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to which you are attached, leave it. If any worldly consideration stands in the way of duty, and prevents your “ seeking first the kingdom of God,” leave it, as you value your salvation.—Such is the language which the gospel of Christ addresses to every living man.
But surely, it might be argued, there was something peculiar in the choice which selected these apostles out of the great multitudes who attended our Lord. From the many thousand persons in that land, who were of the same age and occupation, these were chosen to receive and to convey the tidings of redemption.
But so are we likewise the subjects of peculiar mercy. It is equally the gift of God's sovereign grace, that we are called by baptism to be his servants; that the means of grace, and the hope of glory, are set before us. How many millions, how many hundreds of millions are there in the world, to whom the names of Creator of Redeemer, are unknown! And “ who made us to differ” from these?
Still further. Of those who have been baptized in the name of Christ, are there not a fearful number, to whom, as far as we can judge, baptism bas been a vain ceremony? who have never claimed the privilege of their birth? or even have “ denied the Lord that bought them,” and, by rejecting his commands, have “put him to an open shame?” " If any of us, then, are in a happier state; if we have resolutely taken up the Saviour's yoke, and are daily desiring to learn his will, and to be led by his Spirit; if out of the many that are called, we may hope to
be among the few that are chosen ; to what shall we attribute this but to God's undeserved mercy towards us? Whatever holy desires we feel, or good counsel we follow, or just works we perform, they all, as we are early taught to acknowledge, "proceed from God:” and whoever has been blessed by the influence of the Holy Ghost, in putting “a new heart and a right spirit” within him, will join with St. Paul in saying, “By the grace of God I am what I am ;" whoever has “mortified the flesh, with the affections and lusts,” and “set his affections on things above,” ”
” has “ ceased to do evil, and learnt to do well,” in obedience to bis Saviour's precepts—will confess, nay thankfully avow, yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me."
To him then ascribe the glory. “As it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” Every recollection of mercies received must have the effect of humbling us, when we compare what has been done for us with the poor return we have made. How justly may we say with David, “Who are we, O Lord God, and what is our father's house, that thou hast brought us hitherto ?"May the same grace make us sensible of the distinguishing mercy shown towards us, and enable us to walk more and more worthily of the vocation wherewith we have been called.
5 Second Collect for Evening Prayer. 6 See 2 Sam. vii. 18.
THE BLESSINGS OF THE HUMBLE, TIIE PENITENT,
AND THE MEEK.
MATT. v. 1-5.
1. And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain ; and when he was set, his disciples came unto him :
The discourse which our Lord delivered on this occasion requires our most serious attention. He unfolds in it the character which is acceptable to God. And he exposes the false opinions which prevailed generally amongst the Jews, and the corruptions of their religion through the erroneous teaching of the Scribes and Pharisees. He spoke from a mountain, or elevated spot, that as many as possible might surround him and listen. But there is a higher elevation from which he speaks to all : he speaks from heaven: though once, that the inhabitants of the earth might better hear, he descended from his heavenly abode to instruct the ignorance of the world, to reclaim its wickedness, and guide it into righteousness and truth.
Let us then turn a deaf ear to the opinions of the world, which have not yet been brought into con
formity with the opinions of Christ. Let us consider that “we are all here present before God,” to hear the truths which he has sanctioned ; to hear, upon the most important of all concerns, the declarations of a judgment which can neither deceive nor be deceived.
2. And he opened his mouth and taught them saying,
3. Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
These three characters are quite distinct. But the spirit that belongs to them all is so similar that they may be considered together. The man poor in spirit is the man who sees his need of divine mercy: wlio trembles at the distance between himself and the law of God; whose language is that of David, “ Enter not into judgment with thy servant, O Lord, for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.” The mourner, is the man who sees and laments his wickedness; ? and says with the same David, “I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is ever before
The mcek spirit is shown towards our fellow creatures; but it springs out of a humble spirit towards God. He who feels his own wants, his own short-comings, his own offences, will have too low an opinion of himself to be haughty and overbearing in his deportment towards others. And these are the characters of which our Lord declares that they are
1 Ουχ απλως τους πενθουντας τεθεικεν, αλλα τους υπερ αμαρτημαTWV TOUTO TOLOUVTas.—Chrysostom.
blessed; those are happy who possess them, even though perhaps little understood, little approved, even wondered at by the world around them.
The poor in spirit are blessed, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. They are willing to seek it on the terms in which it is offered, “repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ.” They thankfully receive the atonement which he has made, feeling in themselves that they are burthened with a weight of debt, and have nothing wherewith to pay. The gospel is “glad tidings
'glad tidings" to them. If its words were, “ He that is without sin amongst you,” let him enter into the kingdom of heaven; it would be no glad tidings, for they “ have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” But it brings a message of great joy to them, when it declares, “that if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the propitiation for our sins.” And to this frame of mind is the promise given : “ Whosoever shall exalt himself, shall be abased; but he that shall humble himself, shall be exalted.” 2 These humble themselves, for they are poor in spirit; and they are exalted: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
So likewise they are blessed who mourn: mourn over the transgressions which have separated between them and their God; mourn over the sinful nature from which their transgressions sprung: whose thoughts are those of the Prodigal, “ Father, I have sinned against heaven and before thee, and am no
? Matt. xxiii. 12.