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the way of true Christian obedience and service. Yet does the example of St. Matthew teach us that we need not despair; through God's grace and mercy we may overcome even these difficulties. What is impossible with man, is possible with God; and so, again, is possible for man with God's help. No station, no occupation, can exclude the duties of our Christian calling; no necessary cares so fill the heart as to shut out, and leave no room for, the cares of a future life; no outward circumstances, in themselves, check and prevent the growth of the Christian graces in the soul. And this lesson the Church would have us learn, as on this day, from the example of the holy apostle and evangelist St. Matthew.
May we have grace to learn it; may we have grace to walk by faith, not by sight; to have our conversation, our hearts, our treasure in heaven, even when we are forced, by the circumstances of our daily life, and by the duties of our calling, to be engaged in the business of this world; may we never so labour for the meat that perisheth, as that we forget to labour for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life; may we never be so careful and troubled about many things, as to forget that one thing is needful; may we ever
bear in mind that it shall not profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul; may we ever look to God for what we need, for food and raiment; may we ever seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.
Thus may we humbly trust that God will bless and prosper, and sanctify our daily labours, that they may be to us-not occasions of sin, but—a school of Christian graces, wherein we may, ever more and more, both learn and practise our duty towards God, and our duty towards our neighbour.
JOHN HENRY PARKER, OXFORD AND LONDON.
Sermons for the Christian Seasons.
ST. MICHAEL AND ALL ANGELS.
ANGELS AND THEIR MINISTRY.
HEB. i. 14. Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?
THESE words set forth to us the nature and office of the holy angels. Their nature, that they are spirits, not flesh and blood, as we are, but pure spirits. Their office, that they are ministering, sent forth by God to minister for them. who shall be heirs of salvation.
And, surely, this may well call up our awe and wonder; that there are beings of a nature far higher and purer than our own, beings who have never sinned against God, never fallen away from God, but have continued to do unto Him true, and faithful, and dutiful service, from the first hour of their creation, and who now do His will in heaven in all things. And that these holy and blessed spirits are yet sent by God to minis
ter for us, whom He has called to be heirs of salvation. For us, weak and fallen and sinful men, have the holy angels been sent from the highest heaven, to minister. And not only has God been pleased to send His holy angels to minister for us men, but they would seem to execute their work and ministry of love with all joy. We know, from the express words of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, how much they feel with us and for us, how keen is their sympathy with all of good or evil that befalls us. Only think, how much is contained in the words, "Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth." What charity, what tenderness, what sympathy with us, even in our fallen estate, that there should be joy in the highest heaven, joy among the holy and blessed spirits, over one sinner that repenteth. How should this teach us to feel one for another. If the holy angels can so feel for us, can so joy over our repentance, how ought not we, much more, to feel one for another, to sorrow for one another's sins, to joy over one another's repentance, forasmuch as we are partakers of one common nature; nay more, have been all baptized into the One Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, have been all made members of
Him, and so, all members one of another, "that the members should have the same care one of another; and whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it." So may we learn a lesson of mutual love and charity one towards another, from the keen and tender sympathy of the blessed angels with us men in our trials.
Now it has always been the belief of the Church, that all baptized persons, even the youngest, are set each under the care of some one good angel, whose special work and office it is to watch over the baptized, and to keep him from sin and danger. "He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee in their hands, that thou hurt not thy foot against a stone." And it would seem, from our Lord's words in St. Matthew, that even the very highest angels, they who habitually see God, and live in His presence, are yet set in charge of the souls even of the youngest. Thus our Lord speaks: "Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of My Father which is in heaven." Great and unspeakable mercy, that