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these good feelings do not soon leave you.—Be prepared to stand the test of your Christian profession.-Be prepared for the trials of your faith which are before you. Be prepared to endured hardship.-Be prepared to give up your most cherished sin.-Be prepared to seal your Confirmation vows by coming to the Lord's Table. Having put your hand to the plough beware of looking back. -Beware of excusing yourselves from the strict, sober, godly life to which you are pledged, on the score that you are yet but young.
Do what the young ruler in the Gospel had not the grace to do.—Seek from your Lord power to perform all that He lays upon you. Instead of going away from Him, draw nearer and nearer to Him-nearer in prayer, -nearer in the Holy Communion, nearer in the practice of every good and gentle work.
Do this, dear brethren, and then, though it be harder than that a camel should pass through a needle's eye, yet it shall be donea young man or a young woman, notwithstanding their youth, and the giddiness and passion which belong to youth, shall enter into the kingdom of God! For so already have some entered—so shall all enter, who stumble not at their Lord's word, who at His bidding part with their possessions, forsake all to follow Him!
NOTE.—I am indebted to some thoughts in this latter part of the sermon to one by Dr. Arnold, entitled, “ Christ's Warning to the Young,” published in the volume called “ Christian Life, its Hopes, Fears, and Close."
FIFTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY.
St. MATTHEW VI. 34.
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take
thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
We have in that part of the Sermon on the Mount which is selected for this Sunday's Gospel, our Lord teaching on the subject of over-carefulness, and the remedy which He gives us for it. The subject is one that touches our own practice, and in many ways calls for our attentive consideration.
For, brethren, what fault is more common than overcarefulness ? Look at the faces that we meet the faces of our fellows whom we pass in the busy street, or on the silent road-what is stamped on most of them ? Is it not an expression of over-anxiousness ?-_a troubled worn look as of men weighed down with care ? And so, no doubt, it was in our Lord's day. So, no doubt, did many look, whom He encountered in His walks by the Lake of Galilee, or in the streets of Jerusalem. Men
shewed then, as they do now, by their very faces, that their hearts were overcharged with cares of this world,
that they were so occupied and absorbed about their bodily wants—about meat, drink, and clothing—as to have small space left in their hearts for higher thingsfor thoughts about God, the soul, and the life beyond the grave.
The Lord saw this, and all the evil that it produced and He made it the subject of His especial warning.-Take no thought, are His words—His I say unto you— Take no thought for your life what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink : nor yet for your body what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat and the body than raiment ?
Further on, in this same part of the Gospel, He repeats the charge—Take no thought saying, What shall we eat ? or what shall we drink? or wherewithal shall we be clothed? And again, for the third time, at the close of His discourse, He gives the injunction—Take, therefore, no thought for the morrow : for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
Now, brethren, this surely is very striking.-Our Lord, Whose every word is full of weight, in one short discourse three times thus solemnly addresses us in the same words—Take no thought! ..
What, we ask, does this charge mean? Is it one we can obey? Is it possible for us who have our living to get, who have to provide bread for ourselves and our families, to act upon this counsel—to take no thought?
I would answer, indeed it is possible—and we should
be the happier for doing it—the happier for not taking thought, in the sense in which our Lord used the expression.
For, first, observe what the words do not mean.—They do not mean “ be idle "_“ be improvident” _“ leave things to chance ”—“ have no care.” That, we are sure, is not the advice which Christ would give us. For it is contrary to other parts of the Bible, opposed to His own example and practice.
All throughout the Scriptures, man is told to labour truly to get his own living. Both in the Old and New Testament we meet with protests against idleness, and exhortations to exertion.—Go to the ant thou sluggardBe not slothful in business.—Thou wicked and slothful servant.—This we commanded you that if any would not work neither should he eat.
We are sure, then, that in the passage before us, no loophole is afforded to the do-nothing or utterly careless and reckless man. We are sure that take no thought does not mean be altogether thoughtless.
But what shall we say its meaning is? It meansand so ought the words to be translated—be not overanxious “ troubled and careful” over much-keep your spirit calm and tranquil.—That is the advice of our Lord in this part of His Gospel-He is not speaking against diligence or industry, or prudent forethought—but against what certainly sometimes accompanies these, an unrestful over-anxious temper.
And, as I have said, He had need to speak against this—this over-caring, thinking too much about the body and its wants, is the common fault of all men. You may
see it in all classes and degrees--in the man who has stores of goods laid up, as well as in the man who labours for his daily bread. All of us, brethren, we must confess, transgress against the commandment of our Saviour. In all of us, He sees something of this unquiet, fretting spirit.-In all of us He sees, more or less, a disposition to add to our troubles by anticipating fresh ones
-an unwillingness to trust the future in God's handsa forgetfulness of His precept, that sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
I called this over-anxiousness a fault_but it deserves a harder name. It surely must be accounted a sin. For from what does it spring ? From a backwardness to confide in God-from a want of faith—and whatever is not of faith is sin.
But let us consider, in the next place, the remedy for this over-carefulness--the remedy pointed out by our Lord. It is to observe God's fatherly care for the inferior creatures--yea, for the very herbs and flowers at our feet !
Behold the fowls of the air : for they sow not neither do they reap, nor gather into barns : yet your Heavenly Fas ther feedeth them, are ye not much better than they?
Yes, there is an argument against being over-anxious about our life and the means of supporting it. See how God in His goodness finds food for the countless flock of birds that fly in the open firmament of heaven! They sow not: they reap not: they gather not into barns : they have not the wisdom to provide against the future, and yet God feedeth them—there are means found by Him to save them alive-how much more, then, will He