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your Lord. Thus may you be kept--and in no other way so well, from the perils incident to your conditionthus may you acquire what is better than all worldly riches, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not—thus may you have deepened in you the conviction-and 0, how necessary this is ! that none of us liveth to himself, or for himself alone--that we are all intimately concerned with one another's welfare—all of one blood, and one parentage -members of a mighty family, from the youngest to the oldest, from the richest to the poorest—all children of God by faith in Jesus Christ!

Come ye busy ones—ye whose time on other days is wholly taken up by your worldly employment; who lack leisure for religious exercise, for prayer, for the study of the word, for meditation—come and rest awhile, apart from the world, in company with the Holy One.—Come to the Lord in His ordinance, that you may have Him with you at other times as well; that He may bless and sanctify your common business to you-come, that you may learn from your communion with Him to do all your work in a Christian spirit-even as He did His work, to God, and for the furtherance of His glory!

Come, lastly, ye whose hearts are vexed and ruffled by troubles at home-whose tempers are tried in a thousand ways, whose anxieties are incessant—who have in the charge and bringing up of children a great weight laid upon you-come, for you need it most of all—and take the grace and the strength, the comfort and the calm provided for you in the Sacrament.—Come, I say, that you may have in your hearts, and in your homes, what

Christ alone can give you, peace and patience, and quietness and assurance for ever !

Yes, and while I thus in particular invite you to the Lord's Table, according to the division made above, let me not be thought to exclude any. Come, I would say, all—as many as are religiously and devoutly disposed, to your Lord and Saviour in the Sacrament.-Come ye fallen ones to be raised ; come ye faint-hearted to be cheered; come ye sick to be healed; come ye blind to be led ; come ye young to be guided in the right way, to be confirmed in the good part; come ye who have sinned, and are sorry, that you may be pardoned !

But come to-day-when all things are ready. Death also is ready ; ever close at our door ; ever with his dart in his hand prepared to throw. Sad indeed would it be if he were to strike while yet you are delaying; while your mind is yet not made up; while you yet put off your Lord's messenger

with an excuse ! I do not wish to press too literally the closing words of the parable; but as we read them they have a solemn warning sound. They seem as if put there, in the Gospel, on purpose to quicken us in the acceptance of our Lord's invitation, by the thought that, if not accepted at once, if played with, and put off, it may finally be withdrawn—and for ever-None of those men that were bidden shall taste of my Supper !






And the Lord came and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel,

Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak, for Thy servant heareth.

Two very remarkable persons come before us in the service for this day-John the Baptist and the prophet Samuel-and there is much in the history of both for our learning. Both, too, have points of resemblanceboth were wonderfully born, both were messengers of the Most High—both from childhood were set apart to be holy to the Lord.

And first of John the Baptist-As the collect for his day reminds us, he is our example in three particulars ; in speaking the truth, in rebuking vice-not fearing to lift up our voice against wickedness, even in high places -and in suffering patiently for the truth's sake.


And surely it is an example that we all greatly need. To speak the truth always, and before all persons, is by no means easy. Still less easy is it to bear witness against sin—to say boldly, yet without passion, to an offender, “What thou doest is not lawful—thou mayest not so sin against God.” Least of all is it easy to bear reproaches and persecution, and to hear our name cast out as evil because we dare be true to our conscience.

Therefore, as I said, the example of John the Baptist is most valuable. For in him we see a man who was ever bold and brave to speak and act what was right and true—who was ready to go to prison and to death-yes, who did go, for his honesty in these points—and who has in consequence earned for himself the approval of the Redeemer-Verily, I say unto you, among them that are born of women, there hath not arisen a greater than John the Baptist.

Let us cherish that example, brethren. It is not only John the Baptist who sets it before us—it is the example of One greater than John the Baptist-it is the very example of Jesus. In following the Forerunner in any of these particulars—in speaking the truth, in rebuking vice, in suffering patiently, for the truth's sake, we are assuredly walking in the steps of Him Whom he came to announce-we are proving ourselves true disciples of our Saviour, and doing what is pleasing in His sight.

But I would not dwell further on the lesson of John the Baptist's history to-day. I have already, in the earlier part of the Christian year (third Sunday in Advent), touched upon his example. Let us turn to the other great person of whom mention has been made in

the service-even Samuel. And may God give us grace to profit by what is written of him for our learning !written of him in his early years—for with these only are we concerned this morning.

Now the first thing for us to notice in Samuel's history is the character of his mother. He was the child of Hannah, the wife of Elkanah. Hannah had been a long time without children, and to be without children was looked upon as a reproach among the Israelites. To take away that reproach she had recourse unto the Lord. And the Lord hearkened to her prayer, and gave her a child, whom, in acknowledgment, to mark her sense of the Divine favour, she named Samuel, asked of God. Further, she devoted him to God's service, according to

her vow.

No sooner was he weaned than she took him


to the house of the Lord in Shiloh, and left him there in the care of Eli the Priest, that he might from his tenderest years be occupied with the service of the sanctuary,— might minister before the Lord God from quite childhood.

Moreover, at leaving him—while her heart must have ached at parting with her only son, and so young-she poured out a song of praise to God, which breathes a spirit of exalted piety and thankfulness—a song which reminds us in many parts of the “ Magnificat,” if it did not, as is possible, suggest that Divine hymn to our Lord's Blessed Mother.

From these points in the history of Hannah we get a clear insight into her character. We see her to have been a woman of real and deep piety-one that feared God, trusted in God, prayed to God, served God.

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