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the same thing, asked him why he always repeated the same words, he answered, “Because it is the precept of the Lord, and if you comply with it, you do enough.' An answer,” says the same writer, “worthy of St. John, the beloved disciple of Christ, and which ought to be engraven in characters of gold; or rather, written in the heart of every Christian.” St. John died in peace, and in extreme old age, at Ephesus, at the end of the first century after Christ.
Now, no doubt there are many lessons which we may learn from the many notices of St. John in holy Scripture and early Church writers : no doubt there were in him many singular Christian graces, which we should do well to imitate, so far as, with God's help, we are able. But there is one special lesson to be learned from St. John, which is very necessary at this day; it is this : to join together Christian love and charity with earnest zeal for the faith, and holy jealousy for God's truth; we must learn from St. John so to love them that are in religious error or heresy, as that we hate the error and heresy itself: so to hate religious error and heresy, as that we yet love the persons of such as hold and even teach it : we must not fall away into a harsh and uncharitable spirit and temper, under the cloke of zeal for God's truth; nor again, must we, as we value our own and others' souls, make charity, falsely so called, an excuse for indifference to religious error; and herein lies our difficulty ; and herein also lies our duty, the strait and narrow path wherein God would have us to walk, turning aside neither to the right hand nor to the left. Natural disposition may lead one man to what looks like Christian charity, another to what looks like Christian zeal for the truth but it is not natural disposition, but God's grace, and watchfulness on our part, which alone can combine both in us, and make us at once full of love and full of zeal; full of love of the brethren, full of zeal for God, and for righteousness, and for truth. Now this is what we all at this day need; and, in order to this, we must exercise much watchfulness and self-control over our hearts and over our feelings, so that they neither be hardened into a cold, and dead, and barren profession of the faith, nor pass into a vain and unreal softness, such as shrinks from the duty of witnessing for God's truth, and withstanding error ; because to do so is painful and distasteful.
less shrinking from duty; we will not allow that we have a duty to discharge in this matter, and so we make fair names to clothe our sloth and indifference: we seek our own ease: we seek to spare ourselves distress, and pain, and labour : and we call this Christian charity, Christian love. Brethren, this is no such love as the love of the beloved disciple, St. John; no such love as that wherewith he loved his divine Master; no such love as that wherewith he has bidden us to love one another. True love of the brethren, based upon true love of God, will make us very watchful to do what in us lies to lead them unto the truth : : we shall not leave them in error, as if we were not our brother's keeper; but having a deep sense of the awful worth and blessedness of God's truth, and of the loss and danger of all religious error, we shall act in a spirit of faith, and both out of zeal and reverence for God, and out of real tenderness for the souls of our bretliren, we shall witness for God's truth, for the faith once for all delivered unto the saints, in no harsh or angry spirit, yet with seriousness, with gravity, with constancy.
JOHN HENRY PARKER, OXFORD AND LONDON.
Sermons for the Christian Seasons.
St. Mart. ii. 17, 18. Then was fulfilled that which was
spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.
TO-DAY is the last of the three festivals which follow on Christmas-day, the festival of the Holy Innocents : not, as St. Stephen, martyrs for Christ in will and in deed; not, as St. John, martyrs in will, although not in deed: but martyrs for Christ in deed, (as the Church hath ever held,) although not of age to be martyrs for Christ in will. These first specimens of the innumerable army of martyrs, springing up like the earliest blossoms in the cold and dark winter, would seem to betoken the rich abundance of sufferers for the sake of Christ who were to follow : and the class whom they especially represent, those who suffer in deed but not in will,
is very numerous in every persecution : children like themselves,-persons who are put to death without the possibility of escape,--thousands slain in indiscriminate massacres, who are accepted by Christ as having died for His sake, though they had only, it may be, the general disposition to give themselves up to God, and to do what was right, and suffer in doing it. It may be as well to go through such portions of the Gospel of St. Matthew as give the occasion and cause of their martyrdom. “ When Jesus was born in Bethlehem in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is He that is born King of the Jews ? for we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him.” And this the enquiry of the wise men, or magi, came to the ears of Herod, a cruel and remorseless tyrant, who had already, from jealousy and distrust, shed the blood of the wife of his bosom, and of two of his own sons. “When Herod the king heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief-priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be horn. And they answered, In Bethlehem of Judæa : for thus it is written by the prophet,