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reckoned their course; nay, perhaps they live as tho religion were a fable, as tho earth were our permanent abiding-place, and heaven a dream. If such there are, they have not even listened to the Savior's words. But there are others among us perhaps, who are interested in the subject of religion, who are in some way or another engaged in it; but who are restless seekers after it, rather than actual possessors of it; who are resting upon insufficient substitutes for it. And I ask, would not these words breaking forth from the lips of Jesus, startle us in our ritualism, our philosophy, our outside morality, our sentimentalism, or our mere curiosity? And do they not speak to us? Are they not as true now as when they struck upon the shivering ear of Nicodemus? Do they not make us feel as intensely our obligation and our religious wants, as he might have felt there, with the wind flitting by him as tho the Holy Spirit were touching him with its appeal, and with the calm gaze of the Savior looking into his heart? Do they not demand of us, resting here awhile from the cares and labors of the world, something more than mere conformity, or intellectual belief, or formal deeds? Do they not demand a new and better spirit, a personal apprehension of the religious life, a breaking up and regeneration of our moral nature, a change of heart?



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ARTHUR PENRHYN STANLEY, the English scholar and divine, was born 1815 at Alderley, of which his father was rector. He was educated under Dr. Arnold at Rugby and in 1834 began a brilliant career at Oxford. Having been ordained priest in 1843 he was made Canon of Canterbury in 1851 and Dean of Westminster in 1864. At this date began his career as an ethical preacher. His pulpit became the means of reconciling many to the English Church because of its broad and sympathetic feeling of Christian brotherhood All of his discourses are marked by a refined literary culture and a catholicity of spirit. Stanley's most famous sermons are those in which he celebrates the life and work of many illustrious men who had passed away during his lifetime. He died in 1881.




The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field.—Matt. xiii., 24.


HE gospel of this day starts with a com

parison of the kingdom of heaven to a

sower. It is the same as that with which the more celebrated parable begins, “A sower went forth to sow. They both fix our minds on the manner in which God's kingdom--the kingdom of truth, beauty and goodness—is carried on in the world. The kingdom of all that is good is fostered, not so much by direct and immediate plantation or grafting or building or formations of any kind, but rather by the sowing of good seed, which, in time, shall grow up and furnish a rich harvest.

It is so with regard to the truths of the Bible. They are sown in the world; the good which grows up after them is never, in outward form, like the truth which came from the actual source.

Institutions spring up. They may derive their vitality from the corn and wheat which sink into the ground; but they cannot be the very thing itself. There is not a single form, or a single doctrine of Christendom, of which the outward shape is not different, in some way, from the principle of life which gave it birth.

There is only one instance of a ready-made scholastic doctrine in the whole Bible, and that has been long known to be spurious. It is not the verse of the three witnesses, but the parable of the Good Shepherd, the poetry of the Prodigal Son, the pathetic story of the Crucifixion, that have been the true seeds of the Christian life. In this way it is that the divine origin of these truths proves itself. The bright and tender words can never grow old, because they are not flowers cut and dried, but seeds and roots, which are capable of bearing a thousand applications.

Again, this is the ground of our looking forward with a hope, which nothing can extinguish, toward the transformation, the renewal of the human life, for a moment perishing, to reappear, we trust, in some future world, instinct with the capacities for good or evil with which it was endowed, or which it has acquired in the life that now is. The seminal form within the deeps of that little chaos sleéps, which will, we trust, in the almighty providence of God, restore that chaos of decayed and broken powers into conditions more elevated than now we can dream of.

Again, characters appear in the world which have a vivifying and regenerating ef

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