayer !*

But the absence of even a few called

.

* See Alford's Greek Test., Acts ii. 42.

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