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just weights in their estimation of themselves! This might have saved France in 1870. This might still save drunken and God-neglecting England, if she would be wise betimes.

But, my friends, the text touches you and me still nearer. We have seen that it faces us in the market, on the exchange, in the counting-house, at the arbitration, in the board-room, at the finance committee. These are more or less public places; at least they concern my relation to my neighbour. But the text faces me in my closet, on my knees, at the Communion Table of our Lord. I have not only to weigh gold, or goods, or commodities in the balance; I have also, as a Christian, to weigh myself; at least God weighs me; and, pray God, my estimate may tally exactly with His !

Some of you will be coming to the Lord's Supper on Advent Sunday; all, I trust, at Christmas.

Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. But when you examine yourself, be sure and have no false balance, but weigh justly your conduct and character before God. The standard to weigh by is God's law. But do not use it deceitfully, wresting it to make it suit your weaknesses, or taking it to have a shallow meaning, when any Christian knows it is most deep.

He who would weigh himself must, with reverence be it spoken, first weigh God. God's will, God's character (so to speak), is seen and comes out in His law: out of the abundance of His heart His mouth speaketh. He who gives the law gives what He knows, what He means, what He loves. A man hears he is not to commit murder, adultery, theft, false witness, and announces, flippantly, “ All these have I kept from my youth ; what lack I yet?” Does God deal, then, with the outside only, with the red hand and the flagrant crime ? Does He, who is a Spirit, look only at the act done in the flesh?

Does He stop precisely at the point where earthly police and the judge on the bench are obliged to stay their hand? God trieth the very reins and the heart, and God's law-reflection of Himself-pierces even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. You have done no murder, yet you have been lightly angry with your brother—you are guilty. You have committed no adultery, yet the wanton look, the ribald song proclaim you guilty. You have not stolen, yet the unkind advantage you took of your neighbour the other day writes you down a breaker of the law. You have borne no false witness, but your willing ear listened eagerly to thoughtless gossip about your neighbour, and you are guilty. Do not ride off upon the letter of the law, as if God's manifold character could be bound by a few inadequate words, and say God only meant this, and this I have done perfectly. Use no false balance either to God or His law ; but weigh justly what He means by what He is—a God of love, of purity, of justice, of truth—and then keep these His commandments, as God Himself keeps them. This is the true scales in which to weigh yourself when coming to the Lord's Sacrament at the beginning of a new year.

I say, then, use no false balance in weighing God. But, further, use a just weight in weighing your own conduct; for it is very possible you will assent to every word I have said about the “exceeding breadth" of God's command

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ment, and yet when you come to place yourself against that commandment in the scales, you will refuse to see how light your fulfilment of it has been, though your scale kicks the beam, as every honest eye can see. My friends, how keen we all are to see our neighbour's faults ; not one

Let us be equally keen to notice our own. How little allowance we are disposed to make for him extenuating nothing! Let us weigh ourselves in the same scales. If our neighbour makes a slip of any kind, we find no difficulty in calling a spade a spade with regard to his fault; but how marvellously soft-spoken we are in designating our own delinquencies! Use no false balance any more ; judge righteous judgment about your own deeds and conduct.

Now, he that will give up the false balance in estimating his own value before God, and will use the just weight, will beget in himself at length a certain cast of spirit. Every night he will acknowledge before God, "I have left undone that which I ought to have done, and I have done that which I ought not to have done ; and he will tell God the precise point in which he has failed. Next day he will start his work with the humble prayer that God will strengthen him in those very points in which he is weakest. This honesty towards himself and with God is the grand starting point in the Christian character ; and as it pro

an act performed reluctantly and with difficulty, and but partial success, to a formed habit, done regularly and with spiritual insight, it will surely transform his daily acts, his conduct, his character, and at last present him before the altar of his God a broken and a contrite heart, which Thou, O God, wilt not despise !

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Honesty is what men value most in business transactions; honesty is what God loves when you commune with Him in the secret chamber and are still. Be true and just in all your dealing, both with God and man; and this you cannot be without that divinest gift, Christian love and charity. Pray God, therefore, to give you true charity, to shed abroad in your hearts, love towards Him, and towards all men: and, if He gives it, you will find it no hard matter to avoid the false balance which is abomination to the Lord; but will be blessed by Him, for you will use the just weight, which is His delight.

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SPEAK to-day of influence. Influence is that power which a man has over his fellows, of

bending them to follow any line of action he desires to be pursued. It is a power which belongs more or less to us all. None, I suppose, are too young to possess it; none, so humble in rank, but they may exercise it. That poor little captive maid, taken as a slave into Naaman's house, how mightily she influenced the destiny of her great master ! That little child whom the poet represents in the midst of his play, kneeling down to prayer, when he heard the vesper call, in sight of a cruel, lustful brigand—what an effect his simple act produced upon that seared soul :

“There was a time,” he said, in mild
Heart-humbled tones—"thou blessed child !
When young, and haply, pure as thou,
I look'd and pray'd like thee—but now

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