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in which each and every one of us is called to give a good example. Would that at least in some of our hearts a resolve may even now be forming so to do! Much good, under God, would surely follow, were only a few of you really bent on setting an example.
A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. It is not evil only which is contagious but good as well. Here and there one truly Christian life planted in a neighbourhood, has been known to change for the better many lives around it. God has given such force to good example, that nothing has been able to stand against it; so that the very scoffers and scorners have been converted by it; have been brought to confess that, after all, godliness is the truest gain ; and that to fear the Lord and walk in His ways, is not only the duty but the chief happiness of man !
To conclude. Let me then exhort you, brethren, one and all, to let your light shine before men that they may see your good works. Do not be afraid at the name of good works. Do not think it savours of boastfulness, or selfrighteousness, thus to set up for patterns. The commandment remember, is from your Saviour. Besides, consider that whatever good we are enabled to do, is of God. And the end and object of it is to glorify Himfor the text goes on to say—that men may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven !
Put that thought clearly before you. You have, and we all have a God to glorify. We are set in the world, endowed with great capacities, enriched with most rare privileges, on purpose that in us, His chief work, God might have glory. And God we are sure is best glorified
when we use our position, our talents, our opportunities, 80 as to promote piety and virtue among our kind--when we are found not against Christ, but for Christ-on the side of goodness not on the side of wickedness, adorning the doctrine of God our Saviour, by shewing forth the impress of His holy character in ourselves—being examples to the believers and to the unbelievers—in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity!
EIGHTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY.
THE DISOBEDIENT PROPHET.
1 KINGS XIII. 26.
It is the man of God, who was disobedient unto the word of the Lord !
It is a very affecting history which is brought before us in the first lesson on this Sunday-one that offers much matter for thought, out of which, God helping us, we may draw lessons that may be of use to us hereafter, such as we need for keeping our feet upon that strait and narrow path that leadeth unto life.
Let me, then, ask you to review with me the chief incidents in the history of the disobedient prophet, remembering the Apostle's words-Whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning.
And first let us understand what the condition of Israel and Judah was at this time. They were no longer one, but two separate kingdoms. For the sin of Solomon they had been rent in twain, and his son and successor, Rehoboam, ruled only over a fragment of his father's dominions, over the two tribes of Benjamin and Judah.
The other ten tribes had revolted, and formed a separate kingdom under Jeroboam.
Rehoboam, however, had one great advantage over the usurper. In his small territory, in the tribe of Judah, stood the temple, and the temple was the centre of the national worship. There, thrice every year, all the Hebrew males were by the law of Moses bound to appear, and the coming up from all parts of the land to worship at Jerusalem, naturally tended to bind the people's hearts together, to make them forget their differences, to suggest to them the desirableness of being again one people.
Jeroboam was alarmed-he feared lest he should lose his new subjects : and to keep them firm to him, he devised a most subtle and successful scheme. That they might not go up to Jerusalem to worship, he prepared for them a religion at home. He set up two calves at either extremity of the land, at Dan and at Bethel, and bade his people worship them-It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem, behold thy gods, 0, Israel, which brought thee up out of Egypt.
And this thing, we read, became a sin. It provoked the just anger of God, who will not let man give His honour to another : and He quickly testified His displeasure against Israel.
And this brings us to the point at which the lesson of this morning takes up the history. There came a man of God out of Judah, by the word of the Lord, unto Bethel : and Jeroboam stood by the altar-the idol altar-to burn incense. And he cried against the altar in the word of the Lord. To prove the truth of his words, he gave a sign.
The altar was rent, and the ashes poured out. Jeroboam in his anger put forth his hand, saying, Lay hold on him when lo! another proof that God had sent the prophet, and would support his words—the hand of the king which he put forth ayainst him dried up, so that he could not pull it in again to him.
And now the king, terrified and humbled, sought help from the man to whom, just before, he had offered violence-Intreat the face of the Lord thy God for me, that my hand may be restored to me again. And the man of God besought the Lord, and the king's hand was restored to him again, and became as it was before.
In his gratitude the king would have rewarded the prophet-Come home with me, he said, and refresh thyself, and I will give thee a reward. But no—this might not be. God had forbidden His messenger to stay at all, or to eat bread with the guilty inhabitants of the land, or even to return by the same way. And, true to his instructions, the prophet declined the king's hospitality, and would take nothing at his hand—He went another way, and returned not by the way that he came to Bethel.
But now mark what happened. As he was on his road back, and was resting from the heat of the eastern sun under the shelter of an oak, there accosted him an old prophet of the land—one who had probably once been a true prophet, but had joined himself to Jeroboam's idols. This man had heard from his sons what had taken place that day at Bethel-how the idol worship had been denounced, and how the prophet from Judah had hastened back; and his object in coming after him seems to have been to break, if he could, his purpose-to