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“ time not worthy to be compared with the glo

ry that shall be revealed in us."

In order that we may be prepared for the hour of trial, it is necessary to cultivate an habitual regard to eternal realities. The eyes of our minds must be constantly turned towards heaven, and the glory to be revealed must be continually present to our view. The primitive Christians had “their conversation in heaven, from whence

they looked for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus 66 Christ.” And this prevailing tendency of soul not only raised them superior to the sneer of an ungodly world, and made them rejoice that they were counted “worthy to suffer shame “ for the sake of Christ," but it armed them for the last conflict, and rendered them emulous to obtain the crown of martyrdom. With Christ in their heart * and heaven in their eye, they feared nothing that men or devils could do unto them. How proper is it, with this view, that we should “take those who have spoken in the “ name of the Lord for an example of suffering “ affliction and patience,” as our church directs us to take St. Stephen this day! And how necessary it is that we should pray for a portion of their grace and consolation, « that in all our “ sufferings for the testimony of the truth we may “ steadfastly look up to heaven, and by faith “ behold the glory that shall be revealed !”

Having, in the first petition of our collect, implored grace, that we may be enabled, after the example of St. Stephen, to meet the sufferings which may befal us with comfort and constancy, we proceed to ask for the influence of the Holy Ghost, that we may be furnished with the same spirit of charity by which he was influenced in his last moments; “that we may to learn to love and bless our persecutors by the

* Ignatius, before the heathen emperor who sentenced him to the beasts, styled himself Theophorus, one who carries God with him.

example of the first martyr St. Stephen, who “prayed for his murderers to Him who standeth " at the right hand of God to succour all those “ that suffer for Him, our only Mediator and “ Advocate.”

The duty, with a view to the performance of which we now implore Divine grace, is one of great difficulty; for the pride of human nature revolts against a patient submission to injuries. Yet this is required of us, and is a test of our conformity to Him who was “led as a lamb to “ the slaughter, and who, as a sheep before her “ shearers is dumb, opened not His mouth.” When hanging in excrutiating agony on the cross, to which he had been nailed by the most inveterate malice; he sought an excuse for His murderers and pleaded their cause, saying, “ Father, forgive them, for they know not what

they do.” O what love was this! What an example for us! Shall we say, It is inimitable,and in despair abandon ourselves to the governance of an opposite temper? In the full dimensions of its excellence it is certainly a copy that cannot be equalled; but by the influence of the Spirit of Jesus a resemblance is attainable. For St. Stephen, like his blessed Master, while showers of stones were dashing against him, prayed also for his implacable enemies, saying, is Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.” We must drink of the same Spirit, if we would prove our conformity to the same Lord and Master.

We are expressly commanded by onr blessed Lord to “ love our enemies, to bless them that VOL. I.


“ curse us, to do good to them that hate us, and “ to pray for them that despitefully use us and “ persecute us, that we may be the children of « our Father, which is in heaven.” And “ Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example “ that we should follow His steps.” Our hope of receiving a pardon from God is connected with a forgiving temper. For God will only “ forgive “ our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” We solicit mercy for ourselves on this ground. Unless therefore we are labouring to cultivate this spirit of charity, we have no reason to call ourselves the disciples of Christ, nor to expect a place among His followers.

But how difficult is the cultivation of this spirit of meekness and love! For how sweet is the exercise of anger and revenge! And how prone are we, either by thought or deed, as it may be in our power, to shew resentment against those who have injured us, and even to justify the act! O what need then have we to pray for Divine grace, that we may imitate the bright example of St. Stephen ; that, like David in his conduct towards Shimei and Saul, we may submit with resignation to whatever injurious treatment we meet with; that, like the Apostles, “ being reviled we may bless; being perse“cuted we may suffer it; being defamed we

may intreat ;” that we may at all times “pos“ sess our souls in patience," and commit our cause to God.

Our collect, not without reason, has taught us to pray that, with a view to the attainment of this holy temper, we may be “ filled with the

Holy Ghost;” for Christianity is above nature. Philosophy cannot eradicate a vindictive spirit from our bosoms; nor can any efforts of unsanc

tified reason ever endue us with that spirit of meekness which St. Stephen exhibited in his dying moments. Nothing but Divine grace can counteract the tiger-like disposition of fallen man, and transform the lion into a lamb. Nemo me impunè lacessit, No one shall provoke me with impurity, is the natural language of the human heart. But when the soul is “ filled “ with the Holy Ghost,” it is transformed into a conformity to Christ, as we see by the instance which the protomartyr affords. May we be “ followers of them who through faith and pa“ tience inherit the promises.”

It may be said, that we are never likely to be placed in circumstances similar to those of St. Stephen, and therefore shall have no opportunity of imitating his example. But let it be remembered that every day affords scope for the exercise of the same grace and if in small matters we are easy to be provoked, we may well question whether we should stand the test of greater trials. Surely the impatience of our spirit, on the slightest provocations and injuries, should teach us the necessity of praying earnestly, “that, being filled with the Holy Ghost, for we may learn to love and bless our perse“ cutors by the example of St. Stephen, who “ prayed for his murderers to Thee, O blessed “ Jesus, who standeșt at the right hand of God “ to succour all those who suffer for Thee, our

only mediator and advocate. Amen." *

* The necessity and nature of a forgiving temper is admirably explained and enforced by Bishop Hopkins, in his Practical Exposition of the Lord's Prayer.


Merciful Lord, we beseech thee to cast thy bright beams of light upon thy church ;' that it, being enlightened by the doctrine of thy blessed Apostle and Evangelist St. John, may so walk in the light of thy truth, that it may at length attain to the light of everlasting life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


MONG the various emblems which are

introduced in Scripture for the purpose of illustrating spiritual things, there is none so glorious as the sun; for there is no other natural object that is of equal splendour and utility. It might well be supposed that this beautiful luminary, in its appearance so magnificent, and in its influence so beneficial, would be employed as the representative of its Maker. And this is the fact. - The Lord God is a sun;" and Christ, God-man, is “the sun of righteousness “ with healing in His wings.” “I” says He, “ am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have “ the light of life.” As the sun in the world of nature is the cause and support of life, vegetable and animal; as his approach revives the earth, and renews the seasons of the year; so is Christ the cause of all spiritual life, the restorer of all things in the intellectual and moral world. The effulgence of His bright beams constitutes “ the “ acceptable year of the Lord.”


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