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sole us—much that may help to reconcile those whom she leaves behind to her loss.
To one, indeed, that loss must be a heavy one and he will need all the fortitude of a Christian to bear up under it. In advancing age he finds himself once more alone. At a time of life when man most wants the comfort of home companionship, it has pleased God to make his hearth desolate.
It is, I admit, a heavy loss for him, not to be repaired on this side the grave.
But it may help him under it, to consider that all is for the best—that what has happened to him, is no strange thing—that wife and husband however dearly joined cannot always be together--that one or other must be taken first. Which it shall be must be left to God, He will do what is right. Be it our's to submit. Be it our's to say The will of the Lord be done!
Yes, and there is one other thought of comfort—the last I would suggest to you this morning. When our hearth is desolate, when the human fellowship on which we had leaned is broken up, must we not feel that God is through that very desolation preparing a way for Himself in our hearts !
There is a verse in Psalm xxxix-one of the two that we read at funerals—which has always struck me as peculiarly impressive-peculiarly fitted to the condition of mourners—And now Lord what is my hope, truly my hope is even in Thee !
Think of the words ye that are in grief to-day! Your earthly hope—that in which you built perhaps too fondly, that on which you reckoned for your comfort
the promising child—the strong brave husband—the loving wife has failed you. But there is One Who will never fail you, never leave nor forsake you, One Who will stay by you even to hoary hairs; Who will guide you and support you to the end of your pilgrimage-past life, past death, till you come to His everlasting kingdom !
O make this Great God and Saviour your sure refuge. Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth. Let your life be hid with Christ in God. Anchor by Him amidst the storms and waves of earthly calamity and you shall ride out in safety.
There was one of old much tried in the furnace of affliction-and who suffered much under the trial, but who yet reasoned out for himself true comfort and not for himself alone, but for all, who in time to come should be in trouble-Why art thou so vexced O my soul, and why art thou so disquieted within me ? Oput thy trust in God, for I will yet thank Him Who is the help of my countenance and my God!
N.B. This Sermon which is inserted for the Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity as not out of keeping with the Gospel for the day, was originally preached August 5, 1860.
SEVENTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY.
Sr. LUKE XIV. 11.
For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that humbleth
himself shall be exalted.
THESE words which occur in the Gospel for this Sunday, are also found in two other places besides amongst our Lord's sayings in the eighteenth chapter of St. Luke, where they form part of Christ's comment
upon the Publican and Pharisee; and in the twenty· third chapter of St. Matthew, where we read them as His warning to His disciples against ambition.
And indeed, this is just one of those weighty sayings which we might have expected to hear, and hear often from our Lord's mouth-for it is a sentence that contains a leading principle of His Gospel, one that He would surely wish to impress upon the hearts of those who were about Him-one that all His followers, in all times, will do well to read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest, and apply'to the conduct and regulation of their daily lives.
In choosing these words for our meditation, I propose first, to consider their connection with the parable we have heard.
Our Lord had been invited by one of the chief Pharisees, to eat bread in his house, and as His custom was, He had accepted the invitation. For unlike John the Baptist, He did not keep aloof from mixing with the social life about Him. He shared our lot in everything, its joys as well as its sorrows. Regardless of what the people might say of Him-and they did you will remember use hard names and called Him a gluttonous man, and a wine-bibber-He seems to have made it His practice to go wherever He was asked-to the house of feasting or to the house of mourning.
Well did He know that in every place His presence was required—that in all companies gathered together, for whatever cause, there was work for Him to doroom and occasion for Him to be of use to man—opportunity for correcting some evil, for imparting some good, for leavening the world with His spirit—and so He went to all alike-to Pharisee to Publican, to saint or sinner, to all who opened their door for Him to enter.
On the occasion before us, it was at a Pharisee's house where He was a guest. And while there a very common fault came under His eye-He marked how they which were bidden chose out the chief rooms,-i. e. the chief seats the best places at the table, those nearest to the host, those of most honour and respect. He noticed this act, and He knew the hidden temper of the heart which prompted it; the pride and selfishness, and vanity, which moved men-as these guests of the Pharisee surely were, had in repute for sanctity, thus to strive for pre-eminence at a neighbour's table.
He marked it, and He desired to correct it. And so He put forth a parable, of which the application was easy, in order to shame them out of such pitiful ambition, in order to teach them—what we, who are Christians know to be one first element in true religion-lowliness.
When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding sit not down in the highest room, lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; and he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place ; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. But when thou art bidden go and sit down in the lowest room : that when he that bad thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend go up higher : then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. For whosoever exulteth himself shall be abased, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
Now let us, first, observe in this, the wisdom of our Lord—how skilfully he addresses His parable to the character of the persons about Him. They were, we must think, men of sordid worldly minds, not likely to be moved to a change of conduct by any high and lofty motives, He might put before them. But motives of a lower kind-motives of expediency-plain sober rules of prudence—these they could understand and appreciate. And it is just such a plain sober rule which our Lord here gives them.
Picking out a man who was pushing himself before all the rest, He says to this intent_“You are not taking the best step for securing what you seek, the first place -for if a man more honourable than you comes in after