« السابقةمتابعة »
days, refuse to submit themselves not alone to the Church of God, but to the Written Word of God, when it crosses their waywardness of thought and will. Without meek and lowly and humble and teachable spirits, without loving dispositions, without chastened tempers, not the best and highest of God's gifts can profit us; not the Written Word, not the holy Scriptures, not the law, not the testimony will teach man his faith or his duty, unless he first put from him pride, waywardness, self-will, self-confidence. Unless by God's help, he thus cleanse his heart, he will but find in the holy Scriptures his own vain conceits in place of God's eternal truth, his own mean standard of duty in place of God's pure and perfect law. Alas, we know not how great and appalling is our danger so often as we approach the Word of God, not for guidance, but for a pretext and excuse for the errors of our faith, or the sins of our lives. Alas, the loud, and careless, and angry tone in which men, in these days, repeat the holiest words of holy Scripture bears witness against them, that they have not sought to them, as to God's Word, with reverence and godly fear, that they have not received them into their hearts and spirits and consciences, as the rule of Christian faith, and of a holy life. They
hear them, and repeat them, loudly and readily, but they do not realize them, do not enter into their deep and manifold meanings; and so, although living and life-giving in themselves, to them they are dead and lifeless. May Almighty God keep us clear from this besetting sin of our times, may He give us humble and teachable tempers, and so, by His grace, establish us in the truth of His holy Gospel.
JOHN HENRY PARKER, OXFORD AND LONDON.
Sermons for the Christian Seasons.
ST. PHILIP AND ST. JAMES.
CHRISTIANS CALLED TO BE FOLLOWERS OF THE APOSTLES.
1 COR. xi. 1. Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
WHEN our Lord, at the first, sent forth His apostles, we read, "And He called unto Him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two;" and the same also in the case of the seventy, "After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before His face into every city and place, whither He Himself would come." It was the will of our blessed Saviour not to send forth His apostles one by one, solitary and alone, but two and two, with such stay and comfort as they would derive each from the presence of the other; and, as if in memory of this, the Church on this day
commemorates St. Philip and St. James; and again, on another holy day, St. Simon and St. Jude; having in memory two apostles on one and the same day, even as our Lord was pleased to join two together at the first, in one task and labour of love.
St. Philip was of Bethsaida of Galilee, the city of St. Andrew and St. Peter. The circumstances of his call are found in the first chapter of St. John's Gospel. He was among the very first called of the disciples of our Lord, his call taking place on the very next day after our Lord's conversation with St. Andrew and St. Peter. And the call of our Lord was, it should seem, at once obeyed and not only so, but St. Philip, like a sincere and earnest-minded man, sought to lead others also to the same gracious Master, upon whose service he had himself entered. "The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow Me. Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found Him, of whom Moses in the law and the prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of Joseph. And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith
unto him, Come and see." In which there is this to be noted, that St. Philip, as it should seem, had read diligently the holy Scriptures of the law and of the prophets, and so had come to truer and juster notions of the Messiah; and was probably (with other "just and devout" persons, such as Simeon and Anna,) "waiting for the consolation of Israel," "looking for redemption in Jerusalem." And thus in him was fulfilled
the promise, "Unto him that hath shall be given," i. e. he that useth aright his present knowledge, and his present means of grace, shall have yet fuller knowledge, yet more perfect means of grace afforded to him.
St. Philip was, after some time, called by our Lord to be of the "glorious company of the apostles." And there are certain passages in the Gospels, which seem to shew that St. Philip was very near and dear to our Lord. In St. John vi. our Lord seems to put his faith to the trial. "When Jesus then lifted up His eyes, and saw a great company come unto Him, He saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this He said to prove him, for He Himself knew what He would do." And here the faith of St. Philip appears not to have reached into our Lord's Godhead, and Almighty