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to do good to, and to love one another with apostolic charity; to wean ourselves from the world, and to chastise and control our natural desires by apostolic self-denial. This it is unto which we are called. Blessed indeed are we that, through the mercy of God, we are members of that Church which is built upon this foundation of the apostles. May we, like the early Christians, continue stedfast in their doctrine and fellowship; may we follow their teaching; may we cleave to their communion ; their teaching, as set forth in the creed; their communion, that of the bishops their successors : and may we also take them as our pattern of life; laying up, and seeking to follow, their rules of holy living and dying
And of this we may be quite sure, that purity, charity, self-denial, strictness of life, unworldliness, such as theirs, so far as, by God's help, we shall attain unto them, will not only be blessed in themselves as Christian graces and tempers, such as God loves and rewards, but also will go to confirm and strengthen us in a dutiful and loving attachment to their faith and communion. Careless lives, and, even yet more, sinful lives, unchastened hearts, undisciplined tempers, selfindulgence, self-will, selfishness, all these lead open the
men away into religious error, into heresy and schism; make men to doubt and question, when it is their duty to obey and practise : whereas strict and sanctified lives, regular habits of devotion, and seasons of abstinence and self-denial, not only help us to overcome our evil desires, and to get the better of our besetting sins, but also
eyes of the soul to the truths of God, enable it to see them more clearly, to hold them more firmly, and thus to fulfil the words of the apostle—“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”
Such are the warnings, such the safeguards, suggested by this holy day. The warning is the sight of one highly gifted, endued with even miraculous powers, taught by Christ's own lips; the companion of saintly men, and esteemed by the apostles as one of themselves, who had within him one secret cherished sin festering in his soul, turning all good to evil; hardening him against the love and the grace of Christ, and breaking out openly at last to his utter destruction of body and soul. It is a warning to all who enjoy great religious privileges; who attend
prayers, are frequent in receiving the sacrament, read religious books, love as it were to be with Christ in thought, and yet allow some one sin to dwell within them. The safeguard is decided, unsparing, severity to ourselves, in respect of that particular sin which besets us, each
What it is we may know by fairly and honestly looking into our own hearts; and our · Lenten self-denial and penitence must be directed to the uprooting of that sin. Christ will aid you in doing it : He directs His gracious visitations, His providences, His words, His secret motions of grace, all to this end-to snatch you from ruin, to recover you for Himself, to make you wholly and entirely such as He would have you to be, in soul and spirit, in will and affection.
JOHN HENRY PARKER, OXFORD AND LONDON.
Sermons for the Ehristian Seasons.
THE HUMILITY OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN.
St. Luke i. 38. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid
of the Lord, be it unto me according to thy word.
TO-DAY is the Festival of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The angel Gabriel was sent from God, as on this day, to make known to her the great mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God; that the Son of God should be made man in her womb by the secret operation of the Holy Ghost; and thus that of her should be born the Messiah ; the seed of the woman that should bruise the serpent's head; the seed of Abraham, in whom all the families of the earth should be blessed; the desire of all nations ; He, of whom the prophet spake, “ unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given ; and the
government shall be upon His shoulder : and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace,” “Immanuel, God with us." ” All this, and more than this, was contained in the salutation of the angel; all this, and more than this, in the words in which he spake of the greatness and eternity of His spiritual kingdom, who was to be born of her womb, at once the Son of David, in that He was man, and the Lord of David, in that He was God.
“ And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary : for thou
: hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a Son, and shalt call His name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest : and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David : and He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end.” And when upon this, the Blessed Virgin, (in no spirit of unbelief, but of devout awe and wonder,) said, “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” this further reply was made to her, “The angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also That Holy Thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” And upon this follow the words