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النشر الإلكتروني

Sermons for the Christian Seasons.

ST. ANDREW'S DAY.

SPIRITUAL AFFECTION FOR KINDRED.

St. John i. 40-42. One of the two which leard

John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus.

WHEN John the Baptist, “looking upon Jesus as He walked,” exclaimed in St. Andrew's presence, “Behold the Lamb of God," the latter

, caught the words and believed; his soul felt their truth; there was a respond within, an instant acceptance of the truth. His eyes turned to Jesus as the Baptist spoke, and in this, as in other cases, the Messenger of Christ found a soul ready to lay itself at Jesus' feet. A few words were enough to strike a light in a heart ready to take fire. Behold the Lamb of God,” this was all he said, pointing to Jesus; but this had

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power ; it was a sure word spoken as with authority, in a calm and settled way, as if from certain knowledge. There is something wonderfully grand in the very simplicity of the scene; the adoring look which the Baptist fixed upon his Lord, the few solemn words that drew the soul of St. Andrew to recognize the Christ notwithstanding the veil of flesh, to know the Lord of glory though in a servant's form, the expression applied to our Lord, “the Lamb of God,” in which was contained and compressed so much of the mystery of Christ, of His incarnation, His love, His humility, His sufferings, His sad fice of Himself, the sorrows of His Cross, the virtue of His death as regards sin and death, all this makes up a striking scene.

The words spoken, the finger pointing to Christ, the figure of Jesus passing by, the immediate belief of St. Andrew, are matters soon told; the strokes of the picti re are few, but the picture is a grand one after all.

To St. Andrew himself what a great, what a momentous day was that. Little did he foresee when he went forth what was about to happen. Little did he know how near he was drawing to the Holy One, the blessed Jesus, the Hope of Israel, the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world. It is not for man to see far along the road of life; “ coming events,” it is said, “ cast their shadows before,” but it is not always so. Sometimes indeed there is a certain mysterious feeling, what we call “a presentiment,” an inward conviction, without any apparent grounds, that something unusual is about to be ; and sometimes there are certain signs and indications, a sort of fore-runners and heralds of great events, which we cannot fail to note; just as the sea-birds hurrying inland, by whatever instinct they are warned themselves, lead us to know that foul weather is at hand, though outwardly at the time all is clear. But oftentimes the greatest events in life cast no shadow before, come on without one, burst upon us in their full real form at once; and when we least expect anything great or unusual to take place, we find a turn given to our whole life, all things changed, our whole course altered, the stream suddenly swept from what seemed its channel, and we ourselves carried into scenes and circumstances entirely strange and new.

So was it with St. Andrew; though we have reason to believe that he was one of those who were waiting for Messias with a true heart, living in devout expectation, yet he knew not the hour or

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place when he should have the unspeakable grace of looking on his Lord, of beholding the mystery of “God manifest in the flesh,” of gazing on Immanuel, “God with us."

“ God with us.” Many before his day had hoped and waited and strained their souls forward to catch the coming form ; many had desired with intense longings of the soul to see His day, and had seen it not, descending into their graves without ever fixing their eyes

upon Messias.

But not only was that a momentous day to St. Andrew; through him it had influence on others; he could not keep such privileges to limself; he could not rejoice alone; he hastened to share his joy. As John the Baptist led him to Jesus, so he desired instantly to lead others. His own grace, his own privilege, his own blessedness, he instantly desired to communicate. He whose spirit glowed with a holy awe and joy when the words were uttered, “Behold the Lamb," and when he looked upon the Christ, burned with desire to kindle like awe and joy in the heart of others. He knew, as it seems, that it is not with heavenly as with earthly treasure, which is lessened by distribution, but that it is a hoarding up of spiritual goods which wastes, dispersion which increases them.

St. Andrew could not feast alone, nor keep such a possession as the knowledge of Messias to himself.

But it is important to observe the direction which this zeal of communicating the truth took ; he did not, you will observe, hurry on to friend or stranger, to any promiscuous throng that he might meet, and cry out to every passer by “We have found Messias.” It is important I repeat to consider his conduct at this point. We are told that he went straight to his brother, first to his brother; the first thought was for those at home, for his kindred, for one who had drawn his life from the same mother's womb, and had hung at the same mother's breast; it was a sort of instinct to fly to him first of all. “He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias."

And it is in this particular that St. Andrew becomes our pattern; he is set before us as one who had spiritual affection for his kindred, who hastened to impart to his brother his own spiritual gain, his own spiritual knowledge, to lead him to Jesus the moment he had been led himself, to share with him the possession of that great pearl of all, the pearl of truth. In so doing he gives us guidance in the direction and

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