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you in earnest ever sought this necessary array ? have you studied to prepare yourselves against the day when you and your Lord must meet face to face at the Judgment? If you have not, be warned, I beseech you, by what is here revealed ! Look at that man who had not on the wedding garment as a type of yourselves—as representing your condition in that day—hear the Lord's question addressed to you through him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment 2 and see in his silence your own confusion. You cannot, any more than he could, cloke or excuse your neglect. You cannot say that you were ignorant of what God required of you. Has He not shewn it to you again in the Lesson for this evening? (Micah vi.) Judge yourselves, brethren; and, if need be, give sentence against yourselves. Better that you should see now and acknowledge your danger—your backwardness to make preparation, your weak faith, your imperfect practice, your careless indifference to the future—while the time allows of a change, than that you should go on in false security, hoping for heaven, but being at no pains to attain unto it, till at length, when it is too late, your self-deceit is unveiled, and you stand dumb and confounded before the all-searching eyes of your God and Judge While, then, you have time, make yourselves ready. Shew that you have indeed been taught the Gospel—the truth as it is in Jesus—by putting off the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, dying daily unto sin, and by putting on more and more your Divine Master's character, that new man which, after God, is created in righteousness and true holiness !
Two rocks there are to be avoided, on either of which we may suffer shipwreck—self-righteousness, thinking too much of our good deeds and orderly life, is one—and careless living—a far more common cause of ruin- is the other. Let us keep a good look out against both. Let us remember it is not for righteousness that we have done, but solely because of the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ, that the curse is done away, and the kingdom of heaven opened-By grace ye are saved, through faith! And, on the other hand, let us remember that not even Christ's merits will save a sinner that continues in his sin. Remember it is written—the unrighteous—and under the term are to be included all who habitually break any one of God's commandments—shall not inherit the kingdom of God!
One word more in concluding. Our Lord, when He had ended the parable, added this remark-For many are called, but few are chosen.
It would seem, from this, that the guest who was excluded stands for a large class-it would seem that in the great day of discrimination, not one or two, but many, perhaps a majority of professed Christians, will be rejected!
This is certainly a mournful thought, and not without its terror. But it need not overwhelm us. For be they few, or be they many who shall finally be saved, of one thing we are assured, that none will be lost but through their own wilfulness. God would have all men
to be saved! God desires not the death of a single soul! What He desires--what, by His mercies and His chastisements, His patience and long-suffering, He is ever seeking to bring about, is, that the wicked man should turn away from his wickedness, and do that which is lawful and right, and save his soul alive!
TWENTY-FIRST SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY.
EPHESIANS VI. 14.
Stand therefore having your loins girt about with truth.
In the Epistle for to-day, we have that famous passage of Scripture in which St. Paul describes the armour of a Christian. In words that will have a place in most of your memories, the Apostle sets before us the Christian warrior equipped from head to foot in the panoply of God-prepared at every point for doing combat with his strong enemy the Devil, the ruler of the darkness of this world.
These are the several parts of that heavenly armour. The warrior's girdle, that which keeps the whole of the rest of his armour together, is truth—his breastplate is righteousness—his feet are shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace—that charity of heart and word, which more than anything smoothes the way for Christ's disciple to walk in-his shield, that most important part of his armour, that which he uses for the defence of his whole body, and on which he receives and quenches the fire-winged darts of his adversary—the Christian's shield is faith, a fixed and firm belief in God and His revealed Word-his helmet, that which covers his head in the day of battle, that which keeps off from the seat of life every deadly assault, is salvation, or as St. Paul expresses it in 1 Thess. v. 8. the hope of salvation, an inspiriting, sustaining sense of the real worth of the great prize for which he is contending.
These then, the girdle, the breast-plate, the sandals, the shield, the helmet, make up the defensive armour of a Christian, with these on him, no weapon forged against him by the Devil can have any prevailing force.
But this is not all, the Christian in his warfare, does not always stand on the defence. He must in his turn be the assailant, and so, over and above what we have enumerated, there is given to him one other piece of armour, a weapon for attack—a weapon sharp and well tempered, able to pierce even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow—and that weapon is the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.
Such is the Christian arrayed for battle, so ought we to be arrayed, every one of us, for the contest in which we are engaged.
Each day when we rise, and go forth into the world, our care should be to have on the whole armour of God. Each day should we look well to our armour, and see that no weak part of our spiritual being is exposed. Each day should we bear with us into whatever company