« PoprzedniaDalej »
fruit, for one Peter and one John, the fishermen, we may put almost the whole of the writers of the rest of the Old and New Testaments as educated men, or men of position. Why do I adduce these facts ?
Because you, my brethren, have influence. But I would ask you seriously to lay to heart this question, Are you using your influence for Christ; actively using it; energetically using it, and with full purpose of heart?
And first, by way of example. I have no wish that religion should be considered “fashionable ”; at the same time, it is a pity that certain duties of our religion should be neglected or slurred over by us, to the great hindrance of those who are only too glad to follow the lead of their betters in such neglect. When one thinks over our list of Communicants, one finds that there are but very few members of the congregation who come to the Lord's Supper regularly, even once a month. Again, what a handful of persons appear to worship God in this place on week-days. Again, how stereotyped are the sums we offer to God; scarce any enthusiasm ever driving us beyond the coin (and that not a large one) we usually place upon the Lord's Table. Many of you in this place are naturally taken as leaders and guides by those around; and when they see your irregular attendance at the Lord's Table, when they see our meagre collections (for the size of the congregation), our scanty worshippers at the week-day services, may they not be tempted to say, "Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed ?" and, answering “No," be tempted to go on in their own neglectful course ?
But, apart from this collective or congregational influence, each has his own specific influence in his own sphere; as
father of a family, or as mother; as a husband or wife; as an employer of labour, or as a foreman; as a magistrate, or other official; as a teacher ; as a man of education ; as a man of means. Let us show to all those who are brought near to us under any of those relations, that we are more than Christians in name. When the question is asked by those who look up to our position, “ Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed ? ” let our religion be so plainly read in our life that the answer may be at once returned, “ Yes.” Then will those around us, God helping, be led to acknowledge Christ also as their Saviour and their King.
Again, we Church people, and allege that we belong to the purest and most primitive form of Christianity the world has yet seen. No doubt, if we would live it out, and let it shine in our lives, this would be so. endeavour so to do, and we shall do much to drive vice out of the field, and knit men together in the bonds of virtue and of brotherly love. Once more :
at this Summer season of the year many of us are probably moving off to the seaside or to other parts of the country or of the world.
We shall go professedly for recreation. We shall leave our parish church behind us; our home habits will be broken into; we shall be cast among new scenes, new faces, new people--perhaps foreigners. While this putting on one side the usual routine and turmoil of one's life gives to some persons a fresh impulse and a good opportunity for increased and genuine devotion, and the deepening of their personal religion, I am afraid that to others it means the casting away of that wholesome restraint which the presence of
our relatives and neighbours, of our fellow-worshippers in church, of our clergyman, helps to impose upon us at home; it means the neglect of the public ordinances of religion ; it means the substitution of a stroll or of a lounge for going to church on Sunday; it means the keeping away from the Holy Communion, and occasionally slurring over even private prayers. So that if any of the lodgingkeepers, or of the hotel servants, or of the new acquaintances we may make, were to look at us and our holiday life and manners, and say of us, “Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed ?” the true answer would have to be other than, my Christian brethren, I could wish. How the people who live in watering-places, and minister to the comforts of holiday-makers, continue to keep their Christianity alive, is to me a mystery, but for the grace of God. But of this I am assured, that if you will but take
your Christian lives ever with you, and live them out well, both in leisure and in work, the countless eyes that see you, the countless ears that hear you speak, will feel, unseen by you, your Christian influence. Persons, without your knowledge, will touch the hem of the garment of Christ which you have put on, and which you constantly wear around you; and, without your knowledge, virtue will go out of you—the virtue of a Christ-like example—to the helping, to the healing of the souls of others
No man liveth to himself; no man dieth to himself. Your life, your Christian life, influences others for their good ; your death, your damnation, leads others down the
Let us, then, remember that the eye of God is upon us, and so fear to offend ; let us remember that the eye of our neighbour is upon us, craving for the sympathy
way to hell.
of a good example. Then, if any, looking at those of us who occupy positions in Church, or in State, or in society, or in the commercial world of this neighbourhood, should say, “ Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed ?" the universal answer may be “Yes; for we have seen it and . read it in their lives !"
PREACHED ON ST. ANDREW'S DAY.
ST. JOHN 1. 42.
AND HE BROUGHT HIM TO JESUS."
OULD you get me an introduction ?" Who
has not had this said to him again and again?
How much an introduction does for a man is evidenced by the diligence which men use to obtain one. If a man is unsuccessful, or only partially successful, he is often pervaded with a strong notion that his merits are there, but are unrecognised ; and that it only needs a fitting opportunity for their display to make all the world acknowledge them and bring that success which he always thought his due.
No doubt, in the smaller class of introductions where, e.g., work is in one part of the country and labourers in another, and you tell the labourers where the work may be had, this does not apply. But in all that large class of