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feed us and save us alive, O ye of little faith—we to whom He has given such great gifts of understanding and prudence, we who can reap and sow, and gather into barns against the time of need Surely if we think of this we shall be more at rest. God Who has made us “so much better than the fowls” will not let us want for food any more than He lets them want. Let us but put forth the powers He has given for producing food, let us but work honestly at the work which He has given us to do, and we need be in no anxiety for our life—what is wanting to us, what is good for us to receive, will be supplied. The life is more than meat! O, think what these words imply –The life which we have from God, with its wonderful faculties and powers—the life which is lighted with reason, and endowed with the hope of immortality—this life God, be sure, will not leave to perish for lack of mere bodily nourishment. He will—nay, it is a fact, He does—with the greater give also the less. And so that we wait on Him in faith, and go patiently about whatever business He has appointed us, we shall have, day by day, our daily bread. Trust in the Lord and be doing good, duell in the land—dwell, not as an idler, but as a worker—and verily thou shall be fed! Again: as it is with food, so it is with clothing.—Why take ye thought for raiment 3 Cousider the lilies of the field how they grow: they toil not, neither do they spin, and yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast C C
into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you 0 ye of little
They do they spin them."
Here, again, is the same argument. The flowers of the field, born some of them but for a day, are yet clad with a splendour and a beauty that not even Solomon in all his glory could rival, or come near to. And whence comes that splendour and beauty ? God clothes them. Their array is from Him. They do nothing toward it themselves. They toil not, neither do they spin—they can only put on the robe of glory which He gives them. But does God care for the inanimate flowers, and not care for man His chief work? Man to whom He has shewn such marks of His favour—to whom He has opened so many treasures of wisdom and knowledge ? 0-you can not think it-man has but to use his gifts, in trustful dependence on the great Giver, and he will have raiment as well as food. - If God so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven ; shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith ?
And in speaking of the beauty and gorgeousness with which God clothes the flowers, I am led to remark upon the folly of man in seeking to vie with nature in his attire. Our Lord by what He here says of Solomon, seems to rebuke such folly—seems to caution us against display and over-costliness in our clothing. And it is a hint that ought not to be overlooked. We all know what evils a too great love of dress has given rise to.-We know what money and time are often wasted on it--and how it ministers to vanity! Ay, and we know that worse has happened from this same cause—we know it has been the starting point, alas, not seldom ! to a course of sin, and sorrow, and ruin!
Then be not offended, brethren, if I speak of such things from this place,-if I urge you—the younger of you most especially—to be on your guard against indulging a love of dress—if I bid you turn over again and again in your mind the Lord's words, Why take ye thought for raiment ?
Or if take some thought you must about it, take thought that your dress be simple and unpretending, suitable to your station, suitable to your character as Christ's followers—“ what becometh women professing godliness.” Remember the beautiful words of the apostle, so aptly read in one of our services— Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel, but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner, in the old time, the holy women also who trusted in God adorned themselves.
To conclude. My remarks have been chiefly about the first words in the text-Take no thought ; and what I have aimed at has been to set before you how wrong it is for a Christian to be over-anxious about matters of daily necessity—about food, about clothing, and the like -wrong for this reason--because our heavenly Father knoweth that we have need of all these things—because we may feel sure that we are safe in His hands, and that if we wait upon Him and live by faith, all our wants will be supplied—He will give us all things really needful both for soul and body.
I will only add that there is a further reason for our doing this, in the latter part of the verse before us, Take no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself, i.e. the morrow will bring care enough of its own. And this future care, this to-morrow's evil, we are mercifully told may be left to itselfSufficient unto the day is the evil thereof!
What wise and gracious words ! How worthy of that compassionate Saviour who uttered them! He knew how full human life is of sorrow-He did not Himself draw back from any sorrow! He drank the cup to to its dregs and wrung them out and yet He will not lay on us one unnecessary burden. He expressly charges us not to double our sorrow by anticipating it, by brooding over troubles before they come.
Let us not seek to be wiser than He. Let us not add to to-day's weight the weight of to-morrow. No doubt there are clouds before us. No doubt there are sorrows, and separations, and many earthly trials, which as the days go on, we shall have to endure—but why taste the bitterness of these things before the hour ? Why fret and distress ourselves about them now? Have we not enough to do to bear as Christian men should bear, the crosses and troubles of the immediate day. Let then to-morrow alone—it may bring good, or it may bring evil—but whether good or evil is mercifully at the present concealed.—Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof !
SIXTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY.
ST. John XI. 19.
And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.
THERE is not much said about the Jews in the Gospel that we dwell upon with pleasure. Their character appears, for the most part, far from amiable, and offers few points for our imitation. We hear of them as persecutors, as bigots, as hypocrites; full of envy, deceit, malignity; defrauding their parents of what was due, with a show of godliness, but wanting its power; particular about minute outward observances, while they neglected the weightier matters of God’s law.
But in my text we have one trait in their favour. They are described as sympathising with an afflicted family in the hour of their bereavement.
Martha and Mary had lost their only brother—they were, it would seem, at this time also orphans. And now the last near relative they had, the sole protector of their home, is taken away—Lazarus is dead!