Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

souls ; but our own earnest and sincere cooperation is necessary to the attainment of that blessed end. The vineyard is given to us to cultivate, but the Lord of the vineyard expects fruit. Those who have not now to be converted to the belief of Christianity may

still have need to be converted to the practice of its precepts, may still have need to be reclaimed from those vices which disgrace the doctrine they profess, and to be conducted into an upright and holy course of life. Let all such consider the perilous state in which they stand. Their conscience must inform them, more particularly in solitude and silence, that they derive no real comfort from those practices which God has forbidden : but they calculate upon thing which is denied to them, for the reformation of their lives: they have the assurance of God's grace to aid them, if they will begin the work now; but they have no assurance that any future time will be allowed them, at which they may commence, as it were at leisure, the healing of those spiritual maladies which are preying upon, and will, if not eradicated, finally destroy, the

the only

66

soul. Let us fervently address God in the words of the collect appropriated to that day on which our Church celebrates or commemorates the merits of this Evangelist :

Almighty God, who calledst Luke the physician, whose praise is in the Gospel, to be an evangelist and physician of the

soul, may it please thee, that by the “ wholesome medicines of the doctrine de

livered by him all the diseases of our “ souls may be healed, through the merits

of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.”

SERMON V.

ST. JOHN.

St. John xxi. 23, 24.

Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that

that disciple should not die : yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true.

I am come now to the last of the Evangelists: the last, both with respect to the position which his work occupies in the Canon of the New Testament, the period at which it was written, and the death of the writer. The personal history of St. John himself affords a singular proof of the truth of that which he has recorded respecting others, and more particularly his Divine Master. The text, you will perceive, contains a pro

phetic intimation, that the life of St. John should be protracted to a longer date than that of the other Apostles, and till the occurrence of a very awful event. Our Saviour, in his prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem, mingled his account of that approaching scene of terror with the description which he was pleased to give of the final dissolution of the world itself: he ascended by a rapid but not unnatural transition from the less to the greater. And was not the destruction of one people (shortly to be accomplished) the most intelligible · sample that could be afforded of the future destruction of all the people of the earth? For it must be observed, that, be the range of devastation ever so extensive, the human senses can take in but a limited portion, the contiguous or surrounding parts. If, therefore, the sufferers in the siege and sackage of Jerusalem, wherever they cast their eyes,

could behold nothing but scenes of horror, if they heard nothing but cries of misery, if they felt nothing in their own bosoms but terror, anguish, and despair, their senses were probably as strongly affected as

will be those of the existing race of mankind at the end of the world. To them the world itself was at an end ; to them the day of judgment was at hand; and the contemporary Jewish historian describes the most unusual convulsions of nature also as attending the fatal catastrophe. Neither could the victims of so dreadful a calamity, even had they had leisure for reflection, have found any present alleviation in the assurance that the ruin was circumscribed in extent, that their nation only was doomed to perish, and that others, and among the rest their conquerors, would continue to oc

cupy the earth.

To one or other, therefore, of these analogous events, the destruction of a people or of the world, our Saviour informed his disciples that the life of St. John should be extended; and their interpretation fixing erroneously upon the latter period, the saying went abroad among the brethren, " that that disciple should not die.” It was to correct this mistake, by giving precision to the words of our Saviour, that St. John, when he wrote his Gospel, added,

" Yet

« EdellinenJatka »