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management of religious love. Love, to move according to God's will and rule, must begin to sweep round the smaller circle of our kindred before it is suffered to take a wider range; those few hearts who dwell at home, whose very features are shared by us, whose very tones of voice are one with ours, whose gifts of nature, whose position in the world, resemble ours, claim the first and the chief movement of spiritual love.
Surely with all the natural likeness and harmony, natural fellowship and sympathy, the resemblance in very look and voice between our near relatives and ourselves, we are not to stand apart in the things of God; we are not to leave them, when religiously influenced ourselves, to be unlike us in the greatest of all concerns. We are not to hurry out, and with an indiscriminating sympathy to act religiously on those abroad, forgetting the spiritual interests of those at home. Surely the many links of God's own making wherewith we are united to our kindred, point to that still better, higher union and fellowship which is to be found by our being conformed ourselves and conforming each other, by God's grace, to the will of Christ. Surely it is not enough to have mere natural
affection for the brethren of our father's house, while we are wanting in all devout regard for their souls, all care for their spiritual state, all joy in their spiritual growth, all sorrow for their spiritual decay. Are we to love in a mere worldly way, for the present world, to have no beatings of heart, no anxiety whether they are lost or saved, whether they obey Christ or the world, are under the power of the Spirit or led by devils?" He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias .... And he brought him to Jesus." This Scripture should be ever ringing in our
Without wishing to confine and narrow the efforts of religious zeal within so small a circle as home life, yet still it is in home scenes that we should first begin to act and always regard the most. We know how often families live together in love and peace and yet the union is not warmed by religious principle. To bestow spiritual regard therefore upon our kindred seems among the very first of Christian duties. It is this duty which St. Andrew especially presses upon us this day, which the Holy Ghost bids us to fulfil, when He reveals to us in Scripture the loving brother hurrying to Peter to fetch him
to Jesus, that he too might behold the Light of the world, the Lamb of God, and be saved. It is a high mission, a blessed task, yielding abundant fruit of peace, when we seek to sanctify family affections, to ennoble and spiritualize family attachments, to set up Christ as King in the little empire of our home, that there all hearts may be made one, to brighten domestic intercourse by a holy and religious love, to draw towards Jesus those with whom we walk through life.
This, I say, is the mission entrusted to each of us. We are not the brethren, or the sisters, or the wife, or the child of such an one by chance; we have not been tossed into a chance communion; we are not placed by chance in our own particular home, with our particular kindred, who fill the chambers of our home. Why are we thus together, why thus united, why partake we of the same blood and nature, why rejoice and weep together, why have natural sympathy sown in us, planted in us by God, strengthened it may be by habitual intercourse, but born in us, a part of our very selves? Has not God thus placed us side by side for great spiritual ends, that we may act and be acted on for our mutual spiritual good? Are we to take any lower view of relationship? Are we to be content just to live
together for these few years, to share a temporal poverty, or temporal abundance, to go together through the scenes of earthly life, without any care of each other's eternal state beyond? Are we to shut our eyes to all but present interests, present pursuits, present condition, and to have sealed hearts, sealed lips, concerning Jesus and the resurrection, the judgment, the bliss of the redeemed, the terrors of the lost? Are these things to be waived aside, left out of our communications with each other? And is the round of life to go on as if these things were not, as if there were no death coming to break up the home, as if there were no parting scenes at hand, or as if there were no possibility of a more perfect union in the world beyond?
Alas, how often we see strong home affections, families knit together with the bonds of the warmest love, heart intertwined with heart, and yet vital religion wanting to strengthen and to beautify the love, to purify and to elevate it, to give it a heavenly and lasting bloom. And what sadder spectacle can there be than that of an attached family, of souls brought into nearness one with the other by God Himself, of loving wives, loving children, loving sisters, all kind toward each other, all full of natural affection, and
yet the one thing needful left out, the light of the picture omitted, the true cement of all altogether absent, a spirit of fervent piety which makes true sunshine within the house unsought and unpossessed. What sadder spectacle can there be than that of a home where all are blinded to future things, where they enjoy each other's presence for the day, are interested in each other's worldly pursuits, tastes, amusements, advancement in life, and yet are not living the life of Christ in the flesh, nor preparing themselves for Christ's coming!
What is the end of such a home? we think of it? What fearful darkness is about to fall on it. How will the bright fireside, with the cheerful voices, and the laughter of the young, and the kindly conversation, and the looks of love, and the interest in each other's plans, how will all this pass away, and the darkness of death cloud every face, and the world beyond burst on them with its awful realities, and all of them wake up with terror, and find that one thing, the chief of all, was left out, the consecration of the life to God, devotion to God, the living unto God, the dying unto God, through Jesus Christ! It makes one's heart ache to think of such an end of souls really bound to each other, very