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(neither pleasure, interest, affection, sloth, fear, self-love,) ever cause us to refuse to hear and to obey His voice, and so to fall short of our reward. Every appointment of Ilis gracious providence is His call, is His voice; let us pray to God that we may obey it. Does it call us to poverty, pain, loss of friends, disgrace, want ? It is the same call which He once addressed to His apostles, and which they obeyed. To be poor and despised for Christ's sake; to labour and suffer hardships for the good of others; to be resigned in sickness and pain ; to be patient and cheer ful when God removes from us those we love ;-this is our duty; this our trial; this Christ's call to us, if need and occasion be, to forsake all, and to follow Him.
And He who once promised to His apostles· Verily, I say
which have followed Me, in the regeneration, when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel,”—bath also left this other promise for His Church throughout all generations : “And every one that liath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My name sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit ever
lasting life.” Surely this is a blessed promise to
very full of comfort; a promise such as may well encourage us to put up with, and to bear, the trials, and self-denials, and hardness of a religious life, not alone with patience, but with cheerfulness. Whatever we may be called upon to give up, that our Lord Jesus Christ will restore an hundredfold ; and with it He will bestow upon us that His best and highest gift, even eternal life. Let us then learn to dwell and to meditate upon the unspeakable greatness and blessedness of what our Lord hath prepared for His true and faithful disciples. And thus shall we, please God, be confirmed and strengthened to do or to suffer His will; to leave all, if so be, and to follow Him. Whatever is of earth, is but for a time; its riches, its interests, its joys, its pleasures, pass away, and are as if they had never been; and so its trials, its sorrows, its distresses, sharp and keen as they may seem at the moment, yet all come to an end at death, if not before; whereas, whatever God hath provided for them that love Him, whatever Jesus Christ hath laid up in heaven for His own, are everlasting And how much is contained in that one word! How did it nerve the early Christians to suffer ! How did they take to
themselves the words of St. Paul: “ For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen : for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
Surely these are thoughts well suited to this day, wherein we commemorate the holy apostle, so early called, not alone to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, but also to suffer for Him; to drink of His cup (of suffering), to be baptized with His baptism (of blood). He, by God's grace, obeyed that first call to be a disciple,—“ leaving his father, and all that he had, without delay, he was obedient to the calling of Jesus Christ, and followed Him ;" and so God counted him worthy of that second call, to be a martyr for Christ, and gave him strength and grace to obey, and to follow that call also, and so, the first of the apostolic company, to enter into his rest and receive his crown. May we learn from him, and, after our measure, follow his pattern.
Maywe, as becomes Christian persons, “ forsake all worldly and carnal affections, and be evermore ready to follow" God, and to keep and to do “His holy commandments.” This is our plain duty, this it is unto which we are called by our Christian profession. And if, by God's grace, we be careful and watchful to do this, in the daily duties and daily trials of life; if we make duty, and conscience, and the will of God, our rule of life,—not ease, or comfort, or riches, or any interest or affection even of this life,—then we may trust that God will yet further help us onwards in our path ; that we may still go from strength to strength, from lesser to greater duties; from lesser to greater self-denials, until we be fitted, if God so will, even to suffer for God, and for His truth; and, like the blessed apostle, to drink of Jesus Christ's cup, and to be baptized with His baptism. But this is a height of grace not to be attained at once, but, if at all, by slow degrees ; by lowly, and humble, and dutiful obedience to God's calls, in lesser matters ; by such self-denials as IIe puts into our hearts to use, in the details of daily life; by taking up and bearing our cross, and by crucifying the flesh with its affections and lusts. Such is the Christian course, in its earlier stages, —such is God's earlier call to us; and blessed indeed are we, if we so listen to and obey that
earlier call, as to be counted worthy at the last of that higher call, to leave all, if so be, and to suffer all, for Christ's sake; even as the holy apostle of this day was called, at the first to be a disciple, then to be an apostle, and at the last to be a martyr for Christ.
JOHN HENRY PARKER, OXFORD AND LONDOX.