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Sermons for the Christian Seasons.
BRINGING OUR BRETHREN TO CHRIST.
ST. JOHN i. 40. One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother.
THE year of the Church, the Christian year, begins on the first Sunday in Advent; and the solemn order of the Church's festivals begins with this festival of St. Andrew the Apostle.
St. Andrew would seem to have been the first disciple who came to Christ, and so his festival stands first in the order of the Church.
And here it may not be out of place to say a few words on the use and comfort which such holy days may be to us. They remind us of that article of our Christian faith, the Communion of Saints; they remind us that we are of the same household and family of God, of which the faithful departed also are members; they set
forth the power of God's grace made perfect in man's weakness. The saints of God, whose names and days we keep in memory and honour, are our brethren in Jesus Christ: sustained by the same grace of God, nourished by the same sacraments. They, indeed, have finished their course, have won their crown, have entered into their rest and we have still our race to run, our crown to win: we are still set in the midst of trials, dangers, enemies, all around us. Still it is full of peace and comfort to look back to God's saints of old, to meditate on their faith, and love, and holiness, to gain strength to do and to suffer God's will from the records of their lives and of their deaths. No doubt there is but one all-perfect pattern, the Son of God made man; still, in their measure, His saints also are patterns for us, patterns unto which we shall do well to conform ourselves, even as they sought to be conformed unto Him, that so we may be followers of them, even as they were followers of Christ.
Thus, then, of how manifold uses may these holy days be to us, if they lead us to meditate upon God and the unseen world; if they withdraw us from the cares and pleasures and business of every-day life, and touch us with a sense of the power of God's grace, and of the holiness unto