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to God in prayer, and perhaps that we have been for years walking side by side with angels unawares. Death has now thrown his pall over them; they are no longer in the hubbub of life or the strife of tongues; and the star of their sanctity begins to twinkle brightly to our eyes. Oh! lest remorse for having appreciated

God's saints so little should strike a chill to our hearts, when they are taken from us, let us now be on the watch for any tokens of good in one another, and hail such tokens with affectionate reverence. Let not infirmities, however patent, blind our eyes to the grace which there may be in a brother. Let us hope for good in him, promptly believe in it, joyfully welcome it. And let us not fail to bless God for every example of faith and love given by His people, whether still in a state of warfare, or departed to their rest, "beseech"ing Him to give us grace so to follow their good "examples, that with them we may be partakers of His "heavenly kingdom."

To revert again, in conclusion, to the great lesson of this Chapter. The greatest saints who ever lived, whether under the Old or New Dispensations, are on a level which is quite within our reach. The same forces of the spiritual world which were at their command, and the exertion of which made them such spiritual heroes, are open to us also. If we had the same faith, the same hope, the same love which they exhibited, we could achieve marvels as great as those

which they achieved-not indeed the marvels which change the outward face of nature, but those higher marvels, whose field is the heart and soul of man. A word of prayer in our mouths would be as potent to call down the gracious dews and the melting fires of God's Spirit, as it was in Elijah's mouth to call down literal rain and fire, if we could only speak the word with that full assurance of faith wherewith he said it. Let us no more say querulously, as an excuse to our consciences for not prosecuting the high end to which we are called; "God has put the great standards of holiness out of my reach." IT IS NOT SO. As if with the design of meeting such an objection, He exhibits to us in His Word the occasional failures and feebleness of His most illustrious servants, and gives us a glimpse of them, not only in the triumphs of Grace, but in the infirmities of Nature. Seen in plain truth, and not through the distorting medium of distance, they were "men of like passions with ourselves," though under the empire of principles which brought God into immediate relation with them, and thus lifted them above self and the world. Why should we not follow them, even as they followed God and Christ? Plainly the reason is not to be sought in any disadvantages under which we labour, in comparison of them. It is not that holiness was originally more congenial to their nature than to ours. It is not that privileges accorded to them are denied to us. It can be nothing but that laggardness of will, that indifference to high moral aims, that want of spiritual

energy, that cheerful acquiescence in the popular standard of religion, which has caused many a soul, when "weighed in the balances," to be "found wanting," to be counted unworthy of the calling and the Kingdom of God.



“And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.

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"And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and E perish with hunger!

“E will arise and go to my father."-LUKE xv. 16-18.

HE scope of our observations in the last Chapter


was to show that saintliness is not something unattainable, or beyond our reach, inasmuch as the most eminent saints, both of the Old and New Testaments, are clearly proved to have been "men of like passions as we are." The next question will be, How are we to proceed in attaining it? and, first, How are we to begin? The answer to this first question is specially important. For the principles which must guide us in the prosecution of this great work are the very same which must guide us at its commencement. So that the beginning is not a beginning merely, but a beginning which has a development wrapped up in it;

up, in

it is a seed which has only to burst and shoot order to become a blade, and then consecutively an ear, and the full corn in the ear. "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him," says the Apostle to the Colossians, showing clearly that Christian progress proceeds in the very same method as the commencement of Christian life. And therefore in this work, more perhaps than in any other, it is true (and the thought is most encouraging to those who are disposed to begin) that "Dimidium facti qui cœpit habet," "he who has begun has advanced half way towards the end."


Upon what are we to begin then, if we desire to follow after Holiness? I answer, upon the grace of our Baptism: this is the grand starting-point of all Christian effort. And the special blessing of Infant Baptism is this, that God in it "prevents" us (in the old sense of the word "prevents "), anticipates us with His Grace, anticipates consciousness, anticipates temptation, anticipates sin, so that when the powers of evil throw up their approaches to the soul, they find the Holy Spirit in possession of the fortress before them. And thus, before one who is baptized in infancy can be soiled by evil, he is tinctured with good.

In order to the development of this thought, it will be necessary to say something of the relationship which is contracted by Baptism, and next of the grace which is bestowed in it.

I. First, the relationship contracted by Baptism.

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